20:1 And it came to pass in the a seventh year, in the fifth
[month], the tenth [day] of the month, [that] certain of
the elders of Israel came to enquire of the LORD, and sat
(a) Of the captivity of Jeconiah.
20:4 Wilt thou judge them, son of man, wilt thou judge [them]?
cause b them to know the abominations of their fathers:
(b) This declares the great leniency and patience of God who
calls sinners to repentance before he condemns them.
20:5 And say to them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; In the day when I
chose Israel, and c lifted up my hand to the seed of the
house of Jacob, and made myself known to them in the land
of Egypt, when I lifted up my hand to them, saying, I [am]
the LORD your God;
(c) I swore that I would be their God, which manner of oath
was observed from all antiquity, where they used to
lift up their hands toward the heavens, acknowledging
God to be the author of truth and the defender of it,
and also the judge of the heart, wishing that he would
take vengeance, if they concealed anything which they
knew to be truth.
20:7 Then said I to them, Cast ye away every man the
abominations of his eyes, d and defile not yourselves
with the idols of Egypt: I [am] the LORD your God.
20:8 But they rebelled against me, and would not hearken to me:
they did not every man cast away the abominations of e
their eyes, neither did they forsake the idols of Egypt:
then I said, I will pour out my fury upon them, to
accomplish my anger against them in the midst of the land
(e) Which declares the wickedness of man's heart, who judge
God's service by their eyes and outward senses.
20:9 But I wrought for my f name's sake, that it should not be
profaned before the nations, among whom they [were], in
whose sight I made myself known to them, in bringing them
forth from the land of Egypt.
(f) God had ever this respect to his glory, that he would
not have evil spoken of his Name among the Gentiles for
the punishment that his people deserved, in confidence
of which the godly ever prayed, as in
(Ex 32:12, Nu 14:13).
20:14 But I wrought for my name's sake, that it should not be
profaned before the g nations, in whose sight I brought
(g) Who might by it take an opportunity to blaspheme my
Name and to accuse me of lack of ability, or else that
I had sought a means to destroy them more
20:16 Because they despised my judgments, and walked not in my
statutes, but profaned my h sabbaths: for their heart
went after their idols.
(h) That is, my true religion, which I had commanded them,
and gave themselves to serve me according to their own
20:18 But I said to their children in the wilderness, Walk ye
not in the statutes of your i fathers, neither observe
their judgments, nor defile yourselves with their idols:
(i) By which the Holy Spirit confuses them that say that
they will follow the religion and example of their
fathers, and not measure their doings by God's word
whether they are approved by it or not.
20:24 Because they had not executed my judgments, but had
despised my statutes, and had profaned my sabbaths, and
their eyes were after k their fathers' idols.
(k) Meaning that they set their delight on them.
20:25 Wherefore I gave l them also statutes [that were] not
good, and judgments by which they should not live;
(l) Because they would not obey my laws, I gave them up to
themselves that they should obey their own fantasies,
as in (Eze 20:39, Ro 1:21,24).
20:26 And I polluted them in their own m gifts, in that they
caused to pass through [the fire] all the firstborn, that
I might make them desolate, to the end that they might
know that I [am] the LORD.
(m) I condemned those things, and counted them as
abominable, which they thought had been excellent and
to have declared most zeal, (Lu 16:15) for that
which God required as most excellent they gave to
20:28n [For] when I had brought them into the land, [for]
which I lifted up my hand to give it to them, then they
saw every high hill, and all the thick trees, and they
offered there their sacrifices, and there they presented
the provocation of their offering: there also they made
their sweet savour, and poured out there their drink
(n) Not only in the wilderness, when I brought them out of
Egypt, but since I placed them in this land: which
declares how prompt man's heart is to idolatry seeing
that by no admonitions can he be drawn back.
20:29 Then I said to them, What [is] the high place to which ye
go? And its name is called o Bamah to this day.
(o) Which signifies a high place, declaring that they
vaunted themselves of their idolatry and were not
ashamed of it, though God had commanded them expressly
that they should have no altar lifted on high by
stairs, (Ex 20:26).
20:31 For when ye offer your gifts, when ye make your sons to
pass through the fire, ye pollute yourselves with all your
idols, even to this day: and shall I be enquired of by
you, O house of Israel? [As] I live, saith the Lord GOD,
p I will not be enquired of by you.
(p) He shows that the ingratitude of the people deserves
that God should cut them off, and that they should not
have the comfort of his word.
20:32 And that which cometh into your mind shall not be at all,
that ye say, We will be as the nations, as the families of
the countries, to serve wood and q stone.
(q) He declares that man by nature is wholly enemy to God,
and to his own salvation, and therefore God calls him
to the right way, partly by chastising but chiefly by
his mercy in forgiving his rebellion and wickedness.
20:35 And I will bring you into the r wilderness of the
people, and there will I enter into judgment with you face
(r) I will bring you among strange nations as into a
wilderness and there will visit you, and so call you
to repentance and then bring the godly home again,
20:38 And I will s purge out from among you the rebels, and
them that transgress against me: I will bring them forth
out of the country where they sojourn, and they shall not
enter into the land of Israel: and ye shall know that I
[am] the LORD.
(s) Signifying that he will not burn the corn with the
chaff, but chose out the wicked to punish them when he
will spare his.
20:39 As for you, O house of Israel, thus saith the Lord GOD;
t Go ye, serve ye every one his idols, and after this
[also], if ye will not hearken to me: but profane ye my
holy name no more with your gifts, and with your idols.
(t) This is spoken to the hypocrites.
20:43 And there shall ye remember your ways, and all your
doings, in which ye have been defiled; and ye u shall
lothe yourselves in your own sight for all your evils that
ye have committed.
(u) Your own consciences will convict you after you have
felt my mercies.
20:46 Son of man, set thy face toward the south, and drop [thy
word] toward x the south, and prophesy against the
forest of the south field;
(x) For Judah stood south from Babylon.
20:47 And say to the forest of the south, Hear the word of the
LORD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will kindle a
fire in thee, and it shall devour every y green tree in
thee, and every dry tree: the blazing flame shall not be
quenched, and all faces from the south to the north shall
be burned in it.
(y) Both strong and weak in Jerusalem.
20:49 Then said I, Ah Lord GOD! they say of me, Doth he not
speak z parables?
(z) The people said that the prophet spoke darkly:
therefore he desires the Lord to give them a plain
declaration of it.