EZEKIEL CHAPTER 11.
A Warning and a Promise.
THE JUDGMENT UPON THE RULERS. — V. 1. Moreover, the Spirit lifted me up and brought me unto the East Gate of the Lord’s house, which looketh eastward, where the entire vision had been placed, chap. 10, 19; and behold at the door of the gate, the large portal of the. Temple, five and twenty men, most likely not identical with those of chap. 8, 16; among whom I saw Jaazaniah, the son of Azur, and Pelatiah, the son of Benaiah, princes of the people, men of influence in guiding the destinies of the people, if not members of the civil authorities. V. 2. Then said He unto me, Son of man, these are the men that devise mischief and give wicked counsel in this city, such as turns out ill and causes injustice to be done; v. 3. which say, It is not near; let us build houses, literally, “not in near proximity building of houses,” that is, the threatened ruin of the city is entirely out of the question, wherefore it is not necessary to worry about the building or the rebuilding of Jerusalem; this city is the caldron, and we be the flesh, that is, they considered themselves as safe and as protected in their city as the flesh is in the pot. V. 4. Therefore prophesy against them, prophesy, O son of man, the repetition giving added emphasis to tile Lord’s command. V. 5. And the Spirit of the Lord fell upon me and said unto me, Speak, Thus saith the Lord, His very words being quoted, as throughout the inspired Scripture: Thus have ye said, O house of Israel, for I know the things that come into your mind, every one of them, the omniscient God reading their hearts and minds like an open book. V. 6. Ye have multiplied your slain in this city, in the execution of innocent people as a result of their wicked judgments, and ye have filled the streets thereof with the slain, by their unjust oppression of those unable to defend themselves against tyranny. V. 7. Therefore, thus saith the Lord God, Your slain whom ye have laid in the midst of it, they are the flesh, and this city is the caldron, their blasphemous boast thus being interpreted in the Lord’s way and Jerusalem being called the flesh-pot of those whom they caused to be slain; but I will bring you forth out of the midst of it, the wicked transgressors themselves were to be dragged forth and cut in pieces elsewhere. V. 8. Ye have feared the sword, for they had refused to follow the advice of ,Jeremiah to give themselves up to the Babylonians, since they were afraid of being put to death by them; and I will bring a sword upon you, saith the Lord God, to punish them in the very manner which they feared. V. 9. And I will bring you out of the midst thereof, out of the city where they boastfully declared themselves safe, and deliver you into the hands of strangers, and will execute judgments among you, in bringing upon them the punishment which they deserved. V. 10. Ye shall fall by the sword, put to death by the invaders; I will judge you in the border of Israel, on the frontier, at Riblah, in the land of Hamath, Jer. 52, 24-27; and ye shall know that I am the Lord, convinced by this evidence of His avenging fury. V. 11. The city shall not be your caldron, namely, in the sense in which they had spoken of it, v. 5, neither shall ye be the flesh in the midst thereof, to be safe from destruction; but I will judge you in the border of Israel, far from the protection of time walls of the capital, v. 12. and ye shall know that I am the Lord, by the judgments inflicted by Him; for ye have not walked in My statutes, or, “in whose statutes,” in their special application to Israel’s case, “ye have not walked,” neither executed My judgments, to lead their lives in agreement with his righteousness, but have done after the manners of the heathen that are round about you, in becoming guilty of the idolatry which was practiced by the Gentile nations. Cp. chap. 5, 7. The truth and power of this word was now brought out in a most impressive manner. V. 13. And it came to pass, when I prophesied, that Pelatiah, the son of Benaiah, died, this substantiating the threatening prophecy uttered by inspiration of the Lord. Then fell I down upon my face, overcome by this evidence of the Lord’s avenging justice, and cried with a loud voice and said, Ah, Lord God! Wilt Thou make a full end of the remnant of Israel? The Lord’s children will intercede even for their enemies, hoping that there will always be some who will be saved from the general destruction. In this respect Abraham, who begged the Lord to desist from destroying Sodom and Gomorrah, is an outstanding example.
THE PROMISE TO SAVE A REMNANT. — V. 14. Again the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, v. 15. Son of man, thy brethren, even thy brethren, the men. of thy kindred, a very close relationship being implied, more than that of the flesh only, as the repetition shows, and all the house of Israel wholly, or “the whole house of Israel,” it wholly, those who are Israelites in truth, are they unto whom the inhabitants of Jerusalem have said, Get you far from the Lord; unto us is this land given in possession. These were the contemptuous words spoken by time inhabitants of Jerusalem at the time the exiles were carried away with Jeconiah. They believed themselves to be secure in die possession of the land and despised the men whom they considered outcasts of Jehovah. V. 16. Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord God, Although I have cast them far off among the heathen, and although I have scattered them among the countries, this punishment being indeed administered by the hand of Jehovah, yet will I be to them as a little sanctuary in the countries where they shall come, so that, in the midst of the dispersion, He would be the refuge of them who trusted in him. V. 17. Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord God, I will even gather you from the people and assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel. This is spoken in the Messianic vein of the gathering of the Church of God from the dispersion everywhere, just as we find it in the other prophets. The believing Jews who returned from the exile became the nucleus of the band of believers, many of whose descendants afterwards accepted the Messiah in simple faith, while also the heathen, among whom they spread time knowledge of the living God, retained some knowledge of Him, many of whose descendants were afterward gathered into Christian congregations. V. 18. And they shall come thither, back to the land of Israel, and they shall take away all the detestable things thereof and all the abominations thereof from thence, all the evidences of idolatrous worship and customs, making ready for the worship in spirit and in truth which was taught by Jesus Christ. V. 19. And I will give them one heart, one united in his fear, and I will put a new spirit within you, by a conversion in truth; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, their obstinate and perverse spirit, and will give them an heart of flesh, one filled with time true fear of the Lord, pliable and yielding with respect to His will, v. 20. that they may walk in My statutes, to fashion their behavior in accordance with the manner pleasing to Him, and keep Mine ordinances and do them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, true regeneration thus restoring the right relation between God and man. V. 21. But as for them whose heart walketh after the heart of their detestable things and their abominations, I will recompense their way upon their own heads, saith the Lord God, thereby pronouncing sentence upon the willful idolaters and all those who persist in their enmity against God. V. 22. Then did the cherubim lift up their wings and the wheels beside them; and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above, occupying the magnificent throne above, as described before. V. 23. And the glory of the Lord went up from the midst of the city, where it had been stationed at the East Gate of the Temple, and stood upon the mountain which is on the east side of the city, that is, the Mount of Olives. Thus the Lord had entirely abandoned His city, thereby definitely designating it as ripe for destruction. V. 24. Afterwards the spirit took me up and brought me in a vision by the Spirit of God, under whose influence the entire happening was engineered, into Chaldea, to them of the captivity. So the vision that I had seen went up from me, this being the end of the present revelation. V. 25. Then I spake unto them of the captivity, for whom this message was really intended, all the things that the Lord had showed me. It was in itself no easy task to proclaim these facts to the exiles, but the true servant of the Lord is not influenced by considerations of weak expediency, his sole object being to make known the will of the Lord.