Ezekiel 6:14
So will I stretch out my hand on them, and make the land desolate, yes, more desolate than the wilderness toward Diblath, in all their habitations: and they shall know that I am the LORD.
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(14) More desolate than the wilderness toward Diblath.—The name Diblath does not occur elsewhere; but Diblathaim, the dual form, is mentioned in Numbers 33:46-47, Jeremiah 48:22, as a double city on the eastern border of Moab, beyond which lay the great desert which stretches thence eastward, nearly to the Euphrates. It was customary to call any wilderness by the name of the nearest town. (See 1Samuel 23:14-15; 1Samuel 23:24-25; 1Samuel 25:2, &c.) That wilderness appears from this passage to have been proverbial for its desolation.

6:11-14 It is our duty to be affected, not only with our own sins and sufferings, but to look with compassion upon the miseries wicked people bring upon themselves. Sin is a desolating thing; therefore, stand in awe, and sin not. If we know the worth of souls, and the danger to which unbelievers are exposed, we shall deem every sinner who takes refuge in Jesus from the wrath to come, an abundant recompence for all contempt or opposition we may meet with.Toward Diblath - Or, "Diblathaim," the "Diblathan" of the Moabite stone, one of the double cities of Moab (see Ezekiel 25:9) to the east of which lay the great desert of Arabia. Some read: "unto Riblah" Jeremiah 52:9 and take the margin rendering. 14. Diblath—another form of Diblathaim, a city in Moab (Nu 33:46; Jer 48:22), near which, east and south of the Dead Sea, was the wilderness of Arabia-Deserta. Stretch out my hand: this noteth the greatness of the blow, God striketh hard when he stretcheth out his hand, and therefore you find a mighty hand joined with outstretched arm.

Desolate; a desolation, (a Hebraism,) for most desolate.

Yea, more desolate; and a desolation greater or above the desolation of that most horrid wilderness of Moab, which is here called

Diblah, mentioned in a dual form, Numbers 33:46 Jeremiah 48:22, as some think; and described by Moses, Deu 8:15. It was that wherein the fiery serpents so much annoyed Israel. Or, I will lay their habitations waste and desolate, from Jerusalem unto Diblath, the borders of Moab, and the land all along shall be as desolate as that very wilderness. So the Lord will turn a most fruitful land into barrenness for the sins of the people.

They shall have; some instructed and bettered shall own me and fear me, the rest convinced and astonished shall confess that God hath done this great thing against them. So will I stretch out mine hand upon them,.... Not unto them, in a way of mercy; but upon, or against them, in a way of judgment. The Targum paraphrases it,

"and I will lift up the stroke of my power upon them;''

his mighty hand of vengeance:

and make the land desolate; by destroying the inhabitants of it:

yea, more desolate than the wilderness towards Diblath, in all their habitations; so the Syriac version renders it, "and I will make this land more desolate than the land of Diblath"; but other versions, "I will make the land desolate from the wilderness of Diblath"; to which the Targum agrees; or, "from the wilderness to Diblath": Kimchi and Ben Melech think this is the same with Riblath; as Deuel is put for Reuel in Numbers 1:14; which was in the land of Hamath, and which, Jerom says, was in his times called Epiphania in Syria; here it was that Nebuchadnezzar brought Zedekiah, and slew his sons before him, Jeremiah 39:5; this, though in Hamath in Syria, was on the borders of the land of Israel, Numbers 34:8; so that "hence from the desert of Diblath", as the Arabic version renders it, "even to Jerusalem", as may be supplied, takes in the whole land, and shows that it should be utterly desolate. There is a Bethdiblathaim mentioned in Jeremiah 48:22; as in Moab; and there is also Almondiblathaim, which was one of the stations of the Israelites; and seems to be in Moab, or on its borders, Numbers 33:46; and appears, by the places named with it, to be the same as that in Jeremiah; and so was part of that terrible wilderness through which the Israelites passed; and to which the desolation of the land of Israel by the Chaldeans is compared; and which serves to confirm our version, which makes the desolation to be greater than that:

and they shall know that I am the Lord; the true God; the one and only Lord God; who never changes his purposes; fulfils his promises and threatenings; and there is no escaping his mighty hand.

So will I stretch out my hand upon them, and make the land desolate, even, more desolate {h} than the wilderness toward Diblath, in all their habitations: and they shall know that I am the LORD.

(h) Which was in Syria and bordered on Israel, or from the wilderness which was south, to Diblath which was north: meaning the while country.

