Then he said unto me, hast thou seen [this], O son of man?
&c.] Took notice of and considered this piece of idolatry, worshipping the sun toward the east: is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the
abominations which they commit here?
could these things, which are such dreadful abominations, committed here in the temple, be reckoned light things by them, as surely they cannot? yet these are not all that they have done: for they have filled the land with violence;
with rapine and oppression; doing injury to the poor and needy, the widow and the fatherless, in all places: and have returned to provoke me to anger;
by other instances of idolatry: and, lo, they put the branch to their nose;
a laurel, or olive, or vine branch, which idolaters carried in their hands, and put to their nose, in honour of the idol they worshipped; in like manner as they kissed their hand at the sight of the sun, ( Job 31:26 Job 31:27 ) ; and which the Jews did in imitation of the Heathen. This is one of the eighteen places in which there is "tikkun sopherim", or a "correction of the scribes"; who, instead of "my nose", direct to read "their nose"; hence the words are differently interpreted by the Jewish commentators; who, by (hrwmz) , rendered "branch", think an ill smell is meant; arising either from their posteriors, their back being towards the temple; or from the incense which they offered up to their idols; so Kimchi and Menachem in Jarchi; agreeably to which Fortunatus Scacchus F11 understands this, not of any branch used by idolaters, which they put to the nose of their idol, or their own, for the honour of that; but of the censer which the Israelites used, contrary to the command of God, and which they put to their nose to enjoy a forbidden smell; see ( Ezekiel 16:18 ) ( 23:41 ) ; but Gussetius F12 gives another sense of the words, rendering them, "they send forth a branch to their anger"; the Israelites are compared to a vine, as in ( Isaiah 5:1 ) ; sending forth bad branches, idolatrous actions, as here in this chapter; and to these bad branches they sent forth or added another, even anger against God, the prophets, true believers, and right worshippers of God; and therefore he also would deal in fury and wrath, as in ( Ezekiel 8:18 ) ; so Dr. Lightfoot F13 renders it,
``"they send the branch to my wrath", or "to their own wrath"; that is, to what they have deserved; as if it was said, in the same manner that anyone puts wood to the fire, the branch of the wild vine, that it may the more quickly be burnt; so do these put the branch to my wrath, that it may burn the more fiercely; hence it follows, "therefore will I also deal in fury"''The Targum is,
``and, lo, they bring shame (or confusion) to their faces;''what they do turns to their own ruin and destruction; as follows:
F11 Sacror. Eleaochr. Myrothec. l. 2. p. 536.
F12 Ebr. Comment. p. 231.
F13 Heb. & Talmud. Exercitat. in Johan. xv. 6.