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Bible Commentaries

The Church Pulpit Commentary

Ezekiel 24

Verse 18

THE TEARLESS SORROW

‘So I spake unto the people in the morning: and at even my wife died; and I did in the morning as I was commanded.’

Ezekiel 24:18

I. We all know the striking though brief notice of the death of Ezekiel’s wife: she was taken away simply that the prophet’s conduct might be a type to the people. No sorrow was to be considered by him tantamount to fulfilling in each part his ministry; he might not grieve because it would hinder the lesson he was to inculcate.

II. Ezekiel’s life reads to us a lesson of no ordinary import.—The very ties of his life were created for the express purpose of being rent asunder, in order that he might show to the people of God by his sufferings the meaning of his warnings; his afflictions became the interpreters of his words, his personal bereavements the parallel comment on his discourses. ‘In the evening my wife died.’ And he was forbidden to weep. No rending of the heart’s affection—no human suffering, however keen—no tearing up by the roots of family ties, however close, were for one moment to enervate the vigour and force of his example. The expression of sorrow would have melted away the severe outline of that perfect form of resignation which he was to exhibit. Surely, brethren, the prophet of the captivity speaks, in words of no light import to us, of the necessity of our living for our people, and showing by patient sufferings and denials the truth, the reality, of what we daily read and hourly teach.

III. In every human experience there are times when the personal must be subordinated to the national and universal.—We must choke back our sobs, crush down our almost uncontrollable emotion, preserve a calm and tranquil exterior, that we may devote ourselves more earnestly and continuously to the crying need of others. There is nothing nobler than the self-restraint which anoints the head and washes the face, that it may have leisure from itself to do its life-work, and to press to its bosom those who are suffering around. There was an illustration of this in a recent railway accident, when a little girl, badly hurt, insisted on the helpers caring for others first.

Rev. E. Monro.

Illustrations

(1) ‘Ezekiel was told to veil his emotion for a specific reason, and as a sign to his people. But may we not staunch our flowing tears for yet another reason, when we remember into how much blessedness our dear ones have gone? Heaven is not far away, but enwraps us. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, as the veil of mortality drops from over our vision, we see the presence in which we have ever been. They have found themselves surrounded by a great kindred, and they have known as they have been known, have recognised as they have been recognised. Many recognised Jesus, though in the Resurrection Body. It must be a great hour, when the soul passes unto that loving and rejoicing throng, to be welcomed into everlasting habitations of which our Lord spoke.’

(2) ‘Ezekiel’s natural tenderness is shown in the graphic words, “the desire of thine eyes.” He loved his wife with the most devoted attachment; but though he knew that she would be taken from him at a stroke, he spoke to the people in the morning as usual.

The lesson was obvious. However much the people might love their relatives, there would be no opportunity to mourn for them after the usual fashion; the most that would be possible would be to moan to one another. Oh for Ezekiel’s devotion!

I am His,

Not mine, not hers; I dare not weep for her

When God hath need of me.’

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Bibliographical Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Ezekiel 24". The Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cpc/ezekiel-24.html. 1876.