King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Ezekiel 5

A type of hair, showing the judgments about to come upon the Jews. (1-4) These awful judgments are declared. (5-17)

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A type of hair, showing the judgments about to come upon the Jews

1 And thou, son of man, take thee a sharp knife, take thee a barber’s razor, and cause it to pass upon thine head and upon thy beard: then take thee balances to weigh, and divide the hair.

2 Thou shalt burn with fire a third part in the midst of the city, when the days of the siege are fulfilled: and thou shalt take a third part, and smite about it with a knife: and a third part thou shalt scatter in the wind; and I will draw out a sword after them.

3 Thou shalt also take thereof a few in number, and bind them in thy skirts.

4 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.

These awful judgments are declared

5 Thus saith the Lord GOD; This is Jerusalem: I have set it in the midst of the nations and countries that are round about her.

6 And she hath changed my judgments into wickedness more than the nations, and my statutes more than the countries that are round about her: for they have refused my judgments and my statutes, they have not walked in them.

7 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye multiplied 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 are round about you;

8 Therefore 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.

9 And I will do in thee that which I have not done, and whereunto I will not do any more the like, because of all thine abominations.

10 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.

11 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.

12 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.

13 Thus shall mine anger be accomplished, and I will cause my fury to rest upon them, and I will be comforted: and they shall know that I the LORD have spoken it in my zeal, when I have accomplished my fury in them.

14 Moreover I will make thee waste, and a reproach among the nations that are round about thee, in the sight of all that pass by.

15 So it shall be a reproach and a taunt, an instruction and an astonishment unto the nations that are round about thee, when I shall execute judgments in thee in anger and in fury and in furious rebukes. I the LORD have spoken it.

16 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 of bread:

17 So will I send upon you famine and evil beasts, and they shall bereave thee: and pestilence and blood shall pass through thee; and I will bring the sword upon thee. I the LORD have spoken it.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. That. Heb. “the scissors of clippers.” The same term is used for clipping sheep as for cutting hair. Shaving was not probably then in use. — Beard, as in mourning or for ignominy. 2 K. x. 4. Jer. xlvii. 5. — Balance, to shew that God does nothing unjustly. C. — The hair. Lit. “them.” H. — This was to be done before he lay down. Hew was to burn, cut, and divide the hair as the siege represented on the tile advanced, to denote that some should perish in the city by famine, others by the sword, while a few should be scattered among the nations: yet of these a small number should be gathered round Godolias, and perish with him, or in Egypt, &c. and the rest be thence led captive to Babylon.

Ver. 2. Third. Sept. and Theod. read “a fourth,” as also v. 12. (C.) thus assigning half to be burnt by death (pestilence) and famine. The other half of the people falls a prey to the sword and to captivity. The pestilence, famine, and the sword, were the three usual scourges left to David’s choice, (2 K. xxiv.) which here destroy each a fourth part, while the rest become captives. Yet even of this third or fourth part, many engage in civil broils, and perish. S. Jerom hints that the Sept. is interpolated from Theodotion, v. 12, and that their version only comprised the pentateuch. But the other books went at least under the same title; and there must be some mistake in the words asterisked, since they occur in the Heb. Vulg. &c. third being only substituted for fourth: “And a fourth part of thee shall fall by the sword.” The Heb. is rather less degrading to the Jews, as there would be thus at most one-third preserved, instead of a part only of one-fourth. See Deut. xxvii. 4. Jer. lii. 28. — Take. Sept. add here, “a fourth part; and shalt burn it in the midst of it; and a fourth thou shalt cut,” &c. H. — He was thus to deal with a part of the hair during 390 days, (M.) or at the end of them. R. Salom. — Round, in the cities near Jerusalem, (W.) or round the picture of it. C. iv. 1.

Ver. 4. Out of it. Some rose up against Godolias. Jer. xl. &c. C. — The divisions of the Jews brought on the persecution of Epiphanes, (Sanct.) and introduced Pompey. S. Jer. H.

Ver. 5. Midst, distinguished above the rest. Many have supposed that the city was in the exact middle of Palestine, or of the world. Ps. lxxiii. 12. C.

Ver. 7. Surpassed. in numbers, (Sym.) or rather in wickedness. Chal. C. — Sept. “because you have been incited by the,” &c. H. — Judgments. You have been less attached to my service than the Gentiles have been to their idols. Some think that not is here superfluous, as it is omitted C. xi. 12. But it is wrong to imitate the Gentiles, and worse to surpass them in crimes.

Ver. 9. Like. The ruin of Jerusalem by the Chaldees was terrible, (C.) but that by the Romans was more so. S. Jer. — The reasons were different.

Ver. 10. Fathers. This is not specified in history. Famine prevailed, 4 K. xxv. 3.; and we find something similar, Lam. iv. 10. C. Bar. ii. W. — It is probable, therefore, that these threats were realized. Theod. Deut. xxviii. 53. — Scatter. Lit. “winnow.” H. — The Jewish nation was never again all together in the promised land.

Ver. 12. Pestilence. Sept. “death;” so they usually denote pestilence. They add, “and a fourth part of thee shall be,” &c. v. 2. H.

Ver. 13. Comforted, or revenged. C. xxiv. 14. Is. i. 24.

Ver. 14. And a. Sept. “and thy daughters (dependances. C.) round,” &c. H.

Ver. 15. Scoff. Lit. “blasphemy;” which is here used improperly, to denote derision. W.

Ver. 16. Arrows; inclemency of the seasons, &c. which bring on famine. M.

Ver. 17. Beasts. They usually take possession of abandoned countries. S. Jer. — The Chaldees may also be meant. C. xvii. 3.