Matthew Poole's Commentary
Again in the ninth year, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,By the parable of a boiling pot is showed the destruction of Jerusalem, the bloody city, Ezekiel 24:1-14. Ezekiel is forbidden to mourn for the death of his wife, Ezekiel 24:15-18, to denote that this calamity of the Jews shall be beyond all expressions of sorrow, Ezekiel 24:19-24. In that day of affliction the prophet’s mouth shall be opened to their conviction, Ezekiel 24:25-27.
In the ninth year of the captivity of Jeconiah, and those that were carried away with him; it falls in also with the year of Zedekiah’s reign, though the prophet, and the captives now in Babylon, reckon not by this, but by the former.
The tenth month; which answers to part of December and January.
The tenth day; about our 29th of December, when the winter was well over with them.
Came unto me; the prophet was now in Babylon many leagues from Jerusalem.
Son of man, write thee the name of the day, even of this same day: the king of Babylon set himself against Jerusalem this same day.Write; set it down, and in such manner, with such witness, that it may be proved. The name of the day, most punctually, set it down.
The king of Babylon; Nebuchadnezzar, who in person it is like was there at first to encourage, direct, and settle the siege, though he withdrew from it for his delights when he perceived it would be a long siege, as on Ezekiel 11:11, the issue whereof he expected at Antioch on the banks of Orontes.
Set himself against; sat down to besiege.
And utter a parable unto the rebellious house, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Set on a pot, set it on, and also pour water into it:Utter a parable; in somewhat a dark, yet apt similitude, or in an allegory, declare what they should know and consider.
Rebellious house: see Ezekiel 2:3,6. Set on a pot; set upon the fire a pot, or caldron.
Set it on; do it quickly, be sure to do it: this pot is Jerusalem.
Pour water into it; fill it with water; for as the pot full of water on the fire till the water be thoroughly heated, so shall Jerusalem be filled with the judgments of God.
Gather the pieces thereof into it, even every good piece, the thigh, and the shoulder; fill it with the choice bones.The pieces; which are to put into this pot.
Every good piece, i.e. all the chief of the inhabitants of the land, the wealthiest, who in the time of this invasion will flee from their country-houses to live in safety in Jerusalem. The most warlike, who will betake themselves to Jerusalem for its defence.
The thigh, and the shoulder; as these are the principal parts for support, motion, defence, and strength; so those citizens, soldiers, rulers, that are the strength, defence, and glory of this people, are here signified by those parts.
Fill it; fill the pot, Jerusalem, let no place be empty.
With the choice bones; with those pieces that are biggest, fattest, fullest of marrow, and which are divided according to the bones; these are the principal members of this Jewish state, king, princes, priests, magistrates, and wealthy citizens.
Take the choice of the flock, and burn also the bones under it, and make it boil well, and let them seethe the bones of it therein.Take the choice; pick out the very best in the flock, that is, the greatest, richest, most powerful for authority and interest in the nation and city.
Burn; or, heap together in order to burn, to make a fire with.
The bones; not of the pieces to be boiled, but the bones of the many innocents murdered in Jerusalem and in the land; for their blood crieth for vengeance, and their bones, scattered on the face of the earth, will both make and maintain this fire.
Make it boil well; let the fire be so great, and the pot so long over, till all within it be boiled thoroughly, till all the strength and marrow be wasted, and the very flesh drop to pieces; so shall this people be wasted by this judgment. Seethe the bones: see Ezekiel 24:4: this is doubled to assure us, however the meaner sort did, the more considerable part of the Jews should not escape. In this allegory there may lie couched an exact correspondence between the sins and punishments of this people; their sin was the slaying the best, or by oppressing them broke their bones, boiled out the marrow, sucked them dry; and now God will retaliate to these men.
Wherefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe to the bloody city, to the pot whose scum is therein, and whose scum is not gone out of it! bring it out piece by piece; let no lot fall upon it.All this allegory contains woeful and heavy tidings, misery and desolation to them that are represented by it.
The bloody city; see Ezekiel 22:2,3; Jerusalem, which is this pot.
Whose scum is therein; filthiness, her abominations, all her lewdness, are still within. her; they have not been punished, restrained, or cast out by the execution of just and good laws; but the citizens have with obstinacy, impenitence, and with impudence continued in them.
Whose scum is not gone out of it; the same thing repeated for confirming what was said.
Bring it out piece by piece; let them know it shall be a lingering destruction to them, yet a total, one piece after another, till all be consumed.
Let no lot fall upon it; lots are for saving some, and determining who they shall be; but here shall no such discrimination be made, no sparing any and slaying others by lot, who do not die shall go into captivity.
