Ezekiel Part 6: Israel's Future Restoration and Blessing (Chapters 33-39)
(New American Standard, 1995):
Ezek. 33:1 ¶ And the word of the LORD came to me, saying,
Ezek. 33:2 "Son of man, speak to the sons of your people and say to them, 'If I bring a sword upon a land, and the people of the land take one man from among them and make him their watchman,
Ezek. 33:3 and he sees the sword coming upon the land and blows on the trumpet and warns the people,
Ezek. 33:4 then he who hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, and a sword comes and takes him away, his blood will be on his own head.
Ezek. 33:5 'He heard the sound of the trumpet but did not take warning; his blood will be on himself. But had he taken warning, he would have delivered his life.
Ezek. 33:6 'But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet and the people are not warned, and a sword comes and takes a person from them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require from the watchman's hand.'
Ezek. 33:7 ¶ "Now as for you, son of man, I have appointed you a watchman for the house of Israel; so you will hear a message from My mouth and give them warning from Me.
Ezek. 33:8 "When I say to the wicked, 'O wicked man, you will surely die,' and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require from your hand.
Ezek. 33:9 "But if you on your part warn a wicked man to turn from his way and he does not turn from his way, he will die in his iniquity, but you have delivered your life.
Ezek. 33:10 ¶ "Now as for you, son of man, say to the house of Israel, 'Thus you have spoken, saying, "Surely our transgressions and our sins are upon us, and we are rotting away in them; how then can we survive?"'
Ezek. 33:11 "Say to them, 'As I live!' declares the Lord GOD, 'I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! Why then will you die, O house of Israel?'
Ezek. 33:12 "And you, son of man, say to your fellow citizens, 'The righteousness of a righteous man will not deliver him in the day of his transgression, and as for the wickedness of the wicked, he will not stumble because of it in the day when he turns from his wickedness; whereas a righteous man will not be able to live by his righteousness on the day when he commits sin.'
Ezek. 33:13 "When I say to the righteous he will surely live, and he so trusts in his righteousness that he commits iniquity, none of his righteous deeds will be remembered; but in that same iniquity of his which he has committed he will die.
Ezek. 33:14 "But when I say to the wicked, 'You will surely die,' and he turns from his sin and practices justice and righteousness,
Ezek. 33:15 if a wicked man restores a pledge, pays back what he has taken by robbery, walks by the statutes which ensure life without committing iniquity, he shall surely live; he shall not die.
Ezek. 33:16 "None of his sins that he has committed will be remembered against him. He has practiced justice and righteousness; he shall surely live.
Ezek. 33:17 ¶ "Yet your fellow citizens say, 'The way of the Lord is not right,' when it is their own way that is not right.
Ezek. 33:18 "When the righteous turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, then he shall die in it.
Ezek. 33:19 "But when the wicked turns from his wickedness and practices justice and righteousness, he will live by them.
Ezek. 33:20 "Yet you say, 'The way of the Lord is not right.' O house of Israel, I will judge each of you according to his ways."
Ezek. 33:21 ¶ Now in the twelfth year of our exile, on the fifth of the tenth month, the refugees from Jerusalem came to me, saying, "The city has been taken."
Ezek. 33:22 Now the hand of the LORD had been upon me in the evening, before the refugees came. And He opened my mouth at the time they came to me in the morning; so my mouth was opened and I was no longer speechless.
Ezek. 33:23 ¶ Then the word of the LORD came to me saying,
Ezek. 33:24 "Son of man, they who live in these waste places in the land of Israel are saying, 'Abraham was only one, yet he possessed the land; so to us who are many the land has been given as a possession.'
Ezek. 33:25 "Therefore say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "You eat meat with the blood in it, lift up your eyes to your idols as you shed blood. Should you then possess the land?
Ezek. 33:26 "You rely on your sword, you commit abominations and each of you defiles his neighbor's wife. Should you then possess the land?"'
Ezek. 33:27 "Thus you shall say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "As I live, surely those who are in the waste places will fall by the sword, and whoever is in the open field I will give to the beasts to be devoured, and those who are in the strongholds and in the caves will die of pestilence.
Ezek. 33:28 "I will make the land a desolation and a waste, and the pride of her power will cease; and the mountains of Israel will be desolate so that no one will pass through.
Ezek. 33:29 "Then they will know that I am the LORD, when I make the land a desolation and a waste because of all their abominations which they have committed."'
Ezek. 33:30 ¶ "But as for you, son of man, your fellow citizens who talk about you by the walls and in the doorways of the houses, speak to one another, each to his brother, saying, 'Come now and hear what the message is which comes forth from the LORD.'
Ezek. 33:31 "They come to you as people come, and sit before you as My people and hear your words, but they do not do them, for they do the lustful desires expressed by their mouth, and their heart goes after their gain.
Ezek. 33:32 "Behold, you are to them like a sensual song by one who has a beautiful voice and plays well on an instrument; for they hear your words but they do not practice them.
Ezek. 33:33 "So when it comes to passas surely it willthen they will know that a prophet has been in their midst."
Ezek. 34:1 ¶ Then the word of the LORD came to me saying,
Ezek. 34:2 "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel. Prophesy and say to those shepherds, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Woe, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flock?
Ezek. 34:3 "You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat sheep without feeding the flock.
Ezek. 34:4 "Those who are sickly you have not strengthened, the diseased you have not healed, the broken you have not bound up, the scattered you have not brought back, nor have you sought for the lost; but with force and with severity you have dominated them.
Ezek. 34:5 "They were scattered for lack of a shepherd, and they became food for every beast of the field and were scattered.
Ezek. 34:6 "My flock wandered through all the mountains and on every high hill; My flock was scattered over all the surface of the earth, and there was no one to search or seek for them."'"
Ezek. 34:7 ¶ Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD:
Ezek. 34:8 "As I live," declares the Lord GOD, "surely because My flock has become a prey, My flock has even become food for all the beasts of the field for lack of a shepherd, and My shepherds did not search for My flock, but rather the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock;
Ezek. 34:9 therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD:
Ezek. 34:10 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will demand My sheep from them and make them cease from feeding sheep. So the shepherds will not feed themselves anymore, but I will deliver My flock from their mouth, so that they will not be food for them."'"
Ezek. 34:11 ¶ For thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out.
Ezek. 34:12 "As a shepherd cares for his herd in the day when he is among his scattered sheep, so I will care for My sheep and will deliver them from all the places to which they were scattered on a cloudy and gloomy day.
Ezek. 34:13 "I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries and bring them to their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the streams, and in all the inhabited places of the land.
Ezek. 34:14 "I will feed them in a good pasture, and their grazing ground will be on the mountain heights of Israel. There they will lie down on good grazing ground and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel.
Ezek. 34:15 "I will feed My flock and I will lead them to rest," declares the Lord GOD.
Ezek. 34:16 "I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken and strengthen the sick; but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with judgment.
Ezek. 34:17 ¶ "As for you, My flock, thus says the Lord GOD, 'Behold, I will judge between one sheep and another, between the rams and the male goats.
Ezek. 34:18 'Is it too slight a thing for you that you should feed in the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pastures? Or that you should drink of the clear waters, that you must foul the rest with your feet?
Ezek. 34:19 'As for My flock, they must eat what you tread down with your feet and drink what you foul with your feet!'"
Ezek. 34:20 ¶ Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD to them, "Behold, I, even I, will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep.
Ezek. 34:21 "Because you push with side and with shoulder, and thrust at all the weak with your horns until you have scattered them abroad,
Ezek. 34:22 therefore, I will deliver My flock, and they will no longer be a prey; and I will judge between one sheep and another.
Ezek. 34:23 ¶ "Then I will set over them one shepherd, My servant David, and he will feed them; he will feed them himself and be their shepherd.
Ezek. 34:24 "And I, the LORD, will be their God, and My servant David will be prince among them; I the LORD have spoken.
Ezek. 34:25 ¶ "I will make a covenant of peace with them and eliminate harmful beasts from the land so that they may live securely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods.
Ezek. 34:26 "I will make them and the places around My hill a blessing. And I will cause showers to come down in their season; they will be showers of blessing.
Ezek. 34:27 "Also the tree of the field will yield its fruit and the earth will yield its increase, and they will be secure on their land. Then they will know that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bars of their yoke and have delivered them from the hand of those who enslaved them.
Ezek. 34:28 "They will no longer be a prey to the nations, and the beasts of the earth will not devour them; but they will live securely, and no one will make them afraid.
Ezek. 34:29 "I will establish for them a renowned planting place, and they will not again be victims of famine in the land, and they will not endure the insults of the nations anymore.
Ezek. 34:30 "Then they will know that I, the LORD their God, am with them, and that they, the house of Israel, are My people," declares the Lord GOD.
Ezek. 34:31 "As for you, My sheep, the sheep of My pasture, you are men, and I am your God," declares the Lord GOD.
Ezek. 35:1 ¶ Moreover, the word of the LORD came to me saying,
Ezek. 35:2 "Son of man, set your face against Mount Seir, and prophesy against it
Ezek. 35:3 and say to it, 'Thus says the Lord GOD,
"Behold, I am against you, Mount Seir,
And I will stretch out My hand against you
And make you a desolation and a waste.
Ezek. 35:4 "I will lay waste your cities
And you will become a desolation.
Then you will know that I am the LORD.
Ezek. 35:5 "Because you have had everlasting enmity and have delivered the sons of Israel to the power of the sword at the time of their calamity, at the time of the punishment of the end,
Ezek. 35:6 therefore as I live," declares the Lord GOD, "I will give you over to bloodshed, and bloodshed will pursue you; since you have not hated bloodshed, therefore bloodshed will pursue you.
Ezek. 35:7 "I will make Mount Seir a waste and a desolation and I will cut off from it the one who passes through and returns.
Ezek. 35:8 "I will fill its mountains with its slain; on your hills and in your valleys and in all your ravines those slain by the sword will fall.
Ezek. 35:9 "I will make you an everlasting desolation and your cities will not be inhabited. Then you will know that I am the LORD.
Ezek. 35:10 ¶ "Because you have said, 'These two nations and these two lands will be mine, and we will possess them,' although the LORD was there,
Ezek. 35:11 therefore as I live," declares the Lord GOD, "I will deal with you according to your anger and according to your envy which you showed because of your hatred against them; so I will make Myself known among them when I judge you.
Ezek. 35:12 "Then you will know that I, the LORD, have heard all your revilings which you have spoken against the mountains of Israel saying, 'They are laid desolate; they are given to us for food.'
Ezek. 35:13 "And you have spoken arrogantly against Me and have multiplied your words against Me; I have heard it."
Ezek. 35:14 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "As all the earth rejoices, I will make you a desolation.
Ezek. 35:15 "As you rejoiced over the inheritance of the house of Israel because it was desolate, so I will do to you. You will be a desolation, O Mount Seir, and all Edom, all of it. Then they will know that I am the LORD."'
Ezek. 36:1 ¶ "And you, son of man, prophesy to the mountains of Israel and say, 'O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the LORD.
Ezek. 36:2 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Because the enemy has spoken against you, 'Aha!' and, 'The everlasting heights have become our possession,'
Ezek. 36:3 therefore prophesy and say, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "For good reason they have made you desolate and crushed you from every side, that you would become a possession of the rest of the nations and you have been taken up in the talk and the whispering of the people."'"
Ezek. 36:4 'Therefore, O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord GOD. Thus says the Lord GOD to the mountains and to the hills, to the ravines and to the valleys, to the desolate wastes and to the forsaken cities which have become a prey and a derision to the rest of the nations which are round about,
Ezek. 36:5 therefore thus says the Lord GOD, "Surely in the fire of My jealousy I have spoken against the rest of the nations, and against all Edom, who appropriated My land for themselves as a possession with wholehearted joy and with scorn of soul, to drive it out for a prey."
Ezek. 36:6 'Therefore prophesy concerning the land of Israel and say to the mountains and to the hills, to the ravines and to the valleys, "Thus says the Lord GOD, 'Behold, I have spoken in My jealousy and in My wrath because you have endured the insults of the nations.'
Ezek. 36:7 "Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, 'I have sworn that surely the nations which are around you will themselves endure their insults.
Ezek. 36:8 'But you, O mountains of Israel, you will put forth your branches and bear your fruit for My people Israel; for they will soon come.
Ezek. 36:9 'For, behold, I am for you, and I will turn to you, and you will be cultivated and sown.
Ezek. 36:10 'I will multiply men on you, all the house of Israel, all of it; and the cities will be inhabited and the waste places will be rebuilt.
Ezek. 36:11 'I will multiply on you man and beast; and they will increase and be fruitful; and I will cause you to be inhabited as you were formerly and will treat you better than at the first. Thus you will know that I am the LORD.
Ezek. 36:12 'Yes, I will cause menMy people Israelto walk on you and possess you, so that you will become their inheritance and never again bereave them of children.'
Ezek. 36:13 ¶ "Thus says the Lord GOD, 'Because they say to you, "You are a devourer of men and have bereaved your nation of children,"
Ezek. 36:14 therefore you will no longer devour men and no longer bereave your nation of children,' declares the Lord GOD.
Ezek. 36:15 "I will not let you hear insults from the nations anymore, nor will you bear disgrace from the peoples any longer, nor will you cause your nation to stumble any longer," declares the Lord GOD.'"
Ezek. 36:16 ¶ Then the word of the LORD came to me saying,
Ezek. 36:17 "Son of man, when the house of Israel was living in their own land, they defiled it by their ways and their deeds; their way before Me was like the uncleanness of a woman in her impurity.
Ezek. 36:18 "Therefore I poured out My wrath on them for the blood which they had shed on the land, because they had defiled it with their idols.
Ezek. 36:19 "Also I scattered them among the nations and they were dispersed throughout the lands. According to their ways and their deeds I judged them.
Ezek. 36:20 "When they came to the nations where they went, they profaned My holy name, because it was said of them, 'These are the people of the LORD; yet they have come out of His land.'
Ezek. 36:21 "But I had concern for My holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations where they went.
Ezek. 36:22 ¶ "Therefore say to the house of Israel, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went.
Ezek. 36:23 "I will vindicate the holiness of My great name which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD," declares the Lord GOD, "when I prove Myself holy among you in their sight.
Ezek. 36:24 "For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land.
Ezek. 36:25 "Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.
Ezek. 36:26 "Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
Ezek. 36:27 "I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.
Ezek. 36:28 "You will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers; so you will be My people, and I will be your God.
Ezek. 36:29 "Moreover, I will save you from all your uncleanness; and I will call for the grain and multiply it, and I will not bring a famine on you.
Ezek. 36:30 "I will multiply the fruit of the tree and the produce of the field, so that you will not receive again the disgrace of famine among the nations.
Ezek. 36:31 "Then you will remember your evil ways and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and your abominations.
Ezek. 36:32 "I am not doing this for your sake," declares the Lord GOD, "let it be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your ways, O house of Israel!"
Ezek. 36:33 ¶ 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will cause the cities to be inhabited, and the waste places will be rebuilt.
Ezek. 36:34 "The desolate land will be cultivated instead of being a desolation in the sight of everyone who passes by.
Ezek. 36:35 "They will say, 'This desolate land has become like the garden of Eden; and the waste, desolate and ruined cities are fortified and inhabited.'
Ezek. 36:36 "Then the nations that are left round about you will know that I, the LORD, have rebuilt the ruined places and planted that which was desolate; I, the LORD, have spoken and will do it."
Ezek. 36:37 ¶ 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "This also I will let the house of Israel ask Me to do for them: I will increase their men like a flock.
Ezek. 36:38 "Like the flock for sacrifices, like the flock at Jerusalem during her appointed feasts, so will the waste cities be filled with flocks of men. Then they will know that I am the LORD."'"
Ezek. 37:1 ¶ The hand of the LORD was upon me, and He brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones.
Ezek. 37:2 He caused me to pass among them round about, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley; and lo, they were very dry.
Ezek. 37:3 He said to me, "Son of man, can these bones live?" And I answered, "O Lord GOD, You know."
Ezek. 37:4 Again He said to me, "Prophesy over these bones and say to them, 'O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.'
Ezek. 37:5 "Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones, 'Behold, I will cause breath to enter you that you may come to life.
Ezek. 37:6 'I will put sinews on you, make flesh grow back on you, cover you with skin and put breath in you that you may come alive; and you will know that I am the LORD.'"
Ezek. 37:7 ¶ So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold, a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to its bone.
Ezek. 37:8 And I looked, and behold, sinews were on them, and flesh grew and skin covered them; but there was no breath in them.
Ezek. 37:9 Then He said to me, "Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they come to life."'"
Ezek. 37:10 So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.
Ezek. 37:11 ¶ Then He said to me, "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; behold, they say, 'Our bones are dried up and our hope has perished. We are completely cut off.'
Ezek. 37:12 "Therefore prophesy and say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves, My people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel.
Ezek. 37:13 "Then you will know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves and caused you to come up out of your graves, My people.
Ezek. 37:14 "I will put My Spirit within you and you will come to life, and I will place you on your own land. Then you will know that I, the LORD, have spoken and done it," declares the LORD.'"
Ezek. 37:15 ¶ The word of the LORD came again to me saying,
Ezek. 37:16 "And you, son of man, take for yourself one stick and write on it, 'For Judah and for the sons of Israel, his companions'; then take another stick and write on it, 'For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim and all the house of Israel, his companions.'
Ezek. 37:17 "Then join them for yourself one to another into one stick, that they may become one in your hand.
Ezek. 37:18 "When the sons of your people speak to you saying, 'Will you not declare to us what you mean by these?'
Ezek. 37:19 say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel, his companions; and I will put them with it, with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they will be one in My hand."'
Ezek. 37:20 "The sticks on which you write will be in your hand before their eyes.
Ezek. 37:21 "Say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I will take the sons of Israel from among the nations where they have gone, and I will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land;
Ezek. 37:22 and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king will be king for all of them; and they will no longer be two nations and no longer be divided into two kingdoms.
Ezek. 37:23 "They will no longer defile themselves with their idols, or with their detestable things, or with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. And they will be My people, and I will be their God.
Ezek. 37:24 ¶ "My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd; and they will walk in My ordinances and keep My statutes and observe them.
Ezek. 37:25 "They will live on the land that I gave to Jacob My servant, in which your fathers lived; and they will live on it, they, and their sons and their sons' sons, forever; and David My servant will be their prince forever.
Ezek. 37:26 "I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will place them and multiply them, and will set My sanctuary in their midst forever.
Ezek. 37:27 "My dwelling place also will be with them; and I will be their God, and they will be My people.
Ezek. 37:28 "And the nations will know that I am the LORD who sanctifies Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forever."'"
Ezek. 38:1 ¶ And the word of the LORD came to me saying,
Ezek. 38:2 "Son of man, set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him
Ezek. 38:3 and say, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I am against you, O Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal.
Ezek. 38:4 "I will turn you about and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you out, and all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them splendidly attired, a great company with buckler and shield, all of them wielding swords;
Ezek. 38:5 Persia, Ethiopia and Put with them, all of them with shield and helmet;
Ezek. 38:6 Gomer with all its troops; Beth-togarmah from the remote parts of the north with all its troopsmany peoples with you.
Ezek. 38:7 ¶ "Be prepared, and prepare yourself, you and all your companies that are assembled about you, and be a guard for them.
Ezek. 38:8 "After many days you will be summoned; in the latter years you will come into the land that is restored from the sword, whose inhabitants have been gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel which had been a continual waste; but its people were brought out from the nations, and they are living securely, all of them.
Ezek. 38:9 "You will go up, you will come like a storm; you will be like a cloud covering the land, you and all your troops, and many peoples with you."
Ezek. 38:10 ¶ 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "It will come about on that day, that thoughts will come into your mind and you will devise an evil plan,
Ezek. 38:11 and you will say, 'I will go up against the land of unwalled villages. I will go against those who are at rest, that live securely, all of them living without walls and having no bars or gates,
Ezek. 38:12 to capture spoil and to seize plunder, to turn your hand against the waste places which are now inhabited, and against the people who are gathered from the nations, who have acquired cattle and goods, who live at the center of the world.'
Ezek. 38:13 "Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish with all its villages will say to you, 'Have you come to capture spoil? Have you assembled your company to seize plunder, to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to capture great spoil?'"'
Ezek. 38:14 ¶ "Therefore prophesy, son of man, and say to Gog, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "On that day when My people Israel are living securely, will you not know it?
Ezek. 38:15 "You will come from your place out of the remote parts of the north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great assembly and a mighty army;
Ezek. 38:16 and you will come up against My people Israel like a cloud to cover the land. It shall come about in the last days that I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me when I am sanctified through you before their eyes, O Gog."
Ezek. 38:17 ¶ 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Are you the one of whom I spoke in former days through My servants the prophets of Israel, who prophesied in those days for many years that I would bring you against them?
Ezek. 38:18 "It will come about on that day, when Gog comes against the land of Israel," declares the Lord GOD, "that My fury will mount up in My anger.
Ezek. 38:19 "In My zeal and in My blazing wrath I declare that on that day there will surely be a great earthquake in the land of Israel.
Ezek. 38:20 "The fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens, the beasts of the field, all the creeping things that creep on the earth, and all the men who are on the face of the earth will shake at My presence; the mountains also will be thrown down, the steep pathways will collapse and every wall will fall to the ground.
Ezek. 38:21 "I will call for a sword against him on all My mountains," declares the Lord GOD. "Every man's sword will be against his brother.
Ezek. 38:22 "With pestilence and with blood I will enter into judgment with him; and I will rain on him and on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, a torrential rain, with hailstones, fire and brimstone.
Ezek. 38:23 "I will magnify Myself, sanctify Myself, and make Myself known in the sight of many nations; and they will know that I am the LORD."'
Ezek. 39:1 ¶ "And you, son of man, prophesy against Gog and say, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I am against you, O Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal;
Ezek. 39:2 and I will turn you around, drive you on, take you up from the remotest parts of the north and bring you against the mountains of Israel.
Ezek. 39:3 "I will strike your bow from your left hand and dash down your arrows from your right hand.
Ezek. 39:4 "You will fall on the mountains of Israel, you and all your troops and the peoples who are with you; I will give you as food to every kind of predatory bird and beast of the field.
Ezek. 39:5 "You will fall on the open field; for it is I who have spoken," declares the Lord GOD.
Ezek. 39:6 "And I will send fire upon Magog and those who inhabit the coastlands in safety; and they will know that I am the LORD.
Ezek. 39:7 ¶ "My holy name I will make known in the midst of My people Israel; and I will not let My holy name be profaned anymore. And the nations will know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel.
Ezek. 39:8 "Behold, it is coming and it shall be done," declares the Lord GOD. "That is the day of which I have spoken.
Ezek. 39:9 ¶ "Then those who inhabit the cities of Israel will go out and make fires with the weapons and burn them, both shields and bucklers, bows and arrows, war clubs and spears, and for seven years they will make fires of them.
Ezek. 39:10 "They will not take wood from the field or gather firewood from the forests, for they will make fires with the weapons; and they will take the spoil of those who despoiled them and seize the plunder of those who plundered them," declares the Lord GOD.
Ezek. 39:11 ¶ "On that day I will give Gog a burial ground there in Israel, the valley of those who pass by east of the sea, and it will block off those who would pass by. So they will bury Gog there with all his horde, and they will call it the valley of Hamon-gog.
Ezek. 39:12 "For seven months the house of Israel will be burying them in order to cleanse the land.
Ezek. 39:13 "Even all the people of the land will bury them; and it will be to their renown on the day that I glorify Myself," declares the Lord GOD.
Ezek. 39:14 "They will set apart men who will constantly pass through the land, burying those who were passing through, even those left on the surface of the ground, in order to cleanse it. At the end of seven months they will make a search.
Ezek. 39:15 "As those who pass through the land pass through and anyone sees a man's bone, then he will set up a marker by it until the buriers have buried it in the valley of Hamon-gog.
Ezek. 39:16 "And even the name of the city will be Hamonah. So they will cleanse the land."'
Ezek. 39:17 ¶ "As for you, son of man, thus says the Lord GOD, 'Speak to every kind of bird and to every beast of the field, "Assemble and come, gather from every side to My sacrifice which I am going to sacrifice for you, as a great sacrifice on the mountains of Israel, that you may eat flesh and drink blood.
Ezek. 39:18 "You will eat the flesh of mighty men and drink the blood of the princes of the earth, as though they were rams, lambs, goats and bulls, all of them fatlings of Bashan.
Ezek. 39:19 "So you will eat fat until you are glutted, and drink blood until you are drunk, from My sacrifice which I have sacrificed for you.
Ezek. 39:20 "You will be glutted at My table with horses and charioteers, with mighty men and all the men of war," declares the Lord GOD.
Ezek. 39:21 ¶ "And I will set My glory among the nations; and all the nations will see My judgment which I have executed and My hand which I have laid on them.
Ezek. 39:22 "And the house of Israel will know that I am the LORD their God from that day onward.
Ezek. 39:23 "The nations will know that the house of Israel went into exile for their iniquity because they acted treacherously against Me, and I hid My face from them; so I gave them into the hand of their adversaries, and all of them fell by the sword.
Ezek. 39:24 "According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions I dealt with them, and I hid My face from them."'"
Ezek. 39:25 ¶ Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, "Now I will restore the fortunes of Jacob and have mercy on the whole house of Israel; and I will be jealous for My holy name.
Ezek. 39:26 "They will forget their disgrace and all their treachery which they perpetrated against Me, when they live securely on their own land with no one to make them afraid.
Ezek. 39:27 "When I bring them back from the peoples and gather them from the lands of their enemies, then I shall be sanctified through them in the sight of the many nations.
Ezek. 39:28 "Then they will know that I am the LORD their God because I made them go into exile among the nations, and then gathered them again to their own land; and I will leave none of them there any longer.
Ezek. 39:29 "I will not hide My face from them any longer, for I will have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel," declares the Lord GOD.
(Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, with Groves-Wheeler Westminster Hebrew Morphology)
:ráOmaEl y¶AlEa hDwh×y_rAbd y¶Ih×yÅw Ezek. 33:1
M$RhyElSa D;trAmDa×w ÐÔKV;mAo_y`EnV;b_lRa r§E;bå;d M#dDa_NR;b Ezek. 33:2
