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7 chap. viii. 16.) And he said unto them, Defile the house} and fill the courts with the slain go ye forth, and they went forth, and slew in the city.
And it came to pass, while they were slaying them, and I was left, of which I had a grateful and affectionate sense, that I fell upon my face, and cried; I immediately interceded for Israel as God's people, that a remnant might be spared, and said, Ah Lord GOD! wilt thou destroy all the residue of Isra9 el in thy pouring out of thy fury upon Jerusalem? Then said he unto me, The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah [is] exceeding great, and the land is full of blood, and the city full of perverseness, or, wresting of judgment: for they say, The LORD hath forsaken the earth, and the LORD seeth 10 not; he takes no notice, will not call us to account. And as for me also, mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity, [but] I will recompense their way upon their head; they have brought this judgment upon themselves, and I will not remove it. 11 And, behold, the man clothed with linen, which [had] the inkhorn by his side, reported the matter, saying, I have done as thou hast commanded me, and have marked them all.
OW provoking to God are the sins of men, especially
expression of this before us; he ordains and commands the instruments of his vengeance not to have pity; not to scruple to defile the temple itself with the blood of these obstinate offenders; and declares, that he himself would not pity. He commands them to begin at the sanctuary, to punish the ringleaders and his ministers first. He hates sin in all, but most in those, who by their professions and stations are nearest to him, and have enjoyed the greatest privileges and advantages. This should fill our hearts with a great and constant dread of sin, lest we provoke the most merciful and compassionate of all beings to have no pity.
2. We are again taught to what most of the impiety of the world is owing, namely, to a forgetfulness of God, v. 9. Therefore they hardened their hearts in wickedness. There may be such absurd and impious sentiments in those who are not idolaters; they may forget the perfect knowledge of God, his spotless righteousness, and that he will call them to account for all that they have done. To keep us in the way of duty, let us labour to preserve upon our hearts an habitual sense of God; that he hath not forsaken the earth; but searches our hearts, remembers all our doings, and will bring every work into judgment.
3. We learn the duty of God's people in times of prevailing wickedness, viz. To keep themselves pure, and lament the sins of others. Doubtless those good men who were marked did not de
light in the sins of others; but rather attempted to reform a wicked age, by their admonitions and good examples. And when nothing else was left for them to do, they lamented their degeneracy before God, cried earnestly to him for mercy toward a guilty land, and, like the prophet, earnestly prayed that if the judgment might not be averted, it might be lightened. Thus it becomes us to act; to behold transgressors with grief; to affect our hearts with that wickedness, which we cannot but see, and which it is not in our power to remove; though every friendly effort should be used, while there is any prospect of success.
4. We see the care that God takes of his servants in times of general calamity. This figurative and beautiful description suggests to us, that the Lord knoweth them that are his, however obscure and overlooked, however despised and evil treated; that he will, if he sees it best, by his providence preserve them; but, if any of them should fall by any general calamity, that he will amply reward their fidelity and zeal in a future state. Let us see to it that we be of this number:, for of them it is written, They shall be mine saith the Lord of hosts, in the day when I make up my jewels.
This chapter is designed to represent to the prophet, and by him to the people, two great calamities that were yet to come upon them, the burning of Jerusalem, and the departure of God's glory from the temple. The vision is repeated here which he saw at first of the glory of God, his attendant angels, and the administration of his providence,
HEN I looked, and, behold, in the firmament that [was] above the head of the cherubims there appeared over them as it were a sapphire stone, as the appearance of the 2 likeness of a throne. And he spake unto the man clothed with linen, and said, Go in between the wheels, [even] under the cherub, and fill thine hand with coals of fire from between the cherubims, and scatter them over the city; to intimate that the city and temple should be burned. And he went in in 3 my sight. Now the cherubims stood on the right side of the house, when the man went in; and the cloud filled the inner 4 court, as it was coming out of the temple. Then the glory of the LORD went up, or, was lifted up from the cherub, [and stood] over the threshold of the house; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness 5 of the LORD's glory. And the sound of the cherubims' wings was heard [even] to the outer court, as the voice of the Al
mighty God when he speaketh; that is, like the noise of thun6 der, as they were now going to execute terrible judgments. And it came to pass, [that] when he had commanded the man clothed with linen, saying, Take fire from between the wheels, from between the cherubims; then he went in and stood be7 side the wheels. And [one] cherub stretched forth his hand from between the cherubims unto the fire that [was] between the cherubims, and took [thereof,] and put [it] into the hands of [him that was] clothed with linen: who took [it,] and went out; to signify his putting the command immediately into execution.
