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Bible Commentaries

Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Ezekiel 22

Verses 1-16

EZEKIEL - CHAPTER 22

SINS OF ISRAEL ENUMERATED

Verses 1-16:

Verse 1 states that "moreover," or in addition to, the occasions for Divine judgments already pronounced on Israel and Jerusalem, the Lord commanded Ezekiel to state the following specific sins of which they were guilty.

Verse 2 addresses Ezekiel as "son of man," or heir representative of man. He is asked if he will judge or really speak out concerning judgment that is to be poured out on the beloved city of Jerusalem, now a bloody city. In this mandate from the Lord he was directed specifically to show her "all her abominations," or all kinds of abominable sins she had committed, and was committing, against God and His law covenant she had made with Him.

Verse 3 charges him directly what to say in bringing definitive legal charges against the "bloody city," v. 2. First, she was charged with shedding blood (sanctioning murder) within the city, even rivaling Ninevah of the gentiles, in sacrificing her young children to Moloch, Nahum 3:1. Her judgment hour was at hand for burning her children alive in the arms of this pagan god, Proverbs 8:36. Ezekiel was to tell it straight, Isaiah 13:22; Ezekiel 30:3. Second, the city had, and was continuing to make (form, manufacture, produce, and distribute), idols within her walls. For such defilement, Divine judgment, without mercy, had to come to show the holiness and justice of God, Exodus 20:1-5; Micah 6:16.

Verse 4 asserts that Jerusalem had herself caused the days of her judgment to draw near. Her people had chosen to defile themselves and their city, by their own carnal, covetous, and rebellious will. They had caused Divine mercy and patience to run out, for God’s Spirit "does not always strive with men," Genesis 6:3. The specifics of their enumerated sins were: 1) They shed innocent blood; 2) They defiled themselves in the idols that they had themselves made; 2 Kings 21:16; Deuteronomy 27:15; Deuteronomy 3) They had themselves made; 2 Kings 21:16; Deuteronomy 27:15; Deuteronomy 3) They had caused their own days and years of inevitable judgment to draw near, and could not make excuses for the fruit of their sins in judgment, Numbers 32:23; Romans 2:1; Galatians 6:7-8. Because of their own chosen sins of uncleanness, idolatry, and defilement they forfeited a dwelling place in the holy city, by their own crimes. God made them to be an object of reproach, derision, and mocking among heathen nations, Ezekiel 5:14; Deuteronomy 28:37; 1 Kings 9:7; Daniel 9:16; Leviticus 26:32.

Verse 5 personified the cities near and far about Jerusalem as mocking, scoffing, and deriding Jerusalem in her infamous fall, Ezekiel 23:48; For in her vexation she would fall to the dust, Lamentations 1:1; Deuteronomy 29:24.

Verse 6, 7 charge that the princes, or rulers of the city of Jerusalem, acted with the strong arm of a despot, crushing any person that crossed their path, Isaiah 1:23; Micah 3:1-3; Zephaniah 3:3. They put the innocent (who opposed their views) to death, as Jehoiakim, 2 Kings 24:4; Manasseh, 2 Kings 21:16. They "set light" (despised) their father and mother, to bring a curse, under the law, Deuteronomy 27:16; Mark 7:10-13. They oppressed the stranger and vexed the orphans and widows in the midst of the city, under their rule, defying the very law of God they were ordained to uphold, Deuteronomy 27:16.

Verse 8 asserts that they too had despised or taken lightly His holy things, Leviticus 19:10, concerning worship and behavior and profaned His sabbaths, Exodus 20:8-9.

