View Ezekiel 16 in the note window.
The mean beginning of the Jewish church and nation, ver. 1 - 5.
The many favours God bestowed upon them, ver. 6 - 14.
Their treacherous and ungrateful requital, ver. 15 - 34.
Terrible judgments threatened, ver. 35 - 43.
An aggravation of their sin and of their punishment, ver. 44 - 59.
A promise of mercy to a remnant, ver. 60 - 63
3: Jerusalem - The whole race of the Jews. Thy birth - Thy root
whence thou didst spring. Thy father - Abraham, before God called
him, (as his father and kindred) worshipped strange gods beyond
the river, (Jos 24:14).
An Amorite - This comprehended all the rest of the cursed nations.
4: In the day - In the day I called Abraham to leave his idolatry.
Salted - Salt was used to purge, dry, and strengthen the new - born child.
Nor swaddled - So forlorn was the state of the Jews in their birth,
without beauty, without strength, without friend.
5: To the loathing - In contempt of thee as unlovely and worthless;
and in abhorrence of thee as loathsome to the beholder. This seems to
have reference to the exposing of the male children of the Israelites
in Egypt. And it is an apt illustration of the Natural State of all
the children of men. In the day that we were born, we were shapen in
iniquity: our understandings darkened, our minds alienated from the
life of God: all polluted with sin, which rendered us loathsome in the
eyes of God.
6: When I passed by - God here speaks after the manner of men.
Live - This is such a command as sends forth a power to effect what
is commanded; he gave that life: he spake, and it was done.
7: Thou art come - Thou wast adorned with the choicest blessings of
Divine Providence. Thy breasts - Grown up and fashioned under God's own
hand in order to be solemnly affianced to God.
8: When I passed - This second passing by, may be understood of
God's visiting and calling them out of Egypt.
Thy time - The time of thy misery was the time of love in me towards thee.
I spread my skirt - Espoused thee, as (Ru 3:9).
Entered into a covenant - This was done at mount Sinai, when the
covenant between God and Israel was sealed and ratified. Those
to whom God gives spiritual life, he takes into covenant with himself.
By this covenant they become his, his subjects and servants; that
speaks their duty: and at the same time his portion, his treasure;
that speaks their privilege.
9: Washed - It was a very ancient custom among the eastern people,
to purify virgins who were to be espoused. And I anointed - They were
anointed that were to be married, as (Ru 3:3).
10: Broidered - Rich and beautiful needle - work. Badgers skin - The
eastern people had an art of curiously dressing and colouring the
skins of those beasts, of which they made their neatest shoes, for
the richest and greatest personages.
11: A chain - Of gold, in token of honour and authority.
14: My comeliness - "That is, thro' the beauty of their holiness, as
they were a people devoted to God. This was it that put a lustre upon
all their other honours, and was indeed the perfection of their beauty.
Sanctified souls are truly beautiful in God's sight, and they themselves
may take the comfort of it. But God must have all the glory for whatever
comeliness they have, it is that which God has put upon them."
15: Playedst the harlot - Thou didst go a whoring after idols.
Thy renown - Her renown abroad drew to her idolatrous strangers, who
brought their idols with them. Pouredst out - Didst readily prostitute
thyself to them; every stranger, who passed thro' thee, might find room
for his idol, and idolatry. He it was - Thy person was at the command of
16: Thy garments - Those costly, royal robes, the very wedding
clothes. High places - Where the idol was. With divers colours - With
those beautiful clothes I put upon thee. The like things - As there was
none before her that had done thus, so shall there be none to follow
her in these things.
17: Images - Statues, molten and graven images.
Commit whoredom - Idolatry, spiritual adultery. And possibly here
is an allusion to the rites of Adonis, or the images of Priapus.
18: Coveredst - Didst clothe the images thou hadst made.
Set mine oil - In lamps to burn before them.
19: For a sweet savour - To gain the favour of the idol.
Thus it was - All which is undeniable.
20: And those - These very children of mine hast thou destroyed.
Sacrificed - Not only consecrating them to be priests to dumb idols;
but even burning them in sacrifice to Molech. Devoured - Consumed to
ashes. Is this - Were thy whoredoms a small matter, that thou hast
proceeded to this unnatural cruelty?
21: For them - For the idols.
24: In every street - Idol temples were in every street; both in
Jerusalem and her cities.
