1: Sixth year - Of Jeconiah's captivity. Sixth month - Elul or our August. The elders - The chief of those that were now in captivity. They were come either to spend the sabbath in religious exercises, or to enquire what would become of their brethren in Jerusalem. The hand - The spirit of prophecy.
2: A likeness - Of a man; the man whom he had seen upon the throne. Fire - This fire might denote the wrath of God against Jerusalem.
3: And - This, and all the passages to the end of the 16th verse, was done in vision only. Inner gate - To the door of the gate of the inner court. The north - The temple courts had four gates towards the four quarters, and this was the north gate, which opened into the great court where Ahaz had set up his Damascen altar, and where the idols were set up. The image - Baal, which Manasseh had set up, Josiah had destroyed, but succeeding kings had again set it up. Jealousy - Because it was so notorious an affront to God, who had married Israel to himself.
5: Northward - Ahaz had removed it from the middle of the court and set it near this north gate, to which it gave name. Entry - In the very passage to the temple, to affront the worship of God.
6: They - The generality of the Jews. Great abominations - The notorious idolatries. Here - In this court, in view of my temple. Far off - Not that they designed this, but no other could be expected.
7: The door - The second door, for there were two in the north side.
8: A door - A private door, by which the priests entered into the chamber of their imagery, to perform idolatrous worship to their images.
9: Are doing - Under the approach of judgments, in this very place, under the walls of my temple.
10: Every form - Of such creatures as the Egyptians, or any others with whom the Jews had acquaintance, worshipped.
11: Seventy - Heads of the tribes or families, who should have been examples of true religion, not ringleaders in idolatry. Shaphan - Mentioned (2Ki 22:9). Shaphan was forward in reforming under Josiah and his son is as forward in corrupting the worship of God.
12: Seeth not - They deny God's care of them and their affairs, and therefore they must chuse some other god.
13: Greater - Either because added to all the rest: or, because some circumstances in these make them more abominable.
14: The door - Of the outer court, or court of the women, so called, because they were allowed to come into it. Weeping - Performing all the lewd and beastly rites of that idol, called by the Greeks, Adonis.
15: Greater - These later wickednesses may be accounted greater, because acted in a more sacred place.
16: Inner court - The innermost, that which was next the temple, called here the Lord's house. At the door - Before he saw abominations in the gates of the courts, now he is come to the very house itself. The porch - That stately porch, beautified with the curious and mighty brass pillars, Jachin and Boaz. Altar - The brazen altar for burnt - offerings, which was placed in the court before the front of the temple, and is here represented in its proper place. Their backs - In contempt of God, and his worship. The sun - In imitation of the Persians, Egyptians, and other eastern idolaters; these Jews turn their back on God who created the sun, and worship the creature in contempt of the Creator.
17: Violence - All injustice is here meant towards all sorts of men, whom they first despise and next destroy. Returned - From injustice against man they return to impiety against God. The branch - As the worshippers of Bacchus waved their Thyrsus, the stalk wreathed with ivy, and bowed their bodies and often kissed the branches, so did these idolatrous Jews.
18: Will not hear - The time was, when God was ready to have heard, even before they cried: but now they cry aloud, and yet cry in vain. It is the upright heart which God regards, and not the loud voice.
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