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Dissertation Fifth


Chapter 3:1

This method of conveying destruction is peculiarly Oriental. Jarchi, for instance, writes: “Parabolica est locutio, ac si dicat: attende aurem tuam et audi.” The Septuagint translate, מגלת-ספר, megleth-sepher, volumen libri by λις βιβλίου, which does not seem sufficiently accurate. Both Fuller, in his Miscell. S.S., book 2nd, chapter 10, and Vossius de Sept. Int. agree with Jerome in remarking the inaccuracy. Pro involuto libro, he says, 70 capitulum libri transrulerunt; capitulum intelligamus exordium. The opinion of J. H. Maii, Jun., is preferred by Rosenmuller, viz., that, מנלה, menleh, signifies the roller on which the volumes of the Ancients were rolled, as we learn from Maimonides, in his ספר תורה, sepher-toreh, chapter 9:2, 14. The writing on both sides was very uncommon the Greeks call it ὀπισθόγραφον, which is illustrated by Juvenal, Sat. 1:5, 6.

aut summi plene jam margine libri
Scriptus, et in tergo, necdum finitus Orestes

The Chaldee paraphrast explains the sense of eating the roll correctly — “anima tua saturabitur;” and in this way the Prophet was to be strengthened to become literally “firm of forehead, and hard of heart,” for contending with “peoples deep of lip and heavy of tongue.” This firmness is represented by the gem, שמיר, shemir, which Bochart terms smiris, adamant according to Jerome, since the corresponding Arabic word is samoor. See also Schindler’s Lex. Pentag. col. 1897, and R. Sal. Jarchi in loc., who gives the view of the Jerusalem Targum.


Ezekiel 3:12.

The physical disturbances accompanying the prophetic visions are worthy of notice. It is impossible to reduce them to any class of natural phenomena. The Prophet is suddenly removed by the Spirit into the midst of the exiles; in extasi, says Rosenmuller — “the mind was separated from the body by a divine instinct.” Oecolampadius considers that he seemed to be seized as by a wind,” and “thought he heard the voice of a great tumult” “The glory of the Lord,” he adds, “came out of its place, and left the temple and the people,” “and the Church and heavenly Jerusalem praise the Lord for this act of his grace.” He then comments most spiritually on this removal of the visible glory from the natural temple, taking it as an instance of populus credentium, being at all times locus Dei. Maldonatus takes the same view when he writes, “I seemed to be seized by the Spirit, or an angel, and. to be transferred to Jerusalem.” He considers it too Rabbinical to treat the Spirit as if it were merely wind, and the voice only thunder, as R. David and Jonathan do. tie prefers the opinion of Jerome to that of the Jewish interpreters. R. Sal. Jarchi implies that the Spirit really raised him: “Deus praecepit Spiritui ut eum portaret ad locum ubi Judaei exules degebant.” As to the last word in this verse, ממקומו, memkomo, it seems to refer to the place where the vision was seen: scil. personent ejus laudes per mundum universum, uti Malachi 1:5. If the whole scene is treated simply as a vision offered to the Prophet’s mind through his senses, it becomes very intelligible and impressive.


Ezekiel 3:15.

We notice these words simply to caution the reader against over-allegorizing. There can be no doubt that it is the name of a place; as, תל חרשא, tel chersha, and תל מלח, tel melech, in Ezra and Nehemiah. Syrian villages often have the name of tel, which simply means inn or mountain. Burckhardt (Travels in Syria, p. 149) observes this: but Jerome and Cocceius, who adopt the allegorizing system, are not content with this. The former takes the words for “a heap of new fruits,” which is symbolical of the state of the Israelites: the latter translates “the time of new fruit;” both interpretations being systematically erroneous. As the Chebar runs into the Euphrates from Mount Masius, the captives were situated up the river to the north of Babylon. A various reading, too, in this verse has been the source of some perplexity. The common text (chetib) has ואשר, vasher, derived from, שרא, shera, habitavit, commoratus est; but some MSS. adopt ואשב, vasheb, “and I sat” (keri); according to Kennicott and De Rossi, “etiam Hispanici, Soncinensis Bibliorum editio, Brixiensis et Complutensis.” The Septuagint adopts the former reading; and Vogel, in his edit. of Capell. Crit. Sac., page 231, adopts the latter. The sense will then be, “And I dwelt, since they dwelt there, I even dwelt.” Both Dathe and Rosenmuller reject this, and agree with Calvin’s version. His critique on the word שמם, shemem, Ezekiel 3:15, is quite in accordance with the English version, and with foreign comments. Newcome paraphrases thus: “Astonished at the commission with which I was entrusted; and affected by the overpowering splendor of the visions.” The Chaldee has שתק, shethek, “silent.” Maldonatus adds, “so that I could not speak for seven days.”

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