Ezekiel 8

1 In the sixth year, in the sixth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I sat in my house, and the elders of Judah sat before me, the Lord GOD’s hand fell there on me. 2 Then I saw, and behold, a likeness as the appearance of fire; from the appearance of his waist and downward, fire; and from his waist and upward, as the appearance of brightness, as it were glowing metal. 3 He stretched out the form of a hand, and took me by a lock of my head; and the Spirit lifted me up between earth and the sky, and brought me in the visions of God to Jerusalem, to the door of the gate of the inner court that looks towards the north; where there was the seat of the image of jealousy, which provokes to jealousy. 4 Behold, the glory of the God of Israel was there, according to the appearance that I saw in the plain. 5 Then he said to me, “Son of man, lift up your eyes now the way towards the north.” So I lifted up my eyes the way towards the north, and saw, northward of the gate of the altar this image of jealousy in the entry. 6 He said to me, “Son of man, do you see what they do? Even the great abominations that the house of Israel commit here, that I should go far off from my sanctuary? But you will again see yet other great abominations.” 7 He brought me to the door of the court; and when I looked, behold, a hole in the wall. 8 Then he said to me, “Son of man, dig now in the wall.” When I had dug in the wall, I saw a door. 9 He said to me, “Go in, and see the wicked abominations that they do here.” 10 So I went in and looked, and saw every form of creeping things, abominable animals, and all the idols of the house of Israel, portrayed around on the wall. 11 Seventy men of the elders of the house of Israel stood before them. In the middle of them Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan stood, every man with his censer in his hand; and the smell of the cloud of incense went up. 12 Then he said to me, “Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in his rooms of imagery? For they say, ‘the LORD doesn’t see us. the LORD has forsaken the land.’” 13 He said also to me, “You will again see more of the great abominations which they do.” 14 Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the LORD’s house which was towards the north; and I saw the women sit there weeping for Tammuz. 15 Then he said to me, “Have you seen this, son of man? You will again see yet greater abominations than these.” 16 He brought me into the inner court of the LORD’s house; and I saw at the door of the LORD’s temple, between the porch and the altar, were about twenty-five men, with their backs towards the LORD’s temple, and their faces towards the east; and they were worshiping the sun towards the east. 17 Then he said to me, “Have you seen this, son of man? Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they commit here? For they have filled the land with violence, and have turned again to provoke me to anger. Behold, they put the branch to their nose. 18 Therefore will I also deal in wrath. My eye won’t spare, neither will I have pity. Though they cry in my ears with a loud voice, yet I will not hear them.”

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1-6

The glorious personage Ezekiel beheld in vision, seemed to take hold upon him, and he was conveyed in spirit to Jerusalem. There, in the inner court of the temple, was prepared a place for some base idol. The whole was presented in vision to the prophet. If it should please God to give any man a clear view of his glory and majesty, and of all the abominations committing in any one city, he would then admit the justice of the severest punishments God should inflict thereon.

Verses 7-12

A secret place was, as it were, opened, where the prophet saw creatures painted on the walls, and a number of the elders of Israel worshipped before them. No superiority in worldly matters will preserve men from lust, or idolatries, when they are left to their own deceitful hearts; and those who are soon wearied in the service of God, often grudge no toil nor expense when following their superstitions. When hypocrites screen themselves behind the wall of an outward profession, there is some hole or other left in the wall, something that betrays them to those who look diligently. There is a great deal of secret wickedness in the world. They think themselves out of God’s sight. But those are ripe indeed for ruin, who lay the blame of their sins upon the Lord.

Verses 13-18

The yearly lamenting for Tammuz was attended with infamous practices; and the worshippers of the sun here described, are supposed to have been priests. The Lord appeals to the prophet concerning the heinousness of the crime; “and lo, they put the branch to their nose,” denoting some custom used by idolaters in honour of the idols they served. The more we examine human nature and our own hearts, the more abominations we shall discover; and the longer the believer searches himself, the more he will humble himself before God, and the more will he value the fountain open for sin, and seek to wash therein.

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