For her blood is in the midst of her; she set it upon the top of a rock; she poured it not upon the ground, to cover it with dust;Her blood, innocent blood which she hath shed,
is in the midst of her; openly and publicly, without fear, or shame, or reluctance.
Set it upon the top of a rock, where it might be long seen, cared not to hide her murders, as the next words clear it.
Poured it not upon the ground, to cover it with dust: with cruelty and inhumanity they did murder, for when the law directed that the blood of beast or fowl killed should be poured on the earth, and covered with dust, Leviticus 17:13, these butchers of innocent ones leave their blood uncovered, whether in a boasting manner, or for terror, I will not say, but this aggravates the sin.
That it might cause fury to come up to take vengeance; I have set her blood upon the top of a rock, that it should not be covered.This provoked the anger of the Lord, and raised his fury against them.
To come up, into the face of God, (after the manner of man,) as Ezekiel 38:18.
To take vengeance; to God it appertains to take vengeance, to punish such sinners according to the nature of their sin.
I have set her blood upon the top of a rock; God will openly punish, and in such manner as shall not be soon forgotten; they set it on a rock when they shed it with cruelty, God will set it on a rock when he punisheth it with severity.
That it should not be covered; that it be not forgotten, or go unpunished; nor yet punished in a corner; all this inquisition and execution shall be public in the sight of many nations.
Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe to the bloody city! I will even make the pile for fire great.Woe to the bloody city! see Ezekiel 24:6.
I will even make the pile for fire great; God’s hand shall be seen inflicting all those sore afflictions on them. Judgments are a fire, the fuel whereof is to be great; for it is a fire to consume the wicked, and God will make it sufficiently great to do this. I will bring the mighty army of the Chaldeans, which, as a pile of wood set on fire, shall burn them up.
Heap on wood, kindle the fire, consume the flesh, and spice it well, and let the bones be burned.This is God’s word, either what he will do pursuant of the 8th verse; or his word to the prophet, to typify to the people what should be done, or to the Chaldean army, to hasten what they were to do in destroying the city. Heap on wood; make full preparations.
Kindle the fire; begin the execution of judgment.
Compare the flesh: it is a fire, not gently to dress or prepare meat, but to destroy, and burn up.
Spice it well; either to take away the noisome smell, or to express the pleasing savour of this justice to God, and men whom he appointed to this work.
Let the bones be burned: in such fires the bones hold out longest, but this fire shall at last consume these also, that the destruction may be universal the greatest, strongest, and firmest of these Jews shall perish in this fiery indignation.
Then set it empty upon the coals thereof, that the brass of it may be hot, and may burn, and that the filthiness of it may be molten in it, that the scum of it may be consumed.Set it, the hieroglyphic pot, empty; the water, flesh, bones, all consumed, i.e. the citizens all wasted with sword, famine, or pestilence, the city left as an empty, overboiled pot.
Upon the coals thereof; signifying the burning of the city itself, after the emptying of its inhabitants.
That the brass of it; perhaps he alludes to the impudence of their sins, in that the city is likened to a pot of brass.
May be hot; God’s judgments would increase upon them, as heat doth in a pot set on coals.
And may burn; which is the highest degree; so should these miseries increase.
That the filthiness, type of the sinfulness, the unreformed sinfulness of the city, may be molten in it; that their wickedness may be taken away with their persons and city: they should have been purged by gentler meltings which God used; since they were not, nor would be purified, now they shall be melted to the utter destruction of them.
The scum: see Ezekiel 24:6.
She hath wearied herself with lies, and her great scum went not forth out of her: her scum shall be in the fire.She; the nation of the Jews, and the city Jerusalem.
Hath wearied; either her God, (so the French translation,) by her repeated sins, and pertinacy in them, as elsewhere, Isaiah 1:14 7:13 43:24; or wearied others, by injuries done against them; or, as we read it, herself, spent much time and taken great pains, laid out much treasure in making alliances for her security.
With lies: her allies, their promises, their forces, and their idols, on which these unhappy Jews relied, all prove a lie to the house of Judah.
Her great scum went not forth; she repented not, nor did she reform her ways.
Her scum, her unrepented sins, shall be in the fire, shall be punished in the fire that burns their city.
In thy filthiness is lewdness: because I have purged thee, and thou wast not purged, thou shalt not be purged from thy filthiness any more, till I have caused my fury to rest upon thee.In thy filthiness, in thy sinning, is lewdness; deliberate resolution grown up to obstinacy and boldness, with impudence that will not be corrected.
