Ezechiel xvi.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 3. Cethite, or “Hethite.” These two were probably the most abandoned of Chanaan. Daniel (xiii. 56.) gives the infamous judges the like appellation; and Isaias (i. 10.) calls the Jews princes of Sodom. (Calmet) — So Dido says to Eneas:

Nec te diva parens, generis nec Dardanus auctor

Perfide sed duris genuit te cautibus, &c. (Virgil, ├ćneid iv.) (Haydock)

— But we nowhere find such a vehement and continued reprimand. The prophet seems to quit his proper character to make (Calmet) the abominations of the people known and detested, chap. iii. 8. (Haydock)

Ver. 4. Cut. By this the infant received nourishment in the womb. Now it seems to be exposed by its parents. (Calmet) — The Jews in Egypt were abandoned to idolatry and distress. (Theodoret, in Canticle of Canticles) — Health. Many plunged the infant in cold water to brace its nerves, (Calmet) or to wash it. Salt was also used to dry up the humidity and stop the pores, (St. Jerome) or it was mixed with water to harden the skin and navel. (Avicen. Gall. San. i. 7.) — Clouts, to keep the body straight. The negroes who neglect this are stronger and better proportioned, (Calmet) and too much restraint is known to be detrimental to the tender limbs. (Haydock)

Ver. 5. Born, as it were in Egypt. He represents the Jews as a female from her infancy, till she be advanced in years.

Ver. 6. Thy blood, unwashed after being born, ver. 4. (Calmet) — The Jews were solicitous to increase their numbers, and exposed none. (Tacitus, Hist. v.) — But other nations did, if they thought the child would be troublesome, or a disgrace. (Calmet) — The prophet sends this admonition from Chaldea, and shews how God had selected his people from among the barbarous nations, and decorated them with many privileges of the law, sacrifices, &c. (Worthington)

Ver. 7. Woman’s. Hebrew, “the ornament of ornaments;” hadaiim instead of harim in Septuagint, “the cities of cities,” (Calmet) or the highest glory, being arrived at that age when decorations are most sought after. — Fashioned. Literally, “swelling.” Septuagint, “erect.” (Haydock) — Hair, (pilus.) Women are allowed by the canon law to marry at twelve. (Calmet)

Ver. 8. Lovers. Hebrew dodim, “breasts, (Haydock) or espousals;” (Aquila) “loving.” (Symmachus) — Garment, as a husband, Ruth iii. 9., and Jeremias ii. 2.

Ver. 9. Oil, used after bathing, or with perfumes. (Calmet)

Ver. 10. Embroidery. Literally, “various colours.” (Haydock) — But this is the import, Psalm xliv. 10. — Violet, or dark blue, appropriated to princes. — Linen, or cotton, Exodus xxv., and Proverbs xxxi. 24. (Calmet) — Fine. Literally, “thin.” Hebrew Mesi, (Haydock) “silken.” (Jarchi; Pagnin, &c.) Silk was used much later at Rome, (Calmet) and was reprobated as not covering the body sufficiently.

Cois tibi pene videre est

Ut nudam.—– (Horace, i. Sat. ii.)

(Seneca, Ben. vii. 9.) — Septuagint trichapto, according to Hesychius, &c., denotes “a silk ribbon for the hair;” (Calmet) a robe as delicate as hair, (St. Jerome) or a transparent veil for the head. (Theodoret) — Such are still worn in the East. Hair is used in the veil opposite to the eyes, that the ladies may see without being seen. (Calmet)

Ver. 12. Forehead. Literally, “mouth.” Hebrew, “nose.” (Haydock) — Women wore rings where spectacles are placed, and had others hung at their noses, so as to touch the mouth. People who are not acquainted with this odd custom, which is still prevalent in Africa and Asia, suppose that the ornament hung upon the forehead, as St. Jerome does. See Genesis xxiv. 22. (Calmet)

Ver. 13. Linen. Hebrew mossi, ver. 11. (Haydock) — Chaldean understands these ornaments to pertain to the tabernacle, which was set up in the wilderness. — Oil, enjoying a most fertile country, (Calmet) and the noblest sacrifices. (Haydock) — And wast, &c. The kingdom had subsisted 1500 years. (Calmet) — Septuagint omit this, for fear of giving umbrage to the Egyptians, according to St. Jerome, as if they could be ignorant of this circumstance. (Calmet) — Grabe supplies, “thou wast directed to the kingdom.” (Haydock)

Ver. 15. Renown, or name; thus dishonouring me, thy husband, Isaias iv. 1.

