Matthew Poole's Commentary
Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,The final desolation of Israel, Ezekiel 7:1-15. The mournful repentance of them that escape, Ezekiel 7:16-19. The enemies are permitted to defile the sanctuary, because of the abominations practised in it, Ezekiel 7:20-22. Under the type of a chain is showed the miserable captivity of all orders of men, Ezekiel 7:23-27.
This introduceth a continuation and confirmation, with some illustration of what judgments were denounced in the former chapter.
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.Unto the land; the inhabitants who had sinned, and also to the land wherein they sinned.
An end, end of God’s patience, of the peace and welfare of the people, and of the plenty, beauty, and desirableness of the land itself, is come, or is near at hand.
The end; that dreadful end I threatened against you, and which you will find in the execution of the menaces pronounced against you by the former and latter prophets.
Upon the four corners; it is an overflowing misery, that spreads over all the land.
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.There shall be no more delays, mine anger is upon thee. It is I who send the Chaldeans, the pestilence, famine, &c.; these are commissioned by me.
Will judge, punish,
thee according to thy way, as thou deservest.
Recompense, Heb. give, unto thee as the wages of thy iniquities, or lay all the guilt and all the punishment of all thy sins upon thee.
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.Mine eye: see Ezekiel 5:11.
Thine abominations, not only the punishment and smart, but the vileness, loathsomeness, and hatefulness of thy sins, shall be,
in the midst of thee; ever before thee, and openly known to others also, or shall reach thy very heart. See Ezekiel 6:10,13.
Thus saith the Lord GOD; An evil, an only evil, behold, is come.An evil and sore affliction, one misery enough to ruin the whole, so that there will be no need of another. Or, as the Chaldee paraphrase, one evil after another; and this bespeaks the extreme sadness of their condition who suffer under this evil. Open your eyes, you will see it is at the doors and breaking in upon you.
An end is come, the end is come: it watcheth for thee; behold, it is come.Thus frequently is it repeated to show the certainty of the thing, the heaviness of the judgment, the great apprehensions they should have of it, and yet the great security they are under. God’s vengeance seems to slumber, and sinners dream it will never awake, but here the prophet assureth the sinners of Jerusalem, and its people, that God hath awakened his vengeance, which now watcheth to take the first opportunity, or rather to hasten it.
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.The morning; the word is variously rendered, and accordingly variously applied. It is, say some, of a Chaldee original, and signifies to cry out, to encompass, and to rise betimes in the morning, very fitly applicable here. With the morning star, which ushers in the light, thine enemies and thy sorrows are risen, have compassed thee about, and the cry of their shoutings, and the cry of thy distressed people, is raised; a long day of sorrows threatens thee, is upon thee, upon every one that dwelleth in the land. The day of trouble is near; as the day near to the morning, so near are thy troubles, thy great. perplexed, and tumultuous troubles, as the word implies, like that Isaiah 22:5 Zephaniah 1:14-17.
The sounding again; either it means the echo, which mountains make, and is an empty sound, makes great noise, and only startles children; the noise and report of your calamities are real, yea dreadful. Or else thus; on the mountains were your vineyards, and in vintage time your grape gatherers were wont to shout for joy, and fill the neighbourhood with their joys, but no such soundings shall you hear now. Or it may allude to the music with which their idol worship was celebrated in mountains, high places, in valleys, & C, whence the sound was heard and echoed from hill to hill. Those soundings from the mountains shall cease, it is a long day of vengeance for those sins.
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.Shortly; or from a near distance, as well as in a short time, that the flood of my wrath may bear all down before it.
Pour out my fury; my wrath shall not be poured out as water from a cloud at mighty distance, but like the breaking out of the sea on the neighbouring villages, which swallows up houses, cattle, and men without remedy. See Ezekiel 5:13, and Ezekiel 7:3.
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.See Ezekiel 5:11.
According to thy ways, worse than the ways of heathens, and thy punishments shall be worse.
That are in the midst of thee; still thou retainest the old, and addest new abominations; these to this day are in thee, not hidden, but openly.
I am the Lord that smiteth; you look only to the hand and sword of the Chaldeans, but I will not cease till you feel and acknowledge my hand smiting, that you may accept punishment, repent, and return to me.
Behold the day, behold, it is come: the morning is gone forth; the rod hath blossomed, pride hath budded.If you will open your eyes, you may see the lowering day of vengeance: see Ezekiel 7:7.
The rod hath blossomed: this and what follows may refer either,
1. To Nebuchadnezzar and his Chaldeans, the rod of God’s anger; they flourish, are strong and heavy, like to last too long in their strength to break Israel. Pride hath budded; as they flourish in strength, they exceed in pride and arrogance, which buddeth forth in the haughty designs they lay of raising themselves on the ruins of all countries.
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.Violence; with fierceness, which is their natural temper, a bitter and hasty nation, Habakkuk 1:6; with eagerness and impetuous vigour executing, and with injustice and violence oppressing all.
