The prophet now informs those of the captivity of the very day on which Nebuchadnezzar was to lay siege to Jerusalem, (compare ,) and describes the fate of that city and its inhabitants by a very apt similitude, 1-14. As another sign of the greatness of those calamities the prophet is forbidden to mourn for his wife, of whom he is to be deprived; intimating thereby that the sufferings of the Jews should be so astonishing as to surpass all expressions of grief; and that private sorrow however affectionate and tender the object, ought to be absorbed in the public calamities, 15-18. The prophet, having farther expressed his prediction in plain terms, intimates that he was to speak to them no more till they should have the news of these prophecies having been fulfilled, 19-27.
NOTES ON CHAP. XXIV
Verse 1. The ninth year] This prophecy was given in the ninth year of Zedekiah, about Thursday, the thirtieth of January, A.M. 3414; the very day in which the king of Babylon commenced the siege of Jerusalem.
3And utter a parable unto the rebellious house, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Set on a pot, set it on, and also pour water into it:
3 Verse 3. Set on a pot] The pot was Jerusalem; the flesh, the inhabitants in general; every good piece, the thigh and the shoulder, King Zedekiah and his family; the bones, the soldiers; and the setting on the pot, the commencement of the siege. The prophet was then in Mesopotamia; and he was told particularly to mark the day, &c., that it might be seen how precisely the spirit of prophecy had shown the very day in which the siege took place. Under the same image of a boiling pot, Jeremiah had represented the siege of Jerusalem, . Ezekiel was a priest; the action of boiling pots was familiar to him, as these things were much in use in the temple service.
5Take the choice of the flock, and burn also the bones under it, and make it boil well, and let them seethe the bones of it therein.a
5 Verse 5. Make it boil well] Let it boil over, that its own scum may augment the fire, that the bones-the soldiers, may be seethed therein. Let its contentions, divided counsels, and disunion be the means of increasing its miseries, rattach rethacheyha, let it bubble its bubbling; something like that of the poet:-
"Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble: Fire burn, and cauldron bubble."
Very like the noise made by ebullition, when a pot of thick broth, "sleek and slab," is set over a fierce fire. Such was that here represented, in which all the flesh, the fat and the bones were to be boiled, and generally dissolved together.
7For her blood is in the midst of her; she set it upon the top of a rock; she poured it not upon the ground, to cover it with dust;
7 Verse 7. For her blood is in the midst of her] She gloried in her idol sacrifices; she offered them upon a rock, where the blood should remain evident; and she poured none upon the ground to cover it with dust, in horror of that moral evil that required the blood of an innocent creature to be shed, in order to the atonement of the offender's guilt. To "cover the blood of the victim," was a command of the law, ; .
13In thy filthiness is lewdness: because I have purged thee, and thou wast not purged, thou shalt not be purged from thy filthiness any more, till I have caused my fury to rest upon thee.
13 Verse 13. In thy filthiness is lewdness] zimmah, a word that denominates the worst kinds of impurity; adultery, incest, &c., and the purpose, wish, design, and ardent desire to do these things. Hers were not accidental sins, they were abominations by design, and they were the worse in her, because God had cleansed her, had separated the Israelites from idolatry and idolatrous nations, and by his institutions removed from them all idolatrous incentives. But they formed alliances with the heathen, and adopted all their abominations; therefore God would not spare them. See .
14I the LORD have spoken it: it shall come to pass, and I will do it; I will not go back, neither will I spare, neither will I repent; according to thy ways, and according to thy doings, shall they judge thee, saith the Lord GOD.
16Son of man, behold, I take away from thee the desire of thine eyes with a stroke: yet neither shalt thou mourn nor weep, neither shall thy tears run down.b
16 Verse 16. Behold, I take away from thee the desire of thine eyes] Here is an intimation that the stroke he was to suffer was to be above all grief; that it would be so great as to prevent the relief of tears.
Curae leves loquuntur, graviores silent,
is a well-accredited maxim in such cases. Superficial griefs affect the more easily moved passions; great ones affect the soul itself, in its powers of reasoning, reflecting, comparing, recollecting, &c., when the sufferer feels all the weight of wo.
Neither shall thy tears run down.] τουτογαριδιοντωνοφθαλμων εντοιςμεγαλοιςκακοιςενμενγαρταιςμετριαιςσυμφοραις αφθονωςταδακρυακαταρρειενδετοιςυπερβαλλουσιδεινοις φευγεικαιταδακρυακαιπροδιδωσικαιτουςαφθαλμους Achill. Tat. lib. 3. c. 11. For this is the case with the eyes in great calamities: in light misfortunes tears flow freely, but in heavy afflictions tears fly away, and betray the eyes.
18So I spake unto the people in the morning: and at even my wife died; and I did in the morning as I was commanded.
18 Verse 18. At even my wife died] The prophet's wife was a type of the city, which was to him exceedingly dear. The death of his wife represented the destruction of the city by the Chaldeans; see , where the temple is represented to be the desire of his eyes, as his wife was, .
21Speak unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will profane my sanctuary, the excellency of your strength, the desire of your eyes, and that which your soul pitieth; and your sons and your daughters whom ye have left shall fall by the sword.e
25Also, thou son of man, shall it not be in the day when I take from them their strength, the joy of their glory, the desire of their eyes, and that whereupon they set their minds, their sons and their daughters,f
27In that day shall thy mouth be opened to him which is escaped, and thou shalt speak, and be no more dumb: and thou shalt be a sign unto them; and they shall know that I am the LORD.
27 Verse 27. In that day shall thy mouth be opened] That is, When some one who shall have escaped from Jerusalem, having arrived among the captives, shall inform them of the destruction of the city, the temple, the royal family, and the people at large; till then he might suppress his tears and lamentations. And we find from , that one did actually escape from the city, and informed the prophet and his brethren in captivity that the city was smitten.
Thus he was not only a prophet to foretell such things, but he was also a sign or portent, shadowing them out by circumstances in his own person and family; and thus the prediction, agreeing so perfectly with the event, proved that the previous information was from the Lord.