Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough
2003 James Melough
7:1. “Moreover the word of the Lord came unto
7:2. “Also, thou son of man, thus saith the Lord
God unto the land of Israel; An end, the end is come upon the four corners of
This was God’s announcement that His patience had come to an end. Israel was
about to receive the just recompense of her evil doings; nor would any part
escape. As her wickedness had polluted the whole land, so would Divine
judgment also reach into every corner.
In connection with the judgment’s extending into the “four corners of the
land,” it is to be remembered that four is the biblical number of
testing. Like Belshazzar, Israel had been placed in God’s balances, and had
been found wanting, and like him, would also be destroyed, as will be every
sinner who hasn’t accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior.
7:3. “Now is the end come upon thee, and I will
send mine anger upon thee, and will judge thee according to thy ways, and wilt
recompense upon thee all thine abominations.”
The repetition of the warning that Israel’s end had come continues to
emphasize that her day of grace had ended. Her refusal to repent within the
time when that repentance would have saved her, sealed instead her doom.
The justice of the judgment is declared in that it would be according to her
wicked ways. As she had filled her cup of wickedness to overflowing, so would
she also be compelled to drink a corresponding cup of judgment, “abominations”
being also translated filthy practices: detestable doings.
7:4. “And mine eye shall not spare thee, neither
will I have pity: but I will recompense thy ways upon thee, and thine
abominations shall be in the midst of thee: and ye shall know that I am the
Though God is of great mercy, as is evidenced by Calvary, He will not extend
that mercy for ever. There comes a time in the life of every man when his
failure to accept Christ as his Savior, carries him across the invisible fatal
line that separates God’s mercy from His wrath, and that step is irrevocable!
There is no possibility of retracing it, as it is written, “My spirit shall
not always strive with man,” Ge 6:3; “He, who being often reproved hardens his
neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy,” Pr 29:1.
“... and thine abominations shall be in the midst of thee,” is generally taken
to mean that judgment would overtake them right in the midst of their wicked
activity. They would, as it were, be overtaken in the very act of sinning.
And it continues to be emphasized that the knowledge they had refused to
acquire by repentant obedience, they would learn, too late, by bitter
experience: God is a God of absolute justice Who must punish sin.
7:5. “Thus saith the Lord God; An evil, an only
evil, behold, is come.”
The latter part of this verse is also translated, disaster after disaster:
disasters one upon another: woe upon woe. In the past there had been the
possibility of pardon in response to repentance, but that time of grace was
gone for ever for that unrepentant generation, as it will be for every man who
fails to accept Christ as Savior within God’s allotted time of grace and
mercy. Now there remained only the terrible assurance that as their
wickedness and been without end, so also would their punishment be - and not
just for the years of time, but throughout eternity.
Some understand “an only evil” to mean that the coming judgment would be worse
than any that had ever been.
7:6. “An end is come, the end is come: it
watcheth for thee; behold, it is come.”
The terrible finality of their doom is declared in the words “an end,”
and “the end.” It wasn’t just that their wickedness was about to end,
but that they themselves were also to be destroyed.
“... it watcheth for thee” is also translated, it awakest against thee.
The night of sin was about to be followed, as it were, by
the fearful day of judgment. That day, in fact, had dawned.
7:7. “The morning is come unto thee, O thou that
dwellest in the land: the time is come, the day of trouble is near, and not
the sounding again of the mountains.”
The day of judgment and doom was dawning for all the inhabitants
of the land - a day of tumult and panic. There would be no more joyful
shouting on the hills where they had worshiped their false gods, nor would
there be any of the licentious revelry that normally accompanied that
7:8. “Now will I shortly pour out my fury upon
thee, and accomplish mine anger upon thee: and I will judge thee according to
thy ways, and will recompense thee for all thine abominations.”
“Shortly” means “soon,” so that the warning was of judgment impending when God
would pour out His righteous wrath on their guilty heads, and in doing so
accomplish, i.e., exhaust, or use up His justified anger, the measure of
punishment being in exact proportion to the extent of their abominations,
i.e., their filthy practices and detestable doings.