ÐdDjRa vy§Ia X®r%DaDh_MAo w°jVqDl×w b®r¡Dj DhyRlDo ay¶IbDa_y`I;k X®rðRa
:h`RpOxVl MRhDl wöøtOa wñnVtÎn×w M$RhyExVqIm
oñåqDt×w X®r¡DaDh_lAo hDaD;b b®rRjAh_tRa h¶Dar×w Ezek. 33:3
:M`DoDh_tRa ry¶Ih×zIh×w rDpwøÚvA;b
r$Dh×zn aâøl×w ÐrDpwøÚvAh lwûøq_tRa Ao%EmOÚvAh o°AmDv×w Ezek. 33:4
:h`RyVh`Iy wäøvaørVb wñøm;d wh¡Ej;qI;tÅw b®rRj awøb¶D;tÅw
h¡RyVh`Iy wâø;b wäøm;d r$Dh×zn aâøl×w ÐoAmDv r§DpwøÚvAh lw°øq ·tEa Ezek. 33:5
:f`E;lIm wñøvVpÅn rDh×zn awñh×w
oôåqDt_aáøl×w h#DaD;b b®r%RjAh_tRa h°Rary_y`I;k hRpOxAh×wþ Ezek. 33:6
vRp¡Dn MRhEm jñå;qI;tÅw b®r$Rj awâøbD;tÅw r$Dh×zn_aáøl MDoDh×w ÐrDpwøÚvA;b
s :víOrdRa h¶RpOxAh_d`A¥yIm wäømd×w j$qVln wâønOwSoA;b awh£
l¡EarVcy tyEbVl ÔKyI;tAt×n h¶RpOx M$dDa_NRb hD;tAa×w Ezek. 33:7
:yn`R;mIm MDtOa ¶D;trAh×zIh×w r$Db;d ÐyIÚpIm §D;tVoAmDv×w
D;tr$A;bîd aâøl×w tw$mD;t twâøm ÐoDvr o#DvrDl yâîrVmDaV;b Ezek. 33:8
ñÔKdÎ¥yIm wäømd×w tw$mÎy wâønOwSoA;b ÐoDvr awôh wóø;krå;dIm oDvr ry¶Ih×zAhVl
hÎn$R;mIm bwâvDl Ðwø;krå;dIm o§Dvr D;tr°Ah×zIh_y`I;k hD;tAa×wþ Ezek. 33:9
s :D;tVl`AxIh ñÔKVvVpÅn hD;tAa×w tw$mÎy wâønOwSoA;b awh£ wóø;krå;dIm bDv_aøl×w
N§E;k l$EarVcy tyE;b_lRa ÐrOmTa M#dDa_NRb hD;tAa×w Ezek. 33:10
wnVj¶AnSa M¢Dbw wny¡ElDo wnyEtaøÚfAj×w wny¶EoDvVp_y`I;k r$OmaEl ÐMR;trAmSa
:h`RyVj`In JKy¶Ea×w Myäî;qAm×n
hGwh×y yDnOdSa MUa×n ynDa_yAj M%RhyElSa r°OmTa Ezek. 33:11
h¡DyDj×w wäø;krå;dIm o¢Dvr bwñvV;b_MIa yI;k o$DvrDh twâømV;b ÐXOÚpVjRa_MIa
:l`EarVcy ty¶E;b wtwämDt hD;m¶Dl×w My¢IorDh MªRkyEkrå;dIm wbw%v wbwâv
tâåqdIx ÐÔKV;mAo_y`EnV;b_lRa rôOmTa M#dDa_NRb hD;tAa×w Ezek. 33:12
lRvD;ky_aáøl ÐoDvr`Dh t§AoVvîr×w w$øoVvIÚp MwâøyV;b ÐwnÐRlyIxAt aôøl qy#î;dAxAh
MwñøyV;b ;hD;b twñøyVj`Il l¢Akwy añøl qy#î;dAx×w wóøoVvîr`Em wâøbwv MwäøyV;b ;h$D;b
j¶AfDb_awáh×w hYyVj`Iy hâOyDj Ðqyî;dAxAl yôîrVmDaV;b Ezek. 33:13
aâøl [ÐwyDtOqdIx] wøtqdIx_lD;k lw¡Do hDcDo×w wäøtqdIx_lAo
:twámÎy wñø;b hDcDo_rRvSa wñøl×wAoVbw hÎnr$AkÎzIt
w$øtaDÚfAj`Em ÐbDv×w twómD;t twâøm oDvr`Dl yñîrVmDaVbw Ezek. 33:14
:háqdVxw fDÚpVvIm h¶DcDo×w
ÐMy¥yAj`Ah twûø;qUjV;b M$E;lAv×y hDl´z×g ÐoDvr by§IvÎy l°ObSj Ezek. 33:15
:twámÎy añøl hRyVj`Iy wñøyDj lw¡Do twâøcSo yI;tVlIbVl JK$AlDh
hÎnrAkÎzIt añøl a$DfDj rRvSa [ÐwyDtaøÚfAj] wøtaDÚfAj_lD;k Ezek. 33:16
:h`RyVj`Iy wñøyDj hDcDo höqdVxw fªDÚpVvIm wóøl
hD;mEh×w y¡DnOdSa JK®râ®;d NEkD;ty añøl $ÔKV;mAo yEnV;b ÐwrVmDa×w Ezek. 33:17
:M`RhD;b tEmw lw¡Do hDcDo×w wäøtqdIxIm qyñî;dAx_bwvV;b Ezek. 33:18
hóqdVxw fDÚpVvIm h¶DcDo×w w$øtDoVvîr`Em ÐoDvr bwôvVbw Ezek. 33:19
:h`RyVj`Iy awñh MRhyElSo
wy¢DkrdI;k vyªIa y¡DnOdSa JK®râ®;d NEkD;ty añøl MðR;trAmSaÅw Ezek. 33:20
p :l`EarVcy ty¶E;b MRkVtRa fwñøÚpVvRa
h¶DÚvImSjA;b yöîrIcSoD;b hGÎnDv hâérVcRo yªE;tVvI;b yÞIh×yÅw Ezek. 33:21
h¶DtV;kUh räOmaEl MÊ¢AlDvwryIm fyªIlDÚpAh y°AlEa_aD;b wn¡EtwlÎgVl v®däOjAl
fy$IlDÚpAh awâø;b Ðy´nVpIl b®r#RoD;b y%AlEa h°Dt×yDh ·hÎwh×y_dÅy×w Ezek. 33:22
añøl×w y$IÚp jAtDÚp¥yÅw r®qóO;bA;b yAlEa awñø;b_dAo y$IÚp_tRa jA;tVp¥yÅw
p :dwáøo yI;tVmAlTan
:ráOmaEl y¶AlEa hDwh×y_rAbd y¶Ih×yÅw Ezek. 33:23
t§AmdAa_lAo hR;l%EaDh tw°øbrFjRh yEbVvOyþ M#dDa_NR;b Ezek. 33:24
väåry¥yÅw M$DhrVbAa hDyDh ÐdDjRa r$OmaEl MyâîrVmOa Ð lEarVcy
s :h`DvrwømVl X®rDaDh h¶DnV;tn wn¢Dl My$I;bår wnVjAnSaÅw X®r¡DaDh_tRa
hGwOh×y yDnOdSa rAmDa_háO;k M%RhyElSa r°OmTa ·NEkDl Ezek. 33:25
Mâd×w MRkyElw;lg_lRa wñaVcI;t M¢Rk´nyEo×w wl¢Ekaø;t M¬;dAh_lAo
:wváryI;t X®rDaDh×w wkóOÚpVvI;t
vy¢Ia×w h$DbEowø;t NRtyIcSo ÐMRkV;brAj_l`Ao M§R;tdAmSo Ezek. 33:26
s :wváryI;t X®rDaDh×w M¡RtaE;mIf whEoér tRv¶Ea_tRa
¤hwh×y yDnOdSa r°AmDa_hO;k M%RhElSa r°Amaøt_háO;k Ezek. 33:27
ÐrRvSa`Aw wl$OÚpy b®rRjA;b ÐtwøbrFj`R;b r§RvSa aÞøl_MIa ~ynDa_yAj
twõødDxV;mA;b r¢RvSaÅw wóølVkDaVl wyI;tAt×n h¶D¥yAjAl h$®dDÚcAh yEnVÚp_lAo
:wtwámÎy rRbñ®;dA;b twëørDoV;mAbw
Nwâøa×g tA;bVvn×w h$D;mAvVmw hDmDmVv ÐX®rÐDaDh_tRa y§I;tAtÎn×w Ezek. 33:28
:r`Ebwøo Ny¶EaEm lEarVcy yñérDh wömVm`Dv×w ;h¡DzUo
hDmDmVv ÐX®rÐDaDh_tRa y§I;tItV;b h¡Dwh×y yInSa_y`I;k wäodÎy×w Ezek. 33:29
s :wácDo r¶RvSa MDtObSowø;t_lD;k l¶Ao h$D;mAvVmw
lRxEa ÐÔKV;b MyôîrD;bdnAh #ÔKV;mAo yEnV;b M$dDa_NRb hD;tAa×w Ezek. 33:30
vy§Ia d#AjAa_tRa dAj_rR;bîd×w My¡I;tD;bAh yEjVtIpVbw tw$øryI;qAh
t¶EaEm aExwø¥yAh r$Db;dAh hDm w$oVmIv×w aDn_waáø;b r$OmaEl ÐwyIjDa_tRa
y$I;mAo ÐÔKyÐnDpVl wôbVv´y×w MÞDo_awøbVmI;k ÔKyRlEaþ wawâøbÎy×w Ezek. 33:31
ÐMRhyIpV;b My§IbÎgSo_y`I;k wócSo`Ay aâøl MDtwøa×w ÔKy$®rDb;d_tRa ÐwoVm`Dv×w
:JK`ElOh M¶D;bIl MDoVxIb yñérSjAa My$IcOo hD;mEh
N¡EgÅn bIfEmw lwëøq h¶Ep×y My$IbÎgSo ryIvV;k ÐMRhDl ôÔK×nIh×w Ezek. 33:32
:M`Dtwøa MDnyEa My¶IcOo×w ÔKy$®rDb;d_tRa ÐwoVm`Dv×w
h¶DyDh ayIbÎn y¶I;k w$odDy×w h$DaDb hEnIh ;h¡DaøbVbw Ezek. 33:33
:ráOmaEl y¶AlEa hDwh×y_rAbd y¶Ih×yÅw Ezek. 34:1
·D;trAmDa×w aEbÎnIh l¡EarVcy yEowør_lAo aEbÎnIh MðdDa_NR;b Ezek. 34:2
Ð lEarVcy_y`EoOr ywôøh hGwh×y yDnOdSa rAmDa hñO;k My%IoOrDl M°RhyElSa
:My`IoOrDh wäory Na$øxAh awâølSh M$Dtwøa MyIoOr ÐwyDh r§RvSa
wv$D;bVlI;t rRmRxAh_tRa×w ÐwlÐEkaø;t bRl§EjAh_tRa Ezek. 34:3
:wáorIt añøl NaäøxAh wj¡D;b×zI;t hDayîrV;bAh
hDlwøjAh_tRa×w M%R;tVqÅzIj a°øl ·twølVjÅnAh_t`Ra Ezek. 34:4
aâøl ÐtAjÐå;dnAh_tRa×w M$R;tVvAbSj aâøl Ðt®rÐR;bVvnAl×w M#RtaEÚpîr_aáøl
MDtOa M¶Rtyîdr höq×zDjVbw M¡R;tVvå;qIb aâøl t®dRbOaDh_tRa×w M$RtObEvSh
h¢DlVkDaVl hÎnyªRyVhI;tÅw h¡RoOr yIlV;bIm hÎnyRxwpV;tÅw Ezek. 34:5
:hÎny`RxwpV;tÅw hä®dDÚcAh t¶A¥yAj_lDkVl
h¡Dmr hDoVbg_lD;k lAo×w My$îrDhRh_lDkV;b Ðynaøx wôgVvy Ezek. 34:6
:váé;qAbVm Ny¶Ea×w väérwø;d Ny¶Ea×w yYnaøx wxâOpÎn ÐX®rÐDaDh y§EnVÚp_lD;k l°Ao×w
:h`Dwh×y r¶Ab;d_tRa wäoVmIv My$IoOr NEkDl Ezek. 34:7
NAoAy aâøl_MIa hGwh×y yDnOdSa MUa×n yn%Da_yAj Ezek. 34:8
t§A¥yAj_lDkVl h%DlVkDaVl y½naøx ·hÎnyyVh`I;tÅw z&AbDl yInaøx_twáøyTh
wôor¥yÅw y¡Inaøx_tRa yAoOr wñvrd_aáøl×w h$RoOr NyEaEm Ðh®dDÚcAh
s :wáor añøl yInaøx_tRa×w M$Dtwøa ÐMyIoOr`Dh
:h`Dwh×y_rAb;d wäoVmIv My$IoOr`Dh ÐNEkDl Ezek. 34:9
My%IoOrDh_l`Ra y½n×nIh hGwh×y yDnOdSa rÞAmDa_hO;k Ezek. 34:10
Na$øx twâøorEm ÐMyI;tA;bVvIh×w M#dÎ¥yIm yInaøx_tRa yªI;tVvård`Vw
M$RhyIÚpIm Ðynaøx y§I;tVlAxIh×w M¡Dtwøa MyIoOrDh dwöøo wñory_aøl×w
s :h`DlVkDaVl MRhDl Î Ny¶RyVhIt_aáøl×w
y¶I;tVvård×w ynðDa_yn×nIh h¡Iwh×y yDnOdSa rAmDa hñO;k y¢I;k Ezek. 34:11
Ðwønaøx_JKwøtVb wôøtwøyTh_MwøyV;b w%ørdRo h°RoOr ·tår;qAbV;k Ezek. 34:12
M#RhVtRa yI;tVlAxIh×w y¡Inaøx_tRa râé;qAbSa NE;k tw$øvrVpn
:l`RprSoÅw NDnDo MwñøyV;b M$Dv wxâOpÎn rRvSa ÐtOmwøqV;mAh_lD;kIm
tw$øxrSaDh_NIm ÐMyI;tVxA;bIq×w My#I;mAoDh_NIm MyItaExwøh×w Ezek. 34:13
l$EarVcy yâérDh_lRa ÐMyItyIorw M¡DtDmdAa_lRa MyItOayIbShÅw
:X®r`DaDh y¶EbVvwøm läOkVbw MyðIqyIpSaD;b
yñérDhVbw M$DtOa hRorRa ÐbwøÚf_hRorImV;b Ezek. 34:14
bw$øÚf hwDnV;b ÐhÎnVxÐA;brI;t M§Dv M¡Rh´w×n hRyVhy lEarVcy_MwíørVm
:l`EarVcy yñérDh_lRa hÎnyRorI;t N¢EmDv h¶RorImw
y¶DnOdSa MUa×n M$ExyI;brAa yInSaÅw Ðynaøx h§RorRa y½nSa Ezek. 34:15
by$IvDa tAjâå;dnAh_tRa×w Ðvé;qAbSa t®d§RbOaDh_tRa Ezek. 34:16
hªDnEmVÚvAh_tRa×w q¡EzAjSa hDlwøjAh_tRa×w v$ObTjRa t®rR;bVvnAl×w
:f`DÚpVvImVb hÎn¶RorRa dyImVvAa höqÎzSjAh_tRa×w
ÐfEpOv y§In×nIh h¡Iwh×y yDnOdSa rAmDa hñO;k yYnaøx hÎnE;tAa×w Ezek. 34:17
:Myáîdw;tAoDl×w MyIlyEaDl h$RcDl hRc_Ny`E;b
ÐrRtÐy×w w$orI;t ÐbwøÚfAh h§RorI;mAh M#R;kIm fAoVmAh Ezek. 34:18
ÐtEa×w w$;tVvI;t MyAm_oåqVvImw M¡RkyEl×gårV;b wäsVmrI;t M$RkyEorIm
:NwácOÚprI;t MRkyEl×gårV;b My$îrDtwâønAh
c¶AÚprImw hÎny$RorI;t ÐMRkyEl×går s§AmrIm y¡Inaøx×w Ezek. 34:19
s :hÎny`R;tVvI;t MRkyEl×går
ynðDa_yn×nIh M¡RhyElSa hIwh×y y¶DnOdSa r¢AmDa hñO;k N#EkDl Ezek. 34:20
:h`Dzr hRc Ny¶Ebw hYÎyrIb hRc_Ny`E;b ÐyI;tVfAp`Dv×w
wäj×gÅnV;t M¶Rky´nråqVbw wp$O;dVhR;t ÐPEtDkVbw d§AxV;b NAoGÅy Ezek. 34:21
:hDxwájAh_lRa hÎnDtwøa M¢RtwøxyIpSh rªRvSa dAo twóølVjÅnAh_lD;k
z¡AbDl dwäøo hÎny¶RyVhIt_aáøl×w yYnaøxVl yI;tVoAvwøh×w Ezek. 34:22
:h`RcDl hRc Ny¶E;b y$I;tVfApDv×w
tEa N$RhVtRa hDor×w ÐdDjRa h§RoOr M%RhyElSo y°ItOmIqShÅw Ezek. 34:23
:h`RoOrVl NRhDl h¶RyVhy_awáh×w M$DtOa hRory awh£ dy¡Iwd yâî;dVbAo
dIwd yñî;dVbAo×w My$Ihøla`El ÐMRhDl h§RyVhRa hGÎwh×y yInSaÅw Ezek. 34:24
:yI;tr`A;bî;d hDwh×y y¶InSa M¡DkwøtVb ayIcÎn
hDor_h`D¥yAj y¶I;tA;bVvIh×w Mw$ølDv tyâîrV;b ÐMRhDl y§I;tårDk×w Ezek. 34:25
:MyáîrDo×¥yA;b wänVvÎy×w jAf$RbDl ÐrD;bdI;mAb wôbVvÎy×w X®r¡DaDh_NIm
y§I;tdårwøh×w h¡DkrV;b yItDoVbg twñøbyIbVsw M¢Dtwøa y¶I;tAtÎn×w Ezek. 34:26
:wáyVh`Iy hDkrVb y¶EmVvg w$ø;tIoV;b ÐMRvÐgAh
;h$Dlwb×y NE;tI;t ÐX®rÐDaDh×w wGøyrIÚp_tRa h%®dDÚcAh X°Eo ·NAtÎn×w Ezek. 34:27
ÐyîrVbIvV;b hGÎwh×y yInSa_yI;k wÞodÎy`Vw jAf¡RbDl MDtDmdAa_lAo wñyDh×w
:M`RhD;b MyñîdVbOoDh dA¥yIm My$I;tVlAx°Ih×w M$D;lUo twâøfOm_tRa
aâøl X®rDaDh t¶A¥yAj×w MYywøgAl ÐzA;b dwñøo w½yVhy_aøl×w Ezek. 34:28
:dyáîrSjAm Ny¶Ea×w jAfRbDl wñbVvÎy×w M¡ElVkaøt
y§EpUsSa dw%øo w½yVhy_aáøl×w M¡EvVl oDÚfAm M¢RhDl y¶ItOmIqShÅw Ezek. 34:29
:M`IywøgAh t¶A;mIlV;k dwäøo wñaVcy_aáøl×w X®r$DaD;b ÐbDor
ÐyI;mAo hD;m#Eh×w M¡D;tIa MRhyEhølTa h¢Dwh×y yªInSa yI;k w#odÎy×w Ezek. 34:30
:h`Iwh×y y¶DnOdSa MUa×n l$EarVcy tyE;b
ÐynSa M¡R;tAa MâdDa yItyIorAm Nañøx y¢Inaøx N¶E;tAa×w Ezek. 34:31
p :h`Iwh×y y¶DnOdSa MUa×n M$RkyEhâølTa
:ráOmaEl y¶AlEa hDwh×y_rAbd y¶Ih×yÅw Ezek. 35:1
:wy`DlDo aEbÎnIh×w ry¡IoEc rAh_lAo ÔKyRnDÚp My¶Ic MðdDa_NR;b Ezek. 35:2
ÔKyRlEa y¶In×nIh hYwh×y yDnOdSa ÐrAmDa hôO;k w#ø;l D;trAmDa×w Ezek. 35:3
:h`D;mAvVmw h¶DmDmVv ÔKyI;tAt×nw ÔKy$RlDo ÐyîdÎy yIty§IfÎn×w ry¡IoEc_rAh
D;tVoådÎy×w h¡RyVh`It hDmDmVv hD;tAa×w My$IcDa hD;brDj ÐÔKyÐ®rDo Ezek. 35:4
r¶EgA;tÅw M$Dlwøo tAbyEa ÐÔKVl twôøyTh NAoGÅy Ezek. 35:5
:Xáéq NñOwSo tEoV;b M$dyEa tEoV;b b®r¡Dj_yéd×y_lAo lEarVcy_y`EnV;b_tRa
äÔKVcRoRa MñdVl_y`I;k hYwh×y yDnOdSa ÐMUa×n yn#Da_yAj NEkDl Ezek. 35:6
:ÔK`Rpß;dry Mñd×w DtaEnDc Möd añøl_MIa ÔK¡Rpß;dry Mâd×w
y¶I;tårVkIh×w h¡DmDmVvw hDmVm`IvVl ry$IoEc rAh_tRa ÐyI;tAt`Dn×w Ezek. 35:7
:b`DvÎw r¶EbOo wnR;mIm
ÐÔKyÐRtwøa´g×w ÔKy§RtwøoVbg wy¡DlDlSj wyärDh_tRa y¶ItaE;lImw Ezek. 35:8
:M`RhDb wñlVÚpy b®rRj_yElVlAj ÔKy$®qyIpSa_lDk×w
hÎnVbAvyEt aâøl ÔKyä®rDo×w $ÔK×nR;tRa ÐMDlwøo twôømVm`Iv Ezek. 35:9
:h`Dwh×y y¶InSa_y`I;k MR;tVoådy`Iw [hÎnVbóOvDt]
twöøxrSaDh yªE;tVv_tRa×w MywøgAh y½´nVv_tRa ÔKrDmSaþ NAoAy Ezek. 35:10
:h`DyDh M¶Dv hDwhy`Aw DhwónVvåry`Iw hÎnyRyVhIt y¶Il
ÐÔKVÚpAaV;k yIty#IcDo×w ~hwh×y yDnOdSa ¤MUa×n yn#Da_yAj NEkDl Ezek. 35:11
MDb yI;tVoñådwøn×w M¡D;b ÔKyRtDa×nIÚcIm hDty$IcDo rRvSa $ÔKVtDa×nIqVkw
yI;tVoAmDv ~hÎwh×y yInSa_y`I;k ¤D;tVoådÎy`Vw Ezek. 35:12
râOmaEl lEarVcy yñérDh_lAo D;tr¢AmDa r¶RvSa ÔKy#Rtwøx`DaÎn_lD;k_tRa
:h`DlVkDaVl wänV;tn wn¶Dl [wm¡EmDv] hDmEmDv
M¡RkyérVbî;d yAlDo M¶R;trA;tVoAh×w M$RkyIpV;b ÐyAlDo wlyôî;d×gA;tÅw Ezek. 35:13
s :yI;tVo`DmDv yInSa
hDmDmVv X®r$DaDh_lD;k ÐAjOmVcI;k h¡Iwh×y yDnOdSa rAmDa hñO;k Ezek. 35:14
l¶Ao l¢EarVcy_ty`E;b tªAlVjÅnVl %ÔKVt°DjVmIcV;k Ezek. 35:15
ÐryIoEc_rAh h§RyVh`It h°DmDmVv JK¡D;l_hRcToRa NE;k hDmEmDv_rRvSa
p :h`Dwh×y y¶InSa_y`I;k wäodÎy×w ;h$D;lU;k MwêødTa_lDk×w
$D;trAmDa×w l¡EarVcy yâérDh_lRa aEbÎnIh M$dDa_NRb hD;tAa×w Ezek. 36:1
:h`Dwh×y_rAb;d wäoVmIv l$EarVcy ÐyérDh
MRkyElSo b¢EywøaDh rªAmDa NAoAy hYwh×y yDnOdSa ÐrAmDa hôO;k Ezek. 36:2
:wn`D;l hDt×y¶Dh hDvrwáømVl M$Dlwøo twâømDbw j¡DaRh
NAoAy h¡Iwh×y yDnOdSa rAmDa hñO;k $D;trAmDa×w aEbÎnIh ÐNEkDl Ezek. 36:3
ÐhDvrwáøm M§RkVtwøyVh`Il by#IbD;sIm M%RkVtRa P°OaDv×w ·twø;mAv NAoÓÅyV;b
:M`Do_tA;bîd×w NwäøvDl t¶ApVc_lAo wölSo`E;tÅw MYywøgAh tyâîrEaVvIl
h¡Iwh×y yDnOdSa_rAb;d wäoVmIv l$EarVcy yâérDh ÐNEkDl Ezek. 36:4
MyâîqyIpSaDl tw%øoDb×gAl×w My°îrDhRl hwh×yþ yDnOdSa rAmDa_háO;k
wôyDh r°RvSa tw$øbÎzTonAh MyâîrDoRl×w ÐtwømVmáOÚvAh twôøbrFjRl×w twGøyDa´gAl×w
s :by`IbD;sIm r¶RvSa MIywøgAh tyñîrEaVvIl gAo$AlVlw ÐzAbVl
y¶ItDa×nIq v°EaV;b aølþ_MIa ~hwh×y yDnOdSa ¤rAmDa_háO;k N#EkDl Ezek. 36:5
rRvSa a¡D;lU;k MwêødTa_lAo×w MIywøgAh tyñîrEaVv_lAo yI;tr¢A;bîd
fDaVvI;b ÐbDbEl_lD;k t§AjVmIcV;b h%Dvrw°ømVl MRhDlþ yIxrAa_tRa_wánVtÎn
:z`AbDl ;hDvr×gIm NAo¶AmVl vRpYn
MyâîrDhRl &D;trAmDa×w l¡EarVcy tAmdAa_lAo aEbÎnIh NðEkDl Ezek. 36:6
y½n×nIh hGwh×y yDnOdSa rAmDa_háO;k twøyDa´gAl×w My°IqyIpSaDl twøoDb×gAl×wþ
:M`RtaDc×n MIywøg t¶A;mIlV;k NAo¢Ay yI;tr$A;bî;d ÐyItDmSjAbw y§ItDa×nIqVb
yóîdÎy_tRa yItaDcÎn yInSa hYwh×y yDnOdSa ÐrAmDa hôO;k N#EkDl Ezek. 36:7
:wa`DÚcy MDtD;mIlV;k hD;mEh by$IbD;sIm MRkDl rRvSa ÐMywøgAh aôøl_MIa
M¶Rk×yrRpw wn$E;tI;t MRkVÚp×nAo Ð lEarVcy yôérDh MÞR;tAa×w Ezek. 36:8
:awáøbDl wäbréq y¶I;k l¡EarVcy yI;mAoVl wäaVcI;t
MR;tdAbTon×w M$RkyElSa yItyInDpw M¡RkyElSa yIn×nIh yI;k Ezek. 36:9
hóø;lU;k lEarVcy ty¶E;b_lD;k M$dDa ÐMRkyElSo y§ItyE;brIh×w Ezek. 36:10
:hÎny`RnD;bI;t twäøbrFjRh×w My$îrDo`Rh ÐwbVváOn×w
wúrDpw wâbr×w hDmEhVbw MñdDa M¢RkyElSo yªItyE;brIh×w Ezek. 36:11
M$RkyEtâOvaîrEm ÐyItOb`IfEh×w M#RkyEtwáømdåqV;k M%RkVtRa y°I;tVbAvwøh×w
:h`Dwh×y y¶InSa_y`I;k MR;tVoådy`Iw
Ð lEarVcy y§I;mAo_tRa M%dDa M°RkyElSo ·yI;tVkAlwøh×w Ezek. 36:12
s :M`DlV;kAvVl dwäøo P¶Iswøt_aøl×w h¡DlSjÅnVl MRhDl Dty¶IyDh×w ÔKw$véry`Iw
tRl¶RkOa M$RkDl MyâîrVmOa NAoÅyï hYwh×y yDnOdSa ÐrAmDa hôO;k Ezek. 36:13
:ty`IyDh [JKyAywøg] JK´ywøg tRl¶R;kAvVmw [V;t¡Da] yI;tDa MädDa
[JKyAywøg][×w] JK´ywøg×w dw$øo yIlVkaâøt_aøl ÐMdDa N#EkDl Ezek. 36:14
:h`Iwh×y y¶DnOdSa MUa×n dwóøo_[yIlV;kAvVt]_yIlVÚvAkVt aâøl
t¶AÚprRj×w MYywøgAh tA;mIlV;k Ðdwøo JKy§AlEa Aoy°ImVvAa_aøl×w Ezek. 36:15
dw$øo yIlIvVkAt_aøl [ÐJKyÐÅywøg][×w] JK´ywøg×w dwóøo_yIaVcIt aâøl MyI;mAo
s :h`Iwh×y y¶DnOdSa MUa×n
:ráOmaEl y¶AlEa hDwh×y_rAbd y¶Ih×yÅw Ezek. 36:16
M$DtDmdAa_lAo MyIbVvOy Ð lEarVcy ty§E;b M#dDa_NR;b Ezek. 36:17
h¶Dt×yDh h$;dnAh ÐtAaVmUfV;k M¡Dtwøly`IlSoAbw MD;krådV;b ;h$Dtwøa wâaV;mAf×yÅw
wâkVpDv_rRvSa Mä;dAh_lAo M$RhyElSo ÐyItDmSj JKôOÚpVvRaÎw Ezek. 36:18
:DhwáaV;mIf MRhyElw;lgVbw X®r¡DaDh_lAo
M¶D;krådV;k twóøxrSaD;b wërÎz¥yÅw MYywøgA;b ÐMDtOa Xy§IpDaÎw Ezek. 36:19
wälV;lAj×y`Aw M$Dv waD;b_rRvSa ÐMywøgAh_lRa aw#øbÎ¥yÅw Ezek. 36:20
:wa`DxÎy wäøxrAaEmw hR;l$Ea hDwh×y_MAo ÐMRhDl rôOmTaR;b y¡Ivdq MEv_tRa
tyE;b ÐwhwÐlV;lIj r§RvSa y¡Ivdq MEv_lAo läOmVjRaÎw Ezek. 36:21
s :hD;m`Dv wa¶D;b_rRvSa MIywøgA;b l$EarVcy
hYwh×y yDnOdSa ÐrAmDa hôO;k l#EarVcy_ty`EbVl râOmTa NÞEkDl Ezek. 36:22
ÐyIvdq_MEvVl_MIa y§I;k l¡EarVcy tyE;b hRcOo y¶InSa M¢Rk×nAoAmVl a¬øl
:M`Dv MRta¶D;b_rRvSa MIywøgA;b M$R;tVlA;lIj rRvSa
r¶RvSa MYywøgA;b Ð lD;lUjVm`Ah lw#ødÎgAh yImVv_tRa yÞI;tVvå;dIq×w Ezek. 36:23
yDnOdSa ÐMUa×n hGÎwh×y yInSa_yI;k MywøgAh w°odÎy×w M¡DkwøtV;b MR;tVlA;lIj
:M`Rhy´nyEoVl MRkDb y¶Ivd;qIhV;b hYwh×y
MRkVtRa y¶I;tVxA;bIq×w MYywøgAh_NIm ÐMRkVtRa y§I;tVjåqDl×w Ezek. 36:24
:M`RkVtAmdAa_lRa MRkVtRa y¶ItaEbEh×w twóøxrSaDh_lD;kIm
l¬O;kIm M¡R;trAhVfw MyäîrwøhVf My¶Am M¢RkyElSo yªI;tVqårÎz×w Ezek. 36:25
:M`RkVtRa r¶EhAfSa MRkyElwñ;lg_lD;kImw M¢RkyEtwøaVmUf
NE;tRa hDvdSj Ajwõr×w v$dDj bEl ÐMRkDl y§I;tAtÎn×w Ezek. 36:26
MRkDl y¶I;tAtÎn×w M$RkrAcV;bIm ÐNRbÐRaDh b§El_tRa y%ItOr°IsShÅw M¡RkV;brIqV;b
t§Ea yIty#IcDo×w M¡RkV;brIqV;b NE;tRa yIjwr_tRa×w Ezek. 36:27
:M`RtyIcSoÅw wërVmVvI;t y¶AfDÚpVvImw wk$ElE;t Ðyå;qUjV;b_rRvSa
MRty§IyVhw M¡RkyEtáObSaAl yI;tAtÎn r¶RvSa X®r$DaD;b MR;tVbAvyw Ezek. 36:28
:My`IhølaEl MRkDl h¶RyVhRa y$IkOnDa×w M$DoVl ÐyIl
yItaôrq×w M¡RkyEtwáøaVmUf läO;kIm M$RkVtRa yI;tVoAvwøh×w Ezek. 36:29
:b`Dor MRkyElSo N¶E;tRa_aøl×w w$øtOa yItyE;brIh×w ÐNÎg;dAh_lRa
NAo#AmVl hó®dDÚcAh tAbwnVtw X$EoDh yâîrVÚp_tRa ÐyItyE;brIh×w Ezek. 36:30
:M`IywøgA;b bDor t¶AÚprRj dwöøo wñjVqIt aâøl rRvSaþ
MRkyElVlAoAmw My$IorDh MRkyEkrå;d_tRa ÐMR;trAk×zw Ezek. 36:31
lAo×w M$RkyEtâOnOwSo lAo£ M$Rky´nVpI;b ÐMRtOfíOq×nw My¡Ibwøf_aáøl rRvSa
oäådÎwy hYwh×y yDnOdSa ÐMUa×n h#RcOo_y`InSa MRk×nAoAmVl a¬øl Ezek. 36:32
s :l`EarVcy ty¶E;b MRkyEkrå;dIm wömVlD;kIh×w wvw¬ø;b M¡RkDl
läO;kIm M$RkVtRa yâîrShAf ÐMwøyV;b hYwh×y yDnOdSa ÐrAmDa hôO;k Ezek. 36:33
:twáøbrFjRh wänVbn×w My$îrDoRh_tRa ÐyI;tVbAvwáøh×w M¡RkyEtwáønOwSo
hDt×yDh rRvSa tAjA;t£ d¡EbDo`E;t hD;mAv×nAh X®r¶DaDh×w Ezek. 36:34
:r`Ebwøo_lD;k yEnyEoVl h$DmDmVv
N®d¡Eo_NÅgV;k hDt×yDh h$D;mAv×nAh ÐwzÐE;lAh X®r§DaDh w#rVmDa×w Ezek. 36:35
:wb`DvÎy twõørwxV;b twäøsrThnAh×w twñø;mAv×n`Ah×w twöøbérFjRh My¬îrDoRh×w
yInSa yI;k ~MRkyEtwøbyIbVs ¤wrSaDÚv`Iy rRvSa MGywøgAh wâodÎy×w Ezek. 36:36
yI;tr¶A;bî;d hDwh×y y¶InSa h¡D;mAv×nAh yI;tVoAfÎn tw$øsrThRnAh ÐyItyÐnD;b hGÎwh×y
vñér;dIa taöøz dw#øo hYwh×y yDnOdSa ÐrAmDa hôO;k Ezek. 36:37
:MádDa NaäøxA;k M¢DtOa h¶R;brAa M¡RhDl twâøcSoAl lEarVcy_ty`EbVl
N§E;k Dhy$®dSowâømV;b ÐMÊÐAlDvwr×y NaôøxV;k My#Ivdáq NaâøxV;k Ezek. 36:38
wäodÎy×w MódDa Naâøx twäøaElVm tw$øbérFjRh MyâîrDoRh ÐhÎnyÐyVhI;t
s :h`Dwh×y y¶InSa_y`I;k
hYÎwh×y ÐAjwÐrVb yn§EaIxwø¥yÅw ~hÎwh×y_dÅy ¤yAlDo hDt×yDh Ezek. 37:1
:twáømDxSo h¶DaElVm ayIh×w h¡DoVqI;bAh JKwâøtV;b ynEjyn×yÅw
twôø;bår h½´nIh×w by¡IbDs byIbDs MRhyElSo ynñåryIbToRh×w Ezek. 37:2
:dáOaVm twñøvEb×y hEnIh×w h$DoVqI;bAh yEnVÚp_lAo ÐdOaVm
hR;l¡EaDh twâømDxSoDh hÎnyRyVjItSh MðdDa_NR;b y$AlEa rRmaâø¥yÅw Ezek. 37:3
:D;tVoádÎy h¶D;tAa hIwh×y y¶DnOdSa rðAmOaÎw
D;trAmDa×w hR;l¡EaDh twâømDxSoDh_lAo aEbÎnIh y$AlEa rRmaâø¥yÅw Ezek. 37:4
:h`Dwh×y_rAb;d wäoVmIv tw$øvEb×yAh ÐtwømDxSoDh M$RhyElSa
ynSa h½´nIh hR;l¡EaDh twäømDxSoDl hYwh×y yDnOdSa ÐrAmDa hôO;k Ezek. 37:5
:M`RtyyVjw Ajwër M¢RkDb ay¶IbEm
r#DcD;b MRkyElSo yªItElSoAh`Vw My%îdg M°RkyElSo ·yI;tAtÎn×w Ezek. 37:6
MR;tVoådyw M¡RtyyVjw Ajwër M¢RkDb y¶I;tAtÎn×w rw$øo ÐMRkyElSo y§I;tVmårq×w
ÐyIaVb`DnIhV;k lwûøq_yIh×y`Aw yIty¡EwUx rRvSaA;k yItaE;bn×w Ezek. 37:7
:wáømVxAo_lRa MRxRo tw$ømDxSo wâbrVqI;tÅw vAo$år_h´nIh×w
M¬årVq¥yÅw h$DlDo rDcDbw ÐMyîdg M§RhyElSo_h`EnIh×w yIty%Iar×w Ezek. 37:8
:M`RhD;b Ny¶Ea Ajwër×w hDlVo¡DmVlIm rwäøo M¢RhyElSo
MdDaþ_NRb aEbÎnIh AjwúrDh_lRa aEbÎnIh y$AlEa rRmaâø¥yÅw Ezek. 37:9
Ðtwøjwr o§A;brAaEm hGwh×y yDnOdSa rAmDa_háO;k Ajw%rDh_lRa ÐD;trAmDa×w
:wáyVj`Iy×w hR;lEaDh My¶IgwrShA;b y¢IjVpw Ajw$rDh yIaâø;b
wGyVj`I¥yÅw Ajw%rDh M°RhDb ·awøbD;tÅw yn¡DwIx rRvSaA;k yItaE;bÅnIh×w Ezek. 37:10
s :dáOaVm_dOaVm lwõødÎg lyAj M$RhyEl×går_lAo ÐwdVmAo`A¥yÅw
ty¶E;b_lD;k hR;l$EaDh twâømDxSoDh MðdDa_NR;b ~yAlEa ¤rRmaø¥yÅw Ezek. 37:11
hñdVbDa×w wny¢EtwømVxAo w¬vVbÎy My#îrVmOa hEnIh hD;m¡Eh lEarVcy
:wn`Dl wnr¶Az×gn wnEtÎwVqIt
yDnOdSa ¤rAmDa_háO;k M#RhyElSa %D;trAmDa×w a°EbÎnIh ·NEkDl Ezek. 37:12
M¢RkVtRa y¶ItyElSoAh×w M#RkyEtwíørVbIq_tRa Aj%EtOp y½nSa ·h´nIh ~hwh×y
s :l`EarVcy t¶AmdAa_lRa MRkVtRa y¶ItaEbEh×w y¡I;mAo MRkyEtwørVbI;qIm
M#RkyEtwíørVbIq_tRa yIjVtIpV;b h¡Dwh×y yInSa_y`I;k MR;tVoådy`Iw Ezek. 37:13
:y`I;mAo MRkyEtwørVbI;qIm M¢RkVtRa y¶ItwølSoAhVbw
MRkVtRa y¶I;tVjÅnIh×w M$RtyyVjw ÐMRkDb y§Ijwr y°I;tAtÎn×w Ezek. 37:14
yItyIcDo×w yI;tr¶A;bî;d h¢Dwh×y yªInSa_yI;k MÞR;tVoådyw M¡RkVtAmdAa_lAo
:ráOmaEl y¶AlEa hDwh×y_rAbd y¶Ih×yÅw Ezek. 37:15
ÐwyDlDo bôOtVkw d$DjRa XEo ÐÔKVl_jåq M#dDa_NRb hD;tAa×w Ezek. 37:16
d$DjRa XEo ÐjåqVlw [wyórEbSj] wørEbSj lEarVcy y¶EnVbIl×w h$dwhy`Il
wørEbSj lEarVcy ty¶E;b_lDk×w My$årVpRa XEo ÐPEswøyVl wy#DlDo bwâøtVkw
wñyDh×w d¡DjRa XEoVl äÔKVl d¢DjRa_lRa dªDjRa M%DtOa b°årq×w Ezek. 37:17
róOmaEl äÔKV;mAo y¶EnV;b ÔKy$RlEa wêrVmaøy ÐrRvSa`Ak×w Ezek. 37:18
:JK`D;l hR;l¶Ea_hDm wnDl dy¶IgAt_awáølSh
y½nSa ·h´nIh ~hwh×y yDnOdSa ¤rAmDa_háO;k M#RhElSa rE;bå;d Ezek. 37:19
lEarVcy y¶EfVbIv×w My$årVpRa_dÅyV;b rRvSa ÐPEswøy X§Eo_tRa Aj%éqøl
h#dwh×y XEo_tRa wy%DlDo M°Dtwøa ·yI;tAtÎn×w [wyórEbSj] wørEbSj
:yáîdÎyV;b dDjRa wñyDh×w d$DjRa XEoVl ÐMItyIcSo`Aw
äÔKdÎyV;b M¢RhyElSo b¬O;tVkI;t_rRvàa My%IxEoDh w½yDh×w Ezek. 37:20
y§InSa h½´nIh ~hwh×y yDnOdSa ¤rAmDa_háO;k M#RhyElSa rE;båd×w Ezek. 37:21
M¡Dv_wkVl`Dh rRvSa MIywøgAh Ny¶E;bIm l$EarVcy yEnV;b_tRa ÐAjÐéqøl
:M`DtDmdAa_lRa MDtwøa y¶ItaEbEh×w by$IbD;sIm ÐMDtOa y§I;tVxA;bIq×w
l$EarVcy yâérDhV;b ÐX®rÐDaD;b d§DjRa yw½øgVl MDtOaþ yItyIcDo×w Ezek. 37:22
Ðdwøo_[wyVh`Iy]_hyVhy aôøl×w JKRl¡RmVl MD;lUkVl h¶RyVh`Iy d¢DjRa JKRlªRmw
:dwáøo twäøkDlVmAm y¶E;tVvIl dwöøo wx¶Dj´y a°øl×w MYywøg yEnVvIl
läOkVbw M$RhyExwê;qIvVbw ÐMRhyElwá;lgV;b dw#øo wâaV;mAf`Iy a¬øl×w Ezek. 37:23
wâaVfDj rRvSa ÐMRhyEtáObVvwøm lôO;kIm M#DtOa yI;tVoAvwøh×w M¡RhyEoVvIÚp
MRhDl h¶RyVhRa yÁnSaÅw M$DoVl yIl_wyDh×w ÐMDtwøa y§I;trAhIf×w M$RhDb
hRyVhy dDjRa h¶Rowør×w M$RhyElSo JKRlRm Ðdwd yôî;dVbAo×w Ezek. 37:24
:M`Dtwøa wñcDo×w wërVmVvy y¶AtO;qUj×w wk$El´y yAfDÚpVvImVbw M¡D;lUkVl
b$OqSo`AyVl yâî;dVbAoVl ÐyI;tÐAtÎn r§RvSa X®r#DaDh_lAo wâbVvÎy×w Ezek. 37:25
y§EnVbw MÞRhy´nVbw hD;mEhþ Dhy&RlDo wâbVvÎy×w M¡RkyEtwáøbSa ;hDb_wbVv`Dy r¶RvSa
:M`DlwøoVl MRhDl ay¶IcÎn y$î;dVbAo dIwd×w M$Dlwøo_dAo ÐMRhy´nVb
hRyVhy MDlwøo tyñîrV;b Mw$ølDv tyâîrV;b ÐMRhDl y§I;tårDk×w Ezek. 37:26
MDkwøtV;b y¢Iv;dVqIm_tRa yªI;tAtÎn×w M$Dtwøa yItyE;brIh×w ÐMyI;tAt×nw M¡Dtwøa
My¡Ihøla`El MRhDl yIty¶IyDh×w M$RhyElSo ÐynD;kVvIm h§DyDh×w Ezek. 37:27
:M`DoVl y¶Il_wyVh`Iy hD;mEh×w
l¡EarVcy_tRa väé;dåqVm hYÎwh×y yInSa yI;k£ MYywøgAh Ðwod`Dy×w Ezek. 37:28
s :M`DlwøoVl MDkwøtV;b y¢Iv;dVqIm tw¬øyVhI;b
:ráOmaEl y¶AlEa hDwh×y_rAbd y¶Ih×yÅw Ezek. 38:1
ayðIc×n gwYøgD;mAh X®rRa Ðgwøg_lRa ÐÔKyÐnDÚp My§Ic M#dDa_NR;b Ezek. 38:2
:wy`DlDo aEbÎnIh×w l¡DbUt×w JKRvRm vaëør
gwYøg ÐÔKyÐRlEa y§In×nIh h¡Iwh×y yDnOdSa rAmDa hñO;k $D;trAmDa×w Ezek. 38:3
:l`DbUt×w JKRv¶Rm vaëør ayðIc×n
·yItaExwøh×w ÔKy¡RyDjVlI;b MyIjAj y¶I;tAtÎn×w ÔKy$I;tVbAbwâøv×w Ezek. 38:4
M$D;lU;k Ð lwølVkIm y§EvUbVl My#IvrDpw MyIsws ÔK%RlyEj_lD;k_tRa×w ÐÔKVtwøa
:M`D;lU;k twäøbrSj y¶EcVpO;t NY´gDmw hDnIx Ðbr l¶Dhq
:o`Dbwøk×w N¶EgDm MD;lU;k M¡D;tIa fwäpw vwñ;k söårDÚp Ezek. 38:5
NwäøpDx y¶EtV;krÅy h$DmrÅgwáø;t tyE;b£ Dhy$RÚpÅgSa_lDk×w rRmOg£ Ezek. 38:6
:JK`D;tIa MyI;bår My¶I;mAo wy¡DÚpÅgSa_lD;k_tRa×w
MyIlDhVqnAh ÔKRlDhVq_lDk×w hðD;tAa $ÔKVl NEkDh×w ÐNO;kIh Ezek. 38:7
:r`DmVvImVl MRhDl Dty¶IyDh×w ÔKy¡RlDo
awâøbD;t MynDÚvAh ty°îrSjAaV;b ~déqDÚpI;t ¤MyI;bår MyImÎ¥yIm Ezek. 38:8
lAo£ My$I;bår MyI;mAoEm ÐtRxÐR;büqVm b®r#RjEm tRbRbwøvVm X®rRa_lRa
MyI;mAoEm ÐayIh×w dy¡ImD;t hD;brDjVl wñyDh_rRvSa l$EarVcy yâérDh
:M`D;lU;k jAfRbDl wñbVvÎy×w hDa$Dxwh
h¡RyVh`I;t X®rDaDh twñø;sAkVl N¢DnDoR;k aw$øbDt hDaøÚvA;k ÐDtyÐIlDo×w Ezek. 38:9
s :JK`Dtwøa MyI;bår My¶I;mAo×w ÔKy$RÚpÅgSa_lDk×w ÐhD;tAa
wôlSoÅy aw#hAh Mwâø¥yA;b hDyDh×w h¡Iwh×y yDnOdSa rAmDa hñO;k Ezek. 38:10
:h`Dor tRb¶RvSjAm D;tVbAvDj×w ÔK$RbDbVl_lAo ÐMyîrDbd
ÐawøbDa twYøzrVÚp X®rRa_lAo ÐhRlTo`Ra #D;trAmDa×w Ezek. 38:11
AjyñîrVbw h$Dmwøj NyEaV;b ÐMyIbVváOy M#D;lU;k jAf¡RbDl yEbVvOy My$IfVqâOÚvAh
:M`RhDl Ny¶Ea MyAtDldw
twâøbrFj_lAo %ÔKdÎy by°IvDhVl z¡A;b zâObDl×w lDlDv lñølVvIl Ezek. 38:12
yEbVvOy NYÎy×nIq×w hRnVqIm ÐhRcOo MYywøgIm PD;sUaVm ÐMAo_lRa×w t#ObDvwøn
wêrVmaøy ÐDhyÐ®rIpV;k_lDk×w vy§IvrAt y°érSjOs×w Nddwþ a&DbVv Ezek. 38:13
ÔK¡RlDhVq D;tVlAhVqIh zA;b zñObDlSh a$Db hD;tAa Ð lDlDv lôølVvIlSh $ÔKVl
:lwíødÎg l¶DlDv läølVvIl NYÎy×nIq×w hRnVqIm ÐtAjÐåqDl b#DhÎz×w PRsR;k taEcDl
rAmDa hñO;k gwYøgVl D;trAmDa×w M$dDa_NRb aEbÎnIh ÐNEkDl Ezek. 38:14
jAfRbDl l¢EarVcy yªI;mAo tRb°RvV;b aw#hAh Mwâø¥yA;b awâølSh h¡Iwh×y yDnOdSa
My¶I;mAo×w hðD;tAa Nw$øpDx yEtV;krÅ¥yIm ÐÔKVmwíøqV;mIm Dta§Dbw Ezek. 38:15
:bár ly¶Aj×w lwëødÎg l¶Dhq M$D;lU;k ÐMyIsws y§EbVkOr JK¡D;tIa MyI;bår
X®r¡DaDh twâø;sAkVl NDnDo`R;k l$EarVcy yI;mAo_lAo ÐDtyÐIlDo×w Ezek. 38:16
tAo°å;d ·NAoAmVl y$IxrAa_lAo ÐÔKyÐItwøaIbShÅw hGyVh`I;t My%ImÎ¥yAh ty°îrSjAaV;b
s :gwáøg MRhy´nyEoVl öÔKVb y¶Ivd;qIhV;b y#ItOa MywøgAh
aw°h_hD;tAa`Ah hGwh×y yDnOdSa rÞAmDa_háO;k Ezek. 38:17
l$EarVcy yEayIb×n ÐyådDbSo ÐdÅyV;b MyGnwømdåq MyImÎyV;b yI;tr%A;bî;d_rRvSa
s :M`RhyElSo äÔKVtOa ay¶IbDhVl My¡InDv MEhDh My¶ImÎ¥yA;b My¢IaV;bn`Ah
tAmdAa_lAo Ðgwøg awñø;b Mw½øyV;b aw#hAh Mwâø¥yA;b hDyDh×w Ezek. 38:18
:y`IÚpAaV;b yItDmSj h¶RlSoA;t h¡Iwh×y yDnOdSa MUa×n l$EarVcy
Mwâø¥yA;b aâøl_MIa yI;tr¡A;bî;d yItrVbRo_vEaVb y¶ItDa×nIqVbw Ezek. 38:19
:l`EarVcy t¶AmdAa lAo lw$ødÎg vAoâår ÐhyVh`Iy aw#hAh
tA¥yAj×w My%AmDÚvAh Pw°øo×w ·MÎ¥yAh yEg;d yÓÅnDÚpIm wâvSor×w Ezek. 38:20
rRvSa M$dDa`Dh Ð lOk×w h$DmdSa`Dh_lAo cEmOrDh Ð cRmÐ®rDh_lDk×w h#®dDÚcAh
twYøgérdA;mAh ÐwlVp`Dn×w My#îrDhRh wâsrRhn×w h¡DmdSaDh yEnVÚp_lAo
:lwáøÚpI;t X®r¶DaDl hDmwøj_lDk×w
h¡Iwh×y yDnOdSa MUa×n b®r$Rj ÐyårDh_lDkVl wy§DlDo yIta°rq×w Ezek. 38:21
:h`RyVh`I;t wy¶IjDaV;b vyIa b®r¶Rj
y½´nVbAa×w ·PEfwøv MRvRg×w MódVbw rRbâ®dV;b wäø;tIa y¶I;tVfAÚpVvn×w Ezek. 38:22
My¶I;mAo_lAo×w wy$DÚpÅgSa_lAo×w ÐwyDlDo ry§IfVmAa ty#îrVpÎg×w vEa vy%IbÎgVlRa
:wáø;tIa r¶RvSa MyI;bår
MIywøg yEnyEoVl y$I;tVoådwâøn×w y$I;tVvî;dåqVtIh×w ÐyI;tVlî;dÅgVtIh×w Ezek. 38:23
s :h`Dwh×y y¶InSa_y`I;k wäodÎy×w My¡I;bår
rAmDa hñO;k $D;trAmDa×w gwYøg_lAo aEbÎnIh ÐMdDa_NRb h§D;tAa×w Ezek. 39:1
:l`DbUt×w JKRv¶Rm vaëør ayðIc×n gwYøg ÐÔKyÐRlEa y§In×nIh h¡Iwh×y yDnOdSa
NwóøpDx yEtV;krÅ¥yIm ÔKyItyIlSoAh×w ÔKy$ItaEÚvIv×w ÐÔKyÐI;tVbAbOv×w Ezek. 39:2
:l`EarVcy yñérDh_lAo ÔKItwøaIbShÅw
d¶A¥yIm ÔKyðRxIj×w ÔK¡RlwaømVc dA¥yIm äÔKV;tVvåq y¶ItyE;kIh×w Ezek. 39:3
ÔKy$RÚpÅgSa_lDk×w ÐhD;tAa lw#øÚpI;t l%EarVcy y°érDh_lAo Ezek. 39:4
hä®dDÚcAh t¶A¥yAj×w P¢DnD;k_lD;k rw¬øÚpIx fy°EoVl JK¡D;tIa rRvSa MyI;mAo×w
MUa×n yI;tr$A;bîd yInSa yI;k£ lwóøÚpI;t hä®dDÚcAh y¶EnVÚp_lAo Ezek. 39:5
jAf¡RbDl MyI¥yIaDh y¶EbVvOyVbw gwYøgDmV;b vEa_yI;tVjA;lIv×w Ezek. 39:6
:h`Dwh×y y¶InSa_yI;k wäodÎy×w
l$EarVcy yI;mAo ÐJKwøtV;b Aoy#îdwøa y%Ivdq M°Ev_tRa×w Ezek. 39:7
hYÎwh×y yInSa_yI;k ÐMywøgAh wôodÎy×w dwóøo yIvdq_MEv_tRa l¶EjAa_aáøl×w
Mwäø¥yAh awñh h¡Iwh×y yDnOdSa MUa×n hDtYÎyVh`In×w ÐhDaDb h§EnIh Ezek. 39:8
qRv½nV;b wqyIÚcIh×wþ w&rSoIbw l#EarVcy yâérDo yEbVvOy wÞaVxÎy`Vw Ezek. 39:9
M¢RhDb wõrSoIbw jAmúOrVbw dDy lñé;qAmVbw My$IxIjVbw tRvâ®qV;b ÐhÎnIx×w N§EgDmw
:My`InDv oAb¶Rv vEa
ÐwbVfVjÅy aôøl×w h#®dDÚcAh_NIm My%IxEo w°aVcy_aáøl×w Ezek. 39:10
M#RhyElVlOv_tRa wâlVlDv×w v¡Ea_wrSo`Ab×y qRvRnAb y¶I;k My$îrDo×¥yAh_NIm
s :h`Iwh×y y¶DnOdSa MUa×n M$Rhy´z×zâO;b_tRa Ðwz×z`Dbw
rRb%®q M°Dv_MwíøqVm ·gwøgVl NE;tRa aw&hAh Mwâø¥yAb hDyDh×w Ezek. 39:11
ayIh tRm¶RsOj×w MYÎ¥yAh tAmdIq ÐMyîrVbáOoDh y§Eg l#EarVcyV;b
w$arâq×w h$OnwømSh_lD;k_tRa×w Ðgwøg_tRa M#Dv wrVbâq×w MyóîrVbáOoDh_tRa
:gwáøg NwñømSh ayEg
X®r¡DaDh_tRa rEhAf NAoAmVl l$EarVcy tyE;b ÐMwrDbVqw Ezek. 39:12
Mwøy£ M¡EvVl MRhDl h¶DyDh×w X®r$DaDh MAo_lD;k ÐwrVbáq×w Ezek. 39:13
:h`Iwh×y y¶DnOdSa MUa×n y$îdVbD;kIh
MyâîrV;båqVm X®r$DaD;b MyâîrVbOo ÐwlyÐî;dVbÅy dy§ImDt y°Ev×nAa×w Ezek. 39:14
;hórSh`AfVl X®rDaDh y¶EnVÚp_lAo MyöîrDtwønAh_tRa My#îrVbOoDh_tRa
:wríOqVjÅy MyIvdFj_h`DoVbIv h¶ExVqIm
h¶DnDbw M$dDa MRxRo ÐhDar×w X®r$DaD;b ÐMyîrVbáOoDh wûrVbDo×w Ezek. 39:15
:gwáøg NwñømSh ayEg_lRa My$îrV;båqVm`Ah ÐwøtOa wûrVbq dAo Nwó¥yIx wäølVxRa
s :X®r`DaDh wõrShIf×w hDnwømSh ry¢Io_MRv M¶Ag×w Ezek. 39:16
·rOmTa hGwOh×y yDnOdSa rAmDa_háO;k M%dDa_NRb h°D;tAa×w Ezek. 39:17
wâpVsDaEh ÐwaÐøbÎw wôxVb;qIh h#®dDÚcAh tA¥yAj lâOkVlw PÎnD;k_lD;k rw°øÚpIxVl
yâérDh lAo lw$ødÎg jAbRz ÐMRkDl Aj§EbOz ynSa r°RvSa y#IjVbz_lAo by$IbD;sIm
:Má;d MRty¶ItVvw rDcD;b M¶R;tVlAkSaÅw l¡EarVcy
wó;tVvI;t X®rDaDh y¶EayIc×n_Måd×w wl$Ekaø;t ÐMyîrwø;bg r§AcV;b Ezek. 39:18
:M`D;lU;k NDvDb y¶EayîrVm My$îrDÚp ÐMyîdw;tAo×w MyôîrD;k My°IlyEa
NwúørD;kIvVl Mä;d MRty¶ItVvw h$DoVbDcVl bRlEj_MR;tVlAkSaÅw Ezek. 39:19
:M`RkDl yI;tVj¶AbÎz_rRvSa yIjVbzIm
rwäø;bg bRk$®rÎw swâs ÐynDjVlUv_lAo M§R;tVoAbVcw Ezek. 39:20
:h`Iwh×y y¶DnOdSa MUa×n h¡DmDjVlIm vyIa_lDk×w
MGywøgAh_lDk wâar×w M¡IywøgA;b yäîdwøbV;k_tRa y¶I;tAtÎn×w Ezek. 39:21
:M`RhDb yI;tVm¶Ac_rRvSa yäîdÎy_tRa×w yIty$IcDo rRvSa ÐyIfDÚpVvIm_tRa
M¡RhyEháølTa hDwh×y y¶InSa y¢I;k l$EarVcy tyE;b Ðwod`Dy×w Ezek. 39:22
:hDaVl`DhÎw awähAh Mwñø¥yAh_NIm
lAo£ l#EarVcy_ty`Eb wâlÎg MHÎnOwSoAb yI;k MywøgAhþ wâodÎy×w Ezek. 39:23
M$RhyérDx dAyV;b ÐM´nV;tRa`Dw M¡RhEm yAnDÚp r¶I;tVsAaÎw y$Ib_wlSo`Dm rRvSa
:M`D;lU;k b®rRjAb wñlVÚp¥yÅw
yAnDÚp r¶I;tVsAaÎw M¡DtOa yItyIcDo MRhyEoVvIpVkw M¶DtDaVmUfV;k Ezek. 39:24
ÐbyIvDa h#D;tAo hYwh×y yDnOdSa ÐrAmDa hôO;k N#EkDl Ezek. 39:25
l¡EarVcy tyE;b_lD;k yI;tVmAjáîr×w b$OqSo`Ay [twâbVv] tyIbVv_tRa
:y`Ivdq M¶EvVl yIta´nIq×w
rRvSa MDlSoAm_lD;k_tRa×w M$DtD;mIlV;k_tRa ÐwcÎn×w Ezek. 39:26
:dyáîrSjAm Ny¶Ea×w jAfRbDl M¢DtDmdAa_lAo MªD;tVbIvV;b y¡Ib_wlSoDm
M$DtOa yI;tVxA;bIq×w My$I;mAoDh_NIm ÐMDtwøa y§IbVbwøvV;b Ezek. 39:27
:My`I;bår M¶IywøgAh yEnyEoVl M$Db yI;tVvâå;dVqn×w M¡RhyEb×yáOa twäøxrAa`Em
ÐMDtOa y§Itwøl×gAhV;b M$RhyEhâølTa ÐhÎwh×y y§InSa yI;k w#odÎy×w Ezek. 39:28
MRhEm dwöøo ry¶Itwøa_aáøl×w M¡DtDmdAa_lAo MyI;tVsÅnIk×w MYywøgAh_lRa
yI;tVk§ApDv r°RvSa M¡RhEm yAnDÚp dwöøo ry¶I;tVsAa_aáøl×w Ezek. 39:29
p :h`Iwh×y y¶DnOdSa MUa×n l$EarVcy tyE;b_lAo ÐyIjwr_tRa
Oracles of Restoration for Judah (33:1-39:29)
A. Fall and Restoration (33:1-39:29)
1. Ezekiel a Watchman (33:1-20)
2. Jerusalem's Fall (33:21-33)
3. Woe to the Shepherds of Israel (34:1-31)
4. Oracle Against Edom (35:1-15)
5. Restoration for Israel and its Mountains (36:1-38)
6. The Valley of Dry Bones (37:1-14)
7. Judah and Israel Reunited (37:15-28)
8. Oracle Against Gog and Magog (38:1-39:29)
A. The first period of antagonism 12:116:28
1. The division of the kingdom 12:1-24
2. Jeroboam's evil reign in Israel 12:2514:20
3. Rehoboam's evil reign in Judah 14:21-31
4. Abijam's evil reign in Judah 15:1-8
5. Asa's good reign in Judah 15:9-24
6. Nadab's evil reign in Israel 15:25-32
7. Baasha's evil reign in Israel 15:3316:7
8. Elah's evil reign in Israel 16:8-14
9. Zimri's evil reign in Israel 16:15-20
10. Omri's evil reign in Israel 16:21-28
B. The period of alliance 1 Kings 16:292 Kings 9:29
1. Ahab's evil reign in Israel 16:2922:40
2. Jehoshaphat's good reign in Judah 22:41-50
3. Ahaziah's evil reign in Israel 1 Kings 22:512 Kings 1:18
"Few other passages have suffered more from the extremes of interpreters
who see either too much or too little in both meaning and application of
the figures, symbols, and types."
"The New Covenant involves a new heart and a new spirit, to be sure, but
it is deeply rooted in history and land. The promise to Abraham was
unconditional and included in its benefits a geographical inheritance
indeed, not just any territory but specifically the land of Canaan (Gen.
12:1, 7; 13:15-17; 15:18-19; 17:8). It is that land that is in view throughout
Ezekiel's historical and eschatological purview, for unless that land is the
focus of God's covenant fulfillment the ancient promises lose their
"The coalescence of the New Covenant and the renewed land is nowhere
in the Old Testament better explicated than in Ezekiel 37."
"On the surface, New Testament references to the realization of the new
covenant in the present era are problematic, for Jeremiah and Ezekiel
spoke of this covenant being made with Israel, not the Gentiles. Some
argue that the church is the new 'Israel' through which the Old Testament
promise is fulfilled. Others, insisting on a sharp distinction between Israel
and the church, propose that the new covenant mentioned in the New
Testament is distinct from the one promised in the Old Testament. A
better solution is to propose an 'already/not yet' model, which sees a
present realization of the promises in the church and a future fulfillment
for ethnic Israel. Only this mediating view does justice to the language of
both the Hebrew prophets and the New Testament. Just because the
Hebrew prophets mention only Israel as the recipient of the covenant does
not mean that others could not be recipients as well; just because the New
Testament focuses on a present realization through the church does not
preclude a future fulfillment for Israel." (Constable's Notes)
"Revelation 20:8 refers specifically to Gog and Magog in a context describing the end of the Millennium. Israel dwelling in safety in her land, the situation described repeatedly in Ezekiel 3339, fits conditions at the end of the Millennium. Rabbinic writers identified Gog and Magog as the final enemy that will attack Israel in the messianic age.585 Critics of this view say, Why bury the dead for seven months following the battle when the resurrection of the unsaved will follow immediately (cf. Rev. 20:11-13)? This objection assumes that these events will follow one another immediately, but the text does not say so explicitly. Why would the Israelites burn the weapons for seven years since it appears that God will create a new earth immediately after He quells the rebellion described in Revelation 20:7-10 (cf. Rev. 21:1-4)? Again, there may be time between these events that the Bible does not reveal anywhere but here. Another problem with this view is the description of the Lord calling the birds to a great feast in Revelation 19:17-21, which occurs at the end of the Tribulation." (Constable's Notes)
Apparently the fulfillment will take place in two phases, first at the end of the Tribulation and then at the end of the Millennium, when Israel is dwelling securely (cf. Rev. 19:17-21; 20:7-8).586 Ezekiel evidently described the invasion of Israel's enemies into the Promised Land as a single event, but later revelation clarifies that it will happen on two separate occasions. Part of Ezekiel's prophecy describes one of these invasions, part the other, and some of it describes both incidents. Gog then does not describe a single individual but two people both of whom share similar plans.
It seems unnatural for God to describe as one battle one that will have two parts separated by 1,000 years, and there is certainly no indication in Ezekiel that Gog's invasion will have two phases. However, in view of later clarification in the Book of Revelation, we apparently have another instance of two events widely separated in time viewed by a prophet as one. The prophets' descriptions of the near and far destructions of Babylon (Isa. 21; Jer. 51), the two advents of Messiah (Isa. 61:1-2), and the coming of two persecutors of the Jews (Antiochus Epiphanes and Antichrist; Dan. 11:21-35, 36-44) are other examples of this "foreshortened view." (Constable's Notes)
"for" Or in; also in verse 9
"away because of" Or away in
"I will bless them and the places surrounding my hill" Or I will make them and the places surrounding my hill a blessing
"breath" The Hebrew for this word can also mean wind or spirit (see verses 6-14).
"all their sinful backsliding" Many Hebrew manuscripts (see also Septuagint); most Hebrew manuscripts all their dwelling places where they sinned
"the chief prince of" Or the prince of Rosh,
"Gog, chief prince of" Or Gog, prince of Rosh,
"Cush" That is, the upper Nile region
"her villages" Or her strong lions
"Gog, chief prince of" Or Gog, prince of Rosh,
"toward" Or of
"the Sea" That is, the Dead Sea
"Hamon Gog" Hamon Gog means hordes of Gog.
"Hamonah" Hamonah means horde.
