The Divine judgments for idolatry. (1-7) A remnant shall be saved. (8-10) The calamities are to be lamented. (11-14)
1-7. War desolates persons, places, and things esteemed most sacred. God ruins idolatries even by the hands of idolaters. It is just with God to make that a desolation, which we make an idol. The superstitions to which many trust for safety, often cause their ruin. And the day is at hand, when idols and idolatry will be as thoroughly destroyed from the professedly Christian church as they were from among the Jews.
Verses 8-10 A remnant of Israel should be left; at length they should remember the Lord, their obligations to him, and rebellion against him. True penitents see sin to be that abominable thing which the Lord hates. Those who truly loathe sin, loathe themselves because of sin. They give glory to God by their repentance. Whatever brings men to remember Him, and their sins against him, should be regarded as a blessing.
Verses 11-14 It is our duty to be affected, not only with our own sins and sufferings, but to look with compassion upon the miseries wicked people bring upon themselves. Sin is a desolating thing; therefore, stand in awe, and sin not. If we know the worth of souls, and the danger to which unbelievers are exposed, we shall deem every sinner who takes refuge in Jesus from the wrath to come, an abundant recompence for all contempt or opposition we may meet with.
Ezekiel 6:1-14 . CONTINUATION OF THE SAME SUBJECT.
2. mountains of Israel--that is, of Palestine in general. The mountains are addressed by personification; implying that the Israelites themselves are incurable and unworthy of any more appeals; so the prophet sent to Jeroboam did not deign to address the king, but addressed the altar ( 1 Kings 13:2 ). The mountains are specified as being the scene of Jewish idolatries on "the high places" ( Ezekiel 6:3 , Leviticus 26:30 ).
3. rivers--literally, the "channels" of torrents. Rivers were often the scene and objects of idolatrous worship.
4. images--called so from a Hebrew root, "to wax hot," implying the mad ardor of Israel after idolatry [CALVIN]. Others translate it, "sun images"; and so in Ezekiel 6:6 (see 2 Kings 23:11 , 2 Chronicles 34:4 , Isaiah 17:8 , Margin).
cast your slain men before your idols--The foolish objects of their trust in the day of evil should witness their ruin.
5. carcasses . . . before . . . idols--polluting thus with the dead bones of you, the worshippers, the idols which seemed to you so sacrosanct.
6. your works--not gods, as you supposed, but the mere work of men's hands ( Isaiah 40:18-20 ).
7. ye shall know that I am the Lord--and not your idols, lords. Ye shall know Me as the all-powerful Punisher of sin.
8. Mitigation of the extreme severity of their punishment; still their life shall be a wretched one, and linked with exile ( Ezekiel 5:2 Ezekiel 5:12 , 12:16 , 14:22 , Jeremiah 44:28 ).
9. they that escape of you shall remember me--The object of God's chastisements shall at last be effected by working in them true contrition. This partially took place in the complete eradication of idolatry from the Jews ever since the Babylonian captivity. But they have yet to repent of their crowning sin, the crucifixion of Messiah; their full repentance is therefore future, after the ordeal of trials for many centuries, ending with that foretold in Zechariah 10:9 , Zechariah 13:8 Zechariah 13:9 , Zechariah 14:1-4 Zechariah 14:11 . "They shall remember me in far countries" ( Ezekiel 7:16 , Deuteronomy 30:1-8 ).
I am broken with their whorish heart--FAIRBAIRN translates, actively, "I will break" their whorish heart; English Version is better. In their exile they shall remember how long I bore with them, but was at last compelled to punish, after I was "broken" (My long-suffering wearied out) by their desperate ( Numbers 15:39 ) spiritual whorishness [CALVIN], ( Psalms 78:40 , Isaiah 7:13 , 43:24 , 63:10 ).
loathe themselves--( Leviticus 26:39-45 , Job 42:6 ). They shall not wait for men to condemn them but shall condemn themselves ( Ezekiel 20:43 , 36:31 , Job 42:6 , 1 Corinthians 11:31 ).
11. Gesticulations vividly setting before the hearers the greatness of the calamity about to be inflicted. In indignation at the abominations of Israel extend thine hand towards Judea, as if about to "strike," and "stamp," shaking off the dust with thy foot, in token of how God shall "stretch out His hand upon them," and tread them down ( Ezekiel 6:14 , Ezekiel 21:14 ).
12. He that is far off--namely, from the foe; those who in a distant exile fear no evil.
he that remaineth--he that is left in the city; not carried away into captivity, nor having escaped into the country. Distinct from "he that is near," namely, those outside the city who are within reach of "the sword" of the foe, and so fall by it; not by "famine," as those left in the city.
14. Diblath--another form of Diblathaim, a city in Moab ( Numbers 33:46 , Jeremiah 48:22 ), near which, east and south of the Dead Sea, was the wilderness of Arabia-Deserta.