Verse 9-11 describe, in addition to slander, bloodshed, and idolatry of verses 6-8, the crimes of lewdness and incest as follows: Verse 9 charges that men were carrying tales to shed blood, peddlers who were informers against others for pay, hence the phrase talebearers, tattlers, or busybodies, Leviticus 19:16; 1 Timothy 5:13. They were also charged with "eating upon the mountains," going out on mountains to eat to idols, and commit lewdness, engage in sexual orgies before the idol gods, Jeremiah 3:6.
Verse 10 charges them with "uncovering their father’s nakedness," or having promiscuous sex relations, with their mother or stepmother, or one of their father’s polygamous wives. They too humbled her who was set apart by their father for uncleanness or pollution; It was perhaps a sister their father had given or hired out for prostitution, a breach of God’s law, Ezekiel 18:6; Leviticus 18:7-8; Leviticus 18:19; Leviticus 20:18.
Verse 11 continues to indict the rulers of Jerusalem for both practicing and condoning fornication and adultery with a neighbor’s wife, incest of a father with his daughter-in-law, and his father’s daughter, his own sister, all deeds of impurity and defilement under their own law, Leviticus 18:9; Leviticus 18:20; Deuteronomy 27:22. See also Leviticus 18:6-24; 2 Samuel 13:12.

Verse 12 charges that the princes or rulers of Jerusalem had taken gifts (bribes, pay off) to shed blood, forbidden Exodus 23:8; Deuteronomy 16:19; Deuteronomy 27:25. They had taken usury and greedy gain, exorbitant profits from their neighbors, gained by extortion threats, and in all they had ignored and "forgotten God," the root of all their evil deeds, Deuteronomy 32:18; Jeremiah 3:21; Ezekiel 23:35.

Verse 13 calls upon their princes, (rulers) of Israel, and the city of Jerusalem in particular, to recognize that He has smitten his hand in anger because of disappointment in their dishonest gain, and at the blood shed by murder in their midst, Ezekiel 21:17. Covetousness and blood-guiltiness are the two sins that are described as exciting the wrath of God, Isaiah 1:23; Micah 3:1-3; Exodus 20:17.

Verse 14 rhetorically asks the people and rulers in Jerusalem whether or not their heart can endure or their hands be strong in the days when He shall deal with them in judgment. The inference is that they can not, can they? For he should surely send it upon them, Isaiah 31:3; 1 Corinthians 10:22; Ezekiel 17:24; Ezekiel 21:7.

Verse 15 certifies that the Lord will scatter them among the nations and disperse them in the countries to consume their filthiness from them. The object of this dispersion was twofold: 1) First, to recover the Jews from idolatry and 2) Second, to remove them from the polluting influence that accompanied idolatry, Deuteronomy 4:27.

Verse 16 states that Israel should take her inheritance in herself in the sight of the heathen until she should know or recognize that their God was also their Lord. They of Jerusalem had desecrated their sanctuaries, v. 8, and forfeited thereby their right to worship any more until they had been judged. And they were to see it desecrated and destroyed as a requital for their sins; They were to loathe themselves there in the land of Chaldea for their former sins, Exodus 8:23; 1 Kings 20:13; 1 Kings 20:28; Psalms 9:16; Psalms 83:18; Isaiah 37:20; Daniel 4:25.

Verses 17-22

PARABLE OF THE DROSS IN THE FURNANCE

Verses 17-22:

Verses 17, 18 recount the Lord’s transitional directions to Ezekiel to move to give a further form of warning to Israel. He was directed to advise Israel that she had become dross to Him, as worthless offing, 1 Kings 22:11; Psalms 119:110; Isaiah 1:22; Jeremiah 6:28; Jeremiah 6:30. She was to be as a furnace in which fire was to burn her dross, in the city of Jerusalem, under siege by the Chaldean armed hordes, Psalms 119:119; Isaiah 1:22; Jeremiah 6:28. All citizens of Jerusalem had become as brass, tin, iron, and lead in the midst of the furnace where they, as silver were to have the dross burned away, separated. For they had become a compound of wickedness.

Verse 19 concludes that the Lord had stated that because all in Jerusalem had become dross (offing) from precious metal, He would gather them in the midst of Jerusalem to burn them, purify them as in a furnace. Their wickedness had compounded till He would forebear no longer, Psalms 7:11-12.

Verse 20 explains that as smelters gather silver, brass, lead, iron, and tin into the furnace to blow the white-heat fire on it to melt it, so would the Lord gather the Israelites into Jerusalem to burn them or melt them, to make their dross sins real to them, Numbers 32:23.