"now bring Jacob back from captivity" Or now restore the fortunes of Jacob
a 33:2 Ezk 21:812
a 33:5 Lit on him
a 33:8 Ezk 18:4
a 33:79 Ezk 3:1719
a 33:10 Ezk 4:17; 24:23; Lv 26:39
b 33:10 Ezk 37:11
a 33:11 Ezk 18:23,3032
a 33:13 Ezk 3:20
a 33:1516 Ezk 18:2122
a 33:1720 Ezk 18:2530
a 33:22 Ezk 3:2627; 24:2627
a 33:24 Lit these
b 33:24 Is 51:2
c 33:24 Gn 15:7; 28:4
d 33:24 Ezk 36:2
a 33:25 Lv 19:26
b 33:2425 Ezk 11:15
a 33:2526 Ezk 18:6,1011,15
a 33:27 Ezk 34:5
b 33:27 Ezk 5:12; 6:12
a 33:28 Ezk 35:3
b 33:28 Ezk 7:24
c 33:28 Ezk 6:2
a 33:31 Lit you like the coming of a people
a 33:33 Ezk 7:6
a 34:2 Jr 23:1
a 34:4 Zch 11:16
a 34:5 Zch 13:7
b 34:5 Ezk 33:27
a 34:6 Dt 12:2
a 34:10 Jr 23:1
b 34:10 Lit their hand
a 34:12 Jr 23:3
a 34:1415 Ps 23:2; 100:3
a 34:16 Some Hb mss, LXX, Syr, Vg read watch over
a 34:17 Mt 25:3133
a 34:23 Ps 78:7071; Jn 10:16
a 34:24 Ezk 37:24; Jr 23:5; 30:9
b 34:24 Ex 6:7; Lv 26:12
a 34:25 Ezk 37:26; Lv 26:9; Is 54:10
b 34:25 Lv 26:6; Is 11:69
c 34:25 Ezk 28:26
d 34:25 Ezk 14:15; Lv 26:6
a 34:26 Dt 11:1314; 28:12
b 34:26 Lit season; they will be showers
a 34:27 Lv 26:13; Dt 7:8; Lm 5:8
a 34:29 LXX, Syr read a plant of peace
b 34:29 Ezk 36:6,15
a 34:2531 Hs 2:1823
a 35:2 Ezk 25:12; 36:5
a 35:3 Ezk 33:2829
a 35:4 Ezk 25:13
b 35:4 Ezk 29:9
a 35:5 Ezk 25:15; Ps 137:7
b 35:5 Ezk 7:2; 21:25,29
a 35:6 Ob 1415
a 35:7 Ezk 33:28
a 35:8 Ezk 6:3
a 35:10 Ezk 48:35; Ps 48:13
a 35:11 LXX reads you
a 35:13 Jr 48:26,42; Ob 12; Zph 2:8
a 36:115 Ezk 6:17
a 36:2 Ezk 26:2
a 36:5 Lit gave
b 36:5 Ezk 35:10,15
c 36:5 Or contempt, to empty it of; Hb obscure
a 36:6 Ezk 38:19
a 36:7 Lit lift up My hand
a 36:9 Nm 6:25
a 36:10 Gn 1:28
a 36:911 Lv 26:9
a 36:12 Ezk 5:17; 14:15; Lv 26:22
a 36:13 Nm 13:32
a 36:14 Alt Hb tradition reads and cause your nation to stumble
a 36:15 Some Hb mss, Tg read no longer bereave your nation of children
a 36:17 Lv 12:2
a 36:18 Ezk 22:4
a 36:19 Ezk 22:15
a 36:22 Ezk 20:44
a 36:24 Ezk 34:13
a 36:25 Lv 14:7
a 36:26 Jr 24:7
b 36:26 Ezk 18:31
c 36:26 Lit stone from your flesh
d 36:26 Ezk 11:19; 2 Co 3:3
a 36:27 Ezk 37:14; 39:29; Jn 3:5
b 36:27 Ezk 37:24
a 36:30 Lv 26:4
a 36:31 Ezk 20:25
a 36:32 Ezk 16:61
a 36:37 Lit flock of people
a 36:38 Lit the flock of consecrated things, as the flock
a 37:7 Ezk 11:13
a 37:9 Or wind, or spirit
a 37:10 Or wind, or spirit
a 37:14 Ezk 36:27; 39:29
a 37:18 Ezk 24:19
a 37:23 Ezk 11:18
b 37:23 Some Hb mss, LXX, Sym; other Hb mss read their settlements where; Ezk 6:6,1314
a 37:24 Ezk 34:2324
b 37:24 Ezk 36:27
a 37:26 Ezk 34:25; Nm 25:12
b 37:26 Ezk 16:60
c 37:26 Lv 26:11
a 37:27 Ezk 40:2; Is 2:23; Mc 4:12
a 38:2 Gn 10:2
b 38:2 Or the prince of Rosh,
c 38:2 Ezk 27:13
a 38:4 Ezk 19:4,9; 29:4; 2 Kg 19:28
a 38:5 Ezk 27:10
a 38:6 Gn 10:2
b 38:6 Gn 10:3
a 38:8 Lit from the sword
b 38:8 Ezk 36:811
a 38:11 Jr 49:31
a 38:12 Ezk 5:5
a 38:13 Ezk 27:22
b 38:13 Ezk 27:20
c 38:13 Ezk 27:12
d 38:13 Lit young lions, or villages
a 38:18 Lit up in My anger
a 38:19 Ezk 36:6
a 38:21 Jr 25:29
a 38:1922 Rv 16:1821
a 38:23 Ezk 39:27
a 39:1 Or Gog, prince of Rosh,
b 39:1 Ezk 38:23
a 39:2 Ezk 38:4
a 39:5 Ezk 32:4
a 39:6 Rv 20:9
a 39:7 Ezk 36:23
a 39:10 Ezk 38:13
a 39:11 Hb obscure
b 39:11 = Hordes of Gog
a 39:14 Or basis, some to pass through the land, and with them some to bury those
a 39:16 Hamonah is related to the Hb word for "horde."
a 39:17 Rv 19:1718
a 39:19 Rv 19:21
a 39:23 Ezk 17:20; 20:27
a 39:26 Some emend to will forget
b 39:26 Lit will bear
c 39:2526 Ezk 16:5354,63
a 39:27 Ezk 20:41; 38:23
a 39:28 Lit behind there any longer
a 39:29 Ezk 36:27; 37:14
"sons of your people" Ezek 3:11; 33:12, 17, 30; 37:18
"blows on the trumpet" Neh 4:18-20; Is 58:1; Ezek 33:9; Hos 8:1; Joel 2:1
"does not take warning" 2Chr 25:16; Jer 6:17; Zech 1:4
"blood will be on" Ezek 18:13; 33:5, 9; Acts 18:6
"delivered his life" Ex 9:19-21; Heb 11:7
"in his iniquity" Or for, and so throughout the chapter
"taken away in his" Ezek 18:20, 24; 33:8, 9
"blood I will require" Ezek 3:18, 20
"appointed you a watchman" Or given
"message from My mouth" Lit word
"appointed you a watchman" Is 62:6; Ezek 3:17-21
"warning from Me" Jer 1:17; 26:2; Ezek 2:7, 8; Acts 5:20
"surely die" Is 3:11; Ezek 18:4, 13, 18, 20; 33:14
"does not turn from" Acts 13:40, 41, 46
"delivered your life" Ezek 3:19, 21; Acts 20:26
"survive" Lit live
"rotting away in them" Lev 26:39; Ezek 4:17; 24:23
"how then can we" Is 49:14; Ezek 37:11
"GOD" Heb YHWH, usually rendered LORD, and so throughout the chapter
"As I live" Is 49:18; Ezek 5:11
"no pleasure in the" Ezek 18:23, 32; Hos 11:8
"turn from his way" Jer 31:20; 1Tim 2:4; 2Pet 3:9
"Turn back" Is 55:6, 7; Jer 3:22; Ezek 18:30, 31; Hos 14:1; Acts 3:19
"your fellow citizens" Lit the sons of your people
"by his righteousness on" Lit by it
"righteousness of a righteous" Ezek 3:18; 18:24; 33:20
"not stumble because of" 2Chr 7:14; Ezek 18:21; 33:19
"commits iniquity" Ezek 18:26; Heb 10:38; 2Pet 2:20, 21
"turns from his sin" Is 55:7; Jer 18:7, 8; Ezek 18:27; 33:8, 19; Hos 14:1, 4
"justice and righteousness" Mic 6:8
"which ensure life without" Lit of life
"pays back what he" Ex 22:1-4; Lev 6:4, 5; Luke 19:8
"statutes which ensure life" Ps 119:59; 143:8; Ezek 20:11
"None of his sins" Is 1:18; 43:25; Ezek 18:22
"your fellow citizens say" Lit the sons of your people
"it" Lit them
"commits iniquity" Ezek 3:20; 18:24; 33:12, 13
"The way of the" Ezek 18:25
"refugees from Jerusalem came" Or refugee
"taken." Lit smitten
"in the" Ezek 31:1; 32:1, 17
"twelfth year of our" Jer 39:1, 2; 40:1; 52:4-7; Ezek 24:1, 2
"The city has been" 2Kin 25:10; Jer 39:8
"refugees came" Lit refugee
"at the time they" Lit until he came
"speechless" Or mute
"hand of the LORD" Ezek 1:3; 8:1; 37:1
"opened my mouth at" Ezek 3:26, 27; 24:27
"opened and I was" Luke 1:64
"live in these waste" Jer 39:10; 40:7; Ezek 33:27
"Abraham was only one" Is 51:2; Luke 3:8; Acts 7:5; Rom 4:12
"us who are many" Ezek 11:15
"blood in it" Lev 17:10, 12, 14; Deut 12:16, 23; 15:23
"Should you then possess" Jer 7:9, 10
"rely on your sword" Lit stand
"rely on your sword" Mic 2:1, 2; Zeph 3:3
"open field I will" Lit surface of the field
"fall by the sword" Jer 15:2, 3; 42:22; Ezek 5:12
"caves will die of" 1Sam 13:6; Is 2:19
"make the land a" Ezek 5:14; 6:14; Mic 7:13
"pride of her power" Ezek 7:24; 24:21; 30:6
"your fellow citizens who" Lit the sons of your people
"message is which comes" Lit word
"Come now and hear" Is 29:13; 58:2; Ezek 14:3; 20:3, 31
"mouth" Ps 78:36, 37; Is 29:13; 1John 3:18
"gain" Ezek 22:13, 27; Luke 12:15
"beautiful voice and plays" Mark 6:20
"as surely it willthen" Lit behold, it is coming
"comes to passas surely" Jer 28:9; Ezek 33:29
"those shepherds" Lit them, the shepherds
"GOD" Heb YHWH, usually rendered LORD, and so throughout the chapter
"feeding themselves" Lit pasturing, pasture
"shepherds of Israel" Jer 2:8; 3:15; 10:21; 12:10
"feeding themselves" Jer 23:1; Ezek 22:25; 34:8-10; Mic 3:1-3, 11
"feed the flock" Ps 78:71, 72; Is 40:11; Ezek 34:14, 15; John 10:11; 21:15-17
"feeding the flock" Lit pasturing
"eat the fat and" Zech 11:16
"slaughter the fat sheep" Ezek 22:25, 27
"diseased you have not" Lit sick
"the broken you have" Zech 11:16
"sought for the lost" Matt 9:36; 10:6; 18:12, 13; Luke 15:4
"scattered for lack of" Num 27:17; 2Chr 18:16; Jer 10:21; 23:2; 50:6, 7; Matt 9:36; Mark 6:34
"food for every beast" Ezek 34:8, 28
"wandered through all the" Jer 40:11, 12; Ezek 7:16; 1Pet 2:25
"My flock was scattered" John 10:16
"no one to search" Ps 142:4
"prey" Acts 20:29
"sheep" Or (a) flock
"from them and make" Lit from their hand
"feed themselves anymore" Lit pasture, and so throughout the chapter
"against the shepherds" Jer 21:13; Ezek 5:8; 13:8; 34:2; Zech 10:3
"cease from feeding sheep" 1Sam 2:29, 30; Jer 52:24-27
"deliver My flock from" Ps 72:12-14; Ezek 13:23
"search for My sheep" Ezek 11:17; 20:41
"care for My" Or seek(s) out
"sheep and will deliver" Or flock
"As a shepherd cares" Jer 31:10
"care for My sheep" Is 40:11; 56:8; Jer 23:3; 31:8; Luke 19:10; John 10:16
"cloudy and gloomy day" Jer 13:16; Ezek 30:3; Joel 2:2
"feed them on the" Ezek 34:23; 36:29, 30; Mic 7:14
"streams" Is 30:25
"rich pasture on the" Lit fat
"good pasture" Ps 23:2; Jer 31:12-14, 25; John 10:9
"rich pasture on the" Ezek 28:25, 26; 36:29, 30
"lead them to rest" Lit cause them to lie down
"feed My flock and" Ps 23:1, 2; Ezek 34:23
"fat and the strong" Is 10:16
"feed them with judgment" Is 49:26
"sheep and another" Or lamb
"judge between one sheep" Ezek 20:38; 34:20-22; Mal 4:1; Matt 25:32
"foul the rest with" Lit foul by trampling
"slight a thing for" Num 16:9, 13; 2Sam 7:19; Is 7:13
"foul with your feet" Lit foul by trampling
"weak with your horns" Or sick
"abroad" Lit to the outside
"thrust at all the" Deut 33:17; Dan 8:4; Luke 13:14-16
"deliver My flock" Ps 72:12-14; Jer 23:3; Ezek 34:10
"set over them one" Rev 7:17
"shepherd" Is 40:11; John 10:11
"David" Jer 30:9; Ezek 37:24
"David will be prince" Is 55:3; Jer 30:9; Ezek 37:24, 25; Hos 3:5
"covenant of peace with" Ezek 16:60; 20:37; 37:26
"eliminate harmful beasts from" Job 5:22, 23; Is 11:6-9
"live securely in the" Jer 33:16; Ezek 28:26; 34:27, 28
"blessing" Gen 12:2; Ezek 34:14
"showers to come down" Deut 11:13-15; 28:12
"blessing" Lev 25:21; Is 44:3
"secure on their land" Ezek 38:8, 11
"broken the bars of" Lev 26:13; Is 52:2, 3; Jer 30:8
"live securely" Jer 30:10; Ezek 39:26
"victims of famine in" Lit those gathered
"renowned planting place" Is 4:2; 60:21; 61:3
"not again be victims" Ezek 34:26, 27; 36:29
"endure the insults of" Ezek 36:6, 15
"I" Ps 46:7, 11; Ezek 14:11; 36:28
"sheep" Ps 78:52; 80:1; Ezek 36:38
"sheep of My pasture" Ps 100:3; Jer 23:1
"Mount Seir" Gen 36:8; Ezek 25:12; 36:5
"GOD" Heb YHWH, usually rendered LORD, and so throughout the chapter
"stretch out My hand" Jer 6:12; 15:6; Ezek 25:13
"desolation and a waste" Jer 49:13, 17, 18; Ezek 35:7
"lay waste your cities" Ezek 6:6; 35:9; Mal 1:3, 4
"delivered the sons of" Lit poured
"punishment of the end" Or iniquity
"enmity and have delivered" Ps 137:7; Ezek 25:12, 15; 36:5; Amos 1:11; Obad 10
"punishment of the end" Ezek 7:2; 21:25, 29
"give you over to" Lit prepare you for
"bloodshed" Is 63:2-6; Ezek 16:38; 32:6
"fall" Lit fall in them
"fill its mountains with" Is 34:5, 6; Ezek 31:12; 32:4, 5; 39:4, 5
"desolation and your cities" Jer 49:13; Ezek 25:13
"them" Lit it
"said" Ps 83:4-12; Ezek 36:2, 5
"LORD was there" Ps 48:1-3; 132:13, 14; Is 12:6; Ezek 48:35; Zeph 3:15
"according to your anger" Ps 137:7; Ezek 25:14; Amos 1:11
"make Myself known among" Ps 9:16; 73:17, 18
"that I" Or that I am the LORD: I have heard
"given to us for" Jer 50:7; Ezek 36:2
"spoken arrogantly against Me" Lit made great with your mouth
"spoken arrogantly against Me" Is 10:13, 14; 36:20; Jer 48:26, 42; Dan 11:36
"I have heard it" Jer 7:11; 29:23
"earth rejoices" Is 44:23; 49:13; Jer 51:48
"rejoiced over the inheritance" Jer 50:11; Lam 4:21
"so I will do" Obad 15
"desolation" Is 34:5, 6; Ezek 35:3, 4
"GOD" Heb YHWH, usually rendered LORD, and so throughout the chapter
"heights have become our" Heb Bamoth
"heights have become our" Deut 32:13; Ps 78:69; Is 58:14; Hab 3:19
"For good reason they" Lit Because; or By the cause
"talk and the whispering" Lit lip of the tongue
"desolate and crushed you" Jer 2:15
"talk and the whispering" Ps 44:13, 14; Jer 18:16; Ezek 35:13
"mountains of Israel" Deut 11:11; Ezek 36:1, 6, 8
"prey and a derision" Ezek 34:8, 28
"appropriated My land for" Lit gave
"jealousy I have spoken" Ezek 5:13; 36:6; 38:19
"rest of the nations" Jer 25:9, 15-29; Ezek 36:3
"joy and with scorn" Jer 50:11; Ezek 35:15; Mic 7:8
"endured the insults of" Ps 74:10; 123:3, 4; Ezek 34:29
"sworn that surely the" Lit lifted up My hand
"put forth your branches" Is 4:2; 27:6; Ezek 17:23; 34:26-29
"turn to you" Lev 26:9
"cultivated and sown" Ezek 28:26; 34:14; 36:34
"all the house of" Is 27:6; 49:17-23; Ezek 37:21, 22
"cities will be inhabited" Jer 31:27, 28; 33:12; Ezek 36:33
"treat you better than" Lit cause good
"formerly and will treat" Jer 30:18; Ezek 16:55; Mic 7:14
"better than at the" Job 42:12; Is 51:3
"menMy people Israelto walk" Ezek 34:13, 14
"inheritance and never again" Ezek 47:14
"bereave them of children" Jer 15:7; Ezek 22:12, 27
"nation of children," Or nations, and so throughout the chapter
"devourer of men and" Num 13:32
"insults from the nations" Is 60:14; Ezek 34:29; 36:7
"disgrace from the peoples" Ps 89:50; Is 54:4; Ezek 22:4
"stumble any longer" Is 63:13; Jer 13:16; 18:15
"defiled it by their" Jer 2:7
"the uncleanness of a" Lev 15:19
"poured out My wrath" 2Chr 34:21, 25; Lam 2:4; 4:11; Ezek 22:20, 22
"scattered them among the" Deut 28:64; Ezek 5:12; 22:15; Amos 9:9
"According to their ways" Ezek 24:14; 39:24; Rom 2:6
"profaned My holy name" Is 52:5; Ezek 12:16; Rom 2:24
"people of the LORD" Jer 33:24
"concern for My holy" Lit compassion
"holy name" Ps 74:18; Is 48:9; Ezek 20:44
"not for your sake" Deut 7:7, 8; 9:5, 6; Ezek 36:32
"vindicate the holiness of" Is 5:16; Ezek 20:41; 38:23; 39:7, 25
"nations will know that" Ps 102:15; 126:2
"take you from the" Is 43:5, 6; Ezek 34:13; 37:21
"sprinkle clean water on" Num 19:17-19; Ps 51:7; Titus 3:5, 6; Heb 9:13, 19; 10:22
"filthiness and from all" Is 4:4; Zech 13:1
"idols" Is 2:18, 20; Hos 14:3, 8
"new heart and put" Ps 51:10; Ezek 11:19; 18:31; John 3:3, 5; 2Cor 5:17
"heart of stone from" Ezek 11:19; Zech 7:12
"put My Spirit within" Is 44:3; 59:21; Ezek 37:14; 39:29; Joel 2:28, 29
"My people" Ezek 14:11; 37:23, 27
"bring a famine on" Lit put
"will not bring a" Ezek 34:27, 29; Hos 2:21-23
"multiply the fruit of" Lev 26:4; Ezek 34:27
"remember your evil ways" Ezek 16:61-63; 20:43
"for your sake" Deut 9:5
"cities to be inhabited" Ezek 36:10; Zech 8:7, 8
"waste places will be" Is 58:12
"garden of Eden" Is 51:3; Ezek 31:9; Joel 2:3
"will do it." Ezek 17:24; 22:14; 37:14; Hos 14:4-9
"for sacrifices" Lit of holy things
"flock for sacrifices" 1Kin 8:63; 2Chr 35:7-9; John 2:14
"flocks of men" Ps 74:1; 100:3; Jer 23:1; John 10:7, 9, 16
"by the Spirit of" Or in
"hand of the LORD" Ezek 1:3; 33:22; 40:1
"brought me out by" Ezek 8:3; 11:24; 43:5; Acts 8:39
"valley" Jer 7:32-8:2
"GOD" Heb YHWH, usually rendered LORD, and so throughout the chapter
"can these bones live" Ezek 26:19
"You know." Deut 32:39; 1Sam 2:6
"Prophesy over these bones" Ezek 37:9, 12
"hear the word of" Jer 22:29; Ezek 36:1
"breath to enter you" Or spirit, and so throughout the chapter
"breath to enter you" Gen 2:7; Ps 104:29, 30; Ezek 37:9, 10, 14
"know that I am" Is 49:23; Ezek 35:9; 38:23; 39:6; Joel 2:27; 3:17
"noise" Lit voice; or thunder
"as I was commanded" Jer 13:5-7
"breathe on these slain" Ps 104:30
"come to life" Hos 13:14
"breath came into them" Rev 11:11
"exceedingly great army" Jer 30:19; 33:22
"completely cut off." Lit cut off to ourselves
"whole house of Israel" Jer 33:24; Ezek 36:10; 39:25
"bones are dried up" Ps 141:7
"cut off." Ps 88:5; Lam 3:54
"cause you to come" Deut 32:39; 1Sam 2:6; Is 26:19; 66:14; Hos 13:14
"Spirit within you and" Or breath
"put My Spirit within" Is 32:15; Ezek 11:19; 36:27; 37:6, 9; 39:29; Joel 2:28, 29; Zech 12:10
"one stick and write" Num 17:2, 3
"Judah and for the" 2Chr 10:17; 11:11-17; 15:9
"Joseph" 1Kin 12:16-20; 2Chr 10:19
"join them for yourself" Is 11:13; Jer 50:4; Ezek 37:22-24; Hos 1:11; Zeph 3:9
"what you mean by" Ezek 12:9; 17:12; 20:49; 24:19
"take the sons of" Is 43:5, 6; Jer 29:14; Ezek 36:24; 39:27; Amos 9:14, 15
"one nation in the" Jer 3:18; 50:4, 5; Ezek 36:10
"one king will be" Ezek 34:23, 24; 37:24
"dwelling places in which" Another reading is backslidings
"no longer defile themselves" Ezek 36:25
"I will deliver them" Ezek 36:28, 29
"David will be king" Jer 30:9; Ezek 34:24; 37:25; Hos 3:5
"one shepherd" Ps 78:71; Is 40:11; Ezek 34:23
"David My servant will" Is 11:1; Ezek 37:24; Zech 6:12
"place them and multiply" Lit give
"covenant of peace with" Ezek 16:62; 20:37; 34:25
"everlasting covenant with them" Ps 89:3, 4; Is 55:3; 59:21; Ezek 16:60
"multiply them" Jer 30:19; Ezek 36:10, 11, 37
"sanctuary in their midst" Ezek 20:40; 43:7
"dwelling place also will" John 1:14; Rev 21:3
"I will be their" Ezek 37:23; 2Cor 6:16
"who sanctifies Israel" Ex 31:13; Ezek 20:12
"prince of Rosh" Or chief prince of Meshech
"Gog of the land" Ezek 38:3, 14, 16, 18; 39:1, 11; Rev 20:8
"Magog" Gen 10:2; Ezek 39:6; Rev 20:8
"Rosh" Ezek 38:3; 39:1
"Meshech and Tubal" Ezek 27:13; 38:3; 39:1
"GOD" Heb YHWH, usually rendered LORD, and so throughout the chapter
"prince of Rosh" Or chief prince of Meshech
"splendidly attired" Or clothed in full armor
"bring you out" Is 43:17
"horses and horsemen" Ezek 38:15; Dan 11:40
"Ethiopia and Put with" Lit Cush
"Persia" 2Chr 36:20; Ezra 1:1; Ezek 27:10; Dan 8:20
"Ethiopia and" Gen 10:6-8; Ezek 30:4, 5
"Put with them" Ezek 27:10; 30:5
"Gomer with all its" Gen 10:2, 3
"Beth-togarmah from the remote" Gen 10:3; Ezek 27:14
"Be prepared" Is 8:9
"nations" Lit peoples
"its people were brought" Lit it was
"After many days you" Is 24:22
"gathered from many nations" Is 11:11; Ezek 36:24; 37:21; 38:12; 39:27, 28
"mountains of Israel which" Ezek 34:13; 36:1-8
"living securely" Ezek 38:11, 14; 39:26
"like a storm" Is 5:28; 21:1; 25:4; 28:2; Jer 4:13
"cloud covering the land" Ezek 30:18; 38:16; Joel 2:2
"thoughts will come into" Lit words
"devise an evil plan" Ps 36:4; Mic 2:1
"unwalled villages" Or open country
"unwalled villages" Zech 2:4
"at rest" Jer 49:31
"center of the world" Lit navel
"capture spoil and to" Is 10:6; Ezek 29:19
"villages will say to" Or young lions
"Sheba and" Ezek 27:22, 23
"Dedan and the merchants" Ezek 25:13; 27:15, 20
"Tarshish with all its" Ezek 27:12
"spoil" Is 10:6; 33:23; Jer 15:13
"living securely" Jer 23:6; Ezek 38:8, 11; Zech 2:5, 8
"You will come from" Ezek 39:2
"know Me when I" Ps 83:18; Ezek 36:23; 38:23
"sanctified through you before" Is 5:16; 8:13; 29:23; Ezek 28:22
"prophesied in those days" Is 5:26-29; 34:1-6; 63:1-6; 66:15, 16; Joel 3:9-14
"anger" Ps 18:8, 15
"earthquake in the land" Or shaking
"zeal and in My" Deut 32:22; Ps 18:7, 8; Ezek 5:13; 36:5, 6; Nah 1:2; Heb 12:29
"earthquake in the land" Joel 3:16; Hag 2:6, 7, 21
"collapse and every wall" Lit fall
"The fish of the" Jer 4:24, 25; Hos 4:3; Nah 1:4-6
"mountains also will be" Zech 14:4
"him on all My" I.e. Gog
"sword against him on" Ezek 14:17
"Every man's sword will" Judg 7:22; 1Sam 14:20; 2Chr 20:23; Hag 2:22
"a torrential rain" Lit an overflowing
"judgment with him" Is 66:16; Jer 25:31
"hailstones" Ps 11:6; 18:12-14; Is 28:17
"make Myself known in" Ps 9:16; Ezek 37:28; 38:16
"GOD" Heb YHWH, usually rendered LORD, and so throughout the chapter
"prince of Rosh" Or chief prince of Meshech
"you" Ezek 38:2
"strike your bow from" Ps 76:3; Jer 21:4, 5; Ezek 30:21-24; Hos 1:5
"kind of predatory bird" Lit wing
"fall on the mountains" Is 14:24, 25; Ezek 39:17-20
"food to every kind" Ezek 29:5; 32:4, 5; 33:27
"open field" Lit face of the
"fire upon Magog and" Ezek 30:8, 16; 38:19, 22; Amos 1:4, 7, 10; Nah 1:6
"coastlands in safety" Ps 72:10; Is 66:19; Jer 25:22
"holy name I will" Ezek 36:20-22; 39:25
"profaned anymore" Ex 20:7; Ezek 20:9, 14, 39
"nations will know that" Ezek 38:16, 23
"Holy One in Israel" Is 12:6; 43:3, 14; 55:5; 60:9, 14
"go out and make" Is 66:24; Mal 1:5
"fires with the weapons" Josh 11:6; Ps 46:9
"plunder of those who" Is 14:2; 33:1; Mic 5:8; Hab 2:8
"horde" Lit crowd
"Hamon-gog" Or the multitude of Gog
"cleanse the land" Deut 21:23; Ezek 39:14, 16
"to their renown on" Or a memorial for them
"renown on the day" Jer 33:9; Zeph 3:19, 20
"glorify Myself" Ezek 28:22
"burying those who were" Jer 14:16
"set up a marker" Lit build
"Hamon-gog" Or the multitude of Gog
"kind of bird and" Lit wing
"bird and to every" Is 56:9; Jer 12:9; Ezek 39:4; Rev 19:17, 18
"sacrifice for you" Is 34:6, 7; Jer 46:10; Zeph 1:7
"eat the flesh of" Ezek 29:5; Rev 19:18
"rams" Jer 51:40
"bulls" Jer 50:27
"Bashan" Ps 22:12; Amos 4:1
"horses and charioteers" Ps 76:5, 6; Ezek 38:4; Hag 2:22; Rev 19:18
"glory among the nations" Ex 9:16; Is 37:20; Ezek 36:23; 38:16, 23; 39:13
"know that I am" Jer 24:7
"iniquity because they acted" Jer 22:8, 9; 44:22; Ezek 36:18, 19
"hid My face from" Is 1:15; 59:2; Ezek 39:29
"According to their uncleanness" 2Kin 17:7; Jer 2:17, 19; 4:18; Ezek 36:19
"restore the fortunes of" Or return the captivity
"restore the fortunes of" Is 27:12, 13; Jer 33:7; Ezek 34:13
"house of Israel" Jer 31:1; Ezek 36:10; 37:21, 22; Hos 1:11
"jealous for My holy" Ex 20:5; Nah 1:2
"forget their disgrace and" Another reading is bear
"perpetrated against Me" Lit did treacherously
"forget their disgrace and" Ezek 16:63; 20:43; 36:31
"live securely on their" 1Kin 4:25; Ezek 34:25-28
"no one to make" Is 17:2; Mic 4:4
"through them in the" Lit in
"bring them back from" Ezek 36:24; 37:21
"sanctified through them in" Ezek 36:23; 38:16, 23
"poured out My Spirit" Is 32:15; Ezek 36:27; 37:14; Joel 2:28
On January 8, Hebrew On the fifth day of the tenth month, of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar. This event occurred on January 8, 585 B.C.; also see note on 1:1.
you worship idols, The Hebrew term (literally round things) probably alludes to dung.
known to Israel Hebrew to them; Greek version reads to you.
worship of idols, The Hebrew term (literally round things) probably alludes to dung; also in 36:25.
tender, responsive heart. Hebrew a heart of flesh.
tribes of Israel.' Hebrew This is Ephraim's wood, representing Joseph and all the house of Israel.
with their idols The Hebrew term (literally round things) probably alludes to dung.
Ethiopia, and Libya Hebrew Paras, Cush, and Put.
will rouse yourself. As in Greek version; Hebrew reads then you will know.
the Dead Sea. Hebrew the sea.
of my people Hebrew of Jacob.
IVP-New Bible Commentary
1-6 Ezekiel must proclaim to his countrymen: 'Suppose a country is threatened by war, and that a certain individual is called to the job of giving advance warning of any attack (2). If that person sounds the alarm when attack is near, then any responsibility for casualties will rest with the citizens themselves (3-5). But if the alarm is not sounded when attack is near, that person will be held responsible for the death of any of the citizens' (6).
7-9 Ezekiel has been given that job for the Israelites. He is to convey to them the warnings God sends (7). If he does not convey those warnings to anyone he will be held responsible for that person's fate. But if he does, he will have saved himself (8-9).
10-20 Ezekiel is further to proclaim to Israel: 'You say that you are burdened to death by your sins. I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked (10-11). If a righteous man turns from his former ways and starts to do evil, none of the righteous things he has done will count; he will die for his sins (12-13). If a wicked man turns from his ways and starts to do what is just and right, his previous misdeeds will be forgotten; he will live (14-16). Although you, Israel, say [p. 737] that my way is unjust, it is your way that is unjust. Each of you will be judged accordingly' (17-20).
Note. 2 'Watchman'see note on 3:16-21.
33:21-22 Ezekiel regains his speech
This incident is unique in the book of Ezekiel in that his prophetic experience ('the hand of the LORD was upon me') did not result in a vision or oracle. Instead, Ezekiel was given back the power of speech that had been taken from him at the start of his ministry (3:26-27).
The timing of this event was significant. On the next day the news arrived that Jerusalem had fallen. Ezekiel's warnings had come true.
Note. 21 'Twelfth year'Jerusalem fell in 587 BC. A number of versions and manuscripts read 'eleventh year'. If this reading is correct, and the year refers to the reign of Zedekiah, then the time interval between the fall of the city and the fugitive's visit to Ezekiel was about six months. Cf. Ezr. 7:9, where a straight journey from Babylon to Jerusalem took a full four months.
33:23-33 Israel's illegal possessions
The siege was over. Jerusalem had fallen and the land had been laid waste. Many had been killed and others had been deported or forced to flee. Yet there were some survivors.
Calamity does not always bring out the best in people. After the first siege of 597 one group of survivors in the city gloated as they planned to rise to the top (11:2-12). After the second siege the land had been depopulated. Those who were left, far from turning to God, maintained their idolatry. Furthermore, they took it upon themselves to annex their neighbours' possessions and land, even to abusing the wives that were left (24-26). Ezekiel's oracle warns that further desolation of the land would ensue because of what was being done.
At the end of the oracle Ezekiel is warned of a problem which many preachers experience. The people liked to listen to him but did not put into practice what he said. A preacher may have entertainment value, but that does not mean he is heeded.
Deprivation, like calamity, does not always bring out the best in people either. Desperate circumstances sometimes evoke desperate actions, and we must have understanding in such cases. However, there are times, as with this oracle, when chaos and ruination are simply treated as moments of opportunity by greedy and ruthless people.
23-29 The word of the Lord to Ezekiel is: 'The people inhabiting the ruins in the land of Israel think that they now are its owners (24-25). Proclaim to them: ''You carry out pagan and violent practicesshould the land fall into your possession? (25-26). Because of what you do, the land will be desolate. Then you will know that I am the Lord'' ' (27-29).
30-33 Again to Ezekiel: 'You are a topic of conversation among your compatriots. They gather to hear you, but pay only lipservice to what you say. You are like an entertainer to them. However, when your proclamations come true, they will know that a prophet has been among them.'
Notes. 24 'Abraham was only one'their reasoning was that if Abraham, a single individual, could take possession of the land, then it would be no problem for them, who were much more numerous, to do it.
33 The mark of a true prophet was that what he predicted indeed came true.
34:1-48:35 Prophecies of restoration
The prophecies in chs. 34-48 have an entirely different theme from the earlier ones. Whereas the oracles of chs. 1-33 consist primarily of warnings of disaster that would befall the people of Israel or their neighbours, the emphasis in 34-48 is on restoration and hope. Jerusalem and the temple had been destroyed. The people had been driven into exile. But yet there is hope.
Modern readers find these chapters difficult to interpret, partly because of the unfamiliar imagery and partly out of a tendency to look for a specific modern event which relates to what the prophecies describe. It is important to remember that these oracles are essentially similar in character to those in earlier parts of the book. Many of the features of the later chapters have counterparts in earlier ones e.g. the promise of a new covenant (16:60), the return to the land (28:25), the symbolic use of numbers (4:5-6; 14:21; 29:13) and identification of a nation by its ruler (29:1-6; 31:2-18). There are references which seem deliberately vague or symbolic, e.g. David and Gog, or which point to an endtime e.g. 'David will be their prince for ever' (37:25). Such references have led commentators to class Ezekiel as 'protoApocalyptic'.
For us the images can be distant and hard to picture. Yet they must have had painful associations for the exiles. The detailed description of the temple (40-48) is difficult for us to follow, but it would have brought memories flooding back to those who had known the temple and worshipped there. The images of the valley of dry bones (37), of scattered sheep (34), of ruined buildings and wastes (35, 36), of a land strewn with fallen weapons (39), and of wild animals feasting on dead soldiers (39) are all images of war. They are pictures of a land so [p. 738] ravaged that the dead lay unburied, their corpses rotting and their weapons rusting. These images would have been painfully real to those who had witnessed Israel's military destruction.
These prophecies were in the first place for the people of Ezekiel's day. Their content was expressed in terms that the people of then knew and understood. The resolution of the prophecies should not be seen as oneoff events but as a process. Their purpose was to bring hope when all hope was gone and to bring guidance when the very reason for living was unclear. Their fulfilment started the day they were delivered. The people of God would never be abandoned no matter what calamity might confront them.
This is not to conclude that such prophecies have no meaning for us today. As we have seen, the fall of nations and the devastations of war are as familiar items of news on our TV screens as they were for Ezekiel's prophecies. Yet overall the same God holds out to us the same hope of future restoration.
34:1-31 Israel's shepherds denounced
The image of the people of God as a flock of sheep occurs several times throughout the Bible. In this oracle, the current shepherdsi.e. the rulers of Israelare rebuked for their selfinterest and lack of care for their subjects. Furthermore, some sheep had grown fat at the expense of others i.e. some people had acquired wealth and power by oppressing others who were poorer and weaker. Ezekiel warns that justice will be restored.
The warning turns into a promise for the future (21-24). Not only will the Lord save his sheep, he will also appoint his servant David to be shepherd over them, and make a covenant of peace with them. As in other oracles, the name is symbolic. The reference to David does not mean that the ancient king David will be literally resurrected and set up as ruler. Its primary force is that the coming ruler will have the exemplary attributes of Davidsomeone in whom the Lord delighted and who triumphed over the foes of Israel. David is also referred to in 37:24-26, where his rule is described as lasting for ever. The same passage also refers to the everlasting covenant of peace which the Lord will make with his people, a theme almost identical to that in 34:25-30.
Both passages clearly are looking forward not just to Israel's immediate future but also to her long term future. God would make peace with the people, and he would appoint a shepherd to rule them.
The oracle brings a promise of hope. Even if God's people were scattered and oppressed they would one day receive justice. Readers of the NT will see that day as the time of the return of Jesus Christ, a promise sealed by his first coming, death and resurrection.
1-31 Ezekiel is to proclaim to the shepherds of Israel: 'Woe to you shepherds of Israel. You did not look after the flock. They have become scattered over the lands. You only took care of yourselves (2, 5-8). I am against the shepherds. They will be held responsible for the flock, but will be discharged from their jobs. They will no longer feed off my flock (10). I will rescue my scattered flock. I will gather them from the nations and bring them to good pasture in the land of Israel. I myself will tend to them and be a just shepherd (11-15). I will judge between one sheep and another. Some have grown fat at the expense of others. The flock will no longer be plundered (17-22). I will appoint my servant David to be their only shepherd. I will be their God, and David will be their prince (23-24). I will make a covenant of peace with them. They will dwell in safety in a fertile land. They will be rescued from enslavement. Then they shall know that I their God am with them and that they are my people' (25-31).
Notes. 13 'Bring them... gather them'the promise of restoration gets special emphasis in chs. 34-48. However, it occurs in earlier oracles too: 11:17; 16:60; 20:34, 42; 28:25.
25 'Covenant of peace'the promised new covenant (cf. Je. 31:31-34).
35:1-36:15 Prophecies and mountains: warnings to Edom and encouragement for Israel
It is important to note that ch. 35 and ch. 36:1-15 form one single oracle. The imagery running throughout is that of mountains. The mountain of Edom, Mount Seir, will be laid waste (35:7, 14), whereas the mountains of Israel will become fruitful (36:8-9) and repopulated (36:10-12).
Edom was Israel's neighbour and ancient rival. The two nations were ethnically close, yet maintained ancient enmities. The land of Edom lay on Israel's eastern border, running south from the Dead Sea. The mountain associated with EdomMount Seirwould have overlooked Israel's eastern flank. The Edomites could monitor Israel's misery when it befell her.
Edom is condemned on several counts. First, she had apparently betrayed Israel in Israel's hour of need (35:5). Second the Edomites had gloated, even rejoiced at Israel's destruction (35:12, 15; 36:5). Third, they had taken the opportunity to plunder some of Israel's land during this time of turmoil (35:12; 36:2, 5). Longstanding feuds between neighbours are often difficult to erase. It is easy to take delight in or even take advantage of the misfortunes of a [p. 739] disliked neighbour. Yet our dealings should be just, even when we find them difficult.
Edom may be taken as a symbol of the ceaseless hostility between God's people and the 'world'. Whereas David was the king who conquered and held Edom (see Commentary on 34:21-24 and 2 Sa. 8:12-14), and David is symbolic of the triumph of Israel, so the downfall of Edom symbolizes the beginning of the new order. The return of 'David' will remind us of the coming of the Messiah and the establishment of the new order, the kingdom of heaven, which Jesus Christ came to proclaim.
35:1-15 Ezekiel must proclaim against Edom: 'I am against you Edom. When I make you desolate, you will know that I am the Lord (3-4). Your longstanding hostility led you to betray Israel in their final hour (5). Bloodshed shall therefore pursue you, and you shall become a wasteland. Then you will know that I am the Lord (6-9). You thought you would take possession of the territory of Israel and Judah when they were laid waste. You also boasted against me. Because you rejoiced when Israel became a desert, you will become a desert (10-15). Then you shall know that I am the Lord' (4, 9, 15).
36:1-15 But to the mountains of Israel Ezekiel is to proclaim: 'The enemy thought they would take possession of and plunder you (36:1-4). You have suffered the scorn of nations, but nations around you will suffer scorn too (36:5-7). Yet you will become fertile and prosperous, with many settlements. Then you will know that I am the Lord. My people will come to possess you as inheritance (36:8-12). No longer will the mountains of Israel rob the nation of its people' (36:12-15).
Notes. 35:10 'Two nations'i.e. Israel and Judah.
36:2 'The ancient heights'much of Israel and Judah lay in the mountainous region between the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean.
36:12-13 'You... deprive them of their children'; 'you devour men'here the mountains are portrayed as contributing to the destruction of the people. The expression may be purely poetic; no doubt many did perish in battle skirmishes in the mountain areas.
36:16-38 The restoration of Israel
This oracle forms the core of the book of Ezekiel. Its message is a summary of the book. Israel had offended God through bloodshed and idolatry (18). Her punishment meant dispersal among the nationsexile (19). Yet the Lord would not leave them there. They would return to their land (24). He would cleanse them and transform them and they would follow him (25-28). The land and its people would flourish again (29-38). The surrounding nations would know that the Lord had acted (36).
The reason why the Lord would bring his people out of their exile is clearly expressed. It had nothing to do with any innate goodness or desirability in the people themselves. Rather, it had to do with God's desire that his name should not be profaned. The very fact that Israel was in exile led others to think that the God of Israel was either incapable or unwilling to look after his own people. This situation was denigrating the character of God, and for this reason, God would restore his people (20-23).
This oracle brings hope to all of us. God acts to save, not on the basis of our worthiness, but out of the richness of his mercy.
16-38 To Ezekiel God says: 'When Israel dwelt in their own land, they defiled it with their iniquity. So I scattered them among other lands. Yet their dispersal profaned my name, which is of concern to me (16-21). Therefore, God's word to Israel is: ''For the sake of my name I will show myself holy through you to the nations. Then they will know that I am the Lord (22-23). I will bring you back to your own land and cleanse you. Your heart of stone will be replaced with a heart of flesh. I will put my Spirit in you and make you follow my laws. The land will be plentiful [and] you will come to detest and be ashamed of your past conduct. It is not for your sake that I do this (24-32). When I cleanse you from all your sins, the towns will be rebuilt and the land recultivated. The nations left around will then know that I have restored it all (33-36). The people of Israel will become as numerous as sheep. Then they will know that I am the Lord'' ' (37-38).
Notes. 25 'Sprinkle clean water'a ceremonial act of cleansing.
26 'Heart of flesh'the use of the term 'flesh' here should not be confused with its use in other parts of the Bible, where it often denotes frailty or corruption. In this passage 'heart of flesh' is contrasted with 'heart of stone', the implication being that the stony cold, hardhearted nature of the people of Israel would be replaced with a warm, living spirituality.
37:1-14 The valley of dry bones
After the fall of Jerusalem the people would have been scattered and dispirited. The oracle had a simple message: that the dead nation of Israel would one day be revived and return to their own land. The dry bones became living warriors. An equally powerful transformation would one day be applied to Israel.
The force of this vision has brought hope to many down the centuries. The power of God can change even the most hopeless of lives and situations.
1-11 Ezekiel has a vision in which he is [p. 740] transported to the middle of a valley full of dry bones. The Lord tells him to prophesy to the bones and to tell them they would become covered with flesh and come to life. He does so, and while he is prophesying, the bones come together with a rattle. Flesh, sinews and skin cover them, but they are still dead (1-8). He is then told to command the wind to blow on the bodies. When he does so, breath enters them and they become alivean immense army (9-10). The Lord explains to him: 'These bones represent Israel, who say that their hope has dried up' (11).
12-14 Ezekiel is to proclaim to all the people of Israel: 'I will bring you out of your graves to the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Lord (12-13), I will put my Spirit in you and settle you in your land. Then you will know that I am the Lord, I have said it and will do it' (14).
Notes. 1 'The hand of the Lord'this expression indicates that Ezekiel was about to experience an intense vision rather than the usual more 'verbal' message.
5, 14 'Breath'the Hebrew for this word can also mean 'spirit' or 'Spirit'.
37:15-28 The reunion of Israel
The people of Israel had been separated into two kingdomsIsrael and Judahsince the end of Solomon's reign almost three centuries earlier. Not only would they be restored, as promised in the preceding oracle, they would also become one nation again.
They would have one ruler, who is described here as 'my servant David'. (See the comment to 34:1-31 where the term is also used.) By calling the new ruler 'David', the prophecy implies that the new ruler will have all the worthy attributes of king David and all his privileges of ancestry, right to the throne and standing before God in the light of his promises. Israel's future is depicted as an idealised version of her past. Even the deepest wounds of history can be healed through the power of God.
15-23 Ezekiel is instructed to: 'Take two sticks. Write on one: ''Belonging to Judah and his associates'', and write on the other: ''Belonging to Israel and his associates''. Join both sticks together in your hand so that they become one (16-17). When anyone asks you, explain the significance of this act, which is: ''I the Lord will join Israel's and Judah's sticks together so that they become one'' (18-19). Show them the sticks (20), and proclaim: ''I will gather Israel from the nations back to their own land. They will have one king and will never again be divided into two kingdoms. They will no longer defile themselvesI will cleanse them. They will be my people, and I will be their God''' (21-23).
24-28 'My servant David will be king over them for ever. They will observe my statutes. They and their descendants shall dwell in their ancestral land for ever (24-25). I will make an everlasting covenant with them. Their number shall increase (26). My sanctuary will be placed among them for ever. I will be their God, and they will be my people. The nations shall then know that I the Lord make Israel holy, because my sanctuary will be ever with them' (27-28).
Notes. 16 'Ephraim's stick'the name 'Ephraim' was less ambiguous than 'Israel'. Ephraim clearly was of the northern kingdom, whereas the name 'Israel' could have applied to the people of both kingdoms.
26 'My sanctuary'this promise concerning the sanctuary is expanded in chs. 40-48.
