King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Ezekiel 21

The ruin of Judah under the emblem of a sharp sword. (1-17) The approach of the king of Babylon described. (18-27) The destruction of the Ammonites. (28-32)

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The ruin of Judah under the emblem of a sharp sword

1 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

2 Son of man, set thy face toward Jerusalem, and drop thy word toward the holy places, and prophesy against the land of Israel,

3 And say to the land of Israel, Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I am against thee, and will draw forth my sword out of his sheath, and will cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked.

4 Seeing then that I will cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked, therefore shall my sword go forth out of his sheath against all flesh from the south to the north:

5 That all flesh may know that I the LORD have drawn forth my sword out of his sheath: it shall not return any more.

6 Sigh therefore, thou son of man, with the breaking of thy loins; and with bitterness sigh before their eyes.

7 And it shall be, when they say unto thee, Wherefore sighest thou? that thou shalt answer, For the tidings; because it cometh: and every heart shall melt, and all hands shall be feeble, and every spirit shall faint, and all knees shall be weak as water: behold, it cometh, and shall be brought to pass, saith the Lord GOD.

8 Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

9 Son of man, prophesy, and say, Thus saith the LORD; Say, A sword, a sword is sharpened, and also furbished:

10 It is sharpened to make a sore slaughter; it is furbished that it may glitter: should we then make mirth? it contemneth the rod of my son, as every tree.

11 And he hath given it to be furbished, that it may be handled: this sword is sharpened, and it is furbished, to give it into the hand of the slayer.

12 Cry and howl, son of man: for it shall be upon my people, it shall be upon all the princes of Israel: terrors by reason of the sword shall be upon my people: smite therefore upon thy thigh.

13 Because it is a trial, and what if the sword contemn even the rod? it shall be no more, saith the Lord GOD.

14 Thou therefore, son of man, prophesy, and smite thine hands together. and let the sword be doubled the third time, the sword of the slain: it is the sword of the great men that are slain, which entereth into their privy chambers.

15 I have set the point of the sword against all their gates, that their heart may faint, and their ruins be multiplied: ah! it is made bright, it is wrapped up for the slaughter.

16 Go thee one way or other, either on the right hand, or on the left, whithersoever thy face is set.

17 I will also smite mine hands together, and I will cause my fury to rest: I the LORD have said it.

The approach of the king of Babylon described

18 The word of the LORD came unto me again, saying,

19 Also, thou son of man, appoint thee two ways, that the sword of the king of Babylon may come: both twain shall come forth out of one land: and choose thou a place, choose it at the head of the way to the city.

20 Appoint a way, that the sword may come to Rabbath of the Ammonites, and to Judah in Jerusalem the defenced.

21 For the king of Babylon stood at the parting of the way, at the head of the two ways, to use divination: he made his arrows bright, he consulted with images, he looked in the liver.

22 At his right hand was the divination for Jerusalem, to appoint captains, to open the mouth in the slaughter, to lift up the voice with shouting, to appoint battering rams against the gates, to cast a mount, and to build a fort.

23 And it shall be unto them as a false divination in their sight, to them that have sworn oaths: but he will call to remembrance the iniquity, that they may be taken.

24 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye have made your iniquity to be remembered, in that your transgressions are discovered, so that in all your doings your sins do appear; because, I say, that ye are come to remembrance, ye shall be taken with the hand.

25 And thou, profane wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end,

26 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.

27 I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him.

The destruction of the Ammonites

28 And thou, son of man, prophesy and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD concerning the Ammonites, and concerning their reproach; even say thou, The sword, the sword is drawn: for the slaughter it is furbished, to consume because of the glittering:

29 Whiles they see vanity unto thee, whiles they divine a lie unto thee, to bring thee upon the necks of them that are slain, of the wicked, whose day is come, when their iniquity shall have an end.

30 Shall I cause it to return into his sheath? I will judge thee in the place where thou wast created, in the land of thy nativity.

31 And I will pour out mine indignation upon thee, I will blow against thee in the fire of my wrath, and deliver thee into the hand of brutish men, and skilful to destroy.

32 Thou shalt be for fuel to the fire; thy blood shall be in the midst of the land; thou shalt be no more remembered: for I the LORD have spoken it.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 3. Just. But had not God declared the contrary, C. xviii? The time was not yet arrived; or, he rescued the just from death, though he permitted them to experience the other common miseries. C. — He preserved them from eternal death. E. — The just often means those who are so only in appearance. C. xvi. 51. C. — Temporal afflictions fall upon all; but the just derive benefit from them, while the wicked fall into eternal misery. S. Jer. W.

Ver. 4. North, including all the country belonging to Israel.

Ver. 5. Back, (v. 30.) without doing execution. Jer. l. 9. C.

Ver. 6. Bitterness. Sept. “pains,” like those of child-bearing. Is. xxi. 3.

Ver. 7. Melt. Lit. “decay.” Jos. vii. &c. — Knee. C. vii. 17. H.

