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Eze 9:1 He cried also in mine ears with a loud voice, saying, Cause them that have charge over the city to draw near, even every man [with] his destroying weapon in his hand.
Ver. 1. He cried also. ] God, to whom vengeance belongeth, calleth aloud and with a courage, as we say, to the executioners of his wrath, to come and fall on.
Cause them that have charge over the city. ] Proefecti urbis - i.e., the angels, here called the visitations or visitors of Jerusalem, the prefects of the city.
Every man with his destroying weapon. ] Called Eze 9:2 a maul, or battle axe, telum dissipatorium.
Eze 9:2 And, behold, six men came from the way of the higher gate, which lieth toward the north, and every man a slaughter weapon in his hand; and one man among them [was] clothed with linen, with a writer’s inkhorn by his side: and they went in, and stood beside the brasen altar.
Ver. 2. And, behold, six men came. ] Ad hunc Dei clamorem vel clangorem; the angels came, the Chaldees came, at the call of this Lord of hosts, who hath all creatures at his beck and check.
By the way of the higher gate. ] Called also the new gate, Jer 26:10 built by Jotham. 2Ch 27:3
Toward the north. ] Where stood the idol of jealousy, and whereby Nebuchadnezzar entered.
“ Per quod quis peccat, per idem punitur et ipse. ”
One man among them. ] This was a created angel, say some; Eze 10:2 Christ, the angel of the covenant, say others, with more likelihood of truth.
Clothed with linen. ] As high priest of his people, and in addition an offering for them, and that without spot. Heb 9:14
And a writer’s inkhorn by his side.] An ensign of his prophetic office, say some, as his linen clothing was of his priestly; and of his kingly, that he was among, or in the midst of, the six slaughtermen, as their captain and commander.
They went in and stood beside the brazen altar. ] Where they might receive further instructions from God. So in the Revelation, those angels that were to pour out the vials of divine vengeance, are said to come out of the temple.
Eze 9:3 And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon he was, to the threshold of the house. And he called to the man clothed with linen, which [had] the writer’s inkhorn by his side;
Ver. 3. And the glory of the God of Israel, ] i.e., The Son of God appearing upon the glorious chariot, Ezekiel 1:3 ; Eze 3:23 and being "the brightness of his Father’s glory, the express image of his person." Heb 1:3
Was gone up from the cherub, ] i.e., From those four cherubims upon which the glory of the Lord did then appear to the prophet. Eze 8:4 He was gone from his ark, to show that the refractory Jews were now discovenanted; and from his mercy seat, to show that he would show them no more mercy. Many moves God makes in this and the two following chapters to show his loathness utterly to move; and still, as he goeth out, some judgment cometh in. Here he removeth from the cherubims in the oracle to the threshold; and upon that removal see what followeth; Eze 9:3-7 so for the rest see Ezekiel 10:1-2 ; Ezekiel 10:4 ; Ezekiel 10:18-19 ; Ezekiel 11:8-10 ; Ezekiel 11:22-23 ; and when God was quite gone from the city, then followed the fatal calamity in the ruin thereof. But that he went away by degrees, and not soon and at once, was an argument of his very great love and longsuffering. He left them step by step, as it were, and pled loath to depart; but that there was no remedy. Tied he is not to any place, as these fond Jews thought he was to their visible temple, which now he is about therefore to abandon, and to make their very sanctuary a slaughterhouse.
Eze 9:4 And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.
Ver. 4. And the Lord. ] That great Imperator, General.
Go through the midst. ] Discriminate; make a difference; "take out the precious from the vile." God will sever his saints from others in common calamities, and deliver them, if not from the common destruction, yet from the common distraction.
And set a mark upon the foreheads. ] Vulgate, Et signa Thau. Whatever this mark was, it was signum salutare. The letter Tau some think it was, as part of the word Tichieh - i.e., Thou shalt live; according to that, "The just shall live by his faith." Or as part of the word Torah - i.e., The law, to show that these had the law of God written in their hearts, and this made them mourn to see it so little set by. Howsoever, it is not the sign of the cross, as Papists would have it, but rather the blood of the cross, wherewith, when believers are sprinkled from an evil conscience, as the houses of the Israelites in Goshen were with the blood of the paschal lamb, they are sure of safety here and salvation hereafter. The election of God is sure, and hath this seal, "The Lord knoweth who are his," 2Ti 2:19 and it shall appear by them. Psa 91:1-16 Tau is the basis of the Hebrew alphabet, saith one, and marking by Christ is the basis of all true comfort and sound profession. Tau endeth and closeth up the alphabet, saith another; so he who persevereth to the end shall be saved. The mark here mentioned was not corporal but spiritual, even the merit and spirit of Christ, the value and virtue of his death and sufferings.
Of the men that sigh and cry. ] That sigh deeply and cry out bitterly for their own and other men’s sins and miseries, and this out of piety and pity. These are not many, yet some such are found in all ages. Rev 11:3 Inter vepres rosa nascitur, et inter feras nonnullae mitescunt. a Let us mourn in time of sinning: so shall we be marked in times of punishing.
