“like an unclean thing.” The silver and gold they covet so dearly will not just be worthless to them, it will be like filth, like things that are unclean.
“appetites.” The Hebrew word is “soul,” nephesh (#05315 נֶפֶשׁ), but here it is used of the appetite. People focused their lives on silver and gold, but in the day of disaster they cannot eat it. Furthermore, the famine will be so great in the city that all their silver and gold will not be able to buy food. This verse in Ezekiel is not talking about the final Day of Judgment but the lesson applies to that great and terrible Day. There is a Day of Judgment coming for every person, and the only wealth that will be valuable on that Day is the wealth of having obeyed God during one’s life. [For more on nephesh and its uses, see Appendix 7, “Usages of ‘Soul’”].
“stumbling block that brought about their iniquity.” The Hebrew reads, “stumbling block of their iniquity,” but it is a genitive of production and thus “brought about” or “produced” their iniquity is the meaning. Wealth became a stumbling block for these Judeans 2,500 years ago, and it is still a stumbling block for many people today, and entices people into lives of sin—lives that will end in everlasting death. There is a great irony in people living lives of sin in the pursuit of wealth. Even if they get it, it will only last a few decades at best, and sinful gain is never peaceful; it always comes with anxiety and fear—who will find out, will I lose it after all? In contrast, those people who obey God can live without anxiety now and will live in a gold city with walls of gemstones and streets of pure gold (Rev. 21:18-21).