Ezekiel 6:9
And they that escape of you shall remember me among the nations where they shall be carried captives, because I am broken with their whorish heart, which has departed from me, and with their eyes, which go a whoring after their idols: and they shall loathe themselves for the evils which they have committed in all their abominations.
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(9) Because I am broken.—The verb in the Hebrew is passive in form, but it is better to take it, with most modern commentators, as a middle, in a transitive sense, “Because I have broken their whorish heart . . . and their eyes,” the eyes being mentioned as the means by which their hearts had been enticed to evil. Here, as constantly in all parts of Scripture, apostacy from God is described under the figure of unfaithfulness in the marriage relation. “They shall loathe themselves” indicates a true repentance; they shall loathe the sin and themselves for having committed it. Thus their sin has drawn down punishment; punishment has destroyed many, but brought a “remnant” to repentance; and repentance leads to a true knowledge of God, and communion with Him. The Divine word and act has not been “in vain.”

6:8-10 A remnant of Israel should be left; at length they should remember the Lord, their obligations to him, and rebellion against him. True penitents see sin to be that abominable thing which the Lord hates. Those who truly loathe sin, loathe themselves because of sin. They give glory to God by their repentance. Whatever brings men to remember Him, and their sins against him, should be regarded as a blessing.I am broken ... - Translate: "because" I have broken "their whorish heart, which hath departed from me," and their eyes etc. Since Ezekiel is addressing the Church of God through Israel, we are to note here that the general principle of the divine administration is laid down. Sin leads to judgment, judgment to repentance, repentance to forgiveness, forgiveness to reconciliation, reconciliation to a knowledge of communion with God. 9. they that escape of you shall remember me—The object of God's chastisements shall at last be effected by working in them true contrition. This partially took place in the complete eradication of idolatry from the Jews ever since the Babylonian captivity. But they have yet to repent of their crowning sin, the crucifixion of Messiah; their full repentance is therefore future, after the ordeal of trials for many centuries, ending with that foretold in Zec 10:9; 13:8, 9; 14:1-4, 11. "They shall remember me in far countries" (Eze 7:16; De 30:1-8).

I am broken with their whorish heart—Fairbairn translates, actively, "I will break" their whorish heart; English Version is better. In their exile they shall remember how long I bore with them, but was at last compelled to punish, after I was "broken" (My long-suffering wearied out) by their desperate (Nu 15:39) spiritual whorishness [Calvin], (Ps 78:40; Isa 7:13; 43:24; 63:10).

loathe themselves—(Le 26:39-45; Job 42:6). They shall not wait for men to condemn them but shall condemn themselves (Eze 20:43; 36:31; Job 42:6; 1Co 11:31).

They that escape; some of them, not every one of them, for several of the escaped did not bethink themselves, as appears, Jeremiah 47 48 49.

Shall remember me; my precepts which they violated, my mercies which they abused, my threats which they despised, my promises which they refused, my prophets whom they persecuted, my judgments which have executed; and shall consider and return, and seek me in their affliction.

Among the nations: in their own land they forgot and sinned, in a strange land they shall remember and weep; so the remnant is bettered by afflictions. At liberty they were captives to sin and idols; when in captivity they shall shake off that bondage, and become my servants.

Because I am broken, & c. Here we meet very different reading. The Chaldee paraphrase and Syriac version read it actively, so does the Latin Vulgate, because, or when, I have broken, &c.; and if this vary from the grammatical construction, yet it carrieth very good sense, and agreeable to the foregoing words. Their whorish hearts would still have forgotten God, if he had not broken their hearts with judgments; but they remembered when broken, and this breaking was the occasion or cause of their remembering God. Others read this passively, as our version, and as the Hebrew form most usually beareth, I am broken. It is an allusion to a misused husband whom a treacherous wife hath broken; either,

1. His peace and content.

2. His love and tenderness.

3. His patience and forbearance.

4. His purposes.

5. His offers and promises. So that, as overcome with grief and anger, he doth, contrary to his natural disposition, lay aside his courting her love, and in his jealousy takes revenge, and then she bethinks herself. So here.

Their whorish heart; their heart of whoredom, i.e. idolatrous heart, which was full of that sin, addicted to it, delighted in it, and wedded to it.

Hath departed from me: idolatrous hearts do actually depart from God, as an adulterous wife actually departs from her husband.

With their eyes: as it vexeth a husband to see his wife fixing her eyes with delight on the adulterer, and turning them with scorn from him, as this breaks the husband’s patience; so in this case, Israel’s eyes were to idols, and delighted in them, expected help from them, were ready to serve them; all which broke their Husband’s, i.e. God’s, patience, and provoked his severe revenges.

Loathe themselves; with a mixture of grief towards God offended, of indignation against themselves offending, of abhorrence of the offence, and shame before all for it, shall they show their repentance.

