22 As silver [kesef] is melted in the midst of the furnace [kur], so shall ye be melted [down] in the midst thereof; and ye shall know that I Yahweh have poured out My fury [chemah] upon you.
In this testimony, Israel in the flesh are compared to brass and other metals full of dross. This drossy nature of the brass is the characteristic by which they are distinguished from the "fine," or "incandescent brass" of the Son of Man, or Israel in the Spirit, in glowing, or burning, operation upon the subjects Of YAHWEH's fiery indignation.
Israel, as dross, is exemplified in the denunciations of the prophets. Their drossiness is seen in the abominations they practised in burning incense to reptiles, and filthy beasts, and idols of every sort; in their women weeping for Tammuz, the Adonis of the Greeks; and in their worshipping the sun between the porch of the temple and the altar, with their backs towards the sanctuary of YAHWEH (Ezek. 8:7-18). They are still in the drossy state, with the curse of Moses, and the blood-guiltiness they invoked upon themselves and posterity at the crucifixion of Jesus, lying heavily upon them.
Israel lives in perpetual violation of the law; and yet professes to expect justification by that law, which only thunders the curses of Mount Ebal in their ears. Hence, they are to this day "the dross of silver in the midst of the furnace" of affliction; "left" of YAHWEH, and "melted."
But, if Israel be the dross of silver, the Gentiles are the dross of brass, iron, lead, and tin. The Gentile dross is of no more value than Israel's; for "God has concluded all under sin." Israel boasts in Moses, and pays no regard to what he prescribes; and the Gentile bepraises Jesus, while their ears are closed, and their hearts steeled against his teaching and commands: so that Jews and Gentiles are both guilty before God; they only excepted who believe the gospel of the kingdom and obey it. They have all, therefore, to be gathered into a furnace glowing with intense combustion, before their races can attain to the blessedness that is to come upon all nations through Abraham and his Seed.
Jews and Gentiles must be "melted in the fire of YAHWEH'S wrath," which fire will glow at the Feet of the Son of Man -- "the Saints executing the judgment written;" and "treading the wicked as ashes under the soles of their feet."
25 There is a conspiracy of her prophets [kesher of her nevi'im] in the midst thereof, like a roaring lion [ari ] ravening the prey; they have devoured souls [nefesh]; they have taken the treasure [khosen] and precious things; they have made her many widows [almanot] in the midst thereof.
These priests and prophets, who were princes in Jerusalem and Samaria, are represented in the next chapter by two lewd women, "the Daughters of One Mother," Aholah the elder, and Aholibah her sister. "Thus were their names," says the Spirit; "Samaria is Aholah, and Jerusalem, Aholibah."
Then follows the indictment against them, in which their apostasy from the Mosaic Law in its simplicity, in their blending it with the abominable customs and principles of heathenism, is likened to the intercourse of harlotry and adultery.
The priests and prophets of Samaria were Aholah the harlot daughter of the comely and delicate woman, Zion under the law (Jer. vi. 2); and the same class in Jerusalem were Aholibah, the younger harlot of the same mother, "more corrupt in her inordinate love than Aholah."