Lange Commentary on the Holy Scriptures
1, 2And the word of Jehovah came unto me, saying, And thou, son of man, thus saith the Lord Jehovah: An end to the soil of Israel! the end comes 3upon the four corners [borders] of the land. Now [comes] the end upon thee, and I send Mine anger into thee, and judge thee as thy ways [are], and give upon thee all thine abominations. 4And Mine eye will not restrain itself from [have pity upon] thee, neither will I spare; for [but] thy ways will I give upon thee, and thine abominations shall be in thy midst; and ye know that I am Jehovah. 5Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, An evil, one evil, behold it cometh. 6An end cometh, there cometh the end; it awaketh for thee, behold, it 7cometh. The turn (?) cometh to thee, O inhabitant of the land; the time cometh; the day is near, tumult and not joyous shouting upon the mountains. 8Now will I shortly pour out My fury upon thee, and I accomplish Mine anger upon [in] thee, and judge thee as thy ways [are], and give upon thee all thine abominations. 9And Mine eye will not forbear, and I will not spare; as thy ways [are] will I give upon thee, and thine abominations shall be in thy midst; 10and ye know that it is I, Jehovah, that smiteth. Behold, the day, behold, it 11cometh: the turn (?) springeth up; the rod sprouts; pride blossoms. The violence riseth up into the rod of wickedness; not of them, nor of their multitude, nor of their pomp; neither is there anything glorious upon 12[in, among] them. The time comes, the day arrives; let not the buyer rejoice, nor the seller mourn; for heat [of anger] cometh upon the whole multitude thereof. 13For the seller shall not return to what is sold, even were their life still among the living; for the vision is upon [against] the whole multitude thereof; he shall not return, nor shall they—in his iniquity is 14every one’s life—show themselves strong. They blow the horn, and make all ready, and there is none who goeth to the battle; for My heat of anger is 15upon [against] their whole multitude. The sword without, and the pestilence and famine within! He that is in the field shall die by the sword; and he 16that is in the city, famine and pestilence shall devour him. And if their escaped ones escape, they are upon the mountains like doves of the valleys, all of them cooing, each one in his iniquity. 17All hands shall be slack, and all 18knees shall dissolve into water. And they gird sackcloth about them, and horror covers them; and upon all faces is shame, and baldness on all their 19heads. Their silver shall they cast upon the streets, and their gold shall be to them for repudiation. Their silver and their gold shall not be able to deliver them on the day of the outpouring of the wrath of Jehovah: they shall not satisfy their soul, neither fill their bowels; for it was a stumbling-block 20of their iniquity. And the ornament of his decoration—for pride they placed it, and images of their abominations, of their [their accus.] detestable 21things, they made of it: therefore I give it to them for repudiation. And I give it into the hands of the strangers for a prey, and to the wicked of 22the earth for a spoil; and they profane her. And I turn away My face from them, and they profane My secret; and violent ones come into her, and profane 23her. Make the chain; for the land is full of blood-guiltiness, and the 24city is full of outrage. And I bring wicked ones of the [heathen] nations, and they take possession of their houses: and I make the pride of the strong to 25cease; and their holy places are profaned. Destruction cometh [came]; and 26they seek salvation [peace], and there is none. Destruction upon destruction shall come, and rumour shall be upon rumour; and they seek a vision from the prophet; and the law [instruction] shall perish from the priest, and counsel from the elders. 27The king shall mourn, and the prince shall put on blank amazement, and the hands of the people in the land shall be slack: according to their way will I do unto them, and according to their deserts will I judge them; and they know that I am Jehovah.
Ezekiel 7:2. Sept.: ... ταδε λεγει... τη γη τ. Ἱσρ. τερας ἡκει, το περας ἡκει ἐπι—(Anoth. read.: קץ בא בא הקץ.)
Ezekiel 7:3. ... τ. κερας νυν, το περας προς σε.
Ezekiel 7:4. Anoth. read.: כדרכיך.
Ezekiel 7:5. Anoth. read.: אחר.
Ezekiel 7:7. ... ἡ πλοκη … οὐ μετα θορυβων οὐδε μεπ̓ ὠδιγωγ—contritio super te … prope est dies occisionis, et non gloriæ montium. (Anoth. read.: אליך fem.)
Ezekiel 7:10. Sept.: ... ἡμερα κυριου, ἰδου τ. περας ἡκει—
Ezekiel 7:11. Κ. συνριψει στηριγμα ἀνομου, κ. οὐ μετα θορυβων οὐδε μετα σπουδης. Κ. οὐκ ἐξ αὐτων εἰσιν, οὐδε ὡραισμος ἰν αὐτοις. (Anoth. read.: ולא נח. Vulg.: et non erit requies in eis.)
Ezekiel 7:13.... ὁ κτωμενος προς τον. πωλουντα... ὀτι ὁρασις... τ. πληθος αὐτης οὐκ ἀνακαμψει, κ. ἀνθρωπος ἰν ὀφθαλμω ζωης αὐτου οὐ κρατησε.
Ezekiel 7:14. ... κρινατε τα συμπαντα—(Anoth. read.: תִקעו, Sept., Arab., Vulg.)
