Eze 24:1-27. Vision of the
Boiling Caldron, and of the Death of Ezekiel's Wife.
1, 2. Ezekiel proves his divine mission by
announcing the very day, ("this same day") of the beginning of the
investment of the city by Nebuchadnezzar; "the ninth year," namely, of
Jehoiachin's captivity, "the tenth day of the tenth month"; though he
was three hundred miles away from Jerusalem among the captives at the
Chebar (2Ki 25:1; Jer 39:1).
2. set himself—laid siege; "lay
3. pot—caldron. Alluding to the
self-confident proverb used among the people, Eze 11:3 (see on Eze
11:3), "This city is the caldron and we be the flesh"; your proverb
shall prove awfully true, but in a different sense from what you
intend. So far from the city proving an iron, caldron-like defense from
the fire, it shall be as a caldron set on the fire, and the people as
so many pieces of meat subjected to boiling heat. See Jer 1:13.
4. pieces thereof—those which properly
belong to it, as its own.
every good piece … choice
bones—that is, the most distinguished of the people. The
"choice bones" in the pot have flesh adhering to them. The bones
under the pot (Eze 24:5) are
those having no flesh and used as fuel, answering to the poorest who
suffer first, and are put out of pain sooner than the rich who endure
what answers to the slower process of boiling.
5. burn … bones—rather,
"pile the bones." Literally, "Let there be a round pile
of the bones."
therein—literally, "in the midst of
6. scum—not ordinary, but poisonous
scum, that is, the people's all-pervading wickedness.
bring it out piece by piece—"it," the
contents of the pot; its flesh, that is, "I will destroy the people of
the city, not all at the same time, but by a series of successive
attacks." Not as Fairbairn, "on its
every piece let it (the poisonous scum) go forth."
let no lot fall upon it—that is, no
lot, such as is sometimes cast, to decide who are to be destroyed and
who saved (2Sa 8:2; Joe 3:3; Ob 11; Na 3:10). In former carryings away of captives,
lots were cast to settle who were to go, and who to stay, but now all
alike are to be cast out without distinction of rank, age, or sex.
7. upon the top of a rock—or, "the dry,
bare, exposed rock," so as to be conspicuous to all. Blood poured on a
rock is not so soon absorbed as blood poured on the earth. The law
ordered the blood even of a beast or fowl to be "covered with the dust"
17:13); but Jerusalem was so
shameless as to be at no pains to cover up the blood of innocent men
slain in her. Blood, as the consummation of all sin, presupposes
every other form of guilt.
8. That it might cause—God
purposely let her so shamelessly pour the blood on the bare
rock, "that it might" the more loudly and openly cry for
vengeance from on high; and that the connection between the guilt and
the punishment might be the more palpable. The blood of Abel, though
the ground received it, still cries to heaven for vengeance (Ge 4:10,
11); much more blood
shamelessly exposed on the bare rock.
set her blood—She shall be paid
back in kind (Mt 7:2). She
openly shed blood, and her blood shall openly be shed.
9. the pile for fire—the hostile
materials for the city's destruction.
10. spice it well—that the meat may be
the more palatable, that is, I will make the foe delight in its
destruction as much as one delights in well-seasoned, savory meat.
Grotius, needlessly departing from the
obvious sense, translates, "Let it be boiled down to a compound."
11. set it empty … that … brass
… may burn, … that … scum … may be
consumed—Even the consumption of the contents is not enough;
the caldron itself which is infected by the poisonous scum must be
destroyed, that is, the city itself must be destroyed, not merely the
inhabitants, just as the very house infected with leprosy was to be
destroyed (Le 14:34-45).
12. herself—rather, "she hath
wearied Me out with lies"; or rather, "with vain labors" on My
part to purify her without being obliged to have recourse to judgments
(compare Isa 43:24; Mal 2:17) [Maurer]. However, English Version gives a
good sense (compare Isa 47:13; 57:10).
13. lewdness—determined, deliberate
wickedness; from a Hebrew root, "to purpose."
I have purged thee—that is, I have
left nothing untried which would tend towards purging thee, by sending
prophets to invite thee to repentance, by giving thee the law with all
its promises, privileges, and threats.
thou shalt not be purged … any
more—that is, by My gracious interpositions; thou shalt be
left to thine own course to take its fatal consequences.
14. go back—desist; relax [Fairbairn].
