Mischief shall come on mischief, and rumor shall be on rumor; then shall they seek a vision of the prophet; but the law shall perish from the priest, and counsel from the ancients.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Then shall they seek a vision.—Comp. Ezekiel 20:1-3. The three chief sources of counsel, the prophets, the priests, and the elders, are all represented as applied to in vain. God had forsaken the people who had rejected Him. (Comp. Proverbs 1:28, and the story of Saul’s despair at his abandonment by God, 1Samuel 28:15.) In the following verse the trouble is described as affecting all classes alike, the king, the prince, and the people of the land, and, further, as being the fitting consequence and retribution of their own chosen way.
Here closes the first series of Ezekiel’s prophecies, extending from the beginning of the fourth to the end of the seventh chapter. They were all uttered within the period of a year and two months. Like the following series (Ezekiel 8-19), they begin with a remarkable series of symbolic acts, or rather of descriptions of such acts, and are continued by plain prophecies. Ezekiel and his fellow-captives had now been between five and six years in exile, and they still looked to Jerusalem and the Temple as their pride and the strength of their nation, and doubtless many of them hoped to be able to return there to lead again their former lives. There could be no hope of affecting a thorough and lasting reformation among the people except by utterly dashing these hopes to the ground, and showing that the people must be led to repentance through a thorough humiliation and heavy punishment. Such is the purpose of these prophecies, and it is carried out with extraordinary vigour and power of language.
The pomp of the strong - Compare Leviticus 26:19 "The strong" are those who pride themselves in imaginary strength.
Their holy places - What elsewhere is called "God's Holy place" is here "their holy places," because God disowns the profaned sanctuary. In the marginal rendering "they" must mean "the worst of the pagan."
rumour—of the advance of the foe, and of his cruelty (Mt 24:6).
seek a vision—to find some way of escape from their difficulties (Isa 26:9). So Zedekiah consulted Jeremiah (Jer 37:17; 38:14).
law shall perish—fulfilled (Eze 20:1, 3; Ps 74:9; La 2:9; compare Am 8:11); God will thus set aside the idle boast, "The law shall not perish from the priest" (Jer 18:18).
ancients—the ecclesiastical rulers of the people.Mischief upon mischief; loss upon loss, one sorrow on the neck of another.
Rumour upon rumour; dreadful news one post after another of the enemies’ threats, preparations, marches, successes, and cruelties, wounding the heart of the stoutest. In this multiplied perplexity they will inquire, it is likely, of their false prophets, hating the true, whom if they consult, they will not like their answer. Or rather, there shall be no prophet, as Psalm 74:9; no revelation from heaven for them.
But the law shall perish; Heb.
and, rather than
but. When they consult the priest, their ordinary director by the law, alas! if any remain, they are ignorant of the law, nor have they sacrifices to bring to them to offer unto God. Religious men can afford them no comfort, nor shall their senators know what to advise.
"breach upon breach shall come (o):''
and rumour shall be upon rumour; that the Chaldean army is in such a place; and then that it is in another place still nearer; and then that it is but a few miles off, and, will be here immediately: rumours of wars, as well as wars, themselves, are very distressing; see Matthew 24:6;
then shall they seek a vision of the prophet; apply to him for a prophecy, to know the event of things, whether and when they might expect a deliverance:
but the law shall perish from the priest; whose lips should keep knowledge, and from whose mouth the law, the doctrine and interpretation of it, might be expected; but now either there would be no priests at all; or such as were would be ignorant and unlearned, and incapable of instructing the people:
and counsel from the ancients; with whom it usually is; and which is of great service in a time of distress: this therefore adds greatly to the calamity, that there would be no prophet to tell them what should come to pass; no priest to instruct them; nor senator or wise man to give them counsel.Mischief shall come upon mischief, and rumour shall be upon rumour; then shall they seek a vision of the prophet; but the law shall perish from the priest, and counsel from the ancients.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)26. Mischief … upon mischief] i.e. calamity upon calamity; and “rumour” of misfortune upon rumour. Jeremiah 4:20; Isaiah 28:19.
