Thus says the Lord God: This is Jerusalem, in the centre of the nations I have set her, and countries are round about her. [The Amplified Bible].
Thus saith the Lord God; This is Jerusalem: I have set it in the midst of the nations and countries that are round about her. [Dake A.R.B. – KJ].
Ezekiel Chapter 5 depicts ‘A further, and no less terrible, denunciation of the judgments of God, which were coming upon the Jewish nation. This destruction of Judah and Jerusalem is here,
1. Represented by a sign the cutting, and burning, and scattering of hair, v. 1-4.
2. That sign is expounded, and applied to Jerusalem: Sin is charged upon Jerusalem as the cause – contempt of God’s law [v. 5-7] and profanation of His sanctuary v. 2 : Wrath is threatened [v. 8-10], a variety of miseries [v 12, 16, 17], such as should be their reproach and ruin, v 13-15.
The explanation of the foregoing similitude: This is Jerusalem. The prophet’s head, which was to be shaved, signified Jerusalem, which by the judgments of God was now to be stripped of it’s ornaments, to be emptied of its inhabitants, and to be set naked and bare, to be shaved with a razor that is hired, Isaiah 7:20. The head of one that was a priest, a prophet, a holy person, was fittest to represent Jerusalem, the holy city.
The privileges Jerusalem was honored with [v5]: I have set it in the midst of the nations and countries that are round about her. Jerusalem was situated in the midst of kingdoms that were populous, civilized, famed for learning, arts, and sciences.
It was set in the midst of them AS EXCELLING THEM ALL – set in the midst of them as a candle upon a candlestick to spread the light of divine revelation to all the dark corners of the neighboring nations, even to the ends of the earth.
Jerusalem was to be as the HEART IN THE BODY, to invigorate this dead world with a divine life.
Had they preserved this reputation [1 Kings 4: 34], what a blessing Jerusalem would have been to all nations about ! But, failing to be so, the accomplishment of this intention was reserved for its latter days, when out of Zion went forth the Gospel law, and the Word of the Lord Jesus from Jerusalem. – Commentary on the Whole Bible : Matthew Henry.
Those who will not observe the judgments of God’s mouth shall not escape the judgments of His hand. Public sins call for public reproofs, so, if these prevail not, they call for public judgments.
The nations will fear before the God of Israel, when they see how severely He punishes sin even in those that are nearest to Him. It shall be an instruction to the nations, v15. Jerusalem should have taught her neighbors the fear of God by her piety and virtue, but, she not doing that, God will teach it to them by her ruin. These punishments shall be such as have no precedent [v9] : “I will do in thee that which I have not done in thee before, THOUGH THOU HAST LONG DESERVED IT.
All this is ratified by the Divine Authority and veracity, v17. And they shall know that I the Lord have spoken it, v13. There were those who thought it was only the prophet that spoke it in his delirium; BUT GOD’S WORD WILL PROVE ITSELF.