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Ezekiel 16:16

16. And of thy garments thou didst take, and deckedst thy high places with divers colours, and playedst the harlot thereupon: the like things shall not come, neither shall it be so

16. Et sumpsisti e vestibus tuis, et fecisti tibi excelsa conspersa maculis, 8888     Or, “tinged with divers colors,” as some translate. — Calvin. et scortata es cum illis: non venientes: 8989     But it is in the feminine gender. — Calvin. deinde et non erit.


He says that the Jews erected houses of ill fame for themselves; and the language is mixed, because the Prophet, expresses simply the kind of harlotry of which he is speaking, and yet in the meantime mingles another figure; for he says that they took garments and made themselves altars. No doubt he compares the high places to tents, just as if a harlot wished to attract a number of eyes to herself, and, through desire of a crowd, should place her standard on a lofty place. So also the Prophet says that the Jews, when they gave themselves up to fornication, made high places for themselves. When he says high places with different colors, some refer this to ornaments; yet it may be taken in a bad sense, since those high places were stained, so that they could be distinguished from chase and modest dwellings; as if he had said, If you had been a modest woman, you had remained in retirement at home, as honest matrons do, and you would not have done anything to attract men to thee; but you has erected thy high places, like conspicuous houses of ill fame, as if a female, forgetful of modesty and delicacy, should set up a sign, and show her house to be open to all, and especially to her own adulterers. It seems to me that the Prophet intends this; for when he adds, that they committed fornication with them, he means doubtless with their lovers, and all besides; but this is not the sense of the words במות טלאות, bemoth telaoth. Now, at the end of the verse, where he says, they do not come, and it shall not be, some explain this part as if the Prophet had said that there was no instance like it in former ages, and there should be none such hereafter. In this way they understand that the insane lust of the people is condemned, as if it were a prodigy, such as was never seen, nor yet to be expected. Others say, that such was the multitude of high places, that nothing was ever like it; because, although the Gentiles built idols, and temples, and altars everywhere, yet the Prophet says that the madness and fury of the people surpassed the intemperance of the Gentiles: — this is indeed to the purpose. Meanwhile, as to the general scope, it is not of much consequence; as in the former verse, where he said it shall be theirs, some understand appetite or desire. But I interpret it more simply — that she was exposed to every passer-by, and that it was in his power to engage her. The sense does not seem to me doubtful, because the Jews were so cast out, that no liberty remained to them, as when a woman becomes abandoned, she is the slave of all, and all use her disgracefully after that, since she is no longer her own mistress. Ezekiel now reproves the Jews for the same vice.

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