The same threatenings which we had before in the foregoing chapter, and in the former part of this, are here repeated, with a direction to the prophet to lament them, that those he prophesied to might be the more affected with the foresight of them.
I. He must by his gestures in preaching express the deep sense he had both of the iniquities and of the calamities of the house of Israel (Ezek. 6:11): Smite with thy hand and stamp with thy foot. Thus he must make it to appear that he was in earnest in what he said to them, that he firmly believed it and laid it to heart. Thus he must signify the just displeasure he had conceived at their sins, and the just dread he was under of the judgments coming upon them. Some would reject this use of these gestures, and call them antic and ridiculous; but God bids him use them because they might help to enforce the word upon some and give it the setting on; and those that know the worth of souls will be content to be laughed at by the wits, so they may but edify the weak. Two things the prophet must thus lament:—1. National sins. Alas! for all the evil abominations of the house of Israel. Note, The sins of sinners are the sorrows of God’s faithful servants, especially the evil abominations of the house of Israel, whose sins are more abominable and have more evil in them than the sins of others. Alas! What will be in the end hereof? 2. National judgments. To punish them for these abominations they shall fall by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence. Note, It is our duty to be affected not only with our own sins and sufferings, but with the sins and sufferings of others; and to look with compassion upon the miseries that wicked people bring upon themselves; as Christ beheld Jerusalem and wept over it.
II. He must inculcate what he had said before concerning the destruction that was coming upon them. 1. They shall be run down and ruined by a variety of judgments which shall find them out and follow them wherever they are (Ezek. 6:12): He that is far off, and thinks himself out of danger, because out of the reach of the Chaldeans’ arrows, shall find himself not out of the reach of God’s arrows, which fly day and night (Ps. 91:5): He shall die of the pestilence. He that is near a place of strength, which he hopes will be to him a place of safety, shall fall by the sword, before he can retreat. He that is so cautious as not to venture out, but remains in the city, shall there die by the famine, the saddest death of all. Thus will God accomplish his fury, that is, do all that against them which he had purposed to do. 2. They shall read their sin in their punishment; for their slain men shall be among their idols, round about their altars, as was threatened before, Ezek. 6:5-7. There, where they had prostrated themselves in honour of their idols, God will lay them dead, to their own reproach and the reproach of their idols. They lived among them and shall die among them. They had offered sweet odours to their idols, but there shall their dead carcases send forth an offensive smell, as it were to atone for that misplaced incense. 3. The country shall be all laid waste, as, before, the cities (Ezek. 6:6): I will make the land desolate. That fruitful, pleasant, populous country, that has been as the garden of the Lord, the glory of all lands, shall be desolate, more desolate than the wilderness towards Diblath, Ezek. 6:14. It is called Diblathaim (Num. 33:46; Jer. 48:22), that great and terrible wilderness which is described, Deut. 8:15; wherein were fiery serpents and scorpions. The land of Canaan is at this day one of the most barren desolate countries in the world. City and country are thus depopulated, that the altars may be laid waste and made desolate, Ezek. 6:6. Rather than their idolatrous altars shall be left standing, both town and country shall be laid in ruins. Sin is a desolating thing; therefore stand in awe and sin not.