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note the vigour and activity with which the Chaldeans would at.
tack, and the Jews resist them, and thou shalt prophesy against & it. And, behold, I will lay bands upon thee, and thou shalt
not turn thee from one side to another, till thou hast ended the days of thy siege; to denote the continuance of the siege, that the Chaldeans should be fixed and fastened there, as by bonds, till the city was taken.
Take thou also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentiles, and millet, and fitches, the coarsest as well as the finest grain, to denote the famine during the siege ; and put them in one vessel, and make thee bread thereof, [according] to the
number of the days that thou shalt lie upon thy side, three 10 hundred and ninety days shalt thou eat thereof. And thy
meat which thou shalt eat, [shall be] by weight, twenty she
kels a day ; only ten ounces, because of the great scarcity : 11 from time to time shalt thou eat it. Thou shalt drink also
water by measure, the sixth part of an hin, about a pint : from 12 time to time shalt thou drink. And thou shalt eat it (as)
barley cakes, and thou shalt bake it with dung that cometh
out of man, in their sight ; thou shalt have no other fuel, and 13 be glad to eat any thing, though it be ever so unclean. And the
LORD said, Even thus shall the children of Israel eat their de,
filed bread among the Gentiles, whither I will drive them. 14 Then said I, Ah Lord God! behold my soul hath not been
polluted: for from my youth up even until now have I not eaten of that which dieth of itself, or is torn in pieces ; nei. ther came there abominable flesh into my mouth; I begged to be excused from the circumstance of dressing my food with
human dung, supposing that this would have been a ceremonial 15 pollution. Then he said unto me, Lo, I have given thee cow's
dung, a common fuel, for man's dung, and thou shalt prepare thy bread therewith.
Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, behold, I will break the staff of bread, the support of life, in Jerusalem, and they shall eat bread by weight, and with care ; and they shall drink water by measure, and with astonishment ; they shall be aston
ished and distressed for want of more provisions, and eat with 17 care and anxiety about the next meal : That they may want
bread and water, and be astonished one with another, and con. sume away, they shall look upon one another like persons aalone ished, and waste and perish by degrees, for their iniquity.
1. TT is particularly displeasing to God, when persons break
1 their solemn covenant engagements. The prophet was to bear the sins, that is, declare the punishment of the whole house of Israel for three hundred and ninety years, and of Judah's for forty years, that is, from the time their covenant was renewed. God took notice of that great national transaction, and it was a high aggravation of their sins that they acted contrary to their engagements. Let us learn caution from hence ; remember the vows of God that are upon us, especially those entered into at the Lord's supper, on the baptism of our children, or any more secret vows ; and be careful to pay them ; lest we fall under the displeasure of the faithful, holy, and almighty God. .
2. Good men are afraid of the least thing or circumstance that may have a tendency to defile their souls. The prophet even scrupled (unnecessarily indeed) what God had commanded him ; and appealed to him, that he had not from his youth up polluted his soul with any abominable thing. This suggests another lesson of caution to us, that we do not allow ourselves in any thing by which we may contract guilt and pollution, though it may not be expressly forbidden by the law of God. It is very desirable to be able, with the prophet, to appeal to God, that we have not only complied with the lesser matters of the law, but have abstained even from the appearance of evil. It is a great satisfaction to be able to say, that we have done this from our youth up, even until now; that we have been conscientious in the smallest matters ; and never knowingly violated the dictates of conscience ; and it will be a powerful argument against temptation to say, 66 Hitherto my soul hath not been polluted, therefore I will not now comply with temptation.”
3. God's indulgence to the prophet's scruples, suggests how much allowance ought to be made to tender consciences. There was nothing unlawful in what God commanded him to do ; but as the prophet scrupled it, God dispensed with that circumstance. Such a regard all, and especially those in authority, ought to show to tender consciences, (though perhaps they might be too scrupulous) that they do not tempt, much less force them, to do what they judge or suspect to be evil : and it would have been happy for the world, if in the constitution of christian churches, men had shown that tenderness to their brethren, which God here showed to the prophet ; though his commands were undoubted, ly wise and good.
4. How great a blessing is peace to the world, and how thank, ful should we be for it. This is a lesson which many parts of this, as well as of Jeremiah's prophecy, suggests. The horrors of war, and the misery of besieged places, are strongly painted out by these prophetic visions; and it would be painful to humanity tó descant further upon them. What inhuman creatures are those who delight in war ! how ungrateful are they to God ! How cruel are they to their fellow subjects and fellow men, who are not thankful for the return of peace, but had rather that the miseries of war should be continued, than their partial, proud, selfish desires should not be gratified! All these miseries came upon the Jews for their pride and ingratitude. To prevent the like, let us accept with all thankfulness the peace which God hath given us : and render to him according to the benefits done to us ; lest he bring' upon us the horrors of war in all their per fection.
