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his sheath, and will cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked; the righteous indeed were many of them spared, bus were cut off from their liberty and country, and carried captive. 4 Seeing then that I will cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked, therefore shall my sword go forth out of his sheath against all flesh from the south to the north; the desolation 5 shall spread through the whole land: That all flesh may know that I the LORD have drawn forth my sword out of his sheath: it shall not return any more till it has executed my commission. 6 Sigh therefore, thou son of man, with the breaking of [thy] loins; and with bitterness sigh before their eyes; show all marks of grief and concern before the inhabitants of Jerusalem, 7 And it shall be, when they say unto thee, Wherefore sighest thou? that thou shalt answer, For the tidings; because it cometh and every heart shall melt, and all hands shall be feeble, and every spirit shall faint, and all knees shall be weak [as] water behold, it cometh, and shall be brought to pass, saith the Lord God; they shall neither be able to fight or flee, the strength of their body and spirits shall fail.
8 9 Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, prophesy, and say, Thus saith the LORD; Say, a sword, a sword is sharpened, and also furbished; do not study fine expressions, but cry, A sword! a sword! as men do fire! 10 It is sharpened to make a sore slaughter; it is furbished that it may glitter: should we then make mirth? is this a time to rejoice? it contemneth the rod of my son, [as] every tree; or, alas! the sceptre of my son is destroyed; it despiseth every tree, it destroyeth Israel, and especially the royal family, the sceptre, as easily as any other nation, as any common men, (see 11 chap. xix. 11.) And he hath given it to be furbished, that it may be handled: the sword is sharpened, and it is furbished, 12 to give it into the hand of the slayer. Cry and howl, son of man for it shall be upon my people, it [shall be] upon all the princes of Israel: terrors by reason of the sword shall be 13 upon my people: smite therefore upon [thy] thigh. Be
cause [it is] a trial, and what if [the sword] contemn even 14 the rod? it shall be no [more,] saith the Lord GOD.* Thou therefore, son of man, prophesy, and smite [thine] hands together, and let the sword be doubled the third time, that is, often; or it may refer to Nebuchadnezzar's three attacks upon Judea and Jerusalem, which brought entire destruction on them; the sword of the slain: it [is] the sword of the great [men that are] slain, which entereth into their privy cham15 bers, where they thought to conceal themselves. I have set the point of the sword against all their gates, that [their]
It had better be rendered, It is a trial, and what if it also despise the sceptre? it shall not remain, saith the Lord Jehovah; that is, I intend to try my people by these judg ments, and then this proud, contemptuous rod shall be itself consumed.
heart may faint, and [their] ruins be multiplied: ah! [it is] made bright, [it is] wrapped up, or sharpened, for the slaughGo thee one way or other, [either] on the right hand, [or] on the left, whithersoever thy face [is] set; the sword is commissioned to go where it would, it would find wicked people 17 every where, and have work enough in every quarter. I will also smite mine hands together through just indignation, and encourage the sword to go on and do thorough execution, and I will cause my fury to rest upon thee: I the LORD have said [it.]
18 19 The word of the LORD came unto me again, saying, Also, thou son of man, appoint thee two ways, that the sword of the king of Babylon may come both twain shall come forth out of one land: and choose thou a place, choose [it] at the head of the way to the city: draw a plan of the road, particularly of that part where the ways to Rabbath and Jerusalem divide; to represent Nebuchadnezzar's hesitation which he would 20 attack first. Appoint a way, that the sword may come to Rabbath of the Ammonites, and to Judah in Jerusalem the defenced; as the Ammonites have entered into an alliance with Egypt, as well as the Israelites, therefore I am determined to 21 punish both. For the king of Babylon stood at the parting of the way, at the head of the two ways, to use divination: he made [his] arrows bright, or, he mingled them; two arrows were put into a quiver, on one was written, Rabbath, on the other, Jerusalem; a person drew one out, and which ever name was on that arrow, that country was to be attacked first; he 22 consulted with images, he looked in the liver. At his right hand was the divination for Jerusalem, to appoint captains, to open the mouth in the slaughter, to lift up the voice with shouting, to appoint [battering] rams against the gates, to cast a mount, [and] to build a fort; the divinations appeared against Jerusalem, the omens and oracles determined for that to be at23 tacked first, in order to instruct and animate the soldiers. And it shall be unto them as a false divination in their sight, the Israelites shall think his divinations false, and believe that he will not come, to them that have sworn oaths, or, for the oaths made unto them: but he, the king of Babylon, will call to re24 membrance the iniquity, that they may be taken. Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Because ye have made your iniquity to be remembered, in that your transgressions are discovered, so that in all your doings your sins do appear; because, [I say,] that ye are come to remembrance, ye shall be taken with the hand.
