Teks -- Ezekiel 34:1-31 (NET)
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JFB: Ezekiel (Pendahuluan Kitab) The name Ezekiel means "(whom) God will strengthen" [GESENIUS]; or, "God will prevail" [ROSENMULLER]. His father was Buzi (Eze 1:3), a priest, and he ...
The name Ezekiel means "(whom) God will strengthen" [GESENIUS]; or, "God will prevail" [ROSENMULLER]. His father was Buzi (Eze 1:3), a priest, and he probably exercised the priestly office himself at Jerusalem, previous to his captivity, as appears from the matured priestly character to be seen in his prophecies, a circumstance which much increased his influence with his captive fellow countrymen at Babylon. Tradition represents Sarera as the land of his nativity. His call to prophesy was in the fifth year from the date of his being carried away with Jehoiachin (see 2Ki 24:11-15) by Nebuchadnezzar, 599 B.C. The best portions of the people seem to have been among the first carried away (Eze 11:16; Jer 24:2-7-8, Jer 24:10). The ungodly were willing to do anything to remain in their native land; whereas the godly believed the prophets and obeyed the first summons to surrender, as the only path of safety. These latter, as adhering to the theocratic principle, were among the earliest to be removed by the Chaldeans, who believed that, if they were out of the way, the nation would fall to pieces of itself. They were despised by their brethren in the Holy Land not yet captives, as having no share in the temple sacrifices. Thus Ezekiel's sphere of labor was one happier and less impeded by his countrymen than that of Jeremiah at home. The vicinity of the river Chebar, which flows into the Euphrates near Circeslum, was the first scene of his prophecies (Eze 1:1). Tel-Abib there (now Thallaba) was his place of residence (Eze 3:15), whither the elders used to come to inquire as to God's messages through him. They were eager to return to Jerusalem, but he taught them that they must first return to their God. He continued to prophesy for at least twenty-two years, that is, to the twenty-seventh year of the captivity (Eze 29:17), and probably remained with the captives by the Chebar the rest of his life. A treatise, falsely attributed to EPIPHANIUS, states a tradition that he was killed at Babylon by a prince of his people whom he had reproved for idolatry.
He was contemporary with Jeremiah and Daniel. The former had prophesied for thirty-four years before Ezekiel, and continued to do so for six or seven years after him. The call of Ezekiel followed the very next year after the communication of Jeremiah's predictions to Babylon (Jer 51:59), and was divinely intended as a sequel to them. Daniel's predictions are mostly later than Ezekiel's but his piety and wisdom had become proverbial in the early part of Ezekiel's ministry (Eze 14:14, Eze 14:16; Eze 28:3). They much resemble one another, especially in the visions and grotesque images. It is a remarkable proof of genuineness that in Ezekiel no prophecies against Babylon occur among those directed against the enemies of the covenant-people. Probably he desired not to give needless offence to the government under which he lived. The effect of his labors is to be seen in the improved character of the people towards the close of the captivity, and their general cessation from idolatry and a return to the law. It was little more than thirty years after the close of his labors when the decree of the Jews' restoration was issued. His leading characteristic is realizing, determined energy; this admirably adapted him for opposing the "rebellious house" "of stubborn front and hard heart," and for maintaining the cause of God's Church among his countrymen in a foreign land, when the external framework had fallen to pieces. His style is plain and simple. His conceptions are definite, and the details even of the symbolical and enigmatical parts are given with lifelike minuteness. The obscurity lies in the substance, not in the form, of his communications. The priestly element predominates in his prophecies, arising from his previous training as a priest. He delights to linger about the temple and to find in its symbolical forms the imagery for conveying his instructions. This was divinely ordered to satisfy the spiritual want felt by the people in the absence of the outward temple and its sacrifices. In his images he is magnificent, though austere and somewhat harsh. He abounds in repetitions, not for ornament, but for force and weight. Poetical parallelism is not found except in a few portions, as in the seventh, twenty-first, twenty-seventh, twenty-eighth, twenty-ninth through thirty-first chapters. His great aim was to stimulate the dormant minds of the Jews. For this end nothing was better suited than the use of mysterious symbols expressed in the plainest words. The superficial, volatile, and wilfully unbelieving would thereby be left to judicial blindness (Isa 6:10; Mat 13:11-13, &c.); whereas the better-disposed would be awakened to a deeper search into the things of God by the very obscurity of the symbols. Inattention to this divine purpose has led the modern Jews so to magnify this obscurity as to ordain that no one shall read this book till he has passed his thirtieth year.
RABBI HANANIAS is said to have satisfactorily solved the difficulties (Mischna) which were alleged against its canonicity. Ecclesiasticus 49:8 refers to it, and JOSEPHUS [Antiquities, 10.5.1]. It is mentioned as part of the canon in MELITO'S catalogue [EUSEBIUS, Ecclesiastical History, 4.26]; also in ORIGEN, JEROME, and the Talmud. The oneness of tone throughout and the repetition of favorite expressions exclude the suspicion that separate portions are not genuine. The earlier portion, the first through the thirty-second chapters, which mainly treats of sin and judgment, is a key to interpret the latter portion, which is more hopeful and joyous, but remote in date. Thus a unity and an orderly progressive character are imparted to the whole. The destruction of Jerusalem is the central point. Previous to this he calls to repentance and warns against blind confidence in Egypt (Eze 17:15-17; compare Jer 37:7) or other human stay. After it he consoles the captives by promising them future deliverance and restoration. His prophecies against foreign nations stand between these two great divisions, and were uttered in the interval between the intimation that Nebuchadnezzar was besieging Jerusalem and the arrival of the news that he had taken it (Eze 33:21). HAVERNICK marks out nine sections:--(1) Ezekiel's call to prophesy (Eze. 1:1-3:15). (2) Symbolical predictions of the destruction of Jerusalem (Eze. 3:16-7:27). (3) A year and two months later a vision of the temple polluted by Tammuz or Adonis worship; God's consequent scattering of fire over the city and forsaking of the temple to reveal Himself to an inquiring people in exile; happier and purer times to follow (Eze. 8:1-11:25). (4) Exposure of the particular sins prevalent in the several classes--priests, prophets, and princes (Eze. 12:1-19:14). (5) A year later the warning of judgment for national guilt repeated with greater distinctness as the time drew nearer (Eze. 20:1-23:49). (6) Two years and five months later--the very day on which Ezekiel speaks--is announced as the day of the beginning of the siege; Jerusalem shall be overthrown (Eze. 24:1-27). (7) Predictions against foreign nations during the interval of his silence towards his own people; if judgment begins at the house of God, much more will it visit the ungodly world (Eze. 25:1-32:32). Some of these were uttered much later than others, but they all began to be given after the fall of Jerusalem. (8) In the twelfth year of the captivity, when the fugitives from Jerusalem (Eze 33:21) had appeared in Chaldea, he foretells better times and the re-establishment of Israel and the triumph of God's kingdom on earth over its enemies, Seir, the heathen, and Gog (Eze. 33:1-39:29). (9) After an interval of thirteen years the closing vision of the order and beauty of the restored kingdom (Eze. 40:1-48:35). The particularity of details as to the temple and its offerings rather discountenances the view of this vision being only symbolical, and not at all literal. The event alone can clear it up. At all events it has not yet been fulfilled; it must be future. Ezekiel was the only prophet (in the strict sense) among the Jews at Babylon. Daniel was rather a seer than a prophet, for the spirit of prophecy was given him to qualify him, not for a spiritual office, but for disclosing future events. His position in a heathen king's palace fitted him for revelations of the outward relations of God's kingdom to the kingdoms of the world, so that his book is ranked by the Jews among the Hagiographa or "Sacred Writings," not among the prophetical Scriptures. On the other hand, Ezekiel was distinctively a prophet, and one who had to do with the inward concerns of the divine kingdom. As a priest, when sent into exile, his service was but transferred from the visible temple at Jerusalem to the spiritual temple in Chaldea.
JFB: Ezekiel (Garis Besar)
EZEKIEL'S VISION BY THE CHEBAR. FOUR CHERUBIM AND WHEELS. (Eze. 1:1-28)
EZEKIEL'S COMMISSION. (Eze 2:1-10)
EZEKIEL EATS THE ROLL. IS COMMISSIONED TO ...