Ver. 16. Places: pavilions, (Cornelius a Lapide; 4 Kings xvii. 30.; Calmet) or idols stuffed, (St. Jerome; Theodoret) and outwardly adorned. Such might easily be procured or removed, 1 Kings xix. 13. — Hereafter, with impunity. The Jews were guilty of greater ingratitude than other nations.

Ver. 17. My gold, for the temple, or thy most precious ornaments, which were sacrificed to gratify thy lubricity, (Calmet) or to form the golden calf, &c., Exodus xxxii. (Haydock) — Obscene representations were also used in the worship of Osiris. (Herodotus ii. 48.)

Ver. 18. Oil, or perfume. which no man was allowed to use, Exodus xxx. 9, 38.

Ver. 20. Thy sons: so he calls them to shew his indignation, though he acknowledges them for his, (ver. 21.) to enhance the crime. Who could have thought that such cruel sacrifices would ever take place! (4 Kings xxiii.) (Calmet) — Adulteresses bring in the children of others; but the Jews sacrifice their own to idols, 4 Kings xvi., &c. (Worthington)

Ver. 25. Sign; altars of idols. (Haydock) — She makes no secret of her apostacy. The Greeks and Romans marked the houses of prostitutes, that honest men might avoid them. “The deemed the profession of such a crime a sufficient punishment to repress impure women.” (Tacitus, Annal.)

Ver. 26. Bodies. Literally, “flesh.” (Haydock) (Juvenal ix. 34.) (Menochius) — The Egyptians are tall, but meagre. (Valle. Ep. xi.) — They were the most dissolute in their worship, and corrupted most other nations as well as the Jews, chap. xx. 8., and xxiii. 3.

Ver. 27. Justification; law, &c. Hebrew, “thy right,” or allowance, Exodus xxi. 10. — Hate thee. To be abandoned to the will of a rival, is most dreadful for a woman. The Jews were subjected to the nations which they had despised, as they are still to Christians. Even other less favoured idolaters were astonished (Calmet) at their apostacy. (Haydock)

Ver. 28. Assyrians, adoring the sun, Baal, &c. (Calmet)

Ver. 31. Price, before she will yield, (Haydock) or who follow such practices for a livelihood. (Calmet) — Hebrew, “in that thou scornest hire.” (Protestants) Septuagint, “gathering rewards.” The difference consisted in Jerusalem’s sinning through mere wantonness, and even to her loss.

Ver. 34. Fornication unpunished, or comparable with thine, ver. 16. (Haydock) — All such actions are abominable; but still more so, when the woman solicts[solicits?]. (Worthington)

Ver. 36. Money. Literally, “brass,” (Haydock) to adorn idols. (Calmet) — Protestants, “thy filthiness;” (Haydock) virus. (Pagnin, &c.) (Calmet)

Ver. 37. Nakedness. Friends and enemies (Haydock) saw that idols afforded no protection, chap. vi. 3., and Jeremias xiii. 26.

Ver. 38. Judge; punish thee by stoning to death, Leviticus xx. 10. The walls of the Jews were battered to the ground.

Ver. 39. House; the temple, which thou hast profaned, and the high places. The idols shall be plundered, in which thou hast trusted.

Ver. 41. Women: nations assembled against Jerusalem.

Ver. 42. No more. I will entirely repudiate thee, so as to observe thy conduct no longer, (Calmet) with the eyes of an husband. (Haydock) — This is the most terrible effect of God’s wrath, (Calmet) when the sinner is left to himself, Osee iv. 14. (St. Jerome)

Ver. 43. Youth, when thou wast destitute, (ver. 4.) and more grateful for my favours, Jeremias ii. 2. — Head. I have punished thee, yet not as thy deeds require. (Haydock)

Ver. 44. Daughter. They too commonly (Calmet) follow bad parents. (Juvenal vi. 239., and xiv. 25.) — Jerusalem is more wicked than the Cethite, (Haydock) her mother, ver. 3. (Calmet) — Even this nation had once received the principles of true religion from the patriarchs, but cast them off to embrace idolatry, and to destroy her children. (Haydock) — Jerusalem was formerly and is still wicked. (Worthington)