Ezekiel 7:16. Ὡς περιστεραι μελετητικαι παντας ἀποκτενω, ἑκαστος—
Ezekiel 7:22.... εἰσελευσονται εἰς αὐτα ἀφυλακτως—
Ezekiel 7:23.... πληρης λαων—
Ezekiel 7:24. ... κ. ἀποστρεψω το φρυαγμα τ. ἰσχυος αὐτων—(Anoth. read.: עזם, Arab.)
Ezekiel 7:27. … Anoth. read.: וכמשפטיהם. Vulg.: et secundum judicia—
According to Hengst., the first cycle closes here, and, in fact, with a song (?). But the “lyric” element (EW.) is rather a rhetorical one. Neither is there any “solemn close, which corresponds with the solemn introduction,” but simply a second prophetic discourse attached to the first in Ezekiel 6. The prophet has in his eye the time of the breaking forth of the divine judgment. (Hitzig from Ezekiel 7:3 onwards works himself into the idea of two defective recensions of the original text, for which there is no valid ground. Neteler lays the Hebrew text as a basis, so far as it is confirmed by the Greek translation, in order to obtain a “piece of four parts carried through with complete symmetry.”)
Ezekiel 7:1. Comp. Ezekiel 6:1–2. ואתה, as so often, an address to the prophet in contradistinction from the people (Ezekiel 2:8, 3:25, 4:1, 5:1). The Sept. supplied אֶמֹר, A mark of exclamation is enough.—לאדמת, not “of” (HENGST.), nor, as EW. maintains against the accents: “thus saith … to the fatherland of Israel.” אדמה is the soil of a country, for which afterwards הארץ; hence the total ruin. Comp. Ezekiel 6:14. The preceding discourse is brought to a point in this, under the motto of the end.—Instead of אַרְבַּעַת the Qeri gives the more usual form אַרְבַּע.
Ezekiel 7:3. בָּךְ, so that it finds its place in thee, where it can have vent.—Ways for walk. In accordance therewith will be the judgment. Their abominations come upon their own heads.
Ezekiel 7:4. חוּס, “to restrain oneself,” hence “to spare” (Ezekiel 5:11), to have compassion.—They are to see their abominations again in their midst, in their consequences, the divine punishments. Comp. besides, Ezekiel 6:7.
Ezekiel 7:5. רעה, what is destructive, injurious, here conceived of as being so evil, that it is spoken of as one standing alone, and not as a succession of evils. (Comp. Ezekiel 5:9.) J. D. MICH.: “which makes an end at once, so that no second is necessary.”—The curt, abrupt character of the discourse portrays the sudden, violent nature of the judgment.—The Chald. read perhaps אחר.
Ezekiel 7:6. הקץ הקיץ, a play upon words. After having apparently slept so long and so soundly, the end (not Jehovah) awakes, and therefore it comes.—אֵלָיךְ, fem., because Jerusalem is in the background, as in Ezekiel 7:3 also. (“The repetition indicates the certainty, the greatness, and the swiftness.”—A L.)——בָּאָה (fem.) resumes the so strongly-emphasized רעה of Ezekiel 7:5, or it stands impersonally (HÄV., KEIL), or it prepares for הַצְּפִירָה in Ezekiel 7:7, which means “a crown” in Isa. 28:5, a meaning which is not suitable here. It might be allowable to translate in our verse: “the turn comes to thee,” inasmuch as צפירה from צפר may be something “arranged in a row together” with something else, where one thing follows another. But this certainly hardly suits יצאה in Ezekiel 7:10. The interpretation most in favour, viz. “destiny” (HITZ.: the goddess of fate, properly: vicissitude of fortune, catastrophe), gives a suitable although heathenish sense; we would be compelled to admit a borrowing on Ezekiel’s part from his Chaldaic surroundings, and yet the expression itself is not thereby explained. It is sought to be explained by the circle of fate, or its being shut up within itself. One might think of the return of the sin in the punishment, wherewith it finishes its course; comp. Ezekiel 7:3, 4. (צפר in Judg. 7:3 = to return circuitously.) Others hold fast by the meaning “crown,” and understand by it the kingdom of the Chaldeans, or the king of the Chaldeans. Häv., who combats this meaning, asserting that in Isa. 28. it is a plait of hair that is meant, accepts a later Aramaism, צפרא=צפירה, “the dawn,” viz. of the evil day (Joel 2:1, 2). Grot. with reference to הקיץ in Ezekiel 7:6, inasmuch as it was customary for judgment to be administered in the morning. Others in other ways. Was it intended, perhaps, to indicate something equivalent to: what is marked with the graver (צפרן), what is determined, established, as in Jer. 17:1?—אֵלֶיךָ, masc, because of what follows (Hos. 9:7).—הַיוֹם, artic: dies ille.—Tumult, perhaps alarm of war, and in contrast therewith הֵד, i.e. הֵידָד (comp. Isa. 16:9, 10; Jer. 48:33), cry of joy of the vine-dressers (?), or cry of victory, Isa. 40:9 (J. D. MICH.), or festival-pomp) of the idolaters, Ezekiel 6:3, 13 (ROSENM.). HENGST.: “joyful shout of the mountains,” because the shout of joy is heard on them and called forth by them (Ps. 89:13), in place of which will come the painful tumult of those who are seeking deliverance. Häv. takes הד for הוֹד, “brightness,” so that the dawn rises without mountain - brightness (?), without irradiating the mountains which are first to be irradiated (!).
