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The Bloody City

22

The word of the Lord came to me: 2You, mortal, will you judge, will you judge the bloody city? Then declare to it all its abominable deeds. 3You shall say, Thus says the Lord God: A city! Shedding blood within itself; its time has come; making its idols, defiling itself. 4You have become guilty by the blood that you have shed, and defiled by the idols that you have made; you have brought your day near, the appointed time of your years has come. Therefore I have made you a disgrace before the nations, and a mockery to all the countries. 5Those who are near and those who are far from you will mock you, you infamous one, full of tumult.

6 The princes of Israel in you, everyone according to his power, have been bent on shedding blood. 7Father and mother are treated with contempt in you; the alien residing within you suffers extortion; the orphan and the widow are wronged in you. 8You have despised my holy things, and profaned my sabbaths. 9In you are those who slander to shed blood, those in you who eat upon the mountains, who commit lewdness in your midst. 10In you they uncover their fathers’ nakedness; in you they violate women in their menstrual periods. 11One commits abomination with his neighbor’s wife; another lewdly defiles his daughter-in-law; another in you defiles his sister, his father’s daughter. 12In you, they take bribes to shed blood; you take both advance interest and accrued interest, and make gain of your neighbors by extortion; and you have forgotten me, says the Lord God.

13 See, I strike my hands together at the dishonest gain you have made, and at the blood that has been shed within you. 14Can your courage endure, or can your hands remain strong in the days when I shall deal with you? I the Lord have spoken, and I will do it. 15I will scatter you among the nations and disperse you through the countries, and I will purge your filthiness out of you. 16And I shall be profaned through you in the sight of the nations; and you shall know that I am the Lord.

17 The word of the Lord came to me: 18Mortal, the house of Israel has become dross to me; all of them, silver, bronze, tin, iron, and lead. In the smelter they have become dross. 19Therefore thus says the Lord God: Because you have all become dross, I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem. 20As one gathers silver, bronze, iron, lead, and tin into a smelter, to blow the fire upon them in order to melt them; so I will gather you in my anger and in my wrath, and I will put you in and melt you. 21I will gather you and blow upon you with the fire of my wrath, and you shall be melted within it. 22As silver is melted in a smelter, so you shall be melted in it; and you shall know that I the Lord have poured out my wrath upon you.

23 The word of the Lord came to me: 24Mortal, say to it: You are a land that is not cleansed, not rained upon in the day of indignation. 25Its princes within it are like a roaring lion tearing the prey; they have devoured human lives; they have taken treasure and precious things; they have made many widows within it. 26Its priests have done violence to my teaching and have profaned my holy things; they have made no distinction between the holy and the common, neither have they taught the difference between the unclean and the clean, and they have disregarded my sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them. 27Its officials within it are like wolves tearing the prey, shedding blood, destroying lives to get dishonest gain. 28Its prophets have smeared whitewash on their behalf, seeing false visions and divining lies for them, saying, “Thus says the Lord God,” when the Lord has not spoken. 29The people of the land have practiced extortion and committed robbery; they have oppressed the poor and needy, and have extorted from the alien without redress. 30And I sought for anyone among them who would repair the wall and stand in the breach before me on behalf of the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one. 31Therefore I have poured out my indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath; I have returned their conduct upon their heads, says the Lord God.


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Eze 22:1-31. God's Judgment on the Sinfulness of Jerusalem.

Repetition of the charges in the twentieth chapter; only that there they were stated in an historical review of the past and present; here the present sins of the nation exclusively are brought forward.

2. See Eze 20:4; that is, "Wilt thou not judge?" &c. (compare Eze 23:36).

the bloody city—literally, "the city of bloods"; so called on account of murders perpetrated in her, and sacrifices of children to Molech (Eze 22:3, 4, 6, 9; 24:6, 9).

3. sheddeth blood … that her time may come—Instead of deriving advantage from her bloody sacrifices to idols, she only thereby brought on herself "the time" of her punishment.

against herself—(Pr 8:36).

4. thy days—the shorter period, namely, that of the siege.

thy years—the longer period of the captivity. The "days" and "years" express that she is ripe for punishment.

5. infamous—They mockingly call thee, "Thou polluted one in name (Margin), and full of confusion" [Fairbairn], (referring to the tumultuous violence prevalent in it). Thus the nations "far and near" mocked her as at once sullied in character and in actual fact lawless. What a sad contrast to the Jerusalem once designated "the holy city!"

6. Rather, "The princes … each according to his power, were in thee, to shed blood" (as if this was the only object of their existence). "Power," literally, "arm"; they, who ought to have been patterns of justice, made their own arm of might their only law.

