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Ezekiel Chapter 16 commentary


Today you may hear people saying that since Ezekiel chapter 16 mentions earrings in a positive way, it's thus ok to anybody to wear earrings. Or since it mentions the earrings, it's thus ok to wear them. However, the chapter speaks of Jerusalem (spiritual, not personified) being decorated by God Himself. This is something much different than a lady putting on earrings herself, don't you think? You don't do the deeds of God by decorating yourself. Of course, you might think you do the deeds of God, but I have to say you're wrong! Or you might think you're not doing the deeds of God, but you're just imitating Him. Well, these are so poor arguments that it's just unbelievable!

What's going on in Ezekiel chapter 16? Let's have a detailed look via a few examples. One is written before Christ, that is, the Targum Ezekiel. Another example is written by St. Macarius. Let's find out with an example by Macarius (d.391 AD), in his homily, which you can find behind this link as well: (p. 107)

Macarius homily XV

The Bible says the same thing elsewhere in figurative language. The pine is fallen, it says, mourn, ye cedars? (Zech. 11:2) For as Israel, when he was thought to please the Lord - though he never pleased Him as he ought - had a pillar of cloud to overshadow him, and a pillar of fire to give him shine; saw the sea divide before him, water clear proceeding out of the rock; but when their mind and intention turned from God, then they were delivered to serpents, or to their enemies, being led away in sore captivities and tormented with bitter bondage. This the Spirit mystically declared in the prophet Ezekiel also, saying of such a soul, as of Jerusalem, I found thee naked in the wilderness, and I washed thee from the water of thine uncleanness, and I clothed thee with raiment, and put bracelets upon thy hands, and chains about thy neck, and earrings in thine ears, and thou becamest renowned among all the heathen. Fine flour and oil and honey didst thou eat, and after all thou didst forget My benefits, and wentest after thy lovers, and didst commit fornication with shame. (Ez.16)

Macarius homily
Macarius Homilies

4. So likewise the Spirit utters warning to the soul which through grace knows God, which after being cleansed from its former sins and adorned with the ornaments of the Holy Ghost, and after partaking of the divine and heavenly food, does not behave dutifully with much discretion, and does not properly preserve benevolence and love for Christ the heavenly Bridegroom, and so is rejected and put away from the life of which at one time it was a partaker. For Satan can raise and exalt himself even against those who have reached such measures as these; even against those who have known God in grace and power, sin still lifts itself up and strives to overthrow them. We must therefore strive, and watch over ourselves intelligently, to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, as it is written. As many as are made partakers of the Spirit of Christ, see that you do not behave contemptuously in anything, small or great, and do no despite to the grace of the Spirit, that you may not be excluded from the life of which you have already been made partakers.

Macarius points into the right direction. This is what the early Christians thought of the matter. The meaning is deeply spiritual. You might remember that the Levite priests had precious jewels in their garment. It was a figurative meaning. You know that the true High Priest, Lord Jesus Christ, had no jewels but a crown of thorns! Next, let's look at what Targum has to say.

Targum of Ezekiel

Targum, or the Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Bible is an important source of information on how people were thinking before Christ. Thus, let's keep it an informative source. We can compare it to the modern interpretations and perhaps agree how far today's hypocrites have traveled with their unbiblical views.

Targum of Ezekiel puts the verses 10-13 in the following way compared to KJV:

Targum Ezekiel

KJV Ezekiel

10. Then I clothed you in embroidered garments, from the precious things of your enemies; and I put costly shoes on your feet. And I consecrated priests among you that they may serve before Me in linen headgear, and the high priest in colorful vestments.

10 I clothed thee also with broidered work, and shod thee with badgers' skin, and I girded thee about with fine linen, and I covered thee with silk.

11. I improved you by the perfection of the words of the Torah, inscribed on two stone tablets, and given by the hands of Moses; and I sanctified you by the holiness of My great name.

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

12. I placed the ark of My covenant among you, with My cloud of glory covering you, and an angel, sent from before Me, leading the way ahead of you.

12 And I put a jewel on thy forehead, and earrings in thine ears, and a beautiful crown upon thine head.

13. And I placed My tabernacle in your midst, set with gold and silver and a curtain of linen and colored cloth and embroidery. And I fed you with manna which was as good as fine flour and honey and oil. And you waxed rich and become very very powerful. I made you prosper and I gave you dominion over all kingdoms.

13 Thus wast thou decked with gold and silver; and thy raiment was of fine linen, and silk, and broidered work; thou didst eat fine flour, and honey, and oil: and thou wast exceeding beautiful, and thou didst prosper into a kingdom.

Targum and Macarius had correct thoughts

Does Targum (or KJV) tell you that earrings are okay to wear? No, it doesn't. Does Macarius urge you to pick earrings and wear them speedily, telling it's a pious move? All in all, there's something fundamentally wrong if you can interpret Ezekiel chapter 16 to justify the wearing of earrings!

Posted September the 7th, 2018. texts are all public domain free for all to copy and utilize. addr