39. And I will also give thee into their hand, and they shall throw down your eminent place, and shall break down thy high places: they shall strip thee also of thy clothes, and shall take thy fair jewels, and leave thee naked and bare.
Here Ezekiel enlarges upon God's judgment, when he teaches that the Jews would not only be exposed to every disgrace, as if they were brought forward into a noble and conspicuous theater, but they would suffer spoliation and rapine from those in whom they formerly trusted. I will give thee, says he, into their hands. He speaks of lovers and enemies: in truth, he says all shall meet together -- your ancient allies and friends as well as your enemies: and we know that they were spoiled at one time or another by the Egyptians, Assyrians, and Chaldaeans. For at the time when Jerusalem was taken and cut off, the Assyrians were reduced under the monarchy of the Chaldees. Babylon had oppressed Nineveh, as is well known, but the strength of both people were joined together. Thus the Jews were spoiled by them when they thought that they had provided for themselves very successfully by an alliance with the Assyrians against the kings of Israel and Syria: and afterwards, when they had formed an alliance with the Chaldaeans, they thought themselves beyond the reach of all danger. But now the Prophet derides there foolish confidence, and says that they should be spoiled by all their friends: so also he says that their altars should be thrown down. Those who translate it "a house of sin" do not sufficiently consider what I yesterday observed, that the Prophet uses the figure so as to mark a thing simply from any part of it. The Prophet's language is moderate or mixed, because he speaks partially of lofty and profane altars, and at the same time follows out its own simile. There is no doubt, therefore, that by a high place and lofty things he means altars themselves: although he does allude to these sinful houses, because he said in yesterday's lecture that the Jews stood at the top of the streets so as to entice any casual and unknown strangers to them. As also the Chaldaeans did not spare the temple, so there is no doubt that they destroyed all the altars promiscuously. and yet the Jews had wished to gratify them by destroying a part of them. But God shows how foolishly men imagine they shall succeed while they purposely fight against him: and experience teaches that the same thing happens to all unbelievers. For when any one has embraced his own superstitions, and despises what others think sacred and holy, then the conquerors destroy temples and images, and deform the region which they wish to be ruined and desolate. So also it is now said, they shall destroy your altars and high places. He now adds, and they shall spoil thee of thy garments, and take away the vessels of thy beauty. The Prophet comprehends in these words whatever benefits God had conferred on the Jews; for we know how liberally he had adorned them with his gifts, and especially in rendering the earth wonderfully fruitful by his blessing. He signifies in a word, that the Jews, when deprived of all their ornaments, would be disgraced; as it follows, and they shall send thee away naked and bare; that is, they shall cast thee off, just as a lover when satisfied rejects the companion of his iniquity.
1 Or, "overthrow." -- Calvin.
2 Or, "break down." -- Calvin.
3 Or, "of beauty;" that is, "thy precious furniture." -- Calvin.
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