- EZEKIEL'S VISION BY THE CHEBAR. FOUR CHERUBIM AND WHEELS. (Eze. 1:1-28)
- EZEKIEL'S COMMISSION. (Eze 2:1-10)
- EZEKIEL EATS THE ROLL. IS COMMISSIONED TO GO TO THEM OF THE CAPTIVITY AND GOES TO TEL-ABIB BY THE CHEBAR: AGAIN BEHOLDS THE SHEKINAH GLORY: IS TOLD TO RETIRE TO HIS HOUSE, AND ONLY SPEAK WHEN GOD OPENS HIS MOUTH. (Eze. 3:1-27)
- SYMBOLICAL VISION OF THE SIEGE AND THE INIQUITY-BEARING. (Eze. 4:1-17)
- VISION OF CUTTING THE HAIRS, AND THE CALAMITIES FORESHADOWED THEREBY. (Eze. 5:1-17)
- CONTINUATION OF THE SAME SUBJECT. (Eze 6:1-14)
- LAMENTATION OVER THE COMING RUIN OF ISRAEL; THE PENITENT REFORMATION OF A REMNANT; THE CHAIN SYMBOLIZING THE CAPTIVITY. (Eze. 7:1-27)
- CONTINUATION OF THE PRECEDING VISION: THE SEALING OF THE FAITHFUL. (Eze 9:1-11)
- VISION OF COALS OF FIRE SCATTERED OVER THE CITY: REPETITION OF THE VISION OF THE CHERUBIM. (Eze. 10:1-22) The throne of Jehovah appearing in the midst of the judgments implies that whatever intermediate agencies be employed, He controls them, and that the whole flows as a necessary consequence from His essential holiness (Eze 1:22, Eze 1:26).
- PROPHECY OF THE DESTRUCTION OF THE CORRUPT "PRINCES OF THE PEOPLE;" PELATIAH DIES; PROMISE OF GRACE TO THE BELIEVING REMNANT; DEPARTURE OF THE GLORY OF GOD FROM THE CITY; EZEKIEL'S RETURN TO THE CAPTIVES. (Eze. 11:1-25)
- EZEKIEL'S TYPICAL MOVING TO EXILE: PROPHECY OF ZEDEKIAH'S CAPTIVITY AND PRIVATION OF SIGHT: THE JEWS' UNBELIEVING SURMISE AS TO THE DISTANCE OF THE EVENT REPROVED. (Eze. 12:1-28)
- DENUNCIATION OF FALSE PROPHETS AND PROPHETESSES; THEIR FALSE TEACHINGS, AND GOD'S CONSEQUENT JUDGMENTS. (Eze. 13:1-23) As the twelfth chapter denounced the false expectations of the people, so this denounces the false leaders who fed those expectations. As an independent witness, Ezekiel confirms at the Chebar the testimony of Jeremiah (Jer 29:21, Jer 29:31) in his letter from Jerusalem to the captive exiles, against the false prophets; of these some were conscious knaves, others fanatical dupes of their own frauds; for example, Ahab, Zedekiah, and Shemaiah. Hananiah must have believed his own lie, else he would not have specified so circumstantial details (Jer 28:2-4). The conscious knaves gave only general assurances of peace (Jer 5:31; Jer 6:14; Jer 14:13). The language of Ezekiel has plain references to the similar language of Jeremiah (for example, Jer. 23:9-38); the bane of false prophecy, which had its stronghold in Jerusalem, having in some degree extended to the Chebar; this chapter, therefore, is primarily intended as a message to those still in the Jewish metropolis; and, secondarily, for the good of the exiles at the Chebar.
- HYPOCRITICAL INQUIRERS ARE ANSWERED ACCORDING TO THEIR HYPOCRISY. THE CALAMITIES COMING ON THE PEOPLE; BUT A REMNANT IS TO ESCAPE. (Eze. 14:1-23)
- THE WORTHLESSNESS OF THE VINE AS WOOD ESPECIALLY WHEN BURNT, IS THE IMAGE OF THE WORTHLESSNESS AND GUILT OF THE JEWS, WHO SHALL PASS FROM ONE FIRE TO ANOTHER. (Eze 15:1-8) What has the vine-wood to make it pre-eminent above other forest-wood? Nothing. Nay, the reverse. Other trees yield useful timber, but vine-wood is soft, brittle, crooked, and seldom large; not so much as a "pin" (the large wooden peg used inside houses in the East to hang household articles on, Isa 22:23-25) can be made of it. Its sole excellency is that it should bear fruit; when it does not bear fruit, it is not only not better, but inferior to other trees: so if God's people lose their distinctive excellency by not bearing fruits of righteousness, they are more unprofitable than the worldly (Deu 32:32), for they are the vine; the sole end of their being is to bear fruit to His glory (Psa 80:8-9; Isa 5:1, &c.; Jer 2:21; Hos 10:1; Mat 21:33). In all respects, except in their being planted by God, the Jews were inferior to other nations, as Egypt, Babylon, &c., for example, in antiquity, extent of territory, resources, military power, attainments in arts and sciences.
- DETAILED APPLICATION OF THE PARABOLICAL DELINEATION OF THE FIFTEENTH CHAPTER TO JERUSALEM PERSONIFIED AS A DAUGHTER. (Eze. 16:1-63)
- PARABLE OF THE TWO GREAT EAGLES, AND THE CROPPING OF THE CEDAR OF LEBANON. JUDAH IS TO BE JUDGED FOR REVOLTING FROM BABYLON, WHICH HAD SET UP ZEDEKIAH INSTEAD OF JEHOIACHIN, TO EGYPT; GOD HIMSELF, AS THE RIVAL OF THE BABYLONIAN KING, IS TO PLANT THE GOSPEL CEDAR OF MESSIAH. (Eze. 17:1-24)
- THE PARABLE OF THE SOUR GRAPES REPROVED. (Eze. 18:1-32)
- ELEGY OVER THE FALL OF DAVID'S HOUSE. (Eze 19:1-14)
- REJECTION OF THE ELDERS' APPLICATION TO THE PROPHET: EXPOSURE OF ISRAEL'S PROTRACTED REBELLIONS, NOTWITHSTANDING GOD'S LONG-SUFFERING GOODNESS: YET WILL GOD RESTORE HIS PEOPLE AT LAST. (Eze. 20:1-49)
- PROPHECY AGAINST ISRAEL AND JERUSALEM, AND AGAINST AMMON. (Eze. 21:1-32)
- GOD'S JUDGMENT ON THE SINFULNESS OF JERUSALEM. (Eze. 22:1-31) See Eze 20:4; that is, "Wilt thou not judge?" &c. (compare Eze 23:36).
- ISRAEL'S AND JUDAH'S SIN AND PUNISHMENT ARE PARABOLICALLY PORTRAYED UNDER THE NAMES AHOLAH AND AHOLIBAH. (Eze. 23:1-49)
- VISION OF THE BOILING CALDRON, AND OF THE DEATH OF EZEKIEL'S WIFE. (Eze. 24:1-27) Ezekiel proves his divine mission by announcing the very day, ("this same day") of the beginning of the investment of the city by Nebuchadnezzar; "the ninth year," namely, of Jehoiachin's captivity, "the tenth day of the tenth month"; though he was three hundred miles away from Jerusalem among the captives at the Chebar (2Ki 25:1; Jer 39:1).
- APPROPRIATELY IN THE INTERVAL OF SILENCE AS TO THE JEWS IN THE EIGHT CHAPTERS, (TWENTY-FIFTH THROUGH THIRTY-SECOND) EZEKIEL DENOUNCES JUDGMENTS ON THE HEATHEN WORLD KINGDOMS. (Eze. 25:1-17) (Jer 49:1).
- THE JUDGMENT ON TYRE THROUGH NEBUCHADNEZZAR (TWENTY-SIXTH THROUGH TWENTY-EIGHTH CHAPTERS). (Eze. 26:1-21) The specification of the date, which had been omitted in the case of the four preceding objects of judgment, marks the greater weight attached to the fall of Tyre.
- TYRE'S FORMER GREATNESS, SUGGESTING A LAMENTATION OVER HER SAD DOWNFALL. (Eze. 27:1-36)
- PROPHETICAL DIRGE ON THE KING OF TYRE, AS THE CULMINATION AND EMBODIMENT OF THE SPIRIT OF CARNAL PRIDE AND SELF-SUFFICIENCY OF THE WHOLE STATE. THE FALL OF ZIDON, THE MOTHER CITY. THE RESTORATION OF ISRAEL IN CONTRAST WITH TYRE AND ZIDON. (Eze. 28:1-26)
- THE JUDGMENT ON EGYPT BY NEBUCHADNEZZAR; THOUGH ABOUT TO BE RESTORED AFTER FORTY YEARS, IT WAS STILL TO BE IN A STATE OF DEGRADATION. (Eze. 29:1-21)
- CONTINUATION OF THE PROPHECIES AGAINST EGYPT. (Eze. 30:1-26)
- THE OVERTHROW OF EGYPT ILLUSTRATED BY THAT OF ASSYRIA. (Eze. 31:1-18)
- TWO ELEGIES OVER PHARAOH, ONE DELIVERED ON THE FIRST DAY (Eze 32:1), THE OTHER ON THE FIFTEENTH DAY OF THE SAME MONTH, THE TWELFTH OF THE TWELFTH YEAR. (Eze. 32:1-32) The twelfth year from the carrying away of Jehoiachin; Jerusalem was by this time overthrown, and Amasis was beginning his revolt against Pharaoh-hophra.