For the evils; wickednesses, or, as Psalm 32:5,

iniquities of sin; the deepest and darkest part of sin, the complicated evils that were in each act.

In all their abominations: it is a hypocrite’s repentance which is but for some; this of the reserved remnant shall be sound, it is for all abominations, for all kinds of their abominations. And they that escape of you shall remember me,.... Either my grace and mercy to them, as Jarchi; or the fear of me, as the Targum; and so return by repentance, and worship the Lord their God, being influenced by his kindness and goodness to them: even when

among the nations, whither they shall be carried captive; so that their afflictions should be sanctified and made useful to them: in prosperity men are apt to forget God; in adversity they are brought to a sense of themselves and duty; and happy it is when chastening dispensations are teaching ones, and bring to God, and not drive from him:

because I am broken with their whorish heart, which hath departed from me: by committing spiritual adultery, which is idolatry. The sense is, either that he was grieved at heart with their idolatry, which was the reason of their being carried captive, which, when they were sensible of, wrought repentance in them; or that he was full of compassion towards them; his heart was tender and pitiful towards them, though they departed from him in such a dreadful manner, justly to be resented by him. The Targum is,

"I have broken their foolish heart;''

and so the Syriac and Vulgate Latin versions, "I have broken their whorish heart"; by afflictive providences humbled them, and brought them to repentance:

and with their eyes, which go a whoring after their idols; they committed fornication with their heart and eyes in a spiritual sense, as wicked men do in a natural sense; see 2 Peter 2:14;

and they shall loathe themselves for the evils which they have committed in all their abominations; abominable idolatry, 1 Peter 4:3; when men remember God, against whom they have sinned, and consider how grieving sin is to him; and when they are broken for it themselves, they then loathe their sins, and themselves for it; and where all this is there is true repentance.

And they that escape of you shall remember me among the nations to which they shall be carried captives, because I am broken with their adulterous heart, which hath departed from me, and with their eyes, which play the harlot with their idols: and they {e} shall lothe themselves for the evils which they have committed in all their abominations.

(e) They will be ashamed to see that their hope in idols was in vain, and so will repent.

9. because I am broken] R.V. how that I have been broken with their whorish heart. Such a sense as “been broken with” is altogether impossible; and the middle sense “break for myself” is equally to be rejected. The natural sense is: they shall remember (think of) me … when I have broken. Their idolatrous heart shall be broken with their calamities, and then shall they return unto the Lord; Hosea 2:7, “I will return unto my first husband, for then was it better with me than now.” The present reading has probably arisen from the similar word “carried captive” being in the copyist’s mind.

and with their eyes] Read: when I have broken their whorish heart … and their eyes. The harshness of the zeugma, “and their eyes,” is relieved by the distance from “break” and the metaphorical nature of the expression. Cf. the phrase “lifted up his eyes towards the idols,” ch. Ezekiel 18:6; Ezekiel 18:12; Ezekiel 18:15, Ezekiel 20:24, Ezekiel 33:25.

lothe themselves] Lit. their faces; a use of “face” for self, not uncommon in the later language, ch. Ezekiel 20:43, Ezekiel 36:31; Job 23:17.Verse 9. - Because I am broken with their whorish heart. The words have been very differently rendered.

(1) The Revised Version mainly follows the Authorized Version, but gives, they shall remember... how I have been broken, etc. So taken, the words are boldly anthropomorphic, and ascribe to Jehovah the word which implies the strongest form of human distress. The "whorish heart" of the people has made Jehovah himself "broken-hearted."

(2) Most recent critics, however, follow the rendering of the Vulgate (contrivi), and take the verb, which is passive in form, as being like a Greek verb in the middle voice, transitive in form, with an implied reflex force. So we get, as in the margin of the Revised Version, "I have broken their whorish heart." So taken, thought and words are both connected with Psalm 51:17, and the self-loathing that follows has its counterpart in Job 42:6. The thought is eminently characteristic of Ezekiel (Ezekiel 20:43; Ezekiel 36:31), and, we may add also, of Leviticus (Leviticus 26:39-42). Further Execution of this Threat