I have purged thee; used all sorts of proper means to purge, advice, reproof, chastisements, threats of sorer sufferings, by prophets, by the rod, sometimes gentler, sometimes rougher, 2 Chronicles 36:15 Jeremiah 18:11,12.
Thou wast not purged; wouldst not part from thy sins, and purify thy heart and ways, Jeremiah 25:3-7.
Thou shalt not be purged; all further use of means shall be forborne; I will preach no more by prophets to call thee to repentance, but to condemn thee for pot repenting; God will from henceforth refer them to his sore destroying judgments, which are his fury, and which shall cease when this sinful kingdom, destroyed, can no longer provoke God as they had done formerly.
Till I have caused my fury to rest upon thee: see Ezekiel 5:13 6:12 16:42 21:17.
I the LORD have spoken it: it shall come to pass, and I will do it; I will not go back, neither will I spare, neither will I repent; according to thy ways, and according to thy doings, shall they judge thee, saith the Lord GOD.This verse scarce hath its like I think in the book of God, so fully doth it ratify and confirm all, and prevents all their evasions.
I the Lord have spoken it: this is Ezekiel’s saying, Nay, it is the Lord that hath spoken it.
It shall come to pass. But perhaps it may not be. Yea, but it shall; for I will do it, who have spoken it.
I will not go back. But God hath relaxed, as in Nineveh’s case. But he will not go back from this word.
Neither will I spare. But he will be merciful in the midst of judgment. Nay, but God will not spare, or mitigate his wrath.
Neither will I repent. Yet, ere all are consumed will he not, as Amos 7:3? No, he will not repent, your burnt flesh and city shall be a spiced sacrifice pleasing to his justice. Finally, as thou deservest, God will use thee. But then we shall be in his hand. Nay,
they, thy inveterate enemies, shall judge thee.
Also the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,No text from Poole on this verse.
Son of man, behold, I take away from thee the desire of thine eyes with a stroke: yet neither shalt thou mourn nor weep, neither shall thy tears run down.Behold; consider what I tell, and will do.
I take away from thee; by death I take from thee, but it is I the Lord, and I take her to myself, though from thee.
The desire of thine eyes: whether it refer to the beauty of her person or no, it certainly refers to the amiableness of her disposition, and the agreeableness of her to the prophet.
With a stroke; a sudden stroke, whether pestilence or what else is not so much as hinted at; I think it was God’s own immediate hand.
Neither shalt thou mourn; make no solemn mourning for her, though it will look only in the sight of thy people.
Nor weep; let no lamenting voice be heard from thee, cry not out in bewailing thy loss.
Neither shall thy tears run down; neither let thy eyes pay any tribute to her, forbear even tears also, at least, let them not run down; if one chance to drop, check the rest.
Forbear to cry, make no mourning for the dead, bind the tire of thine head upon thee, and put on thy shoes upon thy feet, and cover not thy lips, and eat not the bread of men.Forbear to cry; restrain and curb thy sorrows, neither sigh nor lament.
Make no mourning for the dead; when thou carriest her out to burial, make no mourning for her.
Bind the tire of thine head; adorn and trim up thy head, as thou wast used to do; go not bare-headed, as Leviticus 10:6 21:10, a mourner.
Put on thy shoes upon thy feet: in great mournings the Jews went bare-looted, 2 Samuel 15:30 Isaiah 47:2, but do not thou so, put on thy shoes.
Cover not thy lips: it was a custom among them to cover either the upper lip, or mustaches, as the leper did, Leviticus 13:45, and as Micah 3:7; and this also is forbidden the prophet.
Eat not the bread of men; either of mourners, or rather of thy neighbours and friends, who were wont to visit and feast their mourning friends, and sent in both choice and abundance of provision to their houses, Jeremiah 16:7; and this was a custom with Scythians, Grecians, Athenians, and Romans. Eat thou thine own, as if no mourning occasion in thy family.
So I spake unto the people in the morning: and at even my wife died; and I did in the morning as I was commanded.I spake unto the people; told them what God had told me, and which I expected would be.
In the morning; it is likely he had this revelation in the night, or evening before, and he tells them betimes in the morning, what God would do in taking away his wife, and what he must not do when she is dead, and to be buried. The next morning after her death he observed God’s command, and without any sign of sorrow or mourning for his great loss.
And the people said unto me, Wilt thou not tell us what these things are to us, that thou doest so?The people said; some of the ordinary sort, the people, not rulers or priests.
Tell us; explain, and declare whether there be not, and what it is that we are to learn by this. These are types, but what do they mean?
Then I answered them, The word of the LORD came unto me, saying,No text from Poole on this verse.
