The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Ezekiel 21

Eze 21:1

Vv 1-7: A forest fire against Jerusalem.

Eze 21:3

THE RIGHTEOUS AND THE WICKED: The green and the dry of Eze 20:4-7. The righteous are not exempted from the judgments on the world.

Eze 21:4

SOUTH: "Negev" of Eze 20:47.

Eze 21:8

Vv 8-17: The sword of Yahweh.

Eze 21:10

Against the protest of Ezekiel's listeners, even the kingly rod of Judah will be condemned by Yahweh's sword along with the other trees. "It shall be no more" (v 27)... until... v 13.

Eze 21:18

Vv 18-24: Nebuchadnezzar is revealed as the "sword".

Eze 21:21

"The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD" (Pro 16:33).

THE JUNCTION OF THE TWO ROADS: The ancient trade routes diverged at Damascus.

Eze 21:22

INTO HIS RIGHT HAND WILL COME THE LOT FOR JERUSALEM: Facing south at the parting of the roads, the right hand would lead toward Jerusalem.

Eze 21:25

Vv 25-27: Destruction and restoration.

" 'And thou, profane wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end, Thus saith the Lord God: Remove the diadem and take off the crown; this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. I will overturn, overturn, overturn it: and it shall be no more UNTIL HE COMES WHOSE RIGHT IT IS; and I will give it him' [Eze 21:25-27].

"Here was a diadem to be removed, a crown to be taken off, and a national polity to be completely abolished, as indicated in the triple repetition of the verb, 'overturn,' and as expressed by the phrase, 'it shall be no more.' The prediction related to things Jewish, even to the things which constitute the throne of David; and its fulfillment is notorious to every reader of Jewish history. About a year after its delivery, Zedekiah was uncrowned by Nebuchadnezzar. The nobles were put to death; the nation was partly massacred, and partly carried away captive, and the land given over to desolation. Seventy years after, a partial restoration took place under Ezra and Nehemiah, but not of the throne of David. The Jews existed as a vassal people thenceforward; and after varied political fortunes, were overtaken by a storm which swept away every vestige of their national existence.

"The Romans, under Vespasian, invaded the country, and subdued its fortified places; and Vespasian having transferred the command to Titus, the latter laid siege to Jerusalem, which at that time was crowded with people from all parts of the country. The details of that awful siege are familiar to every one. The city was tediously beleaguered for months; famine arose among the inhabitants; civil dissensions divided their counsels, and led to mutual slaughter; and, finally, the place was sacked and given to the flames, and upwards of 1,000,000 of Jews perished. The remainder were sold as slaves, and scattered throughout the Roman empire as fugitives; and scattered they remain to this day [1868]. So awfully has the prophecy been fulfilled, that for the last twenty centuries, the throne of David has been a mere idle phrase -- a tradition of the past; his kingdom has been overthrown, his land in desolation, and his people wandering as homeless exiles, unpitied and unpitying.

"But is this condition of David's throne to be perpetual? Are the Gentiles for ever to exalt their proud horns over the fallen kingdom of the Lord? (See 1Ch 24:23; 2Ch 9:8; 13:8, which affirm the kingdom of Israel to have been the kingdom of God). Nay, saith the prophecy: desolation shall only continue UNTIL -- until what? 'Until HE COME whose right it is.' Who is this? None other than Jesus Christ, to whom the throne pertains of right, both by lineal descent, and special divine bequest. Observe, then, what is distinctly proved, that the things overturned are the things to be given to Christ at his coming. Now, what things were those? The diadem, crown, throne, and Kingdom of David. Hence, when HE COMES whose right they are, he will enter into their possession in as real a sense as they were held by Zedekiah. He will become King of the Jews, and Lord of the whole earth. We thus perceive a striking significance in the words of the angel: 'The Lord God shall give unto Jesus THE THRONE OF HIS FATHER David, and he shall reign over THE HOUSE OF JACOB for ever; and of HIS KINGDOM there shall be no end.'

"Going a step farther in our New Testament enquiry, we come to the birth of Christ, and we note the following incident: 'Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born KING OF THE JEWS' (Mat 2:1).