7:9. “And mine eyes shall not spare, neither
will I have pity; I will recompense thee according to thy ways and thine
abominations that are in the midst of thee; and ye shall know that I am the
Lord that smiteth.”
As He looked upon them He couldn’t see one that He would be able to spare or
even pity. The outpouring of His fiercest wrath would be proportionate to
their wickedness; and the One they might have known as the God of love and
mercy, had they repented in time, they would instead know by His judgments as
the terrible Holy One Who “is of purer eyes than to behold evil, and (who)
canst not look on iniquity,” Hab 1:13, “and that will by no means clear the
guilty,” Ex 34:7.
7:10. “Behold the day, behold it is come: the
morning is gone forth; the rod hath blossomed, pride hath budded.”
The morning of their day of judgment had dawned: Divine retribution was about
to overtake them because their pride, insolence, and general wickedness had
reached full bloom and would be tolerated no longer.
7:11. “Violence is risen up into a rod of
wickedness: none of them shall remain, nor of their multitude, nor of any of
theirs: neither shall there be wailing for them.”
Wickedness, as it does always, had become the parent of violence, as is
demonstrated by the present state of the world, which, like Israel, has filled
its cup of wickedness to overflowing, and, also like Israel, is about to be
destroyed by God’s judgment, that destruction coming in the impending Great
Not one of them would be spared, except of course, some of the small believing
remnant within the apostate majority, hence the absence of wailing at their
demise. And so will it be with this present evil world. The Great
Tribulation will end with Christ’s returning to end it and execute the
judgment that will conclude with the banishment into hell of every unbeliever
on the face of the earth, in preparation for the inauguration of the
Millennium, nor will any weep at the destruction of the banished wicked.
7:12. “The time is come, the day draweth near:
let not the buyer rejoice, nor the seller mourn: for wrath is upon all the
The imminence of the judgment continues to be emphasized, and is accompanied
by the warning that buyers shouldn’t rejoice at the increase of their
possessions, nor sellers at the diminution of theirs, because God’s judgment
was about to sweep all of them away.
“...multitude” is associated here with the idea of noise and frenzy, and only
spiritually blind eyes will fail to see in this the foreshadowing of the
condition of today’s world. We live in the midst of a continual cacophony,
not only of traffic, machinery, and music so-called, but where even the most
trivial statement or occurrence evokes an exaggerated response expressed in
extravagant speech and body movement.
7:13. “For the seller shall not return to that
which is sold, although they were yet alive: for the vision is touching the
whole multitude thereof, which shall not return: neither shall any strengthen
himself in the iniquity of his life.”
The first part of this verse is understood by some to mean that the imminence
of the impending judgment precluded the possibility of seller and buyer having
a change of heart, and re-negotiating a business transaction. It was too late
for Israel to have a change of heart. Having refused to repent in God’s time,
she must now perish.
Many, however, believe that the reference is to the law which mandated the
return of the land to its original owner in the year of jubilee; but there
would be no opportunity for the operation of that law, for buyer and seller
alike would be captives in Babylon.
The second part of the sentence “... the vision is touching the whole
multitude, etc.,” means that the prophecy of impending judgment applied to the
whole nation, nor was their any hope of reprieve. And the final part, “...
neither shall any strengthen himself, etc.,” means that because of their
wickedness it would be impossible for anyone to save his life.
All of this is but the foreshadowing of what awaits apostate Christendom. She
too is doomed without hope of reprieve.
7:14. “They have blown the trumpet, even to make
all ready; but none goeth to the battle: for my wrath is upon all the
They might sound the trumpet to assemble the fighting men to go forth to war,
but none would respond, the devastation having reduced them to terror-stricken
weakness. God was about to destroy them all because of their wickedness. And
again this foreshadows what will be at the end of the Great Tribulation, for
in Re 19:11-21 we read of a similar assemblage of armies gathered for battle,
but they never fight, for the Lord Jesus Christ Himself destroys them, and for
the same reason: their great wickedness.
7:15. “The sword is without, and the pestilence
and the famine within: he that is in the field shall die with the sword; and
he that is in the city, famine and pestilence shall devour him.”