Ver. 46. Right: southward. — Sodom. The city was more ancient than Jerusalem. Hence it here designates Ruben, (Haydock) and the Jews east of the Jordan; (Prado) or rather Moab and Ammon, (ver. 55.; Calmet) and the rest of the Gentiles. (Haydock) — Samaria shewed Jerusalem the road to idolatry, and therefore is called her elder sister. The number of the ten tribes was also greater than that of the kingdom of Juda, which became corrupt as Sodom, only by degrees. (Theodoret)

Ver. 47. Ways, but hast done even worse. — Almost. He seems to diminish their crimes, (Calmet) as if it could hardly be believed that Jerusalem should be more abandoned. Hebrew and Septuagint, “that would be but little: yea, thou hast done more,” &c. (Haydock)

Ver. 49. Sodom, &c. That is, these were the steps by which the Sodomites came to fall into those abominations for which they were destroyed. For pride, gluttony, and idleness, are the high road to all kinds of lust; especially when they are accompanied with a neglect of the works of mercy. (Challoner) — These crimes alone are great enough; (Luke xvi. 19.) and the prophets never accuse the Jews of unnatural lust. Hence Ezechiel takes no notice of it here, as he probably refers to the manners of the Moabites, &c., who were then living, Isaias xvi. 6. (Calmet) — Abundance and idleness produce crimes; temperance and labour bring forth good fruit. (Worthington)

Ver. 50. Seen. This would seem to allude to the Israelites beyond the Jordan, who had been led away into Assyria. The Moabites, &c., beheld the downfall of Jerusalem, (Haydock) and were treated in like manner, only five years later. (Jos.[Josephus?]) (Jeremias xlviii., &c.)

Ver. 51. Justified, as they are comparatively innocent. (St. Augustine, contra Faust. xxii. 61.) — They had not the like advantages, (Matthew xi. 23.) nor the example of others’ punishment to open their eyes. Thou hast pleaded for or with them, and hast lost thy cause. (Calmet)

Ver. 53. Back, &c. This relates to the conversion of the Gentiles out of all nations, and of many of the Jews, to the Church of Christ. (Challoner) — Cyrus also liberated the tribes on the east as well as on the west of the Jordan, (Haydock) and in general all the captive nations. (Calmet) — And restore. Hebrew, “the captivity, even the captivity of Sodom.” Septuagint, “I will turn away their aversions, the,” &c. I will give them a more docile spirit. (Haydock)

Ver. 54. Them. It affords some consolation to have partners in misery. (Calmet)

Ver. 55. Ancient state. That is, to their former state of liberty, and their ancient possessions. In the spiritual sense, to the true liberty and the happy inheritance of the children of God, through faith in Christ. (Challoner) — All will be treated alike, whether Jew or Gentile. (Haydock) — When Sodom or the Gentiles shall have embraced the gospel, then also will the Jews, Romans x. (Worthington)

Ver. 56. Pride. Thou scornedst to mention her, (Psalm xv. 4.; Calmet) or wouldst not take warning. (St. Jerome)

Ver. 59. Covenant at Sinai, or under Josue, [Josue] viii., and Exodus xix. 7.

Ver. 60. Covenant. After punishing thee I will fulfill my promises, as we see was done (Calmet) after the captivity, and (Haydock) in the Christian Church. (Calmet) — All shall be converted, not by the Jewish but by the evangelical covenant. (Worthington)

Ver. 61. Daughters. The countries were conquered by the Machabees. All nations embrace the gospel. — Covenant. It is broken. I will, out of pity, re-establish it, or a better, to last for ever under Christ, free from the servitude and fear of the old law. (Calmet)

Bible Text & Cross-references:

Under the figure of an unfaithful wife, God upbraids Jerusalem with her ingratitude and manifold disloyalties: but promiseth mercy by a new covenant.

1 And *the word of the Lord came to me, saying:

2 Son of man, make known to Jerusalem her abominations:

3 And thou shalt say: Thus saith the Lord God to Jerusalem: Thy root, and thy nativity is of the land of Chanaan, thy father was an Amorrhite, and thy mother a Cethite.