And thou Zedekiah, profane wicked prince of Israel, who hast broken thy oath to the king of Babylon, whose day is come, the due season for thy punishment, when iniquity [shall have] 26 an end, Thus saith the Lord GoD; Remove the diadem, and
take off the crown: this [shall] not [be] the same: exalt [him that is] low, and abase [him that is] high; Zedekiah's reign shall be no longer, the same form of government shall be 27 no more. I will overturn, overturn, overturn it; I will overthrow the different forms of government which shall be afterwards established: and it shall be no [more,] until he come whose right it is; and I will give it [him ;] there shall no more be a king of the house of David, till the Messiah come, who is to be my king.
And thou, son of man, prophesy, and say, Thus saith the Lord God concerning the Ammonites, and concerning their reproach which they cast upon Israel; even say thou, The sword, the sword [is] drawn: for the slaughter [it is] fur29 bished, to consume because of the glittering: Whiles they see vanity unto thee, whiles they divine a lie unto thee, to bring thee upon the necks of [them that are] slain, of the Israclites, who were slain by them, adding them, (though deceived, as the Israelites, were,) to the number of the wicked, whose 30 day is come, when their iniquity [shall have] an end. Shall I cause [it] to return into his sheath? I will judge thee in the place where thou wast created, in the land of thy nativity; they shall be destroyed in their own land, where they thought 31 themselves secure, and shall not be carried into captivity. And I will pour out my indignation upon thee, I will blow against thee in the fire of my wrath, and deliver thee into the hand of 32 brutish men, [and] skilful to destroy. Thou shalt be for fuel to the fire; thy blood shall be in the midst of the land; thou shalt be no [more] remembered: for I the LORD have spoken [it.] Accordingly, about five years after the destruction of Jerusalem their country was destroyed by Nebuchad
HEN men will not submit to the authority of the word, they love to find fault with it. Ezekiel's parables were sometimes too high and obscure, sometimes too plain and low; even when intended and adapted for their instruction and edification. When the stomach is disordered the food is complained of. This is a difficulty which ministers still have to grapple with. And it is well for them that they can, with the prophet, bring their complaints to God, and seek assistance and blessing from him.
2. How absurd and unbecoming is mirth in times of distress! either of public calamity, or private affliction. It is very unrea sonable in itself, and displeasing to God; defeats the design of his providence; prevents the spirit from becoming serious and wise, which is the end of correction. There is not a surer sign of folly
and irreligion, than to have a light, trifling spirit under affliction, and an unhumbled heart under humbling providences.
3. The calamities of God's people, however grievous, are but trials. A delightful thought to serious mourners! They are sent to try their faith and trust in God and his promises; to try what patience, fortitude, and indifference to the world they possess; what pity they have for other sufferers; and what charity for the instruments of their trouble; that is, to try and exercise their graces; and happy will it be for them if the trial of their faith turn out to their praise, and honour, and glory, at the appearing of Jesus Christ.