Ezekiel 7:8. עַתָּה; comp. Ezekiel 7:3.—מקרוב, in Deut. 32:17 of place, here of time (Job 20:5). Comp. besides, Ezekiel 6:12, 7:3, 4.
Ezekiel 7:9. Comp. Ezekiel 7:4. The added expression smiteth does not announce what follows, but meets beforehand a false interpretation of the same (the sprouting rod). Ezekiel 7:10. Comp. on Ezekiel 7:7.—יצאה, because of what follows of the springing up, like a plant, from the soil of which the sinners are bragging.—The rod is for Israel, in order to punishment, in fact, the staff of the Chaldean ruler, Nebuchadnezzar’s sceptre. What a contrast to Num. 17:2, 3! To the “sprouting” of power, which can, corresponds the “blossoming” of pride, which will. (זוּד, to boil, to boil over.)
Ezekiel 7:11. Thus the violence, the violent acting which takes place, rises into the rod of wickedness, i.e. which punishes the wickedness of Israel; into the staff, sceptre, of the Chaldean, wherewith Israel’s wickedness is smitten (Isa. 10:5). Other expositors interpret ממה already in Ezekiel 7:10 of the tribe of Judah (GROT.), its royal sceptre (COCC.), and refer alike זדון there and חמם here to the complete sinful development of the kingdom (EW.), so that the rod of wickedness would be that rod wherewith wickedness smites itself. Grot, takes ל adversative; the violent Chaldean rises up against the wicked tribe of Judah. COCC.: Israel’s violent conduct (Gen. 6:11) brings upon them instead of God the sceptre of the Chaldean dominion of wickedness. It would be natural to understand the immediately following not of them, etc., in such a way that this “rod of wickedness,” “of violence,” would now be pointed out more definitely, in as far as it is not to spring forth from Israel (לא־מהם), neither from their roaring (המון, Isa. 5:13, 14, the noisy, politically-roused multitude), nor from their humming (by paronomasia, equivalent to: pomp), consequently neither of democratic nor of aristocratic origin (comp. 1 Kings 12:11). הָם or הָמֶה, plur. המים (only to be found here); מהמהם for מהמיהם, GES.: of their possessions, KEIL: the multitude of possessions. [HENGST.: “nor of them, and them (yet again),”—like הם הם in Isa. 57:6,—however much they may hold up their heads; Jewish expositors resolve it into וְלֹא מֵהֶם אֲשֶׁר מֵהֶם, and understand it of their children (so the Chaldee); Häv.: cares, anxieties, these are as useless as the multitude of the people themselves!?] The penal judgment will come from outside themselves. HENGST.: “It is a throwing contempt on the ‘we,’ which they had continually in their mouth, and repeated with great emphasis: we, we shall do everything, etc. (Jer. 30:21; Zech. 10:4).”—וְלֹא־נֹהַּ בָּהֶם, Ges. from נוּהַּ, Keil, from נָוָהּ, “to be prominent;” something glorious. [Häv.; “and there is a want of beauty in them.” (The word is found only here.)—According to the Jewish expositors, נֹהּ for נֹהֶה, from נָהָה, loud lament. HENGST.: “that wailing will be forgotten in deep despair.” (COCC. making it refer to the falling sceptre of David, they will be obliged to conceal their wailing on that account before the tyrant who conquers them!) EW.: “Nothing will remain of the wicked, neither of their proud, haughtily blustering, luxurious conduct, in prosperity as hitherto, nor of their sighing or even their discontented grumbling and murmuring in adversity.” Similarly Calvin, of the root and branch destruction of them, their multitude, their possessions.] Accordingly ולא ולא לא are understood as short sentences descriptive of the result of the stroke of Ezekiel 7:10 (KEIL), the effect of the repetition being heightened by the omission of the verb, as if they were exclamations. As for the rest, Hitz. remarks excellently: “unannounced ὡς κλἐπτης the day will come, unexpectedly, and so much greater the shock of surprise.”
