Ezekiel 16:8 MEANING

Ezekiel 16:8
(8) Now when I passed by thee.--Here, as in Ezekiel 16:6, omit the when, and render, "and I passed by thee." Two separate visits are spoken of: the one in Israel's infancy in Egypt, when God blessed and multiplied her (Ezekiel 16:6); the other when she had become a nation, and God entered into covenant with her in the Exodus and at Sinai. The verse describes this covenant in terms of the marriage relation, a figure very frequent in Scripture. On the phrase "spread my skirt," comp. Ruth 3:9, and on "becamest mine," Ruth 4:10.

Verse 8. - The words point to the time of the love of the espousals of Jeremiah 2:2, interpreting the parable, when Israel had grown to the maturity of a nation's life, and gave promise, in spite of previous degradation, of capacities that would render it worthy of the love of the Divine Bridegroom. I spread my skirt over thee. Garments were often used as coverlets, and the act described was therefore, as in Ruth 3:9, the received symbol of a completed marriage (comp. Deuteronomy 22:30; Deuteronomy 27:20). The historical fact represented by the symbol here was probably the formal covenant between Jehovah and Israel (Exodus 24:6, 7). It was then that he became her God, and that she became his people.

16:1-58 In this chapter God's dealings with the Jewish nation, and their conduct towards him, are described, and their punishment through the surrounding nations, even those they most trusted in. This is done under the parable of an exposed infant rescued from death, educated, espoused, and richly provided for, but afterwards guilty of the most abandoned conduct, and punished for it; yet at last received into favour, and ashamed of her base conduct. We are not to judge of these expressions by modern ideas, but by those of the times and places in which they were used, where many of them would not sound as they do to us. The design was to raise hatred to idolatry, and such a parable was well suited for that purpose.Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee,.... Which the Targum refers to the Lord's appearance to Moses in the bush; See Gill on Ezekiel 16:6;

behold, thy time was the time of love; which the Targum explains of the time of redemption of the people of Israel out of Egypt, which was an instance of the great love of God unto that people; and which time was fixed by him; and when it was come, at the exact and precise time, the redemption was wrought; see Genesis 15:13; and so there is a set time for the calling and conversion of God's elect, who are therefore said to be called according to purpose; and, when that time comes, all means are made to concur to bring it about: and this is a time of love; for though the love of God to his people is before all time, yet it is manifested in time; and there are particular times in which it is expressed unto them; and the time of conversion is one of them; and indeed it is the first time that there is a manifestation and application of the love of God made to the souls of his people: and this is a "time of loves" (o); as it is in the original text; denoting the large abundance of it which is now shown forth; and the various acts of it now done; as bringing of them out of a most miserable condition, out of a horrible pit; plucking them as brands out of the burning; quickening them when dead in sin; speaking comfortably to them, and applying pardoning grace and mercy to their souls: and it may include both the love of God to his people, and their love to him; for now is the love of their espousals, and the kindness of their youth, Jeremiah 2:2; the grace of love is now implanted, to God and Christ, to his people, word, worship, and ordinances, which before had no place in them:

and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness; the Lord espoused the people of Israel to himself in the wilderness, after he had brought them out of Egypt, and took them under the wings of his protection; both which this phrase may be expressive of; see Ruth 3:9. Some understand this of his giving them the spoils of the Egyptians, and also the law: it may very well be applied to the righteousness of Christ, which is often compared to a garment, for which the skirt, a part, is put; and this is put on as a garment, and answers all the purposes of one; and particularly covers the nakedness of men, which their own righteousness will not do; this the Lord spreads over his people, and covers them with; and being clothed with this, they shall not be found naked:

yea, I sware unto thee; to his love expressed to his people, and to his covenant he entered into with them, neither of which shall ever be removed; and this makes to their abundant comfort; see Psalm 89:3;

and entered into covenant with thee, saith the Lord God; as he did with the people of Israel at Horeb, and which was a sort of a marriage contract with them; see Deuteronomy 29:1; the covenant of grace was made from everlasting with Christ, and the elect in him; but is made manifest at conversion, when the Lord makes himself known unto them as their covenant God; leads them to Christ the Mediator of it; sends his Spirit down into their hearts, to make them partakers of the grace of it; and shows them their interest in the blessings and promises of it; all which may be meant by the phrase here used:

and thou becamest mine; as Israel did at the time before mentioned, became the Lord's peculiar people, and were avouched as such by him, Exodus 19:5; so, in conversion, those who before were secretly the Lord's by electing and redeeming grace, become openly his by calling and sanctifying grace.

(o) "tempus amorum", Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Polanus, Piscator, Cocceius, Starckius.

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