- RENEWAL OF EZEKIEL'S COMMISSION, NOW THAT HE IS AGAIN TO ADDRESS HIS COUNTRYMEN, AND IN A NEW TONE. (Eze. 33:1-33)
- REPROOF OF THE FALSE SHEPHERDS; PROMISE OF THE TRUE AND GOOD SHEPHERD. (Eze. 34:1-31) Jer 23:1 and Zec 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 (Eze 34:23-24), was taken from being a shepherd (2Sa 5:2; Psa 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 Isa 44:28; Jer 2:8; Jer 3:15; Jer 10:21; Jer 23:1-2).
- JUDGMENT ON EDOM. (Eze 35:1-15)
- ISRAEL AVENGED OF HER FOES, AND RESTORED, FIRST TO INWARD HOLINESS, THEN TO OUTWARD PROSPERITY. (Eze. 36:1-38)
- THE VISION OF DRY BONES REVIVIFIED, SYMBOLIZING ISRAEL'S DEATH AND RESURRECTION. (Eze. 37:1-28)
- THE ASSAULT OF GOG, AND GOD'S JUDGMENT ON HIM. (Eze. 38:1-23)
- CONTINUATION OF THE PROPHECY AGAINST GOG. (Eze. 39:1-29) Repeated from Eze 38:3, to impress the prophecy more on the mind.
- THE REMAINING CHAPTERS, THE FORTIETH THROUGH FORTY-EIGHTH, GIVE AN IDEAL PICTURE OF THE RESTORED JEWISH TEMPLE. (Eze. 40:1-49)
- THE CHAMBERS AND ORNAMENTS OF THE TEMPLE. (Eze. 41:1-26)
- CHAMBERS OF THE PRIESTS: MEASUREMENTS OF THE TEMPLE. (Eze. 42:1-20)
- JEHOVAH'S RETURN TO THE TEMPLE. (Eze. 43:1-27)
- ORDINANCES FOR THE PRINCE AND THE PRIESTS. (Eze. 44:1-31)
- ALLOTMENT OF THE LAND FOR THE SANCTUARY, THE CITY, AND THE PRINCE. (Eze. 45:1-25)
- CONTINUATION OF THE ORDINANCES FOR THE PRINCE AND FOR THE PEOPLE IN THEIR WORSHIP. (Eze. 46:1-24) The prince is to go through the east gate without (open on the Sabbath only, to mark its peculiar sanctity) to the entrance of the gate of the inner court; he is to go no further, but "stand by the post" (compare 1Ki 8:14, 1Ki 8:22, Solomon standing before the altar of the Lord in the presence of the congregation; also 2Ki 11:14; 2Ki 23:3, "by a pillar": the customary place), the court within belonging exclusively to the priests. There, as representative of the people, in a peculiarly near relation to God, he is to present his offerings to Jehovah, while at a greater distance, the people are to stand worshipping at the outer gate of the same entrance. The offerings on Sabbaths are larger than those of the Mosaic law, to imply that the worship of God is to be conducted by the prince and people in a more munificent spirit of self-sacrificing liberality than formerly.
- VISION OF THE TEMPLE WATERS. BORDERS AND DIVISION OF THE LAND. (Eze. 47:1-23)
- ALLOTMENT OF THE LAND TO SEVERAL TRIBES. (Eze. 48:1-35)
TSK: Ezekiel (Pendahuluan Kitab) The character of Ezekiel, as a Writer and Poet, is thus admirably drawn by the masterly hand of Bishop Lowth: " Ezekiel is much inferior to Jeremiah ...
The character of Ezekiel, as a Writer and Poet, is thus admirably drawn by the masterly hand of Bishop Lowth: " Ezekiel is much inferior to Jeremiah in elegance; in sublimity he is not even excelled by Isaiah; but his sublimity is of a totally different kind. He is deep, vehement, tragical; his sentiments are elevated, animated, full of fire and indignation; his imagery is crowded, magnificent, terrific; his language is grand, solemn, austere, rough, and at times unpolished; he abounds in repetitions, not for the sake of grace or elegance, but from vehemence and indignation. Whatever subject he treats of, that he sedulously puruses; from that he rarely departs, but cleaves, as it were, to it; whence the connexion is in general evident and well preserved. In other respects he may perhaps be exceeded by the other prophets; but, for that species of composition to which he seems adapted by natural gifts, the forcible, impetuous, grave, and grand, not one of the sacred writers is superior to him. His diction is sufficiently perspicuous; all his obscurity arises from the nature of his subjects. Visions (as for instance, among others, those of Hosea, Amos, and Zechariah), are necessarily dark and confused. The greater part of Ezekiel, particularly towards the middle of the book, is poetical, whether we regard the matter of the language." Abp. Newcombe judiciously observes, The Prophet is not to be considered merely as a poet, or as a framer of those august and astonishing visions, and of those admirable poetical representations, which he committed to writing; but as an instrument in the hands of God, who vouchsafed to reveal himself, through a long succession of ages, not only in divers parts constituting a magnificant and uniform whole, but also in different manners, as by voice, by dreams, by inspiration, and by plain or enigmatical vision. " Ezekiel is a great poet, full of originality; and, in my opinion, whoever censures him as if he were only an imitator of the old prophets, can never have felt his power. He must not, in general, be compared with Isaiah, and the rest of the old prophets. Those are great, Ezekiel is also great; those in their manner of poetry, Ezekiel in his." To justify this character the learned prelate descends to particulars, and gives apposite examples, not only of the clear, flowing, and nervous, but also of the sublime; and concludes his observations on his style, by stating it to be his deliberate opinion, that if his " style is the old age of Hebrew language and composition (as has been alleged), it is a firm and vigorous one, and should induce us to trace its youth and manhood with the most assiduous attention." As a Prophet, Ezekiel must ever be allowed to occupy a very high rank; and few of the prophets have left a more valuable treasure to the church of God than he has. It is true, he is in several places obscure; but this resulted either from the nature of his subjects, or the events predicted being still unfulfilled; and, when time has rolled away the mist of futurity, successive generations will then perceive with what heavenly wisdom this much neglected prophet has spoken. There is, however, a great proportion of his work which is free from every obscurity, and highly edifying. He has so accurately and minutely foretold the fate and condition of various nations and cities, that nothing can be more interesting than to trace the exact accomplishment of these prophecies in the accounts furnished by historians and travellers; while, under the elegant type of a new temple to be erected, a new worship to be introduced, and a new Jerusalem to be built, with new land to be allotted to the twelve tribes, may be discovered the vast extent and glory of the New Testament Church.
TSK: Ezekiel 34 (Pendahuluan Pasal) Overview
Eze 34:1, A reproof of the shepherds; Eze 34:7, God’s judgment against them; Eze 34:11, His providence over his flock; Eze 34:20, The k...
Poole: Ezekiel (Pendahuluan Kitab) BOOK OF THE PROPHET EZEKIEL
EZEKIEL was by descent a priest, and by commission a prophet, and received it from heaven, as will appea...
BOOK OF THE PROPHET EZEKIEL
EZEKIEL was by descent a priest, and by commission a prophet, and received it from heaven, as will appear from the first, second, and third chapters. He was, and had been, a captive in Babylon five years when first called to this office, and there he met with many things that were occasions of grief to himself, and occasion of this prophecy. For in Babylon there were many that did repine at their state, repented they had rendered themselves, called into question the truth and integrity of Jeremiah and himself, and were ready to do violence to him; and not only thus, but they continued so to sin, that the name of God was blasphemed because of them: and these things both grieved and weakened the hearts of the best, and hardened the worst. To redress these is Ezekiel both extraordinarily called, commissioned, qualified, and assisted in the prophetic office, in discharge of which he doth reprove and calm the discontented, that they might return to a right frame of patience and hope. He calls the profane and wicked to acknowledge God’ s just and equal, and their own unequal, ways. He directeth the honest-hearted, who inquire that they might do their duties. He encourages that handful of godly ones among them with many comfortable promises of good in their own land, and of more grace from heaven; and confirmeth what Jeremiah had preached, advised. and foretold in Jerusalem, exactly harmonizing with him, though the one at Babylon, the other at Jerusalem, destitute of all means of conferring with each other. In all these particulars he is sometimes very plain, sometimes speaks in riddles, in which kind he is more frequent than any other of the prophets, in them all deep and mysterious; to the quarrelling and froward these are dark, but to the humble and teachable more significant and clear. In his first three chapters he opens his commission. In the next one and twenty chapters he doth sharply preach against the sins of the Jews; which they dislike, and grow weary of, and violent against the preacher, who for some time is ordered to forbear, and leave them to that severe sermon which the king of Babylon’ s army should preach to them in the destruction of country, city, and temple, which should open the eyes of some, and wound the heart of all the Jews. So the prophet doth by order from the Lord preach against the heathen round about, through the 25th chapter and on to the end of the 32nd chapter; after which he is sent to preach repentance and pardon, with grace and favour, to Israel, to proclaim the Messiah’ s kingdom, and to assure them of the wonderful overthrow of their enemies, the rebuilding the city and temple in greatness beyond whatever it was, upon condition they become a reformed people, ashamed for former sins, loathe themselves, and love the Lord their God, and keep his ordinances; which they did not after their return, as is evident from the complaints, menaces, and reproofs which do every where sound in the mouths of Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, who lived after the joyful return from captivity, and saw the sinful deportment of these returned captives. Much of the prophet’ s discourses in the 33rd, 34th, 36th, and so on to the end, are typical and mysterious, and refer to the return, as to the emblem of our spiritual deliverance out of spiritual captivity.