After a second emphasizing in Ezekiel 7:12 of the leading thought of the proclamation—comp. Ezekiel 7:7—הגיע ,בא, proph. preterites—the buyer and the seller are given as an exemplification from the dealings of ordinary life. The former is not to rejoice in the possession which he covets; he does not come into the enjoyment of it. The latter is not to mourn over the loss of a property he would fain retain, but which has been alienated from necessity; much else is at stake: for חרון, elsewhere חרון אף, comes upon כל־הְַמוֹנהּ (the suffix agreeing with לאדמח ישראל, or referring to Jerusalem), the whole of the people is consumed. Comp. Ps. 39:6. HENGST.: the multitude which makes so much ado about nothing.—The general reason is followed in Ezekiel 7:13 by a more special one (as Hengst.), or by what is merely a specializing of כי—ּחרון־ might also stand in the sense of: but certainly, i. e. the seller is not to mourn, but certainly he shall not return to his property that is sold; hence the possible return thereto must not be a motive for him not to mourn. That is to say, the seller would have,—and therefore is this specialty introduced, in order, at the same time, to mark the national ruin,—according to Lev. 25, the prospect of the year of jubilee, the carrying out of which is thus attested here (Häv.), or at least presupposed in its idea, and therewith the return to what he had sold remained open. (Philipps. thinks of the right of the seller at any time to buy back again what was sold, either himself or through the nearest kinsman, for the selling price, Ruth 4; Jer. 32.) But although in other circumstances the man who has no possession, the vexed poor man, has a better chance of being left behind than the man who has a possession, the joyous rich man, in the case impending it will in general be otherwise, i.e. quite alike for the one and for the other. Individuals, indeed, will remain alive. ועוד־, a conditional circumstantial clause (HÄV., KEIL), so that the case is supposed, that their (viz. the sellers’) life is among the living, that they come out of it with their life. The seller, consequently, is used collectively for the individuals who as such come to be considered. The judgment applies to the persons—this is the leading thought—and not, as the expositors assert, to their possession. Hence כי־־אל־כל־המונה is repeated from Ezekiel 7:12, but instead of חרון we have by paronomasia חזון, the glowing heat seen in the prophetic vision (Ezekiel 1.). חזון might perhaps confirm the interpretation of הצפירה in Ezekiel 7:7 as what is fixed, determined. In like manner לא ישוב is resumed from the beginning of our verse, and that in the same sense, so that it is certainly not to be translated: “for the prophecy against the whole multitude shall not return” (JER.), a thought which is too little in keeping with the exceptional earnestness of the context. Rather is the statement meant to be something additional as to the persons, appended to the special exemplification of the seller. Hence ואיש equivalent to: since every one has “his life in his iniquity,” and it is therefore very questionable whether (as was parenthetically supposed above) “their life” might be “still among the living.”—לא יתחזקו: they shall not show themselves strong, manifest strength, courage; the iniquity cripples their power of life, with which what follows agrees admirably. [Other expositions: EWALD: “But certainly they may become unfortunate or the reverse for a time: he who was compelled to sell his property may not even obtain it in the year of jubilee, or, on the other hand, the divine punishment may no longer light upon the rich brawlers, yet the former remain in their lust after a life of sense in the world, without coming to repentance through adversity (Ps. 17:14), and the latter do not suffer themselves to be drawn out of their sins by prosperity; all are irresolute, cowardly people,” etc. Häv. explains the last clause also of the year of jubilee still, whose object is “to be strengthened in life” (חיתו, an accus. to be connected with the passive יתחזקו), so that one springs up into new life: there has been a restoration—a new birth. No one is to obtain a new strength of his vital powers by means of his sin; rather do those fearful Sabbatical years make their appearance, Lev. 26:34 sq. The second לא ישוב has also been understood by some in the sense that no one “turns,” although the prophecy summons all to repentance, which agrees just as little with the context. ואיש־ is interpreted on the part of some by an omission of the relative: “every one whose life is in his iniquity,” while others take the first suffix pleonastically, in this way: “they shall not any of them strengthen themselves by means of (on account of) the iniquity of his life,” so as to be able to stand against their enemies. The plural with the collective איש. HENGST.: “The seller will in no case return to the property which he has sold, so that he should be obliged to regard it with pain, for the whole land is stripped of its inhabitants; but it may also happen that he loses his life, and he has to account it good fortune if this does not take place, so that the thing sold cannot be a source of pain to him: and many a one (ואיש) will not retain his life because of his misdeed.”] The LXX. read עין instead of עון.
Ezekiel 7:14. The predicted feebleness is placed before our eyes in a picture all but ironical.—בַתָּקוֹעַ has nothing to do with Jer. 6:1 (where Tekoa is a proper name). But an infin. absol., with preposition and article, is grammatically too bold. Neither are we to translate, as Hengst. does: “they blew with a loud blast,” but (as also the Sept.) as designating the instrument wherewith the blast is made. The infin. absol.הָכּין (הָכֵין)—comp. Nah. 2:4  (a military term)—shortly for the finite verb (EW. Gram. § 351, c).—למלחמה, Hitzig acutely: to the battle, not: into the battle.—Comp. besides, Ezekiel 7:17, 12; Lev. 26:17.
Ezekiel 7:15. Comp. Ezekiel 5:12, 6:12; Lam. 1:20. Comp. also Mark 13:15, 16. Instead of acting offensively, not even on the defensive; without resistance they fall victims, partly to the sword of the enemy, which, according to Ezekiel 5:7, is the sword of God, partly to the pestilence combined with the famine.
Ezekiel 7:16. The fate of those of them who in any way escape is localized upon the mountains (אל for על, Ezekiel 6:13),—having fled thither (Ps. 11:1; Mark 13:14; Luke 21:21, 22), they shall be there like, etc., their condition being compared to that of doves of the valleys, i.e. doves which, having lost their nests, are not like wild doves at home upon the mountains, and which, when frightened by birds of prey, make known their sorrow, their painful feeling.—כלם המות, rightly KEIL: figure and reality mixed up together; in form belonging to the comparison, in reality to the things compared. The stronger expression המה, not without reference to המונה in Ezekiel 7:13, 14, and their tumult going before.—For איש בעונו, comp. Ezekiel 7:13. As is their life, if they still save it, so is their expression of that life, and, in fact (by the individualization of the all, כלם), each one gives utterance to his sorrow in his iniquity, as a sorrow that is deserved, therefore as a penal sorrow. [The LXX. read perhaps המתי. But the text is not to be changed in accordance therewith, for certainly in what follows the farther description of these fugitives is given.] Hence Ezekiel 7:17 is not to be understood of the whole people (KEIL, HENGST.); it is rather the interpretation of the melancholy cooing in Ezekiel 7:16. A picture of the repentance which is wrung from them. The hands refuse to perform their office, nay, even the knees refuse to stand and keep firm. The expression for the latter (Ezekiel 21:7) is intended to portray the complete desolation of their strength; comp. Josh. 7:5 (Isa. 13:7; Ex. 15:15). The LXX. too literally. (For חלכנה, comp. Joel 4:18.)
