This chapter contains a recital of the sins of Jerusalem, 1-12; for which God threatens it with severe judgments, 13-16, in order to purify it from the dross, 17-22. And as the corruption is general, pervading prophets, priests, princes, and people; so, it is declared, shall be the punishment, 23-31.
3Then say thou, Thus saith the Lord GOD, The city sheddeth blood in the midst of it, that her time may come, and maketh idols against herself to defile herself.
3 Verse 3. Her time may come] Till now, it was my long-suffering; she has fulfilled her days-completed the time of her probation; has not mended, but is daily worse; therefore her judgment can linger no longer.
4Thou 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, and art come even unto thy years: therefore have I made thee a reproach unto the heathen, and a mocking to all countries.
4 Verse 4. Thou art become guilty in thy blood] Thou art guilty of blood.
7In thee have they set light by father and mother: in the midst of thee have they dealt by oppression with the stranger: in thee have they vexed the fatherless and the widow.f
7 Verse 7. In thee have they set light] The children do not reverence their parents. Parental affection and filial respect do not exist among you. The stranger is not only not succoured, but he is oppressed. The widows and fatherless are vexed by wrongs and exactions.
10In thee have they discovered their fathers' nakedness: in thee have they humbled her that was set apart for pollution.
10 Verse 10. In thee have they discovered] They are guilty of the most abominable incest and unnatural lust.
In thee have they humbled] In their unholy and unnatural connexions, they have not abstained from those set apart because of their infirmities. The catalogue of crimes that follow is too plain to require comment.
18Son of man, the house of Israel is to me become dross: all they are brass, and tin, and iron, and lead, in the midst of the furnace; they are even the dross of silver.l
18 Verse 18. The house of Israel is to me become dross] They are all like base metal-brass, tin, iron, and lead alloyed together with silver. Ye must be put in the furnace, and subjected to the most intense fire, till your impurities are consumed away. No ordinary means will avail any thing; the most violent must be resorted to.
19Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye are all become dross, behold, therefore I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem.
19 Verse 19. I will gather you] Jerusalem is represented here as the fining pot; all the people are to be gathered together in it, and the Chaldean fire is to melt the whole. And God will increase thy sufferings: as the refiner blows the fire with his bellows, so God will blow upon you with the fire of his wrath, .
20As 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.m
25There is a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof, like a roaring lion ravening the prey; they have devoured souls; they have taken the treasure and precious things; they have made her many widows in the midst thereof.
25 Verse 25. There is a conspiracy] The false prophets have united together to say and support the same things; and have been the cause of the destruction of souls, and the death of many, so that widows, through their means, are multiplied in thee.
26Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.n
26 Verse 26. Her priests] Even they whose lips should preserve knowledge, have not instructed the people: they have violated my law, not only in their private conduct, but in their careless and corrupt manner of serving in my temple.
28And her prophets have daubed them with untempered morter, seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying, Thus saith the Lord GOD, when the LORD hath not spoken.
28 Verse 28. Her prophets] Even those who profess themselves to be my prophets, have been unfaithful in the discharge of their office; have soothed the people in their sins, and pretended to have oracles of peace and safety when I had not spoken to them.
30And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.
30 Verse 30. I sought for a man] I saw that there was a grievous breach made in the moral state and feeling of the people, and I sought for a man that would stand in the gap; that would faithfully exhort, reprove and counsel, with all long-suffering and doctrine. But none was to be found!
31Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord GOD.
31 Verse 31. Therefore] Because of the profligacies already mentioned; because of the false worship so generally practiced; because of the false prophets tolerated; because of the unholy and profane priesthood; because of the oppressive princes; because of the unfaithful and deceiving prophets; because of the oppressions of petty officers; and because of the total corruption of manners in all ranks, places, offices, &c.;-
Have I poured out mine indignation-consumed them with the fire of my wrath] Considering the above, has there not been sufficient reason why I should abandon such a people, and pour out upon them such a destructive storm of calamities?