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Bible Commentaries

Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

Ezekiel 8

Verse 1

Eze 8:1. Sixth year is dated from the year that Jehoiachin was taken off his throne and taken to Babylon, at which time Ezekiel also was taken. According to Eze 1:2-3 Ezekiel began his writing after he had been in Babylon five years, hence the present chapter was written after he had heen there six years, Elders comes from ZAQEN and Strong defines it with the single word ''old." The elders among the Jews is a term that has an indefinite meaning. The original law of Moses makes no provision for them as an official or ruling class, but later they became a very influential group. Sometimes the word is used with ref-erence to age and at other times it refers to the leaders or representative men. The context must determine the meaning of the word in each case. Ezekiel was about to be given an important communication from the Lord and he was sitting in the presence of these elders. Though they were in the land of captivity, they had not lost their "seniority” among the Jews. Hand , . . fell upon me means that God took charge of the prophet to display before him a vision concerning the people of Judah.

Verse 2

Eze 8:2. God never appears In person before fleshly man, but doeB the work through a spiritual representative, Such a personage was sent to Ezekiel for the momentous occasion at hand. (See a similar incident in Rev 1:14-15.)

Verse 3

Eze 8:3, Spirit lifted me up and in the Visions are important keys to the meaning of this verse. By them the reader will understand that Ezekiel never actually left Babylon at all, and this most be constantly kept in mind or great confusion will result. The prophet saw the things described in a vision right while he was bodily in Babylon, in the same manner in which John saw things in Heaven while he was bodily in the Isle of Patmos. Image of jealousy means an idol, and it is called by this name in the sense of Exo 20:5, where God forbade the making of any image to worship because He was a jealous God.

Verse 4

Eze 8:4, God’s glory would certainly be inside the gate of Jerusalem since that was the capital of the nation that belonged to Him. In the plain refers to the events described in chapter 3: 22.

Verse 5

Eze 8:5. The idolatry of ancient times consisted of three principal forms, and all objects of false worship were under one or more of the three. One was the worship of manmade idols, another was the worship of invisible or imaginary beings, and the third was that of things in creation. The first were made of metals, wood and stone; the second consisted of such as Baal, Ashtoreth, Tamrauz, etc., and the third included animals, rivers, living trees, and planets (“host of heaven”). Our present chapter exhibits the three forms, and this and the preceding two verses include the first form.

Verse 6

Eze 8:6. Ezekiel had never manifested any tendency toward idolatry, and the vision which the Lord was showing to him was not for his personal benefit. But he was expected to report the scenes to his fellow countrymen and write them for the information of mankind in following generations. (The same was true of John and the book of Revelation.) That I should go far off means that God was deserting the bouse which bis people had polluted with their idols.

Verse 7

Eze 8:7, The three forms of idolatry described at verse 6 are riot treated in the same order in this chapter, which is no important item. Their description is the main thing because no special preference was observed by the idolaters. Having pointed out the first one described, in verse 5, the third one will come next in the chapter beginning with the present verse. Hole is from OHOR which Strong defines, "A cavity, socket, den.” This was a place in the wall through which one coutd see but not intended as an opening for entrance.

Verse 8

Eze 8:8. Dig is from chathar and is defined by Strong, *'A primitive root; to force a passage, as by burglary." When Ezekiel was brought to where he could see the hole or cavity mentioned in the preceding verse, lie was told to force his way through the wall. When he did this he was brought into sight of a door.

Verse 9

Eze 8:9, The door proved to he an entrance to an apartment containing abominations that they do here, a detestable exhibition of the unlawful worship.

Verse 10

Eze 8:10, The aforesaid abominations consisted of pictures or drawings on the walls of the apartment. These portrayals were general and included living creatures which were worshiped, as well as the other idols of the house of Israel.

Verse 11

Eze 8:11. Ancients is from the same original word as "elders" in verse 1, and the reader is requested to see the comments at that place. There were 70 of these men including Jaazaniah, who was a prominent man, and these were engaged in burning incense to their idols.

Verse 12

Eze 8:12. Despite the foolish example of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3; Genesis 8), and ignoring the clear declarations of David in Psa 139:7-12, these corrupt elders thought they could find a material hiding place for their idolatrous practices. The Lord had indeed forsaken the place as far as any endorsement was concerned, but that, did not mean sueh a place would escape the all-seeing eye of Him.

Verse 13

Eze 8:13. God wished Ezekiel to have a complete vision of the corrupt state of the people of Judah, In a few more yeara the temple was to be demolished by the Babylonians, and the prophet should be furnished with a detailed view of conditions that provoked the Jjord to deliver his people up to such a fate.

Verse 14

Eze 8:14. This verse presents another form of idolatry to which reference was made in the comments on verse 5, that of invisible gods. Ezekiel was taken to another spot where he saw women weeping: for Tammuz. Strong’s definition of the last word is, "Of uncertain derivation; Tammuz, a Phoenician deity,” A marginal comment is some Bibles says, “In a lewd and idolatrous manner, lamenting the death of Tammuz or Adonis, supposed to be Baalpeor.” This comment is supported by various works of reference that I have consulted among Which is Smith’s Bible Dictionary, from which I shall make the following quotation: "Jerome identifies Tammuz with Adonis, of Grecian mythology, who was fabled to have lost his life while hunting, by a wound from the tusk of a wild boar. He was greatly beloved by the goddess Venus, who was inconsolable at his loss. . . A festival in honor of Adonis was celebrated at Byblus in Phoenicia and in most of the Grecian cities, and even by the Jews when they degenerated into idolatry. It took place in July, and was accompanied by obscene rites.” Much of the information on this point is drawn from mythology but. It is evident that the verse deals with the case of idolatry designated at the beginning of this paragraph.

Verse 15

Eze 8:15. The prophet is informed that he is yet to see another display of idolatry being practiced by the peopie of Judea.

Verse 16

Eze 8:16. This verse includes an item on sun worship, which is one of the three forms of idolatry mentioned in the comments on verse 5. The sun is an object of creation and is in the same class as the planets and other things of nature that were worshiped as gods first by the heathen, then by the Jews. Backs toward the temple was an insult to the Lord, for it was an attitude in which these men turned from the true God and gave their homage toward the east where they would see the sun.

Verse 17

Eze 8:17. Having given Ezekiel a full and detailed vision of the evil conditions in Judah, the Lord "puts it up to him" to form a conclusion on the subject. However, God states his own conclusion and affirms (in question form) that what Judah is doing is no light thing-it is not something to be regarded lightly. Certain trees were considered sacred by idolaters, and these corrupt men of Judah were showing their insolent contempt for the true God by exhibiting a desire to smell of such trees in connection with their worship of the sun.

Verse 18

Eze 8:18. This verse adds nothing new to the threats that God had previously made against his people. It is a summing up of the conclusions already formed and uttered with the emphasis that is implied in such a frequent repetition.
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Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Ezekiel 8". Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. 1952.