38:1-39:29 Prophecies against those who oppose Israel
We do not know for certain of a historical ruler called Gog. The lands that he ruledMagog, Meshech and Tubalare probably to be located in the region of Asia Minor and the Black Seasee note to v 1. These lands would thus lie at the farthest reaches of the world of the Middle East. It may well be that Gog and his nations are symbolic of the people of the world who are arraigned against the people of God. (The book of Revelation refers to Gog and Magog in this sense in Rev. 20:8). Viewed in this way, the oracle becomes a warning that, even after their return from exile, the people of Israel would at the same time experience immense forces against them. Yet these forces would be routed, and their destruction would be great.
The intensity of the imagery in the oraclethe great armies and the huge numbers of fallenhas led some interpreters to see this oracle as predicting a specific final battle. However, if we compare this oracle with e.g. those against Egypt in 32:1-16 and Tyre in 28:11-19, we find a similar extravagance of symbolism.
The implication of the oracle is that in future days the people of God would experience the massed forces of evil ranged against them. The odds would seem insurmountable, but the power of God would protect his people. The enemy would be routed. This victory still lies in the future for us, but the crucial blow has been struck at the cross of Calvary.
38:1-23 The Lord tells Ezekiel to proclaim to Gog: 'I am against you, Gog. You and your allies will suffer a rout (38:2-5). Get ready, for in years to come you and your hordes will invade the land of Israel (38:7-9). At that time you will scheme to plunder and pillage a rich, peaceful land (10-13). You and your numerous allies will advance from the far north. I will [p. 741] bring you so that nations may know me (14-16). I spoke of you in the past through my servants the prophets (17). When you attack Israel, there shall be a terrifying earthquake with accompanying violent storms. In afficting you with these I shall make myself known to many nations. Then they shall know that I am the Lord' (18-23).
39:1-16 'On the mountains of Israel I will knock your weapons from your hands. There you will fall and provide food for the birds and beasts of prey (39:1-5). I will make my holy name known to Israel. The nations will know that I am the Lord, holy in Israel. This shall surely happen (6-8). It will take the inhabitants of Israel seven years to use up the fallen weapons as fuel for their fires (8-10). The burial ground of Gog will be called the Valley of HamonGog. It will take the people of Israel seven months to bury them all and cleanse the land' (11-16).
39:17-29 Ezekiel is also to proclaim and call to all the birds and animals: 'Prepare for the great sacrifice. You will eat flesh and drink the blood of these armies till you are glutted (17-20). Nations shall see what I have done. Israel will know that I am the Lord their God, and the nations will know that they (Israel) had gone into exile because of their sins (21-24). I will restore Israel from captivity and thus show myself holy. Then they will know that I am the Lord their God. I will pour out my Spirit upon them' (25-29).
Notes. 38:1 Meshech and Tubal were probably situated in Asia Minor (cf. v 6). The name 'Magog' appears as one of the sons of Japheth in Gn. 10:2; 1 Ch. 1:5 and is thus the name of a people. The word 'Magog' may simply mean 'land of Gog'.
38.5 'Cush'Upper Egypt. 'Put'Libya.
38:6 'Gomer'a land in Asia Minor. 'Beth Togarmah'Armenia. It can be noted that the sons of Japheth in Gn. 10:2 included Gomer, Magog, Tubal and Meshech.
38:12 'the centre of the land'Jerusalem (c.f 5:5).
38:17 'Are you not the one I spoke of...?'This question could be taken as another indication that Gog is symbolic. The implication here is that Israel had already been warned of such an event.
39:9 'Seven years'the number seven (also in 39:12'seven months') symbolizes the completeness of the event.
39:12 'Burying them in order to cleanse the land'anyone who touched a corpse was rendered ceremonially unclean (Nu. 19:11).
39:18 'Bashan'a region east of Galilee renowed for the quality of its cattle and oaktrees.
39:25-29 This section does not denote yet another gathering of Israel. It can be seen as summing up God's intentions for his people.
Ezekiel's Role as a Watchman
33:2-6. role of watchman. The watchman stood at the place in the city where he would have the most strategic view of the surroundings and watched for any approaching enemy army. He reported either by word of mouth or by trumpet. His task was simply to sound the alarm of the approaching enemy. He was absolved of responsibility if the city dwellers refused to heed his call. The watchman is found throughout the ancient Near East. The spiritual sense used here is not found in the ancient Near East but is picked up (probably from Ezekiel) in the Dead Sea Scrolls sectarian documents, where the leader of the community is on the lookout for the judgment of God.
33:3. trumpet signal. The trumpet here is the ram's horn, which had a limited musical range. The term (Hebrew, shopar) is likely be related to Akkadian shapparu, which is in turn a loan word from Sumerian denoting a wild goat or ibex. It was significant not only for its use in war (to proclaim victory, announce the disbanding of the army and call troops to arms) but also for the cultic rites of Israel (see Ps 81:4 and Lev 25:9). In fact, it is the most frequently named musical instrument in the Old Testament. For more information see comment on Joshua 6:45.
33:7. prophet as watchman. Ezekiel's portrayal of himself as prophetic watchman is similar to the charge given to Isaiah (21:69) and Jeremiah (6:17). Though no similar label has been found attached to prophets in the ancient Near East, the concept is familiar enough. The prophets were expected to warn the king of impending situations (in military or cultic realms) that might jeopardize his person or the stability of his kingdom.
33:15. pledge for loan. Pledges for loans were customary throughout the ancient Near East. Thousands of loan contracts uncovered from Mesopotamia show that it was quite an ordinary procedure. For example, at Terqa in Middle Bronze Age Syria, a certain Puzurum made a loan at the local temple of the sun god Shamash. He retained one-half of a cuneiform contract, while the temple (functioning in this case as a bank) retained the other. Thus the two halves functioned as a receipt. When Puzurum paid off the loan, the temple returned to him the remaining portion of the contract. The return of a pledge by a repentant wicked person suggests that an oppressive debt situation was resolved with the debt being forgiven.
33:21. chronology. The date is January 19, 585 B.C. It is about five months after the fall of Jerusalem. Most commentaries agree that this is not a fugitive or even a refugee, but one of the survivors who has been brought captive to Babylon with the first wave of exiles from the destruction.
33:25. eating meat with blood. The phrase literally is "eating over blood." Leviticus 19:26 associates this with banned forms of divination. Medieval rabbinical texts identified this with a practice of the Sabians, a north Arabian sect that had a communal meal in which humans ate meat whose blood was poured on the ground to attract spirit beings. Similar practices were done throughout the entire Near East. The land of Israel was understood theologically as the camp that surrounded the temple. The violations listed are the sort that would result in the person being sent outside the camp.
33:27. wild animals as punishment. Wild beasts were a constant source of fear for city dwellers throughout the ancient Near East. In Assyrian texts and reliefs of this period the kings are seen hunting lions to symbolically rid the city of the scourge of wild beasts. It has been suggested that the killing of eighteen lions represents the eighteen gates of Nineveh and the roads leading out of them. See comment on 5:17.
33:32. love songs for entertainment. Love (or erotic) songs had long been sources of entertainment for city dwellers. The itinerant singer of songs traveled from town to town, entertaining the people. Many of these songs were written down in the cuneiform record. For example, portions of the Epic of Gilgamesh may well have been sung to the city dwellers in Sumer in much the same way that Homer's Iliad and Odyssey were sung by traveling poets before being written down centuries later. Love songs are connected to Ritual Marriage texts (the Tammuz liturgy) in Sumerian times and were popular in Egypt during the second half of the second millennium (Eighteenth and Nineteenth Dynasties). It is a severe indictment that the people have reduced the role of the messenger of God to mere entertainment.
Oracle to the Shepherds
34:3. perquisites of leaders. The three staple byproducts of sheep and goats (goats' milk/ curds, sheep's wool, meat) are used here to extend the metaphor of the leaders gleaning all the benefits but not fulfilling their responsibilities. Royal and priestly administrations were of necessity supported by the population through taxations of various sorts, but it was expected that the population would in turn benefit rather than be exploited.
34:3-4. shepherd tasks. As the previous metaphor concerned the privileges of the shepherd, attention now turns to the neglected responsibilities. The metaphor goes beyond the normal responsibilities of making sure that the sheep were protected and fed. Instead it focuses on the remedial duties, caring for the sick and finding the lost. These would equate to the need for kings to bring about justice for alienated and disenfranchised people (such as the widow and orphan).
34:7-16. shepherd/king metaphor in ancient Near East. The ideology of the king as a shepherd to his people is found with Lugalzagessi of Sumer as early as around 2450 B.C. The contemporary king Urukagina of Lagash claimed that the god Ningirsu owned his state and that the king had been chosen as a shepherd to administer the city on behalf of the gods and the people. Gods responsible for maintaining justice (Shamash in Mesopotamia, Amun in Egypt) are likewise represented in this way. This ideology continued in the ancient Near East into the monarchy period, occurring in reference to Ashurbanipal of Assyria (seventh century) and Nebuchadnezzar (sixth century).
Oracle Concerning Edom
35:2. Mount Seir. Mount Seir was the ancient name of the mountainous region south of the Dead Sea on both sides of the Rift Valley running south to the Gulf of Aqaba. The name Seir is found in the Amarna texts from Egypt in the fourteenth century B.C. According to Scripture the mountains of Seir were occupied first by the Horites (Deut 2:12, 22), who were later displaced by the Edomites. Seir became synonymous with the entire country of Edom.
35:5. Edom's role in fall of Jerusalem. This verse addresses the long-standing dissension between Edom and Israel. We are told elsewhere in Scripture that the Edomites cheered when Nebuchadnezzar II destroyed Jerusalem (e.g., Ps 137; Joel 3:19; Obad 114). This is the only text that implies that they played an active role in the conquest.
Oracle of Restoration
36:5. Edom's conduct. See comment on 35:5.
36:25. sprinkled with clean water. While sprinkling with water for purification was a part of the ritual ablutions used by the priests, the term "clean water" is not used anywhere else in the Old Testament.
36:26. metaphors. The heart was considered the seat of the mind and its will, or inclinations. For more information concerning a heart of stone or a heavy heart see comments on 11:19; Isaiah 6:910; and Exodus 8:11.
Valley of Dry Bones
37:1. transported in visions. See comment on 8:3.
37:2. valley full of bones. The large amount of bones described here implies that this was the scene of a major catastrophe. The depiction of a large number of corpses that had been denied a proper burial is reminiscent of many battle scenes and descriptions of battle scenes found in the earliest periods of Mesopotamian and Egyptian history. Furthermore, the Assyrian annals describe the destruction of their enemies in similar terms. A typical ancient Near Eastern curse has the corpse of the cursed victim exposed to the elements.
37:12-13. resurrection in ancient Near East. The concept of resurrection was known in some parts of the ancient Near East. The Egyptians believed that some of the deceased rose as stars and took their place in the heavens. However, in general the only awakening that was part of the ancient worldview was the calling up of spirits of the dead (which is not permanent and not a bodily presence) or the awakening of the fertility gods of nature cycles. These died annually when the agricultural cycle came to an end and "wintered" in the netherworld. Then they were ritually awakened in the spring. None of this bears any resemblance to a theological doctrine of resurrection. Occasional revivifications or indications of national return to life as found in this passage are not representative of a doctrine of resurrection. See comment on Isaiah 26:19. Some have suggested that there is a greater likelihood that Ezekiel is transported east this time. Zoroastrian practice was to leave bodies unburied with the hope that they would someday be reassembled and revived. A drawback to this is that the spread of Persian culture and ideas dates to some decades after Ezekiel, and Zoroastrianism does not take hold in the Persian empire until the end of the sixth century.
38:15-16. writing on wood. It is likely, since this wood is being written on, that Ezekiel is using two wooden tablets. It was a common practice to use wooden boards coated with a beeswax concoction for the writing of messages that were formal but did not need to be archived and preserved.
Gog and Magog
38:2. Gog. The identification of Gog has perplexed commentators for centuries. The most likely explanation is that the name is a derivative of Gyges, who was a Lydian king mentioned in Assyrian and Greek sources. In the former he is called Gugu and he rules over mat Gugu, which is Akkadian for the "land of Gugu." His reign, however, is fifty or more years prior to the time of Ezekiel, so some have argued that the name became a dynastic title used by his royal descendants. The king of Lydia at the time of Ezekiel is Alyattes. There is no evidence that Lydia ever threatened Judah, but the Lydians were involved in a serious war against Cyaxares and the Medes in 585. Gog looks similar to the names Agag and Og, two famous enemies of Israel.
38:2. Magog. Magog is likely a Hebrew form of Akkadian Mat Gugu, "the land of Gog," which Josephus identified as Lydia in western Anatolia.
38:2. Meschech and Tubal. At the end of the eighth century, these two Anatolian kingdoms were ravaged by internal warfare, conquered by Sargon II of Assyria and invaded by the Cimmerians from southern Russia. Unfortunately, little of their history survives from the seventh and early sixth centuries. It is thought that they were incorporated under Lydian control after the conclusion of the Cimmerian wars. In the spring of 585 the Lydians were at war with the Medes. They are mentioned again in the Persian period as separate ethnic identities. They are known to the Assyrians as Mushku (central Anatolia) and Tabal (eastern Anatolia), and to Herodotus as the Moschi and Tibarenoi (subject states of the Persian empire). At the end of the eighth century the king of Mushku was Mita, known to the Greeks as Midas, the king with the golden touch. His tomb has been identified at Gordion and excavated.
38:4. hooks in your jaws. The Assyrians typically put hooks in the jaws of defeated enemies, either for the purposes of humiliation or to deport them to other lands. This practice is often described in their annals and graphically depicted in their wall reliefs. Esarhaddon is depicted on a stele from Zinjirli in Syria as leading Baal of Tyre and Tirhakah of Egypt by a rope tied to a ring through their lips. Ashurbanipal claims to have pierced the cheeks of Uate' (king of Ishmael) with a sharp-edged tool and put a ring in his jaw.
38:4. large and small shields. These were body shields and hand shields respectively. See comment on 23:24.
38:5. Persia, Cush and Put. See comment on 27:10.
38:6. Gomer. Gomer has been equated with the Gimirrai of the Assyrian annals and the Cimmerians of Greek sources. In Homer's Odyssey they lived on the north shore of the Black Sea. They attacked the kingdom of Urartu from the north and caused problems for the Assyrians in the eighth century. Sargon died in battle against them in Tubal. They appear to have been driven through the Caucasus mountains into Anatolia according to Herodotus. They came to be involved with the Anatolian kingdom of Lydia in the seventh century B.C. They overran the Phrygians and sacked the capital at Gordion, the royal seat of the famous King Midas, in 676. In 644 they overthrew Sardis, the capital of the Lydian state. This was when Gyges met his death. During Ezekiel's time the Cimmerians had been driven out of Lydia by Alyattes. They later came under the control of the Medes.
38:6. Beth Togarmah. Beth Togarmah was most likely the capital city of Kammanu, a central Anatolian kingdom. It was known in Hittite sources as Tegaramara and in Assyrian sources as Til-Garimmu.
38:11. unwalled villages. The unwalled villages (mentioned here and in Zech 2:8 and Esther 9:19) have normally been defined as rural settlements without walls, bars or gates, in contrast to fortified cities. They were defenseless and vulnerable.
38:13. Sheba and Dedan. The kingdom of Sheba was a great trading center in southwestern Arabia that exported precious stones, gold and incense. This kingdom is known as Saba in native sources and in the Assyrian annals. It had a very advanced urban civilization in the first millennium B.C. For more information see 2 Chronicles 9:1. Dedan was a central Arabian oasis where Tyre received its special riding gear. It is identified with the modern site of al-Ula, which is situated on the frankincense road from Yemen to Palestine.
38:13. merchants of Tarshish. In this context the merchants of Tarshish appear to represent merchant peoples who did their trade on the overland routes across the Arabian Desert to Sheba and Dedan, and on to the Mediterranean Sea.
38:14. Gog. See comment on 38:2
38:19. earthquakes in Israel. This appears to be a cosmic earthquake, similar to ones described in Exodus 19; Judges 5:45; Isaiah 30:2728; Habakkuk 3:37; and Psalms 68:89 and 114 (see comment on 1 Sam 14:15). This type of imagery is also found in the annals of Esarhaddon of Assyria. The Levant was prone to earthquakes, but Israel is on the edge of the zone that has its center in Anatolia. The well-known historical quakes occurred in 760 and 31 B.C. In the Christian era the region has averaged about one major quake per century.
38:22. hailstones and burning sulfur. The occurrence of hailstones as divine judgment in conquest accounts is not unique. In a letter to his god (Ashur), Sargon of Assyria reports that in his campaign against Urartu (714 B.C.) the god Adad stormed against his enemies with "stones from heaven" and so annihilated them. This battle included a coalition that fled through the passes and valleys pursued by Sargon, with the enemy king hiding at last in the clefts of his mountain. Burning sulfur ("brimstone") is a yellow crystalline substance that ignites in air, often found in volcanic regions. It has no connection with hailstones except they were both calamities that would befall the area.
39:1. Gog. See comment on 38:1.
39:4. food to the birds and wild animals. To be left unburied, vulnerable to the elements and beasts, was the worst curse imaginable. Furthermore, as there was no clear distinction between body and soul in the Hebrew mentality, death was not regarded as the separation of those two elements. Thus one who had no burial was still believed to be conscious (in some form) of his fate. In the ancient Near East those who were left unburied were thought restless until a proper burial had been performed.
39:6. Magog. See comment on 38:2.
39:9. weapons used for fuel. Passages that speak of the destruction of weapons of war usually focus on using them for practical and beneficial purposes. The wooden parts could be burned in place of firewood as here (this sometimes extended even to the clothing, as in Is 9:5), and the metal parts could be recycled into agricultural use (Is 2:4 and Mic 4:3).
39:11. burial place. The burial place (}oberim) has defied an absolute identification. Scholars have identified it as the "Valley of Travelers" or, based upon an Ugaritic parallel, "those who have passed on." The latter makes more sense. Gog has desired to be identified with the great kings of old, and now he is, since they are all dead. Ugaritic texts refer to a group called the Rephaim, who are beings of the netherworld
38:1 Who Are Gog and Magog?
Who is Gog? And where is the land of Magog? Where is Meshech and Tubal? Do any of these places or person(s) have anything to do with the events that are to take place in the end times? If so, what are these events?
Gog is called the prince of Meshech and Tubal, provinces of Asia Minor. However, the geographical area that these would have embraced would be comparable to what we today would label as parts of Iran, all of Turkey and the southern provinces of the C.I.S. (formerly the U.S.S.R.).
But who is Gog? The locations of Gog's allies do not help us to identify who Gog is. One interesting suggestion is that Gog is a cryptogram for Babel or Babylon,1 since Babylon was omitted from the nations mentioned in the prophecies against the nations in Ezekiel 25:132:32. That fact is strange, in that it omits the one nation that was at that time holding Judah captive. Why omit the nation that is most on their minds at that time? So Babylon as Gog or Magog is one good guess.
When does this all take place? Nothing described in these chapters has ever taken place in history. All views that would place the events of Ezekiel 3348 in an allegorical or spiritual type of interpretation fall significantly short of explaining the plethora of detail that is found in these chapters. The setting for these chapters is in the end times, where a conflict between God and evil is consummated and the wickedness of this present age is replaced by peace, righteousness and the divine presence, such as has previously been unknown to mortals.
There are seven messages about what Gog, the enemy of Israel, is destined to face: (1) The Lord will bring Gog and his allies against Israel (Ezek 38:19; compare Rev 16:1314; 20:78); (2) Gog will invade Israel (Ezek 38:1013); (3) Gog will invade Israel from the north (Ezek 38:1416); (4) God will unleash tremendous judgment against Gog (Ezek 38:1723); (5) it will take seven years to gather up the spoils and seven months to bury the dead from Gog's army (Ezek 39:116); (6) Gog will be eaten by the birds of the air and the beasts of the field in a great supper (Ezek 39:1724); and (7) this will conclude the salvation of God and the restoration of Israel(Ezek 39:2529).
Ezekiel 3839 describe one of the most devastating conflicts in the prophecies of the end times. It sees an inevitable judgment of God coming at the climax of history with the forces of evil completely decimated. The older guesses that this was a picture of the U.S.S.R. have never been sustained by adequate lexicographical work, but at least the southern part of the republics that make up the new C.I.S. may still be involved. The real identities of most of the participants remain unknown.
History is the final interpreter of prophecy, for as Jesus said, "I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am He" (Jn 13:19). And prophecy ultimately points to the fact that Christ was right, not we or our charts!
1 I suppose this would have to be a strange variation of an "atbash" formation, where, instead of folding the alphabet in half on itself and using the corresponding letter on the other half as the one really intended, it folds the alphabet in half, but in the case of "Magog," it uses the letter to the left of it on the bottom half and the letter to the right of it on the top half: m=l; g [gimel]=b; g=b. Then the word must be turned around to read Bbl, that is, Babel. It is possible, but strange.
Ezekiel 33:1-33. RENEWAL OF EZEKIEL'S COMMISSION, NOW THAT HE IS AGAIN TO ADDRESS HIS COUNTRYMEN, AND IN A NEW TONE.
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 address from Ezekiel 24:26, 27, till Jerusalem was overthrown, and the "escaped" came with tidings of the judgment being completed. So now, in Ezekiel 33:21, 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 Ezekiel 33:2-20, seems to have been imparted to Ezekiel on the evening previous (Ezekiel 33:22), being a preparation for the latter part (Ezekiel 33:23-33) 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 introduction [FAIRBAIRN]. watchman Ezekiel 33:1-9 exhibit Ezekiel's office as a spiritual watchman; so in Ezekiel 3:16-21; only here the duties of the earthly watchman (compare 2 Samuel 18:24, 25; 2 Kings 9:17) are detailed first, and then the application is made to the spiritual watchman's duty (compare Isaiah 21:6-10; Hosea 9:8; Habakkuk 2:1). "A man of their coasts" is a man specially chosen for the office out of their whole number. So Judges 18:2, "five men from their coasts "; also the Hebrew of Genesis 47:2; implying the care needed in the choice of the watchman, the spiritual as well as the temporal (Acts 1:21, 22, 24-26; 1 Timothy 5:22).
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 repent."
9. Blood had by this time been shed (Ezekiel 33:21), 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 Ezekiel 24:23, according to the law (Leviticus 26:39). how should we . . . live? as Thou dost promise in Ezekiel 33:5 (compare Ezekiel 37:11; Isaiah 49:14).
11. To meet the Jews' cry of despair in Ezekiel 33:10, Ezekiel here cheers them by the assurance that God has no pleasure in their death, but that they should repent and live (2 Peter 3:9). 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 in Ezekiel 3:18-21 and Ezekiel 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 (2 Chronicles 7:14; see Ezekiel 3:20; 18:24).
15. give again that he had robbed (Luke 19:8). statutes of life in the obeying of which life is promised (Leviticus 18:5). 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 (Romans 7:10, 12; Galatians 3:21). It becomes life-giving through Christ's righteous obedience to it (2 Corinthians 3:6).
17. The way of the Lord The Lord's way of dealing in His moral government.
21. twelfth year . . . tenth month a year and a half after the capture of the city (Jeremiah 39:2; 52:5, 6), in the eleventh year and fourth month. The one who escaped (as foretold, Ezekiel 24:26) 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," Isaiah 15:9; "He that escapeth of them," Amos 9:1. 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 eighteen months.
22. in the evening (see note on Ezekiel 33:2). 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 (Ezekiel 24:27), He spake (Ezekiel 33:2-20) 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 (Isaiah 51:2), 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 (Acts 7:5), but had the right of dwelling and pasturing his flocks in it [GROTIUS]. The Jews boasted similarly of their Abrahamic descent in Matthew 3:9 and John 8:39.
25. eat with the blood in opposition to the law (Leviticus 19:26; compare Genesis 9:4). 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 (Jeremiah 40:1-44:30). caves (Judges 6:2; 1 Samuel 13:6). 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 (Jeremiah 4:27; 12:11). none . . . pass through from fear of wild beasts and pestilence [GROTIUS].
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 (Ezekiel 20:49); 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 2 Timothy 4:3); not reformation of the heart. Compare Johanan's consultation of Jeremiah, to hear the word of the Lord without desiring to do it (Jeremiah 42:1-43:13).
31. as the people cometh that is, in crowds, as disciples flock to their teacher. sit before thee on lower seats at thy feet, according to the Jewish custom of pupils (Deuteronomy 33:3; 2 Kings 4:38; Luke 10:39; Acts 22:3). as my people though they are not. hear . . . not do (Matthew 13:20, 21; James 1:23, 24). they show much love literally, "make love," that is, act the part of lovers. Profess love to the Lord (Matthew 7:21). 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 their mouths." 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 (Matthew 13:22; Ephesians 5:5; 1 Timothy 6:10).
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 [JEROME]. 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 Ezekiel 33:22). know experimentally, and to their cost.
Ezekiel 34:1-31. REPROOF OF THE FALSE SHEPHERDS; PROMISE OF THE TRUE AND GOOD SHEPHERD.
Having in the thirty-third chapter laid down repentance as the necessary preliminary to happier times for the people, He now promises the removal of the false shepherds as preparatory to the raising up of the Good Shepherd.
2. Jeremiah 23:1 and Zechariah 11:17 similarly make the removal of the false shepherds the preliminary to the interposition of Messiah the Good Shepherd in behalf of His people Israel. The "shepherds" are not prophets or priests, but rulers who sought in their government their own selfish ends, not the good of the people ruled. The term was appropriate, as David, the first king and the type of the true David (Ezekiel 34:23, 24), was taken from being a shepherd (2 Samuel 5:2; Psalms 78:70, 71); and the office, like that of a shepherd for his flock, is to guard and provide for his people. The choice of a shepherd for the first king was therefore designed to suggest this thought, just as Jesus' selection of fishermen for apostles was designed to remind them of their spiritual office of catching men (compare Isaiah 44:28; Jeremiah 2:8; 3:15; 10:21; 23:1, 2).
3. fat or, by differently pointing the Hebrew, "milk" [Septuagint ]. Thus the repetition "fat" and "fed" is avoided: also the eating of "fat" would not probably be put before the "killing" of the sheep. The eating of sheep's or goats' milk as food (Deuteronomy 32:14; Proverbs 27:27) was unobjectionable, had not these shepherds milked them too often, and that without duly "feeding" them [BOCHART], (Isaiah 56:11). The rulers levied exorbitant tributes. kill . . . fed kill the rich by false accusation so as to get possession of their property. feed not . . . flock take no care of the people (John 10:12).
4. The diseased rather, those weak from the effects of "disease," as "strengthened" (that is, with due nourishment) requires [GROTIUS]. broken that is, fractures from wounds inflicted by the wolf. brought again . . . driven away (Exodus 23:4). Those "driven away" by the enemy into foreign lands through God's judgments are meant (Jeremiah 23:3). A spiritual reformation of the state by the rulers would have turned away God's wrath, and "brought again" the exiles. The rulers are censured as chiefly guilty (though the people, too, were guilty), because they, who ought to have been foremost in checking the evil, promoted it. neither . . . sought . . . lost Contrast the Good Shepherd's love (Luke 15:4). with force . . . ruled (Exodus 1:13, 14). With an Egyptian bondage. The very thing forbidden by the law they did (Leviticus 25:43; compare 1 Peter 5:3).
5. scattered, because . . . no shepherd that is, none worthy of the name, though there were some called shepherds (1 Kings 22:17; Matthew 9:36). Compare Matthew 26:31, where the sheep were scattered when the true Shepherd was smitten. God calls them "My sheep"; for they were not, as the shepherds treated them, their patrimony whereby to "feed themselves." meat to all . . . beasts They became a prey to the Syrians, Ammon, Moab, and Assyria.
6. every high hill the scene of their idolatries sanctioned by the rulers. search . . . seek rather, "seek . . . search." The former is the part of the superior rulers to inquire after: to search out is the duty of the subordinate rulers [JUNIUS].
10. I will require my flock (Hebrews 13:17), rather, "I require," etc., for God already had begun to do so, punishing Zedekiah and the other princes severely (Jeremiah 52:10).
11. I . . . will . . . search doing that which the so-called shepherds had failed to do, I being the rightful owner of the flock.
12. in the day that he is among in the midst of (Hebrew ) His sheep that had been scattered. Referring to Messiah's second advent, when He shall be "the glory in the midst of Israel" (Zechariah 2:5). in the cloudy . . . day the day of the nation's calamity (Joel 2:2).
13. And I will bring them out from the people, etc. (Ezekiel 28:25; 36:24; 37:21, 22; Isaiah 65:9, 10; Jeremiah 23:3).
14. good pasture (Psalms 23:2). high mountains of Israel In Ezekiel 17:23; 20:40, the phrase is "the mountain of the height of Israel" in the singular number. The reason for the difference is: there Ezekiel spoke of the central seat of the kingdom, Mount Zion, where the people met for the worship of Jehovah; here he speaks of the kingdom of Israel at large, all the parts of which are regarded as possessing a moral elevation.
16. In contrast to the unfaithful shepherds (Ezekiel 34:4). The several duties neglected by them I will faithfully discharge. fat . . . strong that is, those rendered wanton by prosperity (Deuteronomy 32:15; Jeremiah 5:28), who use their strength to oppress the weak. Compare Ezekiel 34:20, "the fat cattle" (Isaiah 10:16). The image is from fat cattle that wax refractory. with judgment that is, justice and equity, as contrasted with the "force" and "cruelty" with which the unfaithful shepherds ruled the flock (Ezekiel 34:4).
17. you, . . . my flock passing from the rulers to the people. cattle and cattle rather, "sheep and sheep"; Margin, "small cattle," or "flocks of lambs and kids," that is, I judge between one class of citizens and another, so as to award what is right to each. He then defines the class about to be punitively "judged," namely, "the rams and he-goats," or "great he-goats" (compare Isaiah 14:9, Margin; Zechariah 10:3; Matthew 25:32, 33). They answer to "the fat and strong," as opposed to the "sick" (Ezekiel 34:16). The rich and ungodly of the people are meant, who imitated the bad rulers in oppressing their poorer brethren, as if it enhanced their own joys to trample on others' rights (Ezekiel 34:18).
18, 19. Not content with appropriating to their own use the goods of others, they from mere wantonness spoiled what they did not use, so as to be of no use to the owners. deep waters that is, "limpid," as deep waters are generally clear. GROTIUS explains the image as referring to the usuries with which the rich ground the poor (Ezekiel 22:12; Isaiah 24:2).
19. they eat scantily. they drink sorrowfully.
20. fat . . . lean the rich oppressors . . . the humble poor.
21. scattered them abroad down to the time of the carrying away to Babylon [GROTIUS].
22. After the restoration from Babylon, the Jews were delivered in some degree from the oppression, not only of foreigners, but also of their own great people (Nehemiah 5:1-19). The full and final fulfilment of this prophecy is future.
23. set up that is, raise up by divine appointment; alluding to the declaration of God to David, "I will set up thy seed after thee" (2 Samuel 7:12); and, "Yet have I set My king on My holy hill of Zion" (Psalms 2:6; compare Acts 2:30; 13:23). one shepherd literally, "a Shepherd, one": singularly and pre-eminently one: the only one of His kind, to whom none is comparable (Song Of Songs 5:10). The Lord Jesus refers to this prophecy (John 10:14), "I am THE Good Shepherd." Also "one" as uniting in one the heretofore divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah, and also "gathering together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and on earth" (Ephesians 1:10); thus healing worse breaches than that between Israel and Judah (Colossians 1:20). "God by Him reconciling all things unto Himself, whether things in earth or in heaven." David the antitypical David, Messiah, of the seed of David, which no other king after the captivity was: who was fully, what David was only in a degree, "the man after God's own heart." Also, David means beloved: Messiah was truly God's beloved Son (Isaiah 42:1; Matthew 3:17). Shepherd means King, rather than religious instructor; in this pre-eminently He was the true David, who was the Shepherd King (Luke 1:32, 33). Messiah is called "David" in Isaiah 55:3, 4; Jeremiah 30:9; Hosea 3:5.
24. my servant implying fitness for ruling in the name of God, not pursuing a self-chosen course, as other kings, but acting as the faithful administrator of the will of God; Messiah realized fully this character (Psalms 40:7, 8; Isaiah 42:1; 49:3, 6; 53:11; Philippians 2:7), which David typically and partially represented (Acts 13:36); so He is the fittest person to wield the world scepter, abused by all the world kings (Daniel 2:34, 35, 44, 45).
25. covenant of peace . . . evil beasts . . . to cease . . . dwell safely The original promise of the law (Leviticus 26:6) shall be realized for the first time fully under Messiah (Isaiah 11:6-9; 35:9; Hosea 2:18).
26. them and the places round about my hill The Jews, and Zion, God's hill (Psalms 2:6), are to be sources of blessing, not merely to themselves, but to the surrounding heathen (Isaiah 19:24; 56:6, 7; 60:3; Micah 5:7; Zechariah 8:13). The literal fulfilment is, however, the primary one, though the spiritual also is designed. In correspondence with the settled reign of righteousness internally, all is to be prosperity externally, fertilizing showers (according to the promise of the ancient covenant, Leviticus 26:4; Psalms 68:9; Malachi 3:10), and productive trees and lands (Ezekiel 34:27). Thus shall they realize the image of Ezekiel 34:14; namely, a flock richly pastured by God Himself.
27. served themselves of them availed themselves of their services, as if the Jews were their slaves (Jeremiah 22:13; 25:14; compare Genesis 15:13; Exodus 1:14).
28. dwell safely (Jeremiah 23:6).
29. plant of renown Messiah, the "Rod" and "Branch" (Isaiah 11:1), the "righteous Branch" (Jeremiah 23:5), who shall obtain for them "renown." FAIRBAIRN less probably translates, "A plantation for a name," that is, a flourishing condition, represented as a garden (alluding to Eden, Genesis 2:8-11, with its various trees, good for food and pleasant to the sight), the planting of the Lord (Isaiah 60:21; 61:3), and an object of "renown" among the heathen.
31. ye my flock . . . are men not merely an explanation of the image, as JEROME represents. But as God had promised many things which mere "men" could not expect to realize, He shows that it is not from man's might their realization is to be looked for, but from GOD, who would perform them for His covenant-people, "His flock" [ROSENMULLER]. When we realize most our weakness and God's power and faithfulness to His covenant, we are in the fittest state for receiving His blessings.
Ezekiel 35:1-15. JUDGMENT ON EDOM.
Another feature of Israel's prosperity; those who exulted over Israel's humiliation, shall themselves be a "prey." Already stated in Ezekiel 25:12-14; properly repeated here in full detail, as a commentary on Ezekiel 34:28. The Israelites "shall be no more a prey"; but Edom, the type of their most bitter foes, shall be destroyed irrecoverably.
2. Mount Seir that is, Idumea (Genesis 36:9). Singled out as badly pre-eminent in its bitterness against God's people, to represent all their enemies everywhere and in all ages. So in Isaiah 34:5; 63:1-4, Edom, the region of the greatest enmity towards God's people, is the ideal scene of the final judgments of all God's foes. "Seir" means "shaggy," alluding to its rugged hills and forests.
3. most desolate literally, "desolation and desolateness" (Jeremiah 49:17, etc.). It is only in their national character of foes to God's people, that the Edomites are to be utterly destroyed. A remnant of Edom, as of the other heathen, is to be "called by the name of God" (Amos 9:12).
5. perpetual hatred (Psalms 137:7; Amos 1:11; Obadiah 1:10-16). Edom perpetuated the hereditary hatred derived from Esau against Jacob. shed the blood of, etc. The literal translation is better. "Thou hast poured out the children of Israel"; namely, like water. So Psalms 22:14; 63:10, Margin; Jeremiah 18:21. Compare 2 Samuel 14:14. by the force of the sword literally, "by" or "upon the hands of the sword"; the sword being personified as a devourer whose "hands" were the instruments of destruction. in the time that their iniquity had an end that is, had its consummation (Ezekiel 21:25, 29). Edom consummated his guilt when he exulted over Jerusalem's downfall, and helped the foe to destroy it (Psalms 137:7; Obadiah 1:11).
6. I will prepare thee unto blood I will expose thee to slaughter. sith old English for "seeing that" or "since." thou hast not hated blood The Hebrew order is, "thou hast hated not blood"; that is, thou couldst not bear to live without bloodshed [GROTIUS]. There is a play on similar sounds in the Hebrew; Edom resembling dam, the Hebrew for "blood"; as "Edom" means "red," the transition to "blood" is easy. Edom, akin to blood in name, so also in nature and acts; "blood therefore shall pursue thee." The measure which Edom meted to others should be meted to himself (Psalms 109:17; Matthew 7:2; 26:52).
7. cut off . . . him that passeth that is, every passer to and fro; "the highways shall be unoccupied" (Ezekiel 29:11; Judges 5:6).
9. shall not return to their former state (Ezekiel 16:55); shall not be restored. The Hebrew text (Chetib ) reads, "shall not be inhabited" (compare Ezekiel 26:20; Malachi 1:3, 4).
10. So far from being allowed to enter on Israel's vacated inheritance, as Edom hoped (Ezekiel 36:5; Psalms 83:4, 12; Obadiah 1:13), it shall be that he shall be deprived of his own; and whereas Israel's humiliation was temporary, Edom's shall be perpetual. Lord was there (Ezekiel 48:35; Psalms 48:1, 3; 132:13, 14). Jehovah claimed Judea as His own, even when the Chaldeans had overthrown the state; they could not remove Him, as they did the idols of heathen lands. The broken sentences express the excited feelings of the prophet at Edom's wicked presumption. The transition from the "two nations and two countries" to "it" marks that the two are regarded as one whole. The last clause, "and Jehovah was there," bursts in, like a flash of lightning, reproving the wicked presumption of Edom's thought.
11. according to thine anger (James 2:13). As thou in anger and envy hast injured them, so I will injure thee. I will make myself known among them namely, the Israelites. I will manifest My favor to them, after I have punished thee.
12, 13. blasphemies . . . against . . . Israel . . . against me God regards what is done against His people as done against Himself (Matthew 25:45; Acts 9:2, 4, 5). Edom implied, if he did not express it, in his taunts against Israel, that God had not sufficient power to protect His people. A type of the spirit of all the foes of God and His people (1 Samuel 2:3; Revelation 13:6).
14. (Isaiah 65:13, 14). "The whole earth" refers to Judea and the nations that submit themselves to Judea's God; when these rejoice, the foes of God and His people, represented by Edom as a nation, shall be desolate. Things shall be completely reversed; Israel, that now for a time mourns, shall then rejoice and for ever. Edom, that now rejoices over fallen Israel, shall then, when elsewhere all is joy, mourn, and for ever (Isaiah 65:17-19; Matthew 5:4; Luke 6:25). HAVERNICK loses this striking antithesis by translating, "According to the joy of the whole land (of Edom), so I will make thee desolate"; which would make Ezekiel 35:15 a mere repetition of this.
15. (Obadiah 1:12, 15).
Ezekiel 36:1-38. ISRAEL AVENGED OF HER FOES, AND RESTORED, FIRST TO INWARD HOLINESS, THEN TO OUTWARD PROSPERITY.
The distinction between Israel and the heathen (as Edom) is: Israel has a covenant relation to God ensuring restoration after chastisement, so that the heathen's hope of getting possession of the elect people's inheritance must fail, and they themselves be made desolate (Ezekiel 36:1-15). The reason for the chastisement of Israel was Israel's sin and profanation of God's name (Ezekiel 36:16-21). God has good in store for Israel, for His own name's sake, to revive His people; first, by a spiritual renewal of their hearts, and, next, by an external restoration to prosperity (Ezekiel 36:22-33). The result is that the heathen shall be impressed with the power and goodness of God manifested so palpably towards the restored people (Ezekiel 36:34-38).
1, 2. mountains of Israel in contrast to "Mount Seir" of the previous prophecy. They are here personified; Israel's elevation is moral, not merely physical, as Edom's. Her hills are "the everlasting hills" of Jacob's prophecy (Genesis 49:26). "The enemy" (Edom, the singled-out representative of all God's foes), with a shout of exultation, "Aha!" had claimed, as the nearest kinsman of Israel (the brother of their father Esau), his vacated inheritance; as much as to say, the so-called "everlasting" inheritance of Israel and of the "hills," which typified the unmoved perpetuity of it (Psalms 125:1, 2), has come to an end, in spite of the promise of God, and has become "ours" (compare Deuteronomy 32:13; 33:15).
3. Literally, "Because, even because." swallowed you up literally, "panted after" you, as a beast after its prey; implying the greedy cupidity of Edom as to Israel's inheritance (Psalms 56:1, 2). lips of talkers literally, "lips of the tongue," that is, of the slanderer, the man of tongue. Edom slandered Israel because of the connection of the latter with Jehovah, as though He were unable to save them. Deuteronomy 28:37, and Jeremiah 24:9 had foretold Israel's reproach among the heathen (Daniel 9:16).
4. Inanimate creatures are addressed, to imply that the creature also, as it were, groans for deliverance from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God (Romans 8:19-21) [POLANUS]. The completeness of the renewed blessedness of all parts of the land is implied. derision (Psalms 79:4).
5. to cast it out for a prey that is, to take the land for a prey, its inhabitants being cast out. Or the land is compared to a prey cast forth to wild beasts. FAIRBAIRN needlessly alters the Hebrew pointing and translates, "that they may plunder its pasturage."
6. the shame of the heathen namely, the shame with which the heathen cover you (Psalms 123:3, 4).
7. lifted . . . mine hand in token of an oath (Ezekiel 20:5; Genesis 14:22). they shall bear their shame a perpetual shame; whereas the "shame" which Israel bore from these heathen was only for a time.
8. they are at hand to come that is the Israelites are soon about to return to their land. This proves that the primary reference of the prophecy is to the return from Babylon, which was "at hand," or comparatively near. But this only in part fulfilled the prediction, the full and final blessing in future, and the restoration from Babylon was an earnest of it.
10. wastes builded Isaiah 58:12; 61:4; Amos 9:11, 12, 14, where, as here (Ezekiel 34:23, 24), the names of David, Messiah's type, and Edom, Israel's foe, are introduced in connection with the coming restoration.
11. do better . . . than at your beginnings as in the case of Job (Job 42:12). Whereas the heathen nations fall irrevocably, Israel shall be more than restored; its last estate shall exceed even its first.
12. to walk upon you O mountains of Israel (Ezekiel 36:8)! thee . . . thou change from plural to singular: O hill of Zion, singled out from the other mountains of Israel (Ezekiel 34:26); or land. thou shall no more . . . bereave them of men Thou shalt no more provoke God to bereave them of children (so the ellipsis ought to be supplied, as Ezekiel probably alludes to Jeremiah 15:7, "I will bereave them of children ").
13. Thou land devourest up men alluding to the words of the spies (Numbers 13:32). The land personified is represented as doing that which was done in it. Like an unnatural mother it devoured, that is, it was the grave of its people; of the Canaanites, its former possessors, through mutual wars, and finally by the sword of Israel; and now, of the Jews, through internal and external ills; for example, wars, famine (to which Ezekiel 36:30, "reproach of famine among the heathen," implies the allusion here is).
14. bereave so the Keri, or Hebrew Margin reads, to correspond to "bereave" in Ezekiel 36:13; but "cause to fall" or "stumble," in the Hebrew text or Chetib, being the more difficult reading, is the one least likely to come from a corrector; also, it forms a good transition to the next subject, namely, the moral cause of the people's calamities, namely, their falls, or stumblings through sin. The latter ceasing, the former also cease. So the same expression follows in Ezekiel 36:15, "Neither shalt thou cause thy nations to fall any more."
17. removed woman (Leviticus 15:19, etc.).
18, 19. The reason for their removal was their sin, which God's holiness could not let pass unpunished; just as a woman's legal uncleanness was the reason for her being separated from the congregation.
20. profaned my holy name, when they the heathen said to them the Israelites. These, etc. The Israelites gave a handle of reproach to the heathen against God, who would naturally say, These who take usury, oppress, commit adultery, etc., and who, in such an abject plight, are "gone forth" as exiles "out of His land," are specimens of what Jehovah can or will effect, for His people, and show what kind of a God this so-called holy, omnipotent, covenant-keeping God must be! (Isaiah 52:5; Romans 2:24).
21. I had pity for mine holy name that is, I felt pity for it; God's own name, so dishonored, was the primary object of His pitying concern; then His people, secondarily, through His concern for it [FAIRBAIRN].
22. not . . . for your sakes that is, not for any merit in you; for, on the contrary, on your part, there is everything to call down continued severity (compare Deuteronomy 9:5, 6). The sole and sure ground of hope was God's regard to "His own name," as the God of covenant grace (Psalms 106:45), which He must vindicate from the dishonor brought on it by the Jews, before the heathen.
23. sanctify vindicate and manifest as holy, in opposition to the heathen reproaches of it brought on by the Jews' sins and their punishment (see note on Ezekiel 36:20). sanctified in you that is, in respect of you; I shall be regarded in their eyes as the Holy One, and righteous in My dealings towards you (Ezekiel 20:41; 28:22).
24. Fulfilled primarily in the restoration from Babylon; ultimately to be so in the restoration "from all countries."
25. The external restoration must be preceded by an internal one. The change in their condition must not be superficial, but must be based on a radical renewal of the heart. Then the heathen, understanding from the regenerated lives of God's people how holy God is, would perceive Israel's past troubles to have been only the necessary vindications of His righteousness. Thus God's name would be "sanctified" before the heathen, and God's people be prepared for outward blessings. sprinkle . . . water phraseology taken from the law; namely, the water mixed with the ashes of a heifer sprinkled with a hyssop on the unclean (Numbers 19:9-18); the thing signified being the cleansing blood of Christ sprinkled on the conscience and heart (Hebrews 9:13, 14; 10:22; compare Jeremiah 33:8; Ephesians 5:26). from all your idols Literal idolatry has ceased among the Jews ever since the captivity; so far, the prophecy has been already fulfilled; but "cleansing from all their idols," for example, covetousness, prejudices against Jesus of Nazareth, is yet future.
26. new heart mind and will. spirit motive and principle of action. stony heart unimpressible in serious things; like the "stony ground" (Matthew 13:5, 20), unfit for receiving the good seed so as to bring forth fruit. heart of flesh not "carnal" in opposition to "spiritual"; but impressible and docile, fit for receiving the good seed. In Ezekiel 18:31 they are commanded, "Make you a new heart, and a new spirit." Here God says, "A new heart will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you." Thus the responsibility of man, and the sovereign grace of God, are shown to be coexistent. Man cannot make himself a new heart unless God gives it (Philippians 2:12, 13).
27. my spirit (Ezekiel 11:19; Jeremiah 32:39). The partial reformation at the return from Babylon (Ezra 10:6, etc. Nehemiah 8:1-9:38) was an earnest of the full renewal hereafter under Messiah.
28. ye . . . my people, . . . I . . . your God (Ezekiel 11:20; Jeremiah 30:22).
29. save . . . from all . . . uncleannesses the province of Jesus, according to the signification of His name (Matthew 1:21). To be specially exercised in behalf of the Jews in the latter days (Romans 11:26). call for . . . corn as a master "calls for" a servant; all the powers and productions of nature are the servants of Jehovah (Psalms 105:16; Matthew 8:8, 9). Compare as to the subordination of all the intermediate agents to the Great First Cause, who will give "corn" and all good things to His people, Hosea 2:21, 22; Zechariah 8:12.