but the law] and the law. It is implied in seeking a vision from the prophet that no vision is granted; and the law, i.e. decision or judgment, sought from the priest, ceases; neither can the elders give any counsel. The same three classes of advisers, viz. prophets, priests, and elders or wise men are spoken of Jeremiah 18:18. All sources of revelation are dumb. Cf. Lamentations 2:9, The law is no more, her prophets also find no vision from the Lord. Psalm 74:9; Micah 3:6.Verse 26. - Mischief... turnout. The combination reminds us of the "wars and rumours of wars" of Matthew 24:6. The floating uncertain reports of a time of invasion aggravate the actual misery (comp. Isaiah 37:7; Jeremiah 51:46; Obadiah 1:1). They shall seek a vision of the prophet, etc. The words paint a picture of political chaos and confusion. The people turn in their distress to the three representativtes of wisdom - the prophet as the bearer of an immediate message from Jehovah, the priest as the interpreter of his Law (Malachi 2:7), the "ancients" or "elders" as those who had learnt the lessons of experience, - and all alike in vain. (For illustrative facts, see Jeremiah 5:31; Jeremiah 6:13; Jeremiah 21:2; Jeremiah 23:21-40; Jeremiah 27:9-18; Jeremiah 28:1-9, and generally Micah 3:6; Amos 8:11; 1 Samuel 28:6; Lamentations 2:9.)
Ezekiel 7:10. Behold the day, behold, it cometh; the fate springeth up; the rod sprouteth; the pride blossometh. Ezekiel 7:11. The violence riseth up as the rod of evil: nothing of them, nothing of their multitude, nothing of their crowd, and nothing glorious upon them. Ezekiel 7:12. The time cometh, the day approacheth: let not the buyer rejoice, and let not the seller trouble himself; for wrath cometh upon the whole multitude thereof. Ezekiel 7:13. For the seller will not return to that which was sold, even though his life were still among the living: for the prophecy against its whole multitude will not turn back; and no one will strengthen himself as to his life through his iniquity. Ezekiel 7:14. They blow the trumpet and make everything ready; but no one goeth into the battle: for my wrath cometh upon all their multitude. - The rod is already prepared; nothing will be left of the ungodly. This is the leading thought of the strophe. The three clauses of Ezekiel 7:10 are synonymous; but there is a gradation in the thought. The approaching fate springs up out of the earth (יצא, applied to the springing up of plants, as in 1 Kings 5:13; Isaiah 11:1, etc.); it sprouts as a rod, and flowers as pride. Matteh, the rod as an instrument of chastisement (Isaiah 10:5). This rod is then called za equals dho4n, pride, inasmuch as God makes use of a proud and violent people, namely the Chaldeans (Habakkuk 1:6.; Jeremiah 50:31 seq.), to inflict the punishment. Sprouting and blossoming, which are generally used as figurative representations of fresh and joyous prosperity, denote here the vigorous growth of that power which is destined to inflict the punishment. Both châmâs (violence) and zâdhōn (pride) refer to the enemy who is to chastise Israel. The violence which he employs rises up into the chastening rod of "evil," i.e., of ungodly Israel. In Ezekiel 7:11 the effect of the blow is described in short, broken sentences. The emotion apparent in the frequent repetition of לא is intensified by the omission of the verb, which gives to the several clauses the character of exclamations. So far as the meaning is concerned, we have to insert יהיה in thought, and to take מן ekat o in a partitive sense: there will not be anything of them, i.e., nothing will be left of them (the Israelites, or the inhabitants of the land). מהם (of them) is explained by the nouns which follow. המון and the ἁπ. λεγ. לחולםÅ¡, plural of הם or המה, both derivatives of המה, are so combined that המון signifies the tumultuous multitude of people, המה the multitude of possessions (like המון, Isaiah 60:2; Psalm 37:16, etc.). The meaning which Hvernick assigns to hâmeh, viz., anxiety or trouble, is unsupported and inappropriate. The ἁπ λεγ. נהּ is not to be derived from נהה, to lament, as the Rabbins affirm; or interpreted, as Kimchi - who adopts this derivation - maintains, on the ground of Jeremiah 16:4., as signifying that, on account of the multitude of the dying, there will be no more lamentation for the dead. This leaves the Mappik in ה unexplained. נהּ is a derivative of a root נוהּ; in Arabic, na equals ha, elata fuit res, eminuit, magnificus fuit; hence ,נהּres magnifica. When everything disappears in such a way as this, the joy occasioned by the acquisition of property, and the sorrow caused by its loss, will also pass away (Ezekiel 7:12). The buyer will not rejoice in the property he has bought, for he will not be able to enjoy it; and the seller will not mourn that he has been obliged to part with his possession, for he would have lost it in any case.