"The enquiry of the wise men was intelligible in view of all that the prophets had foretold of him who was to be ruler in Israel; but if Christ is only the spiritual Saviour of mankind, in a universal general sense, their words have no meaning. In what sense could Christ be 'king of the Jews,' if he only stood in broad spiritual relationship to the human race as a whole? It may be suggested that he is king of spiritual Jews, who are not Jews outwardly, but in the heart. The reply to this is, that Christ is not king of his own people. Of them he says, 'I call you not servants, but friends.' They are his brethren, 'joint heirs with Christ' (Rom 8:17), destined to reign with him a thousand years (Rev 20:6). They are not his subjects, but aggregately his bride, 'the Lamb's wife' -- signifying the closest communion and identity of relational interest. Christ, therefore, cannot be king of the Jews in any spiritual sense. He is king of those Jews of whom David was king; for he is heir to his throne. That this was the nature of his claim, as understood by his contemporaries, is obvious from what followed the enquiry of the wise men: 'When Herod the king had heard these things he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judea: for thus it is written by the prophet, and thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda; for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel... And (Herod) sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men' (Mat 2:2,3,6,16).

"Now whence all this commotion? If Christ was merely to be a spiritual ruler in the popular sense -- exercising power from heaven in the hearts of men, without at all interfering with the temporal concerns of kings on earth, it is not conceivable that Herod should have been so jealous of him, because Christ's spiritual dominion would not in any way have conflicted with Herod's jurisdiction as a king.

"Assuming, however, that the enquiry of the wise men imported the verity of Christ's character as a king, appointed of God to sit on David's throne, Herod's procedure appears in a natural light. He was at that time ruler in Israel. He was, in fact, 'King of the Jews,' in the name of the Roman Caesar. For him, therefore, to hear of the birth of a rival to that position, was to be touched in the tenderest part, and to have all his jealousy aroused. He would see plainly that if he allowed this infant king to live, the people's allegiance might become diverted, and his own throne would be endangered. He therefore conceived the inhuman project of slaughtering the entire babyhood of Bethlehem, in the hope of destroying the object of his jealousy -- a proof that he recognised in Christ, a prospective claimant of the literal kingship of Israel" (XdmAst ch 11).

PRINCE OF ISRAEL: Zedekiah, wicked and proud: 2Ch 36:11-14.

Eze 21:26

TAKE OFF THE TURBAN: Heb "mitsnepheth". Or "mitre" (AV) of High Priest: sw Exo 28:4,37,39; 29:6; 39:28,31; Lev 8:9; 16:4 -- and is clearly linked with priesthood. Both the kingdom and the priesthood were over.

REMOVE THE CROWN: Removal of official attire of the king. God will exalt the lowly: Jam 4:10. As with Christ: Phi 2:8,9.

Eze 21:27

RUIN... RUIN... RUIN: (1) 3 invasions by Nebuchadnezzar: BC 606, 598, and 587. Or (2) 3 distinct overthrows: BC 720: Assyrian captivity; BC 590: Babylonian captivity; and 70 AD: Roman invasion. Or, perhaps, (3) BC 590, 70 AD, and future! David's throne to cease until the promised seed comes: 2Sa 7:12.

TO WHOM IT RIGHTFULLY BELONGS: That is, to whom the "scepter" or "rod" of Eze 19:11,14 rightfully belongs.

"Zedekiah", the wicked prince of v 25; his name sig "he who shall be righteousness"; but Christ is the true "LORD our Righteousness" (Jer 23:6). He is the GREATER "Zedekiah" -- to restore both the throne and the priesthood (Zec 6:14; Heb 7) -- and the "Shiloh" of Gen 49:10.

Eze 21:28

Vv 28-32: AMMON: Cp Eze 25:1-7. In ct Judah's sore judgments, Ammon to perish without hope. Reason: hatred of Israel -- cp Zep 2:8; Jer 49:1.

Eze 21:30

IN THE LAND OF YOUR ANCESTRY: In ct Judah, judged by being scattered into ALL lands.

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