And the Lord said unto him
This shows that a divine Person is meant by the glory of the God of Israel: go through the midst of the city;
that is, as it is next explained, through the midst of Jerusalem;
the city the six men had the charge over or against, ( Ezekiel 9:1 ) ; and set a mark upon the foreheads;
not the Hebrew letter (t) , as some say, because in the form of a cross, and so signifying salvation by the cross of Christ; for this letter has no such form, neither in the characters used by the Jews, nor by the Samaritans, at least in the present character; though Origen and Jerom on the place say that the letter "tau" had the form of a cross in the letters the Samaritans used in their time; and this is defended by Walton F20, who observes, that Azariah in his Hebrew alphabet gives a double figure, one like that which is in present use, and another in the form of a cross, called St. Andrew's cross, and as it appears in some shekels; and in the Vatican alphabet, which Angelus E Roccha published, the last letter has the form of a cross; as have the Ethiopic and Coptic alphabets, which, it is certain, sprung from the ancient Hebrew; and so Montfaucon says F21, in some Samaritan coins, the letter "thau" has the form of a cross; which, if Scaliger had met with, he says he would never have opposed the testimonies of Origen and Jerom; though, after all, it seems to be no other than the form of the Greek "x"; and so the Talmudists say F23 the high priest, was anointed on his forehead in the same form: some think this letter was the mark, because it is the first letter of the word (hrwt) , "the law"; as if it pointed out such who were obedient to it; or of the word (hyxt) "thou shall live". It is a Rabbinical fancy, mentioned by Kimchi F24, that Gabriel had orders to write the letter (t) in ink upon the foreheads of the righteous, and in blood upon the foreheads of the wicked; in the one it signified (hyxt) , "thou shall live", and in the other (twmt) , "thou shall die"; but, as Calvin observes, rather, if this letter could be thought to be meant, the reason of it was, because it is the last letter of the alphabet; and so may signify, that the Lord's people marked with it are the last among men, or the faith of the world; or that such who persevere to the end shall be saved: but the word signifies, not a letter, but a mark or sign; and so it is interpreted in the Septuagint version, and by the Targum, Jarchi, Kimchi, and others; and denotes the distinction the Lord had made by his grace between them and others; and now by his power and providence in the protection of them; for the, Lord knows them that are his, and will preserve them. The allusion is either to the marking of servants in their foreheads, by which they were known who they belonged to, ( Revelation 7:3 ) ; or to the sprinkling of the posts of the Israelites' houses with blood, when the firstborn of Egypt were destroyed, ( Exodus 12:22 Exodus 12:23 ) ; of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done
in the midst thereof;
the abominations were those abominable idolatries mentioned in the preceding chapter, and those dreadful immoralities hinted at in ( Ezekiel 9:9 ) ; all which were grieving and distressing to godly minds, because they were contrary to the nature and will of God; transgressions, of his righteous law; and on account of which his name was dishonoured, and his ways blasphemed and evil spoken of; for these they sighed and groaned in private, and mourned and lamented in public; bearing their testimony against them with bitter expressions of grief and sorrow, by groans, words, and tears; and such as these are taken notice of by the Lord; he comforts those that mourn in Zion, and preserves them.
F20 Supplementum de Sicl. Formis, p. 37. 3. Prolegom. 3. de lingua Hebr. sect. 36.
F21 Palaeograph. Graec. l. 2. c. 3.
F23 T. Bab. Ceritot, c. 1. fol. 5. 2.
F24 Vid. T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 55. 1.