And you, son of man, prophesy and say, Thus said the Lord GOD concerning the Ammonites, and concerning their reproach; even say you…
And thou, son of man, prophesy and say, Thus saith the Lord God concerning the children of Ammon, etc. The following points are presented to our notice.
I. THE CAUSE OF THIS JUDGMENT. This was threefold.
1. They had provoked the anger of the Chaldeans by joining the coalition against them. (Cf. ver. 20; Jeremiah 27:2-10.)
2. They had cast bitter reproaches upon the Jews. "Thus saith the Lord God concerning the children of Ammon, and concerning their reproach." Reproach is injury by words; and it may be inflicted directly by reviling another, or indirectly by self-aggrandizement. The Ammonites reproached the Israelites:
(1) By words. As Kitto remarks, they were particularly loud and offensive in their exultation at the downfall, first of the kingdom of Israel, and then of Judah, with the desolation of the land and the destruction of the temple" (cf. Ezekiel 25:3, 6; Zephaniah 2:8). It is probable that when Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem, the Ammonites upbraided the people of Judah that Jehovah their God had not protected them from his attack, while Moloch, which they worshipped as god, had not permitted the conquering monarch to attack their city, Rabbath. Reproach is a bitter thing, and hard to bear. David found it so, and said, "Reproach hath broken my heart." And it is a mean and cruel thing to inflict reproaches, especially upon the weak, the unfortunate, or the suffering. The Ammonites reproached the Israelites:
(2) By deeds. Rabbath, their capital city, was situated "in the country east of the Jordan, and east of the possessions of the Israelites on that side the river. David, in his war with the Ammonites, took it from them, and annexed it to the territories of the tribe of Gad On the separation of the realm into two kingdoms, this, with all the territory beyond the Jordan, went to the kingdom of Israel; and when that kingdom was dissolved by the Assyrians, or rather, probably, when the tribes beyond the Jordan were first of all led into captivity, the Ammonites quietly took possession of their ancient territories, and apparently of something more" (Kitto). This seizure of a portion of the territory of the former kingdom of Israel is sternly denounced by the prophets (cf. Jeremiah 49:1, 2; Amos 1:13-15; Zephaniah 2:8). It was a practical reproach of the vanquished people.
3. They had trusted in their diviners. "Whiles they see vanity unto thee, whiles they divine lies unto thee." The Ammonites preferred false divinations to true prophets, especially as their diviners buoyed them up with vain assurances of their safety. If men will believe a lie, the lie will prove disastrous to them.
II. THE NATURE OF THIS JUDGMENT.
1. Terrible slaughter. "A sword, a sword is drawn: for the slaughter it is furbished, to cause it to devour, that it may be as lightning." The seer beheld a sword drawn for execution, sharpened for slaughter, and glittering so as to strike terror into those against whom it was drawn. The line, "To cast thee upon the necks of them that are slain," is rendered in the 'Speaker's Commentary,' "To give thee over to the heaps of the slain," and is thus explained: "'The necks of them that are slain' is simply a poetical expression for the slain, perhaps because the corpses were headless." It seems to indicate that the slaughter of the Ammonites would be so terrible that the slain would not lie apart, but in revolting heaps. The clause, "Thy blood shall be in the midst of the land," probably also points to the dreadful extent of the slaughter.
2. Complete overthrow. "Thou shalt be no morn remembered." The ruin of the Ammonites was to be irreparable. Thus saith the Lord God to them, "I will cut thee off from the peoples, and I will cause thee to perish out of the countries" (Ezekiel 25:7). Not until long after the time of Ezekiel was this part of the judgment executed, but in due season it was completely accomplished. "From the times of the Maccabees, the Ammonites and Moabites have quite disappeared out of history" (Hengstenberg).
III. THE AUTHOR OF THIS JUDGMENT. "I will judge thee .... and I will pour out mine indignation upon thee; I will blow upon thee with the fire of my wrath, and I will deliver thee into the hand of brutish men, skilful to destroy." God himself was the Author of this judgment. The sword was his, though it was wielded by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar. By their sins the Ammonites had aroused the indignation of the Lord; and he would pour out that indignation upon them.
1. That this judgment proceeded from him was a guarantee of its irresistibleness. When he puts forth his hand to smite his obdurate foes, he breaks them as "with a rod of iron," or dashes "them in pieces like a potter's vessel." To attempt to resist him is utterly useless, vain, and ruinous. "Hast thou an arm like God's?" "He is wise in heart, and mighty in strength: who hath hardened himself against him, and prospered?"
2. That this judgment proceeded from him was a guarantee of its righteousness. "He loveth righteousness and judgment" "His work is perfect; For all his ways are judgment: A God of faithfulness and without iniquity. Just and right is he."
IV. THE INSTRUMENTS OF THIS JUDGMENT. "I will deliver thee into the hand of brutish men, skilful to destroy;" margin, "burning men." So also Hengstenberg, Schroder, "consuming men." Thus the Chaldeans are designated. They are so called because they were to prepare "the fire," or because they were filled with glowing anger. They were the unconscious instruments accomplishing the purpose of the Lord Jehovah. Thus he made the wrath of man to praise him. He can never lack fitting instruments for the execution of his designs; for he can employ whomsoever and whatsoever he will.
V. THE SCENE OF HIS JUDGMENT. "In the place where thou wast created, in the land of thy birth, will I judge thee." They were not to be carried into captivity as the people of Israel and Judah were. In their own land they were to suffer the retribution of their evil doings. The scene of their sin was to be also the scene of their punishment. The Lord can find out the wicked anywhere; and no place can hide them from his judgments when the time for their infliction arrives. "Though they dig into hell, thence shall mine hand take them," etc. (Amos 9:2, 3).
VI. THE CERTAINTY OF THIS JUDGMENT. "I the Lord have spoken it." The Ammonites deemed themselves quite safe when Nebuchadnezzar turned away from Rahbath, and went to besiege Jerusalem; and in their triumph they reproached the suffering people of Judah. But they had to learn that the postponement of their judgment was not its revocation; that their reprieve was not their pardon. Sentence against them here goes forth from Jehovah. Its fulfilment was rendered certain by both his power and his faithfulness. He is all-mighty. He "is not a man, that he should lie," etc. (Numbers 23:19). And, according to Josephus ('Ant.,' 10:9. 7), in the fifth year after the destruction of Jerusalem, Nebuchadnezzar made war against the Ammonites, and subdued them. "God's words of mercy and of judgment are alike sure." - W.J.
Parallel VersesKJV: And thou, son of man, prophesy and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD concerning the Ammonites, and concerning their reproach; even say thou, The sword, the sword is drawn: for the slaughter it is furbished, to consume because of the glittering:
WEB: You, son of man, prophesy, and say, Thus says the Lord Yahweh concerning the children of Ammon, and concerning their reproach; and say, A sword, a sword is drawn, for the slaughter it is furbished, to cause it to devour, that it may be as lightning;