King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Ezekiel 8

The idolatries committed by the Jewish rulers. (1-6) The superstitions to which the Jews were then devoted, the Egyptian. (7-12) The Phoenician. (13,14) The Persian. (15,16) The heinousness of their sin. (17,18)

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The idolatries committed by the Jewish rulers

1 And it came to pass in the sixth year, in the sixth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I sat in mine house, and the elders of Judah sat before me, that the hand of the Lord GOD fell there upon me.

2 Then I beheld, and lo a likeness as the appearance of fire: from the appearance of his loins even downward, fire; and from his loins even upward, as the appearance of brightness, as the colour of amber.

3 And he put forth the form of an hand, and took me by a lock of mine head; and the spirit lifted me up between the earth and the heaven, and brought me in the visions of God to Jerusalem, to the door of the inner gate that looketh toward the north; where was the seat of the image of jealousy, which provoketh to jealousy.

4 And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel was there, according to the vision that I saw in the plain.

5 Then said he unto me, Son of man, lift up thine eyes now the way toward the north. So I lifted up mine eyes the way toward the north, and behold northward at the gate of the altar this image of jealousy in the entry.

6 He said furthermore unto me, Son of man, seest thou what they do? even the great abominations that the house of Israel committeth here, that I should go far off from my sanctuary? but turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations.

The superstitions to which the Jews were then devoted, the Egyptian

7 And he brought me to the door of the court; and when I looked, behold a hole in the wall.

8 Then said he unto me, Son of man, dig now in the wall: and when I had digged in the wall, behold a door.

9 And he said unto me, Go in, and behold the wicked abominations that they do here.

10 So I went in and saw; and behold every form of creeping things, and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, pourtrayed upon the wall round about.

11 And there stood before them seventy men of the ancients of the house of Israel, and in the midst of them stood Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan, with every man his censer in his hand; and a thick cloud of incense went up.

12 Then said he unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen what the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the chambers of his imagery? for they say, the LORD seeth us not; the LORD hath forsaken the earth.

The Phoenician

13 He said also unto me, Turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations that they do.

14 Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the LORD’s house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz.

The Persian

15 Then said he unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations than these.

16 And he brought me into the inner court of the LORD’s house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east.

The heinousness of their sin

17 Then he said unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they commit here? for they have filled the land with violence, and have returned to provoke me to anger: and, lo, they put the branch to their nose.

18 Therefore will I also deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Sixth of the prophet’s captivity, (C.) in August, A. 3411. Usher — He had rested on his left or right side, whenever he slept during 430 days, and on the following had this vision. W. — He was stationed in spirit at the northern gate leading to the court of the priests, and beheld the glory of God and the idol of jealousy. He saw the people, men and women, adoring idols, and priests worshipping the sun. C. ix. God rests on the gate of the temple, and orders a man to sign those who were to live, and six others to destroy the rest. The prophet prays. C. x. God orders the man clothed in linen to take coals from the cherubim, and sprinkle them through the city. The throne goes to receive the Lord. C. xi. Ezechiel prophesies against many, at the eastern gate; and God informs him that the former captives shall return, but that the wicked at Jerusalem shall perish. His chariot then rests on the mountain to the east of the city. Thus his reasons for punishing the people become evident.

Ver. 2. Likeness. Sept. add, “of a man,” as it had appeared C. i. 27.

Ver. 3. Lock, like Habacuc; (Dan. xiv. 35.) or by a bandage, on which parts of the law were written. Heb. C. — Of jealousy; Baal, (S. Jer.) or any other idol, (H.) particularly Adonis. v. 14. He fell a victim to the jealousy of Mars.

Ver. 10. About. This was the council chamber. Jer. xxvi. 10. They durst not publicly adore the Egyptian, &c. idols. C. — They denied Providence. v. 12. H. — The wicked do not regard it, and hence fall into idolatry. W.

Ver. 11. Jezonias. He probably was over the temple, as his father had been. 4 K. xxii. 3. C.

Ver. 14. Adonis, the favourite of Venus, slain by a wild boar, as feigned by the heathen poets, and which being here represented by an idol, is lamented by the female worshippers of that goddess. In Heb. the name is Tammuz, (Ch.) which means “concealed,” as Adonis signifies “my lord.” This idol, which the Egyptians called Osiris, was placed in a coffin, and bewailed till it was pretended he was come to life, when rejoicings took place. Obscene pictures were carried about; and the more honest pagans were ashamed of these practices, which began in Egypt, and became almost general. Moses alludes to them, Lev. xix. 27. Deut. xiv. 1. C. — David and Solomon say that the image was made of brass, with eyes of lead, which seemed to weep, melting when it was hot. W. — But this is destitute of proof.

Ver. 16. Men. Twelve priests and as many Levites officiated daily. The high priest made the twenty fifth. 1 Par. xxiv. — Sun. They prayed to God, turning their faces to the west: but here they despised him, and adored the sun. Job xxxi. 26. C. — This posture was common. Illi ad surgentem conversi lumina solum. Æn. xii. Serv. — Christians did the like, though the reason is not ascertained. C. — It might be because Christ is the orient, and not to resemble the Jews. There was no danger of their being taken for idolaters. H.

Ver. 17. Nose, to hide their faces respectfully, (C.) when they look at the sun rising. H. — A thyrsus was used in honour of Bacchus, who is often confounded with the sun. Various improbable versions of this text are given. It may signify Heb. “they threw their instruments down before their faces,” like the twenty-four elders. Apoc. v. 8. C.