EZEKIEL CHAPTER 12.
Two Impressive Signs to the House of Israel.
THE SIGN OF THE KINGS DEPARTURE. — V. 1. The word of the Lord also came unto me, saying, v. 2. Son of man, thou dwellest in the midst of a rebellious house, literally, “in the midst of a house of rebelliousness art thou living,” which have eyes to see and see not; they have ears to hear and hear not, thus proving themselves to be deliberately perverse and willfully obstinate; for they are a rebellious house. V. 3. Therefore, thou son of man, prepare thee stuff for removing, an exile’s outfit, utensils needed to sustain life during a journey of some length, and remove by day in their sight, in broad daylight, thereby drawing the attention of men to his actions; and thou shalt remove from thy place, where he as then living, to another place in their sight; it may be they will consider, contemplate the prophet’s action and make the proper application, though they be a rebellious house. V. 4. Then shalt thou bring forth thy stuff, such as his staff, his dunnage sack, his cooking utensils, by day In their sight, as stuff for removing; and thou shalt go forth at even, after the coming of twilight, in their sight, as they that go forth into captivity, not emigrants of their own free will, but under restraint. V. 5. Dig thou through the wall in their sight, the mud walls of most Oriental houses being easily broken down, and carry out thereby, through the hole thus produced. V. 6. In their sight shalt thou bear it upon thy shoulders, loading himself with the utensils which he had gotten ready, and carry it forth in the twilight, as the darkness of night was falling; thou shalt cover thy face, that thou see not the ground, muffling his face, as one afraid of being recognized by any one meeting him, as one heaped with shame and sorrow; for I have set thee for a sign unto the house of Israel, a type which they should recognize and whose lesson they should heed. V. 7. And I did so as I was commanded; I brought forth my stuff by day, as stuff for captivity, as the outfit of an exile, and in the even I digged through the wall with mine hand, performing the work in person, all the more strongly to convey the lesson of his action; I brought it forth in the twilight, at nightfall, and I bare it upon my shoulder in their sight, as one emigrating under the stress of adverse circumstances, as one going into captivity. Thus the sign, the portent of evil, was set before the eye of Ezekiel’s countrymen. V. 8. And in the morning came the word of the Lord unto me, saying, v. 9. Son of man, hath not the house of Israel, the rebellious house, that is, all those who were witnesses of his symbolical act, said unto thee, in a natural curiosity concerning the meaning of his act, What doest thou? V. 10. Say thou unto them, Thus saith the Lord God, in explaining the act and reproving the spirit of blasphemous jesting which possessed them. This burden concerneth the prince in Jerusalem and all the house of Israel that are among them. V. 11. Say, I am your sign, Ezekiel himself serving as a type; like as I have done, so shall it be done unto them; they shall remove and go into captivity, literally, “into banishment, into captivity, they shall go.” V. 12. And the prince that is among them, the king of Judah at that time, shall bear upon his shoulder in the twilight, trying to make his escape at nightfall, and shall go forth; they shall dig through the wall, hurrying away by the speediest available route, to carry out thereby, to bring forth whatever he hoped to save in flight; he shall cover his face that he see not the ground with his eyes, taking all precautions lest he be recognized. V. 13. My net also will I spread upon him, in this case the Chaldean army, and he shall be taken in My snare, for the host of the invaders, even without knowing and intending it, were God’s instruments of punishment; and I will bring him to Babylon, to the land of the Chaldeans; yet shall he not see it, having been blinded at Riblah, though he shall die there. All this was fulfilled at the time of Zedekiah, when he tried to escape from the doomed city, but was ignominiously caught by the Chaldean army and met the fate which the Lord had determined for him. Cp. Jer. 39; 52; 2 Kings 25. V. 14. And I will scatter toward every wind, to all parts of the world, all that are about him to help him, his counselors and his body-guard, and all his bands, literally, “all his wings of an army,” the military forces under his command; and I will draw out the sword after them. V. 15. And they shall know that I am the Lord, the argument of His sentence carried out upon them being sufficiently emphatic to make this fact clear, when I shall scatter them among the nations and disperse them in the countries. V. 16. But I will leave a few men of them, the prophecy thus merging into the usual Messianic promise, from the sword, from the famine, and from the pestilence, these people representing the Church of God on earth, that they may declare all their abominations among the heathen whither they come, frankly confessing their transgressions and vindicating the punishment of God upon their sins; and they shall know that I am the Lord. It was the Israelites in truth who were led to repentance by God’s punishment; and they were also the ones to perpetuate the knowledge of Jehovah, the God of the covenant, to their children after them. The Lord has always had His children on earth, at times even in the midst of heathen nations.
THE SIGN OF BREAD AND WATER. — V. 17. Moreover, the word of the Lord came to me, saying, v. 18. Son of man, eat thy bread with quaking and drink thy water with trembling and with carefulness, his entire bearing, as he partook of his scanty meal, of the barest necessaries of life, being one of anxiety in the presence of an impending calamity; v. 19. and say unto the people of the land, the Jews among the captives of Chaldea, Thus saith the Lord God of the inhabitants of Jerusalem and of the land of Israel, of all the people who were still left in their native country, They shall eat their bread with carefulness, with anxiety, and drink their water with astonishment, with worry and pain, that her land may be desolate from all that is therein, stripped of both its inhabitants and the abundance of all its products, because of the violence of all them that dwell therein, since they had become guilty of wickedness in such an unusual degree. V. 20. And the cities that are inhabited shall be laid waste, and the land shall be desolate, the entire country sharing the fate of the capital city; and ye shall know that I am the Lord, whose words are not spoken in vain. V. 21. And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, v. 22. Son of man, what is that proverb that ye have in the land of Israel, saying, The days are prolonged, more and more time is passing, and every vision faileth? that is, the prophecy threatening destruction is not fulfilled. Cp. 2 Pet. 3, 3. 4. That is a common saying of mocking blasphemers, that none of the divine threats come true, that they are spoken merely to frighten men into submission. V. 23. Tell them therefore, Thus saith the Lord God, I will make this proverb to cease, making an end of its blasphemous mockery, and they shall no more use it as a proverb in Israel; but say unto them, The days are at hand, the time of the fulfillment of the Lord’s words, and the effect of every vision, so that every predicted word would be realized. V. 24. For there shall be no more any vain vision, the false prophets being confounded by the fulfillment of the true prediction, nor flattering divination within the house of Israel, for the false prophets tried to gain credence for their falsehoods by predictions and statements of smooth flattery. V. 25. For I am the Lord; I will speak, and the word that I shall speak shall come to pass, it shall be no more prolonged, literally, “For I, Jehovah, will speak that which I will speak, and it shall come to pass, it shall be no more drawn out”; for in your days, during their lifetime, O rebellious house, will I say the word and will perform it, saith the Lord God. He has uncontrolled power to speak, and He possesses almighty power to carry out his threats. V. 26. Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying, v. 27. Son of man, behold, they of the house of Israel, again those dwelling in exile in Chaldea, say, The vision that he seeth is for many days to come, and he prophesieth of the times that are far off, thus refusing to believe that the catastrophe was near at hand. V. 28. Therefore say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God, There shall none of My words be prolonged any more, that is, their fulfillment put off indefinitely, but the word which I have spoken shall be done, saith the Lord God, the sovereign God of the covenant. It is true also in our days that the Lord may delay the fulfillment of some word, but He will eventually bring every one of His predictions to pass.