Ezekiel Chapter Nineteen
A parable lamenting the ruin of Jehoahaz and Jehoiakim. (1-9) Another describing the desolation of the people. (10-14)
Commentary on Ezekiel 19:1-9
(Read Ezekiel 19:1-9)
Ezekiel is to compare the kingdom of Judah to a lioness. He must compare the kings of Judah to a lion's whelps; they were cruel and oppressive to their own subjects. The righteousness of God is to be acknowledged, when those who have terrified and enslaved others, are themselves terrified and enslaved. When professors of religion form connexions with ungodly persons, their children usually grow up following after the maxims and fashions of a wicked world. Advancement to authority discovers the ambition and selfishness of men's hearts; and those who spend their lives in mischief, generally end them by violence.
Commentary on Ezekiel 19:10-14
(Read Ezekiel 19:10-14)
Jerusalem was a vine, flourishing and fruitful. This vine is now destroyed, though not plucked up by the roots. She has by wickedness made herself like tinder to the sparks of God's wrath, so that her own branches serve as fuel to burn her. Blessed be God, one Branch of the vine here alluded to, is not only become a strong rod for the sceptre of those that rule, but is Himself the true and living Vine. This shall be for a rejoicing to all the chosen people of God throughout all generations.
── Matthew Henry《Concise Commentary on Ezekiel》
 Moreover take thou up a lamentation for the princes of Israel,
For the princes — Jehoahaz, Jehoiachim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah.
 And say, What is thy mother? A lioness: she lay down among lions, she nourished her whelps among young lions.
What — What resemblance shall I use to set out the nature, deportment, and state of the mother of these princes? Thy - One of whom was upon the throne at once, and therefore the prophet speaks to one at a time.
Mother — The land of Judea, and Jerusalem, the chief city of it, the royal family of David.
Lioness — Tho' chosen of God to execute justice; yet they soon degenerated into the fierce and ravening nature of the lioness.
Lay down — Associated, and grew familiar with neighbour kings, called here lions; fierce and bloody.
Her whelps — Her sons, successors to the crown.
Young lions — Either foreign princes and kings, or some of the fierce, unjust, tyrannizing princes at home.
 And she brought up one of her whelps: it became a young lion, and it learned to catch the prey; it devoured men.
Brought up — Advanced, caused him to take the throne after the slaughter of Josiah.
One — Jehoahaz the second son of Josiah.
Became — Soon shewed his fierce, cruel, and bloody disposition.
 The nations also heard of him; he was taken in their pit, and they brought him with chains unto the land of Egypt.
The nations — The Egyptians heard what he did.
 Now when she saw that she had waited, and her hope was lost, then she took another of her whelps, and made him a young lion.
Made him — King, and infused the lion-like maxims into him.
 And he went up and down among the lions, he became a young lion, and learned to catch the prey, and devoured men.
He — Jehoiachim.
Went up — He continued eleven years on the throne; whereas Jehoahaz was taken as soon as he first ventured out.
The lions — Heathen kings, with whom he entered into leagues.
He became — Fierce, ravenous, unsatiable.
 And he knew their desolate palaces, and he laid waste their cities; and the land was desolate, and the fulness thereof, by the noise of his roaring.
He knew — By taking them, he came to know their places, which are here called, what he made them, desolate.
Roaring — By the perpetual violent threats of this cruel king.
 Then the nations set against him on every side from the provinces, and spread their net over him: he was taken in their pit.
The nations — Which were tributary to Nebuchadnezzar.
Set against — By order of the king of Babylon.
The provinces — Which belonged to the Babylonish kingdom.
 Thy mother is like a vine in thy blood, planted by the waters: she was fruitful and full of branches by reason of many waters.
Thy mother — O thou prince of Israel.
By the waters — In a very fruitful soil.
Full of branches — Full of children; when Josiah died, he left four behind him, beside other branches of the royal line.
 And she had strong rods for the sceptres of them that bare rule, and her stature was exalted among the thick branches, and she appeared in her height with the multitude of her branches.
Strong rods — Many excellent persons endowed with qualifications befitting kings, that they might sway the scepter.
Exalted — Above the ordinary majesty of other kingdoms.