Is risen up; is grown up to be, though a rod to punish bad men, yet to be worse than those it punisheth; in brief, you may expect the very worst from the power, pride, and violence of those I am now letting in upon you. Or,
2. It may refer to Israel; thus your tribe (or rod, the same word) blossometh, but it is in sin, and that in pride and violence, so grown that it is a most wicked rod of injustice and oppression to your neighbours, brethren, servants, &c., as Jeremiah, Moses, and other prophets as well as Ezekiel complained; and now, your sins thus ripe, your sorrows must be very near, as it is not many months between the budding of the tree, and the ripening and gathering of the fruit.
None of them: this also is fairly applicable to both Chaldeans and Jews; the Jews should be utterly wasted first for their sins, which God will punish by this violent, proud, mighty enemy, and afterwards he will destroy root and branch of that mighty oppressor; and so sad shall the sufferings of both be, that the living shall not bewail their dead friends, because they shall judge the dead in better case than the living. And though the words may have this double aspect, yet I take them to refer principally and first to the Jews, and their near approaching sorrows.
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.The time is come: see Ezekiel 7:2,3,6,7. Though the buyer honestly possess what his money purchased, yet let him not hug himself in the thought of his riches.
Nor the seller mourn: men usually part with their estates grieving that they must transmit their right to others, but let sellers now think how little a while they could have kept them, and how little time they shall keep them who have bought them. Wrath; such wrath from God, an offended Judge, and from insolent enemies, that buyer and seller shall find their state much alike.
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.He that now selleth is of that age that can scarce promise himself to live till the seventy years’ captivity expire.
Shall not return; either out of captivity, or at the year of jubilee; he shall never with grief behold another in possession of that he was forced to sell. Nor doth this contradict Jeremiah, who promiseth a return, for he foretelleth the return to children and posterity, Ezekiel denies the present generation shall return; Jeremiah speaks of a return to the land of Canaan, Ezekiel denieth a return to ancient particular rights, estates, and possessions.
Although they were yet alive; for if any should survive the captivity, yet the conqueror wasting and destroying all would confound all distinct titles and ancient boundaries.
The evils foreseen and threatened are designed against all the multitude of Israel, whose sin and impenitence have involved them in these judgments and miseries, as I am assured by vision, which cannot fail of accomplishment, which shall not return vain and not performed. Nor shall any one man of them all be able to fortify himself and secure his state against these threats by his obstinacy and sin, or by any sinful contrivances.
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.The house of Israel have published their resolution for war, and summoned in all fit for arms, if the words be read as here. Or if in the imperative mood, Blow ye, &c., they are a smart irony against the preparations the Jews can possibly make for repelling the enemy, and defending their city.
To make all ready; persons fit for the war and all warlike provisions, a thing necessary in case of invasions, but in their case a vain attempt. There is not a man going to the war, (as the Hebrew,) all are backward in this danger.
My wrath; that displeasure which takes away their prudence and courage, that these men of might sleep, and none finds his hands or weapons, Isaiah 29:14.
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.Without; in the countries.
Within; in the besieged city.
With the sword of the Chaldean soldier. Shall devour him; shall eat him up; you, O Jews! shall be food for unsatiable pestilence and famine. Heavy tidings to sinful Jerusalem!
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.As we read the words they are a prediction, some shall escape, and a promise of some mercy in the escape. But if we read them as we may, And
flee ye that are escaped of them, in the imperative, they are a command to, or direction for, such as would escape, like that Jeremiah 21:9.
On the mountains; wandering out of their proper place, and uneasy, like doves that are frighted out of their nests, and fly among the wilder sort of doves, which give them trouble and danger, such will be the state of escaped ones among savage idolaters.
Mourning; bemoaning themselves, and making a mournful noise, Nahum 2:7.
For his iniquity; either for the punishment of their iniquity, so the worst of those that escape; or for their iniquity, cause of their punishment, so the best among them; or for both together: the mourning, though on different motives, yet should be universal, every one weeping.
All hands shall be feeble, and all knees shall be weak as water.All hands with which they should hold the instruments of fortification, the weapons of war, the tools of working, and that should carry away their goods, that they shall not be able to work at the ramparts, nor fight in the battle, nor earn-their bread, or carry away their substance on which they might subsist. All knees, which bowed to idols, shall now fall under the punishments of idolatry, shall be neither strong to stand in battle, or to flee from the drawn sword: and this weakness was on all, as it is twice repeated.
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.It is a very general usage in the Eastern parts in deepest sorrows and distresses to put sackcloth on, and to gird it close to their bodies.
Horror; either dreadful apprehensions of growing evils, or continued shakings from impressions of what formerly they felt, according to Leviticus 26:16,36.
Cover them; be on every side, no side safety, or quiet, and confidence. Shame of disappointment, which breeds consternation; and shame of conscious guilt and unbecoming deportment, which fills the countenance as much with blushing as it fills the conscience with guilt and sin.
Baldness; either by pulling off the hair amidst their sorrows, or cutting off their hair in token of greatest mourning, Isaiah 15:2 Jeremiah 7:29 48:37 Amos 8:10.
