Ezekiel 9:8
And it came to pass, while they were slaying them, and I was left, that I fell on my face, and cried, and said, Ah Lord GOD! will you destroy all the residue of Israel in your pouring out of your fury on Jerusalem?
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(8) I was left.—The words imply left alone. The prophet had just before seen the courts of the sanctuary thronged with idolaters in the full glory of their heaven-defying sin. Now it is a city of the dead, and he is left standing alone in the midst of the dead. He falls upon his face in consternation, and pleads that “the residue of Israel” may not be utterly destroyed. The sternness of the Divine answer leaves no room for hope of any mitigation of the judgment. No mention is made here of those who were to be saved; they were so few among the mass as to have no effect upon the general impression of the vision. Yet they are not forgotten; and to show that they are not, the man in linen is represented in the next verse (11) as reporting that he had executed the command given him.

Ezekiel 9:8. And while they were slaying, and I was left — Having, as it is to be supposed, the mark of preservation set upon his forehead by the protecting angel. He seems to speak as if he thought he alone was preserved amidst the common destruction, although, certainly, all those who had a mark set upon them were preserved as well as he. I fell upon my face and cried, &c. — I appeared to myself in my vision to do so, namely, to fall down in a posture of supplication, to deprecate God’s anger, (see Numbers 12:5; and Numbers 16:4; Numbers 16:22; Numbers 16:45,) and to beseech him not to make an utter end of those small remains that were left of the Jewish nation, Jerusalem being almost the only place which was not in the enemy’s power.9:5-11 The slaughter must begin at the sanctuary, that all may see and know that the Lord hates sin most in those nearest to him. He who was appointed to protect, reported the matter. Christ is faithful to the trust reposed in him. Is he commanded by his Father to secure eternal life to the chosen remnant? He says, Of all that thou hast given me, I have lost none. If others perish, and we are saved, we must ascribe the difference wholly to the mercy of our God, for we too have deserved wrath. Let us still continue to plead in behalf of others. But where the Lord shows no mercy he does no injustice; he only recompenses men's ways.Left - The prophet was left alone, all who had been around him were slain. 8. I was left—literally, "there was left I." So universal seemed the slaughter that Ezekiel thought himself the only one left [Calvin]. He was the only one left of the priests "in the sanctuary."

fell upon my face—to intercede for his countrymen (so Nu 16:22).

all the residue—a plea drawn from God's covenant promise to save the elect remnant.

And it came to pass: this is a most usual transition, and Scripture phrase.

While; there was some space of time taken up in the execution.

They were slaying; the six slaughtermen; not bodily and actually, but visionally, and in prophetic representation.

Slaying them; those about the sanctuary, and in the city.

I was left; either survived the slaughter, or left alone, now both the sealer and the slayers were gone; or alone sealed of all the priests, the rest being exposed to destruction.

I fell on my face, in most humble and earnest manner addressing to God, as one that would entreat mercy for a ruined state; and

cried, importunately prayed; and the prayer follows.

Ah! an expression of the greatest compounded affection of pity, desire, and zeal for the afflicted; and what follows is a complex of arguments for pity and sparing mercy; from God himself, from his peculiar hand in this, from his people, the remnant of them, and from the sad and mournful state Jerusalem was already in. Must all Israel drink thus of the cup of thine indignation?

The residue of Israel; so called, because many were already in captivity with Jeconiah, and had been so about six or seven years; or else in respect to the electing love of God, who ever reserved a remnant to himself. And it came to pass, while they were slaying them,.... That were in the city:

and I was left; in the temple; and the only one that was left there, the rest were slain; for there were none marked in the temple, only in the city, Ezekiel 9:4;

that I fell upon my face; as a supplicant, with great humility:

and cried, and said; being greatly distressed with this awful providence:

ah, Lord God! wilt thou destroy all the residue of Israel; the ten tribes had been carried captive before; there only remained the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, and these were now threatened with an utter destruction:

in thy pouring out of thy fury upon Jerusalem? shown in the destruction of men, both in the city and temple, by famine, pestilence, and sword.