Poole: Ezekiel 34 (Pendahuluan Pasal) CHAPTER 34
A reproof of the shepherds of Israel, Eze 34:1-6 . God’ s judgment against them, Eze 34:7-10 . His providence over his flock, Eze 3...
MHCC: Ezekiel (Pendahuluan Kitab) Ezekiel was one of the priests; he was carried captive to Chaldea with Jehoiachin. All his prophecies appear to have been delivered in that country, a...
Ezekiel was one of the priests; he was carried captive to Chaldea with Jehoiachin. All his prophecies appear to have been delivered in that country, at some place north of Babylon. Their chief object appears to have been to comfort his brethren in captivity. He is directed to warn of the dreadful calamities coming upon Judea, particularly upon the false prophets, and the neighbouring nations. Also to announce the future restoration of Israel and Judah from their several dispersions, and their happy state in their latter days, under the Messiah. Much of Christ will be found in this book, especially in the conclusion.
MHCC: Ezekiel 34 (Pendahuluan Pasal) (Eze 34:1-6) The rulers reproved.
(Eze 34:7-16) The people are to be restored to their own land.
(Eze 34:17-31) The kingdom of Christ.
Matthew Henry: Ezekiel (Pendahuluan Kitab) An Exposition, with Practical Observations, of The Book of the Prophet Ezekiel
When we entered upon the writings of the prophets, which speak of the ...
An Exposition, with Practical Observations, of The Book of the Prophet Ezekiel
When we entered upon the writings of the prophets, which speak of the things that should be hereafter, we seemed to have the same call that St. John had (Rev 4:1), Come up hither; but, when we enter upon the prophecy of this book, it is as if the voice said, Come up higher; as we go forward in time (for Ezekiel prophesied in the captivity, as Jeremiah prophesied just before it), so we soar upward in discoveries yet more sublime of the divine glory. These waters of the sanctuary still grow deeper; so far are they from being fordable that in some places they are scarcely fathomable; yet, deep as they are, out of them flow streams which make glad the city of our God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High. As to this prophecy now before us, we may enquire, I. Concerning the penman of it - it was Ezekiel; his name signifies, The strength of God, or one girt or strengthened of God. He girded up the loins of his mind to the service, and God put strength into him. Whom God calls to any service he will himself enable for it; if he give commission, he will give power to execute it. Ezekiel's name was answered when God said (and no doubt did as he said), I have made thy face strong against their faces. The learned Selden, in his book De Diis Syris, says that it was the opinion of some of the ancients that the prophet Ezekiel was the same with that Nazaratus Assyrius whom Pythagoras (as himself relates) had for his tutor for some time, and whose lectures he attended. It is agreed that they lived much about the same time; and we have reason to think that many of the Greek philosophers were acquainted with the sacred writings and borrowed some of the best of their notions from them. If we may give credit to the tradition of the Jews, he was put to death by the captives in Babylon, for his faithfulness and boldness in reproving them; it is stated that they dragged him upon the stones till his brains were dashed out. An Arabic historian says that he was put to death and was buried in the sepulchre of Shem the son of Noah. So Hottinger relates, Thesaur. Philol. lib. 2 cap. 1. II. Concerning the date of it - the place whence it is dated and the time when. The scene is laid in Babylon, when it was a house of bondage to the Israel of God; there the prophecies of this book were preached, there they were written, when the prophet himself, and the people to whom he prophesied, were captives there. Ezekiel and Daniel are the only writing prophets of the Old Testament who lived and prophesied any where but in the land of Israel, except we add Jonah, who was sent to Nineveh to prophesy. Ezekiel prophesied in the beginning of the captivity, Daniel in the latter end of it. It was an indication of God's good-will to them, and his gracious designs concerning them in their affliction, that he raised up prophets among them, both to convince them when, in the beginning of their troubles, they were secure and unhumbled, which was Ezekiel's business, and to comfort them when, in the latter end of their troubles, they were dejected and discouraged. If the Lord had been pleased to kill them, he would not have used such apt and proper means to cure them. III. Concerning the matter and scope of it. 1. There is much in it that is very mysterious, dark, and hard to be understood, especially in the beginning and the latter end of it, which therefore the Jewish rabbin forbade the reading of to their young men, till they came to be thirty years of age, lest by the difficulties they met with there they should be prejudiced against the scriptures; but if we read these difficult parts of scripture with humility and reverence, and search them diligently, though we may not be able to untie all the knots we meet with, any more than we can solve all the phenomena in the book of nature, yet we may from them, as from the book of nature, gather a great deal for the confirming of our faith and the encouraging of our hope in the God we worship. 2. Though the visions here be intricate, such as an elephant may swim in, yet the sermons are mostly plain, such as a lamb may wade in; and the chief design of them is to show God's people their transgressions, that in their captivity they might be repenting and not repining. It should seem the prophet was constantly attended (for we read of their sitting before him as God's people sat to hear his words, Eze 33:31), and that he was occasionally consulted, for we read of the elders of Israel who came to enquire of the Lord by him, Eze 14:1, Eze 14:3. And as it was of great use to the oppressed captives themselves to have a prophet with them, so it was a testimony to their holy religion against their oppressors who ridiculed it and them. 3. Though the reproofs and the threatenings here are very sharp and bold, yet towards the close of the book very comfortable assurances are given of great mercy God had in store for them; and there, at length, we shall meet with something that has reference to gospel times, and which was to have its accomplishment in the kingdom of the Messiah, of whom indeed this prophet speaks less than almost any of the prophets. But by opening the terrors of the Lord he prepares Christ's way. By the law is the knowledge of sin, and so it becomes our school-master to bring us to Christ. The visions which were the prophet's credentials we have ch. 1-3, the reproofs and threatenings ch. 4-24 betwixt which and the comforts which we have in the latter part of the book we have messages sent to the nations that bordered upon the land of Israel, whose destruction is foretold (ch. 25-35), to make way for the restoration of God's Israel and the re-establishment of their city and temple, which are foretold ch. 36 to the end. Those who would apply the comforts to themselves must apply the convictions to themselves.
Matthew Henry: Ezekiel 34 (Pendahuluan Pasal) 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...
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 (Eze 34:1-6 and Eze 34:8). II. Their discharge from their trust, for their insufficiency and treachery (Eze 34:7-10). 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 (Eze 34:11-16). 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 (Eze 34:17-22). 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 (Eze 34:23-31).
Constable: Ezekiel (Pendahuluan Kitab) Introduction
Title and Writer
The title of this book comes from its writer, Ezekiel, t...
Title and Writer
The title of this book comes from its writer, Ezekiel, the son of Buzi (1:3). "Ezekiel" means "God strengthens (or hardens)" or "God will strengthen (harden)" or "May God strengthen (harden)." The Lord strengthened Ezekiel in the face of cynicism and rejection by his fellow Jews. His name appears in only two verses (1:3; 24:24). His hometown is unknown, and no other biblical writer referred to him.
Ezekiel was a Judean priest of Yahweh as well as His prophet, as were Jeremiah (Jer. 1:1) and Zechariah (Zech. 1:1). These three men were the only writing prophet-priests, and they all ministered during or after the Babylonian exile. Like Jeremiah, there is no evidence that Ezekiel ever served as a priest in the Jerusalem temple. Ezekiel's priestly background may account in part for the interest in priestly things that his book reflects: the actions of the priests in Jerusalem, the Jerusalem temple, the glory of the Lord, and the future temple yet to be built. It probably also explains Ezekiel's familiarity with things connected with priestly ministry, such as cherubim. His wife died during the course of his ministry (24:2, 15-18), but there is no mention in the book that they had children. There are no records of Ezekiel's life outside this book, so we have no information about when, where, or how he died.1
". . . he combined in a unique way the priest's sense of the holiness of God, the prophet's sense of the message that had been entrusted to him, and the pastor's sense of responsibility for his people."2
Until the second quarter of the twentieth century almost all biblical scholars viewed the entire book as the product of Ezekiel. In 1930, C. C. Torrey advanced the view that a fictitious pseudo-author wrote the book around 230 B.C.3 This view drew a few supporters, but by 1962 almost all scholars had abandoned it.4 Today almost all commentators view Ezekiel as the source of the prophecies in this book.
The book records the date of the beginning of Ezekiel's ministry as 593 B.C. (1:2-3). The last dated prophecy came to the prophet in 571 B.C. (29:17). He began ministering when he was 30 years old (1:1), and he gave his last prophecy when he was about 52. All of Ezekiel's ministry transpired during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar (605-562 B.C.).
