Commentary on the Bible, by Adam Clarke, , at sacred-texts.com
This chapter contains a recital of the sins of Jerusalem, Eze 22:1-12; for which God threatens it with severe judgments, Eze 22:13-16, in order to purify it from the dross, Eze 22:17-22. And as the corruption is general, pervading prophets, priests, princes, and people; so, it is declared, shall be the punishment, Eze 22:23-31.
Wilt thou judge the bloody city - Pronounce the sentence of death against the murderers.
Show her all her abominations - And a most revolting and dreadful catalogue of these is in consequence exhibited.
Her time may come - Till now, it was my long-suffering; she has fulfilled her days - completed the time of her probation; has not mended, but is daily worse; therefore her judgment can linger no longer.
Thou art become guilty in thy blood - Thou art guilty of blood.
Those that be near - Both distant as well as neighboring provinces consider thee the most abandoned of characters; and through thee many have been involved in distress and ruin.
Behold, the princes - Ye are a vile and murderous people, and your princes have been of the same character. Like people, like prince.
In thee have they set light - The children do not reverence their parents. Parental affection and filial respect do not exist among you. The stranger is not only not succoured, but he is oppressed. The widows and fatherless are vexed by wrongs and exactions.
Thou hast despised - All my ordinances are not only neglected, but treated with contempt; and my Sabbaths profaned. There is not only no power of godliness among you, but there is no form.
In thee are men that carry tales - Witnesses that will swear any thing, even where life is concerned.
They eat upon the mountains - Sacrifice to idols, and celebrate their festivals.
In thee have they discovered - They are guilty of the most abominable incest and unnatural lust.
On thee have they humbled - In their unholy and unnatural connexions, they have not abstained from those set apart because of their infirmities. The catalogue of crimes that follow is too plain to require comment.
Thou shalt know that I am the Lord - I shall so deal with and punish thee, that thou shalt be obliged to own the vindictive hand of a sin-avenging God.
The house of Israel is to me become dross - They are all like base metal - brass, tin, iron, and lead alloyed together with silver. Ye must be put in the furnace, and subjected to the most intense fire, till your impurities are consumed away. No ordinary means will avail any thing; the most violent must be resorted to.
I will gather you - Jerusalem is represented here as the fining pot; all the people are to be gathered together in it, and the Chaldean fire is to knelt the whole. And God will increase thy sufferings: as the refiner blows the fire with his bellows, so God will blow upon you with the fire of his wrath, Eze 22:21.
Thou art the land that is not cleansed - Thou art like a country where there is no rain, either to cleanse the garments, or fertilize the ground.
There is a conspiracy - The false prophets have united together to say and support the same things; and have been the cause of the destruction of souls, and the death of many, so that widows, through their means, are multiplied in thee.
Her priests - Even they whose lips should preserve knowledge, have not instructed the people: they have violated my law, not only in their private conduct, but in their careless and corrupt manner of serving in my temple.
Her princes - Are as bad as her priests; they are rapacious, and grievously oppress the people by unjust impositions in order to increase their revenues.
Her prophets - Even those who profess themselves to be my prophets, have been unfaithful in the discharge of their office; have soothed the people in their sins, and pretended to have oracles of peace and safety when I had not spoken to them.
The people - All that have power or authority have abused it; vexed and oppressed the poor, the needy, and the stranger.
I sought for a man - I saw that there was a grievous breach made in the moral state and feeling of the people, and I sought for a man that would stand in the gap; that would faithfully exhort, reprove and counsel with all long-suffering and doctrine. But none was to be found!
Therefore - Because of the profligacies already mentioned; because of the false worship so generally practiced; because of the false prophets tolerated; because of the unholy and profane priesthood; because of the oppressive princes; because of the unfaithful and deceiving prophets; because of the oppressions of petty officers; and because of the total corruption of manners in all ranks, places, offices, etc.: -
Have I poured out mine indignation - consumed them with the fire of my wrath - Considering the above, has there not been sufficient reason why I should abandon such a people, and pour out upon them such a destructive storm of calamities?