Ezekiel 23

CHAPTER XXIII

The idolatries of Samaria and Jerusalem are represented in this

chapter by the bad practices of two common harlots, for which

God denounces severe judgments against them, 1-49.

See the sixteenth chapter, where the same metaphor is enlarged

upon as here, it being the prophets view to exude the utmost

detestation of the crime against which he inveighs.

NOTES ON CHAP. XXIII

Verse 2. Son of man, there were two women] All the Hebrews were

derived from one source, Abraham and Sarah; and, till the schism

under Rehoboam, formed but one people: but as these ten tribes and

a half separated from Judah and Benjamin, they became two distinct

people under different kings; called the kingdom of Judah, and the

kingdom of Israel. They are called here, because of their

consanguinity, two sisters. The elder, Samaria, (for there was the

seat of government for the kingdom of Israel,) was called

aholah, "a tent." The younger, Judah, was called

aholibah, "my tent is in her," because the temple of God was

in Jerusalem, the seat of the government of the kingdom of Judah.

Verse 5. And Aholah played the harlot] Without entering into

detail here, or following the figures, they both became

idolatrous, and received the impure rites of the Egyptians,

Assyrians, and Chaldeans, of which connexion the prophet speaks

here as he did in Eze 16:15 &c., which see.

In this chapter there are many of what we would call indelicate

expressions, because a parallel is run between idolatry and

prostitution, and the circumstances of the latter illustrate the

peculiarities of the former. In such cases, perhaps, the matter

alone was given to the prophet, and he was left to use his own

language, and amplify as he saw good. Ezekiel was among the Jews

what Juvenal was among the Romans,-a rough reprover of the most

abominable vices. They both spoke of things as they found them;

stripped vice naked, and scourged it publicly. The original is

still more rough than the translation; and surely there is no need

of a comment to explain imagery that is but too generally

understood. I have said enough on Eze 16:15 &c,, and to that I

must refer the reader. It is true that there are a few things here

in the shade that might be illustrated by anatomy; and it would

not be difficult to do it: but they are not necessary to

salvation, and I shall not take off the covering. They were

sufficiently understood by those for whose use they were

originally designed.

Verse 6. Clothed with blue] The purple dye was highly valued

among the ancients, and at first was only used by kings, at last

it was used among the military, particularly by officers of high

rank in the country.

Verse 14. Men pourtrayed upon the wall] See on Eze 8:10.

Verse 20. She doted upon their paramours] pillagsheyhem,

their harlots or concubines. Anciently harlot meant in our

language either the male or female prostitute.

Whose flesh is as the flesh of asses] See on Eze 16:25.

Verse 23. Pekod, and Shoa, and Koa] . These names

have been thought to designate certain people bordering on the

Chaldeans; but no geographer has ever been able to find them out.

In our old translations these names were considered

appellatives-rulers, mighty men, and tyrants. Others, following

the literal import of the words, have translated, visiting,

shouting, and retreating. Others have applied them to the habits

of the Chaldean soldiers. Pekod signifying the muster or review

of armies; Shoa, the magnificence of their uniform and arms; and

Koa, the marks or embroidery of the clothes of the captains and

generals. Grotius thought that they might be names of contiguous

nations: Pekod, the Bactrians; Shoa, a people of Armenia;

and Boa, the Medes. I have nothing to add that would satisfy

myself, or be edifying to my readers.

Verse 25. Shall take away thy nose] A punishment frequent among

the Persians and Chaldeans, as ancient authors tell. Adulteries

were punished in this way; and to this Martial refers:-

Quis tibi persuasit nares abscindere moecho?

"Who has counselled thee to cut off the adulterer's nose?"

Women were thus treated in Egypt. See Calmet.

Verse 26. They shall also strip thee] See on Eze 16:39.

Verse 32. Thou shalt drink of thy sister's cup] Thou shalt be

ruined and desolated as Samaria was.

Verse 34. Thou shalt-pluck off thine own breasts] Thou shalt

tear them; a frequent action in extreme sorrow and desolation.

Weeping, tearing the bosom, and beating the breasts.

Tunc vero rupique sinus, et pectora planxi.

OVID'S Ep. 5.

Verse 38. They have defiled my sanctuary] By placing idols

there.

Verse 40. Thou didst wash thyself, paintedst thy eyes, and

deckedst thyself with ornaments.] This is exactly the way in which

a loose female in Bengal adorns herself to receive guests. She

first bathes, then rubs black paint around her eyes, and then

covers her body with ornaments.-WARD'S Customs.

Verse 41. And satest upon a stately bed] Hast raised a stately

altar to thy idols; probably alluding to that which Ahaz ordered

to be made, after the similitude of that which he saw at Damascus.

The bed here is in allusion to the sofas on which the ancients

were accustomed to recline at their meals; or to the couches on

which they place Asiatic brides, with incense pots and sweetmeats

on a table before them.

Verse 42. And a voice of a multitude] This seems to be an

account of an idolatrous festival, where a riotous multitude was

assembled, and fellows of the baser sort, with bracelets on their

arms and chaplets on their heads, performed the religious rites.

Verse 45. And the righteous men] anashim tsaddikim.

The Chaldeans, thus called because they are appointed by God to

execute judgment on these criminals.

Verse 47. Shall stone them with stones] As they did adulteresses

under the law. See Le 20:10; De 22:22, compared with Joh 8:3.

Verse 48. Thus will I cause lewdness to cease] Idolatry; and

from that time to the present day the Jews never relapsed into

idolatry.

Verse 49. Ye shall bear the sins of your idols] The punishment

due to your adultery; your apostasy from God, and setting up

idolatry in the land.

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