4. Amidst the commotions and changes of the world, Christ's kingdom shall be established, and shall endure. The throne of David is his right. God hath fulfilled this prophecy; the promise that he should sit on the throne of David his father is accomplished. Let us rejoice that he is come; trust in him, and be faithful to him; for he shall reign till he hath put down all rule and authority and powers that opposed him, and hath brought all his subjects to glory.
Contains a recital of the sins of Jerusalem, and the severe punish
ment that should follow.
OREOVER, the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Now, thou son of man, wilt thou judge, wilt thou judge the bloody city? yea, thou shalt show her all her 3 abominations. Then say thou, Thus saith the Lord GOD; The city sheddeth blood in the midst of it, that her time may come, the time of her destruction, and maketh idols against her 4 self to defile herself. Thou art become guilty in thy blood that thou hast shed; and hast defiled thyself in thine idols which thou hast made; and thou hast caused thy days to draw near, the measure of thine iniquity is full, and the days of thy punishment are at hand, and thou art come [even] unto thy years, when thy kingdom shall end; therefore have I made thee a reproach unto the heathen, and a mocking unto all the 5 countries. [Those that be] near, and [those that be] far from thee, shall mock thee, [which art] infamous [and] much 6 vexed. Behold, the princes of Israel, the chief officers and magistrates, every one were in thee to their power to shed blood; the arm of every one was stretched out to shed blood by 7 assassination, or under colour of justice. In thee have they set light by father and mother; against which sin, a curse is denounced in the law, Deut. xxvii. 16. in the midst of thee have
they dealt by oppression with the stranger; took advantage of their necessities, or of their ignorance of the laws and customs of the country; in thee have they vexed the fatherless and the 8 widow. Thou hast despised mine holy things, the times, the places and things which were devoted to my service, and hast 9 profaned my sabbaths. In thee are men that carry tales to shed blood; who bear false witness, who charge others with treasonable words or seditious actions; or who make mischief in families, till their quarrels end in murder: and in thee they eat upon the mountains: in the midst of thee they commit 10 lewdness. In thee have they discovered their father's nakedness in thee have they humbled her that was set apart for 11 pollution. And one hath committed abomination with his
neighbour's wife; and another hath lewdly defiled his daughter in law; and another in thee hath humbled his sister, his 12 father's daughter. In thee have they taken gifts to shed blood, to bear false witness, or bring in an innocent person guilty; thou hast taken usury and increase, and thou hast greedily gained of thy neighbours by extortion, and hast forgotten me, 13 saith the Lord GOD. Behold, therefore I have smitten mine hand, I have shown my abhorrence at thy dishonest gain which thou hast made, and at thy blood which hath been in the midst 14 of thee. Can thine heart endure, or can thine hands be strong, in the days that I shall deal with thee? I the LORD have 15 spoken [it,] and will do [it.] And I will scatter thee among the heathen, and disperse thee in the countries, and will consume thy filthiness out of thee; I will put an end to thy idola16 trous practices. And thou shalt take thine inheritance in thyself in the sight of the heathen, and thou shalt know that I [am] the LORD; though I have been your inheritance, you are now cast off; shalt be laid open; have no distinguishing privileges; and shalt see what an inheritance you are to yourselves, especially among the heathen, that despise and persecute you. 17 18 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, the house of Israel is to me become dross, contemptible, and good for nothing; all they [are] brass, and tin, and iron, and lead, in the midst of the furnace; they are [even] the 19 dross of silver. Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye are all become dross, behold, therefore I will gather 20 you into the midst of Jerusalem. [As] they gather silver, and brass, and iron, and lead, and tin, into the midst of the furnace, to blow the fire upon it, to melt [it ;] so will I gather [you] in mine anger and in my fury, and I will leave [you there,] and melt you; you gather yourselves to Jerusalem for safety, but I will gather you there for destruction, and leave you 21 there to be destroyed. Yea, I will gather you, and blow upon you in the fire of my wrath, and ye shall be melted in the 22 midst thereof. As silver is melted in the midst of the fur