And it came to pass, while they were slaying them, and I was left, that I fell upon my face, and cried, and said, {i} Ah Lord GOD! wilt thou destroy the whole remnant of Israel in thy pouring out of thy fury upon Jerusalem?

(i) This declares that the servants of God have a compassion when they see his judgments executed.

Ezekiel 9:8-10. Intercession of the Prophet

and I was left] The executioners passed out of the inner court, leaving only dead behind them, and the prophet was left alone (Isaiah 49:21. The anomalous form is to be read impf.). The terrible outbreak of the Divine wrath seemed to forebode the extinction of all the remnant of Israel, and the prophet fell on his face, appealing to the Lord on their behalf. The “residue” suggests the many calamities that had already befallen the people, wearing them down to only a few men (Isaiah 41:14, comp. the prophet’s own figure of the half-burnt brand, ch. 15), and the threat of a fire going out upon all the house of Israel seemed about to be realized (ch. Ezekiel 5:4). The prophet passes from one state of feeling to another. Sometimes he is in sympathy with the divine resentment, and is himself full of fury against the sinful people (ch. Ezekiel 3:14), and of a scorn that rejoices at their coming chastisements (ch. Ezekiel 6:11), but when the judgments of God are abroad before his eyes he is appalled at their severity, and his pity for men overcomes his religious zeal (ch. Ezekiel 11:13).Verse 8. - I fell upon my face, etc. The ministers of vengeance and the prophet were left in the courts of the temple alone. His human, national sympathies led him, as they led Moses (Numbers 11:2; Numbers 14:19) and St. Paul (Romans 9:1-3) to undertake the work of intercession. With the words which had been the keynote of Isaiah's prophecies, probably present to his thoughts (Isaiah 37:32, et al.), he asks whether Jehovah will indeed destroy all that remnant of Israel (comp. Ezekiel 11:13) who might be as the germ of hope for the future. Third Abomination: Worship of Thammuz

Ezekiel 8:13. And He said to me, Thou shalt yet again see still greater abominations which they do. Ezekiel 8:14. And He brought me to the entrance of the gate of the house of Jehovah, which is towards the north, and behold there sat the women, weeping for Thammuz. Ezekiel 8:15. And He said to me, Dost thou see it, O son of man? Thou shalt yet again see still greater abominations than these. - The prophet is taken from the entrance into the court to the entrance of the gate of the temple, to see the women sitting there weeping for Thammuz. The article in הנּשׁים is used generically. Whilst the men of the nation, represented by the seventy elders, were secretly carrying on their idolatrous worship, the women were sitting at the temple gate, and indulging in public lamentation for Thammuz. Under the weeping for Thammuz, Jerome (with Melito of Sardis and all the Greek Fathers) has correctly recognised the worship of Adonis. "תּמּוּז, Θαμμούζ or Θαμμούς," says Jerome, "whom we have interpreted as Adonis, is called Thamuz both in Hebrew and Syriac; and because, according to the heathen legend, this lover of Venus and most beautiful youth is said to have been slain in the month of June and then restored to life again, they call this month of June by the same name, and keep an annual festival in his honour, at which he is lamented by women as though he were dead, and then afterwards celebrated in songs as having come to life again." This view has not been shaken even by the objections raised by Chwolson in his Ssaabins (II. 27. 202ff.), his relics of early Babylonian literature (p. 101), and his Tammuz and human-worship among the ancient Babylonians. For the myth of Thammuz, mentioned in the Nabataean writings as a man who was put to death by the king of Babylon, whom he had commanded to introduce the worship of the seven planets and the twelve signs of the zodiac, and who was exalted to a god after his death, and honoured with a mourning festival, is nothing more than a refined interpretation of the very ancient nature-worship which spread over the whole of Hither Asia, and in which the power of the sun over the vegetation of the year was celebrated. The etymology of the word Tammuz is doubtful. It is probably a contraction of תּמזוּז, from מזז equals מסס, so that it denotes the decay of the force of nature, and corresponds to the Greek ἀφανισμὸς ̓Αδώνιδος (see Hvernick in loc.).

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