Ezekiel 7:18. Along with such (negative) feebleness we have (as positive elements): mourning and horror, shame and grief. As the expression of the first, the cloth of coarse hair, which they girt about themselves with a cord (Isa. 3:24). For the second, the strong expression כםתה פלצות (Ps. 55:5): if mourning is their girdle, then horror is their covering. But as shame is upon (אל for על) all faces, so baldness is on the back part of the head of all, as the result of grief, or it must be supposed the custom in mourning (Job 1:20), or that they have plucked out their hair in their pain (Ezra 9:3). Comp. besides, Jer. 48:37; Amos 8:10; and Deut. 14:1.
Ezekiel 7:19 speaks in the outset of the fugitives still, who cast from them everything that is burdensome. But what one casts away, that he also in a certain measure repudiates; hence נדה, “detestable thing,” “abomination.” The renewed mention together of the two principal means employed in sinning (silver and gold), in the next place, generalizes the circle of the persons involved, so as to embrace the people generally. Of idols of silver and gold (Isa. 2:20), however, there is no need as yet to think. It is rather treasures of that sort that are spoken of, which hinder one during a flight, which only provoke the booty-loving enemy still more, nay, which, now that the saving of life is aimed at, appear like rubbish. For that life might be purchased therewith is no longer the case, since the day of the overflowing (עבר) wrath of the Eternal (Luke 21:22) is come (comp. Isa. 13:17; Zeph. 1:18; 1 Pet. 1:18). They have, neither enjoyment (satisfaction) from it, nor even the filling of the bowels by means of it. Silver and gold are, alike for the taste and for necessaries (in a practical point of view, æsthetically and physically considered), without significance in this day of judgment; the element which comes in that case into consideration is the stumbling-block which they made of it, so that they fell into iniquity over it. In Ezekiel 3:20 we have a stumbling-block which is given. Their riches and their trust in them made them satisfied, so that they needed nothing. As a punishment, these riches do not now satisfy them, do not even fill their belly; nothing can be bought with them so that they may live.
The giving of a reason for the punishment drawn from the guilt leads to a farther description of this guilt in Ezekiel 7:20. The וְ is explanatory. Because the riches wherewith Israel was decked out, and might adorn herself like a bride, of course ἐν κυρίω, were, on the contrary, misused for self-exaltation and pride. Comp. Isa. 2.—שָׂמָהוּ; the subject is the people, or: every one, or: one;—the suffix refers to the ornament of his decoration (HÄV., KEIL: elegant ornaments), by which others understand, not the gold and silver, but the temple. Hitz. reads שָׂמֻהוּ. From the self-exaltation resulted the will-worship, the diversified self-choice in divine worship.—שקוציהם, as frequently from Deut. 29:17 onwards; omitted by the LXX.—בו, not: in the temple, but: of the silver and gold. Comp. Ex. 32; Hos. 2:10 , 8:4, 13:2.—על־כן נתתיו; the idea of retribution here explains the לְנִדָּה in Ezekiel 7:19.—But as God gives it to them as a thing to be cast away and rejected, so He gives it to their enemies in Ezekiel 7:21, who are described as in Ezekiel 7:24 (Ps. 75:8), for a prey. The victory of the wicked is God’s penal victory.—הארץ is not Babylon, but we should rather say the wicked of the earth are the Babylonians. In defence of the Kethibh וְחִלְּלוּהָ, with fem, suffix (comp. Ezekiel 7:12), where hitherto masculine, Ewald remarks: “a gradual transition from the masc. צבי to the holy city, which, strictly speaking, is meant, and even distinctly named in Ezekiel 7:23.” The Qeri is וְהִלְּלוּהוּ, which Hitzig defends. According to Häv. (LXX., VULG.), to be referred to the “elegant ornament;” according to others, to the objects of worship of gold and silver.
Ezekiel 7:22. מהם from those at Jerusalem, so that the enemy can get the mastery over it. Others: I will not look what the enemy shall do, but let them act.—From the “profanation” of what is holy an explanation is got of the preceding characteristic title of the “strangers” as the “wicked of the earth.” צָפוּן is “something hidden,” something concealed; according to Häv., of the place: the sanctuary, the holy of holies, where Jehovah dwells in sacred darkness; according to others: the holy land in general; according to Hengst, of the matter in hand: the church-treasure, which is secularized. [The LXX. read perhaps פְּקֻדָּתִי. EWALD: the treasure of My guardianship, i.e. of My country or My people.] The suffixes of בּֽהּ and הִלְּלוּהָ belong to the city, Jerusalem, which always stands in the background. Others prefer a neuter construction; KEIL: come “over it.” For violent ones, comp. Matt. 11:12 (which passage is to be understood in accordance with this).
