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Ezekiel 23

Ezekiel 23:1-49 . ISRAEL'S AND JUDAH'S SIN AND PUNISHMENT ARE PARABOLICALLY PORTRAYED UNDER THE NAMES AHOLAH AND AHOLIBAH.

22. lovers . . . alienated--( Ezekiel 23:17 ). Illicit love, soon or late, ends in open hatred ( 2 Samuel 13:15 ). The Babylonians, the objects formerly of their God-forgetting love, but now, with characteristic fickleness, objects of their hatred, shall be made by God the instruments of their punishment.

23. Pekod, &c.--( Jeremiah 50:21 ). Not a geographical name, but descriptive of Babylon. "Visitation," peculiarly the land of "judgment"; in a double sense: actively, the inflicter of judgment on Judah; passively, as about to be afterwards herself the object of judgment.
Shoa . . . Koa--"rich . . . noble"; descriptive of Babylon in her prosperity, having all the world's wealth and dignity at her disposal. MAURER suggests that, as descriptive appellatives are subjoined to the proper name, "all the Assyrians" in the second hemistich of the verse (as the verse ought to be divided at "Koa"), so Pekod, Shoa, and Koa must be appellatives descriptive of "The Babylonians and . . . Chaldeans" in the first hemistich; "Pekod" meaning "prefects"; Shoa . . . Koa, "rich . . . princely."
desirable young men--strong irony. Alluding to Ezekiel 23:12 , these "desirable young men" whom thou didst so "dote upon" for their manly vigor of appearance, shall by that very vigor be the better able to chastise thee.

24. with chariots--or, "with armaments"; so the Septuagint; "axes" [MAURER]; or, joining it with "wagons," translate, "with scythe-armed wagons," or "chariots" [GROTIUS].
weels--The unusual height of these increased their formidable appearance ( Ezekiel 1:16-20 ).
their judgments--which awarded barbarously severe punishments ( Jeremiah 52:9 , 29:22 ).

25. take away thy nose . . . ears--Adulteresses were punished so among the Egyptians and Chaldeans. Oriental beauties wore ornaments in the ear and nose. How just the retribution, that the features most bejewelled should be mutilated! So, allegorically as to Judah, the spiritual adulteress.

26. strip . . . of . . . clothes--whereby she attracted her paramours ( Ezekiel 16:39 ).

27. Thus . . . make . . . lewdness to cease--The captivity has made the Jews ever since abhor idolatry, not only on their return from Babylon, but for the last nineteen centuries of their dispersion, as foretold ( Hosea 3:4 ).

28. ( Ezekiel 23:17 Ezekiel 23:18 , 16:37 ).

29. take away . . . thy labour--that is, the fruits of thy labor.
leave thee naked--as captive females are treated.

31. her cup--of punishment ( Psalms 11:6 , 75:8 , Jeremiah 25:15 , &c.). Thy guilt and that of Israel being alike, your punishment shall be alike.

34. break . . . sherds--So greedily shalt thou suck out every drop like one drinking to madness (the effect invariably ascribed to drinking God's cup of wrath, Jeremiah 51:7 , Habakkuk 2:16 ) that thou shalt crunch the very shreds of it; that is, there shall be no evil left which thou shalt not taste.
pluck off thine own breasts--enraged against them as the ministers to thine adultery.

35. forgotten me--( Jeremiah 2:32 , 13:25 ).
cast me behind thy back--( 1 Kings 14:9 , Nehemiah 9:26 ).
bear . . . thy lewdness--that is, its penal consequences ( Proverbs 1:31 ).

36-44. A summing up of the sins of the two sisters, especially those of Judah.
wilt thou judge--Wilt thou (not) judge

38. the same day--On the very day that they had burned their children to Molech in the valley of Gehenna, they shamelessly and hypocritically presented themselves as worshippers in Jehovah's temple ( Jeremiah 7:9 Jeremiah 7:10 ).

40. messenger was sent--namely, by Judah ( Ezekiel 23:16 , Isaiah 57:9 ).
paintedst . . . eyes--( 2 Kings 9:30 , Margin; Jeremiah 4:30 ). Black paint was spread on the eyelids of beauties to make the white of the eye more attractive by the contrast, so Judah left no seductive art untried.

41. bed--divan. While men reclined at table, women sat, as it seemed indelicate for them to lie down ( Amos 6:4 ) [GROTIUS].
table--that is, the idolatrous altar.
mine incense--which I had given thee, and which thou oughtest to have offered to Me ( Ezekiel 16:18 Ezekiel 16:19 , Hosea 2:8 ; compare Proverbs 7:17 ).

42. Sabeans--Not content with the princely, handsome Assyrians, the sisters brought to themselves the rude robber hordes of Sabeans ( Job 1:15 ). The Keri, or Margin, reads "drunkards."
upon their hands--upon the hands of the sisters, that is, they allured Samaria and Judah to worship their gods.

43. Will they, &c.--Is it possible that paramours will desire any longer to commit whoredoms with so worn-out an old adulteress?

45. the righteous men--the Chaldeans; the executioners of God's righteous vengeance ( Ezekiel 16:38 ), not that they were "righteous" in themselves ( Habakkuk 1:3 Habakkuk 1:12 Habakkuk 1:13 ).

46. a company--properly, "a council of judges" passing sentence on a criminal [GROTIUS]. The "removal" and "spoiling" by the Chaldean army is the execution of the judicial sentence of God.

47. stones--the legal penalty of the adulteress ( Ezekiel 16:40 Ezekiel 16:41 , John 8:5 ). Answering to the stones hurled by the Babylonians from engines in besieging Jerusalem.
houses . . . fire--fulfilled ( 2 Chronicles 36:17 2 Chronicles 36:19 ).

48. ( Ezekiel 23:27 ).
that all . . . may be taught not to do, &c.--( Deuteronomy 13:11 ).

49. bear the sins of your idols--that is, the punishment of your idolatry.
know that I am the Lord God--that is, know it to your cost . . . by bitter suffering.

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