Eze 9:5 And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity:
Ver. 5. Go ye after him. ] Go not till he hath marked the mourners, so chary and choice is God of his jewels. Mercy is his firstborn, saith one, and visits the saints ere judgments break out. Isa 26:20-21
Eze 9:6 Slay utterly old [and] young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom [is] the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which [were] before the house.
Ver. 6. Slay utterly old and young. ] a A dreadful commission; see it fully executed, 2 Chronicles 36:17 : all sorts, sexes, and sizes of people were corrupted; and since there was no hope of curing, there must be cutting.
But come not near any upon whom is the mark. ] These were the "precious sons of Zion," the "excellent ones of the earth" - as whatsoever is sealed is excellent in its kind, Isa 28:25 hordeum signatum. - these are the darlings, the favourites; handle them gently therefore for my sake, touch not mine anointed, come not near any such to fright them, but keep your distance.
And begin at my sanctuary. ] From whence went forth profaneness into the whole land. Jer 23:15 These sanctuary men were an ill generation; at them therefore begins the judgment. God will be sanctified in all that draw near unto him. Nadab and Abihu found the flames of jealousy hottest about the altar. Uzzah and the Bethshemites felt that justice as well as mercy is most active about the ark. Murderers must be drawn from the altar to the slaughter. Exo 21:14 Holy places were wont to be refuges; not so here, but the contrary.
Then they began at the ancient men. ] At those seventy seniors, Eze 8:11 whose foul offences had flown far upon the two wings of evil example and scandal.
a Immedicabile vulnus ense recidendum.
Eze 9:7 And he said unto them, Defile the house, and fill the courts with the slain: go ye forth. And they went forth, and slew in the city.
Ver. 7. Defile the house. ] Once hallowed by myself, but now abhorred and rejected as a stew or sty of filthiness.
Fill the courts. ] That where they have sinned, there they may suffer, as did Ahab. 1Ki 22:38 2Ki 9:26
Eze 9:8 And it came to pass, while they were slaying them, and I was left, that I fell upon my face, and cried, and said, Ah Lord GOD! wilt thou destroy all the residue of Israel in thy pouring out of thy fury upon Jerusalem?
Ver. 8. And I was left. ] And, as I was apt to think, alone. Rom 11:3
I fell upon my face and cried. ] This is the guise of the gracious in evil times, as may be seen in Moses, Jeremiah, Paul, Athanasius, Ambrose, &c.
Ah, Lord God! ] Adonai Jehovi (not Jehova, as elsewhere usually), so the saints have sometimes prayed, tanquam singultientes in patheticis precibus, a or rather sighed out their most earnest suits to God. as Gen 15:2-8 Deuteronomy 3:24 ; Deu 9:26
Wilt thou destroy all the residue of Israel? ] Brevis quidem est haec querimonia prophetae: at multa complectitur. b This is a brief but a complexive complaint, and hath much in it.
Eze 9:9 Then said he unto me, The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah [is] exceeding great, and the land is full of blood, and the city full of perverseness: for they say, The LORD hath forsaken the earth, and the LORD seeth not.
Ver. 9. The iniquity of Israel is exceeding great. ] Nimls veldt. Still there is a cause, to be sure; and God’s judgments are sometimes secret, ever just; and as swift rivers, when they once fall into lakes or seas, are at rest, so are our restless minds, when once they fall into the depth of the Divine justice, duly considered.
And the city full of perverseness. ] Or, Wresting of judgment. Declinatione et detorsone iudicii. Mutteh, i.e., mishpat din Mitteh, saith the Hebrew scholiast; a that is, judgment turned from the bias, as it were: when the balance of justice is tilted on to one side, as Paul’s word, κατα προσκλισιν , importeth. 1Ti 5:21
For they say, The Lord hath forsaken the earth. ] See on Ezekiel 8:12 . Hic est fons omnium scelerum, saith A Lapide: hinc ruunt homines in celerum abyssam, saith Theodoret. When men are once turned atheists, what will they not dare to do? What should hinder them from laying the reins on the neck, and running riot in wickedness?
a One who writes explanatory notes upon an author; esp. an ancient commentator upon a classical writer. ŒD
Eze 9:10 And as for me also, mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity, [but] I will recompense their way upon their head.
Ver. 10. And as for me also. ] Quapropter etiam ego, Wherefore also I; and there is a stop by an elegant aposiopesis. a
Mine eye shall not spare. ] Ezekiel 5:11 ; Ezekiel 7:4 ; Ezekiel 8:18 . See a just commentary upon these words, Jeremiah 9:3-17 .
a A rhetorical artifice, in which the speaker comes to a sudden halt, as if unable or unwilling to proceed. ŒD
Eze 9:11 And, behold, the man clothed with linen, which [had] the inkhorn by his side, reported the matter, saying, I have done as thou hast commanded me.
Ver. 11. And behold the man reported the matter. ] The Vulgate hath it respondit verbum, as if he had been asked before whether he had done as was bidden.
I have done as thou hast commanded me. ] So did David; Psa 119:112 Act 13:22 and the Son of David; John 17:4 ; Joh 14:31 and Paul, witness his famous vox voice προαγωνιος . 2Ti 4:6-8 Let every of us so carry the matter toward God that at death we may say with that servant in Luke 17:9 , "Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded."
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Ezekiel 9". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany