And the word of the LORD came to me, saying,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Deuteronomy 12. The prophecy is against the "mountains" of Israel, because the mountains and valleys were the seats of idol-worship. It is also the proclamation of the final judgment of Israel. It is the picture of the future judgment of the world.
Eze 6:1-14. Continuation of the Same Subject.The judgement of Israel for their idolatry, Ezekiel 6:1-7. A remnant shall be saved, Ezekiel 6:8-10. The prophet is directed to lament their abominations and calamities, Ezekiel 6:11-14.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Ezekiel 5:5. Thus says the Lord Jehovah: This Jerusalem have I placed in the midst of the nations, and raised about her the countries. Ezekiel 5:6. But in wickedness she resisted my laws more than the nations, and my statutes more than the countries which are round about her; for they rejected my laws, and did not walk in my statutes. Ezekiel 5:7. Therefore thus says the Lord Jehovah: Because ye have raged more than the nations round about you, and have not walked in my statutes, and have not obeyed my laws, and have not done even according to the laws of the nations which are round about you; Ezekiel 5:8. Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Lo, I, even I, shall be against thee, and will perform judgments in thy midst before the eyes of the nations. Ezekiel 5:9. And I will do unto thee what I have never done, nor will again do in like manner, on account of all thine abominations.
זאת ירוּשׁ not "this is Jerusalem," i.e., this is the destiny of Jerusalem (Hvernick), but "this Jerusalem" (Hitzig); זאת is placed before the noun in the sense of iste, as in Exodus 32:1; cf. Ewald, 293b. To place the culpability of Jerusalem in its proper prominence, the censure of her sinful conduct opens with the mention of the exalted position which God had assigned her upon earth. Jerusalem is described in Ezekiel 5:5 as forming the central point of the earth: this is done, however, neither in an external, geographical (Hitzig), nor in a purely typical sense, as the city that is blessed more than any other (Calvin, Hvernick), but in a historical sense, in so far as "God's people and city actually stand in the central point of the God-directed world-development and its movements" (Kliefoth); or, in relation to the history of salvation, as the city in which God hath set up His throne of grace, from which shall go forth the law and the statutes for all nations, in order that the salvation of the whole world may be accomplished (Isaiah 2:2.; Micah 4:1.). But instead of keeping the laws and statutes of the Lord, Jerusalem has, on the contrary, turned to do wickedness more than the heathen nations in all the lands round about (המרה, cum accusat. object., "to act rebelliously towards"). Here we may not quote Romans 2:12, Romans 2:14 against this, as if the heathen, who did not know the law of God, did not also transgress the same, but sinned ἀνόμως; for the sinning ἀνόμως, of which the apostle speaks, is really a transgression of the law written on the heart of the heathen. With לכן, in Ezekiel 5:7, the penal threatening is introduced; but before the punishment is laid down, the correspondence between guilt and punishment is brought forward more prominently by repeatedly placing in juxtaposition the godless conduct of the rebellious city. המנכם is infinitive, from המן, a secondary form המון, in the sense of המה, "to rage," i.e., to rebel against God; cf. Psalm 2:1. The last clause of Ezekiel 5:7 contains a climax: "And ye have not even acted according to the laws of the heathen." This is not in any real contradiction to Ezekiel 11:12 (where it is made a subject of reproach to the Israelites that they have acted according to the laws of the heathen), so that we would be obliged, with Ewald and Hitzig, to expunge the לא in the verse before us, because wanting in the Peshito and several Hebrew manuscripts. Even in these latter, it has only been omitted to avoid the supposed contradiction with Ezekiel 11:12. The solution of the apparent contradiction lies in the double meaning of the משׁפּטי הּגוים. The heathen had laws which were opposed to those of God, but also such as were rooted in the law of God written upon their hearts. Obedience to the latter was good and praiseworthy; to the former, wicked and objectionable. Israel, which hated the law of God, followed the wicked and sinful laws of the heathen, and neglected to observe their good laws. The passage before us is to be judged by Jeremiah 2:10-11, to which Raschi had already made reference.
(Note: Coccejus had already well remarked on Ezekiel 11:12 : "Haec probe concordant. Imitabantur Judaei gentiles vel fovendo opiniones gentiles, vel etiam assumendo ritus et sacra gentilium. Sed non faciebant ut gentes, quae integre diis suis serviebant. Nam Israelitae nomine Dei abutebantur et ipsius populus videri volebant.")
In Ezekiel 5:8 the announcement of the punishment, interrupted by the repeated mention of the cause, is again resumed with the words 'לכן כּה וגו. Since Jerusalem has acted worse than the heathen, God will execute His judgments upon her before the eyes of the heathen. עשׂה שׁפטים or עשׂה (Ezekiel 5:10, Ezekiel 5:15; Ezekiel 11:9; Ezekiel 16:41, etc.), "to accomplish or execute judgments," is used in Exodus 12:12 and Numbers 33:4 of the judgments which God suspended over Egypt. The punishment to be suspended shall be so great and heavy, that the like has never happened before, nor will ever happen again. These words do not require us either to refer the threatening, with Coccejus, to the last destruction of Jerusalem, which was marked by greater severity than the earlier one, or to suppose, with Hvernick, that the prophet's look is directed to both the periods of Israel's punishment - the times of the Babylonian and Roman calamity together. Both suppositions are irreconcilable with the words, as these can only be referred to the first impending penal judgment of the destruction of Jerusalem. This was, so far, more severe than any previous or subsequent one, inasmuch as by it the existence of the people of God was for a time suspended, while that Jerusalem and Israel, which were destroyed and annihilated by the Romans, were no longer the people of God, inasmuch as the latter consisted at that time of the Christian community, which was not affected by that catastrophe (Kliefoth).
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