Ezekiel 7

CHAPTER VII

This chapter, which also forms a distinct prophecy, foretells

the dreadful destruction of the land of Israel, or Judah, (for

after the captivity of the ten tribes these terms are often

used indiscriminately for the Jews in general,) on account of

the heinous sins of its inhabitants, 1-15;

and the great distress of the small remnant that should escape,

16-19.

The temple itself, which they had polluted with idolatry, is

devoted to destruction, 20-22;

and the prophet is directed to make a chain, as a type of that

captivity, in which both king and people should be led in bonds

to Babylon, 23-27.

The whole chapter abounds in bold and beautiful figures, flowing

in an easy and forcible language.

NOTES ON CHAP. VII

Verse 2. An end, the end is come] Instead of kets ba

hakkets, one MS. of Kennicott's, one of De Rossi's, and one

of my own, read kets ba, ba hakkets, "The end

cometh, come is the end." This reading is supported by all the

ancient Versions, and is undoubtedly genuine. The end COMETH: the

termination of the Jewish state is coming, and while I am

speaking, it is come. The destruction is at the door. The later

hand, who put the vowel points to the ancient MS. that has the

above reading, did not put the points to the flrst ba, but

struck his pen gently across it, and by a mark in the margin

intimated that it should be blotted out. All my ancient MSS. were

without the points originally; but they have been added by modern

hands, with a different ink; and they have in multitudes of

instances corrected, or rather changed, important readings, to

make them quadrate with the masora. But the original reading, in

almost every case, is discernible.

The end is come upon the four corners of the land.] This is not

a partial calamity; it shall cover and sweep the whole land. The

cup of your iniquity is full, and my forbearing is at an end. This

whole chapter is poetical.

Verse 4. Thine abominations shall be in the midst of thee] They

shall ever stare thee in the face, upbraid thee with thy

ingratitude and disobedience, and be witnesses against thee.

Verse 5. An evil, an only evil] The great, the sovereign, the

last exterminating evil, is come: the sword, the pestilence, the

famine, and the captivity. Many MSS. read achar, after. So

evil cometh after evil; one instantly succeeds another.

Verse 6. An end is come, the end is come: it watcheth for thee]

This is similar to the second verse; but there is a paronomasia,

or play upon letters and words, which is worthy of note.

kets ba, ba hakkets, hekits elayich.

katsah signifies to make an end or extremity, by

cutting off something, and yakats signifies to awake from

sleep: hence kits, the summer, as the earth and its

productions seem then to awake from the sleep of winter. The end

or final destruction is here personified; and represented as an

executioner who has arisen early from his sleep, and is waiting

for his orders to execute judgment upon these offenders. Hence it

is said-

Verse 7. The morning is come unto thee] Every note of time is

used in order to show the certainty of the thing. The morning that

the executioner has watched for is come; the time of that morning,

in which it should take place, and the day to which that time,

precise hour of that morning, belongs in which judgment shall be

executed. All, all is come.

And not the sounding again of the mountains.] The hostile troops

are advancing! Ye hear a sound, a tumultuous noise; do not suppose

that this proceeds from festivals upon the mountains; from the joy

of harvestmen, or the treaders of the wine-press. It is the noise

of those by whom ye and your country are to fall. veto

hed harim, and not the reverberation of sound, or reflected sound,

or re-echoing from the mountains. "Now will I shortly pour out,"

Eze 7:8. Here they come!

Verse 10. Behold the day] The same words are repeated, sometimes

varied, and pressed on the attention with new figures and new

circumstances, in order to alarm this infatuated people. Look at

the day! It is come!

The morning is gone forth] It will wait no longer. The rod that

is to chastise you hath blossomed; it is quite ready.

Pride hath budded.] Your insolence, obstinacy, and daring

opposition to God have brought forth their proper fruits.

