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Commentary On Ezekiel Volume 2 by Jean Calvin

Ezekiel 19:7

7. 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.

7. Et contrivit, palatia ejus, et urbes eorum destruxit, et redacta fuit in solitudinem terra, et plenitudo ejus a voce rugitus illius.

He again confirms what he said of the cruelty of King Jehoiakim: but the phrase is mixed, since he retains but a part of the simile, and then speaks without a figure of palaces and cities. Although interpreters incline to a different opinion, and translate -- and took notice of his widows: and if the remaining words had suited, this reading would have been better; but I do not see how things so different can be united, as destroying cities and noticing widows. First, those who adopt this comment are obliged to adopt the notion that Jehoiakim destroyed the men and deflowered their widows, since he could not possess them in freedom till they were widows. Every one will admit that this is far-fetched. But the word |afflict| suits tolerably well. And truly the 53rd chapter of Isaiah, where Christ is said to be bruised for our grieves, cannot be better explained, (Isaiah 53:3.) Some translate, that he experienced sorrows, or knew them, or was acquainted with them, in the passive signification. But those who say that he saw sorrows, or experienced them, do not consider how it suits the passage; and those who say that he was cognizant of grieves, meaning his own, also distort the Prophet's words. I doubt not, therefore, that in this passage it means to afflict. Respecting the noun, I suppose the letter, l (l) taken for r (r); and in Isaiah (Isaiah 13:22) this word is used for palaces: wild beasts shall howl, says the Prophet, v'lmnvtyv, bal-meno-thiv, that is, in her palaces. The word cannot here mean widows, and all are agreed to take it for palaces; and when the Prophet adds, that he destroyed cities, the subject shows us that in the former clause the palaces were afflicted, and then the cities destroyed: the Prophet asserts this simply, and without a figure, though he soon returns to the simile, that the land was reduced to a desert by the voice of roaring. Again, he compares King Jehoiakim to a lion; whence it follows, as I said, that the Prophet's language is mixed. Elsewhere, also, the prophets reprove the pride of their king. (Jeremiah 22:15; Jeremiah 36:30.) For although he was contemptible, yet he raised himself above other kings; hence he is derided, since he was not content with the condition and moderation of his father, who ate and drank, -- that is, lived like mankind, -- but he desired to raise himself above the race of men. For this cause the Prophet now says, that cities were destroyed by him, and palaces afflicted by him. There is a change of number in the pronouns, because the singular number is put in the word |palaces,| and the plural in cities. But we know how frequently this change occurs in the Hebrew Language; while as to the sense there is no obscurity, for King Jehoiakim was like a fierce and cruel beast, because he destroyed cities and pulled down palaces. But afterwards he adds, the land was laid waste and made solitary by the voice of his roaring. Here the Prophet enlarges upon the atrocity of that king, since by his roaring alone he had reduced the land to a desert. He does not speak of claws or teeth, but says that they were all so frightened at the sound of his roaring that the land was waste and solitary. He adds, the fullness of the land, by which expression Scripture usually denotes the ornaments of a country. The word comprehends trees, and fruits, and animals, as well as inhabitants; for a land is empty and bare without that clothing; that is, if trees and fruits are taken away as well as men and animals, the face of the land is deserted and deformed, and its state displays its emptiness. It afterwards follow: --

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