4 And when thou wast born, in the day of thy nativity thy navel was not cut, neither wast thou washed with water for thy health, nor salted with salt, nor swaddled with clouts.

5 No eye had pity on thee to do any of these things for thee, out of compassion to thee: but thou wast cast out upon the face of the earth in the abjection of thy soul, in the day that thou wast born.

6 And passing by thee, I saw that thou wast trodden under foot in thy own blood: and I said to thee when thou wast in thy blood: Live: yes, I said to thee: Live in thy blood.

7 I caused thee to multiply as the bud of the field: and thou didst increase and grow great, and advancedst, and camest to woman’s ornament: thy breasts were fashioned, and thy hair grew: and thou wast naked, and full of confusion.

8 And I passed by thee, and saw thee: and behold thy time was the time of lovers: and I spread my garment over thee, and covered thy ignominy. And I swore to thee, and I entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord God: and thou becamest mine.

9 And I washed thee with water, and cleansed away thy blood from thee: and I anointed thee with oil.

10 And I clothed thee with embroidery, and shod thee with violet-coloured shoes: and I girded thee about with fine linen, and clothed thee with fine garments.

11 I decked thee also with ornaments, and put bracelets on thy hands, and a chain about thy neck.

12 And I put a jewel upon thy forehead and ear-rings in thy ears, and a beautiful crown upon thy head.

13 And thou wast adorned with gold, and silver, and wast clothed with fine linen, and embroidered work, and many colours: thou didst eat fine flour, and honey, and oil, and wast made exceedingly beautiful: and wast advanced to be a queen.

14 And thy renown went forth among the nations for thy beauty: for thou wast perfect through my beauty, which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord God.

15 But trusting in thy beauty, thou playedst the harlot because of thy renown, and thou hast prostituted thyself to every passenger, to be his.

16 And taking of thy garments thou hast made thee high places sowed together on each side: and hast played the harlot upon them, as hath not been done before, nor shall be hereafter.

17 And thou tookest thy beautiful vessels, of my gold, and my silver, which I gave thee, and thou madest thee images of men, and hast committed fornication with them.

18 And thou tookest thy garments of divers colours, and coveredst them: and settest my oil and my sweet incense before them.

19 And my bread which I gave thee, the fine flour, and oil, and honey, wherewith I fed thee, thou hast set before them for a sweet odour; and it was done, saith the Lord God.

20 And thou hast taken thy sons, and thy daughters, whom thou hast borne to me: and best sacrificed the same to them to be devoured. Is thy fornication small?

21 Thou hast sacrificed and given my children to them, consecrating them by fire.

22 And after all thy abominations, and fornications, thou hast not remembered the days of thy youth, when thou wast naked, and full of confusion, trodden under foot in thy own blood.

23 And it came to pass after all thy wickedness, (wo, wo to thee, saith the Lord God)

24 That thou didst also build thee a common stew, and madest thee a brothel house in every street.

25 At every head of the way thou hast set up a sign of thy prostitution: and hast made thy beauty to be abominable: and hast prostituted thyself to every one that passed by, and hast multiplied thy fornications.

26 And thou hast committed fornication with the Egyptians thy neighbours, men of large bodies, and hast multiplied thy fornications to provoke me.

27 Behold, I will stretch out my hand upon thee, and will take away thy justification: and I will deliver thee up to the will of the daughters of the Philistines that hate thee, that are ashamed of thy wicked way.

28 Thou hast also committed fornication with the Assyrians, because thou wast not yet satisfied: and after thou hadst played the harlot with them, even so thou wast not contented.

29 Thou hast also multiplied thy fornications in the land of Chanaan with the Chaldeans: and neither so wast thou satisfied.

30 Wherein shall I cleanse thy heart, saith the Lord God: seeing thou dost all these the works of a shameless prostitute?

31 Because thou hast built thy brothel house at the head of every way, and thou hast made thy high place in every street: and wast not as a harlot that by disdain enhanceth her price,

32 But as an adulteress, that bringeth in strangers over her husband.

33 Gifts are given to all harlots: but thou hast given hire to all thy lovers, and thou hast given them gifts to come to thee from every side, to commit fornication with thee.

34 And it hath happened in thee contrary to the custom of women in thy fornications, and after thee there shall be no such fornication: for in that thou gavest rewards, and didst not take rewards, the contrary hath been done in thee.

