Again the word of the LORD
came unto me, saying,
The prophet, after having addressed several other nations,
returns now to his own; previously to which he is told, as on a
former occasion, the duty of a watchman, the salvation or ruin
of whose soul depends on the manner in which he discharges it.
An awful passage indeed; full of important instruction both to
such as speak, and to such as hear, the word of God, 1-9.
The prophet is then directed what answer to make to the cavils
of infidelity and impiety; and to vindicate the equity of the
Divine government by declaring the general terms of acceptance
with God to be (as told before, Eze 18:3, 4 &c.,)
without respect of persons; so that the ruin of the finally
impenitent must be entirely owing to themselves, 10-20.
The prophet receives the news of the destruction of Jerusalem
by the Chaldeans, about a year and four months after it
happened, according to the opinion of some, who have been led
to this conjecture by the date given to this prophecy in the
twenty-first verse, as it stands in our common Version: but
some of the manuscripts of this prophet consulted by Dr.
Kennicott have in this place the ELEVENTH year, which is
probably the genuine reading. To check the vain confidence of
those who expected to hold out by possessing themselves of its
other fastnesses, the utter desolation of all Judea is
Ezekiel is informed that among those that attended his
instructions were a great number of hypocrites, against whom he
delivers a most awful message. When the Lord is destroying
these hypocrites, then shall they know that there hath been a
prophet among them, 30-33.
NOTES ON CHAP. XXXIII
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:a
Verse 2. Son of man-if the people of the land take a man
verses of this chapter are the same with Eze 3:17-22
and to what is said there on this most important and awful subject
I must refer the reader. Here the PEOPLE choose the watchman; there
, the Lord appoints him. When God chooses, the people should
If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people;
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.b
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.
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.
¶ 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.
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.
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.
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?
Verse 10. If our transgressions and our sins
be upon us
are upon us, as a grievous burden, too weighty for us to bear: how
then can we live
under such a load? We pine away in them
] In such circumstances how consoling is
that word: "Come unto me, all ye who are heavy laden, and I will
give you rest!"
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?
Verse 11. As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked
] From this to the twentieth verse
inclusive is nearly the same with Eze 18:3
&c., on which I wish
the reader to consult the notes. See Clarke on Eze 18:3
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.
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.
Verse 13. If he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity
] If he trust in his acting according to the statutes and ordinances of religion
, and according to the laws relative to rights and wrongs among men
, and in other respects commit
iniquity, he shall die for it
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;c
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.
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.
¶ Yet the children of thy people say, The way of the Lord is not equal: but as for them, their way is not equal.
When the righteous turneth from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, he shall even die thereby.
But if the wicked turn from his wickedness, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall live thereby.
Verse 19. He shall live thereby
] "The wages
of sin is death;"
the "gift of God is eternal life." It is a miserable trade by
which a man cannot live
; such a trade is sin
¶ 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.
¶ 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.
Verse 21. In the twelfth year of our captivity, in the tenth
month, in the fifth
day of the month
] Instead of the twelfth year,
is the reading of seven
of De Rossi's
, and the Syriac
. My own, mentioned in the preceding
chapter, reads with the present text. This was on Wednesday, Jan
25, A.M. 3416 or 3417. One that had escaped out of Jerusalem
] After it had been taken
by the Chaldeans. Came unto me, saying, THE CITY IS SMITTEN.
] This very message
God had promised to the prophet, Eze 24:26
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.
Verse 22. My mouth was opened
] They had now the fullest evidence
that I had spoken from the Lord. I therefore spoke freely and
fully what God delivered to me, Eze 24:27
Then the word of the LORD
came unto me, saying,
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.
Verse 24. Abraham was one
] If he was called to inherit the land
when he was alone, and had the whole to himself, why may we not
expect to be established here, who are his posterity, and are many
? They wished to remain in the land and be happy after the
Chaldeans had carried the rest away captives.
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?
Verse 25. Ye eat with the blood
] Abraham was righteous
, ye are unrighteous
. Eating of blood
, in any way dressed, or of flesh
from which the blood had not been extracted
, was and is in the
sight of God abominable. All such practices he has absolutely and
for ever forbidden. Let the vile blood-eaters hear and tremble. See Clarke on Ac 15:20
, and the passages in the margin.
Ye stand upon your sword, ye work abomination, and ye defile every one his neighbour's wife: and shall ye possess the land?
Verse 26. Ye stand upon your sword
] Ye live by plunder, rapine,
and murder. Ye are every way impure; and shall ye possess the
Say thou thus unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD
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.d
Verse 27. They that
are in the wastes
] He seems to speak of
those Jews who had fled to rocks, caves
, and fortresses
, in the mountains
; whose death he predicts, partly by the sword
by wild beasts
, and partly by famine
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.e
Then shall they know that I am
, when I have laid the land most desolate because of all their abominations which they have committed.
¶ 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
Verse 30. The people still are talking against thee
should be rather translated, "concerning thee," than "against
thee;" for the following verses show that the prophet was much
respected. The Vulgate
translates, de te
; the Septuagint
σου, "concerning thee," both right. Talking by the walls and in the doors of the houses
is not a
custom peculiar to the Copts
, mentioned by Bp. Pococke
, it is a
practice among idle people
, and among those who are resting from their work
, in every country
, when the weather permits
. Gossiping in the inside of the house
is not less frequent, and much more
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.g, h, i
Verse 31. As the people cometh
] As they are accustomed to come
on public days, Sabbaths, &c. With their mouth they show much love
] They respected the
prophet, but would not bend themselves to follow his precepts.
They loved earthly things
, and did not relish those of heaven
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.j
Verse 32. As a very lovely song
] They admired the fine voice
and correct delivery
of the prophet; this was their religion
, and this
is the whole
of the religion of thousands to the present day; for
never were itching ears
so multiplied as now.
And when this cometh to pass, (lo, it will come,) then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them.
Verse 33. When this cometh to pass-then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them.
] What I have predicted, (and it is
even now at the doors,) then they will be convinced that there was
a prophet among them, by whose ministry they did not profit as