"One of the most complete chronological systems in any book of the Old Testament is found in this prophecy, demonstrating that Ezekiel's ministry covered at least the span of 593 to 571 B.C."5
Since Ezekiel began ministering in 593 B.C. when he was 30 years old, he would have been born about 623 B.C and would have grown up in Judah during King Josiah's reforms (622-609 B.C.). The date of Jeremiah's birth was about 643 B.C., 20 years before Ezekiel's. Jeremiah began ministering in Judah about 627 B.C., so Ezekiel would have been familiar with him and his preaching.6 There are some indications in this book that he was, though Ezekiel never referred to Jeremiah.
"Both of them seemed to be taking a lone stand for the truth, one in Jerusalem and the other in Babylon: they both insisted that the future of Israel lay with the exiles and not with those left behind in Jerusalem; they both rejected the fatalism of those who quoted the proverb about the fathers eating sour grapes and the children's teeth being set on edge; they both inveighed against the shepherds of Israel who failed to care for the flock; they both emphasized the principle of individual retribution and the need for individual repentance; they both looked forward to a lengthy exile, followed by a restoration under godly leadership; they both spoke in terms of a new covenant which would be inwardly and personally appropriated; and they both spoke against the false prophets who prophesied peace when there was no peace."7
Daniel went into captivity in 605 B.C. and was only a teenager then, so his birthday may have been close to 620 B.C. Ezekiel, then, may have been only a few years older than Daniel. Daniel's ministry continued for about 70 years until about 536 B.C. (Dan. 10:1), much longer, apparently, than Ezekiel's.
Ezekiel went to Babylon as a captive during Nebuchadnezzar's second deportation of Jerusalemites in 597 B.C. along with King Jehoiachin, his household, his officials, and many of the leading men of Judah (2 Kings 24:12-17). Ten thousand captives went to Babylon with much confiscated treasure from the temple and the royal palaces. Nebuchadnezzar also took most of the craftsmen and smiths to Babylon, and only the poorest of the people remained in the land. The Babylonian king set Zedekiah up as his puppet in Jerusalem, but Jehoiachin remained the recognized king of Judah in Babylon.8
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Ezekiel ministered "in the midst" of the Jewish exiles who had settled at Tel-abib (or Tel Aviv) beside the Chebar (or Kebar) River (3:15).9 The Chebar River was the "grand canal" (Aram. naru kabaru) that began at the Euphrates River north of Babylon, bypassed the city to the east, proceeded through the site of Nippur, and rejoined the Euphrates south of Babylon near Uruk (biblical Erech). This site is where most of the Jewish exiles in Babylonia lived.10 Ezekiel evidently ministered from there entirely; there is no evidence that he ever visited Jerusalem after the Babylonians took him captive.
Life among the Jewish exiles was not a physically difficult existence, certainly not like living in a concentration camp. The exiles enjoyed considerable freedom and even traveled within Babylonia (cf. 33:21; Jer. 29). They were able to own their own homes, to pursue their own businesses and personal interests, and to organize their own communities. Babylon was infamous for its luxurious wealth and its excessive idolatry. Life became so comfortable in Babylon that after Cyrus allowed the Jews to return to their homeland in 538 B.C. most of them chose to remain where they were.11
Audience and Purpose
Ezekiel ministered to the Jews in exile. He probably wrote this book for the benefit of the exiles and the other Jewish communities of his day and beyond his day. In some of his visions (e.g. chs. 8 and 11) the Lord carried the prophet to Jerusalem in his spirit, but his messages were not exclusively for the Jews in Jerusalem.
"Ezekiel ministered to all twelve tribes and his purpose was twofold: (1) to remind them of the sins which had brought judgment and exile upon them; (2) to encourage and strengthen their faith by prophecies of future restoration and glory."12
The Jews were in exile because they had proved unfaithful to the Mosaic Covenant that their God had made with them. That covenant had warned the Israelites that if they proved unfaithful they could expect the divine discipline of their sovereign Lord who might even drive them from the land He had given them (Lev. 26; Deut. 28). The covenant also promised restoration to the land eventually. God would not cast His people off permanently no matter how far they departed from Him and His will.
". . . his aim is to convince the people of their utter unworthiness of any consideration from God, in order to shame them into true repentance."13
Ezekiel reminded the exiles of their covenant unfaithfulness and of the faithfulness, holiness, and glory of Yahweh, their God. The Lord would judge, cleanse, and ultimately bless His people so that they and all people might come to appreciate His uniqueness and greatness. The purpose of the Exile was to turn God's people away from their sins and back to their Sovereign. The discipline they experienced was an evidence of God's love. When it was over a glorious future lay in store for them. A righteous ruler would eventually lead them back to a radically renovated land where they would enjoy peace, prosperity, and renewed worship.
"Ezekiel, as a watchman for Israel, warned her of the judgment that was imminent and stressed the need for individual responsibility as well as national accountability before God. Each Israelite was personally to turn to the Lord. Likewise, the whole nation must ultimately return to him."14
The first part of Ezekiel's ministry consisted of predicting the fall of Jerusalem from Babylon (chs. 1-24). When it fell in 586 B.C., he then began predicting God's judgment on the Gentile nations (chs. 25-32) and the restoration of Israel (chs. 33-48).
"The author's purpose throughout the entire prophecy was to keep before the exiles the sins of the nation which were the grounds for her punishment, and to sustain and encourage the faithful remnant concerning future restoration and blessing (cf. 14:21-23)."15
There are two major structural peculiarities that set Ezekiel off as distinctive.
First, the book is a collection of prophecies arranged in almost consistent chronological order. No other prophetical book is as consistently chronological as Ezekiel, except Habakkuk, and Zechariah comes close.16 Furthermore, Ezekiel dated his oracles with unusual precision: usually by year, month, and day of the month.17 He may have done this to stress the certainty of the predictions so that when they came to pass there would be no question as to their authenticity. A chart of the prophecies and their dates follows.
|Ezekiel's Dated Prophecies|
|Groups of Dated Messages||Passages||Ezekiel's CalendarMonth/Day/Year||Modern CalendarMonth/Day/Year|
|First||1:1-3:15||4/5/5||July 31, 593|
|Second||3:16-7:27||4/12/5||Aug. 7, 593|
|Third||8:1-19:14||6/5/6||Sept. 17, 592|
|Fourth||20:1-23:49||5/10/7||Aug. 14, 591|
|Fifth||24:1-25:17||10/10/9||Jan. 15, 588|
|Sixth||26:1-28:26||?/1/11||? 1, 587 or 586|
|Seventh||29:1-16||10/12/10||Jan. 5, 587|
|Eighth||29:17-30:19||1/1/27||Apr. 26, 571|
|Ninth||30:20-26||1/7/11||Apr. 29, 587|
|Tenth||31:1-18||3/1/11||June 21, 587|
|Eleventh||32:1-16||12/1/12||Mar. 3, 585|
|Twelfth||32:17-33:20||?/15/12||? (Mar.) 17, 585|
|Thirteenth||33:21-39:29||10/5/12||Jan. 9, 585|
|Fourteenth||40:1-48:35||1/10/25||Apr. 28 (or Oct. 22), 573|
In the table above, the prophecies are in the order in which they appear in the text. For the most part, this is also the chronological order in which Ezekiel delivered them. However, you will note that the seventh and eighth groups of messages (beginning with 27:1 and 17) are not in chronological order. These messages are grouped topically with other prophecies against Egypt in chapters 29-32. Ezekiel's calendar, in the table, dates from the year of King Jehoiachin's (and Ezekiel's) exile (i.e., 598 B.C.; cf. 1:2). Scholars vary somewhat in their understanding of the modern equivalents of these dates. I have followed those of Dyer in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: Old Testament.
A second structural characteristic of the book is that it is logically organized as well as chronologically organized. First we read the call and preparation of the prophet (chs. 1-3). Then come prophecies announcing God's judgment on Judah culminating in the fall of Jerusalem (chs. 4-24). Next we find prophecies against foreign nations that opposed Israel (chs. 25-32). A section of prophecies on the coming restoration of Israel concludes the book (chs. 33-48).
"Apart from these obvious major divisions, this book is one of the easiest in the entire canon to outline, thanks to the clear demarcation of individual oracles. The book consists of fifty literary units, forty-eight of which are introduced either by a date notice or the word-event (also called prophetic word) formula, The word of Yahweh came to me saying.'"18
Ezekiel saw God's glory departing from the temple in judgment (9:3; 10:4, 18-19; 11:22-25), and then he saw it returning to the temple for blessing (43:1-5). These major events tie the book together. Ezekiel initially received a commission to deliver messages of judgment (chs. 2-3), but later he received another commission to deliver messages of deliverance (ch. 33). These two commissions identify the two major parts of the book that had particular relevance to Israel.
One stylistic characteristic is Ezekiel's autobiographical perspective. Almost all of his oracles (except 1:2-3; 24:24) appear in the first person giving the impression that they are memoirs of a true prophet of Yahweh. However, Ezekiel did not often share his personal struggles or reactions with the reader, as Jeremiah did (except 4:14; 9:8; 11:13; 20:49; 24:20; 37:3).
