This chapter closes the series of prophecies beginning with Ezekiel 20, and consists of an extended allegory. Its object, quite in connection with Ezekiel 21, 22, is to set forth the sinfulness of Judah. The allegory is much like that of Ezekiel 16, but differs from it on the one side by omitting the historical features so prominent there, and on the other by using as a basis here a comparison between the northern and southern kingdoms. The allegory is too plain to need any extended comment. It is almost entirely concerned with the southern kingdom, enough only being added in reference to the northern, which had long since passed away, to bring out the comparison.
Sent messengers.—Ahaz “sent messengers” to Assyria (2 Kings 16:7), and Hezekiah entertained ambassadors from Babylon (2 Kings 20:13); but besides these, the whole history of the times implies that there must have been frequent embassies of which no special mention is made. One from Zedekiah is incidentally mentioned by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 29:3), of which there is no record in history.
Men of the common sort is better rendered in the margin, the multitude of men; and “Sabeans” is not a proper name, but, as in the margin, drunkards. They are represented as from the wilderness, not as their home, but as the region through which they passed in marching to Judæa. The whole sense of the verse is that the conquerors attacking the land were satisfied with heavy tribute, and having received this, many of the warriors gave themselves up to drunkenness and debauchery, decking out their tributary with meretricious ornaments.