Ezekiel 7:23. In form directed to the prophet, like the whole discourse; in substance equivalent to: pronounce the captivity to be ready. “As it were indignant at the profanation, Jehovah commands to put an end to the doings of the enemy by the deportation of those who were left behind” (Häv.). By means of the article, the putting in chains is declared to be no longer a thing to be doubted, but certain, quite fixed, just as things generally known have the article. Others collectively. “In reality the king was carried away in chains and cast into prison” (BUNS.).—The plural דמים always means blood poured out; hence משפט דמים, a trial which is held with respect to such a case, a sentence which is pronounced upon it, a punishment which is decreed for it, all of which are unsuitable for the parallel חמס. Just as unsuitable here is: the right of blood-shedding. We are therefore to understand it of the case in law, the crime, the blood-guiltiness. Comp. Deut. 19:6 (Gen. 6:11). Häv. understands it of the judgment on blood-shedding (“hence: inexorable, relentless”), while he refers חמס to the violent enemies. Of course “blood-guiltiness” gives a reason for (כי) something more than putting in chains, viz. death; but perhaps captivity is thereby meant to be indicated as the least thing that can happen to them after guilt such as theirs.
Ezekiel 7:24. “Wicked heathen”—(Ezekiel 7:21) so that they fall, besides, into bad hands of men (2 Sam. 24:14). Comp. EW. Gram. § 313, c; Hab. 1:6 sqq.—גאון, either as in Ezekiel 7:20: pride (Häv.: everything of which the mighty are wont to boast), or: ornament, decoration, glory, of the temple (Ezekiel 24:21).—They may be called strong, as well because of their real strength, when they preserved their fidelity to the Strong One who dwelt in their midst, as in accordance with their imagined strength (Lev. 26:19). EW. reads גאון עֻוָּם, “their proud splendour.”—נחלו cannot be the Piel of נחל, which would mean “to divide for a possession,” but is the Niphal of חלל.—מקדשׁיהם, according to EW. (Gramm. § 215, a) from מִקְּדָּשׁ, with vowel pushed back. Rosenm. reads: מִקְדְּשֵׁיהֶם; Häv. מִקְדָּשֵׁיהֶם. HENGST.: “those who sanctify them,” hence partic. Piel without Dagesch forte of קרש, understanding the priests now no longer able to discharge their functions, whereby the means of reconciliation are withdrawn from Israel (Lev. 16; Isa. 43:26, 27). [Others: of unworthy Levitical service, inasmuch as the Holy One of Israel is also his only true Sanctifier, Ezekiel 37:28.] “Ezekiel points to the cloud only, Jeremiah in Ezekiel 33 opens the view to the sun hidden behind it.” By their sanctuaries are understood sometimes the buildings of the temple, but, as being no longer God’s, sometimes the self-chosen ones of the Jews.
Ezekiel 7:25. קפדה only here (see GESEN. Lex.). According to Meier, not: destruction, but in accordance with the root-meaning (“to draw together”), as in the Syr., of the drawing together of the skin and hair from fright (horror). Exactly so EW., HENGST.: contraction, in contrast with the expansion which is connected with all joyful prosperity, and which is founded in the nature of the people of God, Gen. 28:14; Isa. 54:3. [Häv.: the conclusion, the close (קץ. Ezekiel 7:2, 6).] For the gender and masc. verb comp. EW. Gramm. § 173, h, 174, g. [ROS.: ה paragog.] בא, a proph. perf. (KEIL).—“Peace” is too narrow for שלום, as also attempts at peace with money-offerings with Nebuchadnezzar, of which some think. The attempts at salvation which they make in vain are specified in what follows.
Ezekiel 7:26. While the disasters are accumulating, and the rumours are multiplying (Matt. 24:6), they seek, first of all, from the prophet (the generic idea). Comp. Jer. 37:17, 38:14. [Hengst. understands it of the false prophets, and compares for the priests Zeph. 3:4; Jer. 2:8; Ezek. 22:26.] What they seek, viz. a vision, is mentioned, but it is not said that they find it. That they do not becomes clear alike from Ezekiel 7:25, and from the circumstance that instruction perishes from the priest, and counsel from the elders. Comp. Jer. 18:18 (Luke 21:25). To the threefold class in Ezekiel 7:26 we have a corresponding parallel in Ezekiel 7:27, the king—the prince of the tribe—the people in the land; and to the want of counsel corresponds the failure in action. It is a national ruin. (As to יתאבָּל, see GESEN. Gramm. § 53, Obs.) לבש, a well-known figurative mode of expression for being covered with and wrapt up in terror, just as in the case of the king it is a deep silent mourning that is meant (אבל). For וידי׳ comp,. Ezekiel 7:17 (παρειμένας χεῖρας, Heb. 12:12). Like their conduct will God’s dealing with them be, drawn from it, regulated in accordance with it. As to אותם, see EW. Gramm. § 264, b. ובמשפטיהם, HENGST.: “with judgments which correspond to their deeds,” and so EW. also and others. Better: according to what is right in reference to them. Instead of בְ there is also the reading בְ (Ezekiel 7:3). With the well-known (Ezekiel 6:14, 5:15) refrain וידעו׳, the two discourses of rebuke in Ezekiel 6 and 7 come to a close.
1. We have before us in this chapter an Old Testament pattern for the awe-inspiring Dies irœ, dies illa, the so-called “gigantic hymn” (comp. Zeph. 1:14 sqq.). What Fr. 5 Meyer says of the latter may be uttered also of this chapter of our prophet: “With the man who is so insensible that he can read it without alarm and hear it without dread, I should not like to dwell under the same roof.”