Ver. 10. My son. He speaks, according to S. Jerom, to the sword of Nabuchodonosor; which was about to remove the sceptre of Israel, whom God here calls his son. Ch. — This title belonged to all Israel. Ex. iv. 22. W. — The Heb. seems to be corrupt, and we may adhere to the Vulg. or to the Sept. (C.) which has, (9,) “Sword be sharp, and raging to slay victims; be sharp to shine, ready for destruction; cut, reduce to nothing, remove all wood.” H. — Syr. “be ready to scatter the race of my son,” &c. Heb. “Where shall we rejoice, sceptre of my son, thou sword which despisest every tree?” C. — Prot. “It contemneth the rod of my son as every tree?” H.

Ver. 11. Slayer. He had conquered many nations before he attacked Israel. Let none boast of being the scourges of the Lord.

Ver. 12. Fled, with Sedecias, by night. — Thigh, in surprise and grief. v. 17.

Ver. 13. God. Perhaps you will say it is only a trial: but what will be your sentiments, when you behold the king and his people led away? C. — Prot. “Because it is a trial; and what if the sword contemn even the rod? it shall be no more, saith.” H.

Ver. 14. Tripled. Let the war be very bloody. Nabuchodonosor often invaded Judea. C. — He raised the siege, but returned. Vat.

Ver. 15. Ready. Lit. “covered,” (amicti. H.) in the scabbard, and quite new and sharp.

Ver. 20. Rabbath. They had formed a league with Sedecias, and Nabuchodonosor thought of punishing them first. H. — But they joined his forces. Jer. xii. 6. and xxvii. 3.

Ver. 21. Shuffling. Heb. “polishing.” Syr. &c. “shooting an arrow upwards.” He was undetermined which to attack first, and perhaps wrote Jerusalem on one and Rabbath on another arrow; (S. Jer. &c. C.) or which way the arrow fell the army followed. H. — Many nations have adopted such superstitious practices. — Idols. Heb. Teraphim. Gen. xxxi. 19. C. — Entrails. The Chaldeans taught the Lydians and they the Tuscans. Grot. — At first this was done only to see if the victims were sound. Cic. Div.

Ver. 22. Right of one going by Thapsacus and Damascus, and not through the Desert Arabia, for thus Rabbath would have been to the right. God permitted this divination to succeed in his wrath. The devil pushed the Chaldeans forward, lest the Jews might be converted. C. — I they had attacked Rabbath first, they would probably have succeeded, as they did five years after. But the time of vengeance was come for Jerusalem, (H.) and they were directed to assault it. W. — Voice: the din of war, (H.) or of soldiers, trumpets, &c.

Ver. 23. Vain. They shall think that Nabuchodonosor is wasting his time. — Sabbaths. Heb. “they have people who swear to them;” false prophets, or the Egyptians, on whom they depend. Sept. “and counting the weeks,” like Aman. Est. iii. 7. — Iniquity, or perfidy of Sedecias. C. xvii. 15. C.

Ver. 24. Remembered. Heb. “caused…to be remembered,” (H.) sinning publicly. C.

Ver. 25. Thou profane, &c. He speaks to king Sedecias, who had broken his oath, and was otherwise a wicked prince. Ch. — Heb. “Criminal, (sentenced to die) wicked,” &c. C.

Ver. 26. Diadem, (cidarim.) Some think this was th ornament of the high priest, (S. Jer. Chal.) denoting that he should perish as well as the king. H. — This. The royal crown of Juda had exalted Sedecias from a private state and condition to the sovereign power, as the loss of it brought down Jechonias, &c. Ch. — It shall be given go Godolias. Chal. Heb. “it is not (H.) or shall be no more” the same, or for the posterity of Sedecias. None of the tribe of Juda was truly king after him, till the Messias. Sanct. T. &c. Gen. xlix. 10. C.

Ver. 27. Iniquity. Or, I will overturn it, viz. the crown of Juda, for the manifold iniquities of the kings: but it shall not be utterly removed till Christ come, whose right it is; and who shall reign in the spiritual house of Jacob (that is, in his Church,) for evermore. Ch. — Heb. also, “sideways.” Thou shalt no more wear the tiara erect, (H.) like a king: (Hesyc.) or rather, thy iniquity or punishment shall be most grievous. — Him; Christ, or (C.) Nabuchodonosor. Vat. M.

Ver. 28. Reproach, by which they had reproached and insulted over the Jews, at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem. Ch. C. xxv. 6. Soph. ii. 8. — They were punished five years later (C.) by the same Babylonians whom they had encouraged. W.

Ver. 30. Sheath. The sword of Babylon, after raging against many nations, was shortly to be judged and destroyed at home by the Medes and Persians. Ch. — After Nabuchodonosor had chastised the nations around for 18 years, after the ruin of Jerusalem, he returned and died in peace. Yet he first became like a beast. v. 31. Dan. iv. 30. The rest of the prophecy regards his successors. Cyrus waged war upon them, and Baltassar was slain in a conspiracy. See Is. xlvii. Jer. l. C. — At last the sword fell upon Babylon itself. W.

Ver. 31. Brutish, or devoid of sense. H. — Heb. “burning;” smiths. C.