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Eze 36:1-38. ISRAEL AVENGED OF HER FOES, AND RESTORED, FIRST TO INWARD HOLINESS, THEN TO OUTWARD PROSPERITY.
The distinction between Israel and the heathen (as Edom) is: Israel has a covenant relation to God ensuring restoration after chastisement, so that the heathen's hope of getting possession of the elect people's inheritance must fail, and they themselves be made desolate (Eze 36:1-15). The reason for the chastisement of Israel was Israel's sin and profanation of God's name (Eze 36:16-21). God has good in store for Israel, for His own name's sake, to revive His people; first, by a spiritual renewal of their hearts, and, next, by an external restoration to prosperity (Eze 36:22-33). The result is that the heathen shall be impressed with the power and goodness of God manifested so palpably towards the restored people (Eze 36:34-38).
1, 2. mountains of Israel--in contrast to "Mount Seir" of the previous prophecy. They are here personified; Israel's elevation is moral, not merely physical, as Edom's. Her hills are "the everlasting hills" of Jacob's prophecy (Ge 49:26). "The enemy" (Edom, the singled-out representative of all God's foes), with a shout of exultation, "Aha!" had claimed, as the nearest kinsman of Israel (the brother of their father Esau), his vacated inheritance; as much as to say, the so-called "everlasting" inheritance of Israel and of the "hills," which typified the unmoved perpetuity of it (Ps 125:1, 2), has come to an end, in spite of the promise of God, and has become "ours" (compare De 32:13; 33:15).
3. Literally, "Because, even because."
4. Inanimate creatures are addressed, to imply that the creature
also, as it were, groans for deliverance from the bondage of corruption
into the glorious liberty of the children of God
[POLANUS]. The completeness of the renewed
blessedness of all parts of the land is implied.
5. to cast it out for a prey--that is, to take the land for a prey, its inhabitants being cast out. Or the land is compared to a prey cast forth to wild beasts. FAIRBAIRN needlessly alters the Hebrew pointing and translates, "that they may plunder its pasturage."
8. they are at hand to come--that is, the Israelites are soon about to return to their land. This proves that the primary reference of the prophecy is to the return from Babylon, which was "at hand," or comparatively near. But this only in part fulfilled the prediction, the full and final blessing in future, and the restoration from Babylon was an earnest of it.
10. wastes builded-- Isa 58:12; 61:4; Am 9:11, 12, 14, where, as here (Eze 34:23, 24), the names of David, Messiah's type, and Edom, Israel's foe, are introduced in connection with the coming restoration.
11. do better . . . than at your beginnings--as in the case of Job (Job 42:12). Whereas the heathen nations fall irrevocably, Israel shall be more than restored; its last estate shall exceed even its first.
12. to walk upon you--O mountains of Israel
13. Thou land devourest up men--alluding to the words of the spies (Nu 13:32). The land personified is represented as doing that which was done in it. Like an unnatural mother it devoured, that is, it was the grave of its people; of the Canaanites, its former possessors, through mutual wars, and finally by the sword of Israel; and now, of the Jews, through internal and external ills; for example, wars, famine (to which Eze 36:30, "reproach of famine among the heathen," implies the allusion here is).
14. bereave--so the Keri, or Hebrew Margin reads, to correspond to "bereave" in Eze 36:13; but "cause to fall" or "stumble," in the Hebrew text or Chetib, being the more difficult reading, is the one least likely to come from a corrector; also, it forms a good transition to the next subject, namely, the moral cause of the people's calamities, namely, their falls, or stumblings through sin. The latter ceasing, the former also cease. So the same expression follows in Eze 36:15, "Neither shalt thou cause thy nations to fall any more."
17. removed woman-- (Le 15:19, &c.).
18, 19. The reason for their removal was their sin, which God's holiness could not let pass unpunished; just as a woman's legal uncleanness was the reason for her being separated from the congregation.
20. profaned my holy name, when they--the heathen
21. I had pity for mine holy name--that is, I felt pity for it; God's own name, so dishonored, was the primary object of His pitying concern; then His people, secondarily, through His concern for it [FAIRBAIRN].
22. not . . . for your sakes--that is, not for any merit in you; for, on the contrary, on your part, there is everything to call down continued severity (compare De 9:5, 6). The sole and sure ground of hope was God's regard to "His own name," as the God of covenant grace (Ps 106:45), which He must vindicate from the dishonor brought on it by the Jews, before the heathen.
23. sanctify--vindicate and manifest as holy, in opposition to the
heathen reproaches of it brought on by the Jews' sins and their
punishment (see on
24. Fulfilled primarily in the restoration from Babylon; ultimately to be so in the restoration "from all countries."
25. The external restoration must be preceded by an internal one. The change in their condition must not be superficial, but must be
based on a radical renewal of the heart. Then the heathen, understanding
from the regenerated lives of God's people how holy God is, would
perceive Israel's past troubles to have been only the necessary
vindications of His righteousness. Thus God's name would be "sanctified"
before the heathen, and God's people be prepared for outward blessings.
26. new heart--mind and will.
29. save . . . from all . . . uncleannesses--the province of Jesus,
according to the signification of His name
To be specially exercised in behalf of the Jews in the latter days
31. remember your . . . evil ways--with shame and loathing. The unexpected grace and love of God, manifested in Christ to Israel, shall melt the people into true repentance, which mere legal fear could not (Eze 16:61, 63; Ps 130:4; Zec 12:10; compare Jer 33:8, 9).
35. they shall say--The heathen, who once made Israel's desolation a
ground of reproach against the name of Jehovah Himself
(Eze 36:20, 21);
but now He so vindicates its sanctity
(Eze 36:22, 23)
that these same heathen are constrained to acknowledge Israel's more
than renewed blessedness to be God's own work, and a ground for
glorifying His name