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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Ezekiel 19

Verses 1-14

Ezekiel 19:2-3 . Thy mother was a lioness she brought up one of her whelps; it became a young lion. These words are cited from Jacob’s testamentary benedictions, in which Judah is called a lion’s whelp. Genesis 49:9. But here the appellation is given in the sense of Isaiah 29:1. “Woe to Ariel;” that is, the lion of God. Belligerent kings are often called lions. St. Paul says of Nero, “God delivered me from the mouth of the lion.”

Ezekiel 19:4 . He was taken in their pit. 1 Kings 23:33, 34. Man by ingenuity exercises his sovereignty still over the beasts of the earth. He displays the superiority of reason by drawing the fish from the deep, and by taking the fowls of heaven dead or alive at his pleasure. The largest of animals, the fiercest and swiftest of wild beasts, he takes with equal ease, by palisading the trees of the woods in the form of a cross or of the letter X, in the centre of which he digs a pit, and covers it over with boughs, rotten sticks, grass or leaves. Here, in the morning, he sometimes finds a lion, a tiger or a wolf, and disposes of his enemy at pleasure. Into this pit, with dogs and shouts, he drives the more peaceful buffalo, the deer, and other granivorous animals. This mode of taking them may illustrate many expressions of David respecting the pit.

Ezekiel 19:6-7 . He went up and down among the lions devoured men laid waste their cities. After David’s house became idolaters, God apparently impaired their intellect; they did not know the relative weakness of their small kingdom. The scriptures say of Jehoahaz, that he did evil in the sight of the Lord. He levied war on his own subjects.

Ezekiel 19:13-14 . She, once a flourishing vine on the mountains of Israel, as in Psalms 80:0. and Isaiah 5:0., is now transplanted into the wilderness, dried and parched with the east wind of captivity. She has no strong rod to become a sceptre; not one prince of David’s house fit to fill his father’s throne.


From the parables in this chapter, we have deeply to lament the misconduct of the kings and the councils of Judah, during the last periods of the kingdom. They forfeited the crown, so long promised to the house of David, and brought the last of calamities on their country. Instead of knowing that their kingdom was incomparably weaker than Babylon in the east, and Egypt in the west, and seeking divine protection, as Samuel, David, and Jehoshaphat did, the young Jehoahaz was a lion in shedding innocent blood at home, and in depredations on the neighbouring states in alliance with the Egyptians. Hence Pharaoh-Necho, after a short reign of folly for three months, put him in chains for a life of repentance.

The other whelp was Jehoiakim, who was not made wise by his brother’s errors. Against Egypt, to which he was tributary, he durst not offend. But he shed blood at home, and engaged in depredations on the allies of Babylon. This brought upon him the vengeance of Nebuchadnezzar, who took and plundered Jerusalem before the Egyptians could afford them succour, and led the king in chains to Babylon. The age was now growing more polite. Nebuchadnezzar seldom slew a king, but with counsellors he was prodigal of blood. Thus Zion, now loaded with sins, was promiscuously spoiled by her enemies: she had help neither in God nor man.

Nebuchadnezzar behaved as handsomely to the jews as the king of Egypt had done, by leaving Zedekiah on the throne of his fathers. Now Zion, the mother, is no more compared to a lion, as under David, but to a tender vine, which needed the support of neighbouring states. But the Egyptians being thought the more lenient of the two powers which now swayed the east and the west, she completed her final ruin by shooting out her roots towards the waters of the Nile. Hereby she despised the Lord’s repeated counsel by the prophets, not to lean on that bruised reed; and she despised the Chaldeans by a breach of solemn oath made in the name of the Lord. Hence Nebuchadnezzar with the hottest indignation came and burnt her temple and all the fenced cities with fire. Thus, in the fatal errors of Judah, we have a mirror of instruction for states and kingdoms. There is no nation which sanctions the violation of public morals, and forsakes the worship of God, but must err more and more till destruction completes their ruin. On a similar scale, it is just the same with men who forsake the good ways of the Lord, and fall into gross and grievous sins. They who were reputed wise, now are fools indeed. They cover themselves and their families with a blot, and their sins will often be mentioned to warn posterity. Oh may a thousand voices, and a thousand motives of terror and love, keep back the soul from presumptuous sins. The sins of Judah caused the vine, or Zion, to be plucked up; to be much dried by the east wind, and to be planted in the wilderness, in a dry and thirsty ground. Not literally indeed, for the jews wept by the waters of Babylon. But spiritually they had no altar, no reading of the law, and no regular worship; their harps were hung on the willow, as in Psalms 137:0. Thus apostasy makes the church an abhorrence, cuts off the streams of mercy, and brings death and destruction on the soul.

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Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Ezekiel 19". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. 1835.