Verses 21, 22 declare again, for strong emphasis that He will, with determined counsel, gather Israel into Jerusalem to blow upon them with His anger, that they should be melted before Him, Ezekiel 20:8; Ezekiel 20:33; as also described Jeremiah 6:28-30.

Verses 23-31

SPECIFIC SINS OF PRIESTS, PRINCES, PROPHETS,

AND PEOPLE

Verses 23-31:

Verses 23, 24 call on Ezekiel as "son of man" to advise the land of Israel that it is not cleansed (but is polluted) or rained upon in the day of her indignation. The priests whose duty it was to keep the land free from moral and ceremonial defilement had neglected their duty, Leviticus 16:19. Jerusalem was the concentrated center of iniquity of the whole land. The sanctifying showers of the prophetic word had not been given by her prophets or fallen upon her, Deuteronomy 32:2. Her prophets had uttered vain speeches and lying visions, v. 28. Former and latter rains were withheld now, Joel 2:23.

Verse 25 charges the false prophets of Israel with conspiring as follows: 1) Like a roaring lion they had ravished the land to satisfy their own carnal, covetous, lustful appetites; 2) They had devoured, destroyed the souls of men; 3) They had taken by greed and graft the wealth of the people; and 4) They had made many widows in the land by murdering or causing the early death of their husbands by their oppressions, Hosea 6:9; Micah 3:11; Zephaniah 3:3-4; Matthew 23:14.

Verse 26 charges the priests of Israel with:
1) violating and profaning the very laws of the Lord they were ordained and anointed to uphold, in matters both civil and religious, through the way they lived and their neglect to teach the law of the Lord, Malachi 2:7-8;
2) They profaned the Holy things, putting no difference between the holy and profane, the clean and the unclean, Leviticus 22:2; 1 Samuel 2:29. They too closed their eyes and turned their backs on the holy sabbaths, for themselves and the people, Isaiah 5:20; Exodus 20:8-11; Leviticus 10; Leviticus 10, 11; Lamentations 4:13.

Verse 27 charges that not only had her prophets and priests disregarded God’s laws for Israel, but also her rulers or princes as political, civil rulers were like cruel, ravenous, carnivorous, voracious wolves. They shed blood and destroyed souls or lives for dishonest gain, bribes, "shake down" pay, v. 6; Isaiah 1:23; Micah 3:2-3; Micah 3:9-11; Zephaniah 3:3. They were greedy of gain, John 10:12.

Verse 28 again charges her prophets of the land with daubing the work of the political leaders with untempered mortar, divining and prophesying lies, telling matters that the political, leaders wanted to hear, Jeremiah 8:10-11. They flattered instead of telling it straight, that Divine judgment would soon strike the land, Jeremiah 6:14; Ezekiel 13:10; 2 Timothy 4:2-4.

Verse 29 charges that not only had: 1) the prophets, 2) the priests, and 3) the princes or rulers corrupted the land of Israel, Jeremiah 5:1-4, but also the masses, all classes of the people had: 1) used oppression, 2) practiced robbery, 3) vexed the poor and needy, and 4) oppressed the strangers, rather than turning to God, Deuteronomy 27:17; Deuteronomy 27:19; Deuteronomy 27:26.

Verse 30 laments that the Lord sought for a man who would make up the hedge and stand in the gap before him, to turn the people back from sin, as Moses had once done, Jeremiah 5:1. But He found no man! How forlorn, hopeless! Psalms 106:23. And now it was too late, Jeremiah 11:14; Jeremiah 14:1-17; Proverbs 1:26-31; Genesis 18:23.

Verse 31 concludes that because of the gravity, wanton disobedience of the leaders and laity of Israel against His holy laws and their own broken covenant, the indignation of His just judgment wrath should fall upon their own heads, heavily, very soon, as forewarned, Ezekiel 18:30. For their own transgressions, not their father’s, they were punished, Proverbs 1:31; Isaiah 3:11; Jeremiah 6:19.

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 22". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/ezekiel-22.html. 1985.