Eze 19:1-14. Elegy over the
Fall of David's House.
There is a tacit antithesis between this lamentation
and that of the Jews for their own miseries, into the causes of which,
however, they did not inquire.
1. princes of Israel—that is, Judah,
whose "princes" alone were recognized by prophecy; those of the ten
tribes were, in respect to the theocracy, usurpers.
2. thy mother—the mother of Jehoiachin,
the representative of David's line in exile with Ezekiel. The "mother"
is Judea: "a lioness," as being fierce in catching prey (Eze 19:3), referring to her heathenish practices.
Jerusalem was called Ariel (the lion of God) in a good sense (Isa 29:1); and Judah "a lion's whelp
… a lion … an old lion" (Ge 49:9), to which, as also to Nu 23:24;
24:9, this passage
nourished … among young
lions—She herself had "lain" among lions, that is, had
intercourse with the corruptions of the surrounding heathen and had
brought up the royal young ones similarly: utterly degenerate from the
stock of Abraham.
Lay down—or "couched," is appropriate
to the lion, the Arab name of which means "the coucher."
3. young lion—Jehoahaz, son of Josiah,
carried captive from Riblah to Egypt by Pharaoh-necho (2Ki 23:33).
4. The nations—Egypt, in the case of
Jehoahaz, who probably provoked Pharaoh by trying to avenge the death
of his father by assailing the bordering cities of Egypt (2Ki 23:29, 30).
in their pit—image from the
pitfalls used for catching wild beasts (Jer 22:11, 12).
chains—or hooks, which were fastened
in the noses of wild beasts (see on Eze
5. saw that she had waited, and her hope was
lost—that is, that her long-waited-for hope was disappointed,
Jehoahaz not being restored to her from Egypt.
she took another of her
whelps—Jehoiakim, brother of Jehoahaz, who was placed on the
throne by Pharaoh (2Ki 23:34),
according to the wish of Judah.
6. went up and down among the
lions—imitated the recklessness and tyranny of the
surrounding kings (Jer 22:13-17).
catch … prey—to do evil,
gratifying his lusts by oppression (2Ki 23:37).
7. knew … desolate palaces—that
is, claimed as his own their palaces, which he then proceeded to
"desolate." The Hebrew, literally "widows"; hence widowed
palaces (Isa 13:22).
Vatablus (whom Fairbairn follows) explains it, "He knew (carnally)
the widows of those whom he devoured" (Eze 19:6). But thus the metaphor and the literal
reality would be blended: the lion being represented as
knowing widows. The reality, however, often elsewhere thus
breaks through the veil.
fulness thereof—all that it contained;
8. the nations—the Chaldeans, Syrians,
Moab, and Ammon (2Ki 24:2).
9. in chains—(2Ch 36:6; Jer
"hooks"; perhaps referring to the hook often passed through the nose of
beasts; so, too, through that of captives, as seen in the Assyrian
sculptures (see on Eze 19:4).
voice—that is, his roaring.
no more be heard upon the
mountains—carrying on the metaphor of the lion, whose roaring
on the mountains frightens all the other beasts. The insolence of the
prince, not at all abated though his kingdom was impaired, was now to
10. A new metaphor taken from the vine,
the chief of the fruit-bearing trees, as the lion is of the
beasts of prey (see Eze 17:6).
in thy blood—"planted when thou wast
in thy blood," that is, in thy very infancy; as in Eze 16:6, when thou hadst just come from the
womb, and hadst not yet the blood washed from thee. The Jews from the
first were planted in Canaan to take root there [Calvin]. Grotius
translates as the Margin, "in thy quietness," that is, in the
period when Judah had not yet fallen into her present troubles.
English Version is better. Glassius explains it well, retaining the metaphor,
which Calvin's explanation breaks, "in
the blood of thy grapes," that is, in her full strength, as the red
wine is the strength of the grape. Ge 49:11 is evidently alluded to.
many waters—the well-watered land of
11. strong rods—princes of the royal
house of David. The vine shot forth her branches like so many scepters,
not creeping lowly on the ground like many vines, but trained aloft on
a tree or wall. The mention of their former royal dignity, contrasting
sadly with her present sunken state, would remind the Jews of their
sins whereby they had incurred such judgments.
among the thick branches—that is, the
central stock or trunk of the tree shot up highest "among its own
branches" or offshoots, surrounding it. Emblematic of the numbers and
resources of the people. Hengstenberg
translates, "among the clouds." But Eze 31:3, 10, 14, supports English Version.
12. plucked up—not gradually
withered. The sudden upturning of the state was designed to
awaken the Jews out of their torpor to see the hand of God in the
east wind—(See on Eze 17:10).
13. planted—that is, transplanted.
Though already "dried up" in regard to the nation generally, the vine
is said to be "transplanted" as regards God's mercy to the remnant in
dry … ground—Chaldea was
well-watered and fertile; but it is the condition of the captive
people, not that of the land, which is referred to.
14. fire … out of a rod of her
branches—The Jews' disaster was to be ascribed, not so much
to the Chaldeans as to themselves; the "fire out of the rod" is
God's wrath kindled by the perjury of Zedekiah (Eze 17:18). "The anger of the Lord" against Judah
is specified as the cause why Zedekiah was permitted to rebel against
Babylon (2Ki 24:20;
9:15), thus bringing
Nebuchadnezzar against Jerusalem.
no strong rod … sceptre to
rule—No more kings of David's stock are now to rule the
nation. Not at least until "the Lord shall send the rod of His strength
("Messiah," Ps 110:2; Isa 11:1) out of Zion," to reign first as a
spiritual, then hereafter as a literal king.
is … and shall be for a
lamentation—Part of the lamentation (that as to Jehoahaz and
Jehoiakim) was matter of history as already accomplished; part (as to
Zedekiah) was yet to be fulfilled; or, this prophecy both is a subject
for lamentation, and shall be so to distant posterity.