Speak unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will profane my sanctuary, the excellency of your strength, the desire of your eyes, and that which your soul pitieth; and your sons and your daughters whom ye have left shall fall by the sword.Now he is commissioned to declare the meaning of that he did.
Speak unto the house of Israel; to them at Babylon by word of mouth, but to them at Jerusalem by letter, or messenger.
Profane my sanctuary; cast off, and put into the hands of heathens, who will regard it no more than any other common building, though it is and hath been long my sanctuary; but you, O Jews, first profaned it with your sins, and now, in my just displeasure against you, I will suffer it to be profaned by the Chaldeans.
The excellency of your strength; so it was whilst God’s presence was there, and whilst the Jews kept it undefiled; it was their confidence, and they trusted in it, though they were fallen from God, Jeremiah 7.
The desire of your eyes; as much your desire as my wife was mine, saith the prophet, most dear to you, as she to me, but this shall be burnt.
Your sons and your daughters; the children which survive to you after these grievous calamities, and in whom you hoped for comfort and posterity, shall die by the conqueror’s sword too, Ezekiel 23:47.
And ye shall do as I have done: ye shall not cover your lips, nor eat the bread of men.Ye shall do as I have done, when you are in captivity, where you cannot, may not use your own customs and rites on these or any other occasions.
Ye shall not cover your lips: Ezekiel 24:17.
Nor eat the bread of men: see Ezekiel 24:17.
And your tires shall be upon your heads, and your shoes upon your feet: ye shall not mourn nor weep; but ye shall pine away for your iniquities, and mourn one toward another.See Ezekiel 24:16,17.
Ye shall pine away; you shall languish with grief and secret sorrow, when you shall not dare to show it openly, lest you irritate your tyrannical masters, who will expect that nothing grieve you that rejoiceth them.
For your iniquities; the punishment of your iniquities, which have made your land, city, temple, and families desolate and miserable.
And mourn one toward another; in secret, Jew with Jew, you shall bewail what you durst not openly.
Thus Ezekiel is unto you a sign: according to all that he hath done shall ye do: and when this cometh, ye shall know that I am the Lord GOD.Ezekiel is unto you a sign; in what he doth you may see what you shall do; so Ezekiel 4:3 12:6. And so was Isaiah, Isaiah 8:18.
When this cometh; when your necessities and enemies shall force you to do as I have done, make you write after this copy.
Ye shall know that I am the Lord; confess the justice, power, wisdom, and truth of God in all threatened and executed against you.
Also, thou son of man, shall it not be in the day when I take from them their strength, the joy of their glory, the desire of their eyes, and that whereupon they set their minds, their sons and their daughters,Shall it not be? the question is to be resolved affirmatively, it shall be.
In the day; in the day of the taking the city of Jerusalem.
When I take from them; though Nebuchadnezzar was the means or instrument, God did act by him, who did God’s work more than his own.
Their strength, & c.; the kingdom dissolved, the king taken, city sacked, the temple burnt, which is by the following characters described, as the only thing they valued; though those particulars may be applied to soils and daughters in the close of the verse: however, it amounts to this, In that day, wherein all their public and private joys and hopes shall be destroyed in the destruction of the kingdom and their children, one that escapeth shall bring the news to the prophet.
That he that escapeth in that day shall come unto thee, to cause thee to hear it with thine ears?He; so few escape, that the prophet seems to confine it to one.
That escapeth the common destruction when Jerusalem was sacked.
Shall come unto thee, purposely to declare how God hath made good his threats.
To cause thee to hear it; to give thee a narrative of all he had seen and observed: and this particular prediction, which I doubt not Ezekiel imparted to many who might see it fulfilled, was accomplished in the twelfth year, tenth month, and fifth day of the month, Ezekiel 33:21, with Jeremiah 52:6, after the city was taken (which happened in the eleventh year, fourth month, and ninth day of Zedekiah’s reign, and Jeconiah’s captivity) one whole year, five months, and twenty-four days.
In that day shall thy mouth be opened to him which is escaped, and thou shalt speak, and be no more dumb: and thou shalt be a sign unto them; and they shall know that I am the LORD.Shall thy mouth be opened, to speak freely to him that brings the news, and to the Jews afterward.
And thou shalt speak, and be no more dumb; from this prophecy for eighteen months during the siege he doth not prophesy of Israel, but of other nations.
Thou shalt be a sign; until the event, confirmed by eye-witness, shall convince the Jews, thou shalt by sign signify to them what is coming; and when it is come to pass according to thy word, they shall confess thou wert a true prophet sent of me, and they shall see that I am the Lord.