Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Eze 7:1-27. Lamentation over the Coming Ruin of Israel; the Penitent Reformation of a Remnant; the Chain Symbolizing the Captivity.
Also, thou son of man, thus saith the Lord GOD unto the land of Israel; An end, the end is come upon the four corners of the land.
2. An end, the end—The indefinite "an" expresses the general fact of God bringing His long-suffering towards the whole of Judea to an end; "the," following, marks it as more definitely fixed (Am 8:2).
Now is the end come upon thee, and I will send mine anger upon thee, and will judge thee according to thy ways, and will recompense upon thee all thine abominations.
And mine eye shall not spare thee, neither will I have pity: but I will recompense thy ways upon thee, and thine abominations shall be in the midst of thee: and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
4. thine abominations—the punishment of thine abominations.
shall be in the midst of thee—shall be manifest to all. They and thou shall recognize the fact of thine abominations by thy punishment which shall everywhere befall thee, and that manifestly.
Thus saith the Lord GOD; An evil, an only evil, behold, is come.
5. An evil, an only evil—a peculiar calamity such as was never before; unparalleled. The abruptness of the style and the repetitions express the agitation of the prophet's mind in foreseeing these calamities.
An end is come, the end is come: it watcheth for thee; behold, it is come.
6. watcheth for thee—rather, "waketh for thee." It awakes up from its past slumber against thee (Ps 78:65, 66).
The morning is come unto thee, O thou that dwellest in the land: the time is come, the day of trouble is near, and not the sounding again of the mountains.
7. The morning—so Chaldean and Syriac versions (compare Joe 2:2). Ezekiel wishes to awaken them from their lethargy, whereby they were promising to themselves an uninterrupted night (1Th 5:5-7), as if they were never to be called to account [Calvin]. The expression, "morning," refers to the fact that this was the usual time for magistrates giving sentence against offenders (compare Eze 7:10, below; Ps 101:8; Jer 21:12). Gesenius, less probably, translates, "the order of fate"; thy turn to be punished.
not the sounding again—not an empty echo, such as is produced by the reverberation of sounds in "the mountains," but a real cry of tumult is coming [Calvin]. Perhaps it alludes to the joyous cries of the grape-gatherers at vintage on the hills [Grotius], or of the idolaters in their dances on their festivals in honor of their false gods [Tirinus]. Havernick translates, "no brightness."
Now will I shortly pour out my fury upon thee, and accomplish mine anger upon thee: and I will judge thee according to thy ways, and will recompense thee for all thine abominations.
8, 9. Repetition of Eze 7:3, 4; sadly expressive of accumulated woes by the monotonous sameness.
And mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: I will recompense thee according to thy ways and thine abominations that are in the midst of thee; and ye shall know that I am the LORD that smiteth.
Behold the day, behold, it is come: the morning is gone forth; the rod hath blossomed, pride hath budded.
10. rod … blossomed, pride … budded—The "rod" is the Chaldean Nebuchadnezzar, the instrument of God's vengeance (Isa 10:5; Jer 51:20). The rod sprouting (as the word ought to be translated), &c., implies that God does not move precipitately, but in successive steps. He as it were has planted the ministers of His vengeance, and leaves them to grow till all is ripe for executing His purpose. "Pride" refers to the insolence of the Babylonian conqueror (Jer 50:31, 32). The parallelism ("pride" answering to "rod") opposes Jerome's view, that "pride" refers to the Jews who despised God's threats; (also Calvin's, "though the rod grew in Chaldea, the root was with the Jews"). The "rod" cannot refer, as Grotius thought, to the tribe of Judah, for it evidently refers to the "smiteth" (Eze 7:9) as the instrument of smiting.
Violence is risen up into a rod of wickedness: none of them shall remain, nor of their multitude, nor of any of theirs: neither shall there be wailing for them.
11. Violence (that is, the violent foe) is risen up as a rod of (that is, to punish the Jews') wickedness (Zec 5:8).
theirs—their possessions, or all that belongs to them, whether children or goods. Grotius translates from a different Hebrew root, "their nobles," literally, "their tumultuous trains" (Margin) which usually escorted the nobles. Thus "nobles" will form a contrast to the general "multitude."
neither … wailing—(Jer 16:4-7; 25:33). Gesenius translates, "nor shall there be left any beauty among them." English Version is supported by the old Jewish interpreters. So general shall be the slaughter, none shall be left to mourn the dead.