Ezekiel 5:10. Therefore shall fathers devour their children in thy midst, and children shall devour their fathers: and I will exercise judgments upon thee, and disperse all thy remnant to the winds. Ezekiel 5:11. Therefore, as I live, is the declaration of the Lord Jehovah, Verily, because thou hast polluted my sanctuary with all thine abominations and all thy crimes, so shall I take away mine eye without mercy, and will not spare. Ezekiel 5:12. A third of thee shall die by the pestilence, and perish by hunger in thy midst; and the third part shall fall by the sword about thee; and the third part will I scatter to all the winds; and will draw out the sword after them. Ezekiel 5:13. And my anger shall be fulfilled, and I will cool my wrath against them, and will take vengeance. And they shall experience that I, Jehovah, have spoken in my zeal, when I accomplish my wrath upon them. Ezekiel 5:14. And I will make thee a desolation and a mockery among the nations which are round about thee, before the eyes of every passer-by. Ezekiel 5:15. And it shall be a mockery and a scorn, a warning and a terror for the nations round about thee, when I exercise my judgments upon thee in anger and wrath and in grievous visitations. I, Jehovah, have said it. Ezekiel 5:16. When I send against thee the evil arrows of hunger, which minister to destruction, which I shall send to destroy you; for hunger shall I heap upon you, and shall break to you the staff of bread. Ezekiel 5:17. And I shall send hunger upon you, and evil beasts, which shall make thee childless; and pestilence and blood shall pass over thee; and the sword will I bring upon thee. I, Jehovah, have spoken it. - As a proof of the unheard-of severity of the judgment, there is immediately mentioned in Ezekiel 5:10 a most horrible circumstance, which had been already predicted by Moses (Leviticus 26:29; Deuteronomy 28:53) as that which should happen to the people when hard pressed by the enemy, viz., a famine so dreadful, during the siege of Jerusalem, that parents would eat their children, and children their parents; and after the capture of the city, the dispersion of those who remained "to all the winds, i.e., to all quarters of the world." This is described more minutely, as an appendix to the symbolical act in Ezekiel 5:1 and Ezekiel 5:2, in Ezekiel 5:11 and Ezekiel 5:12, with a solemn oath, and with repeated and prominent mention of the sins which have drawn down such chastisements. As sin, is mentioned the pollution of the temple by idolatrous abominations, which are described in detail in Ezekiel 8. The אגרע, which is variously understood by the old translators (for which some Codices offer the explanatory correction אגדע), is to be explained, after Job 36:7, of the "turning away of the eye," and the עיני following as the object; while ולא־תחוס, "that it feel no compassion," is interjected between the verb and its object with the adverbial signification of "mercilessly." For that the words ולא תחוס are adverbially subordinate to אגרע, distinctly appears from the correspondence - indicated by וגם אני - between אגרע and לא . Moreover, the thought, "Jehovah will mercilessly withdraw His care for the people," is not to be termed "feeble" in connection with what follows; nor is the contrast, which is indicated in the clause וגם־אני, lost, as Hvernick supposes. וגם־אני does not require גּרע to be understood of a positive act, which would correspond to the desecration of the sanctuary. This is shown by the last clause of the verse. The withdrawal without mercy of the divine providence is, besides, in reality, equivalent to complete devotion to destruction, as it is particularized in Ezekiel 5:12. For Ezekiel 5:12 see on Ezekiel 5:1 and Ezekiel 5:2. By carrying out the threatened division of the people into three parts, the wrath of God is to be fulfilled, i.e., the full measure of the divine wrath upon the people is to be exhausted (cf. 7, 8), and God is to appear and "cool" His anger. הניח חמה, "sedavit iram," occurs again in Ezekiel 16:42; Ezekiel 21:22; Ezekiel 24:13. הנּחמתּי, Hithpael, pausal form for הנּחמתּי, "se consolari," "to procure satisfaction by revenge;" cf. Isaiah 1:24, and for the thing, Deuteronomy 28:63. In Ezekiel 5:14. the discourse turns again from the people to the city of Jerusalem. It is to become a wilderness, as was already threatened in Leviticus 26:31 and Leviticus 26:33 to the cities of Israel, and thereby a "mockery" to all nations, in the manner described in Deuteronomy 29:23. והיתה, in Ezekiel 5:15, is not to be changed, after the lxx, Vulgate, and some MSS, into the second person; but Jerusalem is to be regarded as the subject which is to become the object of scorn and hatred, etc., when God accomplishes His judgments. מוּסר is a warning-example. Among the judgments which are to overtake it, in Ezekiel 5:16, hunger is again made specially prominent (cf. Ezekiel 4:16) and first in Ezekiel 5:17 are wild beasts, pestilence, blood, and sword added, and a quartette of judgments announced as in Ezekiel 14:21. For pestilence and blood are comprehended together as a unity by means of the predicate. Their connection is to be understood according to Ezekiel 14:19, and the number four is significant, as in Ezekiel 14:21; Jeremiah 15:3. For more minute details as to the meaning, see on Ezekiel 14:21. The evil arrows point back to Deuteronomy 32:23; the evil beasts, to Leviticus 24:22 and Deuteronomy 32:24. To produce an impression, the prophet heaps his words together. Unum ejus consilium fuit penetrare in animos populi quasi lapideos et ferreos. Haec igitur est ratio, cur hic tanta varietate utatur et exornet suam doctrnam variis figuris (Calvin).

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