Two other features mark the oracles in Ezekiel. One is the "halving" of oracles in which the writer first propounded a theme and then pursued a different theme only to end with a coda that links elements from both parts.19 The second characteristic is the use of an earlier text or tradition, the interpretation of it in the light of current circumstances, and the application of it to new situations.20
Another stylistic characteristic is the formulaic expressions Ezekiel used some of which are unique to him and others shared with other prophets. Ezekiel usually referred to Yahweh as adonay yhwh, "the Lord Yahweh" (217 times). This title emphasized Yahweh's authority as His people's divine master. The name by which Yahweh addressed the prophet (93 times) is consistently ben adam, "son of man;" He never used Ezekiel's personal name. This title, ben adam, appears only in Ezekiel and in Daniel 8:17, which Ezekiel 2:1 may have influenced. This title stresses the prophet's humanity and the distance between God and the human. Ezekiel's favorite title for the Israelites (in the former Northern Kingdom, in Jerusalem, or in exile) is bet yisra'el, "house (or family) of Israel" (83 times or 57 percent of its 146 uses in the Old Testament). This title expresses the solidarity of the Israelites.
Ezekiel almost always carefully distinguished whether he or Yahweh was speaking in contrast to some other prophets who sometimes leave the reader with a question about the speaker's identity. Other formulae of expression common in this book are "the word of the Lord came to me saying," "thus has the Lord Yahweh said," and "the declaration of the Lord Yahweh." "Set your face toward" is also common and means to face the person or persons addressed so they get the full impact of what is said. "The hand of the Lord came upon me" reflects God's control of His prophet as does "the Spirit of Yahweh fell upon me." "I am Yahweh" and "they will know that I am Yahweh" are also distinctive theological formulae.
"Much of Ezekiel's language is repetitive. This sometimes makes for tiresome reading, but it helps to highlight his recurrent themes."21
Ezekiel contains a combination of several types of literature. These include proverbs, visions, parables, symbolic acts, allegories, rhetorical questions, dreams, drama, funeral dirges, history, and apocalyptic revelations.
"The concentration of so many bizarre features in one individual is without precedent: his muteness; lying bound and naked; digging holes in the walls of houses; emotional paralysis in the face of his wife's death; spiritual' travels; images of strange creatures, of eyes, and of creeping things; hearing voices and the sounds of water; withdrawal symptoms, fascination with feces and blood; wild literary imagination; pornographic imagery; unreal if not surreal understanding of Israel's past; and the list goes on."22
". . . Ezekiel is the great mystic among the inspired writers. Because of the difficulty in interpreting his figurative and visionary prophecies, he is the most neglected of all the prophets."23
"For most Bible readers Ezekiel is almost a closed book. Their knowledge of him extends little further than his mysterious vision of God's chariot-throne [merkabah], with its wheels within wheels, and the vision of the valley of dry bones. Otherwise his book is as forbidding in its size as the prophet himself is in the complexity of his make-up."24
Ezekiel was a most dramatic and forceful communicator of the messages that God gave him. He used more symbolism and allegory than any other Old Testament prophet.25 Evidently God directed him to use such colorful methods to get the attention of his hearers, who were very discouraged and disinterested in what God had to say to them. Most of the book is prose, but some of it is poetry.
". . . not a colourful, descriptive prose, but a somber, prophetic prose with a cadence but no discernible metre."26
"Visions figure more prominently in Ezekiel than in any other Old Testament prophet except Daniel. They are recounted in detail in chaps. 1-3; 8-11; 37; 40-48. These he received in what must have appeared to be a semiconscious state and then reported to his audience once the vision was over (11:25)."27
"Dream-visions were common in Mesopotamia in the seventh and sixth centuries B.C.28 This literary form had two major parts: (1) the setting of the vision, declaring the time, recipient, place of reception, and general circumstances; and (2) the description of the vision just as it was seen by the recipient. Ezekiel used this common type of literature in his book and also developed (along with Daniel and Zechariah in the OT) apocalyptic literature in the dream-vision format. This may be defined as symbolic visionary prophetic literature, composed during oppressive conditions, consisting of visions whose events are recorded exactly as they were seen by the author and explained through a divine interpreter, and whose theological content is primarily eschatological.'29 Twice Ezekiel used this genre, which would be well known to the exiles, to encourage them during their time of oppression. Both apocalyptic visions contained messages of restoration and blessing."30
". . . the biblical books that could qualify as apocalyptic include Ezekiel, Daniel, Zechariah, and Revelation. Many other passages express apocalyptic eschatology, but these four books alone qualify in content and form as apocalyptic literature."31
"Whether one is preaching, teaching, writing, or counseling, getting a message across effectively involves communication in a way that will allow people to form mental images. Unless what we say is clear and vivid enough that people can somehow see' what we're saying, they are not as likely to remember it long enough for it to do any good."32
Several theological concepts receive considerable attention in Ezekiel. Alexander identified five central ones: the nature of God, the purpose and nature of God's judgment, individual responsibility, the ethical, religious, and moral history of Israel, and the nature of Israel's restoration and future worship.33 Cooper mentioned six significant theological themes: the holiness and transcendence of God, the sinfulness of humanity, the inevitability of judgment, individual responsibility, hope of restoration, and God's redemptive purpose.34 Stuart listed seven major themes: the reliability of God's word, the glory of God, individual responsibility, Israel's long history of sin, the power of national leadership for good or bad, God's holiness and our responsibility for obedience, and God's transcendence.35
God's glory is the theme that runs throughout this book, from the prophet's call when that glory first impressed him, to the demonstration of that glory in the eschatological future. References to God's glory keep popping up throughout the book (1:28; 3:12, 23; 8:4; 9:3; 10:4, 18-19; 11:22-23; 39:11, 21; 43:2-5; 44:4). God's glory is an aspect of His character, and His glorious character determines His conduct throughout history and this revelation. Without an appreciation of the glory of God's character the Israelites could not make sense of His dealings with them. Fifteen times God said He acted to keep His name glorious (20:9, 14, 22, 39, 44; 36:20-23; 39:7, 25; 43:7-8). Over 60 times the Lord said He had acted so the people would know that He was Yahweh.36
". . . the phrase you will know that I am the Lord' or they will know that I am the Lord' or the like may well be the central theological theme of the book."37
Ezekiel presented God as the God of Israel. By comparison, Isaiah pictured Him as the God of the entire world. Ezekiel had a great appreciation of the holiness (otherness) of God, as did Isaiah, but He did not use the title "Holy One of Israel" that is so common in Isaiah.
"The vision of the Lord riding upon His chariot-throne (1-3) typified this sense of otherness and majesty. It was unutterably splendid, mysteriously intricate, superhuman and supernatural, infinitely mobile but never earth-bound, all-seeing and all-knowing. This is how God revealed Himself to Ezekiel, not by propositions regarding His character but in personal encounter."38
"The vision Ezekiel had at the time of his call never left him but influenced his thought continually."39
Ezekiel stressed God's relationship to His covenants with Israel, which Ezekiel viewed positively. Yahweh for Ezekiel was a God who acts. The Spirit of God features more prominently in Ezekiel than in any other prophetic book. The prophet also emphasized the fact that God's will for Israel was blessing more than punishment.
Ezekiel viewed Israel as the people of God. He paid little attention to Israel's pre-Egyptian history. He divided Israel's history into seven eras, each of which is characterized by Yahweh's gracious acts on Israel's behalf and Israel's rejection of her covenant (ch. 20). God's relationship with Israel was pure grace from beginning to end. Yahweh sovereignly chose and redeemed Israel. Israel therefore needed to respond to such grace with devotion and obedience to her Lord. The well-being of the Israelites reflected on God's reputation in the world.
Ezekiel looked beyond the present condition of Israel to the time when she would experience restoration and prosperity in the Promised Land. God would bring His chosen people back in a new Exodus cleansed from their former sins and revitalized with a new heart and His Spirit under a new covenant. "David" would be God's agent of salvation and a symbol of unity for the nation. Israel would then enjoy unprecedented prosperity and security in her own land. God would establish residence among the Israelites and reorganize their worship.
"Ezekiel provides much of the evidence for the pronounced Jewish tone of the millennium and the sequence of eschatological events recognized especially by dispensationalist premillenarians."40
"Fundamentally the theology of Ezekiel revolves around the bipolar themes of judgment and restoration. . . .
"Restoration will take two forms or will occur in two phases, however. It will come to pass in history under the beneficent policy of Cyrus the Persian, but that is only a type, a foretaste, of complete renewal and reconstitution that must await the eschaton."41
The Hebrew text of Ezekiel has suffered more than most Old Testament books in the process of transmission. This is due to the large number of technical expressions, including dates and measurements, that occur only once in the Hebrew Bible. Unknown and difficult words resulted in many copyist errors. Consequently there are many interpretive difficulties in Ezekiel.