The time is come, the day draweth near: let not the buyer rejoice, nor the seller mourn: for wrath is upon all the multitude thereof.
12. let not … buyer rejoice—because he has bought an estate at a bargain price.
nor … seller mourn—because he has had to sell his land at a sacrifice through poverty. The Chaldeans will be masters of the land, so that neither shall the buyer have any good of his purchase, nor the seller any loss; nor shall the latter (Eze 7:13) return to his inheritance at the jubilee year (see Le 25:13). Spiritually this holds good now, seeing that "the time is short"; "they that rejoice should be as though they rejoiced not, and they that buy as though they possessed not": Paul (1Co 7:30) seems to allude to Ezekiel here. Jer 32:15, 37, 43, seems to contradict Ezekiel here. But Ezekiel is speaking of the parents, and of the present; Jeremiah, of the children, and of the future. Jeremiah is addressing believers, that they should hope for a restoration; Ezekiel, the reprobate, who were excluded from hope of deliverance.
For the seller shall not return to that which is sold, although they were yet alive: for the vision is touching the whole multitude thereof, which shall not return; neither shall any strengthen himself in the iniquity of his life.
13. although they were yet alive—although they should live to the year of jubilee.
multitude thereof—namely, of the Jews.
which shall not return—answering to "the seller shall not return"; not only he, but the whole multitude, shall not return. Calvin omits "is" and "which": "the vision touching the whole multitude shall not return" void (Isa 55:11).
neither shall any strengthen himself in the iniquity of his life—No hardening of one's self in iniquity will avail against God's threat of punishment. Fairbairn translates, "no one by his iniquity shall invigorate his life"; referring to the jubilee, which was regarded as a revivification of the whole commonwealth, when, its disorders being rectified, the body politic sprang up again into renewed life. That for which God thus provided by the institution of the jubilee and which is now to cease through the nation's iniquity, let none think to bring about by his iniquity.
They have blown the trumpet, even to make all ready; but none goeth to the battle: for my wrath is upon all the multitude thereof.
14. They have blown the trumpet—rather, "Blow the trumpet," or, "Let them blow the trumpet" to collect soldiers as they will, "to make all ready" for encountering the foe, it will be of no avail; none will have the courage to go to the battle (compare Jer 6:1), [Calvin].
The sword is without, and the pestilence and the famine within: he that is in the field shall die with the sword; and he that is in the city, famine and pestilence shall devour him.
15. No security should anywhere be found (De 32:25). Fulfilled (La 1:20); also at the Roman invasion (Mt 24:16-18).
But they that escape of them shall escape, and shall be on the mountains like doves of the valleys, all of them mourning, every one for his iniquity.
16. (Eze 6:6).
like doves—which, though usually frequenting the valleys, mount up to the mountains when fearing the bird-catcher (Ps 11:1). So Israel, once dwelling in its peaceful valleys, shall flee from the foe to the mountains, which, as being the scene of its idolatries, were justly to be made the scene of its flight and shame. The plaintive note of the dove (Isa 59:11) represents the mournful repentance of Israel hereafter (Zec 12:10-12).
All hands shall be feeble, and all knees shall be weak as water.
17. shall be weak as water—literally, "shall go (as) waters"; incapable of resistance (Jos 7:5; Ps 22:14; Isa 13:7).
They shall also gird themselves with sackcloth, and horror shall cover them; and shame shall be upon all faces, and baldness upon all their heads.
18. cover them—as a garment.
baldness—a sign of mourning (Isa 3:24; Jer 48:37; Mic 1:16).
They shall cast their silver in the streets, and their gold shall be removed: their silver and their gold shall not be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the LORD: they shall not satisfy their souls, neither fill their bowels: because it is the stumblingblock of their iniquity.