Those in the open country would be slain by the Babylonians, and those taking
refuge in the city would die of hunger and disease in the siege, all of this
continuing to foreshadow what will be in the Great Tribulation, as we read in
7:16. “But they that escape of them shall
escape, and shall be on the mountains like doves of the valleys, all of them
mourning, every one for his iniquity.”
The few who might escape and seek to hide in the mountains would be like
mourning doves, for they would bewail the terrible judgments brought upon them
because of their great wickedness.
7:17. “All hands shall be feeble, and all knees
shall be weak as water.”
They would be utterly powerless under God’s judgments.
“... knees shall be weak as water,” is rendered by some translators as, “their
knees shall run with urine,” so great would be their terror.
7:18. “They shall also gird themselves with
sackcloth, and horror shall cover them; and shame shall be upon all faces, and
baldness upon all their heads.”
They would put on sackcloth, and shudder from head to foot, terror-stricken,
ashamed, and with their heads shaved; but their repentance would come too late
to save them. The scene will be re-enacted in the Great Tribulation.
7:19. “They shall cast their silver in the
streets, and their gold shall be removed: their silver and their gold shall
not be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the Lord: they shall
not satisfy their souls, neither fill their bowels: because it is the
stumbling block of their iniquity.”
In the day of judgment in the siege of Jerusalem they would discover the
worthlessness of their silver and gold: all the money in the world couldn’t
buy bread in the famine-stricken city. In the Great Tribulation the same
discovery will be made by those also about to perish under God’s judgment.
It is to be remembered, however, that silver is the biblical emblem of
redemption; and gold, of glory, so that the additional truth being declared
here symbolically is that multitudes will discover, too late, that church
membership, morality, good works, etc., which many equate with salvation, are
worthless as a means of saving the soul. The spiritual equivalent of the
gold, i.e., glory - the glory they had here on earth from men, because of
their good works - will be shown then not only to be worthless, but an added
cause for their condemnation because of the pride it engendered.
Their possessions were “the stumbling block of their iniquity,” i.e., they
were the things that led them to sin by making them proud, and independent of
God. They have been the same stumbling block to multitudes down through the
years, and perhaps never more so than to this present generation. Possessions
can’t satisfy the soul, or “fill the bowels,” i.e., give contentment, that
inner peace which is possessed only by the man who is satisfied to leave the
ordering of his life in God’s hands.
7:20. “As for the beauty of his ornament, he set
it in majesty: but they made the images of their abomination and of their
detestable things: therefore have I set it far from them.”
“... beauty of his ornament” is understood by most to refer to the Temple
which God had set in their midst as the symbol of His majesty.
Their “abominable and detestable things” were the idols they made of their
gold and silver and then adorned with their jewels, and worshiped as gods.
But the God they had disdained and forsaken was about to “set it far from
them.” He was about to bring the Babylonians who would carry them away
captive, after plundering and defiling the Temple which they themselves had
already polluted by their hypocritical worship even while continuing to
7:21. “And I will give it into the hands of the
strangers for a prey, and to the wicked of the earth for a spoil; and they
shall pollute it.”
Strangers, the Babylonians, would seize the bulk of Israel’s gold, silver,
jewels, and idols as plunder.
Some understand “the wicked of the earth” to have been local brigands, but
many take it to be descriptive of the Babylonians.
7:22. “My face will I turn also from them, and
they shall pollute my secret place: for the robbers shall enter into it, and
Because rebel Israel had already polluted God’s Temple by their hypocritical
so-called worship, He would do nothing to prevent its further profanation by
the Babylonians who could do nothing worse to it than had already been done by
those who claimed to be His people, and He their God.
Israel had labored under the delusion that God would never permit His Temple
to fall into the hand of an enemy, and that they therefore were safe because it
was the center of their hypocritical worship. Multitudes since then have been
guilty of similar error. They think that adherence to a mere religious ritual
guarantees their salvation. The same terrible awakening, however, awaits them
as came to that past generation of Israel.
7:23. “Make a chain: for the land is full of
bloody crimes, and the city is full of violence.”