This chapter carries on the argument of the former, and shows the
general destruction of the Jews after the siege. 1 A ND thou, son of man, take thee a sharp knife, take thee
N a barber's razor, and cause [it] to pass upon thine head and upon thy beard : then take thee balances to weigh, and 2 divide the Chair*.] Thou shalt burn with fire a third part in
the midst of the city, when the days of the siege are fulfilled, which denotes the famine and pestilence, and the burning of the city : and thou shalt take a third part, [and] smite about it with a knife, or sword, to intimate that a third part of the inhabitants should perish by the sword in their sallies and in the storm. ing of the city : and a third part thou shalt scatter in the
wind; and I will draw out a sword after them, that is, they 3 shall be driven into captivity. Thou shalt also take there
of a few in number, and bind them in thy skirts ; a remnant 4 shall be preserved. Then take of them again and cast them
into the midst of the fire, and burn them in the fire ; (for) thereof shall a fire come forth into all the house of Israel; which may refer to those who continued in the land under Gedali. ch, and afterwards went into Egypt and were destroyed, (2 Kings xxv. 22. Jeremiah xlii. 43, 44.) so that the whole land of Israel
was desolate. 5 Thus saith the Lord God; This [is] Jerusalem, this signi.
fies Jerusalem : I have set it in the midst of the nations and countries (that are] round about her ; I have set her in an
honourable station, and intended her as a blessing to other nations 6 by being a pattern of religion. And she hath changed my
'The Jewish writers observe, with great propriety, that this could not be really done, because Ezekiel was a priest, and it was contrary to the law for priests to shive their heads and cut off their beards, it was therefore only a vision. The head, significs Jerusalem, the hair, the great number of its inhabitants, the razor, the king of Babylon, was the balances, the exactness of God's judgments.
judgments into wickedness, perverted them to colour over her wickedness, more than the nations, and my statutes more than the countries that (are) round about her : for they have res fused my judgments and my statutes, they have not walked
in them; they have sinned against clearer light and stronger 7 convictions. Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Because
ye multiplied your idolatry and wickedness more than the nations that [are) round about you, [and] have not walked in my statutes, neither have kept my judgments, neither have done according to the judgments of the nations that Care] round
about you ; have not been so faithful, constant, and zealous in 8 the worship of your God, as they have been of theirs ; There
fore thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I, even I, [am] against thee, and will execute judgments in the midst of thee
in the sight of the nations; I will bring my heaviest judgments 9 on your capital city. And I will do in thee that which I have not done, and whereunto I will not do any more the like, be. cause of all thine abominations; your punishment shall be great
er and of longer continuance than those of other nations, (which 10 may include even their present calamities.) Therefore the
fathers shall eat the sons in the midst of thee, and the sons shall eat their fathers : and I will execute judgments in thee, and the whole remnant of thee will I scatter into all the winds, Wherefore, [as] I live, saith the Lord God; Surely because thou hast defiled my sanctuary with all thy detestable things, and with all thine abominations, therefore will I also diminish (thee :) neither shall mine eye spare, neither will I have any pity.
A third part of thee shall die with the pestilence, and with famine shall they be consumed in the midst of thee : and a third part shall fall by the sword round about thee; and I will scatter a third part into all the winds, and I will draw out
a sword after them, in Egypt and other countries which they 13 shall flee to. Thus shall mine anger be accomplished, and I
will cause my fury to rest upon them, and I will be comforted; to speak after the manner of men, I shall be pleased when I have rid the earth of those who are the scandal of it: and they shall know that I the LORD have spoken [it] in my zeal, when I
have accomplished my fury in them ; that I have done it out 14 of a just concern for my honour and authority. Moreover
I will make thee waste, and a reproach among the nations
that Care] round about thee, in the sight of all that pass by. 15 So it shall be a reproach and a taunt, an instruction, that they
may take warning by my judgments, and an astonishment unto the nations that (are) round about thee, when I shall exe
cute judgments in thee in anger and in fury and in furious re. 16 bukes. I the Lord have spoken (it.) When I shall send
upon them the evil arrows of famine, which shall be for (their)
destruction, (and) which I will send to destroy you : and I
will increase the famine upon you, and will break your staff 17 of bread : So will I send upon you famine and evil beasts,
wild beasts shall destroy many of those who flee or are carried captive, and they shall bereave thee ; and pestilence and blood, or a bloody pestilence and plague, that shall destroy multitudes, shall pass through thee ; and I will bring the sword upon thee. I the LORD have spoken [it.) This is often repeated, to show how certainly and dreadfully these threatenings should be accomplished.
1. T ET us reflect on the variety and the rectitude of the di
U vine judgments. How many arrows are in his quiver ; what a variety of ways he has of punishing a wicked people; they can fly to no place but where he can reach and destroy them. Yet still he weighs his judgments in the balance ; all are exactly determined; there is a due proportion in his corrections, according to men's guilt. Particular judgments are allotted to particular persons; and they are lighter or heavier according to their crimes. The consideration of this is comfortable, when we think of the calamities of nations, that they are all determined, regulated, and bounded, by unerring wisdom and perfect rightcousness.
2. When God distinguishes persons by his providential boun. ties, it is with a view to make them more useful to the world. When he gives them wealth or learning, and fixes them in stations of rank and power, it is that they may be more serviceable to others. Thus Jerusalem was set in the midst of the nations round about, that it might enlighten and reform them. Let men of wealth and 'honour, and all heads of families, remember this, that God raises them above others, that they may be so much the more generous and charitable, and do more by their fortunes, influence and example, to promote his glory, and support the interest of religion : and that to whoin much is given, of them much will be required.
3. Those who abuse religious advantages, are here described as the worst of men. God (v.7) reproves the Israelites as being worse than heathens; for they had not changed their gods, nor neglected the worship of them, as Israel had done. Those who have enjoyed a divine revelation and yet continue ignorant and Vicious, will be condemned by the sober, virtuous lives of the heathens, who have it not: and when those who have enjoyed a good education, been often and seriously instructed and warned by their parents and ministers, who have at the same time set them a good example, when such forsake God and his service, and turn his judgments into wickedness, their guilt is highly aggravated;