19. cast … silver in … streets—just retribution; they had abused their silver and gold by converting them into idols, "the stumbling-block of their iniquity" (Eze 14:3, 4, that is, an occasion of sinning); so these silver and gold idols, so far from "being able to deliver them in the day of the Lord's wrath" (see Pr 11:4), shall, in despair, be cast by them into the streets as a prey to the foe, by whom they shall be "removed" (Grotius translates as the Margin, "shall be despised as an unclean thing"); or rather, as suits the parallelism, "shall be put away from them" by the Jews [Calvin]. "They (the silver and gold) shall not satisfy their souls," that is, their cravings of appetite and other needs.
As for the beauty of his ornament, he set it in majesty: but they made the images of their abominations and of their detestable things therein: therefore have I set it far from them.
20. beauty of his ornament—the temple of Jehovah, the especial glory of the Jews, as a bride glories in her ornaments (the very imagery used by God as to the temple, Eze 16:10, 11). Compare Eze 24:21: "My sanctuary, the excellency of your strength, the desire of your eyes."
images … therein—namely, in the temple (Eze 8:3-17).
set it far from them—God had "set" the temple (their "beauty of ornament") "for His majesty"; but they had set up "abominations therein"; therefore God, in just retribution, "set it far from them," (that is, removed them far from it, or took it away from them [Vatablus]). The Margin translates, "Made it unto them an unclean thing" (compare Margin on Eze 7:19, "removed"); what I designed for their glory they turned to their shame, therefore I will make it turn to their ignominy and ruin.
And I will give it into the hands of the strangers for a prey, and to the wicked of the earth for a spoil; and they shall pollute it.
21. strangers—barbarous and savage nations.
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.
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.
Make a chain: for the land is full of bloody crimes, and the city is full of violence.
23. chain—symbol of the captivity (compare Jer 27:2). As they enchained the land with violence, so shall they be chained themselves. It was customary to lead away captives in a row with a chain passed from the neck of one to the other. Therefore translate as the Hebrew requires, "the chain," namely, that usually employed on such occasions. Calvin explains it, that the Jews should be dragged, whether they would or no, before God's tribunal to be tried as culprits in chains. The next words favor this: "bloody crimes," rather, "judgment of bloods," that is, with blood sheddings deserving the extreme judicial penalty. Compare Jer 51:9: "Her judgment reacheth unto heaven."
Wherefore I will bring the worst of the heathen, and they shall possess their houses: I will also make the pomp of the strong to cease; and their holy places shall be defiled.
24. worst of the heathen—literally, "wicked of the nations"; the giving up of Israel to their power will convince the Jews that this is a final overthrow.
pomp of … strong—the pride wherewith men "stiff of forehead" despise the prophet.
holy places—the sacred compartments of the temple (Ps 68:35; Jer 51:51) [Calvin]. God calls it "their holy places," because they had so defiled it that He regarded it no longer as His. However, as the defilement of the temple has already been mentioned (Eze 7:20, 22), and "their sacred places" are introduced as a new subject, it seems better to understand this of the places dedicated to their idols. As they defiled God's sanctuary, He will defile their self-constituted "sacred places."
Destruction cometh; and they shall seek peace, and there shall be none.
25. peace, and … none—(1Th 5:3).
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.
26. Mischief … upon … mischief—(De 32:23; Jer 4:20). This is said because the Jews were apt to fancy, at every abatement of suffering, that their calamities were about to cease; but God will accumulate woe on woe.
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.
The king shall mourn, and the prince shall be clothed with desolation, and the hands of the people of the land shall be troubled: I will do unto them after their way, and according to their deserts will I judge them; and they shall know that I am the LORD.
27. people of the land—the general multitude, as distinguished from the "king" and the "prince." The consternation shall pervade all ranks. The king, whose duty it was to animate others and find a remedy for existing evils, shall himself be in the utmost anxiety; a mark of the desperate state of affairs.
clothed with desolation—Clothing is designed to keep off shame; but in this case shame shall be the clothing.
after their way—because of their wicked ways.
deserts—literally, "judgments," that is, what just judgment awards to them; used to imply the exact correspondence of God's judgment with the judicial penalties they had incurred: they oppressed the poor and deprived them of liberty; therefore they shall be oppressed and lose their own liberty.