Ezekiel 7:22
My face will I turn also from them, and they shall pollute my secret place: for the robbers shall enter into it, and defile it.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(22) My secret place.—The holy of holies, sacredly guarded from all intrusion, and representing the very culmination both of the religion and of the national life of Israel, shall be polluted. If the pronoun “they” represents any one in particular, it must be the Chaldæans; but it is better to take the verb, as often in the third person plural, impersonally, i.e., “shall be polluted.” The agents in this pollution are immediately mentioned as “the robbers,” i.e., the Chaldæan armies.

7:16-22 Sooner or later, sin will cause sorrow; and those who will not repent of their sin, may justly be left to pine away in it. There are many whose wealth is their snare and ruin; and the gaining the world is the losing of their souls. Riches profit not in the day of wrath. The wealth of this world has not that in it which will answer the desires of the soul, or be any satisfaction to it in a day of distress. God's temple shall stand them in no stead. Those are unworthy to be honoured with the form of godliness, who will not be governed by its power.My secret place - The inner sanctuary, hidden from the multitude, protected by the most high. 22. pollute my secret place—just retribution for the Jews' pollution of the temple. "Robbers shall enter and defile" the holy of holies, the place of God's manifested presence, entrance into which was denied even to the Levites and priests and was permitted to the high priest only once a year on the great day of atonement. My face will I turn; either from the Jews, who cry under such violence and profaneness; or, from the Chaldeans who act it, neither relieving the one nor restraining the other.

My secret place; either,

1. My enclosed land of Judea. Or,

2. My city Jerusalem. Or,

3. The temple. And,

4. The holy of holies: all which the Babylonian conquerors trampled under their conquering feet. The robbers; the soldiers, who in truth robbed the temple and here have their true style given them, are robbers that used the temple and its consecrated gifts without ally reverence or respect. They should break all open, and rush into the places which Jews, Levites, and priests might not enter.

My face will one turn also from them,.... Deny them his presence, and withdraw his protection from them; show them no favour, nor afford them any help and succour in their distress, when they cry unto him; so the Targum,

"I will cause my Shechinah to remove from them:''

unless the Chaldeans are meant, as some think, whose robberies and ravages the Lord would wink at, and not restrain, but suffer them to plunder and spoil at pleasure: since it follows,

and they shall pollute my secret place; the holy of holies, by going into it, which none but the high priest might do, and he but once a year; though the Targum understands this of the Jews, and makes it to be a reason of what is threatened in the preceding clause, rendering it thus,

"because they have profaned the land of the house of my Shechinah:''

for the robbers shall enter into it, and defile it; as did the king of Babylon and his army; and afterwards, in the second temple, Antiochus, Pompey, and Titus Vespasian.

My face will I turn also from them, and they shall pollute my {r} secret place: for the robbers shall enter into it, and defile it.

(r) Which signifies the most holy place, into which none might enter but the high priest.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
22. The enemy shall penetrate into the temple and profane it.

turn … from them] This most naturally refers to Israel, from whom the Lord will turn his face in anger, cf. Ezekiel 7:11. It might refer to the invader, whom the Lord will not behold but permit to work his will, cf. Lamentations 2:3.

secret place] Is probably the temple (Lamentations 2:1); less natural would be the city. The word “secret,” however, is not to be referred to the arcanum of the Most Holy place; the meaning is “my precious thing.”

for the robbers] and robbers; the Chaldean pillagers. The words “pollute” and “defile” are the same; better, profane.

Verse 22. - My secret place. The work of the spoiler would not stop at the idols of silver and gold. Jehovah would surrender his own "secret place" (secret treasure in margin of Revised Version), that over which he had watched, sc. the sanctuary of his temple, to the hands of the spoiler. In Psalm 83:4 the same adjective is used of persons, the "hidden" or protected ones of God. In the name of Baal-zephon, "Lord of the secret place," we have possibly a kindred thought. In Psalm 17:14 we have "hid treasure." Ezekiel 7:22Third strophe

Thus will they fall into irresistible destruction; even their silver and gold they will not rescue, but will cast it away as useless, and leave it for the enemy. - Ezekiel 7:15. The sword without, and pestilence and famine within: he who is in the field will die by the sword; and famine and pestilence will devour him that is in the city. Ezekiel 7:16. And if their escaped ones escape, they will be upon the mountains like the doves of the valleys, all moaning, every one for his iniquity. Ezekiel 7:17. All hands will become feeble, and all knees flow with water. Ezekiel 7:18. They will gird themselves with sackcloth, and terrors will cover them; on all faces there will be shame, and baldness on all their heads. Ezekiel 7:19. They will throw their silver into the streets, and their gold will be as filth to them. Their silver and their gold will not be able to rescue them in the day of Jehovah's wrath; they will not satisfy their souls therewith, nor fill their stomachs thereby, for it was to them a stumbling-block to guilt. Ezekiel 7:20. And His beautiful ornament, they used it for pride; and their abominable images, their abominations they made thereof: therefore I make it filth to them. Ezekiel 7:21. And I shall give it into the hand of foreigners for prey, and to the wicked of the earth for spoil, that they may defile it. Ezekiel 7:22. I shall turn my face from them, that they defile my treasure; and oppressors shall come upon it and defile it. - The chastisement of God penetrates everywhere (Ezekiel 7:15 compare with Ezekiel 5:12); even flight to the mountains, that are inaccessible to the foe (compare 1 Macc. 2:28; Matthew 24:16), will only bring misery. Those who have fled to the mountains will coo - i.e., mourn, moan - like the doves of the valleys, which (as Bochart has correctly interpreted the simile in his Hieroz. II. p. 546, ed. Ros.), "when alarmed by the bird-catcher or the hawk, are obliged to forsake their natural abode, and fly elsewhere to save their lives. The mountain doves are contrasted with those of the valleys, as wild with tame." In כּלּם המות the figure and the fact are fused together. The words actually relate to the men who have fled; whereas the gender of המות is made to agree with that of כּיוני. The cooing of doves was regarded by the ancients as a moan (hâgâh), a mournful note (for proofs, see Gesen. on Isaiah 38:14); for which Ezekiel uses the still stronger expression hâmâh fremere, to howl or growl (cf. Isaiah 59:11). The low moaning has reference to their iniquity, the punishment of which they are enduring. When the judgment bursts upon them, they will all (not merely those who have escaped, but the whole nation) be overwhelmed with terror, shame, and suffering. The words, "all knees flow with water" (for hâlak in this sense, compare Joel 4:18), are a hyperbolical expression used to denote the entire loss of the strength of the knees (here, Ezekiel 7:17 and Ezekiel 21:12), like the heart melting and turning to water in Joshua 7:5. With this utter despair there are associated grief and horror at the calamity that has fallen upon them, and shame and pain at the thought of the sins that have plunged them into such distress. For כּסּתה פלּצוּת, compare Psalm 55:6; for אל־כּל־פנים בּוּשׁה, Micah 7:10; Jeremiah 51:51; and for קרחה 'בּכל־ראשׁ, Isaiah 15:2; Amos 8:10. On the custom of shaving the head bald on account of great suffering or deep sorrow, see the comm. on Micah 1:16.

In this state of anguish they will throw all their treasures away as sinful trash (Ezekiel 7:19.). By the silver and gold which they will throw away (Ezekiel 7:19), we are not to understand idolatrous images particularly - these are first spoken of in Ezekiel 7:20 - but the treasures of precious metals on which they had hitherto set their hearts. They will not merely throw these away as worthless, but look upon them as niddâh, filth, an object of disgust, inasmuch as they have been the servants of their evil lust. The next clause, "silver and gold cannot rescue them," are a reminiscence from Zephaniah 1:18. But Ezekiel gives greater force to the thought by adding, "they will not appease their hunger therewith," - that is to say, they will not be able to protect their lives thereby, either from the sword of the enemy (see the comm. on Zephaniah 1:18) or from death by starvation, because there will be no more food to purchase within the besieged city. The clause 'כּי assigns the reason for that which forms the leading thought of the verse, namely, the throwing away of the silver and gold as filth; מכשׁול עונם, a stumbling-block through which one falls into guilt and punishment; צבי עדיו, the beauty of his ornament, i.e., his beautiful ornament. The allusion is to the silver and gold; and the singular suffix is to be explained from the fact that the prophet fixed his mind upon the people as a whole, and used the singular in a general and indefinite sense. The words are written absolutely at the commencement of the sentence; hence the suffix attached to שׂמהוּ, Jerome has given the true meaning of the words: "what I((God) gave for an ornament of the possessors and for their wealth, they turned into pride." And not merely to ostentatious show (in the manner depicted in Isaiah 3:16.), but to abominable images, i.e., idols, did they apply the costly gifts of God (cf. Hosea 8:4; Hosea 13:2). עשׂה, to make of (gold and silver); ב denoting the material with which one works and of which anything is made (as in Exodus 31:4; Exodus 38:8). God punishes this abuse by making it (gold and silver) into niddâh to them, i.e., according to v. 19, by placing them in such circumstances that they cast it away as filth, and (v. 21) by giving it as booty to the foe. The enemy is described as "the wicked of the earth" (cf. Psalm 75:9), i.e., godless men, who not only seize upon the possession of Israel, but in the most wicked manner lay hands upon all that is holy, and defile it. The Chetib חלּלוּה is to be retained, notwithstanding the fact that it was preceded by a masculine suffix. What is threatened will take place, because the Lord will turn away His face from His people (מהם, from the Israelites), i.e., will withdraw His gracious protection from them, so that the enemy will be able to defile His treasure. Tsâphuun, that which is hidden, the treasure (Job 20:26; Obadiah 1:6). Tsephuunii is generally supposed to refer to the temple, or the Most Holy Place in the temple. Jerome renders it arcanum meum, and gives this explanation: "signifying the Holy of Holies, which no one except the priests and the high priest dared to enter." This interpretation was so commonly adopted by the Fathers, that even Theodoret explains the rendering given in the Septuagint, τὴν ἐπισκοπήν μου, as signifying the Most Holy Place in the temple. On the other hand, the Chaldee has ארעא בּית שׁכינתי, "the land of the house of my majesty;" and Calvin understands it as signifying "the land which was safe under His (i.e., God's) protection." But it is difficult to reconcile either explanation with the use of the word tsâphuun. The verb tsâphan signifies to hide, shelter, lay up in safety. These meanings do not befit either the Holy of Holies in the temple or the land of Israel. It is true that the Holy of Holies was unapproachable by the laity, and even by the ordinary priests, but it was not a secret, a hidden place; and still less was this the case with the land of Canaan.We therefore adhere to the meaning, which is so thoroughly sustained by Job 20:26 and Obadiah 1:6 - namely, "treasure," by which, no doubt, the temple-treasure is primarily intended. This rendering suits the context, as only treasures have been referred to before; and it may be made to harmonize with בּאוּ בהּ which follows. בּוא ב signifies not merely intrare in locum, but also venire in (e.g., 2 Kings 6:23; possibly Ezekiel 30:4), and may therefore be very properly rendered, "to get possession of," since it is only possible to obtain possession of a treasure by penetrating into the place where it is laid up or concealed. There is nothing at variance with this in the word חלּל, profanare, since it has already occurred in Ezekiel 7:21 in connection with the defiling of treasures and jewels. Moreover, as Calvin has correctly observed, the word is employed here to denote "an indiscriminate abuse, when, instead of considering to what purpose things have been entrusted to us, we squander them rashly and without selection, in contempt and even in scorn."

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