30. no more reproach of famine among the heathen to which their taunt (Ezekiel 36:13), "Thou land devourest up men," in part referred.
31. remember your . . . evil ways with shame and loathing. The unexpected grace and love of God, manifested in Christ to Israel, shall melt the people into true repentance, which mere legal fear could not (Ezekiel 16:61, 63; Psalms 130:4; Zechariah 12:10; compare Jeremiah 33:8, 9).
35. they shall say The heathen, who once made Israel's desolation a ground of reproach against the name of Jehovah Himself (Ezekiel 36:20, 21); but now He so vindicates its sanctity (Ezekiel 36:22, 23) that these same heathen are constrained to acknowledge Israel's more than renewed blessedness to be God's own work, and a ground for glorifying His name (Ezekiel 36:36). Eden as Tyre (the type of the world powers in general: so Assyria, a cedar "in the garden of God, Eden," Ezekiel 31:8, 9), in original advantages, had been compared to "Eden, the garden of God" (Ezekiel 28:13), from which she had fallen irrecoverably; so Israel, once desolate, is to be as "the garden of Eden" (Isaiah 51:3), and is to be so unchangeably.
36. Lord . . . spoken . . . do it (Numbers 23:19).
37. I will yet for this be inquired of so as to grant it. On former occasions He had refused to be inquired of by Israel because the inquirers were not in a fit condition of mind to receive a blessing (Ezekiel 14:3; 20:3). But hereafter, as in the restoration from Babylon (Nehemiah 8:1-9:38; Daniel 9:3-20, 21, 23), God will prepare His people's hearts (Ezekiel 36:26) to pray aright for the blessings which He is about to give (Psalms 102:13-17, 20; Zechariah 12:10-14; 13:1). like a flock resuming the image (Ezekiel 34:23, 31).
38. As the holy flock the great flock of choice animals for sacrifice, brought up to Jerusalem at the three great yearly festivals, the passover, pentecost, and feast of the tabernacles.
Ezekiel 37:1-28. THE VISION OF DRY BONES REVIVIFIED, SYMBOLIZING ISRAEL'S DEATH AND RESURRECTION.
Three stages in Israel's revival present themselves to the prophet's eye. (1) The new awakening of the people, the resurrection of the dead (Ezekiel 37:1-14). (2) The reunion of the formerly hostile members of the community, whose contentions had affected the whole (Ezekiel 37:15-28). (3) The community thus restored is strong enough to withstand the assault of Gog, etc. (Ezekiel 38:1-39:29) [EWALD].
1. carried . . . in the spirit The matters transacted, therefore, were not literal, but in vision. the valley probably that by the Chebar (Ezekiel 3:22). The valley represents Mesopotamia, the scene of Israel's sojourn in her state of national deadness.
2. dry bleached by long exposure to the atmosphere.
3. can these bones live? . . . thou knowest implying that, humanly speaking, they could not; but faith leaves the question of possibility to rest with God, with whom nothing is impossible (Deuteronomy 32:39). An image of Christian faith which believes in the coming general resurrection of the dead, in spite of all appearances against it, because God has said it (John 5:21; Romans 4:17; 2 Corinthians 1:9).
4. Prophesy Proclaim God's quickening word to them. On account of this innate power of the divine word to effect its end, prophets are said to do that which they prophesy as about to be done (Jeremiah 1:10).
5. I . . . cause breath to enter into you So Isaiah 26:19, containing the same vision, refers primarily to Israel's restoration. Compare as to God's renovation of the earth and all its creatures hereafter by His breath, Psalms 104:30. ye shall live come to life again.
6. ye shall know that I am the Lord by the actual proof of My divinity which I will give in reviving Israel.
7. noise of the bones when coming in mutual collision. Perhaps referring to the decree of Cyrus, or the noise of the Jews' exultation at their deliverance and return. bones came together literally, "ye bones came together"; as in Jeremiah 49:11 (Hebrew ), "ye widows of thine shall trust in Me." The second person puts the scene vividly before one's eyes, for the whole resurrection scene is a prophecy in action to render more palpably to the people the prophecy in word (Ezekiel 37:21).
8. So far, they were only cohering in order as unsightly skeletons. The next step, that of covering them successively with sinews, skin, and flesh, gives them beauty; but still "no breath" of life in them. This may imply that Israel hereafter, as at the restoration from Babylon was the case in part, shall return to Judea unconverted at first (Zechariah 13:8, 9). Spiritually: a man may assume all the semblances of spiritual life, yet have none, and so be dead before God.
9. wind rather, the spirit of life or life-breath (Margin ). For it is distinct from "the four winds" from which it is summoned. from the four winds implying that Israel is to be gathered from the four quarters of the .earth (Isaiah 43:5, 6; Jeremiah 31:8), even as they were "scattered into all the winds" (Ezekiel 5:10; 12:14; 17:21; compare Revelation 7:1, 4).
10. Such honor God gives to the divine word, even in the mouth of a man. How much more when in the mouth of the Son of God! (John 5:25-29). Though this chapter does not directly prove the resurrection of the dead, it does so indirectly; for it takes for granted the future fact as one recognized by believing Jews, and so made the image of their national restoration (so Isaiah 25:8; 26:19; Daniel 12:2; Hosea 6:2; 13:14; compare Note, see note on Ezekiel 37:12).
11. Our bones are dried (Psalms 141:7), explained by "our hope is lost" (Isaiah 49:14); our national state is as hopeless of resuscitation, as marrowless bones are of reanimation. cut off for our parts that is, so far as we are concerned. There is nothing in us to give hope, like a withered branch "cut off" from a tree, or a limb from the body.
12. my people in antithesis to "for our parts" (Ezekiel 37:11). The hope that is utterly gone, if looking at themselves, is sure for them in God, because He regards them as His people. Their covenant relation to God ensures His not letting death permanently reign over them. Christ makes the same principle the ground on which the literal resurrection rests. God had said, "I am the God of Abraham," etc.; God, by taking the patriarchs as His, undertook to do for them all that Omnipotence can perform: He, being the ever living God, is necessarily the God of, not dead, but living persons, that is, of those whose bodies His covenant love binds Him to raise again. He can and because He can He will He must [FAIRBAIRN]. He calls them "My people" when receiving them into favor; but "thy people," in addressing His servant, as if He would put them away from Him (Ezekiel 13:17; 33:2; Exodus 32:7). out of your graves out of your politically dead state, primarily in Babylon, finally hereafter in all lands (compare Ezekiel 6:8; Hosea 13:14). The Jews regarded the lands of their captivity and dispersion as their "graves"; their restoration was to be as "life from the dead" (Romans 11:15). Before, the bones were in the open plain (Ezekiel 37:1, 2); now, in the graves, that is, some of the Jews were in the graves of actual captivity, others at large but dispersed. Both alike were nationally dead.
16. stick alluding to Numbers 17:2, the tribal rod. The union of the two rods was a prophecy in action of the brotherly union which is to reunite the ten tribes and Judah. As their severance under Jeroboam was fraught with the greatest evil to the covenant-people, so the first result of both being joined by the spirit of life to God is that they become joined to one another under the one covenant King, Messiah-David. Judah, and . . . children of Israel his companions that is, Judah and, besides Benjamin and Levi, those who had joined themselves to him of Ephraim, Manasseh, Simeon, Asher, Zebulun, Issachar, as having the temple and lawful priesthood in his borders (2 Chronicles 11:12, 13, 16; 15:9; 30:11, 18). The latter became identified with Judah after the carrying away of the ten tribes, and returned with Judah from Babylon, and so shall be associated with that tribe at the future restoration. For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim Ephraim's posterity took the lead, not only of the other descendants of Joseph (compare Ezekiel 37:19), but of the ten tribes of Israel. For four hundred years, during the period of the judges, with Manasseh and Benjamin, its dependent tribes, it had formerly taken the lead: Shiloh was its religious capital; Shechem, its civil capital. God had transferred the birthright from Reuben (for dishonoring his father's bed) to Joseph, whose representative, Ephraim, though the younger, was made (Genesis 48:19; 1 Chronicles 5:1). From its pre-eminence "Israel" is attached to it as "companions." The "all" in this case, not in that of Judah, which has only attached as "companions" the children of Israel" (that is, some of them, namely, those who followed the fortunes of Judah), implies that the bulk of the ten tribes did not return at the restoration from Babylon, but are distinct from Judah, until the coming union with it at the restoration.
18. God does not explain the symbolical prophecy until the Jews have been stimulated by the type to consult the prophet.
19. The union effected at the restoration from Babylon embraced but comparatively few of Israel; a future complete fulfilment must therefore be looked for. stick of Joseph . . . in the hand of Ephraim Ephraim, of the descendants of Joseph, had exercised the rule among the ten tribes: that rule, symbolized by the "stick," was now to be withdrawn from him, and to be made one with the other, Judah's rule, in God's hand. them the "stick of Joseph," would strictly require "it"; but Ezekiel expresses the sense, namely, the ten tribes who were subject to it. with him that is, Judah; or "it," that is, the stick of Judah.
22. one nation (Isaiah 11:13; Jeremiah 3:18; Hosea 1:11). one king not Zerubbabel, who was not a king either in fact or name, and who ruled over but a few Jews, and that only for a few years; whereas the King here reigns for ever. MESSIAH iS meant (Ezekiel 34:23, 24). The union of Judah and Israel under King Messiah symbolizes the union of Jews and Gentiles under Him, partly now, perfectly hereafter (Ezekiel 37:24; John 10:16).
23. (Ezekiel 36:25). out of . . . their dwelling-places (Ezekiel 36:28, 33). I will remove them from the scene of their idolatries to dwell in their own land, and to serve idols no more.
24. David Messiah (See note on Ezekiel 34:23 and see note on Ezekiel 34:24).
25. for ever (Isaiah 60:21; Joel 3:20; Amos 9:15).
26. covenant of peace better than the old legal covenant, because an unchangeable covenant of grace (Ezekiel 34:25; Isaiah 55:3; Jeremiah 32:40). I will place them set them in an established position; no longer unsettled as heretofore. my sanctuary the temple of God; spiritual in the heart of all true followers of Messiah (2 Corinthians 6:16); and, in some "literal" sense, in the restored Israel (Ezekiel 40:1-44:31).
27. My tabernacle . . . with them as foretold (Genesis 9:27); John 1:14, "The Word . . . dwelt among us" (literally, "tabernacled"); first, in humiliation; hereafter, in manifested glory (Revelation 21:3).
28. (Ezekiel 36:23). sanctify Israel set it apart as holy unto Myself and inviolable (Exodus 19:5, 6).
Ezekiel 38:1-23. THE ASSAULT OF GOG, AND GOD'S JUDGMENT ON HIM.
The objections to a literal interpretation of the prophecy are (1) The ideal nature of the name Gog, which is the root of Magog, the only kindred name found in Scripture or history. (2) The nations congregated are selected from places most distant from Israel, and from one another, and therefore most unlikely to act in concert (Persians and Libyans, etc.). (3) The whole spoil of Israel could not have given a handful to a tithe of their number, or maintained the myriads of invaders a single day (Ezekiel 38:12, 13). (4) The wood of their invaders' weapons was to serve for fuel to Israel for seven years! And all Israel were to take seven months in burying the dead! Supposing a million of Israelites to bury each two corpses a day, the aggregate buried in the hundred eighty working days of the seven months would be three hundred sixty millions of corpses! Then the pestilential vapors from such masses of victims before they were all buried! What Israelite could live in such an atmosphere? (5) The scene of the Lord's controversy here is different from that in Isaiah 34:6, Edom, which creates a discrepancy. (But probably a different judgment is alluded to). (6) The gross carnality of the representation of God's dealings with His adversaries is inconsistent with Messianic times. It therefore requires a non-literal interpretation. The prophetical delineations of the divine principles of government are thrown into the familiar forms of Old Testament relations. The final triumph of Messiah's truth over the most distant and barbarous nations is represented as a literal conflict on a gigantic scale, Israel being the battlefield, ending in the complete triumph of Israel's anointed King, the Saviour of the world. It is a prophetical parable [FAIRBAIRN]. However, though the details are not literal, the distinctiveness in this picture, characterizing also parallel descriptions in writers less ideally picturesque than Ezekiel, gives probability to a more definite and generally literal interpretation. The awful desolations caused in Judea by Antiochus Epiphanes, of Syria (I Maccabees; and PORPHYRY, quoted by JEROME on Ezekiel), his defilement of Jehovah's temple by sacrificing swine and sprinkling the altar with the broth, and setting up the altar of Jupiter Olympius, seem to be an earnest of the final desolations to be caused by Antichrist in Israel, previous to His overthrow by the Lord Himself, coming to reign (compare Daniel 8:10-26; 11:21-45; 12:1; Zechariah 13:9; 14:2, 3). GROTIUS explains Gog as a name taken from Gyges, king of Lydia; and Magog as Syria, in which was a city called Magag [PLINY, 5.28]. What Ezekiel stated more generally, Revelation 20:7-9 states more definitely as to the anti-Christian confederacy which is to assail the beloved city.
2. Gog the prince of the land of Magog. The title was probably a common one of the kings of the country, as "Pharaoh" in Egypt. Chakan was the name given by the Northern Asiatics to their king, and is still a title of the Turkish sultan: "Gog" may be a contraction of this. In Ezekiel's time a horde of northern Asiatics, termed by the Greeks "Scythians," and probably including the Moschi and Tibareni, near the Caucasus, here ("Meshech . . . Tubal") undertook an expedition against Egypt [HERODOTUS, 1.103-106]. These names might be adopted by Ezekiel from the historical fact familiar to men at the time, as ideal titles for the great last anti-Christian confederacy. Magog (Genesis 10:2; 1 Chronicles 1:5). The name of a land belonging to Japheth's posterity. Maha, in Sanskrit, means "land." Gog is the ideal political head of the region. In Revelation 20:8, Gog and Magog are two peoples. the chief prince rather, "prince of Rosh," or "Rhos" [Septuagint ]. The Scythian Tauri in the Crimea were so called. The Araxes also was called "Rhos." The modern Russians may have hence assumed their name, as Moscow and Tobolsk from Meshech and Tubal, though their proper ancient name was Slavi, or Wends. HENGSTENBERG supports English Version, as "Rosh" is not found in the Bible. "Magog was Gog's original kingdom, though he acquired also Meshech and Tubal, so as to be called their chief prince."
3. His high-sounding titles are repeated to imply the haughty self-confidence of the invader as if invincible.
4. turn thee back as a refractory wild beast, which thinks to take its own way, but is bent by a superior power to turn on a course which must end in its destruction. Satan shall be, by overruling Providence, permitted to deceive them to their ruin (Revelation 20:7, 8). hooks into thy jaws (Ezekiel 29:4; 2 Kings 19:28).
5. Persia . . . Libya expressly specified by APPIAN as supplying the ranks of Antiochus' army.
6. Gomer the Celtic Cimmerians of Crim-Tartary. Togarmah the Armenians of the Caucasus, south of Iberia.
7. Irony. Prepare thee and all thine with all needful accoutrements for war that ye may perish together. be . . . a guard unto them that is, if thou canst.
8. thou shall be visited in wrath, by God (Isaiah 29:6). Probably there is allusion to Isaiah 24:21, 22, "The host of the high ones . . . shall be gathered . . . as prisoners . . . in me pit . . . and after many days shall they be visited." I therefore prefer English Version to GROTIUS rendering, "Thou shalt get the command" of the expedition. The "after many days" is defined by "in the latter years," that is, in the times just before the coming of Messiah, namely, under Antiochus, before His first coming; under Antichrist, before His second coming. the mountains of Israel . . . always waste that is, waste during the long period of the captivity, the earnest of the much longer period of Judea's present desolation (to which the language "always waste" more fully applies). This marks the impious atrocity of the act, to assail God's people, who had only begun to recover from their protracted calamities. but it is brought . . . and they shall dwell rather, "And they (the Israelites) were brought . . . dwelt safely" [FAIRBAIRN]. English Version means, "Against Israel, which has been waste, but which (that is, whose people) is now (at the time of the invasion) brought forth out of the nations where they were dispersed, and shall be found by the invader dwelling securely, so as to seem an easy prey to him."
9. cloud to cover the land with the multitude of thy forces.
10. an evil thought as to attacking God's people in their defenseless state.
11. dwell safely that is, securely, without fear of danger (compare Esther 9:19). Antiochus, the type of Antichrist, took Jerusalem without a blow.
12. midst of the land literally, "the navel" of the land (Judges 9:37, Margin ). So, in Ezekiel 5:5, Israel is said to be set "in the midst of the nations"; not physically, but morally, a central position for being a blessing to the world: so (as the favored or "beloved city," Revelation 20:9) an object of envy. GROTIUS translates, "In the height of the land" (so Ezekiel 38:8), "the mountains of Israel," Israel being morally elevated above the rest of the world.
13. Sheba, etc. These mercantile peoples, though not taking an active part against the cause of God, are well pleased to see others do it. Worldliness makes them ready to deal in the ill-gotten spoil of the invaders of God's people. Gain is before godliness with them (I Maccabees 3:41). young lions daring princes and leaders.
14. shalt thou not know it? to thy cost, being visited with punishment, while Israel dwells safely.
16. I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me So in Exodus 9:16, God tells Pharaoh, "For this cause have I raised thee up, for to show in thee My power; and that My name may be declared throughout all the earth."
17. thou he of whom I have spoken in old time Gog, etc. are here identified with the enemies spoken of in other prophecies (Numbers 24:17-24; Isaiah 27:1; compare Isaiah 26:20, 21; Jeremiah 30:23, 24; Joel 3:1; Micah 5:5, 6; Isaiah 14:12-14; 59:19). God is represented as addressing Gog at the time of his assault; therefore, the "old time" is the time long prior, when Ezekiel uttered these prophecies; so, he also, as well as Daniel (Daniel 11:1-45) and Zechariah (Zechariah 14:1-21) are included among "the prophets of Israel" here. many years ago.
18. fury shall come up in my face literally, "nose"; in Hebrew, the idiomatic expression for anger, as men in anger breathe strongly through the nostrils. Anthropopathy: God stooping to human modes of thought (Psalms 18:8).
19. great shaking an earthquake: physical agitations after accompanying social and moral revolutions. Foretold also in Joel 3:16; (compare Haggai 2:6, 7; Matthew 24:7, 29; Revelation 16:18).
20. fishes disturbed by the fleets which I will bring. fowls, etc. frightened at the sight of so many men: an ideal picture. mountains that is, the fortresses on the mountains. steep places literally, "stairs" (Song Of Songs 2:14); steep terraces for vines on the sides of hills, to prevent the earth being washed down by the rains. every wall of towns.
21. every man's sword . . . against his brother I will destroy them partly by My people's sword, partly by their swords being turned against one another (compare 2 Chronicles 20:23).
22. plead a forensic term; because God in His inflictions acts on the principles of His own immutable justice, not by arbitrary impulse (Isaiah 66:16; Jeremiah 25:31). blood . . . hailstones, fire (Revelation 8:7; 16:21). The imagery is taken from the destruction of Sodom and the plagues of Egypt (compare Psalms 11:6). Antiochus died by "pestilence" (II Maccabees 9:5).
Ezekiel 39:1-29. CONTINUATION OF THE PROPHECY AGAINST GOG.
1. Repeated from Ezekiel 38:3, to impress the prophecy more on the mind.
2. leave but the sixth part of thee Margin, "strike thee with six plagues" (namely, pestilence, blood, overflowing rain, hailstones, fire, brimstone, Ezekiel 38:22); or, "draw thee back with an hook of six teeth" (Ezekiel 38:4), the six teeth being those six plagues. Rather, "lead thee about" [LUDOVICUS DE DIEU and Septuagint ]. As Antiochus was led (to his ruin) to leave Egypt for an expedition against Palestine, so shall the last great enemy of God be. north parts from the extreme north [FAIRBAIRN].
3. bow in which the Scythians were most expert.
4, 5. (Compare Ezekiel 39:17-20). upon the mountains of Israel The scene of Israel's preservation shall be that of the ungodly foe's destruction.
6. carelessly in self-confident security. the isles Those dwelling in maritime regions, who had helped Gog with fleets and troops, shall be visited with the fire of God's wrath in their own lands.
7. not let them pollute my holy name by their sins bringing down judgments which made the heathen think that I was unable or unwilling to save My people.
8. it is come . . . it is done The prediction of the salvation of My people, and the ruin of their enemy, is come to pass is done: expressing that the event foretold is as certain as if it were already accomplished.
9, 10. The burning of the foe's weapons implies that nothing belonging to them should be left to pollute the land. The seven years (seven being the sacred number) spent on this work, implies the completeness of the cleansing, and the people's zeal for purity. How different from the ancient Israelites, who left not merely the arms, but the heathen themselves, to remain among them [FAIRBAIRN], (Judges 1:27, 28; 2:2, 3; Psalms 106:34-36). The desolation by Antiochus began in the one hundred and forty-first year of the Seleucidae. From this date to 148, a period of six years and four months ("2300 days," Daniel 8:14), when the temple-worship was restored (I Maccabees 4:52), God vouchsafed many triumphs to His people; from this time to the death of Antiochus, early in 149, a period of seven months, the Jews had rest from Antiochus, and purified their land, and on the twenty-fifth day of the ninth month celebrated the Encaenia, or feast of dedication (John 10:22) and purification of the temple. The whole period, in round numbers, was seven years. Mattathias was the patriotic Jewish leader, and his third son, Judas, the military commander under whom the Syrian generals were defeated. He retook Jerusalem and purified the temple. Simon and Jonathan, his brothers, succeeded him: the independence of the Jews was secured, and the crown vested in the Asmonean family, in which it continued till Herod the Great.
11. place . . . of graves Gog found only a grave where he had expected the spoils of conquest. valley So vast were to be the masses that nothing but a deep valley would suffice for their corpses. the passengers on the east of the sea those travelling on the high road, east of the Dead Sea, from Syria to Petra and Egypt. The publicity of the road would cause many to observe God's judgments, as the stench (as English Version translates) or the multitude of graves (as HENDERSON translates, "it shall stop the passengers ") would arrest the attention of passers-by. Their grave would be close to that of their ancient prototypes, Sodom and Gomorrah in the Dead Sea, both alike being signal instances of God's judgments.
13. I . . . glorified in destroying the foe (Ezekiel 28:22).
14. with the passengers The men employed continually in the burying were to be helped by those happening to pass by; all were to combine. after the end of seven months shall they search to see if the work was complete [MUNSTER].
15. First "all the people of the land" engaged in the burying for seven months; then special men were employed, at the end of the seven months, to search for any still left unburied. The passers-by helped them by setting up a mark near any such bones, in order to keep others from being defiled by casually touching them, and that the buriers might come and remove them. Denoting the minute care to put away every relic of heathen pollution from the Holy Land.
16. A city in the neighborhood was to receive the name Hamonah, "multitude," to commemorate the overthrow of the multitudes of the foe [HENDERSON]. The multitude of the slain shall give a name to the city of Jerusalem after the land shall have been cleansed [GROTIUS]. Jerusalem shall be famed as the conqueror of multitudes.
17. (Revelation 19:17). sacrifice Anciently worshippers feasted on the sacrifices. The birds and beasts of prey are invited to the sacrificial feast provided by God (compare Isaiah 18:6; 34:6; Zephaniah 1:7; Mark 9:49). Here this sacrifice holds only a subordinate place in the picture, and so is put last. Not only shall their bones lie long unburied, but they shall be stripped of the flesh by beasts and birds of prey.
18. rams . . . lambs . . . goats By these various animal victims used in sacrifices are meant various ranks of men, princes, generals, and soldiers (compare Isaiah 34:6). fatlings of Bashan ungodly men of might (Psalms 22:12). Bashan, beyond Jordan, was famed for its fat cattle. Fat implies prosperity which often makes men refractory towards God (Deuteronomy 32:14, 15).
20. my table the field of battle on the mountains of Israel (Ezekiel 38:8, 20). chariots that is, charioteers.
22. So the house of Israel shall know . . . Lord by My interposition for them. So, too, the heathen shall be led to fear the name of the Lord (Psalms 102:15).
23. hid I my face (Deuteronomy 31:17; Isaiah 59:2).
25. bring again the captivity restore from calamity to prosperity. the whole house of Israel so "all Israel" (Romans 11:26). The restorations of Israel heretofore have been partial; there must be one yet future that is to be universal (Hosea 1:11).
26. After that they have borne their shame the punishment of their sin: after they have become sensible of their guilt, and ashamed of it (Ezekiel 20:43; 36:31).
27. sanctified in them vindicated as holy in My dealings with them.
28. The Jews, having no dominion, settled country, or fixed property to detain them, may return at any time without difficulty (compare Hosea 3:4, 5).
29. poured out my Spirit upon . . . Israel the sure forerunner of their conversion (Joel 2:28; Zechariah 12:10). The pouring out of His Spirit is a pledge that He will hide His face no more (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:14; Philippians 1:6).
1 Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 2 Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman: 3 If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people; 4 Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. 5 He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul. 6 But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand. 7 So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me. 8 When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. 9 Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.
The prophet had been, by express order from God, taken off from prophesying to the Jews, just then when the news came that Jerusalem was invested, and close siege laid to it, ch. xxiv. 27. But now that Jerusalem is taken, two years after, he is appointed again to direct his speech to them; and there his commission is renewed. If God had abandoned them quite, he would not have sent prophets to them; nor, if he had not had mercy in store for them, would he have shown them such things as these. In these verses we have,
I. The office of a watchman laid down, the trust reposed in him, the charge given him, and the conditions adjusted between him and those that employ him, v. 2, 6. 1. It is supposed to be a public danger that gives occasion for the appointing of a watchmanwhen God brings the sword upon a land, v. 2. The sword of war, whenever it comes upon a land, is of God's bringing; it is the sword of the Lord, of his justice, how unjustly soever men draw it. At such a time, when a country is in fear of a foreign invasion, that they may be informed of all the motions of the enemy, may not be surprised with an attack, but may have early notice of it, in order to their being at their arms and in readiness to give the invader a warm reception, they set a man of their coast, some likely person, that lives upon the borders of their country, where the threatened danger is expected, and is therefore well acquainted with all the avenues of it, and make him their watchman. Thus wise are the children of this world in their generation. Note, One man may be of public service to a whole country. Princes and statesmen are the watchmen of a kingdom; they are continually to employ themselves, and, if occasion be, as watchmen, to expose themselves for the public safety. 2. It is supposed to be a public trust that is lodged in the watchman and that he is accountable to the public for the discharge of it. His business is, (1.) To discover the approaches and advances of the enemy; and therefore he must not be blind nor asleep, for then he cannot see the sword coming. (2.) To give notice of them immediately by sound of trumpet, or, as sentinels among us, by the discharge of a gun, as a signal of danger. A special trust and confidence is reposed in him by those that set him to be their watchman that he will faithfully do these two things; and they venture their lives upon his fidelity. Now, [1.] If he do his part, if he be betimes aware of all the dangers that fall within his cognizance, and give warning of them, he has discharged his trust, and has not only delivered his soul, but earned his wages. If the people do not take warning, if they either will not believe the notice he gives them, will not believe the danger to be so great or so near as really it is, or will not regard it, and so are surprised by the enemy in their security, it is their own fault; the blame is not to be laid upon the watchman, but their blood is upon their own head. If any person goes presumptuously into the mouth of danger, though he heard the sound of the trumpet, and was told by it where the danger was, and so the sword comes and takes him away in his folly, he is felo de sea suicide; foolish man, he has destroyed himself. But, [2.] If the watchman do not do his duty, if he might have seen the danger, and did not, but was asleep, or heedless, or looking another way, or if he did see the danger (for so the case is put here) and shifted only for his own safety, and blew not the trumpet to warn the people, so that some are surprised and cut off in their iniquity (v. 6), cut off suddenly, without having time to cry, Lord, have mercy upon me, time to repent and make their peace with God (which makes the matter much the worse, that the poor creature is taken away in his iniquity), his blood shall be required at the watchman's hand; he shall be found guilty of his death, because he did not give him warning of his danger. But if the watchman do his part, and the people do theirs, all is well; both he that gives warning and he that takes warning have delivered their souls.
II. The application of this to the prophet, v. 7, 9.
1. He is a watchman to the house of Israel. He had occasionally given warning to the nations about, but to the house of Israel he was a watchman by office, for they were the children of the prophets and the covenant They did not set him for a watchman, as the people of the land, v. 2 (for they were not so wise for their souls as to secure the welfare of them, as they would have been for the protection of their temporal interests); but God did it for them; he appointed them a watchman.
2. His business as a watchman is to give warning to sinners of their misery and danger by reason of sin. This is the word he must hear from God's mouth and speak to them. (1.) God has said, The wicked man shall surely die; he shall be miserable. Unless he repent, he shall be cut off from God and all comfort and hope in him, shall be cut off from all good. He shall fall and lie for ever under the wrath of God, which is the death of the soul, as his favour is its life. The righteous God has said it, and will never unsay it, nor can all the world gainsay it, that the wages of sin is death. Sin, when it is finished, brings froth death. The wrath of God is revealed from heaven, not only against wicked nations, speaking ruin to them as nations, but against wicked persons, speaking ruin to them in their personal capacity, their personal interests, which pass into the other world and last to eternity, as national interests do not. (2.) It is the will of God that the wicked man should be warned of this: Warn them from me. This intimates that there is a possibility of preventing it, else it were a jest to give warning of it; nay, and that God is desirous it should be prevented. Sinners are therefore warned of the wrath to come, that they may flee from it, Matt. iii. 7. (3.) It is the work of ministers to give him warning, to say to the wicked, It shall be ill with thee, Isa. iii. 11. God ways in general, The soul that sinneth it shall die. The minister's business is to apply this to particular persons, and to say, "O wicked man! thou shalt surely die, whoever thou art; if thou go on still in thy trespasses, they will inevitably be thy ruin. O adulterer! O robber! O drunkard! O swearer! O sabbath-breaker! thou shalt surely die." And he must say this, not in passion, to provoke the sinner, but in compassion, to warn the wicked from hi way, warn him to turn from it, that he may live. This is to be done by the faithful preaching of the word in public, and by personal application to those whose sins are open.
3. If souls perish through his neglect of his duty, he brings guilt upon himself. "If the prophet do not warn the wicked of the ruin that is at the end of his wicked way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; for, though the watchman did not do his part, yet the sinner might have taken warning from the written word, from his own conscience, and from God's judgments upon others, by which his mouth shall be stopped, and God will be justified in his destruction." Note, It will not serve impenitent sinners to plead in the great day that their watchmen did not give them warning, that they were careless and unfaithful; for, though they were so, it will be made to appear that God left not himself without witness. "But he shall not perish alone in his iniquity; the watchman also shall be called to an account: His blood will I require at thy hand. The blind leader shall fall with the blind follower into the ditch." See what a desire God has of the salvation of sinners, in that he resents it so ill if those concerned do not what they can to prevent their destruction. And see what a great deal those ministers have to answer for another day who palliate sin, and flatter sinners in their evil way, and by their wicked lives countenance and harden them in their wickedness, and encourage them to believe that they shall have peace though they go on.
4. If he do his duty, he may take the comfort of it, though he do not see the success of it (v. 9): "If thou warn the wicked of his way, if thou tell him faithfully what will be the end thereof, and call him earnestly to turn from it, and he do not turn, but persist in it, he shall die in his iniquity, and the fair warning given him will be an aggravation of his sin and ruin; but thou hast delivered thy soul." Note, It is a comfort to ministers that they may through grace save themselves, though they cannot be instrumental to save so many as they wish of those that hear them.
The Cavils of the People Answered. B. C. 587.
10 Therefore, O thou son of man, speak unto the house of Israel; Thus ye speak, saying, If our transgressions and our sins be upon us, and we pine away in them, how should we then live? 11 Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? 12 Therefore, thou son of man, say unto the children of thy people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression: as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall thereby in the day that he turneth from his wickedness; neither shall the righteous be able to live for his righteousness in the day that he sinneth. 13 When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it. 14 Again, when I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right; 15 If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die. 16 None of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him: he hath done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live. 17 Yet the children of thy people say, The way of the Lord is not equal: but as for them, their way is not equal. 18 When the righteous turneth from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, he shall even die thereby. 19 But if the wicked turn from his wickedness, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall live thereby. 20 Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. O ye house of Israel, I will judge you every one after his ways.
These verses are the substance of what we had before (ch. xviii. 20, &c.) and they are so full and express a declaration of the terms on which people stand with God (as the former were of the terms on which ministers stand) that it is no wonder that they are here repeated, as those were, though we had the substance of them before. Observe here,
I. The cavils of the people against God's proceedings with them. God was now in his providence contending with them, but their uncircumcised hearts were not as yet humbled, for they were industrious to justify themselves, though thereby they reflected on God. Two things they insisted upon, in their reproaches of God, and in both they added iniquity to their sin and misery to their punishment: 1. They quarrelled with his promises and favours, as having no kindness nor sincerity in them, v. 10. God had set life before them, but they plead that he had set it out of their reach, and therefore did but mock them with the mention of it. The prophet had said, some time ago (ch. xxiv. 23), You shall pine away for your iniquities; with that word he had concluded his threatenings against Judah and Jerusalem; and this they now upbraided him with, as if it had been spoken absolutely, to drive them to despair; whereas it was spoken conditionally, to bring them to repentance. Thus are the sayings of God's ministers perverted by men of corrupt minds, who are inclined to pick quarrels. He puts them in hopes of life and happiness; and herein they would make him contradict himself; "for" (say they) "if our transgressions and our sins be upon us, as thou hast often told us they are, and if we must, as thou sayest, pine away in them, and wear out a miserable captivity in a fruitless repentance, how shall we then live? If this be our doom, there is no remedy. We die, we perish, we all perish." Note, It is very common for those that have been hardened with presumption when they were warned against sin to sink into despair when they are called to repent, and to conclude there is no hope of life for them. 2. They quarrelled with his threatenings and judgments, as having no justice or equity in them. They said, The way of the Lord is not equal (v. 17, 20), suggesting that God was partial in his proceedings, that with him there was respect of persons and that he was more severe against sin and sinners than there was cause.
II. Here is a satisfactory answer given to both these cavils.
1. Those that despaired of finding mercy with God are here answered with a solemn declaration of God's readiness to show mercy, v. 11. When they spoke of pining away in their iniquity God sent the prophet to them, with all speed, to tell them that though their case was sad it was not desperate, but there was yet hope in Israel. (1.) It is certain that God has no delight in the ruin of sinners, nor does he desire it. If they will destroy themselves, he will glorify himself in it, but he has no pleasure in it, but would rather they should turn and live, for his goodness is that attribute of his which is most his glory, which is most his delight. He would rather sinners should turn and live than go on and die. He has said it, he has sworn it, that by these two immutable things, in both which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation. We have his word and his oath; and, since he could swear by no greater, he swears by himself: As I live. They questioned whether they should live, though they did repent and reform; yea, says God, as sure as I live, true penitents shall live also; for their life is hid with Christ in God. (2.) It is certain that God is sincere and in earnest in the calls he gives sinners to repent: Turn you, turn you, from your evil way. To repent is to turn from our evil way; this God requires sinners to do; this he urges them to do by repeated pressing instances: Turn you, turn you. O that they would be prevailed with to turn, to turn quickly, without delay! This he will enable them to do if they will but frame their doings to turn to the Lord, Hos. v. 4. For he has said, I will pour out my Spirit unto you, Prov. i. 23. And in this he will accept of them; for it is not only what he commands, but what he courts them to. (3.) It is certain that, if sinners perish in their impenitency, it is owing to themselves; they die because they will die; and herein they act most absurdly and unreasonably: Why will you die, O house of Israel? God would have heard them, and they would not be heard.
2. Those that despaired of finding justice with God are here answered with a solemn declaration of the rule of judgment which God would go by in dealing with the children of men, which carries along with it the evidence of its own equity; he that runs may read the justice of it. The Jewish nation, as a nation, was now dead; it was ruined to all intents and purposes. The prophet must therefore deal with particular persons, and the rule of judgment concerning them is much like that concerning a nation, Jer. xviii. 8-10. If God speak concerning it to build and to plant, and it do wickedly, he will recall his favours and leave it to ruin. But if he speak concerning it to pluck up and destroy, and it repent, he will revoke the sentence and deliver it. So it is here. In short, The most plausible professors, if they apostatize, shall certainly perish for ever in their apostasy from God; and the most notorious sinners, if they repent, shall certainly be happy for ever in their return to God. This is here repeated again and again, because it ought to be again and again considered, and preached over to our own hearts. This was necessary to be inculcated upon this stupid senseless people, that said, The way of the Lord is not equal; for these rules of judgment are so plainly just that they need no other confirmation of them than the repetition of them.
(1.) If those that have made a great profession of religion throw off their profession, quit the good ways of God and grow loose and carnal, sensual and worldly, the profession they made and all the religious performances with which they had for a great while kept up the credit of their profession shall stand them in no stead, but they shall certainly perish in their iniquity, v. 12, 13, 18. [1.] God says to the righteous man that he shall surely live, v. 13. He says it by his word, by his ministers. He that lives regularly, his own heart tells him, his neighbours tell him, He shall live. Surely such a man as this cannot but be happy. And it is certain, if he proceed and persevere in his righteousness, and if, in order to that, he be upright and sincere in it, if he be really as good as he seems to be, he shall live; he shall continue in the love of God and be for ever happy in that love. [2.] Righteous men, who have very good hopes of themselves and whom others have a very good opinion of, are yet in danger of turning to iniquity by trusting to their righteousness. So the case is put here: If he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, and come to make a trade of sinif he not only take a false step, but turn aside into a false way and persist in it. This may possibly be the case of a righteous man, and it is the effect of his trusting to his own righteousness. Note, Many eminent professors have been ruined by a proud conceitedness of themselves and confidence in themselves. He trust to the merit of his own righteousness, and thinks he has already made God so much his debtor that now he may venture to commit iniquity, for he has righteousness enough in stock to make amends for it; he fancies that whatever evil deeds he may do hereafter he can be in no danger from them, having so many good deeds beforehand to counterbalance them. Or, He trust to the strength of his own righteousness, thinks himself now so well established in a course of virtue that he may thrust himself into any temptation and it cannot overcome him, and so by presuming on his own sufficiency he is brought to commit iniquity. By making bold on the confines of sin he is drawn at length into the depths of hell. This ruined the Pharisees; they trusted to themselves that they were righteous, and that their long prayers, and fasting twice in the week, would atone for their devouring widows' houses. [3.] If righteous men turn to iniquity, and return not to their righteousness, they shall certainly perish in their iniquity, and all the righteousness they have formerly done, all their prayers, and all their alms, shall be forgotten. No mention shall be made, no remembrance had, of their good deeds; they shall be overlooked, as if they had never been. The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him from the wrath of God, and the curse of the law, in the day of his transgression. When he becomes a traitor and a rebel, and takes up arms against his rightful Sovereign, it will not serve for him to plead in his own defence that formerly he was a loyal subject, and did many good services to the government. No; he shall not be able to live. The remembrance of his former righteousness shall be no satisfaction either to God's justice or his own conscience in the day that he sins, but rather shall, in the estimate of both, highly aggravate the sin and folly of his apostasy. And therefore for his iniquity that he committed he shall die, v. 13. And again (v. 18), He shall even die thereby; and it is owing to himself.
(2.) If those that have lived a wicked life repent and reform, forsake their wicked ways and become religious, their sins shall be pardoned, and they shall be justified and saved, if they persevere in their reformation. [1.] God says to the wicked, "Thou shalt surely die. The way that thou art in leads to destruction. The wages of thy sin is death, and thy iniquity will shortly be thy ruin." It was said to the righteous man, Thou shalt surely live, for his encouragement to proceed and persevere in the way of righteousness; but he made an ill use of it, and was emboldened by it to commit iniquity. It was said to the wicked man, Thou shalt surely die, for warning to him not to persist in his wicked ways; and he makes a good use of it, and is quickened thereby to return to God and duty. Thus even the threatenings of the word are to some, by the grace of God, a savour of life unto life, while even the promises of the word become to others, by their own corruption, a savour of death unto death. When God says to the wicked man, Thou shalt surely die, die eternally, it is to frighten him, not out of his wits, but out of his sins. [2.] There is many a wicked man who was hastening apace to his own destruction who yet is wrought upon by the grace of God to return and repent, and live a holy life. He turns from his sin (v. 14), and is resolved that he will have no more to do with it; and, as an evidence of his repentance for wrong done, he restores the pledge (v. 15) which he had taken uncharitably from the poor, he gives again that which he had robbed and taken unjustly from the rich. Nor does he only cease to do evil, but he learns to do well; he does that which is lawful and right, and makes conscience of his duty both to God and mana great change, since, awhile ago, he neither feared God nor regarded man. But many such amazing changes, and blessed ones, have been wrought by the power of divine grace. He that was going on in the paths of death and the destroyer now walks in the statues of life, in the way of God's commandments, which has both life in it (Prov. xii. 28) and life at the end of it, Matt. xix. 17. And in this good way he perseveres without committing iniquity, though not free from remaining infirmity, yet under the dominion of no iniquity. He repents not of his repentance, nor returns to the commission of those gross sins which he before allowed himself in. [3.] He that does thus repent and return shall escape the ruin he was running into, and his former sins shall be no prejudice to his acceptance with God. Let him not pine away in his iniquity, for, if he confess and forsake it, he shall find mercy. He shall surely live; he shall not die, v. 15. Again (v. 16), He shall surely live. Again (v. 19), He has done that which is lawful and right, and he shall live thereby. But will not his wickednesses be remembered against him? No; he shall not be punished for them (v. 12): As for the wickedness of the wicked, though it was very heinous, yet he shall not fall thereby in the day that he turns from his wickedness. Now that it has become his grief it shall not be his ruin. Now that there is a settled separation between him and sin there shall be no longer a separation between him and God. Nay, he shall not be so much as upbraided with them (v. 16): None of his sins that he has committed shall be mentioned unto him, either as a clog to his pardon or an allay to the comfort of it, or as any blemish and diminution to the glory that is prepared for him.
Now lay all this together, and then judge whether the way of the Lord be not equal, whether this will not justify God in the destruction of sinners and glorify him in the salvation of penitents. The conclusion of the whole matter is (v. 20): "O you house of Israel, though you are all involved now in the common calamity, yet there shall be a distinction of persons made in the spiritual and eternal state, and I will judge you every one after his ways." Though they were sent into captivity by the lump, good fish and bad enclosed in the same net, yet there he will separate between the precious and the vile and will render to every man according to his works. Therefore God's way is equal and unexceptionable; but, as for the children of thy people, God turns them over to the prophet, as he did to Moses (Exod. xxxii. 7): "They are thy people; I can scarcely own them for mine." As for them, their way is unequal; this way which they have got of quarrelling with God and his prophets is absurd and unreasonable. In all disputes between God and his creatures it will certainly be found that he is in the right and they are in the wrong.
Message to Inhabitants of Judah; Rebuke to the Proud Jews. B. C. 587.
21 And it came to pass in the twelfth year of our captivity, in the tenth month, in the fifth day of the month, that one that had escaped out of Jerusalem came unto me, saying, The city is smitten. 22 Now the hand of the LORD was upon me in the evening, afore he that was escaped came; and had opened my mouth, until he came to me in the morning; and my mouth was opened, and I was no more dumb. 23 Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 24 Son of man, they that inhabit those wastes of the land of Israel speak, saying, Abraham was one, and he inherited the land: but we are many; the land is given us for inheritance. 25 Wherefore say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Ye eat with the blood, and lift up your eyes toward your idols, and shed blood: and shall ye possess the land? 26 Ye stand upon your sword, ye work abomination, and ye defile every one his neighbour's wife: and shall ye possess the land? 27 Say thou thus unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; As I live, surely they that are in the wastes shall fall by the sword, and him that is in the open field will I give to the beasts to be devoured, and they that be in the forts and in the caves shall die of the pestilence. 28 For I will lay the land most desolate, and the pomp of her strength shall cease; and the mountains of Israel shall be desolate, that none shall pass through. 29 Then shall they know that I am the LORD, when I have laid the land most desolate because of all their abominations which they have committed.
Here we have,
I. The tidings brought to Ezekiel of the burning of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans. The city was burnt in the eleventh year of the captivity and the fifth month, Jer. lii. 12, 13. Tidings hereof were brought to the prophet by one that was an eye-witness of the destruction, in the twelfth year, and the tenth month (v. 21), which was a year and almost five months after the thing was done; we may well suppose that, there being a constant correspondence at this time more than ever kept up between Jerusalem and Babylon, he had heard the news long before. But this was the first time he had an account of it from a refugee, from one who escaped, who could be particular, and would be pathetic, in the narrative of it. And the sign given him was the coming of such a one to him as had himself narrowly escaped the flames (ch. xxiv. 26): He that escapes in that day shall come unto thee, to cause thee to hear it with thy ears, to hear it more distinctly than ever, from one that could say, Quæque ipse miserrima vidiThese miserable scenes I saw.
II. The divine impressions and influences he was under, to prepare him for those heavy tidings (v. 22): The hand of the Lord was upon me before he came, and had opened my mouth to speak to the house of Israel what we had in the former part of this chapter. And now he was no more dumb; he prophesied now with more freedom and boldness, being by the event proved a true prophet, to the confusion of those that contradicted him. All the prophecies from ch. xxiv. to this chapter have relation purely to the nations about, it is probable that the prophet, when he received them from the Lord, did not deliver them by word of mouth, but in writing; for he could not Say to the Ammonites, Say unto Tyrus, Say unto Pharaoh, &c., so and so, but by letters directed to the persons concerned, as Zacharias, when he could not speak, wrote; and herein he was as truly executing his prophetic office as ever. Note, Even silenced ministers may be doing a great deal of good by writing letters and making visits. But now the prophet's mouth is opened, that he may speak to the children of his people. It is probable that he had, during these three years, been continually speaking to them as a friend, putting them in mind of what he had formerly delivered to them, but that he never spoke to them as a prophet, by inspiration, till now, when the hand of the Lord came upon him, renewed his commission, gave him fresh instructions, and opened his mouth, furnished him with power to speak to the people as he ought to speak.