2. The contents are the same, ever the same. The drops fall without intermission on the stone, the heart of Israel. Unbelief has just the characteristic either that it believes in no punishment at all (2 Pet. 3:3 sq.), or that its frivolous mind knows beforehand that what will come will certainly not be so severe nor last so long. And therefore God does not grudge to tell us over and over again our inevitable destiny, and also to push it ever nearer to us. The enduring meaning as well as application of our chapter may be expressed in this way, that the end of those things in which they place their trust, and in which they find their satisfaction, is to be held up before the false security of the men of this world on every side. Respice finem.
3. “Sin has an active and a passive history. When the latter begins, then what was formerly an object of pleasure becomes an object of dread” (HENGST.). “On the day of judgment the abominations stand in Israel’s midst not in their alluring, seductive form, but with all the woe which comes in their train” (Häv.).
4. “God does indeed punish the sinner from moment to moment in his conscience, but, so far as outward experience is concerned, He causes him to learn the error of his way at first only in omens of the most gently threatening character, so to speak, by means of passing, dimly visible angels of warning. In this way He gives him great scope for freely bethinking himself and for returning of his own free-will, or else for completing of his own free-will his experience of the ruin which lies on his path of bondage. But in this way the divine long-suffering is revealed, which gives the sinner time for repentance. The picture of this long-suffering of God is furnished by the three years of Christ’s ministry. Then at the end of its lingering the long-suffering steps into the background behind the divine wrath” (LANGE).
5. The love of God and its ultimate aim in redemption is resisted in particular by the folly of the sinner, which pursues as its object deliverance from misery, and that the misery which at any time happens to be present, and in self-righteousness sets itself against deliverance from sin, sometimes by disputing the causal nexus of sin and misery as punishment, sometimes by the denial of sin altogether. The redeeming love of God, therefore, cannot make itself known, in opposition to man’s vain imagination, in any way more practical and concrete than, first of all, by means of the zeal of divine wrath. In view of the aim, viz. redemption, and as being divine, this zeal of wrath is not merely a thing of the O. T., but not less expressly belongs to the N. T. It is redemptive inasmuch as, through retributive visitation by means of punishment, not only does God, who has vanished from the consciousness of the self-righteous man—self-righteous although both a sinner and a debtor—reveal Himself, but man also by this means is to become free from the hurtful delusion of “envious gods,” of a “blind fate,” of an arbitrary “necessity of nature.” Judgments like that on Judah and Jerusalem are therefore, besides being divine, of a redemptive character. There is an effort after salvation in such crises, and at all events in the biblical wrath of God there is more of the wisdom of love than in the common assertion that a God who is angry is a God who does not love.
6. The tragic truth of the history of the world, and especially of the history of the kingdom of God, celebrates in those epoch-making catastrophes, which are the emblems of the last judgment, the truth of the idea of God’s zeal in wrath, of this fatal curse of sin.
7. Where God is seen angry in Holy Scripture, there we have no mere personification of divine righteousness, but the personality of the Holy and Just One revealing itself; there there can be no reference to human passion; there, in fact, we have divine compassion. The form of sinfulness is just as little an essential and necessary element in wrath as in love.
8. However anthropomorphic the Stamp it may wear, God’s wrath is no less truly a part of His nature, by means of which the absolute antagonism of His spirit and will to sin is expressed from the innermost energy of His holiness. It is not the ebullition of an impure love for unrighteousness, as is the case with the wrath of man, but it is the necessary (unless God chooses to deny Himself) reaction and opposition of His holy love for righteousness. In the operations of divine wrath, therefore, the holy will of God is revealed in its character of righteousness by means of righteous judgment, which recompenses the sinner according to his own works.
9. The continuance of a nation depends not only on the usual material conditions, but on ideal powers of life, which, when despised, show themselves to be powers of death.
Ezekiel 7:2 sqq. God’s grace has indeed no end, is an everlasting grace, but its manifestation and our consciousness of it may come to an end, which at the same time announces a perfecting in what is evil.—“What had begun in the ten tribes was completed in the tribe of Judah” (B. B.).—“What is long hidden is not remitted. The longer God delays with punishment, the heavier it is” (W.).—“The end as respects God’s long-suffering; then, in respect of the land, with which it had not yet come to the end; lastly, the completion of the punishments” (COCC.).—The end: a universal end (not only of Israel, but as of Israel, so of every man and of the whole world); a fearful end (if under the wrath of God according to our abominations); an inevitable end (however safe we seem, however thoughtlessly we think and speak).—“God has his Now (Luke 19:42), which is, of course, hid from our eyes and ruinous, if we have not regarded the Now of our merciful visitation” (STCK.).—“So also in respect of antichristianity, which has spread among the people of the New Testament, its end is fixed, when God will lay upon it all its abominations, and will pour out His vials of wrath” (B. B.).—He that is secure says: Soul, take thine ease; but God says: This night thy soul shall be required of thee (Luke 12:19, 20).—What an awakening call for every sinner! The end comes, alike of pleasure and of life.—“If the sinner will not awake, then the punishment must awake” (B. B.).