Thick branches — This kingdom equalled, if not excelled, the greatest neighbour-kingdoms, and her kings exceeded all their neighbouring kings, in riches and power.
 But she was plucked up in fury, she was cast down to the ground, and the east wind dried up her fruit: her strong rods were broken and withered; the fire consumed them.
The east wind — God raised up the king of Babylon to pull up this sinful kingdom.
Dried up — Blasted all her fruit, deposed her king, captivated him, his family, and the whole kingdom.
Strong rods — All the choice men.
 And now she is planted in the wilderness, in a dry and thirsty ground.
She — A few of the branches of the last pruning.
In the wilderness — Tho' Babylon was in a very fruitful place, yet the cruelty of the Babylonians, made it to the Jews as terrible as a wilderness.
 And fire is gone out of a rod of her branches, which hath devoured her fruit, so that she hath no strong rod to be a sceptre to rule. This is a lamentation, and shall be for a lamentation.
Fire — The fire of rebellion, kindled by Zedekiah, who is of the blood-royal.
No strong rod — The regal dignity is ceased.
── John Wesley《Explanatory Notes on Ezekiel》
19 Chapter 19
And she had strong rods for the sceptres of them that bare rule.
The renewal of ruined nations
1. States and kingdoms broken to pieces, ruined in times of war and trouble, do flourish again in times of quiet and silence. Peace after war is like spring after a sharp winter, which revives, causeth growth and greenness; yet know that states ruined by tyranny of princes, by wars, do not suddenly recover themselves, or attain to their former greatness and splendour: though Jerusalem became a vine after the roaring and spoil of Jehoiakim, yet she was a “vine of a low stature.”
2. It is through the mercy, goodness, and blessing of God that wasted kingdoms do become as vines, and flourish again.
3. When mercies are multiplied, men are apt to abuse them, and swell with the enjoyment of them. Prosperity is a dangerous thing, and hath hazarded many (Isaiah 47:5; Isaiah 47:7). After Hezekiah had received many mercies, “his heart was lifted up” (2 Chronicles 32:23-25). Rehoboam, when he was strengthened in the kingdom, “forsook the law of the Lord, and all Israel with him”; here was a sad effect of prosperity (2 Chronicles 12:1). (W. Greenhill, M. A.)
Her strong rods were broken and withered.
God’s judgment in breaking the strong rods of a community
I. What qualifications of those who are in public authority may properly give them the denomination of strong rods.
1. Great ability for the management of public affairs. This is the case when they are men of largeness of understanding, especially when they have a natural genius for government.
2. Largeness of heart and a greatness and nobleness of disposition. It is peculiarly unbecoming them to be capable of little intrigues.
3. The spirit of government. They must have a peculiar aptitude for using their knowledge, and a spirit of resolution and activity.
4. Stability. A strong rod must be immovable in the execution of justice and judgment.
5. It contributes to the strength of a rod when he is in such circumstances as give him advantage for the exercise of his strength.
II. When such strong rods are broken and withered by death, it is a judgment of God upon the people who are deprived of them.
1. By reason of the many positive benefits and blessings to a people that such men are the instruments of (Psalms 82:5; Psalms 11:3). Their influence has a tendency to promote wealth and virtue (Ecclesiastes 10:17). Solomon was a remarkable illustration of this truth. (See 1 Kings 4:25; 1 Kings 10:27).
2. On account of the great calamities they are a defence from. Government is necessary to defend communities from miseries from within themselves; they are the heads of union without which nothing is to be expected but remediless and endless broils. We see the need of government in societies, by what is visible in families,--those lesser societies of which all public societies are constituted,--and as government is absolutely necessary, so there is a necessity of strong rods in order to it: the business being such as requires persons so qualified.
3. They are no less necessary to defend the community from foreign enemies. As they are like the pillars of a building, so they are like the bulwarks of a city; they are under God a people’s main strength in time of war (Lamentations 4:20; Nehemiah 9:27). On these accounts, when a nation is strong, rods are broken; it is a judgment worthy of such lamentation as that which followed the death of King Josiah, who is one of those doubtless referred to in the text (2 Chronicles 35:24-25). (Jonathan Edwards.)
──《The Biblical Illustrator》