Ezekiel Chapter Six
The Divine judgments for idolatry. (1-7) A remnant shall be saved. (8-10) The calamities are to be lamented. (11-14)
Commentary on Ezekiel 6:1-7.
(Read Ezekiel 6:1-7.)
War desolates persons, places, and things esteemed most sacred. God ruins idolatries even by the hands of idolaters. It is just with God to make that a desolation, which we make an idol. The superstitions to which many trust for safety, often cause their ruin. And the day is at hand, when idols and idolatry will be as thoroughly destroyed from the professedly Christian church as they were from among the Jews.
Commentary on Ezekiel 6:8-10
(Read Ezekiel 6:8-10)
A remnant of Israel should be left; at length they should remember the Lord, their obligations to him, and rebellion against him. True penitents see sin to be that abominable thing which the Lord hates. Those who truly loathe sin, loathe themselves because of sin. They give glory to God by their repentance. Whatever brings men to remember Him, and their sins against him, should be regarded as a blessing.
Commentary on Ezekiel 6:11-14
(Read Ezekiel 6:11-14)
It is our duty to be affected, not only with our own sins and sufferings, but to look with compassion upon the miseries wicked people bring upon themselves. Sin is a desolating thing; therefore, stand in awe, and sin not. If we know the worth of souls, and the danger to which unbelievers are exposed, we shall deem every sinner who takes refuge in Jesus from the wrath to come, an abundant recompence for all contempt or opposition we may meet with.
── Matthew Henry《Concise Commentary on Ezekiel》
 Son of man, set thy face toward the mountains of Israel, and prophesy against them,
The mountains — The inhabitants of the mountains, who were secure in their fastnesses.
 And say, Ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord GOD; Thus saith the Lord GOD to the mountains, and to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys; Behold, I, even I, will bring a sword upon you, and I will destroy your high places.
Rivers — To those who dwell by river sides, or in the valleys.
High places — The places of your idolatrous worship.
 And your altars shall be desolate, and your images shall be broken: and I will cast down your slain men before your idols.
Cast down — Before the altars of your idols, which you fly to for refuge.
 And I will lay the dead carcases of the children of Israel before their idols; and I will scatter your bones round about your altars.
And — Thus the idols were upbraided with their inability to help their worshippers, and the idolaters, with the folly of trusting in them.
 In all your dwellingplaces the cities shall be laid waste, and the high places shall be desolate; that your altars may be laid waste and made desolate, and your idols may be broken and cease, and your images may be cut down, and your works may be abolished.
Your works — All your costly work for your idols.
 Yet will I leave a remnant, that ye may have some that shall escape the sword among the nations, when ye shall be scattered through the countries.
Remnant — It is the Lord that preserves a remnant, the enemies rage would destroy all.
 And they that escape of you shall remember me among the nations whither they shall be carried captives, because I am broken with their whorish heart, which hath departed from me, and with their eyes, which go a whoring after their idols: and they shall lothe themselves for the evils which they have committed in all their abominations.
Shall remember — So as to turn unto me.
Broken — I am much grieved.
Whorish heart — Idolatrous hearts depart from God, as an adulterous wife departs from her husband.
Loath — With a mixture of grief towards God, of indignation against themselves, and abhorrence of the offence.
 And they shall know that I am the LORD, and that I have not said in vain that I would do this evil unto them.
In vain — Either without cause, the sufferers gave him just cause to pronounce that evil; or without effect. Their sins where the cause, and their destruction is the effect of their sufferings.
 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Smite with thine hand, and stamp with thy foot, and say, Alas for all the evil abominations of the house of Israel! for they shall fall by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence.
Smite — To shew thy wonder, indignation, sorrow, and pity, for their sins and sufferings.
 He that is far off shall die of the pestilence; and he that is near shall fall by the sword; and he that remaineth and is besieged shall die by the famine: thus will I accomplish my fury upon them.
Far off — Either by flight, or captivity.
Shall fall — Who dwell near to Jerusalem, or would retire to it, when the Babylonians approach.
 So will I stretch out my hand upon them, and make the land desolate, yea, more desolate than the wilderness toward Diblath, in all their habitations: and they shall know that I am the LORD.
Wilderness — The horrid wilderness of Moab. Therein the fiery serpents so much annoyed Israel. Accordingly the land of Canaan is at this day one of the most desolate countries in the world.
── John Wesley《Explanatory Notes on Ezekiel》
06 Chapter 6
I, even I, will bring a sword upon you.