25: At every head of the way - Not content with what was done in the
city, she built her idol temples in the country, wherever it was likely
passengers would come.
26: Great of flesh - Naturally of a big, make, and men of great
30: How weak - Unstable, like water. An imperious woman - A woman,
that knows no superior, nor will be neither guided nor governed.
31: Not as an harlot - Common harlots make gain of their looseness,
and live by that gain; thou dost worse, thou lavishest out thy credit,
wealth, and all, to maintain thine adulterers.
34: Contrary - Here we may see, what the nature of men is, when God
leaves them to themselves: yea, tho' they have the greatest advantage,
to be better, and to do better.
38: Blood - Thou gavest the blood of thy children to idols in
sacrifice; I will give thee thine own blood to drink.
42: My jealousy - The jealousy whereto you have provoked me, will
never cease, 'till these judgments have utterly destroyed you, as the
anger of an abused husband ceases in the publick punishment of the
adulteress. No more angry - I will no more concern myself about thee.
44: The mother - Old Jerusalem, when the seat of the
Jebusites, or the land of Canaan, when full of the idolatrous,
bloody, barbarous nations. Her daughter - Jerusalem, or the
Jews who are more like those accursed nations in sin, than
near them in place of abode.
45: Thou - The nation of the Jews. Thy mother's daughter - As
much in thy inclinations, as for thy original. Loatheth - That was weary
of the best husband.
46: Thine elder sister - The greater for power, riches, and numbers
of people. Her daughters - The lesser cities of the kingdom of Israel.
Thy left hand - Northward as you look toward the east.
Thy younger sister - Which was smaller and less populous.
Thy right hand - Southward from Jerusalem.
47: Not walked after their ways - For they, all things considered,
were less sinners than thou. Nor done - Their doings were abominable,
but thine have been worse.
49: This was - The fountain and occasion of all.
Fulness of bread - Excess in eating and drinking.
Strengthen - She refused to help strangers.
51: Hast justified - Not made them righteous, but declared them less
unrighteous, than thou; of the two they are less faulty.
52: Hast judged - Condemned their apostacy, and hast judged their
53: When - Sodom and Samaria never were restored to that state
they had been in; nor were the two tribes ever made so rich, mighty,
and renowned, though God brought some of them out of Babylon: the
words confirm an irrecoverably low, and despised state, of the Jews
in their temporals. Then - Then, not before.
54: A comfort - Encouraging sinners like those of Sodom and
56: Not mentioned - The sins of Sodom, and her plagues, were not
minded or mentioned by thee.
57: Before - The time of her pride was, when they were not yet
afflicted, and despised by the Syrians. And all - The nations that
were round about and combined in league against the house of David.
Her - Syria, the chief whereof were the Philistines.
58: Thy lewdness - The punishment thereof.
59: In breaking the covenant - So will I break my covenant with thee.
60: Nevertheless - The Lord having denounced a perpetual punishment
to the impenitent body of the Jewish nation, doth now promise to the
remnant, that they shall be remembered, and obtain covenanted mercy.
My covenant - In which I promised I would not utterly cut off the seed of
Israel, nor fail to send the redeemer, who should turn away iniquity
from Jacob. With thee - In the loins of Abraham, and solemnly
renewed after their coming out of Egypt, which is the time, called the
days of thy youth, (Isa 44:2).
Establish - Confirm and ratify. It shall be sure, and unfailing.
An everlasting covenant - Of long continuance, as to their condition in
the land of Canaan, and in what is spiritual, it shall be absolutely
61: Then - When that new covenant shall take effect.
Receive - Admit into church - communion, the Gentiles, now strangers, but
then sisters. Thine elder - Those that are greater and mightier than thou;
that by their power, wealth and honour are as much above thee as the elder
children are above the younger. Thy younger - Thy lesser or meaner sister.
For daughters - As daughters hearken to, and obey, so shall the Gentiles
brought into the church, hearken to the word of God, which sounded out
from Jerusalem. But not - Not by that old covenant which was violated;
nor by external ceremonies, which were a great part of the first covenant,
but by that covenant which writes the law in the heart, and puts the fear
of God into the inward parts.
63: Open thy mouth - Neither to justify thyself, or to condemn others,
or to quarrel with thy God. Because of thy shame - Such a confusion for
thy sin will cover thee. Indeed the more we feel of God's love, the more
ashamed we are that ever we offended him. And the more our shame for sin
is increased, the more will our comfort in God be increased also.