Ezekiel 6:3
And say, Ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord GOD; Thus saith the Lord GOD to the mountains, and to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys; Behold, I, even I, will bring a sword upon you, and I will destroy your high places.
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(3) To the rivers, and to the valleys.—These words stand to each other in the same relation as “mountains and hills,” that is, they are specifications of the same general character. The word frequently occurring, and uniformly translated in Ezekiel rivers, would be better rendered ravines. It is a deep sort of valley, along which, at times, a stream might run. Such places were also favourite places for idolatrous rites (see 2Kings 23:10; Isaiah 57:5-6; Jeremiah 7:31; Jeremiah 32:35), especially for the worship of the Phoenician Astaroth, the female divinity worshipped in conjunction with Baal. The same putting together of mountains and hills, valleys and ravines, occurs again in Ezekiel 35:8; Ezekiel 36:4; Ezekiel 36:6. By the expression, “I, even I,” strong emphasis is placed on the fact that these judgments are from God. Inasmuch as, like most other events in the world, they were to be wrought out by human instrumentality, the attention might easily be taken up with the secondary causes; but by thus declaring them beforehand, and claiming them as His own work, God would make it evident that all was from Him.

6:1-7. War desolates persons, places, and things esteemed most sacred. God ruins idolatries even by the hands of idolaters. It is just with God to make that a desolation, which we make an idol. The superstitions to which many trust for safety, often cause their ruin. And the day is at hand, when idols and idolatry will be as thoroughly destroyed from the professedly Christian church as they were from among the Jews.Rivers - Or, "ravines," which were, like the mountains, favorite seats of idol-rites 2 Kings 23:10. 3. rivers—literally, the "channels" of torrents. Rivers were often the scene and objects of idolatrous worship. Ye mountains; ye that dwell in the mountains, ye secure, fearless, and rude mountaineers, hear and consider what God speaks against you, for thus saith the Lord God to you, on mountains and hills of Israel ye dwell and commit idolatry.

To the rivers; to those who either by rivers’ sides worshipped idols, or who accounted rivers among their gods.

To the valleys; to those that worshipped their idols in low and shadowy valleys. In all these places the Jews had either their several gods, or performed a several kind of worship, or, contrary to command, worshipped their God and set up altars to him there.

A sword upon you; that shall slay you inhabitants, waste your mountains and valleys, destroy your altars, and abolish your worship.

I, by the enemy, will destroy your high places; places of your idolatrous or superstitious worship; by the sword of those that serve idols your idols shall be destroyed, and you with them, unless ye repent.

And say, ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord God,.... Since the people of the Jews would not hear the word of the Lord, the mountains are called upon to hear it; unless the inhabitants of the mountains are meant:

thus saith the Lord God to the mountains and to the hills, to the rivers and to the valleys: these are addressed, because idols were worshipped here; as upon the mountains and hills, so by rivers of water, and also in valleys, as in the valley of Hinnom idols were worshipped; upon mountains and hills, because they thought themselves nearer to heaven; by rivers, because of purity; and in valleys, because shady and obscure, and had something solemn and venerable in them:

behold I, even I, will bring a sword upon you; that is, upon the idolaters, which worshipped in these places; otherwise different instruments, as pick axes, &c. would have been more proper. The Targum paraphrases it,

"them that kill with the sword;''

meaning the Chaldeans, who doubtless are intended:

and I will destroy your high places; the temples and altars, built on high places, and devoted to idolatrous worship, as follows:

And say, Ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord GOD; Thus saith the Lord GOD to the {a} mountains, and to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys; Behold, I, even I, will bring a sword upon you, and I will destroy your high places.

(a) He speaks of all the places where the Israelites accustomed to commit their idolaters, threatening them with destruction.

3. to the rivers] the ravines; the gorges where there were streams and thick trees, and where idolatrous worship was practised (ch. Ezekiel 35:8, Ezekiel 36:4; Ezekiel 36:6), cf. Isaiah 57:5, “that slay the children in the valleys (a different word) under the clefts of the rocks; among the smooth stones of the valley is thy portion; they, they are thy lot; even to them hast thou poured a drink offering, thou hast offered an oblation” (Jeremiah 2:23).

your high places] The word properly means a height or hill (ch. Ezekiel 36:2), then a sanctuary situated on such a height (1 Samuel 9:13), and finally any sanctuary (Isaiah 16:12, and so in Moabitish, Moabstone, 50:3), particularly in Israel the rural sanctuaries. These sanctuaries had probably been mainly Canaanitish (Deuteronomy 12:2; Leviticus 26:30), but had been adopted by Israel and devoted to the service of Jehovah (ch. Ezekiel 20:28). Along with the sanctuaries themselves no doubt much of the native religious practice was also adopted. After a long struggle these rural high places were abolished by Josiah, and public service of Jehovah confined to the temple at Jerusalem, though they grew up again under Manasseh. Even the worship of Jehovah at such sanctuaries would be very corrupt, and in the last years of the kingdom the worship of other deities was no doubt also practised. This prophet condemns all worship at the high places as “abominations.” This does not appear to be with him a question of mere locality or number of sanctuaries; he considers the high places to be Canaanitish and the service at them no worship of Jehovah.

Ezekiel 6:3The 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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