Ezechiel ix.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 2. Upper, leading to the court of the priests. These were six angels, representing the army coming from Babylon. The seventh was an angel of peace. (Calmet) — God never abandons his whole Church. (Worthington)

Ver. 3. House; to the holy place, shewing that he abondoned those in the temple. (Calmet)

Ver. 4. Mark Thau. Thau, or Tau, is the last letter in the Hebrew alphabet, and signifies a sign or a mark: which is the reason why some translators render this place set a mark, or mark a mark, without specifying what this mark was. But St. Jerome, and other interpreters, conclude it was the form of the letter thau, which, in the ancient Hebrew character, was the form of a cross. (Challoner) — Of this many inscriptions still extant bear witness. (Montfaucon.) — Some Rabbins allow that the last letter was used but in honour of “the law,” Thorah. The cross is supposed to be the hieroglyphic of a future life, (Hist. Rufini. ii. 29.) and found frequently in the pictures or (Haydock) in the tables of Isis. But it rather represents a key. Soldiers who were acquitted received the letter T, and those who were sentenced to die had Th, (Calmet) alluding to Thanatos, “death.” (Haydock) — We may, however, suppose that if God designated any letter, it would be some letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and accordingly the last had formerly the figure of †. x. though this text may signify “a sign” in general. The virtuous would be discriminated from the guilty, as if they were marked. (Calmet) — The door-posts of the Hebrews were stained with blood, in Egypt, to shew that all should be redeemed by that of Christ; and here those who shall be saved, received the mark of his cross. This sign has always been held in veneration among Christians, (Worthington) and used in conferring baptism, consecrating the blessed Eucharist, &c. (St. Chrysostom, hom. lv. in Matthew, and lxxxiv. in John) (St. Augustine, tr. cxviii. in John, and ser. ci. de temp., &c.) — It appeared to Constantine with this inscription, “In this conquer;” (Eusebius, vit. i. 22.) and again over Jerusalem; (St. Cyril, ep. ad Constantium.) and will be borne before Christ, at his last coming, (Matthew xxiv.) to the joy of those who have performed their baptismal promises, and to the confusion (Worthington) of the enemies of the cross of Christ. (Haydock)

Ver. 6. Sanctuary. Aquila, “temple,” or people (Calmet) consecrated to my service, (Septuagint; Tirinus) particularly (Calmet) the twenty-five idolaters, the ancients and women, (Calmet) chap. viii. 16. — Judgment beginneth at the house of God, (1 Peter iv. 17.) and those (Haydock) who abuse holy things are justly cut off. (Worthington)

Ver. 7. Defile. Septuagint, “you have defiled.” I regard the place no longer. (Calmet)

Ver. 9. Perverseness, in “wresting of judgment.” (Protestant marginal note) What else can be expected, when the judges deny Providence? (Haydock)

Bible Text & Cross-references:

All are ordered to be destroyed that are not marked in their foreheads. God will not be entreated for them.

1 And *he cried in my ears with a loud voice, saying: The visitations of the city are at hand, and every one hath a destroying weapon in his hand.

2 And behold six men came from the way of the upper gate, which looketh to the north: and each one had his weapon of destruction in his hand: and there was one man in the midst of them clothed with linen, with a writer’s inkhorn at his reins: and they went in, and stood by the brazen altar.

3 And the glory of the Lord of Israel went up from the cherub, upon which he was, to the threshold of the house: and he called to the man that was clothed with linen, and had a writer’s inkhorn at his loins.

4 And the Lord said to him: Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem: *and mark Thau upon the foreheads of the men that sigh, and mourn for all the abominations that are committed in the midst thereof.

5 And to the others he said in my hearing: Go ye after him through the city, and strike: let not your eyes spare, nor be ye moved with pity.

6 Utterly destroy old and young, maidens, children, and women: but upon whomsoever you shall see Thau, kill him not, and begin ye at my sanctuary. So they began at the ancient men, who were before the house.

7 And he said to them: Defile the house, and ill the courts with the slain: go ye forth. And they went forth, and slew them that were in the city.

8 And the slaughter being ended, I was left: and I fell upon my face, and crying, I said: Alas, alas, alas, O Lord God, wilt thou then destroy all the remnant of Israel, by pouring out thy fury upon Jerusalem?

9 And he said to me: The iniquity of the house of Israel, and of Juda, is exceedingly great, and the land is filled with blood, and the city is filled with perverseness: for they have said: The Lord hath forsaken the earth, and the Lord seeth not.

10 Therefore neither shall my eye spare, nor will I have pity: I will requite their way upon their head.

11 And behold the man that was clothed with linen, that had the inkhorn at his back, returned the word, saying: I have done as thou hast commanded me.



1: Year of the World 3410.

4: Exodus xii. 7.