And there appeared in the cherubims the form of a man's 9 hand under their wings. And when I looked, behold the four wheels by the cherubims, one wheel by one cherub, and another wheel by another cherub and the appearance of the 10 wheels [was] as the colour of a beryl stone. And [as for] their appearances, they four had one likeness, as if a wheel 11 had been in the midst of a wheel. When they went, they went upon their four sides; they turned not as they went, but to the place whither the head looked they followed it; they 12 turned not as they went. And their whole body, and their backs, and their hands, and their wings, and the wheels, [were] full of eyes round about, [even] the wheels that they four 13 had. As for the wheels, it was cried unto them in my hear ing, O wheel; the wheels were animated, and therefore addressed as being capable of obeying the great charioteer; and they are addressed as one wheel, to intimate the admirable unity of design 14 that runs through all God's works and dispensations. And every one had four faces: the first face [was] the face of a cherub, and the second face [was] the face of a man, and the third 15 the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle.*
the cherubims were lifted up to attend the divine glory whereever it went. This [is] the living creature that I saw by the 16 river of Chebar. And when the cherubims went, the wheels went by them and when the cherubims lifted up their wings to mount up from the earth, the same wheels also turned not 17 from beside them. When they stood, [these] stood; and when they were lifted up, [these] lifted up themselves [also :] for the spirit of the living creature [was] in them; one prin18 ciple of reason and obedience directed them all. Then the glory of the LORD departed from off the threshold of the house, and stood over the cherubims, and thus went further from the tem19 ple. And the cherubims lifted up their wings, and mounted up from the earth in my sight: when they went out, the wheels also [were] beside them, and [every one] stood at the
• What is here said to have the face of a cherub, has in the first chapter the face of an ox; from whence it appears probable that a cherub was represented by a winged ox.
door of the east gate of the LORD's house, and the glory of the 20 God of Israel [was] over them above.* This [is] the living creature that I saw under the God of Israel, by the river of Chebar; and I knew that they [were] the cherubims; having, 21 as a priest, seen their form carved in the holy place. Every one had four faces apiece, and every one four wings: and the likeness of the hands of a man [was] under their wings. 22 And the likeness of their faces [was] the same faces which I saw by the river of Chebar, their appearances and themselves: they went every one straight forward.
ET us endeavour to fill our minds with an holy awe of the majesty and glory of God. To impress the prophet and the people with this, a further view is here given of the grandeur of God, as before represented. Let us view him by faith as seated on a majestic throne, surrounded with an host of bright intelligencies, always ready to execute his commands. Let us think of the admirable wisdom and unity of design, which runs through his operations, however perplexed or contradictory they may appear to us. While we rejoice that the Lord hath prepared his throne in the heavens, and that his kingdom ruleth over all, let us think of him and worship him with due seriousness and veneration; for God is greatly to be feared, and to be had in reverence of all them that draw nigh unto him.
2. We should observe the hand of Providence in the calamities that come upon mankind. The Chaldeans burned the city and temple; but here an angel is represented as scattering fire over them by the command of the Almighty. Whether a town or a house is burned, it is under the direction of Providence: whenever there is evil in a city, the Lord hath done it: and it becomes us to revere his power, to adore his justice, to humble ourselves under his righteous hand, and learn wisdom and obedience by what we ourselves or others suffer.
3. How dreadful is the case of any people when the glory of the Lord is taken from them! Its departure from Jerusalem is described by many lively and affecting scenes, especially here. Let us observe the justice of God in removing his presence, when his people had affronted him, and tired out his patience by their idolatry and abominations. Observe also his mercy; he removed by degrees; the cloud of glory came first into the holy place, from the most holy; then to the threshold; then to the court; then to the gates of the court; as if he was loath to remove, and
These cherubims were like a splendid chariot, to convey the glory of the Lord away from its ancient residence in the temple; and accordingly are called in Chronicles, the thariot of the cherubims that covered the ark.
waited to see whether the priests in the temple, or the people in the courts, would take warning, and by repentance and prayer engage his stay. God's ordinances, his gracious presence, the assistances of his Spirit, are the glory of our assemblies; and if we abuse or neglect these, and thus affront him, he will remove; then the glory is departed, and nothing good remains. The shape of religion, the form of godliness, without its life and spirit, is unprofitable and destructive. These things were written for our admonition; and wo unto us if God depart from us!
Contains matter of terror to the wicked presumptuous Jews at Jerusalem, and of comfort to the captives in Babylon.
OREOVER the spirit lifted me up, and brought me unto the east gate of the LORD's house, which looketh eastward; where the glory of the Lord stood, (ch. x. 19.) and where the court of justice was kept: and behold at the door of the gate five and twenty men ; among whom I saw Jaazaniah the son of Azur, and Pelatiah the son of Benaiah, princes of the people, who were chief instruments in causing 2 the city to hold out, and in preventing its surrender. Then said he unto me, Son of man, these [are] the men that devise mischief, though they pretend the public good, and give wicked counsel in this city, counsel to continue in idolatry and rebellion. 3 Which say, [It is] not near; let us build houses; the desolation threatend is not near, though it should come at last; let us therefore build houses, and enjoy our fortunes and pleasures: this [city is] the caldron, and we [be] the flesh.*
Therefore prophesy against them, prophesy, O son of man.. 5 And the Spirit of the LORD fell upon me, and said unto me, Speak; Thus saith the LORD; Thus have ye said, O house of Israel: for I know the things that come into your mind, [every one of] them; though you have said them secretly to one 6 another, or only indulged the thoughts in your own mind. Ye have multiplied your slain in this city, and ye have filled the streets thereof with the slain; those who have been, or shall be, destroyed in your city by your foolishly holding out, shall be imputed to you as your slain, as well as those whom you have actu7 ally destroyed by unjust edicts. Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Your slain whom ye have laid in the midst of
This is a reference to Jeremiah's prophecy, ch. i. 13 he had seen a boiling pot, as an emblem of the city all in a fermentation; these profane men made a banter of this; they compared themselves to meat boiling in a pot, and intimate that they were yet very strung, and should bear a great deal of boiling before they came to pieces.