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On a Remarkable Passage of the Prophet Ezekiel

On a Remarkable Passage of the Prophet Ezekiel

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY J. PARSONS, B.D.

HONORARY ASSOCIATE OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF LITERATURE.



EzEKIEL XIII. 20, 21.
BY J. PARSONS, B.D.

HONORARY ASSOCIATE OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF LITERATURE.



EzEKIEL XIII. 20, 21.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Oct 21, 2013
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O A REMARKABLE PASSAGE OF THE PROPHETBY J. PARSOS, B.D.HOORARY ASSOCIATE OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY OFLITERATURE.EzEKIEL XIII. 20, 21.Behold I am against your pillows^ wherewithye there hunt the souls to make them fly ^ avidI will tear them from your arms, and will letthe souls gOy even the souls that ye hunt tomake them fly.Your kerchiefs also will 1 tear, and deliver mypeople oat of your hand, and they shall he nomore in your hand to he hunted ; and ye shallknow that I am the Lord.The general scope of the Prophecy, con-tained in this passage of Scripture, and thosewhich immediately precede it, is obviousenough. The difficulty lies in the terms inwhich it is conveyed : and it is remarkablethat no difficulty of this kind appears to havebeen noticed till within less than a century of our own times. The words of the Prophet,from the sixteenth verse of this Chapter, areas follows : " Likewise thou, son of man, setREMARKABLE PASSAGE I EZEKIEL. 271thy face against the daughters of thy people,which prophesy out of their own heart ; andprophesy thou against them, and say, Thus
 
saith the Lord God : Woe to the women thatsew pillows to all arm-holes, and make ker-chiefs upon the head of every stature to huntsouls ! Will ye hunt the souls of my people,and will ye save the souls alive that come untoyou? And will ye pollute me among mypeople for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread, to slay the souls that should not die,and to save the souls alive that should notlive, by your lying to my people that hear yourlies ? Wherefore thus saith the Lord God :Behold I am against your pillows," etc. Evi-dently, therefore, the objects of this Prophecy,against whom a woe is denounced, were thosefemale soothsayers, who, falsely pretending tobe divinely inspired , deceived the captiveIsraelites with their fictitious oracles, promis-ing good or ill luck to the parties consultingthem, after the manner of our fortune-tellersat present, according to the rate at which theywere paid, and thus frequently discouragingand afflicting the righteous, and giving confi-dence to the wicked.By ^' sewing pillows to their arms," it isimplied that the false Prophetesses seducedtheir followers into a state of thoughtless indo-lence and security. But how ** kerchiefs,"272 O A REMARKABLE PASSAGEcoverings, or ornaments for the head, contri-buted to this indulgence, seems difficult toimagine. I think it more probable that by" kerchiefs," according to this sense of the Pro-phecy, were meant bolsters, or pillows for thehead, in contra-distinction to those which wereapplied to the arms ; both being figurative terms
 
to signify nearly the same thing. It was theopinion of a learned Critic, that the expressionsused by the Prophet allude to a superstitiouspractice of these fatidical women in deliveringtheir oracles ; that they applied pillows to thearms, and coverings to the heads of those whocame to consult them, as a ceremonial neces-sary to a due reception of their predictions ;but it seems more reasonable to suppose thatit was the Prophetesses themselves who wereso habited, in order to impose by their appear-ance, as well as by their words^ on theirinfatuated disciples. It is remarkable that in anancient version or rather paraphrase of this pas-sage of Scripture it is rendered, " Woe to thosefemales who make phylacteries, and suspendthem upon their arms, and place them uponthe heads (of persons) of every age." Thisseems plainly to refer to a well-known customof the Jews, who, previously to their acts of devotion, whether public or private, put ontheir phylacteries. These were broad strips of parchment, on which were inscribed certainOF THE PROPHET EZERIEL. 273Texts of Scripture, taken from the Books of Exodus and Deuteronomy, and applied to thehead and left arm of the supplicant.* If, then,these false Prophetesses were of the Jewishation, it was very natural that, in order togive their predictions greater weight and au-thority, they should assume those appendageswhich were regarded as indispensable on occa-sions of Divine Worship.But, in whatever view we contemplatethese pillows and kerchiefs^ these applications

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