Ezekiel began prophesying when he was 30 years old, and he had gone into captivity five years before that. Thus Ezekiel was familiar with Jeremiah's preaching and ministry. Ezekiel shows quite a bit of similarity to Jeremiah in his book. Ezekiel was a priest, as was Jeremiah. However, neither of them served as priests, Jeremiah evidently because he chose not to in view of the corruption in the priesthood, and Ezekiel because he went into captivity before he was old enough to serve. In captivity there was no temple, so Ezekiel could not minister as a priest there even if he had wanted to do so. Besides, God gave both men a calling to a prophetic ministry.
There are indications in the Book of Ezekiel that Jeremiah had an influence on Ezekiel. They both had the same outlook on the corruption of the Israelites, on the judgment of God, and on the hope that held out promise for a brighter day ahead. Ezekiel was equally as explicit as Jeremiah about the corruption of the people and the inevitability of coming judgment. But it is his vision of the future for which Ezekiel has become famous, and in this he surpassed his older contemporary. He was able to see through the Israelites in exile and so spoke to all Israel, and He was able to see through Israel and so spoke to all humanity.
We might say that Ezekiel saw the dirty glass in his window on the world, but he also saw through the glass far into the future. He saw the reasons for Israel's present misery, but he also saw the reason for her future restoration, namely the faithfulness of Israel's glorious God. Perhaps it is this long view that saved Ezekiel from becoming another weeping prophet like Jeremiah. He had a grip on the big picture that lay ahead of Israel and the nations like few other prophets. Daniel saw the future too, but he did not say as much about the present as Ezekiel did. Really Ezekiel gives us more revelation concerning the eschaton, the far distant future, than Daniel does. Daniel's concerns were mainly political; Ezekiel's were spiritual. Daniel talked about future kings and kingdoms, but Ezekiel spoke of a future covenant of peace and future worship.
The permanent value of the Book of Ezekiel is its revelation of the reason for hope. Whereas Jeremiah sometimes despaired and lost sight of his hope, Ezekiel never did. It is somewhat surprising that Ezekiel was so full of hope when he was in a worse situation than Jeremiah. For most of Jeremiah's ministry the exile was ahead, but Ezekiel spent his whole ministry in exile ministering among Israelites who were more thoroughly discouraged than Jeremiah's audiences. The exiles were an even harder audience to minister to than the Judahites who anticipated exile, as the Book of Ezekiel makes clear. Nonetheless Ezekiel remained hopeful. His perspective is the key to anyone remaining hopeful in the midst of very discouraging circumstances, even us.
The thing that filled his heart with hope was his understanding of the Lord. That understanding came to him from a vision of God. As soon as most Christians hear that some prophet had a vision of God, we say to ourselves, "Well that lets me out. Maybe if I could have a vision of God like Ezekiel did I could have the ministry he did and not lose hope." We fail to appreciate that we have a far greater "vision" of God in Scripture than any Old Testament prophet ever did. We need to get past the vision idea to the product of the vision. Ezekiel's vision of God's glory in chapter 1 just gave him a certain understanding of God, the same understanding of God that we can obtain by reading about Ezekiel's vision and the other revelations of God in the Bible.
Ezekiel's vision of God's glory was mysterious--full of strange images and symbols--but it was a manifestation. In this vision God allowed the prophet to see likenesses of Himself and His celestial throne room. A likeness reveals something else. A photographic likeness reveals the person in the picture. A likeness is a comparison, a parable if you will. A parable is a story placed alongside to explain something else. It is a word picture designed to interpret something. That is what Ezekiel's vision of God was and what his other visions were. He did not really see God. "No man has seen God at any time." He saw images of God that reveal what God is like. That is really what the whole Bible is: images of what God is like. Ezekiel's vision of God in chapter 1, which so many of the readers of this book never get past, was the reason for his hope that shines forth in the rest of the book.
Isaiah reveals the salvation of God; it is the Romans of the Old Testament. Jeremiah reveals the judgment of God, and Lamentations is its outcome. Ezekiel reveals the glory of God.
As the book opens, Ezekiel sees God in all His glory. Then, in a flashback, he sees the glory of God departing from the temple in Jerusalem when the city fell to Nebuchadnezzar (ch. 10). Then at the end of the book and at the end of his writing ministry, he saw in another vision the glory of God returning to the temple (ch. 43). The temple to which God returned was not the same temple from which His glory had departed. It was a future temple in a restored Promised Land where the Israelites had come to live in peace having repented of their sins and having experienced God's regathering from the ends of the earth.
These three visions of the glory of God provide the framework and rationale for the book as well as the hope of Israel and the world. God is the center of this unfolding drama. References to the glory of God frame the first major section of the book (chs. 1-3). It was out of this glorious revelation that God called Ezekiel to his ministry. The oracles of judgment on Judah and Jerusalem that follow (chs. 4-24) make sense because God is full of glory, as do the oracles of judgment on the nations (chs. 25-32). When Ezekiel received word that Jerusalem had fallen (ch. 32), he left the past behind and turned to the future. He began proclaiming future blessings for Israel, blessings assured by the character of Yahweh, a glorious God who would fulfill His covenant promises to His chosen people even though they had been unfaithful to Him. God allowed the prophet to see another vision of His glory returning to the temple in the future. All of chapters 40-48 deal with the setting and accompaniments of that return of God to His people. And the book closes with the Lord being there, among His people forever (48:35).
What is the glory of God? It is the expression, the outshining, of His person. When we say Ezekiel is a revelation of the glory of God we mean that it is an unveiling of God Himself in unusual clarity and relevance. The Book of Revelation is such an unveiling of Jesus Christ; it is the climax of biblical Christology. Ezekiel reveals very important characteristics of God. It does this at times by using pictures, dramas, and symbolic acts as well as straightforward explanations. It often does it in apocalyptic images, pictures of God at work doing things in the end times. Much of the imagery has its roots in Ezekiel's culture, both Israelite and ancient Near Eastern, particularly Babylonian.
The secret of Ezekiel's optimism about the future even though he lived in a situation that led most of the other Israelites to abandon their commitment to God, was his personal acquaintance with God Himself. This book reveals the very nature of God Himself to a degree no other book in the Bible does.
As we read this book and get to know what it reveals, we need to ask God to help us to understand Him better, above everything else, because understanding God is the very foundation for hope. Where there is hope there is joy, there is peace, there is love, there is faith, and there is ministry. In the times in which we live, a commitment to ministry by itself will not preserve us from all the pitfalls that surround us. Only ministry grounded in and growing out of our personal understanding and appreciation of the character of God will do that. That is the practical value of studying this intimidating book.
A phrase that marks this book and that occurs over 60 times in it is, "Then they will know that I am the Lord." This phrase almost becomes boring Ezekiel repeated it so often. God used the events of life to teach His people and all people that He is the only true God. In the future He will bring things to pass that will teach people that only He is God. We can learn that now as we gain God's viewpoint on life from this great book. Then we can help others make sense out of what is happening because we understand the One who is creating history.
Another key phrase is "Son of man." This was God's favorite title for Ezekiel. It should remind us every time we read it that Ezekiel was not, and we are not, God. This book presents God as different from anyone else, that is, He is holy. Whenever God spoke to Ezekiel using this title He was reminding the prophet of Yahweh's uniqueness. Hopefully our study of the book will also teach us and impress us with God's differentness. That is an aspect of His glory.
The knowledge of God is a perennial spring of joy and hope to the Christian and to the church. When we get to know Him we will be able to see sin, and we will hate it. We will also be able to proclaim judgment fearlessly. But most of all we will be able to rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. The future is bright. We just need to be able to see through our dirty windows to the Morning Star rising in the East.