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.They shall cast their silver; either,
1. The Jews themselves, that they be the lighter to flee, and might stop the pursuer, whom they hope silver may stop a while, and give them some space to get away; or, might occasion quarrels among soldiers of fortune, which might set them one against another till the distressed Jews could get away from them all. Or,
2. The Chaldeans, who in this day of their own rage and God’s wrath against the Jews did (as the Medes and Persians shall, Isaiah 13:17) not regard silver or gold, Proverbs 11:4. Or, 3. Because Nebuchadnezzar might possibly reserve it all to himself, having those vast thoughts of enlarging his empire by arms; which could not be done without great treasures.
Removed; carried away into Babylon, to the royal treasury; or laid aside as despised, when offered a ransom of their life; or hid by the Jews in polluted places, which perhaps the Jew might think would be securest from searching, forasmuch as the Chaldean knew their law forbade them to touch any unclean tiring.
Silver and gold shall not be able to deliver them: this is the sum of it, these treasures shall stand them in no stead. If the self-flattering Jews should think much silver and gold might ransom their life when the city is taken, the prophet removes this confidence, and tells them they should not have enough to buy bread to fill their own bellies.
It is the stumbling-block of their iniquity; this silver and gold they valued too much, coveted immeasurably, abused to pride, luxury, idolatry, and oppression; this that they stumbled at and fell into sin, this now they stumble at and fall into deepest misery and danger.
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.The beauty of his ornament; their riches, the ornament of a nation, their silver, gold, &c. Or rather the temple and ark, and all that pertained to it, which was the beauty and glory of that nation, and they accounted it so.
He set it in majesty; God commanded it should be stately, beautiful, and rich; very magnificent, said Solomon, great, 2 Chronicles 2:5, and God gave the riches with which it was built, 1 Chronicles 29:11-16.
They made the images; either set up their idols which God so much abhorred in his temple, and provoked him with spiritual adulteries to his face, as if a wife should commit adultery before the eye of her husband; or, made their idols, those abominable images, those detestable things, of the silver and gold which I adorned them with.
I have set it far from them; I have parted between them; sent them from the temple, and their gold and silver from them.
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.I will give it, my temple,
into the hands, power and possession,
of the strangers, foreigners, who by direction of my law were excluded coming to it, they now shall enter into it, and take the riches of it as lawful prey.
To the wicked: this description of these men, strangers by their distance of place, and the worst of men on earth, by their proud, cruel, and fierce disposition.
Pollute it; enter, spoil, tear down, and use the temple as a vile place, and make no difference between this and other places. This I think the proper sense; some say the text speaks of the rich idols which the idolaters accounted most holy, and on which they laid out their treasure, and which now the Chaldeans should plunder and pollute.
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.My face will I turn; either from the Jews, who cry under such violence and profaneness; or, from the Chaldeans who act it, neither relieving the one nor restraining the other.
My secret place; either,
1. My enclosed land of Judea. Or,
2. My city Jerusalem. Or,
3. The temple. And,
4. The holy of holies: all which the Babylonian conquerors trampled under their conquering feet. The robbers; the soldiers, who in truth robbed the temple and here have their true style given them, are robbers that used the temple and its consecrated gifts without ally reverence or respect. They should break all open, and rush into the places which Jews, Levites, and priests might not enter.
Make a chain: for the land is full of bloody crimes, and the city is full of violence.A chain; either to signify that like criminals they should be brought in chains before God their Judge; or, as guilty and condemned, should be led away in chains; or else, as captives in chains, carried away in triumph, because murders and oppressions abounded in them, or because the
crimes which deserved death abounded among them.
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.The worst; the most violent, proud, and bloody men; such the Chaldeans showed themselves.
Possess; not only dwell in their houses, but by right of conquest account them their own, and descending to theirs after them.
The pomp; the excellency, magnificence, and glory, whatever they boasted of; either literally, the pride, or figuratively, the temple that the Jews gloried in.
Of the strong; of the Jews, who thought Jerusalem too well fortified by art and nature, and the Divine presence, it being the city of God, ever to be overthrown.
Their holy places; all that pertains to their religion, and exercise of it, persons. places, things, which now by their abuse of them are theirs, not mine, shall be polluted.
Destruction cometh; and they shall seek peace, and there shall be none.Destruction; such as an angry, provoked power makes when it cuts off all root and branch.
They shall seek peace; either by inquiring of prophets; or rather, suing to Nebuchadnezzar, whom, after so many affronts, they will attempt to pacify.
There shall be none; no such thing can be had: they should seek it elsewhere, and appease their God, who could give them peace; as for the Chaldean, he will not, because God doth not.
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.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.
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.The king, Zedekiah, shall mourn, droop and despair, and every magistrate shall despond. The hands of the people: see Ezekiel 7:17.
Shall be troubled; hang down, and melt away. I will no more forbear what they have deserved, I will repay, and they shall know my vengeance.