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Ezekiel 16:41

41. And they shall burn thine houses with fire, and execute judgments upon thee in the sight of many women: and I will cause thee to cease from playing the harlot, and thou also shall give no hire any more.

41. Et exurent domes tuas igni, 129129     The noun “fire” is redundant. — Calvin. et facient in te 130130     Or, “they shall execute.” — Calvin. judicia in oculis mulierum multarum, et cessare faciam te a scortando: atque etiam munus non offeres amplius.


After he had spoken of the slaughter of men, he adds the burning of their dwellings. This was sad indeed, that the whole land should be deprived of inhabitants: but the deformity of this last slaughter was heaped upon them when the houses were burnt up; for the country was laid waste for the future, and for a length of time. For when men are slain others may succeed, if they find houses prepared, and fields not uncultivated. But when all these things are consumed by fire, and by other means of ruin, all hope for the future is taken away. The Prophet now means this when he says, that the houses were burnt up. He adds, they shall execute judgment against thee in the sight of many women. As he had used the simile of a harlot for the Jewish people, that the clauses of the sentence may correspond, he understands the neighboring people under the name of women. He confirms what we formerly saw, that the penalty which should be exacted of the Jews should be joined with the greatest disgrace. But this is very bitter, when not only we must perish, but the cruelty of enemies must be satiated while many behold us; and doubtless it was much more severe for the Jews to sustain the ridicule of their foes than to perish at once. If they had perished at once, death had not been such a torture to them as those mockeries by which they were harassed by their enemies. For we said that they were hated by almost all; and in the 137th Psalm (Psalm 137:7) it is shown that the Edomites, and others like them, said, by way of congratulation, Hail! hail! when Jerusalem was destroyed: Remember, O Lord, the sons of Edom, who said in the day of Jerusalem, Down with it, down with it, even to the ground. The Prophet, therefore, announces this, that the punishment which he formerly mentioned should be an example to all nations. He speaks improperly of the Chaldaeans, when he says that they should be executors of God’s judgments, for there was not a duty assigned to them; but God often transfers to man as the instrument of his wrath what peculiarly belongs to himself alone. And in this way he wounds the Jews more severely when he makes the Chaldaeans their judges. God, properly speaking, was the sole judge who avenged the people’s wickedness; but meanwhile he substitutes the Chaldaeans for himself, that the punishment might be the more disgraceful. He adds, and I will make thee cease from fornication, nor shall you offer gifts any more God does not mean that the Jews would be better when in exile, but simply reminds them that the opportunity for their sinning would be wanting, as when an immodest person is ashamed through being despised by every one, not through any improvement in her disposition, since her licentious feelings are the same as before. So also the Jews were always obstinate in their wickedness, though deprived of the opportunity of sinning. It follows —

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