The prophet, having been overwhelmed with the glorious vision in the preceding chapter, is here strengthened and comforted, 1, 2; and then commissioned to declare to the rebellious house of Israel the terrible judgments that would very shortly come upon the whole land, if they repented not; with a gracious assurance to Ezekiel that God would be constantly with him while executing the duties of his office, 3-5. The prophet is also commanded to be fearless, resolute, and faithful in the discharge of it. 6-8, as he must be the messenger of very unpleasing tidings, which well expose him to great persecution, 9, 10.
NOTES ON CHAP. II
Verse 1. And he said unto me] In the last verse of the preceding chapter we find that the prophet was so penetrated with awe at the sight of the glory of God in the mystical chariot, that "he fell upon his face;" and, while he was in this posture of adoration, he heard the voice mentioned here. It is evident, therefore, that the present division of these chapters is wrong. Either the first should end with the words, "This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord," ; or the first verse of this chapter should be added to the preceding, and this begin with the second verse.
2And the spirit entered into me when he spake unto me, and set me upon my feet, that I heard him that spake unto me.
2 Verse 2. And the spirit entered into me] This spirit was different to that mentioned above, by which the wheels, &c., were moved. The spirit of prophecy is here intended; whose office was not merely to enable him to foresee and foretell future events, but to purify and refine his heart, and qualify him to be a successful preacher of the word of life.
He who is sent by the God of all grace to convert sinners must be influenced by the Holy Ghost; otherwise he can neither be saved himself, nor become the instrument of salvation to others.
And set me upon my feet] That he might stand as a servant before his master, to receive his orders.
3And he said unto me, Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that hath rebelled against me: they and their fathers have transgressed against me, even unto this very day.a
3 Verse 3. Son of man] This appellative, so often mentioned in this book, seems to have been given first to this prophet; afterwards to Daniel; and after that to the MAN Christ Jesus. Perhaps it was given to the two former to remind them of their frailty, and that they should not be exalted in their own minds by the extraordinary revelations granted to them; and that they should feel themselves of the same nature with those to whom they were sent; and, from the common principle of humanity, deeply interest themselves in the welfare of their unhappy countrymen. To the latter it might have been appropriated merely to show that though all his actions demonstrated him to be GOD, yet that he was also really MAN; and that in the man Christ Jesus dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. When the acts of Christ are considered, it is more easy to believe his eternal Godhead, than to be convinced that the person we hear speaking, and see working, is also a man like unto ourselves.
I send thee to the children of Israel] To those who were now in captivity, in Chaldea particularly; and to the Jews in general, both far and near.
4For they are impudent children and stiffhearted. I do send thee unto them; and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD.b
4 Verse 4. Thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord] Let them know that what thou hast to declare is the message of the LORD, that they may receive it with reverence.
Every preacher of God's word should take heed that it is God's message he delivers to the people. Let him not suppose, because it is according to his own creed or confession of faith, that therefore it is God's word. False doctrines and fallacies without end are foisted on the world in this way. Bring the creed first to the Word of God, and scrupulously try whether it be right; and when this is done, leave it where you please; take the Bible, and warn them from God's word recorded there.
5And they, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, (for they are a rebellious house,) yet shall know that there hath been a prophet among them.
5 Verse 5. Yet shall know that there hath been a prophet among them.] By this they shall be assured of two things: 1. That God in his mercy had given them due warning. 2. That themselves were inexcusable, for not taking it.
6 ¶ And thou, son of man, be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns be with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions: be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house.c
6 Verse 6. Be not afraid of them] They will maltreat thee for thy message; but let not the apprehension of this induce thee to suppress it. Though they be rebels, fear them not; I will sustain and preserve thee.
8But thou, son of man, hear what I say unto thee; Be not thou rebellious like that rebellious house: open thy mouth, and eat that I give thee.
8 Verse 8. Open thy mouth and eat that I give thee.] Take my word as thou wouldst take thy proper food; receive it into thy heart; ponder it there, that it may be the means of strengthening and preserving thy soul, as proper nourishment will strengthen the body, and preserve from death. And the people to whom such messages of God may come should so hear it read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest it, that it may become efficient nourishment to their souls.
10And he spread it before me; and it was written within and without: and there was written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe.
10 Verse 10. It was written within and without] Contrary to the state of rolls in general, which are written on the inside only. The Hebrew rolls are generally written in this way. There are several of such Hebrew rolls before me, all written on the inside only, consisting of skins of vellum, or parchment, or basil, a sort of half-tanned sheep or goat skin, sewed together, extending to several yards in length. Other Asiatic books were written in the same way. A Sanscrit roll of sixty feet in length, also before me, is written all on the inside; and a Koran, written in exceedingly small characters, about two inches broad and twelve feet long, and weighing but about half an ounce. But the roll presented to the prophet was written on both sides, because the prophecy was long, and to the same effect; that they might see the mind of God wherever they looked.
There was written therein lamentations, and mourning, and wo.] What an awful assemblage! kinim, vahegeh, vehi, lamentations, and a groan, and alas! Lamentations on all hands; a groan from the dying; and alas, or Wo is me! from the survivors. It was the letter that killeth, and is the ministration of death. What a mercy to have that which is emphatically called τοευαγγελιον, The glad tidings, the good news! Christ Jesus is come into the world to save sinners; and he wills that all men should be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. Here are rejoicings, thanksgivings, and exultation.