Constable: Ezekiel (Garis Besar) Outline
I. Ezekiel's calling and commission chs. 1-3
A. The vision of God's glory ch. 1
I. Ezekiel's calling and commission chs. 1-3
A. The vision of God's glory ch. 1
1. The setting of the vision 1:1-3
2. The vision proper 1:4-28
B. The Lord's charge to Ezekiel chs. 2-3
1. The recipients of Ezekiel's ministry 2:1-5
2. The encouragement in Ezekiel's ministry 2:6-7
3. The nature of Ezekiel's ministry 2:8-3:11
4. The conclusion of the vision 3:12-15
5. Ezekiel's role in Israel 3:16-21
6. Ezekiel's muteness 3:22-27
II. Oracles of judgment on Judah and Jerusalem for sin chs. 4-24
A. Ezekiel's initial warnings chs. 4-7
1. Dramatizations of the siege of Jerusalem chs. 4-5
2. The judgment coming on Judah chs. 6-7
B. The vision of the departure of Yahweh's glory chs. 8-11
1. The idolatry of the house of Israel ch. 8
2. The slaughter of the wicked Jerusalemites ch. 9
3. The departure of God's glory from the temple ch. 10
4. The condemnation of Jerusalem's leaders ch. 11
C. Yahweh's reply to the invalid hopes of the Israelites chs. 12-19
1. The dramatic tragedy of exile 12:1-20
2. The present judgment as evidence of divine faithfulness 12:21-28
3. The condemnation of contemporary false prophets ch. 13
4. The effect of false prophets on Israel's leaders 14:1-11
5. The need of personal righteousness for deliverance 14:12-23
6. The unprofitable vine of Jerusalem ch. 15
7. Jerusalem's history as a prostitute ch. 16
8. The riddle and parable of the two eagles ch. 17
9. The importance of individual righteousness ch. 18
10. A lament for the kings of Israel ch. 19
D. Israel's defective leadership chs. 20-23
1. The history of Israel's rebellion and Yahweh's grace 20:1-44
2. Judgment on Judah's contemporary leaders 20:45-21:32
3. The idolatrous rulers of Judah ch. 22
4. The parable of the two sisters ch. 23
E. The execution of Jerusalem's judgment ch. 24
1. The parable of the cooking pot 24:1-14
2. Signs to the exiles 24:15-27
III. Oracles against foreign nations chs. 25-32
A. Oracles against Judah's closest neighbors ch. 25
1. Judgment on Ammon 25:1-7
2. Judgment on Moab 25:8-11
3. Judgment on Edom 25:12-14
4. Judgment on Philistia 25:15-17
B. Judgment on Tyre 26:1-28:19
1. Judgment by Babylonia and other enemies ch. 26
2. A funeral dirge over Tyre ch. 27
3. A judgment speech against the ruler of Tyre 28:1-10
4. A funeral dirge for the king of Tyre 28:11-19
C. Judgment on Sidon 28:20-24
D. Israel's restoration from the nations 28:25-26
E. Judgment on Egypt chs. 29-32
1. An introductory prophecy of judgment on Egypt 29:1-16
2. The consummation of Egypt's judgment 29:17-21
3. The destruction of Egypt and her allies 30:1-19
4. Pharaoh's broken arms 30:20-26
5. Egypt's fall compared to Assyria's fall ch. 31
6. A funeral dirge for Egypt 32:1-16
7. A summary lament over Egypt 32:17-32
IV. Future blessings for Israel chs. 33-48
A. A warning to the exiles 33:1-20
1. An exhortation to heed the watchman 33:1-9
2. An exhortation to turn from evil 33:10-20
B. Restoration to the Promised Land 33:21-39:29
1. Israel and the Promised Land 33:21-33
2. False and true shepherds ch. 34
3. Preparation of the Promised Land 35:1-36:15
4. Restoration to the Promised Land 36:16-37:14
5. Reunification in the Promised Land 37:15-28
6. Future invasion of the Promised Land chs. 38-39
C. Ezekiel's vision of the return of God's glory chs. 40-48
1. The setting of the vision of the return of God's glory 40:1-4
2. The millennial temple 40:5-42:20
3. The return of God's glory to the temple 43:1-12
4. Temple ordinances 43:13-46:24
5. Topographical aspects of the Millennium chs. 47-48
Constable: Ezekiel Ezekiel
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Copyright 2003 by Thomas L. Constable
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Haydock: Ezekiel (Pendahuluan Kitab) THE PROPHECY OF EZECHIEL.
Ezechiel, whose name signifies the strength of God, was of the priestly race, and of the number of t...
THE PROPHECY OF EZECHIEL.
Ezechiel, whose name signifies the strength of God, was of the priestly race, and of the number of the captives that were carried away to Babylon with king Joachin. He was contemporary with Jeremias, and prophesied to the same effect in Babylon as Jeremias did in Jerusalem; and is said to have ended his days in like manner, by martyrdom. (Challoner) --- He strove to comfort the captives, who began to repine that they had listened too readily to Jeremias, exhorting them to submit to the king of Babylon. Some think that part of his prophecies is lost, as Josephus mentions two books: but the nine last chapters, regarding the new city and temple, might form the second division. The Jews hesitated whether to allow his works to be canonical, as they seemed to differ from Moses, and from the dimensions given of Solomon's temple. But the same God might surely suggest some improvements, and the morality of the prophet is most excellent. (Calmet) --- His style may be compared to that of Homer (Grotius) and Alcæus. Many have thought that (Calmet) Pythagoras was his disciple; (Eusebius, præp. xiii.) yet the latter seems to have lived after the prophet, who was led into captivity with Jechonias, the year of the world 3410, and prophesied for twenty years. He dates from this period, (Calmet) and from the renewal of the covenant under Josias, (chap. i. 1.; Haydock) when the captivity was first announced. (Worthington) --- The Jews allowed none to read the first and the nine (Haydock) last chapters, nor the beginning of Genesis, nor the Canticle of Canticles, before they were thirty years old; and they never attempted to explain the vision nor the building of the temple, supposing it to be above the power of man. (St. Jerome)
Gill: Ezekiel (Pendahuluan Kitab) INTRODUCTION TO EZEKIEL
This book is rightly placed after Jeremiah; since Ezekiel was among the captives in Chaldea, when prophesied; whereas Jerem...
INTRODUCTION TO EZEKIEL
This book is rightly placed after Jeremiah; since Ezekiel was among the captives in Chaldea, when prophesied; whereas Jeremiah began to prophesy long before that captivity, and concerning it. The name of this prophet signifies, as it is commonly interpreted, "the strength of God", or "strengthened by God", as he was, and as he needed to be, having great work to do, and a perverse people to deal with; see Eze 3:8; but the learned Hillerus a chooses to render it, "God shall prevail"; with which compare Jer 20:7. There was a Levite of this name, of whom mention is made in 1Ch 24:16; whose name is there read "Jehezekel"; and this prophet was a priest, Eze 1:3; and both Clemens Alexandrinus b and Eusebius c cite a Jewish writer of tragedies, of the same name; which some have very wrongly thought to be the same with our prophet; but whether Ezekiel is not the same with Nazaratus or Zabratus, the master of Pythagoras, mentioned by Clemens as such, according to the opinion of some, is a matter of question; and which the learned Selden d seems to think probable. According to the judgment and opinion of Jerom e, his style is neither very eloquent, nor very rustic; but between both, and has a mixture of each. The visions he saw are very abstruse and difficult of interpretation, especially the vision of the living creatures and wheels; wherefore the Jews f forbad the reading of it, as well as the end of this prophecy, until persons were thirty years of age. The divine visions in this book, the whole subject matter of it, its agreement with the prophecy of Jeremiah, and the accomplishment of events predicted in it, prove the authority of it; and its divine authority has always been allowed, both by the Jewish synagogue and the Christian church. There were indeed some ancient Jewish Rabbins, who were perplexed about some things in it, and consulted about laying it aside, because of some words in it, which seemed to them to be contrary to the law of Moses; but R. Chananiah ben Goron, a very famous doctor in those times, withdrew to his chamber, and wrote a commentary, in order to remove those difficulties to satisfaction g. This book, in general, contains various visions the prophet saw; several threatenings against the people of the Jews; and prophecies against other nations; and an abundance of comfortable promises of the Messiah, and of blessings of grace by him; and of the state and condition of the Gospel church, and the worship of it. Josephus h says Ezekiel left two books written by him; one of which Athanasius i: or the author of the Synopsis under his name, thinks is lost; but the learned Huetius k is of opinion that the prophecy of Ezekiel, in the times of Josephus, was divided into two parts; the first containing the first thirty nine chapters, and the other the nine last chapters; which is not improbable. If the authorities of Epiphanius l, or the writer of the lives of the prophets that goes by his name, and of Isidorus m, are of any weight, Ezekiel was born in the land of Sarera; killed by the governor in Babylon; and buried by the people in the field of Maur or Mahurim, in the sepulchre of Shem and Arphaxad. The account R. Benjamin Tudelensis n gives is, that there is a synagogue of the Prophet Ezekiel by the river Euphrates; and over against the synagogue sixty towers, ; and between every tower a synagogue. In the court of the synagogue is a library; and behind it the grave of Ezekiel the son of Buzi the priest; and over it a large vault, of a beautiful building, erected by Jeconiah king of Judah, and thirty five thousand Jews, who came with him, when Evilmerodach brought him out of prison; and over the grave a lamp burns night and day. The Cippi Hebraici say o he was buried by, the river Hiddekel; and Menasseh ben Israel p affirms that he died in Babylon, and was buried there; and so Kimchi q says the tradition is.
Gill: Ezekiel 34 (Pendahuluan Pasal) INTRODUCTION TO EZEKIEL 34
In the former chapter the prophet prophesies against the people of the Jews, both those of the captivity, and those who ...
INTRODUCTION TO EZEKIEL 34
In the former chapter the prophet prophesies against the people of the Jews, both those of the captivity, and those who were not; and here against the shepherds of Israel. This he is bid to do, Eze 34:1, whose cruelty to the flock, negligence and unfaithfulness are exposed, Eze 34:3, for which reasons they are threatened to be deprived of their office, Eze 34:7, and the Lord promises to take the care of the flock upon himself, to seek out his sheep, and feed them, and do every kind office to them, Eze 34:11 and then the strong of the flock, that oppressed the weak, are threatened with punishment, Eze 34:17 and the promise of the Messiah, as the shepherd of the flock, is made, under whom all prosperity and happiness might be expected, Eze 34:23.