Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
COUNTRYMEN, AND IN A
Heretofore his functions had been chiefly threatening; from this point,
after the evil had got to its worst in the overthrow of Jerusalem, the
consolatory element preponderates.
2. to the children of thy people--whom he had been forbidden to
Eze 24:26, 27,
till Jerusalem was overthrown, and the "escaped" came with tidings of
the judgment being completed. So now, in
the tidings of the fact having arrived, he opens his heretofore closed
lips to the Jews. In the interval he had prophesied as to foreign
nations. The former part of the chapter, at
seems to have been imparted to Ezekiel on the evening previous
being a preparation for the latter part
imparted after the tidings had come. This accounts for the first part
standing without intimation of the date, which was properly reserved
for the latter part, to which the former was the anticipatory
exhibit Ezekiel's office as a spiritual watchman; so in
only here the duties of the earthly watchman (compare
2Sa 18:24, 25;
are detailed first, and then the application is made to the spiritual
watchman's duty (compare
"A man of their coasts" is a man specially chosen for the office out
of their whole number. So
"five men from their coasts"; also the Hebrew of
implying the care needed in the choice of the watchman, the spiritual
as well as the temporal
(Ac 1:21, 22, 24-26;
3. the sword--invaders. An appropriate illustration at the time of the
invasion of Judea by Nebuchadnezzar.
4. blood . . . upon his own head--metaphor from sacrificial victims,
on the heads of which they used to lay their hands, praying that their
guilt should be upon the victims.
6. his iniquity--his negligence in not maintaining constant
watchfulness, as they who are in warfare ought to do. The thing
signified here appears from under the image.
7. I have set thee a watchman--application of the image. Ezekiel's
appointment to be a watchman spiritually is far more solemn, as it is
derived from God, not from the people.
8. thou shalt surely die--by a violent death, the earnest of
everlasting death; the qualification being supposed, "if thou dost not
9. Blood had by this time been shed
but Ezekiel was clear.
10. be upon us--that is, their guilt remain on us.
pine away in them--if we suffer the penalty threatened for them in
according to the law
how should we . . . live?--as Thou dost promise in
11. To meet the Jews' cry of despair in
Ezekiel here cheers them by the assurance that God has no pleasure in
their death, but that they should repent and live
A yearning tenderness manifests itself here, notwithstanding all their
past sins; yet with it a holiness that abates nothing of its demands
for the honor of God's authority. God's righteousness is vindicated as
and Eze 18:1-32,
by the statement that each should be treated with the closest
adaptation of God's justice to his particular case.
12. not fall . . . in the day that he turneth--
Eze 3:20; 18:24).
15. give again that he had robbed--
statutes of life--in the obeying of which life is promised
If the law has failed to give life to man, it has not been the fault of
the law, but of man's sinful inability to keep it
(Ro 7:10, 12;
It becomes life-giving through Christ's righteous obedience to it
17. The way of the Lord--The Lord's way of dealing in His moral
21. twelfth year . . . tenth month--a year and a half after the
capture of the city
(Jer 39:2; 52:5, 6),
in the eleventh year and fourth month. The one who escaped (as
may have been so long on the road through fear of entering the enemy's
country [HENDERSON]; or, the singular is
used for the plural in a collective sense, "the escaped
remnant." Compare similar phrases, "the escaped of Moab,"
"He that escapeth of them,"
Naturally the reopening of the prophet's mouth for consolation would be
deferred till the number of the escaped remnant was complete: the
removal of such a large number would easily have occupied seventeen or
22. in the evening--(see on
Thus the capture of Jerusalem was known to Ezekiel by revelation before
the messenger came.
my mouth . . . no more dumb--that is, to my
countrymen; as foretold
in the evening before the tidings came.
24. they that inhabit . . . wastes of . . .
Israel--marking the blindness of the fraction of Jews under
Gedaliah who, though dwelling amidst regions laid waste by the foe,
still cherished hopes of deliverance, and this without repentance.
Abraham was one . . . but we are many--If God gave the
land for an inheritance to Abraham, who was but one
much more it is given to us, who, though reduced, are still many. If
he, with 318 servants, was able to defend himself amid so many foes,
much more shall we, so much more numerous, retain our own. The grant of
the land was not for his sole use, but for his numerous posterity.
inherited the land--not actually possessed it
but had the right of dwelling and pasturing his flocks in it [GROTIUS]. The Jews boasted similarly of their Abrahamic
and Joh 8:39.
25. eat with the blood--in opposition to the law
They did so as an idolatrous rite.
26. Ye stand upon your sword--Your dependence is, not on right and
equity, but on force and arms.
every one--Scarcely anyone refrains from adultery.
27. shall fall by the sword--The very object of their confidence
would be the instrument of their destruction. Thinking to "stand" by it,
by it they shall "fall." Just retribution! Some fell by the sword of
Ishmael; others by the Chaldeans in revenge for the murder of Gedaliah
In the hilly parts of Judea there were caves almost inaccessible, as
having only crooked and extremely narrow paths of ascent, with rock in
front stretching down into the valleys beneath perpendicularly [JOSEPHUS, Wars of the Jews, 1.16.4].
28. most desolate--
(Jer 4:27; 12:11).
none . . . pass through--from fear of wild beasts and pestilence
30. Not only the remnant in Judea, but those at the Chebar, though
less flagrantly, betrayed the same unbelieving spirit.
talking against thee--Though going to the prophet to hear the word
of the Lord, they criticised, in an unfriendly spirit, his
peculiarities of manner and his enigmatical style
making these the excuse for their impenitence. Their talking was not
directly "against" Ezekiel, for they professed to like his
ministrations; but God's word speaks of things as they really are, not
as they appear.
by the walls--in the public haunts. In the East groups assemble under
the walls of their houses in winter for conversation.
in the doors--privately.
what is the word--Their motive was curiosity, seeking pastime and
gratification of the ear
not reformation of the heart. Compare Johanan's consultation of
Jeremiah, to hear the word of the Lord without desiring to do it
31. as the people cometh--that is, in crowds, as disciples flock to
sit before thee--on lower seats at thy feet, according to the Jewish
custom of pupils
as my people--though they are not.
hear . . . not do--
(Mt 13:20, 21;
Jas 1:23, 24).
they show much love--literally, "make love," that is, act the part of
lovers. Profess love to the Lord
GESENIUS translates, according to Arabic
idiom, "They do the delights of God," that is, all that is agreeable to
God. Vulgate translates, "They turn thy words into a song of
heart goeth after . . . covetousness--the grand rival to the love of
God; therefore called "idolatry," and therefore associated with impure
carnal love, as both alike transfer the heart's affection from the
Creator to the creature
32. very lovely song--literally, a "song of loves": a lover's song.
They praise thy eloquence, but care not for the subject of it as a real
and personal thing; just as many do in the modern church
play well on an instrument--Hebrew singers accompanied the "voice"
with the harp.
33. when this cometh to pass--when My predictions are verified.
lo, it will come--rather, "lo it is come" (see
know--experimentally, and to their cost.