III. The particular message he was entrusted with, relating to these Jews that yet remained in the land of Israel, and inhabited the wastes of that land, v. 24. See what work sin had made. The cities of Israel had now become the wastes of Israel, for they lay all in ruins; some few that had escaped the sword and captivity still continued there and began to think of re-settling. This was so long after the destruction of Jerusalem that it was some time before this that Gedaliah (a modest humble man) and his friends were slain; but probably at this time Johanan, and the proud men that joined with him, were at the height (Jer. xliii. 2); and before they came to a resolution to go into Egypt, wherein Jeremiah opposed them, it is probable that the project was to establish themselves in the wastes of the land of Israel, in which Ezekiel here opposed them, and probably despatched the message away by the person that brought him the news of Jerusalem's destruction. Or, perhaps, those here prophesied against might be some other party of Jews, that remained in the land, hoping to take root there and to be sole masters of it, after Johanan and his forces had gone into Egypt. Now here we have,
1. An account of the pride of these remaining Jews, who dwelt in the wastes of the land of Israel. Though the providence of God concerning them had been very humbling, and still was very threatening, yet they were intolerably haughty and secure, and promised themselves peace. He that brought the news to the prophet that Jerusalem was smitten could not tell him (it is likely) what these people said, but God tells him, They say, "The land is given us for inheritance, v. 24. Our partners being gone, it is now all our own by survivorship, or, for want of heirs, it comes to us as occupants; we shall now be placed alone in the midst of the earth and have it all to ourselves." This argues great stupidity under the weighty hand of God, and a reigning selfishness and narrow-spiritedness; they pleased themselves in the ruin of their country as long as they hoped to find their own account in it, cared not though it were all waste, so that they might have the sole propertya poor inheritance to be proud of! They have the impudence to compare their case with Abraham's, glorying in this, We have Abraham to our father. "Abraham," say they, "was one, one family, and he inherited the land, and lived many years in the peaceable enjoyment of it; but we are many, many families, more numerous than he; the land is given us for inheritance." (1.) They think they can make out as good a title from God to this land as Abraham could: "If God gave this land to him, who was but one worshipper of him, as a reward of his service, much more will he give it to us, who are many worshippers of him, as the reward of our service." This shows the great conceit they had of the own merits, as if they were greater than those of Abraham their father, who yet was not justified by works. (2.) They think they can make good the possession of this land against the Chaldeans and all others invaders, as well as Abraham could against those that were competitors with him for it: "If he, who was but one, could hold it, much more shall we, who are many, and have many more at command than his 300 trained servants." This shows the confidence they had in their own might; they had got possession, and were resolved to keep it.
2. A check to this pride. Since God's providences did neither humble them nor terrify them, he sends them a message sufficient to do both.
(1.) To humble them, he tells them of the wickedness they still persisted in, which rendered them utterly unworthy to possess this land, so that they could not expect God should give it to them. They had been followed with one judgment after another, but they had not profited by those means of grace as might be expected; they were still unreformed, and how could they expect that they should possess the land? "Shall you possess the land? What! such wicked people as you are? How shall I put thee among the children, and give thee a pleasant land? Jer. iii. 19. Surely you never reflect upon yourselves, else you would rather wonder that you are in the land of the living than expect to possess this land. For do you now know how bad you are?" [1.] "You make no conscience of forbidden fruit, forbidden food: You eat with the blood," directly contrary to one of the precepts given to Noah and his sons when God gave them possession of the earth, Gen. ix. 4. [2.] "Idolatry, that covenant-breaking sin, that sin which the jealous God has been in a particular manner provoked by to lay your country waste, is still the sin that most easily besets you and which you have a strong inclination to: You lift up your eyes towards your idols, which is a sign that though perhaps you do not bow your knee to them so much as you have done, yet you set your hearts upon them and hanker after them." [3.] "You are as fierce, and cruel, and barbarous as ever: You shed blood, innocent blood." [4.] "You confide in your own strength, your own arm, your own bow, and have no dependence on, or regard to, God and his providence: You stand upon your sword (v. 26); you think to carry all before you, and make all your own, by force of arms." How can those expect the inheritance of Isaac (as these did) who are of Ishmael's disposition, that had his hand against every man (Gen. xvi. 12), and Esau's resolution to live by his sword? Gen. xxvii. 40. We met with those (ch. xxxii. 27) who, when they died, thought they could not lie easy underground unless they had their swords under their heads. Here we meet with those who, while they live, think they cannot stand firmly above ground unless they have their swords under their feet, as if swords were both the softest pillows and the strongest pillars; though it was sin, it was sin, that first drew the sword. But, blessed be God, there are those who know better, who stand upon the support of the divine power and promise and lay their heads in the bosom of divine love, not trusting in their own sword, Ps. xliv. 3. [5.] "You are guilty of all manner of abominations, and, particularly, you defile every one his neighbour's wife, which is an abomination of the first magnitude, and shall you possess the land? What! such vile miscreants as you?" Note, Those cannot expect to possess the land, nor to enjoy any true comfort or happiness here or hereafter, who live in rebellion against the Lord.
(2.) To terrify them, he tells them of the further judgments God had in store for them, which should make them utterly unable to possess this land, so that they could not stand it out against the enemy. Do they say that they shall possess the land? God has said they shall not, he has sworn it, As I live, saith the Lord. Though he has sworn that he delights not in the death of sinners, yet he has sworn also that those who persist in impenitency and unbelief shall not enter into his rest. [1.] Those that are in the cities, here called the wastes, shall fall by the sword, either by the sword of the Chaldeans, who come to avenge the murder of Gedaliah, or by one another's swords, in their intestine broils. [2.] Those that are in the open field shall be devoured by wild beasts, which swarmed, of course, in the country when it was dispeopled, and there were none to master them and keep them under, Exod. xxiii. 29. When the army of the enemy had quitted the country still there was no safety in it. Noisome beasts constituted one of the four sore judgments, ch. xiv. 15. [3.] Those that are in the forts and in the caves, that think themselves safe in artificial or natural fastnesses, because men's eyes cannot discover them nor men's darts reach them, there the arrows of the Almighty shall find them out; they shall die of the pestilence. [4.] The whole land, even the land of Israel, that had been the glory of all lands, shall be most desolate, v. 28. It shall be desolation, desolation, all over as desolate as desolation itself can make it. The mountain of Israel, the fruitful mountains, Zion itself the holy mountain not excepted, shall be desolate, the roads unfrequented, the houses uninhabited, that none shall pass through; as it was threatened (Deut. xxviii. 62), You shall be left few in number. [5.] The pomp of her strength, whatever she glories in as her pomp and trusts to as her strength, shall be made to cease. [6.] The cause of all this was very bad; it is for all their abominations which they have committed. It is sin that does all this mischief, that makes nations desolate; and therefore we ought to call it an abomination. [7.] Yet the effect of all this will be very good: Then shall they know that I am the Lord, am their Lord, and shall return to their allegiance, when I have made the land most desolate. Those are untractable unteachable indeed that are not made to know their dependence upon God when all their creature-comforts fail them and are made desolate.
Hypocritical Professions. B. C. 587.
30 Also, thou son of man, the children of thy people still are talking against thee by the walls and in the doors of the houses, and speak one to another, every one to his brother, saying, Come, I pray you, and hear what is the word that cometh forth from the LORD. 31 And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness. 32 And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not. 33 And when this cometh to pass, (lo, it will come,) then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them.
The foregoing verses spoke conviction to the Jews who remained in the land of Israel, who were monuments of sparing mercy and yet returned not to the Lord; in these verses those are reproved who were now in captivity in Babylon, under divine rebukes, and yet were not reformed by them. They are not indeed charged with the same gross enormities that the others are charged with. They made some show of religion and devotion; but their hearts were not right with God. The thing they are here accused of is mocking the messengers of the lord, one of their measure-filling sins, which brought this ruin upon them, and yet they were not cured of it. Two ways they mocked the prophet Ezekiel:
I. By invidious ill natured reflections upon him, privately among themselves, endeavouring by all means possible to render him despicable. The prophet did not know it, but charitably thought that those who spoke so well to him to his face, with so much seeming respect and deference, would surely not speak ill of him behind his back. But God comes and tells him, The children of thy people are still talking against thee (v. 30), or talking of thee, no good, I doubt. Note, Public persons are a common theme or subject of discourse; every one takes a liberty to censure them at pleasure. Faithful ministers know not how much ill is said of them every day; it is well that they do not; for, if they did, it might prove a discouragement to them in their work not to be easily got over. God takes notice of all that is said against his ministers, not only what is decreed against them, or sworn against them, not only what is written against them, or spoken with solemnity and deliberation, but of what is said against them in common talk, among neighbours when they meet in an evening, by the walls and in the doors of their houses, where whatever freedom of speech they use, if they reproach and slander any of God's ministers, God will reckon with them for it; his prophets shall not be made the song of the drunkards always. They had no crime to lay to the prophet's charge, but they loved to talk of him in a careless, scornful, bantering way; they said, jokingly, "Come, and let us hear what is the word that comes forth from the Lord; perhaps it will be something new, and will entertain us, and furnish us with matter for discourse." Note, Those have arrived as a great pitch of profaneness who can make so great a privilege, and so great a duty, as the preaching and hearing of the word of God, a matter of sport and ridicule, yea though it be not done publicly, but in private conversation among themselves. Serious things should be spoken of seriously.
II. By dissembling with him in their attendance upon his ministry. Hypocrites mock God and mock his prophets. But their hypocrisy is open before God, and the day is coming when, as here, it will be laid open. Observe here,
1. The plausible profession which these people made and the speciousness of their pretensions. They are like those (Matt. xv. 8) who draw nigh to God with their mouths and honour him with their lips, but their hearts are far from him. (1.) They were diligent and constant in their attendance upon the means of grace: They come unto thee as the people come. In Babylon they had no temple or synagogue, but they went to the prophet's house (ch. viii. 1), and there, it is probable, they spent their new moons and their sabbaths in religious exercises, 2 Kings iv. 23. When the prophet was bound the word of the Lord was not bound; and the people, when they had not the help for their souls that they wished for, were thankful for what they had; it was a reviving in their bondage. Now these hypocrites came, according to the coming of the people, as duly and as early as any of the prophet's hearers. Their being said to come as the people came seems to intimate that the reason why they came was because other people came; they did not come out of conscience towards God, but only for company, for fashion-sake, and because it was now the custom of their countrymen. Note, Those that have no inward principle of love to God's ordinances may yet be found much in the external observance of them. Cain brought his sacrifice as well as Abel; and the Pharisee went up to the temple to pray as well as the publican. (2.) They behaved themselves very decently and reverently in the public assembly; there were none of them whispering, or laughing, or gazing about them, or sleeping. But they sit before thee as my people, with all the shows of gravity, and sereneness, and composure of mind. They sit out the time, without weariness, or wishing the sermon done. (3.) They were very attentive to the word preached: "They are not thinking of something else, but they hear thy words, and take notice of what thou sayest." (4.) They pretended to have a great kindness and respect for the prophet. Though, behind his back, they could not give him a good word, yet, to his face, they showed much love to him and his doctrine; they pretended to have a great concern lest he should spend himself too much in preaching or expose himself to the Chaldeans, for they would be thought to be some of his best friends and well-wishers. (5.) They took a great deal of pleasure in the word; they delighted to know God's word, Isa. lviii. 2. Herod heard John Baptist gladly, Mark vi. 20. Thou art unto them as a very lovely song. Ezekiel's matter was surprising, his language fine, his expressions elegant, his similitudes apt, his voice melodious, and his delivery graceful; so that they could sit with as much pleasure to hear him preach as (if I may speak in the language of our times) to see a play or an opera, or to hear a concert of music. Ezekiel was to them as one that had a pleasant voice and could sing well, or play well on an instrument. Note, Men may have their fancies pleased by the word, and yet not have their consciences touched nor their hearts changed, the itching ear gratified and yet not the corrupt nature sanctified.
2. The hypocrisy of these professions and pretensions; it is all a sham, it is all a jest. (1.) They have no cordial affection for the word of God. While they show much love it is only with the mouth, from the teeth outward, but their heart goes after their covetousness; they are as much set upon the world as ever, as much in love and league with it as ever. Hearing the word is only their diversion and recreation, a pretty amusement now and then for an hour or two. But still their main business is with their farm and merchandise; the bent and bias of their souls are towards them, and their inward thoughts are employed in projects about them. Note, Covetousness is the ruining sin of multitudes that make a great profession of religion; it is the love of the world that secretly eats the love of God out of their hearts. The cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches are the thorns that choke the seed, and choke the soul too. And those neither please God nor profit themselves who, when they are hearing the word of God, are musing upon their worldly affairs. God has his eye on the hearts that do so. (2.) They yield no subjection to it. They hear thy words, but it is only a hearing that they give thee, for they will not do them, v. 31. And again (v. 32), they do them not. They will not be persuaded by all the prophet can say, either by authority or argument, to cross themselves in any instance, to part with any one beloved sin, or apply themselves to any one duty that is against the grain to flesh and blood. Note, There are many who take pleasure in hearing the word, but make no conscience of doing it; and so they build upon the sand, and deceive themselves.
3. Let us see what will be in the end hereof: Shall their unbelief and carelessness make the word of God of no effect? By no means. (1.) God will confirm the prophet's word, though they contemn it, and make light of it, v. 33. What he says will come to pass, and not one jot or one tittle shall fall to the ground. Note, The curses of the law, though they may be bantered by profane wits, cannot be baffled. (2.) They themselves shall rue their folly when it is too late. When it comes to pass they shall know, shall know to their cost, know to their confusion, that a prophet has been among them, though they made no more of him than as one that had a pleasant voice. Note, Those who will not consider that a prophet is among them, and who improve not the day of their visitation while it is continued, will be made to remember that a prophet has been among them when the things that belong to their peace are hidden from their eyes. The day is coming when vain and worldly men will have other thoughts of things than now they have, and will feel a weight in that which they made light of. They shall know that a prophet has been among them when they see the event exactly answer the prediction, and the prophet himself shall be a witness against them that they had fair warning given them, but would not take it. When Ezekiel is gone, whom now they speak against, and there is no more any prophet, nor any to show them how long, then they will remember that once they had a prophet, but knew not how to use him well. Note, Those who will not know the worth of mercies by the improvement of them will justly be made to know the worth of them by the want of them, as those who should desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, which now they slighted, and might not see it.
The iniquities and calamities of God's Israel had been largely and pathetically lamented before, in this book. Now in this chapter the shepherds of Israel, their rulers both in church and state, are called to an account, as having been very much accessory to the sin and ruin of Israel, by their neglecting to do the duty of their place. Here is, I. A high charge exhibited against them for their negligence, their unskillfulness, and unfaithfulness in the management of public affairs, ver. 1-6 and ver. 8. II. Their discharge from their trust, for their insufficiency and treachery, ver. 7-10. III. A gracious promise that God would take care of his flock, though they did not, and that it should not always suffer as it had done by their mal-administrations, ver. 11-16. IV. Another charge exhibited against those of the flock that were fat and strong, for the injuries they did to those that were weak and feeble, ver. 17-22. V. Another promise that God would in the fulness of time send the Messiah, to be the great and good Shepherd of the sheep, who should redress all grievances and set every thing to rights with the flock, ver. 23-31.
The Shepherds Reproved. B. C. 587.
1 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 2 Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? 3 Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock. 4 The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them. 5 And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered. 6 My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them.
The prophecy of this chapter is not dated, nor any of those that follow it, till ch. xl. It is most probable that it was delivered after the completing of Jerusalem's destruction, when it would be very seasonable to enquire into the causes of it.
I. The prophet is ordered to prophesy against the shepherds of Israelthe princes and magistrates, the priests and Levites, the great Sanhedrim or council of state, or whoever they were that had the direction of public affairs in a higher or lower sphere, the kings especially, for there were two of them now captives in Babylon, who, as well as the people, must have their transgressions shown them, that they might repent, as Manasseh in his captivity. God has something to say to the shepherds, for they are but under-shepherds, accountable to him who is the great Shepherd of Israel, Ps. lxxx. 1. And that which he says is, Woe to the shepherds of Israel! Though they are shepherds, and shepherds of Israel, yet he must not spare them, must not flatter them. Note, If men's dignity and power do not, as they ought, keep them from sin, they will not serve to exempt them from reproof, to excuse their repentance, or to secure them from the judgments of God if they do not repent. We had a woe to the pastors, Jer. xxiii. 1. God will in a particular manner reckon with them if they be false to their trust.
II. He is here directed what to charge the shepherds with, in God's name, as the ground of God's controversy with them; for it is not a causeless quarrel. Two things they are charged with: 1. That all their care was to advance and enrich themselves and to make themselves great. Their business was to take care of those that were committed to their charge: Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? No doubt they should; they betray their trust if they do not. Not that they are to put the meat into their mouths, but to provide it for them and bring them to it. But these shepherds made this the least of their care; they fed themselves, contrived every thing to gratify and indulge their own appetite, and to make themselves rich and great, fat and easy. They made sure of the profits of their places; they did eat the fat, the cream (so some), for he that feeds a flock eats of the milk of it (1 Cor. ix. 7), and they made sure of the best of the milk. They made sure of the fleece, and clothed themselves with the wool, getting into their hands as much as they could of the estates of their subjects, yea, and killed those that were well fed, that what they had might be fed upon, as Naboth was put to death for his vineyard. Note, There is a woe to those who are in public trusts, but consult only their own private interest, and are more inquisitive about the benefice than about the office, what money is to be got than what good to be done. It is an old complaint, All seek their own, and too many more than their own. 2. That they took no care for the benefit and welfare of those that were committed to their charge: You feed not the flock. They neither knew how to do it, so ignorant were they, nor would they take any pains to do it, so lazy and slothful were they; nay, they never desired nor designed it, so treacherous and unfaithful were they. (1.) They did not do their duty to those of the flock that were distempered, did not strengthen them, nor heal them, nor bind them up, v. 4. When any of the flock were sick or hurt, worried or wounded, it was all one to them whether they lived or died; they never looked after them. The princes and judges took no care to right those that suffered wrong or to shelter injured innocency. They took no care of the poor to see them provided for; they might starve, for them. The priests took no care to instruct the ignorant, to rectify the mistakes of those that were in error, to warn the unruly, or to comfort the feeble-minded. The ministers of state took no care to check the growing distempers of the kingdom, which threatened the vitals of it. Things were amiss, and out of course, every where, and nothing was done to rectify them. (2.) They did not do their duty to those of the flock that were dispersed, that were driven away by the enemies that invaded the country, and were forced to seek for shelter where they could find a place, or that wandered of choice upon the mountains and hills (v. 6), where they were exposed to the beasts of prey and became meat to them, v. 5. Every one is ready to seize a waif and stray. Some went abroad and begged, some went abroad and traded, and thus the country became thin of inhabitants, and was weakened and impoverished, and wanted hands both in the fields of corn and in the fields of battle, both in harvest and in war: My flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, v. 6. And they were never enquired after, were never encouraged to return to their own country: None did search or seek after them. Nay, with force and cruelty they ruled them, which drove more away, and discouraged those that were driven away from all thoughts of returning. Their case is bad who have reason to expect better treatment among strangers than in their own country. It may be meant of those of the flock that went astray from God and their duty; and the priests, that should have taught the good knowledge of the Lord, used no means to convince and reclaim them, so that they became an easy prey to seducers. Thus were they scattered because there was no shepherd, v. 5. There were those that called themselves shepherds, but really they were not. Note, Those that do not do the work of shepherds are unworthy of the name. And if those that undertake to be shepherds are foolish shepherds (Zech. xi. 15), if they are proud and above their business, idle and do not love their business, or faithless and unconcerned about it, the case of the flock is as bad as if it were without a shepherd. Better no shepherd than such shepherds. Christ complains that his flock were as sheep having no shepherd, when yet the scribes and Pharisees sat in Moses' seat, Matt. ix. 36. It is ill with the patient when his physician is his worst disease, ill with the flock when the shepherds drive them away and disperse them, by ruling them with force.
7 Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD; 8 As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock; 9 Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD; 10 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them. 11 For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. 12 As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. 13 And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country. 14 I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel. 15 I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord GOD. 16 I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment.
Upon reading the foregoing articles of impeachment drawn up, in God's name, against the shepherds of Israel, we cannot but look upon the shepherds with a just indignation, and upon the flock with a tender compassion. God, by the prophet, here expresses both in a high degree; and the shepherds are called upon (v. 7, 9) to hear the word of the Lord, to hear this word. Let them hear how little he regards them, who made much of themselves, and how much he regards the flock, which they made nothing of; both will be humbling to them. Those that will not hear the word of the Lord giving them their direction shall be made to hear the word of the Lord reading them their doom. Now see here,
I. How much displeased God is at the shepherds. Their crimes are repeated, v. 8. God's flock became a prey to the deceivers first that drew them to idolatry, and then to the destroyers that carried them into captivity; and these shepherds took no care to prevent either the one or the other, but were as if there had been no shepherds; and therefore God says (v. 10), and confirms it with an oath (v. 8), I am against the shepherds. They had a commission from God to feed the flock, and made use of this name in what they did, expecting he would stand by them. "No," says God, "so far from that, I am against them." Note, It is not our having the name and authority of shepherds that will engage God for us, if we do not the work enjoined us, and be not faithful to the trust reposed in us. God is against them, and they shall know it; for, 1. They shall be made to account for the manner in which they have discharged their trust: "I will require my flock at their hands, and charge it upon them that so many of them are missing." Note, Those will have a great deal to answer for in the judgment-day who take upon them the care of souls and yet take no care of them. Ministers must watch and work as those that must give account, Heb. xiii. 17. 2. They shall be deprived officio et beneficioboth of the work and of the wages. They shall cease from feeding the flock, that is, from pretending to feed it. Note, It is just with God to take out of men's hands that power which they have abused and that trust which they have betrayed. But, if this were all their punishment, they could bear it well enough; therefore it is added, "Neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more, for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, which, instead of protecting, they had made a prey of." Note, Those that are enriching themselves with the spoils of the public cannot expect that they shall always be suffered to do so. Nor will God always permit his people to be trampled upon by those that should support them, but will find a time to deliver them from the shepherds their false friends, as well as from the lions their open enemies.
II. How much concerned God is for the flock; he speaks as if he were the more concerned for them because he saw them thus neglected, for with him the fatherless finds mercy. Precious promises are made here upon the occasion, which were to have their accomplishment in the return of the Jews out of their captivity and their re-establishment in their own land. Let the shepherds hear this word of the Lord, and know that they have no part nor lot in the matter. But let the poor sheep hear it and take the comfort of it. Note, Though magistrates and ministers fail in doing their part, for the good of the church, yet God will not fail in doing his; he will take the flock into his own hand rather than the church shall come short of any kindness he has designed for it. The under-shepherds may prove careless, but the chief Shepherd neither slumbers nor sleeps. They may be false, but God abides faithful.
1. God will gather his sheep together that were scattered, and bring those back to the fold that had wandered from it: "I, even I, who alone can do it, will do it, and will have all the glory of it. I will both search my sheep and find them out (v. 11) as a shepherd does (v. 12), and bring them back as he does the stray-sheep, upon his shoulders, from all the places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day." There are cloudy and dark days, windy and stormy ones, which scatter God's sheep, which send them hither and thither, to divers and distant places, in quest of secresy and safety. But, (1.) Wherever they are the eye of God will find them out; for his eyes run to and fro through the earth, in favour of them. I will seek out my sheep; and not one that belongs to the fold, though driven ever so far off, shall be lost. The Lord knows those that are his; he knows their work and where they dwell (Rev. ii. 13), and where they are hidden. (2.) When his time shall come his arms will fetch them home (v. 13): I will bring them out from the people. God will both incline their hearts to come by his grace and will by his providence open a door for them and remove every difficulty that lies in the way. They shall not return one by one, clandestinely stealing away, but they shall return in a body: "I will gather them from the countries into which they are dispersed, not only the most considerable families of them, but every particular person. I will seek that which was lost and bring again that which was driven away," v. 16. This was done when so many thousand Jews returned triumphantly out of Babylon, under the conduct of Zerubbabel, Ezra, and others. When those that have gone astray from God into the paths of sin are brought back by repentance, when those that erred come to the acknowledgment of the truth, when God's outcasts are gathered and restored, and religious assemblies, that were dispersed, rally again, upon the ceasing of persecution, and when the churches have rest and liberty, then this promise has a further accomplishment.
2. God will feed his people as the sheep of his pasture, that had been famished. God will bring the returning captives safely to their own land (v. 13), will feed them upon the mountains of Israel, and that is a good pasture, and a fat pasture (v. 14); there shall their feeding be, and there shall be their fold; and it is a good fold. There God will not only feed them, but cause them to lie down (v. 15), which denotes a comfortable rest after they had tired themselves with their wanderings, and a constant continuing residence; they shall not be driven out again from these green pastures, as they have been, nor shall they be disturbed, but shall lie down in a sweet repose and there shall be none to make them afraid. Ps. xxiii. 2, He makes me to lie down in green pastures. Compare this with the like promise (Jer. xxiii. 3, 4), when God restored them not only to the milk and honey of their own land, to the enjoyment of its fruits, but to the privileges of his sanctuary on Mount Zion, the chief of the mountains of Israel. When they had an altar and a temple again, and the benefit of a settled priesthood, then they were fed in a good pasture.
3. He will succour those that are hurt, will bind up that which was broken and strengthen that which was sick, will comfort those that mourn in Zion and with Zion. If ministers, who should speak peace to those who are of a sorrowful spirit, neglect their duty, yet the Holy Ghost the Comforter will be faithful to his office. But, as it follows, the fat and the strong shall be destroyed. He that has rest for disquieted saints has terror to speak to presumptuous sinners. As every valley shall be filled, so every mountain and hill shall be brought low, Luke iii. 5.
God's Care of His Flock; Prediction of Messiah's Kingdom. B. C. 587.
17 And as for you, O my flock, thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I judge between cattle and cattle, between the rams and the he goats. 18 Seemeth it a small thing unto you to have eaten up the good pasture, but ye must tread down with your feet the residue of your pastures? and to have drunk of the deep waters, but ye must foul the residue with your feet? 19 And as for my flock, they eat that which ye have trodden with your feet; and they drink that which ye have fouled with your feet. 20 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD unto them; Behold, I, even I, will judge between the fat cattle and between the lean cattle. 21 Because ye have thrust with side and with shoulder, and pushed all the diseased with your horns, till ye have scattered them abroad; 22 Therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle and cattle. 23 And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. 24 And I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the LORD have spoken it. 25 And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods. 26 And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing. 27 And the tree of the field shall yield her fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase, and they shall be safe in their land, and shall know that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bands of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them. 28 And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen, neither shall the beast of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and none shall make them afraid. 29 And I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more. 30 Thus shall they know that I the LORD their God am with them, and that they, even the house of Israel, are my people, saith the Lord GOD. 31 And ye my flock, the flock of my pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord GOD.
The prophet has no more to say to the shepherds, but he has now a message to deliver to the flock. God had ordered him to speak tenderly to them, and to assure them of the mercy he had in store for them. But here he is ordered to make a difference between some and others of them, to separate between the precious and the vile and then to give them a promise of the Messiah, by whom this distinction should be effectually made, partly at his first coming (for for judgment he came into this world, John ix. 39, to fill the hungry with good things and to send the rich empty away, Luke i. 53), but completely at his second coming, when he shall, as it is here said, judge between cattle and cattle, as a shepherd divides between the sheep and the goats, and shall set the sheep on his right hand and the goats on his left (Matt. xxv. 32, 33), which seems to have reference to this. We have here,
I. Conviction spoken to those of the flock that were fat and strong, the rams and the he-goats (v. 17), those that, though they had not power, as shepherds and rulers, to oppress with, yet, being rich and wealthy, made use of the opportunity which this gave them to bear hard upon their poor neighbours. Those that have much would have more, and, if they set to it, will have more, so many ways have they of encroaching upon their poor neighbours, and forcing from them the one ewe-lamb, 2 Sam. xii. 4. Do not the rich oppress the poor merely with the help of their riches, and draw them before the judgment-seats? Jam. ii. 6. Poor servants and tenants are hardly used by their rich lords and masters. The rams and the he-goats not only kept all the good pasture to themselves, ate the fat and drank the sweet, but they would not let the poor of the flock have any comfortable enjoyment of the little that was left them; they trod down the residue of the pastures and fouled the residue of the waters, so that the flock was obliged to eat that which they had trodden into the dirt, and drink that which they had muddied, v. 18, 19. This intimates that the great men not only by extortion and oppression made and kept their neighbours poor, and scarcely left them enough to subsist on, but were so vexatious to them that what little coarse fare they had was embittered to them. And this seemed a small thing to them; they thought there was no harm in it, as if it were the privilege of their quality to be injurious to all their neighbours. Note, Many that live in pomp and at ease themselves care not what straits those about them are reduced to, so they may but have every thing to their mind. Those that are at ease, and the proud, grudge that any body should live by them with any comfort. But this as not all; they not only robbed the poor, to make them poorer, but were troublesome to the sick and weak of the flock (v. 21): They thrust with side and shoulder those that were feeble (for the weakest goes to the wall) and pushed the diseased with their horns, because they knew they could be too hard for them, when they durst not meddle with their match. It has been observed concerning sheep that if one of the flock be sick and faint the rest will secure it as well as they can, and shelter it from the scorching heat of the sun; but these, on the contrary, were most injurious to the diseased. Those that they could not serve themselves of they did what they could to rid the country of, and so scattered them abroad, as if the poor, whom, Christ says, we must have always with us, were public nuisances, not to be relieved, but sent far away from us. Note, It is a barbarous thing to add affliction to the afflicted. Perhaps these rams and he-goats are designed to represent the scribes and Pharisees, for they are such troublers of the church as Christ himself must come to deliver it from, v. 23. They devoured widows' houses, took away the key of knowledge, corrupted the pure water of divine truths, and oppressed the consciences of men with the traditions of the elders, besides that they were continually vexatious and injurious to the poor of the flock that waited on the Lord, Zech. xi. 11. Note, It is no new thing for the flock of God to receive a great deal of damage and mischief from those that are themselves of the flock, and in eminent stations in it, Acts xx. 30.
II. Comfort spoken to those of the flock that are poor and feeble, and that wait for the consolation of Israel (v. 22): "I will save my flock, and they shall no more be spoiled as they have been by the beasts of prey, by their own shepherds or by the rams and he-goats among themselves." Upon this occasion, as is usual in the prophets, comes in a prediction of the coming of the Messiah, and the setting up of his kingdom, and the exceedingly great and precious benefits which the church should enjoy under the protection and influence of that kingdom. Observe what is here foretold,
1. Concerning the Messiah himself. (1.) He shall have his commission from God himself: I will set him up (v. 23); I will raise him up, v. 29. He sanctified and sealed him, appointed and anointed him. (2.) He shall be the great Shepherd of the sheep, who shall do that for his flock which no one else could do. He is the one Shepherd, under whom Jews and Gentiles should be one fold. (3.) He is God's servant, employed by him and for him, and doing all in obedience to his will, with an eye to his gloryhis servant, to re-establish his kingdom among men and advance the interests of that kingdom. (4.) He is David, one after God's own heart, set as his King upon the holy hill of Zion, made the head of the corner, with whom the covenant of royalty is made, and to whom God would give the throne of his father David. He is both the root and offspring of David. (5.) He is the plant of renown, because a righteous branch (Jer. xxiii. 5), a branch of the Lord, that is beautiful and glorious, Isa. iv. 2. He has a name above every name, a throne above every throne, and may therefore well be called a branch of renown. Some understand it of the church, the planting of the Lord, Isa. lxi. 3. Its name shall be remembered (Ps. xlv. 17) and Christ's in it.
2. Concerning the great charter by which the kingdom of the Messiah should be incorporated, and upon which it should be founded (v. 25): I will make with them a covenant of peace. The covenant of grace is a covenant of peace. In it God is at peace with us, speaks peace to us, and assures us of peace, of all good, all the good we need to make us happy. The tenour of this covenant is: "I the Lord will be their God, a God all-sufficient to them (v. 24), will own them and will be owned by them; in order to this my servant David shall be a prince among them, to reduce them to their allegiance, to receive their homage, and to reign over them, in them, and for them." Note, Those, and those only, that have the Lord Jesus for their prince have the Lord Jehovah for their God. And then they, even the house of Israel, shall be my people. If we take God to be our God, he will take us to be his people. From this covenant between God and Israel there results communion: "I the Lord their God am with them, to converse with them; and they shall know it, and have the comfort of it."
3. Concerning the privileges of those that are the faithful subjects of this kingdom of the Messiah and interested in the covenant of peace. These are here set forth figuratively, as the blessings of the flock. But we have a key to it, v. 31. Those that belong to this flock, though they are spoken of as sheep, are really men, men that have the Lord for their God, and are in covenant with him. Now to them it is promised,
(1.) That they shall enjoy a holy security under the divine protection. Christ, our good Shepherd, has caused the evil beasts to cease out of the land (v. 25), having vanquished all our spiritual enemies, broken their power, and triumphed over them; the roaring lion is not a roaring devouring lion to them; they shall no more be a prey to the heathen nor the heathen a terror to them, neither shall the beasts of the land devour them. Sin and Satan, death and hell, are conquered. And then they shall dwell safely, not only in the folds, but in the fields, in the wilderness, in the woods, where the beasts of prey are; they shall not only dwell there, but they shall sleep there, which denotes not only that the beasts being made to cease there shall be no danger, but, their consciences being purified and pacified, they shall be in no apprehension of danger; not only safe from evil, but quiet from the fear of evil. Note, Those may lay down and sleep securely, sleep at ease, that have Christ for their prince; for he will be their protector, and make them to dwell in safety. None shall hurt them, nay, none shall make them afraid. If God be for us, who can be against us? Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed. Through Christ, God delivers his people not only from the things they have reason to fear, but from their fear even of death itself, from all that fear that has torment. This safety from evil is promised (v. 27): They shall be safe in their land, in no danger of being invaded and enslaved, though their great plenty be a temptation to their neighbours to desire their land; and that which shall make them think themselves safe is their confidence in the wisdom, power, and goodness of God: They shall know that I am the Lord. All our disquieting fears arise from our ignorance of God and mistakes concerning him. Their experience of his particular care concerning them encourages their confidence in him: "I have broken the bands of their yoke, with which they have been brought and held down under oppression, and have delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them, whence they shall argue, He that has delivered does and will, therefore will we dwell safely." This is explained, and applied to our gospel-state, Luke i. 74. That we, being delivered out of the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear, as those may do that serve him in faith.
(2.) That they shall enjoy a spiritual plenty of all good things, the best things, for their comfort and happiness: They shall no more be consumed with hunger in the land, v. 29. Famine and scarcity, when Israel was punished with that judgment, turned as much to their reproach among the heathen as any other, because the fruitfulness of Canaan was so much talked of. But now they shall not bear that shame of the heathen any more For the showers shall come down in their season, even showers of blessing, v. 26. Christ is a Shepherd that will feed his people; and they shall go in and out, and find pasture. [1.] They shall not be consumed with hunger; for they shall not be put off with the world for a portion, which is not bread, which satisfies not, and which leaves those that are put off with it to be consumed with hunger. The ordinances of the ceremonial law are called beggarly elements, for there was little in them, compared with the Christian institutes, wherewith the mower fills his hand and he that binds sheaves his bosom. Those that hunger and thirst after righteousness shall not be consumed with that hunger, for they shall be filled. And he that drinks of the water that Christ gives him, the still waters by which he leads his sheep, shall never thirst. [2.] Showers of blessings shall come upon them, v. 26, 27. The heavens shall yield their dews; the trees of the field also shall yield their fruit. The seat of this plenty is God's hill, his holy hill of Zion, for on that mountain, in the gospel church, it is, that God has made to all nations a feast; to that those must join themselves who would partake of gospel benefits. The cause of this plenty is the showers that come down in their season, that descend upon the mountains of Zion, the graces of Christ, his doctrine that drops as the dew, the graces of Christ, and the fruits and comforts of his Spirit, by which we are made fruitful in the fruits of righteousness. The instances of this plenty are the blessings of heaven poured down upon us and the productions of grace brought forth by us, our comfort in God's favour and God's glory in our fruit-bearing. The extent of this plenty is very large, to all the places round about my hill; for out of Zion shall go forth the law, shall go forth light to a dark world, and the river that shall water a dry and desert world; all that are in the neighbourhood of Zion shall fare the better for it; and the nearer the church the nearer its God. And, lastly, The effect of this plenty is, I will make them a blessing, eminently and exemplarily blessed, patterns of happiness, Isa. xix. 24. Or, They shall be blessings to all about them, diffusively useful. Note, Those that are the blessed of the Lord must study to make themselves blessings to the world. He that is good, let him do good; he that has received the gift, the grace, let him minister the same.
Now this promise of the Messiah and his kingdom spoke much comfort to those to whom it was then made, for they might be sure that God would not utterly destroy their nation, how low soever it might be brought, as long as that blessing was in the womb of it, Isa. lxv. 8. But it speaks much more comfort to us, to whom it is fulfilled, who are the sheep of this good Shepherd, are fed in his pastures, and blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly things by him.
It was promised, in the foregoing chapter, that when the time to favour Zion, yea, the set time, should come, especially the time for sending the Messiah and setting up his kingdom in the world, God would cause the enemies of his church to cease and the blessings and comforts of the church to abound. This chapter enlarges upon the former promise, concerning the destruction of the enemies of the church; the next chapter upon the latter promise, the replenishing of the church with blessings. Mount Seir (that is, Edom) is the enemy prophesied against in this chapter, but fitly put here, as in the prophecy of Obadiah, for all the enemies of the church; for, as those all walked in the way of Cain that hated Abel, so those all walked in the way of Esau who hated Jacob, but over whom Jacob, by virtue of a particular blessing, was to have dominion. Now here we have, I. The sin charged upon the Edomites, and that was their spite and malice to Israel, ver. 5, 10-13. II. The ruin threatened, that should come upon them for this sin. God will be against them (ver. 3) and then their country shall be laid waste (ver. 4), depopulated, and made quite desolate (ver. 6-9), and left so when other nations that had been wasted should recover themselves, ver. 14, 15.
The Fall of Edom. B. C. 587.
1 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 2 Son of man, set thy face against mount Seir, and prophesy against it, 3 And say unto it, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O mount Seir, I am against thee, and I will stretch out mine hand against thee, and I will make thee most desolate. 4 I will lay thy cities waste, and thou shalt be desolate, and thou shalt know that I am the LORD. 5 Because thou hast had a perpetual hatred, and hast shed the blood of the children of Israel by the force of the sword in the time of their calamity, in the time that their iniquity had an end: 6 Therefore, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will prepare thee unto blood, and blood shall pursue thee: sith thou hast not hated blood, even blood shall pursue thee. 7 Thus will I make mount Seir most desolate, and cut off from it him that passeth out and him that returneth. 8 And I will fill his mountains with his slain men: in thy hills, and in thy valleys, and in all thy rivers, shall they fall that are slain with the sword. 9 I will make thee perpetual desolations, and thy cities shall not return: and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
Mount Seir was mentioned as partner with Moab in one of the threatenings we had before (ch. xxv. 8); but here it is convicted and condemned by itself, and has woes of its own. The prophet must boldly set his face against Edom, and prophesy particularly against it; for the God of Israel has said, O Mount Seir! I am against thee. Note, Those that have God against them have the word of God against them, and the face of his ministers, nor dare they prophesy any good to them, but evil. The prophet must tell the Edomites that God has a controversy with them, and let them know,
I. What is the cause and ground of that controversy, v. 5. God espouses his people's cause, and will plead it, takes what is done against them as done against himself, and will reckon for it; and it is upon their account that God now contends with the Edomites. 1. Because of the enmity they had against the people of God, that was rooted in the heart. "Thou hast had a perpetual hatred to them, to the very name of an Israelite." The Edomites kept up an hereditary malice against Israel, the same that Esau bore to Jacob, because he got the birth-right and the blessing. Esau had been reconciled to Jacob, had embraced and kissed him (Gen. xxxiii.), and we do not find that ever he quarrelled with him again. But the posterity of Esau would never be reconciled to the seed of Jacob, but hated them with a perpetual hatred. Note, Children will be more apt to imitate the vices than the virtues of their parents, and to tread in the steps of their sin than in the steps of their repentance. Parents should therefore be careful not to set their children any bad example, for though, through the grace of God, they may return, and prevent the mischief of what they have done amiss to themselves, they may not be able to obviate the bad influence of it upon their children. It is strange how deeply rooted national antipathies sometimes are, and how long they last; but it is not to be wondered at that profane Edomites hate pious Israelites, since the old enmity that was put between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent (Gen. iii. 15) will continue to the end. Marvel not if the world hate you. 2. Because of the injuries they had done to the people of God. They shed their blood by the force of the sword, in the time of their calamity; they did not attack them as fair and open enemies, but laid wait for them, to cut off those of them that had escaped (Obad. 14), or they drove them back upon the sword of the pursuers, by which they fell. It was cowardly, as well as barbarous, to take advantage of their distress; and for neighbours, with whom they had lived peaceably, to smite them secretly when strangers openly invaded them. It was in the time that their iniquity had an end, when the measure of it was full and destruction came. Note, Even those that suffer justly, and for their sins, are yet to be pitied and not trampled upon. If the father corrects one child, he expects the rest should tremble at it, not triumph in it.
II. What should be the effect and issue of that controversy. If God stretch out his hand against the country of Edom, he will make it most desolate, v. 3. Desolation and desolation. 1. The inhabitants shall be slain with the sword (v. 6): I will prepare thee unto blood. Edom shall be gradually weakened, and so be the more easily conquered, and the enemy shall gather strength the more effectually to subdue it. Thus preparation is in the making a great while before for this destruction. Thou hast not hated blood; it implies, "Thou hast delighted in it and thirsted after it." Those that do not keep up a rooted hatred of sin, when a temptation to it is very strong, will be in danger of yielding to it. Some read it, "Unless thou hatest blood" (that is, "unless thou dost repent, and put off this bloody disposition) blood shall pursue thee." And then it is an intimation that the judgment may yet be prevented by a thorough reformation. If he turn not, he will whet his sword, Ps. vii. 12. But, if he turn, he will lay it by. Blood shall pursue thee, the guilt of the blood which thou hast shed or the judgment of blood; thy blood-thirsty enemies shall pursue thee, which way soever thou seekest to make thy escape. A great and general slaughter shall be made of the Idumeans, such as had been foretold (Isa. xxxiv. 6): The mountains and hills, the valleys and rivers, shall be filled with the slain, v. 8. The pursuers shall overtake those that flee and shall give no quarter, but put them all to the sword. Note, When God comes to make inquisition for blood those that have shed the blood of his Israel shall have blood given them to drink, for they are worthy. Satia te sanguine quem sitistiGlut thyself with blood, after which thou hast thirsted. 2. The country shall be laid waste. The cities shall be destroyed (v. 4), the country made most desolate (v. 7); for God will cut off from both him that passes out and him that returns; and when the inhabitants are cut off that should keep the cities in repair they will decay and go into ruins, and when those are cut off that should till the land that will soon be over-run with briers and thorns and become a wilderness. Note, Those that help forward the desolations of Israel may expect to be themselves made desolate. And that which completes the judgment is that Edom shall be made perpetual desolations (v. 9) and the cities shall never return to their former state, nor the inhabitants of them come back from their captivity and dispersion. Note, Those that have a perpetual enmity to God and his people, as the carnal mind has, can expect no other than to be made a perpetual desolation. Implacable malice will justly be punished with irreparable ruin.
10 Because thou hast said, These two nations and these two countries shall be mine, and we will possess it; whereas the LORD was there: 11 Therefore, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will even do according to thine anger, and according to thine envy which thou hast used out of thy hatred against them; and I will make myself known among them, when I have judged thee. 12 And thou shalt know that I am the LORD, and that I have heard all thy blasphemies which thou hast spoken against the mountains of Israel, saying, They are laid desolate, they are given us to consume. 13 Thus with your mouth ye have boasted against me, and have multiplied your words against me: I have heard them. 14 Thus saith the Lord GOD; When the whole earth rejoiceth, I will make thee desolate. 15 As thou didst rejoice at the inheritance of the house of Israel, because it was desolate, so will I do unto thee: thou shalt be desolate, O mount Seir, and all Idumea, even all of it: and they shall know that I am the LORD.
Here is, I. A further account of the sin of the Edomites, and their bad conduct towards the people of God. We find the church complaining of them for setting on the Babylonians, and irritating them against Jerusalem, saying, Rase it, rase it, down with it, down with it (Ps. cxxxvii. 7), inflaming a rage that needed no spur; here it is further charged upon them that they triumphed in Jerusalem's ruin and in the desolations of the country. Many blasphemies they spoke against the mountains of Israel, saying, with pride and pleasure, They are laid desolate, v. 12. Note, The troubles of God's church, as they give proofs of the constancy and fidelity of its friends, so they discover and draw out the corruptions of its enemies, in whom there then appears more brutish malice than one would have thought of. Now their triumphing in Jerusalem's ruin is here said to proceed, 1. From a sinful passion against the people of Israel; from anger and envy, and hatred against them (v. 11), that perpetual hatred spoken of v. 5. Though they were not a match for them, and therefore could not do them a mischief themselves, yet they were glad when the Chaldeans did them a mischief. 2. From a sinful appetite to the land of Israel. They pleased themselves with hopes that when the people of Israel were destroyed they should be let into the possession of their country, which they had so often grudged and envied them. They thought they could make out something of a title to it, ob defectum sanguinisfor want of other heirs. If Jacob's issue fail, they think that they are next in the entail, and that the remainder will be to his brother's issue: "These two nations of Judah and Israel shall be mine. Now is the time for me to put in for them." At least they hope to come in as first occupants, being near neighbours: We will possess it when it is deserted. Ceditur occupantiLet us get possession and that will be title enough. Note, Those have the spirit of Edomites who desire the death of others because they hope to get by it, or are pleased with their failing because they expect to come into their business. When we see the vanity of the world in the disappointments, losses, and crosses, that others meet with in it, instead of showing ourselves, upon such an occasion, greedy of it, we should rather be made thereby to sit more loose to it, and both take our affections off it and lower our expectations from it. But in this case of the Edomites' coveting the land of Israel, and gaping for it, there was a particular affront to God, when they said, "These lands are given us to devour, and we shall have our bellies full of their riches." God says, You have boasted against me and have multiplied your words against me; for they expected possession upon a vacancy, because Israel was driven out, whereas the Lord was still there, v. 10. His temple indeed was burnt, and the other tokens of his presence were gone; but his promise to give that land to the seed of Jacob for an inheritance was not made void, but remained in full force and virtue; and by that promise he did in effect still keep possession for Israel, till they should in due time be restored to it. That was Immanuel's land (Isa. viii. 8); in that land he was to be born, and therefore that people shall continue in it of whom he is to be born, till he has passed his time in it, and then let who will take it. The Lord is there, the Lord Jesus is to be there; and therefore Israel's discontinuance of possession is no defeasance of their right, but it shall be kept for them, and they shall have, hold, and enjoy it by virtue of the divine grant, till the promise of this Canaan shall by the Messiah be changed into the promise of a far better. Note, It is a piece of presumption highly offensive to God for Edomites to lay claim to those privileges and comforts that are peculiar to God's chosen Israel and are reserved for them. It is blasphemy against the mountains of Israel, the holy mountains, to say, because they are for the present made a prey of and trodden under foot of the Gentiles (Rev. xi. 2), even the holy city itself, that therefore the Lord has forsaken them, their God has forgotten them. The apostle will by no means admit such a thought as this, that God hath cast away his people, Rom. xi. 1. No; though they are cast down for a time, they are not cast off for ever. Those reproach the Lord who say they are.