They themselves, by their own wickedness, were forging the links of the chains
with which the Babylonians would bind them when carrying them away as
captives, that captivity being God’s recompense of the bloodshed and rapine
with which they had filled the land.
Today’s world is following all too faithfully in Israel’s guilty footsteps,
and is about to reap the same harvest of Divine retribution, everything
pointing to the imminence of that judgment.
7:24. “Wherefore I will bring the worst of the
heathen, and they shall possess their houses: I will also make the pomp of the
strong to cease; and their holy places shall be defiled.”
“... worst” is also translated “cruelest,” cruelty being a trait for which the
Babylonians were notorious. The houses of the Israelites would become the
possession of the invader; and their arrogant pride in their strength would be
exchanged for the shame of their becoming instead the vanquished rather than
As noted already, the Holy Place in the Temple, which they themselves had
first defiled by their hypocritical so-called worship, would be defiled also
by the actual intrusion of the conquerors.
7:25. “Destruction cometh; and they shall seek
peace, and there shall be none.”
“Destruction” is here also translated anguish: horror: panic: shuddering.
No greater antithesis can be imagined than that which exists between
destruction and peace, but we are missing the ultimate lesson if we fail to
see in their dreadful state the foreshadowing of that which awaits the
7:26. “Mischief shall come upon mischief, and
rumor shall be upon rumor; then shall they seek a vision of the prophet; but
the law shall perish from the priest, and counsel from the ancients.”
“Mischief” is also translated disaster: woe. These evils would follow
one another in quick succession; and as always in such circumstances, idle,
contradictory rumors would be rampant.
In their terror the people would turn to those who should have been God’s
representatives, but in vain. There would be no prophetic vision; no
instruction from the priests; no guidance from those who were supposed to be
All of this continues to foreshadow what we see all around us in Christendom
today. During this Church age the prophet has been replaced with the teacher,
but as then the prophets had no vision, so today do the teachers lack
knowledge, their disobedience having cut off the enlightenment of the Holy
Spirit, apart from which there can be no understanding of Scripture.
The evil theologically educated, but unconverted clerical brood, masquerading
today as God’s priests, are as ignorant of the spiritual content of Scripture
as were their counterparts in that long-ago day, and with the same result:
they know nothing of what God requires of man, and those over whom they lord
it are therefore also ignorant of His requirements.
As for genuine scriptural elders (spiritual shepherds), they are men whom God
has endowed with the special gift needed for that work, their principal
God-given ability being to teach, see 1 Tim 3:2; but apostate Christendom, for
the most part, has replaced them with successful businessmen who attempt to
run the churches under their care as though the Church were a business
enterprise, which in many cases is all it is. The end result is that the
travesties, masquerading as churches, are as abhorrent to God as was
idolatrous Israel; and as the one perished under His judgment, so just as
surely will the other, that of the apostate church being just as near as was
that of apostate Israel in the day when Ezekiel uttered his warnings.
7:27. “The king shall mourn, and the prince
shall be clothed with desolation, and the hands of the people of the land
shall be troubled: I will do unto them after their way, and according to their
deserts will I judge them; and they shall know that I am the Lord.”
The mourning king is generally taken to have been Zedekiah, the last king of
Judah, “the prince” being understood to be simply another appellation for him;
but others understand the king to have been Jehoiachin, languishing as a
prisoner in Babylon; and “the prince” to have been Zedekiah. Walvoord and
Zuck, for example, in The Bible Knowledge Commentary write, “Ezekiel
generally used the word ‘prince’ to refer to Zedekiah (12:10,12: 21:25), never
giving him the title ‘king.’ The only Israelite Ezekiel called ‘king’ was
Jehoiachin, in captivity in Babylon (1:2).”
“... desolation” is also rendered despair: horror: grief; and the word
troubled as used here is also translated palsied by terror: shake
with fright: tremble: paralyzed with fear: wrung in anguish.
God’s doing to them “after their way” is also rendered as they deserve: as
their conduct deserves: according to their deserts: as they have behaved.
And again, it is emphasized that what they had refused to learn through Divine
benignity, they would discover only by means of His judgments. And sadly,
little has changed since then.