Ezekiel 22:1-31 . GOD'S JUDGMENT ON THE SINFULNESS OF JERUSALEM.
Repetition of the charges in the twentieth chapter only that there they were stated in an historical review of the past and present; here the present sins of the nation exclusively are brought forward.
2. See Ezekiel 20:4 ; that is, "Wilt thou not judge?" &c. (compare Ezekiel 23:36 ).
the bloody city--literally, "the city of bloods"; so called on account of murders perpetrated in her, and sacrifices of children to Molech ( Ezekiel 22:3 Ezekiel 22:4 Ezekiel 22:6 Ezekiel 22:9 , Ezekiel 24:6 Ezekiel 24:9 ).
3. sheddeth blood . . . that her time may come--Instead of deriving advantage from her bloody sacrifices to idols, she only thereby brought on herself "the time" of her punishment.
against herself--( Proverbs 8:36 ).
4. thy days--the shorter period, namely, that of the siege.
thy years--the longer period of the captivity. The "days" and "years" express that she is ripe for punishment.
5. infamous--They mockingly call thee, "Thou polluted one in name (Margin), and full of confusion" [FAIRBAIRN], (referring to the tumultuous violence prevalent in it). Thus the nations "far and near" mocked her as at once sullied in character and in actual fact lawless. What a sad contrast to the Jerusalem once designated "'the holy city!"
6. Rather, "The princes . . . each according to his power, were in thee, to shed blood" (as if this was the only object of their existence). "Power," literally, "arm"; they, who ought to have been patterns of justice, made their own arm of might their only law.
9. men that carry tales--informers, who by misrepresentations cause innocent blood to be shed ( Leviticus 19:16 ). Literally, "one who goes to and fro as a merchant."
10. set apart for pollution--that is, set apart as unclean ( Leviticus 18:19 ).
14. ( Ezekiel 21:7 ).
15. consume thy filthiness out of thee--the object of God in scattering the Jews.
16. take thine inheritance in thyself--Formerly thou wast Mine inheritance; but now, full of guilt, thou art no longer Mine, but thine own inheritance to thyself; "in the sight of the heathen," that is, even they shall see that, now that thou hast become a captive, thou art no longer owned as Mine [VATABLUS]. FAIRBAIRN and others needlessly take the Hebrew from a different root, "thou shalt be polluted by ('in,' [HENDERSON]) thyself," &c.; the heathen shall regard thee as a polluted thing, who hast brought thine own reproach on thyself.
18. dross . . . brass--Israel has become a worthless compound of the dross of silver (implying not merely corruption, but degeneracy from good to bad, Isaiah 1:22 , especially offensive) and of the baser metals. Hence the people must be thrown into the furnace of judgment, that the bad may be consumed, and the good separated ( Jeremiah 6:29 Jeremiah 6:30 ).
23. From this verse to the end he shows the general corruption of all ranks.
24. land . . . not cleansed--not cleared or cultivated; all a scene of desolation; a fit emblem of the moral wilderness state of the people.
nor rained upon--a mark of divine "indignation"; as the early and latter rain, on which the productiveness of the land depended, was one of the great covenant blessings. Joel ( Joel 2:23 ) promises the return of the former and latter rain, with the restoration of God's favor.
25. conspiracy--The false prophets have conspired both to propagate error and to oppose the messages of God's servants. They are mentioned first, as their bad influence extended the widest.
prey--Their aim was greed of gain, "treasure, and precious things" ( Hosea 6:9 , Zephaniah 3:3 Zephaniah 3:4 , Matthew 23:14 ).
made . . . many widows--by occasioning, through false prophecies, the war with the Chaldeans in which the husbands fell.
26. Her priests--whose "lips should have kept knowledge" ( Malachi 2:7 ).
violated--not simply transgressed; but, have done violence to the law, by wresting it to wrong ends, and putting wrong constructions on it.
put no difference between the holy and profane, &c.--made no distinction between the clean and unclean ( Leviticus 10:10 ), the Sabbath and other days, sanctioning violations of that holy day. "Holy" means, what is dedicated to God; "profane," what is in common use; "unclean," what is forbidden to be eaten; "clean," what is lawful to be eaten.
I am profaned among them--They abuse My name to false or unjust purposes.
27. princes--who should have employed the influence of their position for the people's welfare, made "gain" their sole aim.
wolves--notorious for fierce and ravening cruelty ( Micah 3:2 Micah 3:3 Micah 3:9-11 , John 10:12 ).
28. Referring to the false assurances of peace with which the prophets flattered the people, that they should not submit to the king of Babylon Ezekiel 21:29 , Jeremiah 6:14 , Jeremiah 23:16 Jeremiah 23:17 , Jeremiah 27:9 Jeremiah 27:10 ).
29. The people--put last, after the mention of those in office. Corruption had spread downwards through the whole community.
wrongfully--that is, "without cause," gratuitously, without the stranger proselyte giving any just provocation; nay, he of all others being one who ought to have been won to the worship of Jehovah by kindness, instead of being alienated by oppression; especially as the Israelites were commanded to remember that they themselves had been "strangers in Egypt" ( Exodus 22:21 , 23:9 ).
30. the hedge--the wall leading the people to repentance.
the gap--the breach ( Psalms 106:23 ); image for interceding between the people and God ( Genesis 20:7 , Exodus 32:11 , Numbers 16:48 ).
I found none--( Jeremiah 5:1 )--not that literally there was not a righteous man in the city. For Jeremiah, Baruch, &c., were still there; but Jeremiah had been forbidden to pray for the people ( Jeremiah 11:14 ), as being doomed to wrath. None now, of the godly, knowing the desperate state of the people, and God's purpose as to them, was willing longer to interpose between God's wrath and them. And none "among them," that is, among those just enumerated as guilty of such sins ( Ezekiel 22:25-29 ), was morally able for such an office.