II. The notice God took of the barbarous insolence of the Edomites, and the doom passed upon them for it: I have heard all thy blasphemies, v. 12. And again (v. 13), You have multiplied your words against me, and I have heard them, I have observed them, I have kept an account of them. Note, In the multitude of words, not one escapes God's cognizance; let men speak ever so much, ever so fast, though they multiply words, which they themselves regard not, but forget immediately, yet none of them are lost in the crowd, not the most idle words; but God hears them, and will be able to charge the sinner with them. All the haughty and hard speeches, particularly, which are spoken against the Israel of God, the words which are magnified (as it is in the margin, v. 13) as well as the words which are multiplied, God takes notice of. For, as the most trifling words are not below his cognizance, so the most daring are not above his rebuke. I have heard all thy blasphemies. This is a good reason why we should bear reproach as if we heard it not, because God will hear, Ps. xxxviii. 13, 15. God has heard the Edomites' blasphemy; let them therefore hear their doom, v. 14, 15. It was a national sin (the blasphemies charged upon them were the sense and language of all the Edomites), and therefore shall be punished with a national desolation. And, 1. It shall be a distinguishing punishment. As God has peculiar favours for Israelites, so he has peculiar plagues for Edomites: so that "When the whole earth rejoices I will make thee desolate; when other nations have their desolations repaired, to their joy, thine shall be perpetual," v. 9. 2. The punishment shall answer to the sin: "As thou didst rejoice in the desolation of the house of Israel, God will give thee enough of desolation; since thou art so fond of it, thou shalt be desolate; I will make thee so." Note, Those who, instead of weeping with the mourners, make a jest of their grievances, may justly be made to weep like the mourners, and themselves to feel the weight, to feel the smart, of those grievances which they set so light by. Some read v. 14 so as to complete the resemblance between the sin and the punishment: The whole earth shall rejoice when I make thee desolate, as thou didst rejoice when Israel was made desolate. Those that are glad at the death and fall of others may expect that others will be glad of their death, of their fall. 3. In the destruction of the enemies of the church God designs his own glory, and we may be sure that he will not come short of his design. (1.) That which he intends is to manifest himself, as a just and jealous God, firm to his covenant and faithful to his people and their injured cause (v. 11): I will make myself known among them when I have judged thee. The Lord is and will be known by the judgments which he executes. (2.) His intention shall be fully answered; not only his own people shall be made to know it to their comfort, but even the Edomites themselves, and all the other enemies of his name and people, shall know that he is the Lord, v. 4, 9, 15. As the works of creation and common providence demonstrate that there is a God, so the care taken of Israel shows that Jehovah, the God of Israel, is that God alone, the true and living God.
We have done with Mount Seir, and left it desolate, and likely to continue so, and must now turn ourselves, with the prophet, to the mountains of Israel, which we find desolate too, but hope before we have done with the chapter to leave in better plight. Here are two distinct prophecies in this chapter: I. Here is one that seems chiefly to relate to the temporal estate of the Jews, wherein their present deplorable condition is described and the triumphs of their neighbours in it; but it is promised that their grievances shall be all redressed and that in due time they shall be settled again in their own land, in the midst of peace and plenty, ver. 1-15. II. Here is another that seems chiefly to concern their spiritual estate, wherein they are reminded of their former sins and God's judgments upon them, to humble them for their sins and under God's mighty hand, ver. 16-20. But it is promised, 1. That God would glorify himself in showing mercy to them, ver. 21-24. 2. That he would sanctify them, by giving them his grace and fitting them for his service; and this for his own name's sake and in answer to their prayers, ver. 25-38.
God's Compassion for Israel. B. C. 587.
1 Also, thou son of man, prophesy unto the mountains of Israel, and say, Ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the LORD: 2 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because the enemy hath said against you, Aha, even the ancient high places are ours in possession: 3 Therefore prophesy and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because they have made you desolate, and swallowed you up on every side, that ye might be a possession unto the residue of the heathen, and ye are taken up in the lips of talkers, and are an infamy of the people: 4 Therefore, ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord GOD; Thus saith the Lord GOD to the mountains, and to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys, to the desolate wastes, and to the cities that are forsaken, which became a prey and derision to the residue of the heathen that are round about; 5 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Surely in the fire of my jealousy have I spoken against the residue of the heathen, and against all Idumea, which have appointed my land into their possession with the joy of all their heart, with despiteful minds, to cast it out for a prey. 6 Prophesy therefore concerning the land of Israel, and say unto the mountains, and to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I have spoken in my jealousy and in my fury, because ye have borne the shame of the heathen: 7 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; I have lifted up mine hand, Surely the heathen that are about you, they shall bear their shame. 8 But ye, O mountains of Israel, ye shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people of Israel; for they are at hand to come. 9 For, behold, I am for you, and I will turn unto you, and ye shall be tilled and sown: 10 And I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, even all of it: and the cities shall be inhabited, and the wastes shall be builded: 11 And I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bring fruit: and I will settle you after your old estates, and will do better unto you than at your beginnings: and ye shall know that I am the LORD. 12 Yea, I will cause men to walk upon you, even my people Israel; and they shall possess thee, and thou shalt be their inheritance, and thou shalt no more henceforth bereave them of men. 13 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because they say unto you, Thou land devourest up men, and hast bereaved thy nations; 14 Therefore thou shalt devour men no more, neither bereave thy nations any more, saith the Lord GOD. 15 Neither will I cause men to hear in thee the shame of the heathen any more, neither shalt thou bear the reproach of the people any more, neither shalt thou cause thy nations to fall any more, saith the Lord GOD.
The prophet had been ordered to set his face towards the mountains of Israel and prophesy against them, ch. vi. 2. Then God was coming forth to contend with his people; but now that God is returning in mercy to them he must speak good words and comfortable words to these mountains, v. 1 and again v. 4. You mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord; and what he says to them he says to the hills, to the rivers, to the valleys, to the desolate wastes in the country, and to the cities that are forsaken, v. 4 and again v. 6. The people were gone, some one way and some another; nothing remained there to be spoken to but the places, the mountains and valleys; these the Chaldeans could not carry away with them. The earth abides for ever. Now, to show the mercy God had in reserve for the people, he is to speak of him as having a dormant kindness for the place, which, if the Lord had been pleased for ever to abandon, he would not have called upon to hear the word of the Lord, nor would he as at this time have shown it such things as these. Here is,
I. The compassionate notice God takes of the present deplorable condition of the land of Israel. It has become both a prey and a derision to the heathen that are round about, v. 4. 1. It has become a prey to them; and they are all enriched with the plunder of it. When the Chaldeans had conquered them all their neighbours flew to the spoil as to a shipwreck, every one thinking all his own that he could lay his hands on (v. 3): They have made you desolate, and swallowed you up on every side, that you might be a possession to the heathen, to the residue of them, even such as had themselves narrowly escaped the like desolation. No one thought it any crime to strip an Israelite. Turba Romæ sequitur fortunam ut semperThe mob of Rome still praise the elevated and despise the fallen. It is the common dry, when a man is down, Down with him. 2. It has become a derision to them. They took all they had and laughed at them when they had done. The enemy said, "Aha! even the ancient high places are ours in possession, v. 2. Neither the antiquity, nor the dignity, neither the sanctity nor the fortifications, of the land of Israel, are its security, but we have become masters of it all." The more honours that land had been adorned with, and the greater figure it had made among the nations, the more pride and pleasure did they take in making a spoil of it, which is an instance of a base and sordid spirit; for the more glorious and prosperity was the more piteous is the adversity. God takes notice of it here as an aggravation of the present calamity of Israel: You are taken up in the lips of talkers and are an infamy of the people, v. 3. All the talk of the country about was concerning the overthrow of the Jewish nation; and every one that spoke of it had some peevish ill-natured reflection or other upon them. They were the scorning of those that were at ease and the contempt of the proud, Ps. cxxiii. 4. There are some that are noted for talkers, that have something to say of every body, but cannot find in their hearts to speak well of any body; God's people, among such people, were sure to be a reproach when the crown had fallen from their head. Thus it was the lot of Christianity, in its suffering days, to be every where spoken against.
II. The expressions of God's just displeasure against those who triumphed in the desolations of the land of Israel, as many of its neighbours did, even the residue of the brethren, and Idumea particularly. Let us see, 1. How they dealt with the Israel of God. They carved out large possessions to themselves out of their land, out of God's land; for so indeed it was: "They have appointed my land into their possession (v. 5), and so not only invaded their neighbour's property, but intrenched upon God's prerogative." It was the holy land which they laid their sacrilegious hands upon. They did not own any dependence upon God, as the God of that land, nor acknowledge any remaining interest that Israel had in it, but cast it out for a prey, as if they had won it in a lawful war. And this they did without any dread of God and his judgments and without any compassion for Israel and their calamities, but with the joy of all their hearts, because they got by it, and with despiteful minds to Israel that lost by it. Increasing wealth, by right or wrong, is all the joy of a worldly heart; and the calamities of God's people are all the joy of a despiteful mind. And those that had not an opportunity of making a prey of God's people made a reproach of them; so that they were the shame of the heathen, v. 6. Every body ridiculed them and made a jest of them; and the truth is they had by their own sin made themselves vile; so that God was righteous herein, but men were unrighteous and very barbarous. 2. How God would deal with those who were thus in word and deed abusive to his people. He has spoken against the heathen; he has passed sentence upon them; he has determined to reckon with them for it, and this in the fire of his jealousy, both for his own honour and for the honour of his people, v. 5. Having a love for both as strong as death, he has a jealousy for both as cruel as the grave. They spoke in their malice against God's people, and he will speak in his jealousy against them; and it is easy to say which will speak most powerfully. God will speak in his jealousy and in his fury, v. 6. Fury is not in God; but he will exert his power against them and handle them as severely as men do when they are in a fury. He will so speak to them in his wrath as to vex them in his sore displeasure. What he says he will stand to, for it is backed with an oath. He has lifted up his hand and sworn by himself, has sworn and will not repent. And what is it that is said with so much heat, and yet with so much deliberation? It is this (v. 7), Surely the heathen that are about you, they shall bear their shame. Note, The righteous God, to whom vengeance belongs, will render shame for shame. Those that put contempt and reproach upon God's people will, sooner or later, have it burned upon themselves, perhaps in this world (either their follies or their calamities, their miscarriages or their mischances, shall be their reproach), at furthest in that day when all the impenitent shall rise to shame and everlasting contempt.
III. The promises of God's favour to his Israel and assurances given of great mercy God had in store for them. God takes occasion from the outrage and insolence of their enemies to show himself so much the more concerned for them and ready to do them good, as David hoped that God would recompense him good for Shimei's cursing him. Let them curse, but bless thou. In this way, as well as others, the enemies of God's people do them real service, even by the injuries they do them, against their will and beyond their intention. We shall have no reason to complain if, the more unkind men are, the more kind God isif, the more kindly he speaks to us by his word and Spirit, the more kindly he acts for us in his providence. The prophet must say so to the mountains of Israel, which were now desolate and despised, that God is for them and will burn to them, v. 9. As the curse of God reaches the ground for man's sake, so does the blessing. Now that which is promised is, 1. That their rightful owners should return to the possession of them: My people Israel are at hand to come, v. 8. Though they are at a great distance from their own country, though they are dispersed in many countries, and though they are detained by the power of their enemies, yet they shall come again to their own border, Jer. xxxi. 17. The time is at hand for their return. Though there were above forty years of the seventy (perhaps fifty) yet remaining, it is spoken of as near, because it is sure, and there were some among them that should live to see it. A thousand years are with God but as one day. The mountains of Israel are now desolate; but God will cause men to walk upon them again, even his people Israel, not as travellers passing over them, but as inhabitantsnot tenants, but freeholders: They shall possess thee, not for term of life, but for themselves and their heirs; thou shalt be their inheritance. It was a type of the heavenly Canaan, to which all God's children are heirs, every Israelite indeed, and into which they shall shortly be all brought together, out of the countries where they are now scattered. 2. That they should afford a plentiful comfortable maintenance for their owners at their return. When the land had enjoyed her sabbaths for so many years, it should be so much the more fruitful afterwards, as we should be after rest, especially a sabbath rest: You shall be tilled and sown (v. 9) and shall yield your fruit to my people Israel, v. 8. Note, It is a blessing to the earth to be made serviceable to men, especially to good men, that will serve God with cheerfulness in the use of those good things which the earth serves up to them. 3. That the people of Israel should have not only a comfortable sustenance, but a comfortable settlement, in their own land: The cities shall be inhabited; the wastes shall be builded, v. 10. And I will settle you after your old estates, v. 11. Their own sin had unsettled them, but now God's favour shall resettle them. When the prodigal son has become a penitent he is settled again in his father's house, according to his former estate. Bring hither the first robe, and put it on him. Nay, I will do better unto you now than at your beginnings. There is more joy for the sheep that is brought back than there would have been if it had never gone astray. And God sometimes multiplies his people's comforts in proportion to the time that he has afflicted them. Thus God blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning, and doubled to him all he had. 4. That the people, after their return, should be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the land, so that it should not only be inhabited again, but as thickly inhabited, and as well peopled, as ever. God will bring back to it all the house of Israel, even all of it (observe what an emphasis is laid upon that, v. 10), all whose spirits God stirred up to return; and those only were reckoned of the house of Israel, the rest had cut themselves off from it; or, though but few, in comparison, returned at first, yet afterwards, at divers times, they all returned; and then (says God) I will multiply these men (v. 10), multiply man and beast; and they shall increase, v. 11. Note, God's kingdom in the world is a growing kingdom; and his church, though for a time it may be diminished, shall recover itself and be again replenished. 5. That the reproach long since cast up on the land of Israel by the evil spies, and of late revived, that it was a land that ate up the inhabitants of it by famine, sickness, and the sword, should be quite rolled away, and there should never be any more occasion for it. Canaan had got into a bad name. It had of old spued out the inhabitants (Lev. xviii. 28), the natives, the aborigines, which was turned to its reproach by those that should have put another construction upon it, Num. xiii. 32. It had of late devoured the Israelites, and spued them out too; so that it was commonly said of it, It is a land which, instead of supporting its nations or tribes that inhabit it, bereaves them, overthrows them, and causes them to fall; it is a tenement which breaks all the tenants that come upon it. This character it had got among the neighbours; but God now promises that it shall be so no more: Thou shalt no more bereave them of men (v. 12), shalt devour men no more, v. 14. But the inhabitants shall live to a good old age, and not have the number of their months cut off in the midst. Compare this with that promise, Zech. viii. 4. Note, God will take away the reproach of his people by taking away that which was the occasion of it. When the nation is made to flourish in peace, plenty, and power, then they hear no more the shame of the heathen (v. 15), especially when it is reformed; when sin, which is the reproach of any people, particularly of God's professing people, is taken away, then they hear no more the reproach of the people. Note, When God returns in mercy to a people that return to him in duty, all their grievances will be soon redressed and their honour retrieved.
16 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 17 Son of man, when the house of Israel dwelt in their own land, they defiled it by their own way and by their doings: their way was before me as the uncleanness of a removed woman. 18 Wherefore I poured my fury upon them for the blood that they had shed upon the land, and for their idols wherewith they had polluted it: 19 And I scattered them among the heathen, and they were dispersed through the countries: according to their way and according to their doings I judged them. 20 And when they entered unto the heathen, whither they went, they profaned my holy name, when they said to them, These are the people of the LORD, and are gone forth out of his land. 21 But I had pity for mine holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the heathen, whither they went. 22 Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name's sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went. 23 And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. 24 For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.
When God promised the poor captives a glorious return, in due time, to their own land, it was a great discouragement to their hopes that they were unworthy, utterly unworthy, of such a favour; therefore, to remove that discouragement, God here shows them that he would do it for them purely for his own name's sake, that he might be glorified in them and by them, that he might manifest and magnify his mercy and goodness, that attribute which of all others is most his glory. And, the restoration of that people being typical of our redemption by Christ, this is intended further to show that the ultimate end aimed at in our salvation, to which all the steps of it were made subservient, was the glory of God. To this end Christ directed all he did in that short prayer, Father, glorify thy name; and God declared it was his end in all he did in the immediate answer given to that prayer, by a voice from heaven: I have glorified it, and I will glorify it yet again, John xii. 28. Now observe here,
I. How God's name had suffered both by the sins and by the miseries of Israel; and this was more to be regretted than all their sorrow, which they had brought upon themselves; for the honour of God lies nearer the hearts of good men than any interests of their own. 1. God's glory had been injured by the sin of Israel when they were in their own land, v. 17. It was a good land, a holy land, a land that had the eye of God upon it. But they defiled it by their own way, their wicked way; that is our own way, the way of our own choice; and we ourselves must bear the blame and shame of it. The sin of a people defiles their land, renders it abominable to God and uncomfortable to themselves; so that they cannot have any holy communion with him nor with one another. What was unclean might not be made use of. By the abuse of the gifts of God's bounty to us we forfeit the use of them; and, the mind and conscience being defiled with guilt, no comfort is allowed us, nothing is pure to us. Their way in the eye of God was like the pollution of a woman during the days of her separation, which shut her out from the sanctuary and made very things she touched ceremonially unclean, Lev. xv. 19. Sin is that abominable thing which the Lord hates, and which he cannot endure to look upon. They shed blood and worshipped idols (v. 18) and with those sins defiled the land. For this God poured out his fury upon them, scattered them among the heathen. Their own land was sick of them, and they were sent into other lands. Herein God was righteous, and was justified in what he did; none could say that he did them any wrong, nay, he did justice to his own honour, for he judged them according to their way and according to their doings, v. 19. And yet, the matter being not rightly understood, he was not glorified in it; for the enemies did say, as Moses pleaded the Egyptians would say if he had destroyed them in the wilderness, that for mischief he brought them forth. Their neighbours considered them rather as a holy people than as a sinful people, and therefore took occasion from the calamities they were in, instead of glorifying God, as they might justly have done, to reproach him and put contempt upon him; and God's name was continually every day blasphemed by their oppressors, Isa. lii. 5. 2. When they entered into the land of the heathen God had no glory by them there; but, on the contrary, his holy name was profaned, v. 20. (1.) It was profaned by the sins of Israel; they were no credit to their profession wherever they went, but, on the contrary, a reproach to it. The name of God and his holy religion was blasphemed through them, Rom. ii. 24. When those that pretended to be in relation to God, in covenant and communion with him, were found corrupt in their morals, slaves to their appetites and passions, dishonest in their dealings, and false to their words and the trust reposed in them, the enemies of the Lord had thereby great occasion given them to blaspheme, especially when they quarrelled with their God for correcting them, than which nothing could be more scandalous. (2.) It was profaned by the sufferings of Israel; for from them the enemies of God took occasion to reproach God, as unable to protect his own worshippers and to make good his own grants. They said, in scorn, "These are the people of the land, these wicked people (you see he could not keep them in their obedience to his precepts), these miserable peopleyou see he could not keep them in the enjoyment of his favours. These are the people that came out of Jehovah's land, they are the very scum of the nations. Are these those that had statues so righteous whose lives are so unrighteous? Is this the nation that is so much celebrated for a wise and understanding people, and that is said to have God so nigh unto them? Do these belong to that brave, that holy nation, who appear here so vile, so abject?" Thus God sold his people and did not increase his wealth by their price, Ps. xliv. 12. The reproach they were under reflected upon him.
II. Let us now see how God would retrieve his honour, secure it, and advance it, by working a great reformation upon them and then working a great salvation for them. He would have scattered them among the heathen, were it not that he feared the wrath of the enemy, Deut. xxxii. 26, 27. But, though they were unworthy of his compassion, yet he had pity for his own holy name, and a thousand pities it was that that should be trampled upon and abused. He looked with compassion on his own honour, which lay bleeding among the heathen, on that jewel which was trodden into the dirt, which the house of Israel, even in the land of their captivity, had profaned, v. 21. In pity to that God brought them out from the heathen, because their sins were more scandalous there than they had been in their own land. "Therefore I will gather you out of all countries and bring you into your own land, v. 24. Not for your sake, because you are worthy of such a favour, for you are most unworthy, but for my holy name's sake (v. 22), that I may sanctify my great name," v. 23. Observe, by the way, God's holy name is his great name. His holiness is his greatness; so he reckons it himself. Nor does any thing make a man truly great but being truly good, and partaking of God's holiness. God will magnify his name as a holy name, for he will sanctify it: I will sanctify my name which you have profaned. When God performs that which he has sworn by his holiness, then he sanctifies his name. The effect of this shall be very happy: The heathen shall know that I am the Lord when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes and yours. When God proves his own holy name, and his saints praise it, then he is sanctified in them, and this contributes to the propagating of the knowledge of him. Observe, 1. God's reasons of mercy are all fetched from within himself; he will bring his people out of Babylon, not for their sakes, but for his own name's sake, because he will be glorified. 2. God's goodness takes occasion from man's badness to appear so much the more illustrious; therefore he will sanctify his name by the pardon of sin, because it has been profaned by the commission of sin.
The Promise of a New Heart; The Promise of Sanctifying Grace; Promised Blessings Must Be Prayed for. B. C. 587.
25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. 26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. 28 And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. 29 I will also save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you. 30 And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen. 31 Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations. 32 Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord GOD, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel. 33 Thus saith the Lord GOD; In the day that I shall have cleansed you from all your iniquities I will also cause you to dwell in the cities, and the wastes shall be builded. 34 And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by. 35 And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited. 36 Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I the LORD build the ruined places, and plant that that was desolate: I the LORD have spoken it, and I will do it. 37 Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them; I will increase them with men like a flock. 38 As the holy flock, as the flock of Jerusalem in her solemn feasts; so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of men: and they shall know that I am the LORD.
The people of God might be discouraged in their hopes of a restoration by the sense not only of their unworthiness of such a favour (which was answered, in the foregoing verses, with this, that God, in doing it, would have an eye to his own glory, not to their worthiness), but of their unfitness for such a favour, being still corrupt and sinful; and that is answered in these verses, with a promise that God would by his grace prepare and qualify them for the mercy and then bestow it on them. And this was in part fulfilled in that wonderful effect which the captivity in Babylon had upon the Jews there, that it effectually cured them of their inclination to idolatry. But it is further intended as a draught of the covenant of grace, and a specimen of those spiritual blessings with which we are blessed in heavenly things by that covenant. As (ch. xxxiv.) after a promise of their return the prophecy insensibly slid into a promise of the coming of Christ, the great Shepherd, so here it insensibly slides into a promise of the Spirit, and his gracious influences and operations, which we have as much need of for our sanctification as we have of Christ's merit for our justification.
I. God here promises that he will work a good work in them, to qualify them for the good work he intended to bring about for them, v. 25-27. We had promises to the same purport, ch. xi. 18-20. 1. That God would cleanse them from the pollutions of sin (v. 25): I will sprinkle clean water upon you, which signifies both the book of Christ sprinkled upon the conscience to purify that and to take away the sense of guilt (as those that were sprinkled with the water of purification were thereby discharged from their ceremonial uncleanness) and the grace of the Spirit sprinkled on the whole soul to purify it from all corrupt inclinations and dispositions, as Naaman was cleansed from his leprosy by dipping in Jordan. Christ was himself clean, else his blood could not have been cleansing to us; and it is a Holy Spirit that makes us holy: From all your filthiness and from all your idols will I cleanse you. And (v. 29) I will save you from all your uncleannesses. Sin is defiling, idolatry particularly is so; it renders sinners odious to God and burdensome to themselves. When guilt is pardoned, and the corrupt nature sanctified, then we are cleansed from our filthiness, and there is no other way of being saved from it. This God promises his people here, in order to his being sanctified in them, v. 23. We cannot sanctify God's name unless he sanctify our hearts, nor live to his glory, but by his grace. 2. That God would give them a new heart, a disposition of mind excellent in itself and vastly different from what it was before. God will work an inward change in order to a universal change. Note, All that have an interest in the new covenant, and a title to the new Jerusalem, have a new heart and a new spirit, and these are necessary in order to their walking in newness of life. This is that divine nature which believers are by the promises made partakers of. 3. That, instead of a heart of stone, insensible and inflexible, unapt to receive any divine impressions and to return any devout affections, God would give a heart of flesh, a soft and tender heart, that has spiritual senses exercised, conscious to itself of spiritual pains and pleasures, and complying in every thing with the will of God. Note, Renewing grace works as great a change in the soul as the turning of a dead stone into living flesh. 4. That since, besides our inclination to sin, we complain of an inability to do our duty, God will cause them to walk in his statutes, will not only show them the way of his statutes before them, but incline them to walk in it, and thoroughly furnish them with wisdom and will, and active powers, for every good work. In order to this he will put his Spirit within them, as a teacher, guide, and sanctifier. Note, God does not force men to walk in his statutes by external violence, but causes them to walk in his statutes by an internal principle. And observe what use we ought to make of this gracious power and principle promised us, and put within us: You shall keep my judgments. If God will do his part according to the promise, we must do ours according to the precept. Note, The promise of God's grace to enable us for our duty should engage and quicken our constant care and endeavour to do our duty. God's promises must drive us to his precepts as our rule, and then his precepts must send us back to his promises for strength, for without his grace we can do nothing.
II. God here promises that he will take them into covenant with himself. The sum of the covenant of grace we have, v. 28. You shall be my people, and I will be your God. It is not, "If you will be my people, I will be your God" (though it is very true that we cannot expect to have God to be to us a God unless we be to him a people), but he has chosen us, and loved us, first, not we him; therefore the condition is of grace, is by promise, as well as the reward; not of merit, not of works: "You shall be my people; I will make you so; I will give you the nature and spirit of my people, and then I will be your God." And this is the foundation and top-stone of a believer's happiness; it is heaven itself, Rev. xxi. 3, 7.
III. He promises that he will bring about all that good for them which the exigence of their case calls for. When they are thus prepared for mercy, 1. Then they shall return to their possessions and be settled again in them (v. 28): You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers. God will, in bringing them back to it, have an eye not to any merit of theirs, but to the promise made to the fathers; for therefore he gave it to them at first, Deut. vii. 7, 8. Therefore he is gracious, because he has said that he will be so. This shall follow upon the blessed reformation God would work among them (v. 33): "In the day that I shall have cleansed you from all your iniquities, and so shall have made you meet for the inheritance, I will cause you to dwell in the cities, and so put you in possession of the inheritance." This is God's method of mercy indeed, first to part men from their sins, and then to restore them to their comforts. 2. Then they shall enjoy a plenty of all good things. When they are saved from their uncleanness, from their sins which kept good things from them, then I will call for the corn and will increase it, v. 29. Plenty comes at God's call, and the plenty he calls for shall be still growing; and when he speaks the word the fruit both of the tree and of the field shall multiply. As the inhabitants multiply the productions shall multiply for their maintenance; for he that sends mouths will send meat. Famine was one of the judgments which they had laboured under, and it had been as much as any a reproach to them, that they should be starved in a land so famed for fruitfulness. But now I will lay no famine upon you; and none are under that rod without having it laid on by him. Then they shall receive no more reproach of famine, shall never be again upbraided with that, nor shall it ever be said that God is a Master that keeps his servants to short allowance. Nay, they shall not only be cleared from the reproach of famine, but they shall have the credit of abundance. The land that had long lain desolate in the sight of all that passed by, that looked upon it, some with contempt and some with compassion, shall again be tilled (v. 34), and, having long lain fallow, it will now be the more fruitful. Observe, God will call for the corn and yet they must till the ground for it. Note, Even promised mercies must be laboured for; for the promise is not to supersede, but to quicken and encourage our industry and endeavour. And such a blessing will God command on the hand of the diligent that all who pass by shall take notice of it, with wonder, v. 35. They shall say, "See what a blessed change here is, how this land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden, the desert turned again into a paradise," Note, God has honours in reserve for his people to be crowned with sufficient to counterbalance the contempt they are now loaded with, and in them he will be honoured. This wonderful increase both of the people of the land and of its products is compared (v. 38) to the large flocks of cattle that are brought to Jerusalem, to be sacrificed at one of the solemn feasts. Even the cities that now lie waste shall be filled with flocks of men, not like the flocks with which the pastures are covered over (Ps. lxvi. 13), but like the holy flock which is brought to the courts of the Lord's house. Note, Then the increase of the numbers of a people is honourable and comfortable indeed when they are all dedicated to God as a holy flock, to be presented to him for living sacrifices. Crowds are a lovely sight in God's temple.
IV. He shows what shall be the happy effects of this blessed change. 1. It shall have a happy effect upon the people of God themselves, for it shall bring them to an ingenuous repentance for their sins (v. 31): Then shall you remember your own evil ways and shall loathe yourselves. See here what sin is; it is an abomination, a loathsome thing, that abominable thing which the Lord hates. See what is the first step towards repentance; it is remembering our own evil ways, reflecting seriously upon the sins we have committed and being particular in recapitulating them. We must remember against ourselves not only our gross enormities, our own evil ways, but our defects and infirmities, our doings that were not good, not so good as they should have been; not only our direct violations of the law, but our coming short of it. See what is evermore a companion of true repentance, and that is self-loathing, a holy shame and confusion of face: "You shall loathe yourselves in your own sight, seeing how loathsome you have made yourselves in the sight of God." Self-love is at the bottom of sin, which we cannot but blush to see the absurdity of; but our quarrelling with ourselves is in order to our being, upon good grounds, reconciled to ourselves. And, lastly, see what is the most powerful inducement to an evangelical repentance, and that is a sense of the mercy of God; when God settles them in the midst of plenty, then they shall loathe themselves for their iniquities. Note, The goodness of God should overcome our badness and lead us to repentance. The more we see of God's readiness to receive us into favour upon our repentance the more reason we shall see to be ashamed of ourselves that we could ever sin against so much love. That heart is hard indeed that will not be thus melted. 2. It shall have a happy effect upon their neighbours, for it shall bring them to a more clear knowledge of God (v. 36): "Then the heathen that are left round about you, that spoke ignorantly of God (for so all those do that speak ill of him) when they saw the land of Israel desolate, shall begin to know better, and to speak more intelligently of God, being convinced that he is able to rebuild the most desolate cities and to replant the most desolate countries, and that, though the course of his favours to his people may be obstructed for a time, they shall not be cut off for ever." They shall be made to know the truth of divine revelation by the exact agreement which they shall discern between God's word which he has spoken to Israel and his works which he has done for them: I the Lord have spoken it, and I will do it. With us saying and doing are two things, but they are not so with God.
V. He proposes these things to them, not as the recompence of their merits, but as the return of their prayers.
1. Let them not think that they have deserved it: Not for your sakes do I this, be it known to you (v. 22, 32); no, be you ashamed and confounded for your own ways. God is doing this, all this which he has promised; it is as sure to be done as if it were done already, and present events have a tendency towards it. But then, (1.) They must renounce the merit of their own good works, and be brought to acknowledge that it is not for their sakes that it is done; so, when God brought Israel into Canaan the first time, an express caveat was entered against this thought. Deut. ix. 4-6, It is not for thy righteousness. It is not for the sake of any of their good qualities or good deeds, not because God had any need of them, or expected any benefit by them. No, in showing mercy he acts by prerogative, not for our deserts, but for his own honour. See how emphatically this is expressed: Be it known to you, it is not for your sakes, which intimates that we are apt to entertain a high conceit of our own merits and are with difficulty persuaded to disclaim a confidence in them. But, one way or other, God will make all his favourites to know and own that it is his grace, and not their goodness, his mercy, and not their merit, that made them so; and that therefore not unto them, not unto them, but unto him, is all the glory due. (2.) They must repent of the sin of their own evil ways. They must own that the mercies they receive from God are not only not merited, but that they are a thousand times forfeited; and therefore they must be so far from boasting of their good works that they must be ashamed and confounded for their evil ways, and then they are best prepared for mercy.
2. Yet let them know that they must desire and expect it (v. 37): I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel. God has spoken, and he will do it, and he will be sought unto for it. He requires that his people should seek unto him, and he will incline their hearts to do it, when he is coming towards them in ways of mercy. (1.) They must pray for it, for by prayer God is sought unto, and enquired after. What is the matter of God's promises must be the matter of our prayers. By asking for the mercy promised we must give glory to the donor, express a value for the gift, own our dependence, and put honour upon prayer which God has put honour upon. Christ himself must ask, and then God will give him the heathen for his inheritance, must pray the Father, and then he will send the Comforter; much more must we ask that we may receive. (2.) They must consult the oracles of God, and thus also God is sought unto and enquired after. The mercy must be, not an act of providence only, but a child of promise; and therefore the promise must be looked at, and prayer made for it with an eye of faith fastened upon the promise, which must be both the guide and the ground of our expectations. Both these ways we find God enquired of by Daniel, in the name of the house of Israel, when he was about to do those great things for them; he consulted the oracles of God, for he understood by books, the book of the prophet Jeremiah, both what was to be expected and when; and then he set his face to seek God by prayer, Dan. ix. 2, 3. Note, Our communion with God must be kept up by the word and prayer in all the operations of his providence concerning us and in both he must be enquired of.
The threatenings of the destruction of Judah and Jerusalem for their sins, which we had in the former part of this book, were not so terrible, but the promises of their restoration and deliverance for the glory of God, which we have here in the latter part of the book, are as comfortable; and as those were illustrated with many visions and similitudes, for the awakening of a holy fear, so are these, for the encouraging of a humble faith. God had assured them, in the foregoing chapter, that he would gather the house of Israel, even all of it, and would bring them out of their captivity, and return them to their own land; but there were two things that rendered this very unlikely: I. That they were so dispersed among their enemies, so destitute of all helps and advantages which might favour or further their return, and so dispirited likewise in their own minds; upon all these accounts they are here, in vision, compared to a valley full of the dry bones of dead men, which should be brought together and raised to life. The vision of this we have (ver. 1-10) and the explication of it, with its application to the present case, ver. 11-14. II. That they were so divided among themselves, too much of the old enmity between Judah and Ephraim remaining even in their captivity. But, as to this, by a sign of two sticks made one in the hand of the prophet is foreshown the happy coalition that should be, at their return, between the two nations of Israel and Judah, ver. 15-22. In this there was a type of the uniting of Jews and Gentiles, Jews and Samaritans, in Christ and his church. And so the prophet slides into a prediction of the kingdom of Christ, which should be set up in the world with God's tabernacle in it, and of the glories and graces of that kingdom, ver. 23-28.
The Vision of the Dry Bones. B. C. 586.
1 The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, 2 And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. 3 And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest. 4 Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. 5 Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: 6 And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD. 7 So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. 8 And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. 9 Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. 11 Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. 12 Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. 13 And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, 14 And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.
Here is, I. The vision of a resurrection from death to life, and it is a glorious resurrection. This is a thing so utterly unknown to nature, and so contrary to its principles (a privatione ad habitum non datur regressusfrom privation to possession there is no return), that we could have no thought of it but by the word of the Lord; and that it is certain by that word that there shall be a general resurrection of the dead some have urged from this vision, "For" (say they) "otherwise it would not properly be made a sign for the confirming of their faith in the promise of their deliverance out of Babylon, as the coming of the Messiah is mentioned for the confirming of their faith touching a former deliverance," Isa. vii. 14. But,
1. Whether it be a confirmation or no, it is without doubt a most lively representation of a threefold resurrection, besides that which it is primarily intended to be the sign of. (1.) The resurrection of souls from the death of sin to the life or righteousness, to a holy, heavenly, spiritual, and divine life, by the power of divine grace going along with the word of Christ, John v. 24, 25. (2.) The resurrection of the gospel church, or any part of it, from an afflicted persecuted state, especially under the yoke of the New-Testament Babylon, to liberty and peace. (3.) The resurrection of the body at the great day, especially the bodies of believers that shall rise to life eternal.
2. Let us observe the particulars of this vision.
(1.) The deplorable condition of these dead bones. The prophet was made, [1.] to take an exact view of them. By a prophetic impulse and a divine power he was, in vision, carried out and set in the midst of a valley, probably that plain spoken of ch. iii. 22, where God then talked with him; and it was full of bones, of dead men's bones, not piled up on a heap, as in a charnel-house, but scattered upon the face of the ground, as if some bloody battle had been fought here, and the slain left unburied till all the flesh was devoured or putrefied, and nothing left but the bones, and those disjointed from one another and dispersed. He passed by them round about, and he observed not only that they were very many (for there are multitudes gone to the congregation of the dead), but that, lo, they were very dry, having been long exposed to the sun and wind. The bones that have been moistened with marrow (Job xxi. 24), when they have been any while dead, lose all their moisture, and are dry as dust. The body is now fenced with bones (Job x. 11), but then they will themselves be defenceless. The Jews in Babylon were like those dead and dry bones, unlikely ever to come together, to be so much as a skeleton, less likely to be formed into a body, and least of all to be a living body. However, they lay unburied in the open valley, which encouraged the hopes of their resurrection, as of the two witnesses, Rev. xi. 8, 9. The bones of Gog and Magog shall be buried (ch. xxxix. 12, 15), for their destruction is final; but the bones of Israel are in the open valley, under the eye of Heaven, for there is hope in their end. [2.] He was made to own their case deplorable, and not to be helped by any power less than that of God himself (v. 3): "Son of man, can these bones live? Is it a thing likely? Cast thou devise how it should be done? Can thy philosophy reach to put life into dry bones, or thy politics to restore a captive nation?" "No," says the prophet, "I know not how it should be done, but thou knowest." He does not say, "They cannot live," lest he should seem to limit the Holy One of Israel; but, "Lord, thou knowest whether they can and whether they shall; if thou dost not put life into them, it is certain that they cannot life." Note, God is perfectly acquainted with his own power and his own purposes, and will have us to refer all to them, and to see and own that his wondrous works are such as could not be effected by any counsel or power but his own.
(2.) The means used for the bringing of these dispersed bones together and these dead and dry bones to life. It must be done by prophecy. Ezekiel is ordered to prophesy upon these bones (v. 4 and again v. 9), to prophesy to the wind. So he prophesied as he was commanded, v. 7, 10. [1.] He must preach, and he did so; and the dead bones lived by a power that went along with the word of God which he preached. [2.] He must pray, and he did so; and the dead bones were made to live in answer to prayer; for a spirit of life entered into them. See the efficacy of the word and prayer, and the necessity of both, for the raising of dead souls. God bids his ministers prophesy upon the dry bones. Say unto them, Live; yea, say unto them, Live; and they do as they are commanded, calling to them again and again, O you dry bones! hear the word of the Lord. But we call in vain, still they are dead, still they are very dry; we must therefore be earnest with God in prayer for the working of the Spirit with the word: Come, O breath! and breathe upon them. God's grace can save souls without our preaching, but our preaching cannot save them without God's grace, and that grace must be sought by prayer. Note, Ministers must faithfully and diligently use the means of grace, even with those that there seems little probability of gaining upon. To prophesy upon dry bones seems as great a penance as to water a dry stick; and yet, whether they will hear or forbear, we must discharge our trust, must prophesy as we are commanded, in the name of him who raises the dead and is the fountain of life.
(3.) The wonderful effect of these means. Those that do as they are commanded, as they are commissioned, in the face of the greatest discouragements, need not doubt of success, for God will own and enrich his own appointments. [1.] Ezekiel looked down and prophesied upon the bones in the valley, and they became human bodies. First, That which he had to say to them was that God would infallibly raise them to life: Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones, You shall live, v. 5 and again v. 6. And he that speaks the word will thereby do the work; he that says, They shall live, will make them alive: He will clothe them with skin and flesh (v. 6), as he did at first, Job x. 11. He that made us so fearfully and wonderfully, and curiously wrought us, can in like manner new-make us, for his arm is not shortened. Secondly, That which was immediately done for them was that they were moulded anew into shape. We may well suppose it was with great liveliness and vigour that the prophet prophesied, especially when he found what he said begin to take effect. Note, The opening, sealing, and applying of the promises, are the ordinary means of our participation of a new and divine nature. As Ezekiel prophesied in this vision there was a noise, a word of command, from heaven, seconding what he said; or it signified the motion of the angels that were to be employed as the ministers of the divine Providence in the deliverance of the Jews, and we read of the noise of their wings (Ezek. i. 24) and the sound of their going, 2 Sam. v. 24. And, behold, a shaking, or commotion, among the bones. Even dead and dry bones begin to move when they are called to hear the word of the Lord. This was fulfilled when, upon Cyrus's proclamation of liberty, those whose spirits God had stirred up began to think of making use of that liberty, and getting ready to be gone. When there was a noise, behold, a shaking; when David heard the sound of the going on the tops of the mulberry-trees then he bestirred himself; then there was a shaking. When Paul heard the voice saying, Why persecutest thou me? behold, a shaking of the dry bones; he trembled and was astonished. But this was not all: The bones came together bone to his bone, under a divine direction; and, though there is in man a multitude of bones, yet of all the bones of those numerous slain not one was missing, not one missed its way, not one missed its place, but, as it were by instinct, each knew and found its fellow. The dispersed bones came together and the displaced bones were knit together, the divine power supplying that to these dry bones which in a living body every joint supplies. Thus shall it be in the resurrection of the dead; the scattered atoms shall be ranged and marshalled in their proper place and order, and every bone come to his bone, by the same wisdom and power by which the bones were first formed in the womb of her that is with child. Thus it was in the return of the Jews; those that were scattered in several parts of the province of Babylon came to their respective families, and all as it were by consent to the general rendezvous, in order to their return. By degrees sinews and flesh came upon these bones, and the skin covered them, v. 8. This was fulfilled when the captives got their effects about them, and the men of their place helped them with silver, and gold, and whatever they needed for their remove, Ezra i. 4. But still there was no breath in them; they wanted spirit and courage for such a difficult and hazardous enterprise as this was of returning to their own land. [2.] Ezekiel then looked up and prophesied to the wind, or breath, or spirit, and said, Come, O breath! and breathe upon these slain. As good have been still dry bones as dead bodies: but as for God his work is perfect; he is not the God of the dead, but of the living; therefore breathe upon them that they may live. In answer to this request, the breath immediately came into them, v. 10. Note, the spirit of life is from God; he at first in the creation breathed into man the breath of life, and so he will at last in the resurrection. The dispirited despairing captives were wonderfully animated with resolution to break through all the discouragements that lay in the way of their return and applied themselves to it with all imaginable vigour. And then they stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army; not only living men, but effective men, fit for service in the wars and formidable to all that gave them any opposition. Note, With God nothing is impossible. He can out of stones raise up children unto Abraham and out of dead and dry bones levy an exceedingly great army to fight his battles and plead his cause.
II. The application of this vision to the present calamitous condition of the Jews in captivity: These bones are the whole house of Israel, both the ten tribes and the two. See in this what they are and what they shall be.
1. The depth of despair to which they are now reduced, v. 11. They all give up themselves for lost and gone; they say, "Our bones are dried, our strength is exhausted, our spirits are gone, our hope is all lost; every thing we looked for succour and relief from fails us, and we are cut off for our parts. Let who will cherish some hope, we see no ground for any." Note, When troubles continue long, hopes have been often frustrated, and all creature-confidences fail, it is not strange if the spirits sink; and nothing but an active faith in the power, promise, and providence of God will keep them from quite dying away. 2. The height of prosperity to which, notwithstanding this, they shall be advanced: "therefore, because things have come thus to the last extremity, prophesy to them, and tell them, now is God's time to appear for them. Jehovah-jirehin the mount of the Lord it shall be seen, v. 12-14. Tell them," (1.) "That they shall be brought out of the land of their enemies, where they are as it were buried alive: I will open your graves." Those shall be restored, not only whose bones are scattered at the grave's mouth (Ps. cxli. 7), but who are buried in the grave; though the power of the enemy is like the bars of the pit, which one would think it impossible to break through, strong as death and cruel as the grave, yet it shall be conquered. God can bring his people up from the depths of the earth, Ps. lxxi. 20. (2.) "That they shall be brought into their own land, where they shall live in prosperity: I will bring you into the land of Israel (v. 12) and place you there (v. 14), and will put my spirit in you and then you shall live." Note, Then God puts spirit in us to good purpose, and so that we shall indeed live, when he puts his Spirit in us. And (lastly) in all this God will be glorified: You shall know that I am the Lord (v. 13), and that I have spoken it and performed it, v. 14. Note, God's quickening the dead redounds more than any thing to his honour, and to the honour of his word, which he has magnified above all his name, and will magnify more and more by the punctual accomplishment of every tittle of it.
Cheering Promises. B. C. 586.
15 The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying, 16 Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: 17 And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand. 18 And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou meanest by these? 19 Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand. 20 And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes. 21 And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: 22 And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all: 23 Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwelling-places, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God. 24 And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. 25 And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children's children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever. 26 Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. 27 My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 28 And the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.
Here are more exceedingly great and precious promises made of the happy state of the Jews after their return to their own land; but they have a further reference to the kingdom of the Messiah and the glories of gospel-times.
I. It is here promised that Ephraim and Judah shall be happily united in brotherly love and mutual serviceableness; so that whereas, ever since the desertion of the ten tribes from the house of David under Jeroboam, there had been continual feuds and animosities between the two kingdoms of Israel and Judah, and it is to be feared there had been some clashings between them even in the land of their captivity (Ephraim upon all occasions envying Judah and Judah vexing Ephraim), now it should be no longer, but there should be a coalition between them, and, notwithstanding the old differences that had been between them, they should agree to love one another and to do one another all good offices. This is here illustrated by a sign. The prophet was to take two sticks, and write upon one, For Judah (including Benjamin, those of the children of Israel that were his companions), upon the other, For Joseph, including the rest of the tribes, v. 16. These two sticks must be so framed as to fall into one in his hand, v. 17. The people took notice of this, and desired him to tell them the meaning of it, for they knew he did not play with sticks for his diversion, as children do. Those that would know the meaning should ask the meaning of the word of God which they read and hear, and of the instituted signs by which spiritual and divine things are represented to us; the ministers' lips should keep the knowledge hereof and the people should ask it at their mouth, Mal. ii. 7. It is a necessary question for grown people, as well as children, to ask, What mean you by this service, by this sign? Exod. xii. 26. The meaning was that Judah and Israel should become one in the hand of God, v. 19. 1. They shall be one, one nation, v. 22. They shall have no separate interests, and, consequently, no divided affections. There shall be no mutual jealousies and animosities, no remembrance, no remains, of their former discord. But there shall be a perfect harmony between them, a good understanding one of another, a good disposition one to another, and a readiness to all good offices and services for one another's credit and comfort. They had been two sticks crossing and thwarting one another, nay, beating and bruising one another; but now they shall become one, supporting and strengthening one another. Vix unita fortiorForce added to force is proportionally more efficient. Behold, how good and how pleasant a thing it is to see Judah and Israel, that had long been at variance, now dwelling together in unity. Then they shall become acceptable to their God, amiable to their friends, and formidable to their enemies, Isa. xi. 13, 14. 2. They shall be one in God's hand; by his power they shall be united, and, being by his hand brought together, his hand shall keep them together, so that they shall not fly off, to be separated again. They shall be one in his hand, for his glory shall be the centre of their unity and his grace the cement of it. In him, in a regard to him and in his service and worship, they shall unite, and so shall become one. Both sides shall agree to put themselves into his hand, and so they shall be one. Qui conveniunt in aliquo tertio inter se conveniuntThose who agree in a third agree with each other. Note, Those are best united that are one in God's hand, whose union with each other results from their union with Christ and their communion with God through him, Eph. i. 10. One in us, John xvii. 21. 3. They shall be one in their return out of captivity (v. 21): I will take them from among the heathen, and gather them on every side, and bring them together incorporated into one body to their own land. They shall be one in their separation from the heathen with whom they had mingled themselves: they shall both agree to part from them, and take their affections off from them, and no longer to comply with their usages, and then they will soon agree to join together in walking according to the rule of God's word. Their having been joint-sufferers will contribute to this blessed comprehension, when they begin to come to themselves and to consider things. Put many pieces of metal together into the furnace, and, when they are melted, they will run all together. It was time for them to strengthen one another when their oppressors were so busy to weaken and ruin them all. Likewise their being joint-sharers in the favour of God, and the great and common deliverance wrought out for them all, should help to unite them. God's loving them all was a good reason why they should love one another. Times of common joy, as well as times of common suffering, should be healing loving times. 4. They shall all be the subjects of one king, and so they shall become one. The Jews, after their return, were under one government, and not divided as formerly. But this certainly looks further, to the kingdom of Christ; he is that one King in allegiance to whom all God's spiritual Israel shall cheerfully unite, and under whose protection they shall all be gathered. All believers unite in one Lord, one faith, and one baptism. And the uniting of Jews and Gentiles in the gospel church, their becoming one fold under Christ the one great Shepherd, is doubtless the union that is chiefly looked at in this prophecy. By Christ and partition-wall between them was taken down, and the enmity slain, and of them twain was made one new man, Eph. ii. 14, 15.
