The idolatries of Samaria and Jerusalem are represented in this chapter by the bad practices of two common harlots, for which God denounces severe judgments against them, 1-49. See the sixteenth chapter, where the same metaphor is enlarged upon as here, it being the prophets view to exude the utmost detestation of the crime against which he inveighs.
2Son of man, there were two women, the daughters of one mother:
2 Verse 2. Son of man, there were two women] All the Hebrews were derived from one source, Abraham and Sarah; and, till the schism under Rehoboam, formed but one people: but as these ten tribes and a half separated from Judah and Benjamin, they became two distinct people under different kings; called the kingdom of Judah, and the kingdom of Israel. They are called here, because of their consanguinity, two sisters. The elder, Samaria, (for there was the seat of government for the kingdom of Israel,) was called aholah, "a tent." The younger, Judah, was called aholibah, "my tent is in her," because the temple of God was in Jerusalem, the seat of the government of the kingdom of Judah.
5And Aholah played the harlot when she was mine; and she doted on her lovers, on the Assyrians her neighbours,
5 Verse 5. And Aholah played the harlot] Without entering into detail here, or following the figures, they both became idolatrous, and received the impure rites of the Egyptians, Assyrians, and Chaldeans, of which connexion the prophet speaks here as he did in &c., which see.
In this chapter there are many of what we would call indelicate expressions, because a parallel is run between idolatry and prostitution, and the circumstances of the latter illustrate the peculiarities of the former. In such cases, perhaps, the matter alone was given to the prophet, and he was left to use his own language, and amplify as he saw good. Ezekiel was among the Jews what Juvenal was among the Romans,-a rough reprover of the most abominable vices. They both spoke of things as they found them; stripped vice naked, and scourged it publicly. The original is still more rough than the translation; and surely there is no need of a comment to explain imagery that is but too generally understood. I have said enough on &c,, and to that I must refer the reader. It is true that there are a few things here in the shade that might be illustrated by anatomy; and it would not be difficult to do it: but they are not necessary to salvation, and I shall not take off the covering. They were sufficiently understood by those for whose use they were originally designed.
6Which were clothed with blue, captains and rulers, all of them desirable young men, horsemen riding upon horses.
6 Verse 6. Clothed with blue] The purple dye was highly valued among the ancients, and at first was only used by kings, at last it was used among the military, particularly by officers of high rank in the country.
23The Babylonians, and all the Chaldeans, Pekod, and Shoa, and Koa, and all the Assyrians with them: all of them desirable young men, captains and rulers, great lords and renowned, all of them riding upon horses.
23 Verse 23. Pekod, and Shoa, and Koa] . These names have been thought to designate certain people bordering on the Chaldeans; but no geographer has ever been able to find them out.
In our old translations these names were considered appellatives-rulers, mighty men, and tyrants. Others, following the literal import of the words, have translated, visiting, shouting, and retreating. Others have applied them to the habits of the Chaldean soldiers. Pekod signifying the muster or review of armies; Shoa, the magnificence of their uniform and arms; and Koa, the marks or embroidery of the clothes of the captains and generals. Grotius thought that they might be names of contiguous nations: Pekod, the Bactrians; Shoa, a people of Armenia; and Boa, the Medes. I have nothing to add that would satisfy myself, or be edifying to my readers.
24And they shall come against thee with chariots, wagons, and wheels, and with an assembly of people, which shall set against thee buckler and shield and helmet round about: and I will set judgment before them, and they shall judge thee according to their judgments.
25And I will set my jealousy against thee, and they shall deal furiously with thee: they shall take away thy nose and thine ears; and thy remnant shall fall by the sword: they shall take thy sons and thy daughters; and thy residue shall be devoured by the fire.
25 Verse 25. Shall take away thy nose] A punishment frequent among the Persians and Chaldeans, as ancient authors tell. Adulteries were punished in this way; and to this Martial refers:-
Quis tibi persuasit nares abscindere moecho?
"Who has counselled thee to cut off the adulterer's nose?"
29And they shall deal with thee hatefully, and shall take away all thy labour, and shall leave thee naked and bare: and the nakedness of thy whoredoms shall be discovered, both thy lewdness and thy whoredoms.
37That they have committed adultery, and blood is in their hands, and with their idols have they committed adultery, and have also caused their sons, whom they bare unto me, to pass for them through the fire, to devour them.
40And furthermore, that ye have sent for men to come from far, unto whom a messenger was sent; and, lo, they came: for whom thou didst wash thyself, paintedst thy eyes, and deckedst thyself with ornaments,m
40 Verse 40. Thou didst wash thyself, paintedst thy eyes, and deckedst thyself with ornaments.] This is exactly the way in which a loose female in Bengal adorns herself to receive guests. She first bathes, then rubs black paint around her eyes, and then covers her body with ornaments.-WARD'S Customs.
41And satest upon a stately bed, and a table prepared before it, whereupon thou hast set mine incense and mine oil.n
41 Verse 41. And satest upon a stately bed] Hast raised a stately altar to thy idols; probably alluding to that which Ahaz ordered to be made, after the similitude of that which he saw at Damascus. The bed here is in allusion to the sofas on which the ancients were accustomed to recline at their meals; or to the couches on which they place Asiatic brides, with incense pots and sweetmeats on a table before them.
42And a voice of a multitude being at ease was with her: and with the men of the common sort were brought Sabeans from the wilderness, which put bracelets upon their hands, and beautiful crowns upon their heads.o, p
42 Verse 42. And a voice of a multitude] This seems to be an account of an idolatrous festival, where a riotous multitude was assembled, and fellows of the baser sort, with bracelets on their arms and chaplets on their heads, performed the religious rites.