35 Therefore, O harlot, hear the word of the Lord.

36 Thus saith the Lord God: Because thy money hath been poured out, and thy shame discovered through thy fornications with thy lovers, and with the idols of thy abominations by the blood of thy children whom thou gavest them:

37 Behold, I will gather together all thy lovers with whom thou hast taken pleasure, and all whom thou hast loved, with all whom thou hast hated: and I will gather them together against thee on every side, and will discover thy shame in their sight, and they shall see all thy nakedness.

38 *And I will judge thee as adulteresses, and they that shed blood are judged: and I will give thee blood in fury and jealousy.

39 And I will deliver thee into their hands, and they shall destroy thy brothel house, and throw down thy stews: and they shall strip thee of thy garments, and shall take away the vessels of thy beauty: and leave thee naked, and full of disgrace.

40 And they shall bring upon thee a multitude, and they shall stone thee with stones, and shall slay thee with their swords.

41 *And they shall burn thy houses with fire, and shall execute judgments upon thee in the sight of many women: and thou shalt cease from fornication, and shalt give no hire any more.

42 And my indignation shall rest in thee: and my jealousy shall depart from thee, and I will cease and be angry no more.

43 Because thou hast not remembered the days of thy youth, but hast provoked me in all these things: wherefore I also have turned thy ways upon thy head, saith the Lord God, and I have not done according to thy wicked deeds in all thy abominations.

44 Behold, every one that useth a common proverb, shall use this against thee, saying: As the mother was, so also is her daughter.

45 Thou art thy mother’s daughter, that cast off her husband, and her children: and thou art the sister of thy sisters, who cast off their husbands, and their children: your mother was a Cethite, and your father an Amorrhite.

46 And thy elder sister is Samaria, she and her daughters that dwell at thy left hand: and thy younger sister that dwelleth at thy right hand is Sodom, and her daughters.

47 But neither hast thou walked in their ways, nor hast thou done a little less than they according to their wickednesses: thou hast done almost more wicked things than they in all thy ways.

48 As I live, saith the Lord God, thy sister Sodom herself, and her daughters, have not done as thou hast done, and thy daughters.

49 *Behold this was the iniquity of Sodom thy sister, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance, and the idleness of her, and of her daughters: and they did not put forth their hand to the needy, and to the poor.

50 And they were lifted up, and committed abominations before me: and I took them away as thou hast seen.

51 And Samaria committed not half thy sins: but thou hast surpassed them with thy crimes, and hast justified thy sisters by all thy abominations which thou hast done.

52 Therefore do thou also bear thy confusion, thou that hast surpassed thy sisters with thy sins, doing more wickedly than they: for they are justified above thee, therefore be thou also confounded, and bear thy shame, thou that hast justified thy sisters.

53 And I will bring back and restore them by bringing back Sodom with her daughters, and by bringing back Samaria, and her daughters: and I will bring those that return of thee in the midst of them.

54 That thou mayst bear thy shame, and mayst be confounded in all that thou hast done, comforting them.

55 And thy sister Sodom, and her daughters shall return to their ancient state: and Samaria and her daughters shall return to their ancient state: and thou, and thy daughters shall return to your ancient state.

56 And Sodom, thy sister, was not heard of in thy mouth, in the day of thy pride,

57 Before thy malice was laid open: as it is at this time, making thee a reproach of the daughters of Syria, and of all the daughters of Palestine round about thee, that encompass thee on all sides.

58 Thou hast borne thy wickedness, and thy disgrace, saith the Lord God.

59 For thus saith the Lord God: I will deal with thee, as thou hast despised the oath, in breaking the covenant:

60 And I will remember my covenant with thee in the days of thy youth: and I will establish with thee an everlasting covenant.

61 And thou shalt remember thy ways, and be ashamed: when thou shalt receive thy sisters thy elder and thy younger: and I will give them to thee for daughters, but not by thy covenant.

62 And I will establish my covenant with thee: and thou shalt know that I am the Lord,

63 That thou mayst remember, and be confounded, and mayst no more open thy mouth because of thy confusion, when I shall be pacified towards thee for all that thou hast done, saith the Lord God.



1: Year of the World 3411.

38: Ezechiel xxiii. 10.

41: 4 Kings xxv. 9.

49: Genesis xix. 24.