Verse 11. Violence is risen, up into a rod of wickedness] The

prophet continues his metaphor: "Pride has budded."-And what has

it brought forth? Violence and iniquity. To meet these, the rod of

God cometh. There is such a vast rapidity of succession in the

ideas of the prophet that he cannot wait to find language to

clothe each. Hence we have broken sentences; and, consequently,

obscurity. Something must be supplied to get the sense, and most

critics alter words in the text. Houbigant, who rarely

acknowledges himself to be puzzled, appears here completely

nonplussed. He has given a meaning; it is this: "Violence hath

burst forth from the rod; salvation shall not proceed from them,

nor from their riches, nor from their turbulence: there shall be

no respite for them." Calmet has given no less than five

interpretations to this verse. The simple meaning seems to be,

that such and so great is their wickedness that it must be

punished; and from this punishment, neither their multitude nor

struggles shall set them free. They may strive to evade the

threatened stroke; but they shall not succeed, nor shall they have

any respite. Our Version is to be understood as saying,-None of

the people shall be left; all shall be slain, or carried into

captivity: nor shall any of theirs, their princes, priests, wives,

or children, escape. And so deserved shall their desolation

appear, that none shall lament them. This may be as good a sense

as any, and it is nearest to the letter.

Verse 12. Let not the buyer rejoice, nor the seller mourn] Such

is now the state of public affairs, that he who through want has

been obliged to sell his inheritance, need not mourn on the

account; as of this the enemy would soon have deprived him. And he

who has bought it need not rejoice in his bargain, as he shall

soon be stripped of his purchase, and either fall by the sword, or

be glad to flee for his life.

Verse 13. For the seller shall not return] In the sale of all

heritages among the Jews, it was always understood that the

heritage must return to the family on the year of jubilee, which

was every fiftieth year; but in this case the seller should not

return to possess it, as it was not likely that he should be alive

when the next jubilee should come, and if he were even to live

till that time, he could not possess it, as he would then be in

captivity. And the reason is particularly given; for the

vision-the prophetic declaration of a seventy years' captivity,

regards the whole multitude of the people; and it shall not

return, i.e., it will be found to be strictly true, without any

abatement.

Verse 14. They have blown the trumpet] Vain are all the efforts

you make to collect and arm the people, and stand on your own

defence; for all shall be dispirited, and none go to the battle.

Verse 15. The sword is without] War through all the country,

and pestilence and famine within the city, shall destroy the

whole, except a small remnant. He who endeavours to flee from the

one shall fall by the other.

Verse 16. They-shall be on the mountains like doves of the

valleys] Rather, like mourning doves haggeayoth,

chased from their dove-cotes, and separated from their mates.

Verse 17. All knees shall be weak as water.] Calmet

understands this curiously: La frayeur dont on sera saisi, fera

qu'on ne pourra retenir son urine. D'autres l'expliquent d'une

autre souillure plus honteuse. I believe him to be nearly about

right. St. Jerome is exactly the same: Pavoris magnitudine, urina

polluet genua, nec valebit profluentes aquas vesica prohibere.

This and other malretentions are often the natural effect of

extreme fear or terror.

Verse 19. They shall cast their silver in the streets] Their

riches can be of no use; as in a time of famine there is no

necessary of life to be purchased, and gold and silver cannot fill

their bowels.

It is the stumbling-block of their iniquity.] They loved riches,

and placed in the possession of them their supreme happiness. Now

they find a pound of gold not worth an ounce of bread.

Verse 20. As for the beauty of his ornament] Their beautiful

temple was their highest ornament, and God made it majestic by

his presence. But they have even taken its riches to make their

idols, which they have brought into the very courts of the Lord's

house; and therefore God hath set it-the temple, from him-given it

up to pillage. Some say it means, "They took their ornaments,

which were their pride, and made them into images to worship."

Verse 22. The robbers shall enter into it] The Chaldeans shall

not only destroy the city; but they shall enter the temple, deface

it, plunder it, and burn it to the ground.

Verse 23. Make a chain] Point out the captivity; show them that

it shall come, and show them the reason: "Because the land is full

of bloody crimes," &c.

Verse 24. The worst of the heathen] The Chaldeans; the most

cruel and idolatrous of all nations.

Verse 25. They shall seek peace] They see now that their ceasing

to pay the tribute to the king of Babylon has brought the

Chaldeans against them; and now they sue for peace in vain. He

will not hear: he is resolved on their destruction.

Verse 26. Then shall they seek a vision] Vision shall perish

from the prophet, the law from the priest, and counsel from the

ancients. Previously to great national judgments, God restrains

the influences of his Spirit. His word is not accompanied with the

usual unction; and the wise men of the land, the senators and

celebrated statesmen, devise foolish schemes; and thus, in

endeavouring to avert it, they hasten on the national ruin. How

true is the saying, Quem Deus vult perdere, prius dementat. "Those

whom God designs to destroy, he first infatuates."

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