II. It is here promised that the Jews shall by their captivity be cured of their inclination to idolatry; this shall be the happy fruit of that affliction, even the taking away of their sin (v. 23): Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, those detestable defiling things, no, nor with any of their former transgressions. Note, When one sin is sincerely parted with all sin is abandoned too, for he that hates sin, as sin, will hate all sin. And those that are cured of their spiritual idolatry, their inordinate affection to the world and the flesh, that no longer make a god of their money or their belly, have a happy blow given to the root of all their transgressions. Two ways God will take to cure them of their idolatry: 1. By bringing them out of the way of temptation to it: "I will save them out of all their dwelling-places wherein they have sinned, because there they met with the occasion of sin and allurements to it." Note, It is our wisdom to avoid the places where we have been overcome by temptations to sin, not to remain in them, or return to them, but to save ourselves out of them, as we would out of infected places; see Zech. ii. 7; Rev. xviii. 4. And it is a great mercy when God, in his providence, saves us out of the dwelling-places where we have sinned, and keeps us from harm by keeping us out of harm's way, in answer to our prayer, Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. 2. By changing the disposition of their mind: "I will cleanse them (v. 28); that is, I will sanctify them, will work in them an aversion to the pollutions of sin and a complacency in the pleasures of holiness, and then you may be sure they will not defile themselves any more with their idols." Those whom God has cleansed he will keep clean.
III. It is here promised that they shall be the people of God, as their God, and the subjects and sheep of Christ their King and Shepherd. These promises we had before, and they are here repeated (v. 23, 24) for the encouragement of the faith of Israel: They shall be my people, to serve me, and I will be their God, to save them and to make them happy. David, my servant, shall be king over them, to fight their battles, to protect them from injury, and to rule them, and overrule all things that concern them for their good. He shall be their shepherd, to guide them and provide for them. Christ is this David, Israel's King of old; and those whom he subdues to himself, and makes willing in the day of his power, he makes to walk in his judgments and to keep his statutes.
IV. It is here promised that they shall dwell comfortably, v. 25, 26. They shall dwell in the land of Israel; for where else should Israelites dwell? And many things will concur to make their dwelling agreeable. 1. They shall have it by covenant; they shall come in again upon their old title, by virtue of the grant made unto Jacob, God's servant. As Christ was David, God's servant, so the church is Jacob, his servant too; and the members of the church shall come in for a share, as born in God's house. He will make a covenant of peace with them (v. 26), and in pursuance of that covenant he will place them, and multiply them. Note, Temporal mercies are doubly sweet when they come from the promise of the covenant, and not merely from common providence. 2. They shall come to it by prescription: "It is the land wherein your fathers have dwelt, and for that reason you cannot but have a special kindness for it, which God will graciously gratify." It was the inheritance of their ancestors, and therefore shall be theirs. They are beloved for their fathers' sakes. 3. They shall have it entailed upon them and the heirs of their body, and shall have their families built up, so that it shall not be lost for want of heirs. They shall dwell therein all their time, and never be turned out of possession, and they shall leave it for an inheritance to their children and their children's children for ever, who shall enjoy it when they are gone, the prospect of which will be a satisfaction to them. 4. They shall live under a good government, which will contribute very much to the comfort of their lives: My servant David shall be their prince for ever. This can be no other than Christ, of whom it was said, when he was brought into the world, He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever, Luke i. 33. Note, It is the unspeakable comfort of all Christ's faithful subjects that, as his kingdom is everlasting, so he is an everlasting King, he lives to reign for ever; and, as sure and as long as he lives and reigns, they shall live and reign also. 5. The charter by which they hold all their privileges is indefeasible. God's covenant with them shall be an everlasting covenant; so the covenant of grace is, for it secures to us an everlasting happiness.
V. It is here promised that God will dwell among them; and this will make them dwell comfortably indeed: I will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore; my tabernacle also shall be with them, v. 26, 27. 1. They shall have the tokens of God's special presence with them and his gracious residence among them. God will in very deed dwell with them upon the earth, for where his sanctuary is he is; when they profaned his sanctuary he took it from them (Isa. lxiv. 11), but now that they are purified God will dwell with them again. 2. They shall have opportunity of conversing with God, of hearing from him, speaking to him, and so keeping up communion with him, which will be the comfort of their lives. 3. They shall have the means of grace. By the oracles of God in his tabernacle they shall be made wiser and better, and all their children shall be taught of the Lord. 4. Thus their covenant relation to God shall be improved and the bond of it strengthened: "I will be their God and they shall be my people, and they shall know it by having my sanctuary among them, and shall have the comfort of it."
VI. Both God and Israel shall have the honour of this among the heathen, v. 26. "Now the heathen observe how Israel have profaned their own crown by their sins, and God has profaned it by his judgments; but then, when Israel is reformed and God has returned in mercy to them, the very heathen shall be made to know that the Lord sanctifies Israel, has a title to them and an interest in them more than other people, because his sanctuary is, and shall be, in the midst of them." Note, God designs the sanctification of those among whom he sets up his sanctuary. And blessed and holy are those who, enjoying the privileges of the sanctuary, give such proofs and evidences of their sanctification that the heathen may know it is no less than the almighty grace of God that sanctifies them. Such have God's sanctuary in the midst of them, the kingdom of God within them, in the principles of the spiritual life, and shall have it so for evermore in the enjoyments of an eternal life.
This chapter, and that which follows it, are concerning Gog and Magog, a powerful enemy to the people of Israel, that should make a formidable descent upon them, and put them into a consternation, but their army should be routed and their design defeated; and this prophecy, it is most probable, had its accomplishment some time after the return of the people of Israel out of their captivity, whether in the struggles they had with the kings of Syria, especially Antiochus Epiphanes, or perhaps in some other way not recorded, we cannot tell. If the sacred history of the Old Testament had reached as far as the prophecy, we should have been better able to understand these chapters, but, for want of that key, we are locked out of the meaning of them. God had by the prophet assured his people of happy times after their return to their own land; but lest they should mistake the promises which related to the kingdom of the Messiah and the spiritual privileges of that the kingdom of the Messiah and the spiritual privileges of that kingdom, as if from them they might promise themselves an uninterrupted temporal prosperity, he here tells them, as Christ told his disciples to prevent the like mistake, that in the world they shall have tribulation, but they may be of good cheer, for they shall be victorious at last. This prophecy here of Gog and Magog is without doubt alluded to in that prophecy which relates to the latter days, and which seems to be yet unfulfilled (Rev. xx. 8), that Gog and Magog shall be gathered to battle against the camp of the saints, as the Old-Testament prophecies of the destruction of Babylon are alluded to, Rev. xviii. But, in both, the Old-Testament prophecies had their accomplishment in the Jewish church as the New-Testament prophecies shall have when the time comes in the Christian church. In this chapter we have intermixed, I. The attempt that Gog and Magog should make upon the land of Israel, the vast army they should bring into the field, and their vast preparations (ver. 4-7), their project and design in it (ver. 8-13), God's hand in it, ver. 4. II. The great terror that this should strike upon the land of Israel, ver. 15, 16, 18-20. III. The divine restraint that these enemies should be under, and the divine protection that Israel should be under, ver. 2-4 and ver. 14. IV. The defeat that should be given to those enemies by the immediate hand of God (ver. 21-23), which we shall hear more of in the next chapter.
The Judgment of Gog and Magog. B. C. 585.
1 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 2 Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him, 3 And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: 4 And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords: 5 Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet: 6 Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee. 7 Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them. 8 After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them. 9 Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee. 10 Thus saith the Lord GOD; It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought: 11 And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates, 12 To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land. 13 Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?
The critical expositors have enough to do here to enquire out Gog and Magog. We cannot pretend either to add to their observations or to determine their controversies. Gog seems to be the king and Magog the kingdom; so that Gog and Magog are like Pharaoh and the Egyptians. Some think they find them afar off, in Scythia, Tartary, and Russia. Others think they find them nearer the land of Israel, in Syria, and Asia the Less. Ezekiel is appointed to prophesy against Gog, and to tell him that God is against him, v. 2, 3. Note, God does not only see those that are now the enemies of his church and set himself against them, but he foresees those that will be so and lets them know by his word that he is against them too, and yet is pleased to make use of them to serve his own purposes, for the glory of his own name; surely their wrath shall praise him, and the remainder thereof he will restrain, Ps. lxxvi. 10. Let us observe here,
I. The confusion which God designed to put this enemy to. It is remarkable that this is put first in the prophecy; before it is foretold that God will bring him forth against Israel it is foretold that God will put hooks into his jaws and turn him back (v. 4), that they might have assurance of their deliverance before they had the prospect given them of their danger. Thus tender is God of the comfort of his people, thus careful that they may not be frightened; even before the trouble begins he tells them it will end well.
II. The undertaking which he designed to engage him in, in order to this defeat and disappointment. 1. The nations that shall be confederate in this enterprise against Israel are many, and great, and mighty (v. 5, 6), Persia, Ethiopia, &c. Antiochus had an army made up of all the nations here named, and many others. These people had been at variance with one another, and yet in combination against Israel. How are those increased that trouble God's people! 2. They are well furnished with arms and ammunition, and bring a good train of artillery into the fieldhorses and horsemen (v. 4) bravely equipped with all sorts of armour, bucklers and shields for defence, and all handling swords for offence. Orders are given to make all imaginable preparation for this expedition (v. 7): "Be thou prepared, and do thou prepare. See what warlike preparations thou hast already in store, and, lest that should not suffice, make further preparation, thou and all thy company," Let Gog himself be a guard to the rest of the confederates. As commander-in-chief, let him engage to take care of them and their safety; let him pass his word for their security, and take them under his particular protection. The leaders of an army, instead of exposing their soldiers needlessly and presumptuously, and throwing away their lives upon desperate undertakings, should study to be a guard to them, and, whenever they send them forth in danger, should contrive to support and cover them. This call to prepare seems to be ironicalDo thy worst, but I will turn thee back; like that Isa. viii. 9. Gird yourselves, and you shall be broken in pieces. 3. Their design is against the mountains of Israel (v. 8), against the land that is brought back from the sword. It is not long since it was harassed with the sword of war, and it has been always wasted, more or less, with one judgment or other; it is but newly gathered out of many people, and brought forth out of the nations; it has enjoyed comparatively but a short breathing-time, has scarcely recovered any strength since it was brought down by war and captivity; and therefore its neighbours need not fear its being too great, nay, and therefore it is very barbarous to pick a quarrel with it so soon. It is a people that dwell safely, all of them, in unwalled villages, very secure, and having neither bars nor gates, v. 11. It is a certain sign that they intend no mischief to their neighbours, for they fear no mischief from them. It cannot be thought that those will offend others who do not take care to defend themselves; and this aggravates the sin of these invaders. It is base and barbarous to devise evil against thy neighbour while he dwells securely by thee, and has no distrust of thee, Prov. iii. 29. But see here how the clouds return after the rain in this world, and what little reason we have ever to be secure till we come to heaven. It is not long since Israel was brought back from the sword of one enemy, and behold the sword of another is drawn against it. Former troubles will not excuse us from further troubles; but when we think we have put off the harness, at least for some time, by a fresh and sudden alarm we may be called to gird it on again; and therefore we must never boast nor be off our guard. 4. That which the enemy has in view, in forming this project, is to enrich himself and to make himself master, not of the country, but of the wealth of it, to spoil and plunder it, and make a prey of it: At the same time that God intends to bring this matter about things shall come into the mind of this enemy, and he shall think an evil thought, v. 10. Note, All the mischief men do, and particularly the mischief they do to the church of God, arises from evil thoughts that come into their mind, ambitious thoughts, covetous thoughts, spiteful thoughts against those that are good, for the sake of their goodness. It came into Antiochus's mind what a singular people these religious Jews were, and how their worship witnessed against and condemned the idolatries of their neighbours, and therefore, in enmity to their religion, he would plague them. It came into his mind what a wealthy people they were, that they had gotten cattle and goods in the midst of the land (v. 12), and withal how weak they were, how unable to make any resistance, how easy it would be to carry off what they had, and how much glory this rapine would add to his victorious sword; these things coming into his mind, and one evil thought drawing on another, he came at last to this resolve (v. 11, 12): "I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; yea, that I will; it will cost me nothing to make them all my own. I will go and disturb those that are at rest, without giving them any notice, not to crush their growing greatness, or chastise their insolence, or make reprisals upon them for any wrong they have done us (they had none of these pretences to make war upon them), but purely to take a spoil and to take a prey" (v. 12), in open defiance to all the laws of justice and equity, as much as the highwayman's killing the traveller that he may take his money. These were the thoughts that came into the mind of this wicked prince, and God knew them; nay, he knew them before they came into his mind, for he understands our thoughts afar off, Ps. cxxxix. 2. 5. According to the project thus formed he pours in all his forces upon the land of Israel, and finds those that are ready to come in to his assistance with the same prospects (v. 9): "Thou shalt ascent and come like a storm, with all the force, and fury, and fierceness imaginable, and thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, to darken it, and to threaten it, thou and not only all thy bands, all the force thou canst bring into the field, but many people with thee" (such as are spoken of v. 13), "Sheba and Dedan, the Arabians and the Edomites, and the merchants of Tarshish, of Tyre and Sidon and other maritime cities, they and their young lions that are greedy of spoil and live upon it, shall say, Hast thou come to take the spoil of this land?" Yes he has; and therefore they wish him success. Or perhaps they envy him, or grudge it to him. "Hast thou come for riches who art thyself so rich already?" Or, knowing that God was on Israel's side, they thus ridicule his attempts, foreseeing that they would be baffled and that he would be disappointed of the prey he promised himself. Or, if he come to take the prey, they will come and join with him, and add to his forces. When Lysias, who was general of Antiochus's army, came against the Jews, the neighbouring nations joined with him (1 Mac. iii. 41), to share in the guilt, in hopes to share in the prey. When thou sawest a thief then thou consentedst with him.
14 Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say unto Gog, Thus saith the Lord GOD; In that day when my people of Israel dwelleth safely, shalt thou not know it? 15 And thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts, thou, and many people with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a great company, and a mighty army: 16 And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes. 17 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Art thou he of whom I have spoken in old time by my servants the prophets of Israel, which prophesied in those days many years that I would bring thee against them? 18 And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord GOD, that my fury shall come up in my face. 19 For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel; 20 So that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground. 21 And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord GOD: every man's sword shall be against his brother. 22 And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone. 23 Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the LORD.
This latter part of the chapter is a repetition of the former; the dream is doubled, for the thing is certain and to be very carefully regarded.
I. It is here again foretold that this spiteful enemy should make a formidable descent upon the land of Israel (v. 15): "Thou shalt come out of the north parts (Syria lay on the north of Canaan) with a mighty army, shalt come like a cloud, and cover the land of my people Israel," v. 16. These words (v. 14), When my people Israel dwell safely, shalt thou not know it? may be taken two ways: 1. As intimating his inducements to this attempt. "Thou shalt have intelligence brought thee how securely, and therefore how carelessly, the people of Israel dwell, which shall give rise to thy project against them; for when thou knowest not only what a rich, but what an easy prey they are likely to be, thou wilt soon determine to fall upon them" Note, God's providence is to be acknowledged in the occasion, the small occasion perhaps, that is given, and that not designedly neither, to those first thoughts from which great enterprises take their original. God, to bring about his own purposes, lets men know that which yet he knows they will make a bad use of, as here. Or, 2. As intimating his disappointment in this attempt, which here, as before, the prophecy begins with: "When my people Israel dwell safely, not in their own apprehension only, but in reality, forasmuch as they dwell safely under the divine protection, shalt not thou be made to know it by the fruitlessness of thy endeavours to destroy them?" Thou shalt soon find that there is no enchantment against Jacob, that no weapon formed against them shall prosper; thou shalt know to thy cost, shalt know to thy shame, that though they have no walls, nor bars, nor gates, they have God himself, a wall of fire, round about them, and that he who touches them touches the apple of his eye; whosoever meddles with them meddles to his own hurt. And it is for the demonstrating of this to all the world that God will bring this mighty enemy against his people. Those that gathered themselves against Israel said, Let us take the spoil and take they prey, but they knew not the thoughts of the Lord, Mic. iv. 11, 12. I will bring thee against my land. This is strange news, that God will not only permit his enemies to come against his own children, but will himself bring them; but, if we understand what he aims at, we shall be well reconciled even to this: it is "that the heathen may know me to be the only living and true God when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog! that is, in thy defeat and destruction before their eyes, that all the nations may see, and say, There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, that rides on the heavens for the help of his people." Note, God brings his people into danger and distress that he may have the honour of bringing about their deliverance, and suffers the enemies of his church to prevail awhile, though they profane his name by their sin, that he may have the honour of prevailing at last and sanctifying his own name in their ruin. Now it is said, This shall be in the latter days, namely, in the latter days of the Old-Testament church; so the mischief that Antiochus did to Israel was; but in the latter days of the New-Testament church another like enemy should arise, that should in like manner be defeated. Note, Effectual securities are treasured up in the word of God against the troubles and dangers the church may be brought into a great while hence, even in the latter days.
II. Reference is herein had to the predictions of the former prophets (v. 17): Art thou he of whom I have spoken in old time, of whom Moses spoke in his prophecy of the latter days (Deut. xxxii. 43, He will render vengeance to his adversaries), and David, Ps. ix. 15 (The heathen are sunk down into the pit that they made) and often elsewhere in the Psalms? This is the leviathan of whom Isaiah spoke (Isa. xxvii. 1), that congress of the nations of which Joel spoke, Joel iii. 1. Many of the prophets had perhaps spoken particularly of this event, though it be not written, as they all had spoken and written too that which is applicable to it. Note, There is an amiable admirable harmony and agreement between the Lord's prophets, though they lived in several ages, for they were all guided by one and the same Spirit.
III. It is here foretold that this furious formidable enemy should be utterly cut off in this attempt upon Israel, and that it should issue in his own ruin. This is supposed by many to have its accomplishment in the many defeats given by the Maccabees to the forces of Antiochus and the remarkable judgments of God executed upon his own person, for he died of sore diseases. But these things are here foretold, as usual, in figurative expressions, which we are not to look for the literal accomplishment of, and yet they might be fulfilled nearer the letter than we know of. 1. God will be highly displeased with this bold invader: When he comes up in pride and anger against the land of Israel, and thinks to carry all before him with a high hand, then God's fury shall come up in his face, which is an allusion to the manner of men, whose colour rises in their faces when some high affront is offered them and they are resolved to show their resentment of it, v. 18. God will speak against them in his jealousy for his people and in the fire of his wrath against his and their enemies, v. 19. See how God's permitting sin, his laying occasions of sin before men, and his making use of it to serve his own purposes, consist with his hatred of sin and his displeasure against it. God brings this enemy against his land, letting him know what an easy prey it might be and determining thereby to glorify himself; and yet, when he comes against the land, God's fury comes up, and he speaks to him in the fire of his wrath. If any ask, Why does he thus find fault? for who has resisted his will? It is easy to answer, Nay, but, O man! who art thou that repliest against God? 2. His forces shall be put into the greatest confusion and consternation imaginable (v. 19): There shall be a great shaking of them in the land of Israel, a universal concussion (v. 20), such as shall affect the fishes and fowls, the beasts and creeping things, and much more the men that are upon the face of the earth, who sooner receive impressions of fear. There shall be such an earthquake as shall throw down the mountains, those natural heights, and the steep places, towers and walls, those artificial heights; they shall all fall to the ground. Some understand this of the fright which the land of Israel should be put into by the fury of the enemy. But it is rather to be understood of the fright which the enemy should be put into by the wrath of God; all those things which they both raise themselves and stay themselves upon shall be shaken down, and their hearts shall fail them. 3. He shall be routed and utterly ruined; both earth and heaven shall be armed against him (1.) The earth shall muster up its forces to destroy him. If the people of Israel have not strength and courage to resist him, God will call for a sword against him, v. 21. And he has swords always at command, that are bathed in heaven, Isa. xxxv. 5. Throughout all the mountains of Israel, where he hoped to meet with spoil to enrich him, he shall meet with swords to destroy him, and, rather than fail, every man's sword shall be against his brother, as in the day of Midian, Ps. lxxxiii. 9. The great men of Syria shall undermine and overthrow one another, shall accuse one another, shall fight duels with one another. Note, God can, and often does, make the destroyers of his people to be their own destroyers and the destroyers of one another. However, he will himself be their destroyer, will take the work into his own hand, that it may be done thoroughly (v. 22): I will plead against him with pestilence and blood. Note, Whom God acts against he pleads against; he shows them the ground of his controversy with them, that their mouths may be stopped, and he may be clear when he judges. (2.) The artillery of heaven shall also be drawn out against them: I will rain upon him an overflowing rain, v. 22. He comes like a storm upon Israel, v. 9. But God will come like a storm upon him, will rain upon him great hailstones as upon the Canaanites (Josh. x. 11), fire and brimstone as upon Sodom, and a horrible tempest, Ps. xi. 6. Thus the Gog and Magog in the New Testament shall be devoured with fire from heaven, and cast into the lake of brimstone, Rev. xx. 9, 10. That will be the everlasting portion of all the impenitent implacable enemies of God's church and people. 4. God, in all this, will be glorified. The end he aimed at (v. 16) shall be accomplished (v. 23): Thus will I magnify myself and sanctify myself. Note, In the destruction of sinners God makes it to appear that he is a great and holy God, and he will do so to eternity. And, if men do not magnify and sanctify him as they ought, he will magnify himself, and sanctify himself; and this we should desire and pray for daily, Father, glorify thy own name.
This chapter continues and concludes the prophecy against Gog and Magog, in whose destruction God crowns his favour to his people Israel, which shines very brightly after the scattering of that black cloud in the close of this chapter. Here is, I. An express prediction of the utter destruction of Gog and Magog, agreeing with what we had before, ver. 1-7. II. An illustration of the vastness of that destruction, in three consequences of it: the burning of their weapons (ver. 8-10), the burning of their slain (ver. 11-16), and the feasting of the fowls with the dead bodies of those that were unburied, ver. 17-22. III. A declaration of God's gracious purposes concerning his people Israel, in this and his other providences concerning them, and a promise of further mercy that he had yet in store for them, ver. 23-29.
1 Therefore, thou son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: 2 And I will turn thee back, and leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the north parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel: 3 And I will smite thy bow out of thy left hand, and will cause thine arrows to fall out of thy right hand. 4 Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou, and all thy bands, and the people that is with thee: I will give thee unto the ravenous birds of every sort, and to the beasts of the field to be devoured. 5 Thou shalt fall upon the open field: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD. 6 And I will send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles: and they shall know that I am the LORD. 7 So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel.
This prophecy begins as that before (ch. xxxviii. 3, 4, I am against thee, and I will turn thee back); for there is need of line upon line, both for the conviction of Israel's enemies and the comfort of Israel's friends. Here, as there, it is foretold that God will bring this enemy from the north parts, as formerly the Chaldeans were fetched from the north, Jer. i. 14 (Omne malum ab aquiloneEvery evil comes from the north), and, long after, the Roman empire was overrun by the northern nations, that he will bring him upon the mountains of Israel (v. 2), first as a place of temptation, where the measures of his iniquity shall be filled up, and then as a place of execution, where his ruin shall be completed. And that is it which is here enlarged upon. 1. His soldiers shall be disarmed and so disabled to carry on their enterprise. Though the men of might may find their hands, yet to what purpose, when they find it is put out of their power to do mischief, when God shall smite their bow out of their left hand and their arrow out of their right? v. 3. Note, The weapons formed against Zion shall not prosper. 2. He and the greatest part of his army shall be slain in the field of battle (v. 4): Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel; there they sinned, and there they shall perish, even upon the holy mountains of Israel, for there broke he the arrows of the bow, Ps. lxxvi. 3. The mountains of Israel shall be moistened, and fattened, and made fruitful, with the blood of the enemies. "Thou shalt fall upon the open field (v. 5) and shalt not be able even there to make thy escape." Even upon the mountains he shall not find a pass that he shall be able to maintain, and upon the open field he shall not find a road that he shall be able to make his escape by. He and his bands; his regular troops, and the people that are with him that follow the camp to share in the plunder, shall all fall with him. Note, Those that cast in their lot among wicked people (Prov. i. 14), that they may have one purse with them, must expect to take their lot with them, and fare as they fare, taking the worse with the better. There shall be such a general slaughter made that but a sixth part shall be left (v. 2), the other five shall all be cut off. Never was army so totally routed as this. And, for its greater infamy and reproach, their bodies shall be a feast to the birds of prey, v. 4. Compare v. 17, Thou shalt fall, for I have spoken it. Note, Rather shall the most illustrious princes (Antiochus was called Epiphanesthe illustrious) and the most numerous armies fall to the ground than any word of God; for he that has spoken will make it good. 3. His country also shall be made desolate: I will send a fire on Magog (v. 6) and among those that dwell carelessly, or confidently, in the isles, that is, the nations of the Gentiles. He designed to destroy the land of Israel, but shall not only be defeated in that design, but shall have his own destroyed by some fire, some consuming judgment or other. Note, Those who invade other people's rights justly lose their own. 4. God will by all this advance the honour of his own name, (1.) Among his people Israel; they shall hereby know more of God's name, of his power and goodness, his care of them, his faithfulness to them. His providence concerning them shall lead them into a better acquaintance with him; every providence should do so, as well as every ordinance: I will make my holy name known in the midst of my people. In Judah is God known; but those that know much of God should know more of him; we should especially increase in the knowledge of his name as a holy name. They shall know him as a God of perfect purity and rectitude and that hates all sin, and then it follows, I will not let them pollute my holy name any more. Note, Those that rightly know God's holy name will not dare to profane it; for it is through ignorance of it that men make light of it and make bold with it. And this is God's method of dealing with men, first to enlighten their understandings, and by that means to influence the whole man; he first makes us to know his holy name, and so keeps us from polluting it and engages us to honour it. And this is here the blessed effect of God's glorious appearances on the behalf of his people. Thus he completes his favours, thus he sanctifies them, thus he makes them blessings indeed; by them he instructs his people and reforms them. When the Almighty scattered kings for her she was white as snow in Salmon, Ps. lxviii. 14. (2.) Among the heathen; those that never knew it, or would not own it, shall know that I am the Lord, the Holy One in Israel. They shall be made to know by dearbought experience that he is a God of power, and his people's God and Saviour; and it is in vain for the greatest potentates to contend with him; none ever hardened their heart against him and prospered.
The Judgment of Gog. B. C. 585.
8 Behold, it is come, and it is done, saith the Lord GOD; this is the day whereof I have spoken. 9 And they that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth, and shall set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and the bucklers, the bows and the arrows, and the handstaves, and the spears, and they shall burn them with fire seven years: 10 So that they shall take no wood out of the field, neither cut down any out of the forests; for they shall burn the weapons with fire: and they shall spoil those that spoiled them, and rob those that robbed them, saith the Lord GOD. 11 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will give unto Gog a place there of graves in Israel, the valley of the passengers on the east of the sea: and it shall stop the noses of the passengers: and there shall they bury Gog and all his multitude: and they shall call it The valley of Hamongog. 12 And seven months shall the house of Israel be burying of them, that they may cleanse the land. 13 Yea, all the people of the land shall bury them; and it shall be to them a renown the day that I shall be glorified, saith the Lord GOD. 14 And they shall sever out men of continual employment, passing through the land to bury with the passengers those that remain upon the face of the earth, to cleanse it: after the end of seven months shall they search. 15 And the passengers that pass through the land, when any seeth a man's bone, then shall he set up a sign by it, till the buriers have buried it in the valley of Hamongog. 16 And also the name of the city shall be Hamonah. Thus shall they cleanse the land. 17 And, thou son of man, thus saith the Lord GOD; Speak unto every feathered fowl, and to every beast of the field, Assemble yourselves, and come; gather yourselves on every side to my sacrifice that I do sacrifice for you, even a great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel, that ye may eat flesh, and drink blood. 18 Ye shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth, of rams, of lambs, and of goats, of bullocks, all of them fatlings of Bashan. 19 And ye shall eat fat till ye be full, and drink blood till ye be drunken, of my sacrifice which I have sacrificed for you. 20 Thus ye shall be filled at my table with horses and chariots, with mighty men, and with all men of war, saith the Lord GOD. 21 And I will set my glory among the heathen, and all the heathen shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid upon them. 22 So the house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God from that day and forward.
Though this prophecy was to have its accomplishment in the latter days, yet it is here spoken of as if it were already accomplished, because it is certain (v. 8): "Behold it has come, and it is done; it is as sure to be done when the time shall come as if it were done already; this is the day whereof I have long and often spoken, and, though it has been long in coming, yet at length it has come." Thus it was said unto John (Rev. xxi. 6), It is done. To represent the routing of the army of Gog as very great, here are three things specified as the consequences of it. It was God himself that gave the defeat; we do not find that the people of Israel drew a sword or struck a stroke: but,
I. They shall burn their weapons, their bows and arrows, which fell out of their hands (v. 3), their shields and bucklers, their javelins, spears, leading staves, truncheons, and half-pikes, every thing that is combustible. They shall not lay them up in their armouries, nor reserve them for their own use, lest they should be tempted to put a confidence in them, but they shall burn them; not all at once, for a bonfire (to what purpose would be that waste?) but as they had occasion to use them for fuel in their houses, instead of other fire-wood, so that they should have no occasion to take wood out of the field or forests for seven years together (v. 10), such vast quantities of weapons shall there be left upon the open field where the enemy fell, and in the roads which they passed in their flight. The weapons were dry and fitter for fuel than green wood; and, by saving the wood in their coppices and forests, they gave it time to grow. Though the mountains of Israel produce plenty of all good things, yet it becomes the people of Israel to be good husbands of their plenty and to save what they can for the benefit of those that come after them, as Providence shall give them opportunity to do so. We may suppose that when those who dwelt in the cities of Israel came forth to spoil those who spoiled them, and make reprisals upon them, they found upon them silver, and gold, and ornaments; yet no mention is made of any thing particularly that they converted to their own use but the wood of the weapons for fuel, which is one of the necessaries of human life, to teach us to think it enough if we be well supplied with those, though we have but little of the delights and gaieties of it and of those things which we may very well live without. And every time they put fuel to the fire, and warmed themselves at it, they would be put in mind of the number and strength of their enemies, and the imminent peril they were in of falling into their hands, which would help to enlarge their hearts in thankfulness to that God who had so wonderfully, so seasonably, delivered them. As they sat by the fire with their children about them (their fire-side), they might from it take occasion to tell them what great things God had done for them.
II. They shall bury their dead. Usually, after a battle, when many are slain, the enemy desire time to bury their own dead. But here the slaughter shall be so general that there shall not be a sufficient number of the enemies left alive to bury the dead. And, besides, the slain lie so dispersed on the mountains of Israel that it would be a work of time to find them out; and therefore it is left to the house of Israel to bury them as a piece of triumph in their overthrow. 1. A place shall be appointed on purpose for the burying of them, the valley of the passengers, on the east of the sea, either the salt sea or the sea of Tiberias, a valley through which there was great passing and repassing of travellers between Egypt and Chaldea. There shall be such a multitude of dead bodies, putrefying above ground, with such a loathsome stench, that the travellers who go that way shall be forced to stop their noses. See what vile bodies ours are; when the soul has been a little while from them the smell of them becomes offensive, no smell more nauseous or more noxious. There therefore where the greatest number lay slain shall the burying-place be appointed. In the place where the tree falls there let it lie. And it shall be called, The valley of Hamon-gog, that is, of the multitude of Gog; for that was the thing which was in a particular manner to be had in remembrance. How numerous the forces of the enemy were which God defeated and destroyed for the defence of his people Israel! 2. A considerable time shall be spent in burying them, no less than seven months (v. 12), which is a further intimation that the slain of the Lord in this action should be many and that great care should be taken by the house of Israel to leave none unburied, that so they might cleanse the land from the ceremonial pollution it contracted by the lying of so many dead corpses unburied in it, for the prevention of which it was appointed that those who were hanged on a tree should be speedily taken down and buried, Deut. xxi. 23. This is an intimation that times of eminent deliverances should be times of reformation. The more God has done for the saving of a land from ruin the more the inhabitants should do for the cleansing of the land from sin. 3. Great numbers shall be employed in this work: All the people of the land shall be ready to lend a helping hand to it, v. 13. Note, Every one should contribute the utmost he can in his place towards the cleansing of the land from the pollutions of it, and from every thing that is a reproach to it. Sin is a common enemy, which every man should take up arms against. In publico discrimine unusquisque homo miles estIn the season of public danger every man becomes a soldier. And whoever shall assist in this work it shall be to them a renown; though the office of grave-makers, or common scavengers of the country, seem but mean, yet, when it is for the cleansing and purifying of the land from dead works, it shall be mentioned to their honour. Note, Acts of humanity add much to the renown of God's Israel; it is a credit to religion when those that profess it are ready to every good work; and a good work it is to bury the dead, yea, though they be strangers and enemies to the commonwealth of Israel, for even they shall rise again. It shall be a renown to them in the day when God will be glorified. Note, It is for the glory of God when his Israel do that which adorns their profession; others will see their good works and glorify their Father, Matt. v. 16. And when God is honoured he will put honour upon his people. His glory is their renown. 4. Some particular persons shall make it their business to search out the dead bodies, or any part of them that should remain unburied. The people of the land will soon grow weary of burying the pollutions of the country, and therefore they shall appoint men of continual employment, that shall apply themselves to it and do nothing else till the land be thoroughly cleansed; for, otherwise, that which is every one's work would soon become nobody's work. Note, Those that are engaged in public work, especially for the cleansing and reforming of a land, ought to be men of continual employments, men that will stick to what they undertake and go through with it, men that will apply themselves to it; and those that will do good according to their opportunities will find themselves continually employed. 5. Even the passengers shall be ready to give information to those whose business it is to cleanse the land of what public nuisances they meet with, which call for their assistance. Those that pass through the land, though they will not stay to bury the dead themselves, lest they should contract a ceremonial pollution, will yet give notice of those that they find unburied. If they but discover a bone, they will set up a sign, that the buriers may come and bury it, and that, till it is buried, others may take need of touching it, for which reason their sepulchres among the Jews were whitened, that people might keep at a distance from them. Note, When good work is to be done every one should lend a hand to further it, even the passengers themselves, who must not think themselves unconcerned, in a common calamity, or a common iniquity, to put a stop to it. Those whose work it is to cleanse the land must not countenance any thing in it that is defiling; though it were not the body, but only the bone, of a man, that was found unburied, they must encourage those who will give information of it (private information, by a sign, concealing the informer), that they may take it away, and bury it out of sight. Nay, after the end of seven months, which was allowed them for this work, when all is taken away that appeared at first view, they shall search for more, that what is hidden may be brought to light; they shall search out iniquity till they find none. In memory of this they shall give a new name to their city. It shall be called HamonahThe multitude. O what a multitude of our enemies have we of this city buried! Thus shall they cleanse the land, with all this care, with all this pains, v. 16. Note, After conquering there must be cleansing. Moses appointed those Israelites that had been employed in the war with the Midianites to purify themselves, Num. xxxi. 24. Having received special favours from God, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness.
III. The birds and beasts of prey shall rest upon the carcases of the slain while they remain unburied and it shall be impossible to prevent them, v. 17, &c. We find a great slaughter represented by this figure, Rev. xix. 17, &c., which is borrowed from this.
1. There is a general invitation given, v. 17. It is to the fowl of every wing and to every beast of the field, from the greatest to the least, that preys upon carcases, from the eagle to the raven, from the lion to the dog; let them all gather themselves on every side; here is meat enough for them, and they are all welcome. Let them come to God's sacrifice, to his feast; so the margin reads it. Note, The judgments of God, executed upon sin and sinners, are both a sacrifice and a feast, a sacrifice to the justice of God and a feast to the faith and hope of God's people. When God broke the head of leviathan, he gave him to be meat to Israel, Ps. lxxiv. 14. The righteous shall rejoice as at a feast when he sees the vengeance, and shall wash his foot, as at a feast, in the blood of the wicked. This sacrifice is upon the mountains of Israel; these are the high places, the altars, where God has been dishonoured by the idolatries of the people, but where he will now glorify himself in the destruction of his enemies.
2. There is great preparation made: They shall eat the flesh of the mighty and drink the blood of the princes of the earth, v. 18, 19. (1.) It is the flesh and blood of men that they shall be treated with. This has sometimes been an instance of the rebellion of the inferior creatures against man their master, which is an effect of his rebellion against God his Maker. (2.) It is the flesh and blood of great men, here called rams, and bullocks, and great goats, all of them fatlings of Bashan. It is the blood of the princes of the earth that they shall regale themselves with. What a mortification is this to the princes of the blood, as they call themselves, that God can make that blood, that royal blood, which swells their veins, a feast for the birds and beasts of prey! (3.) It is the flesh and blood of wicked men, the enemies of God's church and people, that they are invited to. They had accounted the Israel of God as sheep for the slaughter, and now they shall themselves be so accounted; they had thus used the dead bodies of Gods' servants (Ps. lxxix. 2), or would have done, and now it shall come upon themselves.
3. They shall all be fed, they shall all be feasted to the full (v. 19, 20): "You shall eat fat, and drink blood, which are satiating surfeiting things. The sacrifice is great and the feast upon the sacrifice is accordingly: You shall be filled at my table." Note, God keeps a table for the inferior creatures; he provides food for all flesh. The eyes of all wait upon him, and he satisfies their desires, for he keeps a plentiful table. And if the birds and beasts shall be filled at God's table, which he has prepared for them, much more shall his children be abundantly satisfied with the goodness of his house, even of his holy temple. They shall be filled with horses and chariots; that is, those who ride in the chariots, mighty men and men of war, who triumphed over nations, are now themselves triumphed over by the ravens of the valley and the young eagles, Prov. xxx. 17. They thought to make an easy prey of God's Israel, and now they are themselves an easy prey to the birds and beasts. See how evil pursues sinners even after death. This exposing of their bodies to be a prey is but a type and sign of those terrors which, after death, shall prey upon their consciences (which the poetical fictions represented by a vulture continually pecking at the heart), and this shame is but an earnest of the everlasting shame and contempt they shall rise to.
IV. This shall redound very much both to the glory of God and to the comfort and satisfaction of his people. 1. It shall be much for the honour of God, for the heathen shall hereby be made to know that he is the Lord (v. 21): All the heathen shall see and observe my judgments that I have executed, and thereby my glory shall be set among them. This principle shall be admitted and established among them more than ever, that the God of Israel is a great and glorious God. He is known to be so even among the heathen, that have not, or read not, his written word, by the judgments which he executes. 2. It shall be much for the satisfaction of his people; for they shall hereby be made to know that he is their God (v. 22): The house of Israel shall know, abundantly to their comfort, that I am the Lord their God from that day and forward. (1.) He will be so from that day and forward. God's present mercies are pledges and assurances of further mercies. If God evidence to us that he is our God he assures us that he will never leave us. This God is our God for ever and ever. (2.) They shall know it with more satisfaction from that day and forward. They had sometimes been ready to question whether the Lord was with them or no; but the events of this day shall silence their doubts, and, the matter being thus settled and made clear, it shall not be doubted of for the future. As boasting in themselves is hereby for ever excluded, so boasting in God is hereby for ever secured.
Mercy Promised to Israel. B. C. 585.
23 And the heathen shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity: because they trespassed against me, therefore hid I my face from them, and gave them into the hand of their enemies: so fell they all by the sword. 24 According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions have I done unto them, and hid my face from them. 25 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for my holy name; 26 After that they have borne their shame, and all their trespasses whereby they have trespassed against me, when they dwelt safely in their land, and none made them afraid. 27 When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies' lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations; 28 Then shall they know that I am the LORD their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there. 29 Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.
This is the conclusion of the whole matter going before, and has reference not only to the predictions concerning Gog and Magog, but to all the prophecies of this book concerning the captivity of the house of Israel, and then concerning their restoration and return out of their captivity.
I. God will let the heathen know the meaning of his people's troubles, and rectify the mistake of those concerning them who took occasion from the troubles of Israel to reproach the God of Israel, as unable to protect them and untrue to his covenant with them. When God, upon their reformation and return to him, turned again their captivity, and brought them back to their own land, and, upon their perseverance in their reformation, wrought such great salvations for them as that from the attempts of Gog upon them, then it would be made to appear, even to the heathen that would but consider and compare things, that there was no ground at all for their reflection, that Israel went into captivity, not because God could not protect them, but because they had by sin forfeited his favour and thrown themselves out of his protection (v. 23, 24): The heathen shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity, that iniquity which they learned from the heathen their neighbours, because they trespassed against God. That was the true reason why God hid his face from them and gave them into the hand of their enemies. It was according to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions. Now the evincing of this will not only silence their reflections on God, but will redound greatly to his honour; when the troubles of God's people are over, and we see the end of them, we shall better understand them than we did at first. And it will appear much for the glory of God when the world is made to know, 1. That God punishes sin even in his own people, because he hates it most in those that are nearest and dearest to him, Amos iii. 2. It is the praise of justice to be impartial. 2. That, when God gives up his people for a prey, it is to correct them and reform them, not to gratify their enemies, Isa. x. 7; xlii. 24. Let not them therefore exalt themselves. 3. That no sooner do God's people humble themselves under the rod than he returns in mercy to them.
II. God will give his own people to know what great favour he has in store for them notwithstanding the troubles he had brought them into (v. 25, 26): Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob.
1. Why now? Now God will have mercy upon the whole house of Israel, (1.) Because it is time for him to stand up for his own glory, which suffers in their sufferings: Now will I be jealous for my holy name, that that may no longer be reproached. (2.) Because now they repent of their sins: They have borne their shame, and all their trespasses. When sinners repent, and take shame to themselves, God will be reconciled and put honour upon them. It is particularly pleasing to God that these penitents look a great way back in their penitential reflections, and are ashamed of all their trespasses which they were guilty of when they dwelt safely in their land and none made them afraid. The remembrance of the mercies they enjoyed in their own land, and the divine protection they were under there, shall be improved as an aggravation of the sins they committed in that land; they dwelt safely, and might have continued to dwell so, and none should have given them any disquiet or disturbance if they had continued in the way of their duty. Nay, therefore they trespassed because they dwelt safely. Outward safety is often a cause of inward security, and that is an inlet to all sin, Ps. lxxiii. Now this they are willing to bear the shame of, and acknowledge that God has justly brought them into a land of trouble, where every one makes them afraid, because they had trespassed against him in a land of peace, where none made them afraid. And, when they thus humble themselves under humbling providences, God will bring again their captivity: and,
2. What then? When God has gathered them out of their enemies' hands, and brought them home again, (1.) Then God will have the praise of it: I will be sanctified in them in the sight of many nations, v. 27. As God was reproached in the reproach they were under during their captivity, so he will be sanctified in their reformation and the making of them a holy people again, and will be glorified in their restoration and the making of them a happy glorious people again. (2.) Then they shall have the benefit of it (v. 28): They shall know that I am the Lord their God. Note, The providences of God concerning his people, that are designed for their good, have the grace of God going along with them to teach them to eye God as the Lord, and their God, in all; and then they do them good. They shall eye him as the Lord and their God, [1.] In their calamities, that it was he who caused them to be led into captivity; and therefore they must not only submit to his will, but endeavour to answer his end in it. [2.] In their comfort, that it is he who has gathered them to their own land, and left none of them among the heathen. Note, By the variety of events that befal us, if we look up to God in all, we may come to acquaint ourselves better with his various attributes and designs. (3.) Then God and they will never part, v. 29. [1.] God will pour out his Spirit upon them, to prevent their departures from him and returns to folly again, and to keep them close to their duty. And then, [2.] He will never hide his face any more from them, will never suspend his favour as he had done; he will never turn from doing them good, and, in order to that, he will effectually provide that they shall never turn from doing him service. Note, The indwelling of the Spirit is an infallible pledge of the continuance of God's favour. He will hide his face no more from those on whom he has poured out his Spirit. When therefore we pray that God would never cast us away from his presence we must as earnestly pray that, in order to that, he would never take his Holy Spirit away from us, Ps. li. 11.
Hermeneia: Ezekiel I and Ezekiel II, Walther Zimmerli
The New American Commentary: Ezekiel, Lamar Eugene Cooper, Sr.
Word Biblical Commentary: Ezekiel 1-19 & 20-48, Leslie C. Allen
The Book of Ezekiel: Chapters 1-24 and The Book of Ezekiel: Chapter 25-48: The New International Commentary on the Old Testament, Damiel I. Block
Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries: Ezekiel, John B. Taylor
The Preacher's Commentary: Ezekiel, Douglas Stuart
"Ezekiel," Calvin's Commentaries, John Calvin
Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown's Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, 1871 Edition, Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown
Commentary on the Whole Bible, Matthew Henry
Dr. Constable's Notes on Ezekiel, Dr. Thomas L. Constable, Dallas Theological Seminary (his class notes)
Dr. Kimmitt's Notes on Ezekiel, Dr. Francis X. Kimmitt, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (his class notes)
Old Testament Survey: The Message, Form, and Background of the Old Testament, Lasor, Hubbard, and Bush
Intervarsity Press' Old Testament Commentary
Intervarsity Press' New Bible Commentary
Intervarsity Press' Hard Sayings of the Bible
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