Ezekiel 7:9. “It was not strokes of fate or the like they were to perceive therein, but God’s hand and smiting” (COCC.).—Every one must know the Lord in the end, if not as one that calls, allures, blesses, then as one that smites, is angry, punishes.—“Let the sinner know that he binds for himself the rod which will smite him” (A L.).
Ezekiel 7:11. “Tyrants are God’s scourges” (O.).
Ezekiel 7:12 sq. “As for the pious an hour of help is promised, so for the transgressor an hour of destruction strikes” (STCK.).—God’s judgments sometimes remove the distinction arising from prosperity and possession, and make men alike.
Ezekiel 7:14. “What avails the trumpet, and of what use all weapons and every preparation, if the Lord departs from a people, from a city, from an army?”—“Courage is also God’s gift, as we see in the case of Gideon, Samson, David, and others.”—“Where God’s terrors are at work, there neither counsel, nor call, nor deed gives help” (STCK.).—“In vain do men blow the trumpet, if that of the Supreme Judge makes itself heard” (UMBR.).
Ezekiel 7:15. War, pestilence, famine, these three remain down even to the end, and are bound up with one another.—“The sinner would fain flee or hide himself” (STCK.).—“God can find thee everywhere” (B. B.).
Ezekiel 7:16. “Reflect that thou also must one day leave everything, and see to it that thou keep a good conscience” (STCK.).—“So, many kinds of sighs are heard in the world. But the best are the unutterable ones, wherewith God’s Spirit Himself makes intercession for believers, Rom. 8:26” (B. B.).—“Late repentance is seldom true repentance” (STCK.).
Ezekiel 7:17. “The hands and knees of believers also do indeed sometimes become weary, but they know where to strengthen them” (ST.).
Ezekiel 7:18. If the inward return is wanting, God knows well how to enforce the outward; and that even as far as to bring about the public confession of the fault, as may be seen, surely, in the case of Judas.
Ezekiel 7:19. How can one have such eager desire after what he will at another time cast from him in such cold blood?—“God is the only true and abiding treasure which is to be sought” (STCK.).—“Oh, if one were only betimes to cast it out of his heart, that it might not make him unjust, covetous, and ungodly!” (B. B.).—“Would that this were written on the doors, yea, in the hearts of all the avaricious, and the rich, and those eagerly desirous of riches, that gold and silver will not be able to save in the day of wrath, and in the hour of death, and at the day of judgment! What has been sought after with so great pains, scraped together with much injustice, guarded with the greatest care, that leaves its possessor comfortless and helpless when he most needs help, and leaves him lying on his sick-bed in his pains, and can rescue him neither from the enemy, nor from the sick-bed, nor from death, much less make him blessed” (B. B.).
Ezekiel 7:19, 20. The danger of riches: in the false estimate of them, in the abuse of them.—The final judgment on riches: how it will take place (by means of the rich themselves, and before God and men); by what means it is incurred (through pride and idolatry).—“How many would have been happy in this world, and blessed in the world to come, if they had not been rich!”
Ezekiel 7:20. What adorns is also easily soiled.—What ought to humble man for the most part makes him so much the more proud.—Self-seeking the source of all abuse of earthly blessings, as well as of the neglect and contempt of heavenly blessings.—“This is ingratitude, to misuse such gifts of God for pride, for extravagance, for mere finery, and for idolatry” (H. H.).
Ezekiel 7:21. “Our worldly possessions are not ours, but God’s, who can do with them how and what He will.”—“God employs for the carrying out of His judgments heretics and ungodly men, in order that those whom He punishes by this means may be the more pained that they had falsely boasted of the true religion” (ST.).
Ezekiel 7:22. The face of God the consecration of our life: our free upward look to it, its gracious look on us.—These are the critical turnings in the life of the individual and of whole nations, the turnings of the divine face.—The profanation by the enemy is, alas! always preceded by the profanation on the part of the friends.—God protects Himself against His friends by means of His enemies.—What a sign the profanation of Jerusalem and of the temple for all high-churchism, still so splendid and ostentatious!
Ezekiel 7:23. God makes various chains; even that of Paul had been made by Him.—“First transgression is linked to transgression; then comes the chain of the wrath of God; at last come the chains of darkness” (STCK.).
Ezekiel 7:24. Pride comes before a fall, and after the fall come the sufferings.—Woe be to us when our sanctuaries are nothing but our sanctuaries!
Ezekiel 7:25. “Men often delay so long till death comes, before they trouble themselves about their spiritual peace. Oh, how easily it may come about, that they are snatched away by death before they obtain that peace!” (ST.).—The danger of the death-bed.—In order that we may be able to seek it early, God’s salvation is there for us even before our birth.
Ezekiel 7:26, 27. “On God depends the weal and woe of states” (STCK.).—“Famine as regards the word of God is at such a time the heaviest punishment of all” (CR.).—“That is the most terrible judgment, when God does not permit the light of His word any longer to shine, and allows us to sink into the darkness of ignorance, because it is a strong comfort, even in the greatest suffering, when the Lord sheds light upon us with His word” (H. H.).—“Therefore David prays: See if I be on any wicked way, Ps. 139.” (STCK.).—In the end, out of all the ways of men, and in accordance with their own desert, God’s truth and righteousness come to light.—“This is life eternal, to know God and Jesus Christ, John 17:3” (STCK.).
Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,