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And it came to pass in the sixth year, in the sixth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I sat in mine house, and the elders of Judah sat before me, that the hand of the Lord GOD fell there upon me.
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.
Then I beheld, and lo a likeness as the appearance of fire: from the appearance of his loins even downward, fire; and from his loins even upward, as the appearance of brightness, as the colour of amber.
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.
And he put forth the form of an hand, and took me by a lock of mine head; and the spirit lifted me up between the earth and the heaven, and brought me in the visions of God to Jerusalem, to the door of the inner gate that looketh toward the north; where was the seat of the image of jealousy, which provoketh to jealousy.
And — This, and all the passages to the end of the16th 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.
Then said he unto me, Son of man, lift up thine eyes now the way toward the north. So I lifted up mine eyes the way toward the north, and behold northward at the gate of the altar this image of jealousy in the entry.
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.
He said furthermore unto me, Son of man, seest thou what they do? even the great abominations that the house of Israel committeth here, that I should go far off from my sanctuary? but turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations.
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.
And he brought me to the door of the court; and when I looked, behold a hole in the wall.
The door — The second door, for there were two in the north side.
Then said he unto me, Son of man, dig now in the wall: and when I had digged in the wall, behold a door.
A door — A private door, by which the priests entered into the chamber of their imagery, to perform idolatrous worship to their images.
And he said unto me, Go in, and behold the wicked abominations that they do here.
Are doing — Under the approach of judgments, in this very place, under the walls of my temple.
So I went in and saw; and behold every form of creeping things, and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, pourtrayed upon the wall round about.
Every form — Of such creatures as the Egyptians, or any others with whom the Jews had acquaintance, worshipped.
And there stood before them seventy men of the ancients of the house of Israel, and in the midst of them stood Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan, with every man his censer in his hand; and a thick cloud of incense went up.
Seventy — Heads of the tribes or families, who should have been examples of true religion, not ringleaders in idolatry.
Shaphan — Mentioned2Kings22:9. Shaphan was forward in reforming under Josiah and his son is as forward in corrupting the worship of God.
Then said he unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen what the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the chambers of his imagery? for they say, The LORD seeth us not; the LORD hath forsaken the earth.
Seeth not — They deny God's care of them and their affairs, and therefore they must chuse some other god.
He said also unto me, Turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations that they do.
Greater — Either because added to all the rest: or, because some circumstances in these make them more abominable.
Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the LORD's house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz.
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.
Then said he unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations than these.
Greater — These later wickednesses may be accounted greater, because acted in a more sacred place.
And he brought me into the inner court of the LORD's house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east.
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.
Then he said unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they commit here? for they have filled the land with violence, and have returned to provoke me to anger: and, lo, they put the branch to their nose.
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.
Therefore will I also deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them.
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.
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Ezekiel 8". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 14 / Ordinary 19