(Note: "It is a natural thing to rejoice in the purchase of property, and to mourn over its sale. But when slavery and captivity stare you in the face, rejoicing and mourning are equally absurd." - Jerome.)
The wrath of God is kindled against their whole multitude; that is to say, the judgment falls equally upon them all. The suffix in המונהּ refers, as Jerome has correctly shown, to the "land of Israel" (admath, Yisrâeel) in Ezekiel 7:2, i.e., to the inhabitants of the land. The words, "the seller will not return to what he has sold," are to be explained from the legal regulations concerning the year of Jubilee in Leviticus 25, according to which all landed property that had been sold was to revert to its original owner (or his heir), without compensation, in the year of jubilee; so that he would then return to his mimkâr (Leviticus 25:14, Leviticus 25:27-28). Henceforth, however, this will take place no more, even if היּתם, their (the sellers') life, should be still alive (sc., at the time when the return to his property would take place, according to the regulations of the year of jubilee), because Israel will be banished from the land. The clause 'ועוד בּחיּים ה is a conditional circumstantial clause. The seller will not return (לא ישׁוּב) to his possession, because the prophecy concerning the whole multitude of the people will not return (לא), i.e., will not turn back (for this meaning of שׁוּב, compare Isaiah 45:23; Isaiah 55:11). As לא ישׁוּב corresponds to the previous לא ישׁוּב, so does חזון את־כּל המונהּ to חרון אל־כּל־המונהּ in Ezekiel 7:12. In the last clause of Ezekiel 7:13, חיּתו is not to be taken with בּעונו in the sense of "in the iniquity of his life," which makes the suffix in בּעונו superfluous, but with יתחזּקוּ, the Hithpael being construed with the accusative, "strengthen himself in his life." Whether these words also refer to the year of jubilee, as Hvernick supposes, inasmuch as the regulation that every one was to recover his property was founded upon the idea of the restitution and re-creation of the theocracy, we may leave undecided; since the thought is evidently simply this: ungodly Israel shall be deprived of its possession, because the wicked shall not obtain the strengthening of his life through his sin. This thought leads on to Ezekiel 7:14, in which we have a description of the utter inability to offer any successful resistance to the enemy employed in executing the judgment. There is some difficulty connected with the word בּתּקוע, since the infin. absolute, which the form תּקוע seems to indicate, cannot be construed with either a preposition or the article. Even if the expression ּבתּקוע תּקעוּ in Jeremiah 6:1 was floating before the mind of Ezekiel, and led to his employing the bold phrase ּבתּקוע, this would not justify the use of the infinitive absolute with a preposition and the article. תּקוע must be a substantive form, and denote not clangour, but the instrument used to sound an alarm, viz., the shōphâr (Ezekiel 33:3). הכין, an unusual form of the inf. abs. (see Joshua 7:7), used in the place of the finite tense, and signifying to equip for war, as in Nahum 2:4. הכּל, everything requisite for waging war. And no one goes into the battle, because the wrath of God turns against them (Leviticus 26:17), and smites them with despair (Deuteronomy 32:30).
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