14. desolate, yea, more desolate] Rather: desolate and waste (ch. Ezekiel 33:28-29, Ezekiel 35:3) more than the wilderness of Diblah. The comparative “more than,” however, is not probable. Moreover a wilderness of Diblah is unknown; Diblathaim besides being in Moab could not be called desert. The construction is difficult, but probably the reading should be: from the wilderness to Riblah, i.e. from south to north. Riblah was situated on the northern border of the country (Numbers 34:11); it is said to be in “the land of Hamath,” Jeremiah 52:9; Jeremiah 52:27 (where by the converse substitution of d for r, LXX. reads Diblah). A few MSS. read Riblah. It must be acknowledged that this way of designating the whole extent of the land from S. to N. is nowhere else employed, the northern limit being usually expressed by “the entering in of Hamath.”Verse 14. - More desolate than the wilderness towards Diblath; better, with the Authorized Version, from the wilderness. The name does not appear elsewhere, and has not been identified. Assuming the Authorized Version rendering, we must think of Ezekiel as naming, as Dante haines the Valdichiana ('Inf.,' 29:47), some specially horrible and desolate region. For such a region the name of Diblah (a cake of figs) does not seem appropriate. Taking the Revised Version translation ("from the wilderness toward Diblah"), we have a phrase analogous to "from Dan to Beersheba," as denoting the extent of the desolation. The "wilderness" is usually applied to the nomad region south of Palestine, and this would lead us to look for Diblah in the north, and so to look elsewhere than to the two places Beth-diblathaim (Jeremiah 48:22) and Almon-diblathaim (Numbers 33:46), both of which are in Moab. The difficulty was solved by Jerome by the conjectural emendation of Riblah, the two Hebrew letters for d and r being often written by copyists for each other. Riblah (it is a suggestive fact that the two chief manuscripts of the LXX. the Alexandrian and the Vatican, have Deblatha, or Deblaa, in 2 Kings 23:33; 2 Kings 25:6) was a fortified town on the north road from Palestine to Babylon, where the Babylonian kings used to take up their position during their invasions of the former. Within a short time after Ezekiel wrote this chapter, it became memorable in its connection with Zedekiah's sufferings (comp. 2 Kings 23:33; 2 Kings 25:6, 20, 21; Jeremiah 39:5, 6; Jeremiah 52:9, 10, 26). Its probable site is fixed on the banks of the Orontes. The evidence, on the whole, is, I think, in favour of this interpretation. It is adopted by Ewald, Cornill, Smend, Gesenius, and most recent critics. An additional fact in its favour is that Hamath, in the same region, appears as an ideal northern boundary in Ezekiel 47:16.

The Desolation of the Land, and Destruction of the Idolaters

Ezekiel 6:1. And the word of the Lord came to me, saying: Ezekiel 6:2. Son of man, turn thy face towards the mountains of Israel, and prophesy against them. Ezekiel 6:3. And say, Ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord Jehovah: Thus saith the Lord Jehovah to the mountains, and to the hills, to the valleys, and to the low grounds, Behold, I bring the sword upon you, and destroy your high places. Ezekiel 6:4. Your altars shall be made desolate, and your sun-pillars shall be broken; and I shall make your slain fall in the presence of your idols. Ezekiel 6:5. And I will lay the corpses of the children of Israel before their idols, and will scatter your bones round about your altars. Ezekiel 6:6. In all your dwellings shall the cities be made desolate, and the high places waste; that your altars may be desolate and waste, and your idols broken and destroyed, and your sun-pillars hewn down, and the works of your hands exterminated. Ezekiel 6:7. And the slain will fall in your midst; that you may know that I am Jehovah. - With Ezekiel 6:1 cf. Ezekiel 3:16. The prophet is to prophesy against the mountains of Israel. That the mountains are mentioned (Ezekiel 6:2) as pars pro toto, is seen from Ezekiel 6:3, when to the mountains and hills are added also the valleys and low grounds, as the places where idolatry was specially practised; cf. Hosea 4:13; Jeremiah 2:20; Jeremiah 3:6; see on Hos. l.c. and Deuteronomy 12:2. אפיקים, in the older writings, denotes the "river channels," "the beds of the stream;" but Ezekiel uses the word as equivalent to valley, i.e., נחל, a valley with a brook or stream, like the Arabic wady. גּיא, properly "deepening," "the deep ground," "the deep valley;" on the form גּאיות, cf. Ewald, 186da. The juxtaposition of mountains and hills, of valleys and low grounds, occurs again in Ezekiel 36:4, Ezekiel 36:6, and Ezekiel 35:8; the opposition between mountains and valleys also, in Ezekiel 32:5-6, and Ezekiel 24:13. The valleys are to be conceived of as furnished with trees and groves, under the shadow of which the worship of Astarte especially was practised; see on v. 15. On the mountains and in the valleys were sanctuaries erected to Baal and Astarte. The announcement of their destruction is appended to the threatening in Leviticus 26:30, which Ezekiel takes up and describes at greater length. Beside the בּמות, the places of sacrifice and worship, and the חמּנים, pillars or statues of Baal, dedicated to him as the sun-god, he names also the altars, which, in Lev. l.c. and other places, are comprehended along with the בּמות eht htiw; see on Leviticus 26:30 and 1 Kings 3:3. With the destruction of the idol temples, altars, and statues, the idol-worshippers are also to be smitten, so as to fall down in the presence of their idols. The fundamental meaning of the word גּלּוּלים, "idols," borrowed from Lev. l.c., and frequently employed by Ezekiel, is uncertain; signifying either "logs of wood," from גּלל, "to roll" (Gesen.), or stercorei, from גּל, "dung;" not "monuments of stone" (Hvernick). Ezekiel 6:5 is taken quite literally from Leviticus 26:30. The ignominy of the destruction is heightened by the bones of the slain idolaters being scattered round about the idol altars. In order that the idolatry may be entirely rooted out, the cities throughout the whole land, and all the high places, are to be devastated, Ezekiel 6:6. The forms תּישׁמנה and יאשׁמוּ are probably not to be derived from שׁמם (Ewald, 138b), but to be referred back to a stem-form ישׁם, with the signification of שׁמם, the existence of which appears certain from the old name ישׁימון in Psalm 68 and elsewhere. The א in יאשׁמו is certainly only mater lectonis. In Ezekiel 6:7, the singular חלל stands as indefinitely general. The thought, "slain will fall in your midst," involves the idea that not all the people will fall, but that there will survive some who are saved, and prepares for what follows. The falling of the slain - the idolaters with their idols - leads to the recognition of Jehovah as the omnipotent God, and to conversion to Him.

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