7. set light by—Children have made light of, disrespected, father … (De 27:16). At Eze 22:7-12 are enumerated the sins committed in violation of Moses' law.

9. men that carry talesinformers, who by misrepresentations cause innocent blood to be shed (Le 19:16). Literally, "one who goes to and fro as a merchant."

10. set apart for pollution—that is, set apart as unclean (Le 18:19).

12. forgotten me—(De 32:18; Jer 2:32; 3:21).

13. smitten mine hand—in token of the indignant vengeance which I will execute on thee (see on Eze 21:17).

14. (Eze 21:7).

15. consume thy filthiness out of thee—the object of God in scattering the Jews.

16. take thine inheritance in thyself—Formerly thou wast Mine inheritance; but now, full of guilt, thou art no longer Mine, but thine own inheritance to thyself; "in the sight of the heathen," that is, even they shall see that, now that thou hast become a captive, thou art no longer owned as Mine [Vatablus]. Fairbairn and others needlessly take the Hebrew from a different root, "thou shalt be polluted by ('in,' [Henderson]) thyself," &c.; the heathen shall regard thee as a polluted thing, who hast brought thine own reproach on thyself.

18. dross … brass—Israel has become a worthless compound of the dross of silver (implying not merely corruption, but degeneracy from good to bad, Isa 1:22, especially offensive) and of the baser metals. Hence the people must be thrown into the furnace of judgment, that the bad may be consumed, and the good separated (Jer 6:29, 30).

23. From this verse to the end he shows the general corruption of all ranks.

24. land … not cleansed—not cleared or cultivated; all a scene of desolation; a fit emblem of the moral wilderness state of the people.

nor rained upon—a mark of divine "indignation"; as the early and latter rain, on which the productiveness of the land depended, was one of the great covenant blessings. Joel (Joe 2:23) promises the return of the former and latter rain, with the restoration of God's favor.

25. conspiracy—The false prophets have conspired both to propagate error and to oppose the messages of God's servants. They are mentioned first, as their bad influence extended the widest.

prey—Their aim was greed of gain, "treasure, and precious things" (Ho 6:9; Zep 3:3, 4; Mt 23:14).

made … many widows—by occasioning, through false prophecies, the war with the Chaldeans in which the husbands fell.

26. Her priests—whose "lips should have kept knowledge" (Mal 2:7).

violated—not simply transgressed; but, have done violence to the law, by wresting it to wrong ends, and putting wrong constructions on it.

put no difference between the holy and profane, &c.—made no distinction between the clean and unclean (Le 10:10), the Sabbath and other days, sanctioning violations of that holy day. "Holy" means, what is dedicated to God; "profane," what is in common use; "unclean," what is forbidden to be eaten; "clean," what is lawful to be eaten.

I am profaned among them—They abuse My name to false or unjust purposes.

27. princes—who should have employed the influence of their position for the people's welfare, made "gain" their sole aim.

wolves—notorious for fierce and ravening cruelty (Mic 3:2, 3, 9-11; Joh 10:12).

28. Referring to the false assurances of peace with which the prophets flattered the people, that they should not submit to the king of Babylon (see on Eze 13:10; Eze 21:29; Jer 6:14; 23:16, 17; 27:9, 10).

29. The people—put last, after the mention of those in office. Corruption had spread downwards through the whole community.

wrongfully—that is, "without cause," gratuitously, without the stranger proselyte giving any just provocation; nay, he of all others being one who ought to have been won to the worship of Jehovah by kindness, instead of being alienated by oppression; especially as the Israelites were commanded to remember that they themselves had been "strangers in Egypt" (Ex 22:21; 23:9).

30. the hedge—the wall (see on Eze 13:5); image for leading the people to repentance.

the gap—the breach (Ps 106:23); image for interceding between the people and God (Ge 20:7; Ex 32:11; Nu 16:48).

I found none—(Jer 5:1)—not that literally there was not a righteous man in the city. For Jeremiah, Baruch, &c., were still there; but Jeremiah had been forbidden to pray for the people (Jer 11:14), as being doomed to wrath. None now, of the godly, knowing the desperate state of the people, and God's purpose as to them, was willing longer to interpose between God's wrath and them. And none "among them," that is, among those just enumerated as guilty of such sins (Eze 22:25-29), was morally able for such an office.

31. their own way … recompensed upon their heads—(Eze 9:10; 11:21; 16:43; Pr 1:31; Isa 3:11; Jer 6:19).




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