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Bible Commentaries

Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Ezekiel 19

Verses 1-9

EZEKIEL - CHAPTER 19

LAMENTATION FOR COMING FATE OF ISRAEL AND HER PRINCES

Verses 1-9:

Verse 1 calls upon Ezekiel to take up or give out a lamentation, a doleful statement of the melancholy fate of the princes of Israel, or more properly, of the kingdom of Judah, of the nation of Israel, Ezekiel 26:17; Ezekiel 27:2. The prophet is given a foreview of the capture and exile of Judah’s princes in Egypt and Babylon. This form of judgment and lamentation is set forth in a pit. Other similar parables of the O.T. may be found Ezekiel 23:1-17; Judges 9:7-15; Zechariah 11:7-14.

Verse 2 raises and answers the question regarding Jerusalem, the mother of Judah, Ezekiel 21:20; Galatians 4:25. She was the central, royal residence of the tribe of Judah. She is called a lion, alluding to Genesis 49:9-10. She couched among the nations, had intercourse with them, as a lioness, especially displaying degenerate royalty in the days of David, yet remaining intact as a nation until the "lion of the tribe of Judah" came, who is yet to come again, Numbers 23:24; Numbers 24:9; Isaiah 29:1; Revelation 5:5. She (Judah and Jerusalem) "lay down among lions," other kingdoms of the Gentile nations, taking her place among the family of nations, 2 Samuel 7:9. There she "nourished her whelps among young lions;" The whelps of the mother lion were the sons of the king of Israel, brought up among and with the mighty heathen of the earth, with their corruption.

Verse 3 states that the lion brought up one of her whelps to be a strong young lion that learned to catch prey, in a very powerful way, so that it devoured men, with the barbarity of a ravenous, starving lion. Having chosen, demanded a king, Israel set out on her rapacious ways of exploit by slaughter, like a barbarious tyrant. She reaped the bitter fruit of her rebellious life of international exploit by intermarriage with Gentile races, and the corollary sin of bowing down to their idol gods, that were associated with licentious, lustful living, 1 Samuel 8:9-16; 1 Samuel 8:19-22; 1 Samuel 9:17; 1 Samuel 10:1; 2 Kings 23:31-32. Saul, the first king of Israel, in her national rebellion against God, was a Benjaminite, not of the tribe of Judah, through whom the Messiah was to come, Genesis 49:10.

Verse 4 describes how this whelp (young lion) of Israel that had stirred up the nations about him was taken in their pit and "brought with chains" into the land of Egypt. This alludes to the fate of Jehoahaz, as related 2 Kings 23:31; 2 Kings 23:33. The chains or fetters correspond to the hooks and rings that were put in the noses of wild beasts to lead them about, against their will, 2 Kings 19:28; Ezekiel 29:4; 2 Chronicles 36:4; Jeremiah 22:11-12.

Verse 5 states that when she, the mother lioness, Jerusalem and Judah, saw that having waited and hoped for success in Jehohaz, which hope had faded and failed, she took another of her whelps and made him a young lion; This was Jehoiachim, new king, 2 Kings 23:34; 2 Kings 24:8.

Verse 6 states that he paraded up and down among the lions, other Gentile kings, strutting his mane, displaying his devouring strength, proud and arrogant, affecting great magnificence among the kings. He was carnally ambitious to be recognized among the great lions of the nations, Jeremiah 22:13-17. His pride went "before destruction" and his haughty spirit before his "fall," Proverbs 16:18. He learned to pounce upon men for his prey, devouring men. To gratify his ambition he was ruthless, cruel, tyrannical, and barbarous, guilty of bloodshed and oppression, as described, 2 Kings 23:17.

Verse 7 asserts that this young lion of Judah, Jehoichin knew the desolate palaces or residences of widows of the men he had devoured, v. 6; Instead of protecting them he injured them further. He destroyed the cities of territories he conquered and caused the land to be desolate, destroying crops of the field, to make the people he conquered to become abject slaves, like widows, under his control, by the noise of his roaring; That is by his tyrannical decrees, Isaiah 13:22.

Verse 8 recounts that then, under these circumstances, the nations from the surrounding provinces set upon him, to destroy him. These nations were Syrians, Chaldeans, Ammonites, and Moabites, who had been summoned against Jehoiakim, the father of Jehoiachin. These countries were surrounding parts of the Chaldean Empire.

Verse 9 adds that they put him (Jehoiachin) in chains and brought him captive to the king of Babylon, like a nose-led or chained wild beast. There, though a captive prisoner, he was treated kindly by Evil-Merodach, as recounted 2 Kings 25:27-30; 2 Chronicles 36:3; Jeremiah 52:11. His voice was heard no more in Israel, or upon the mountains.

Verses 10-14

LAMENTATION FOR JUDAH’S KINGDOM

Verses 10-14:

Verse 10 begins a lamentation over Judah under the parable of a wasted vine. Judah was that royal vine whose mother was Jerusalem. She had been planted there in her birthblood, just after coming from Egypt where she was born. That royal vine was torn when Jehoiachin was carried captive into Babylon. But the vine was planted afresh through Zedekiah. Jerusalem and Judah, center of Jewish national worship, had formerly been prospered like a fruitful vine, in the blood of her grapes, full of branches planted by or beside many waters or oasis of water, to sustain them, Deuteronomy 8:7-9, they lived in the integrity of their law and covenant, Exodus 19:1-8.

Verse 11 explains that she, Jerusalem and Judah, once had strong rods (princes of the royal house of David) who bare royal rule in the land. She had then grown in stature and was held in high esteem in the height of her multitude of her thick branches of growth, like a cedar of Lebanon, Daniel 4:11. This was in contrast with a vine that must be held up or supported; Yet though high and exalted as an oak or cedar tree she was without good fruit, Ezekiel 15:6.

Verse 12 declares, however, that she had been plucked up in fury (like a tornado) and was cast down to the ground, in humiliation, to be trampled under foot by tyrant armies of the Chaldeans. The east wind (with her burning) blasted and dried up her fruit. Her strong rods (royal princes) of Judah were broken and withered. And the fire consumed them. Zedekiah of Davidic lineage, became the object of this lament, as if it had already happened, Ezekiel 17:10; Hosea 13:15.

Verse 13 describes Israel as removed from her land, transported. and transplanted in the wilderness (desert areas) of Babylon, called a "dry and thirsty land." Israel, out of her land, is like a fish out of water, a rabbit away from a briar patch, or a duck away from water. Out there she is least happy, fruitful, and in greater anxiety. But she was carried there and chastened because of her sins, even as forewarned, De ch. 28; See also Ezekiel 20:35; Numbers 32:23.

Verse 14 declares that a fire (self-consuming energy) had gone out of a rod of her branches to devour her fruit. This rod of Israel was Zedekiah who connived against Babylon by making friends with Egypt. This brought the burning fury of Nebuchadnezzar against Zedekiah so that he sent his armies sweeping over Israel and Judah and Jerusalem, putting an end to their fruitful vine, 2 Chronicles 36:17. It was a thing every devout Jewish patriot has since bitterly bewailed, 2 Kings 24:20. She no longer had a strong rod or prince of the royal lineage of David to be a sceptre-bearer to rule, Genesis 49:10; Numbers 24:17; Micah 5:2. This is for a "lamentation, and shall be for a lamentation," to be long continued, even until today, Luke 21:24; Judges 9:15; 2 Kings 24:20.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Blessed Hope Foundation and the Baptist Training Center.
Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Ezekiel 19". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/ezekiel-19.html. 1985.