15. Second part of the vision; announcement of
the death of Ezekiel's wife, and prohibition of the usual signs of
16. desire of … eyes—his wife:
representing the sanctuary (Eze 24:21)
in which the Jews so much gloried. The energy and subordination of
Ezekiel's whole life to his prophetic office is strikingly displayed in
this narrative of his wife's death. It is the only memorable event of
his personal history which he records, and this only in reference to
his soul-absorbing work. His natural tenderness is shown by that
graphic touch, "the desire of thine eyes." What amazing subjection,
then, of his individual feeling to his prophetic duty is manifested in
the simple statement (Eze 24:18),
"So I spake … in the morning; and at even my wife died; and I did
in the morning as I was commanded."
stroke—a sudden visitation. The
suddenness of it enhances the self-control of Ezekiel in so entirely
merging individual feeling, which must have been especially acute under
such trying circumstances, in the higher claims of duty to God.
17. Forbear to cry—or, "Lament in
silence"; not forbidding sorrow, but the loud expression of it
no mourning—typical of the
universality of the ruin of Jerusalem, which would preclude mourning,
such as is usual where calamity is but partial. "The dead" is purposely
put in the plural, as referring ultimately to the dead
who should perish at the taking of Jerusalem; though the
singular might have been expected, as Ezekiel's wife was the
immediate subject referred to: "make no mourning," such as is
usual, "for the dead, and such as shall be hereafter in
Jerusalem" (Jer 16:5-7).
tire of thine head—thy headdress
[Fairbairn]. Jerome explains, "Thou shalt retain the hair which
is usually cut in mourning." The fillet, binding the hair about the
temples like a chaplet, was laid aside at such times. Uncovering the
head was an ordinary sign of mourning in priests; whereas others
covered their heads in mourning (2Sa 15:30). The reason was, the priests had their
headdress of fine twined linen given them for ornament, and as a badge
of office. The high priest, as having on his head the holy anointing
oil, was forbidden in any case to lay aside his headdress. But
the priests might do so in the case of the death of the nearest
relatives (Le 21:2, 3, 10). They then put on inferior attire,
sprinkling also on their heads dust and ashes (compare Le 10:6, 7).
shoes upon thy feet—whereas mourners
went "barefoot" (2Sa 15:30).
cover not … lips—rather, the
"upper lip," with the moustache (Le 13:45; Mic 3:7).
bread of men—the bread usually brought
to mourners by friends in token of sympathy. So the "cup of
consolation" brought (Jer 16:7).
"Of men" means such as is usually furnished by men. So Isa 8:1, "a man's pen"; Re 21:17, "the measure of a
19. what these things are to us—The
people perceive that Ezekiel's strange conduct has a symbolical meaning
as to themselves; they ask, "What is that meaning?"
21. excellency of your strength—(compare
Am 6:8). The object of your pride and
confidence (Jer 7:4, 10, 14).
desire of … eyes—(Ps 27:4). The antitype to Ezekiel's wife (Eze 24:16).
pitieth—loveth, as pity is akin to
love: "yearned over."
Profane—an appropriate word. They had
profaned the temple with idolatry; God, in just retribution, will
profane it with the Chaldean sword, that is, lay it in the dust, as
sons … daughters …
left—the children left behind in Judea, when the
parents were carried away.
22. (Jer 16:6, 7). So general shall be the calamity, that
all ordinary usages of mourning shall be suspended.
23. ye shall not mourn … but … pine
away for your iniquities—The Jews' not mourning was to be not
the result of insensibility, any more than Ezekiel's not mourning for
his wife was not from want of feeling. They could not in their exile
manifest publicly their lamentation, but they would privately "mourn
one to another." Their "iniquities" would then be their chief
sorrow ("pining away"), as feeling that these were the cause of their
sufferings (compare Le 26:39; La 3:39). The fullest fulfilment is still future
24. sign—a typical representative in his
own person of what was to befall them (Isa 20:3).
when this cometh—alluding probably to
their taunt, as if God's word spoken by His prophets would never come
to pass. "Where is the word of the Lord? Let it come now" (Jer 17:15). When the prophecy is fulfilled,
"ye shall know (to your cost) that I am the Lord," who thereby show My
power and fulfil My word spoken by My prophet (Joh 13:19;
25, 26. "The day" referred to in these verses
is the day of the overthrow of the temple, when the fugitive "escapes."
But "that day," in Eze 24:27,
is the day on which the fugitive brings the sad news to Ezekiel, at the
Chebar. In the interval the prophet suspended his prophecies as to
the Jews, as was foretold. Afterwards his mouth was "opened," and
no more "dumb" (Eze 3:26, 27; compare Eze 24:27; 33:21, 22).