EZEKIEL CHAPTER 6.
The Judgment of God upon the Places and the Servants of Idolatry.
THE DESOLATION OF THE LAND AND THE SLAUGHTER OF THE IDOLATERS. — V. 1. And the word of the Lord came unto me, again in direct verbal inspiration, saying, v. 2. Son of man, set thy face toward the mountains of Israel, in a prophecy of condemnation, and prophesy against them, v. 3. and say, Ye mountains of Israel, the special places of idolatrous cults, here representing the entire country formerly occupied by the Lord’s people, hear the word of the Lord God, of the sovereign Ruler of the universe: Thus saith the Lord God to the mountains and to the hills, the high places of heathen worship, to the rivers and to the valleys, where the idolaters lived, Behold, I, even I, will bring a sword upon you, the murderous sword of the invading foes, and I will destroy your high places, where the altars and sanctuaries erected to idols were commonly found. V. 4. And your altars, namely, those devoted to the service of idols, shall be desolate, and your images shall be broken, the sun-pillars erected in honor of the Phoenician god Baal; and I will cast down your slain men before your idols. In the original the word here used has a contemptuous flavor, so that it means either stone monuments, loose stones, dead masses of stone, or – dung-idols. In the presence of the very logs or pillars in which they trusted these men would be slaughtered, for their idols were powerless to help them. V. 5. And I will lay the dead carcasses of the children of Israel before their idols, as a proper votive offering; and I will scatter your bones round about your altars, a fitting mockery of their idolatrous trust. V. 6. In all your dwelling-places, that is, throughout the country occupied by them, the cities shall be laid waste, and the high places shall be desolate, heaps of ruins, that your altars may be laid waste and made desolate and your idols may be broken and cease, totally exterminated, and your images may be cut down, the sun-pillars being destroyed utterly, and your works may be abolished, all the buildings and vessels of idolatry which they had erected or made. V. 7. And the slain shall fail in the midst of you, so that some, indeed, would still be delivered, and ye shall know that I am the Lord, the one and only true God, as contrasted with the idols, which have no true existence and pass away under the blows of the enemy’s hammer. The falling of the slain, of the idolaters with their idols, leads to the knowledge of Jehovah as the almighty Lord.
THE FATE OF THOSE WHO REMAIN. — V. 8. Yet will I leave a remnant, in the general destruction spoken of in the first part of the chapter, that ye may have some that shall escape the sword among the nations when ye shall be scattered through the countries, in the exile which had been threatened by various prophets. V. 9. And they that escape of you shall remember Me among the nations whither they shall be carried captives, realizing that He who brought this calamity upon them was Jehovah, the God of Israel, and that His Word is the eternal truth, also in the threats uttered against their idolatry, because I am broken with their whorish heart, or, “when I have broken their whorish heart,” which hath departed from Me, in the spiritual adultery so often reproved in the Old Testament, and with their eyes, which go a-whoring after their idols, instead of being faithful to the God of the covenant; and they shall loathe themselves for the evils which they have committed in all their abominations, they will have a feeling of revulsion against themselves for ever having yielded to the idolatry of the heathen nations. Thus the first part of a true repentance would be wrought in them, the feeling of disgust over their unfaithfulness to the true Lord. V. 10. And they shall know that I am the Lord, being brought to this realization by the lessons of a bitter experience, and that I have not said in vain, with an empty threat, that I would do this evil unto them. Since they would not listen before, they would be obliged to heed when the proof of the Lord’s faithfulness in keeping His word would bring them to their senses. V. 11. Thus saith the Lord God, Smite with thine hand, either in clapping or in striking the thigh, and stamp with thy foot, in indignant impatience with Israel’s hard-heartedness, and say, Alas for all the evil abominations of the house of Israel! that it should have been necessary to go to such extremes in bringing them to their senses. For they shall fall by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence, the great scourges of the Lord’s wrath. V. 12. He that is far off, out of time enemies’ reach, shall die of the pestilence, being unable to escape the avenging army of the Lord; and he that is near, within reach of the invaders, shall fall by the sword; and he that remaineth and is besieged shall die by the famine, having escaped the sword in the siege, he nevertheless becomes a victim. Thus will I accomplish, fully carry out, My fury upon them. V. 13. Then shall ye know that I am the Lord, when their slain men shall be among their idols round about their altars, v. 5, upon every high hill, in all the tops of the mountains, where the idolatrous sanctuaries to the heavenly powers were usually erected, and under every green tree, and under every thick oak, the terebinth-oak of Palestine, found either in groves or s individual trees in the brook-channels and ravines, the place where they did offer sweet savor to all their idols, namely, in sacrificing incense to Baal and Astarte. V. 14. So will I stretch out My hand upon them, in sending His punishment, and make the land desolate, yea, more desolate than the wilderness toward Diblath, a desert otherwise unknown, but probably located in Arabia, in all their habitations; and they shall know that I am the Lord. In one form or other, but with constantly increasing emphasis, the Lord brings out His lesson: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked!”