The character of God
Taking chapters 6 and 7 as revealing the character of God, in how awful a light is the Divine Being made to appear! How infinite, for example, are His resources of judgment and penalty! He attributes to Himself the exercise of every possible action of vengeance and humiliation: “I will bring a sword”; “I will destroy your high places”; “I will cast down your slain men”; “I will lay the dead carcasses”; “I will scatter your bones”; “I will break the whorish heart”; “He that is afar off shall die of the pestilence”; “He that is near shall fall by the sword; the man who remained was to die by famine; and thus, and thus, in every way, God said, “I will accomplish My fury.” He said He would stretch out His hand upon the idol-cursed hills and mountains, and green tree and thick oak, and He would make the fair land desolate, yea, more desolate than the wilderness toward Diblath. These are the judgments of the living God! Think of every disease that can afflict the human body; think of every force of nature that can strike human edifices and habitations; think of every trouble that can assail the sanity of the mind; think of every spectre and image that can come along the highway of the darkness and fill night and sleep with mortal fear; think of every appeal that can be addressed to the imagination; think of all possible terror, and loss, and shame, and ruin; multiply all these realities and possibilities by an unrestrained imagination, and even then we have hardly begun to touch the resources of God when He arises to shake terribly the earth and to inflict upon the nations the judgments which they have deserved and defied. Wonderful is the striking frankness of all these declarations on the part of the Most High God. There is mercy even in the terribleness of the revelation. An opportunity for repentance was created by the very awfulness of the method of revelation. Threatenings are meant to lead to promises. The thunderstorm is sent to avert us from a way that is wrong and to drive us to consideration on account of sin. God does not fulminate merely for the sake of showing His greatness; when He makes us afraid it is that He may bring us to final peace. Nothing is more evident than that underneath all these denunciations, and in explanation of them, there is a sublime moral reason. These judgments are not exhibitions of omnipotence; they are expressions of a moral emotion on the part of God. The people had departed from Him--they had done everything in their power to insult His majesty and to call into question His holiness and His justice; they had worshipped false gods; they had been faithful to forbidden altars; they had made a study of profanity and blasphemy; they had defied heaven in all their abominations; and not until the cup of their iniquity was full did the last beam of light vanish from the skies, and the whole heaven become darkened with thunderclouds. When judgment begins at the house of God, it burns with infinite indignation; there are no mitigating circumstances, there are no palliations whatsoever; the judgment is inflicted upon men who knew the right and yet pursued the wrong, who were intrusted with the custody of the truth, and yet threw it down and went with eagerness to the altar of falsehood that they might worship and obey a lie. How terrible, then, must be our judgment when God comes to visit us! What have we not known? With what treasures have we not been intrusted? (J. Parker, D. D.)
That your altars may be laid waste.
1. Where idols and false worship are got into a church or state, they are not easily got out again. Their cities must be destroyed, that their altars and idols may be broken and cease.
2. See what it is that ruins cities; altars, idols, false worship, mixtures of man’s inventions with the Lord’s pure ordinances. These are great cannon, that batter cities; these are gunpowder, that blow them up; these bring the Lord of hosts to war against them.
3. Idolatry and false worship do so provoke God, that He will destroy cities, kingdoms, churches, but He will have them out.
4. Men love to have somewhat of their own in worship; they are not content with what the infinitely wise God commends unto them, but will be adding.
5. God is not pleased with anything in worship which is not His own; He must prescribe whet way and wherewith He will be worshipped.
6. Judgments cause idolaters to know the true God from the false. (W. Greenhill, M. A.)
False religion and its doom
Man says he wants sincerity and earnestness. What God asks is truth, the one religion which He has revealed.
I. False religion: there is such a thing; it may be earnest and zealous, yet false.
II. Its uselessness: it profits nobody, either here or hereafter; is not acceptable to God.
III. Its hatefulness: God abhors it; it is outward, untrue, against His revelation; dishonouring, self-exalting.
IV. Its doom: its condemnation is--
Ye shall know that I am the Lord.
The knowledge of Jehovah
The phrase “Ye shall know that I am Jehovah” may mean Ye shall know that I who now speak am truly Jehovah, the God of Israel. There is, of course, no doubt that Ezekiel conceived Jehovah as endowed with the plenitude of deity, or that in his view the name expressed all that we mean by the word God. Nevertheless, historically the name Jehovah is a proper name, denoting the God who is the God of Israel. Renan has ventured on the assertion that a deity with a proper name is necessarily a false God. The statement perhaps measures the difference between the God of revealed religion and the god who is an abstraction, an expression of the order of the universe, who exists only in the mind of the man who names him. The God of revelation is a living person with a character and will of His own capable of being known by man. It is the distinction of revelation that it dares to regard God as an individual with an inner life and nature of His own, independent of the conception men may form of Him. Applied to such a Being, a personal name may be as true and significant as the name which expresses the character and individuality of a man. Only thus can we understand the historical process by which the God who was first manifested as the deity of a particular nation preserves His personal identity with the God who in Christ is at last revealed as the God of the spirits of all flesh. The knowledge of Jehovah of which Ezekiel speaks is therefore at once a knowledge of the character of the God whom Israel professed to serve, and a knowledge of that which constitutes true and essential divinity. (John Skinner, M. A.)
And ye shall know that I am the Lord that smiteth.
God’s hand in judgment
You look at second causes, and think it is Nebuchadnezzar that smites you, but you shall be made to know he is but the staff; it is the hand of the Lord that smiteth you, and who knows the weight of His hand? (M. Henry.)
──《The Biblical Illustrator》