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Bible Commentaries

Dr. Constable's Expository Notes

Ezekiel 2

B. The Lord’s charge to Ezekiel chs. 2-3

Having seen a vision of God’s glory, Ezekiel was now ready to receive his commission as the Lord’s servant.

"The essential coherence between the vision and the ensuing commission is that the God who has revealed himself in a theophany of judgment turns Ezekiel into a prophet of judgment." [Note: Allen, p. 38.]

Verse 1

Yahweh instructed Ezekiel to stand on his feet because the Lord wanted to speak with him.

"Not paralysis before him is desired by God, but reasonable service. . . . It is man erect, man in his manhood, with whom God will have fellowship and with whom he will speak." [Note: A. B. Davidson, The Book of the Prophet Ezekiel, p. 15.]

"The expression "son of man" [Heb. ben ’ish] is a common Semitic way of indicating an individual man (Psalms 4:2; Psalms 57:4; Psalms 58:1; Psalms 144:3; Jeremiah 49:18; Jeremiah 49:33; Jeremiah 50:40; Jeremiah 51:43)." [Note: The New Scofield Reference Bible, p. 840.]

"Son of man" (Heb. ben ’adam) is a distinctive title in this prophecy and stresses the humanity of the prophet in contrast to the supernatural creatures and the deity of the glorious Lord. The Hebrew title appears 93 times in Ezekiel and only once elsewhere in the Old Testament (Daniel 8:17). In Daniel 8:17, this title, ben ’adam, describes Daniel. In the New Testament, "son of man" describes a person who is both God and man (cf. Daniel 7:13, ben ’ish). This was the favorite title that Jesus used of Himself in the Gospels (Matthew 8:20; Matthew 9:6; Matthew 11:19; Mark 2:28; Mark 10:45; Luke 19:10; et al.). In view of its use in the Old Testament, "son of man" stressed Jesus’ true humanity and His dependence on the Spirit of God as well as His deity. [Note: See F. F. Bruce, "The Background to the Son of Man Sayings," in Christ the Lord: Studies in Christology Presented to Donald Guthrie, pp. 50-70.] "Son of" indicates a close relationship even when it does not describe literal son-ship (e.g., "son of peace," i.e., a person associated with peace, Luke 10:6).

"By this title Ezekiel would be reminded continually that he was dependent on the Spirit’s power, which enabled him to receive the message of God (Ezekiel 2:2) and to deliver it in the power and authority of the Lord-’This is what the Sovereign LORD says’ (Ezekiel 2:4)." [Note: Alexander, "Ezekiel," p. 761.]

Verses 1-5

1. The recipients of Ezekiel’s ministry 2:1-5

Verse 2

The Holy Spirit, or perhaps a wind sent from God, [Note: Robert B. Chisholm Jr., Handbook on the Prophets, p. 233.] entered Ezekiel as the Lord spoke to him and enabled him to stand up and hear what the Lord was saying (cf. Ezekiel 3:24; Exodus 4:10-15; Exodus 31:1-11; 1 Samuel 10:9-11; Psalms 51:11; Jeremiah 1:4-19; Daniel 8:18; Acts 2:4; Ephesians 5:18; et al.).

Verse 3

The Lord explained that He was sending Ezekiel to the Israelites who were rebellious and had rebelled against Him. The current generation and their forefathers had transgressed against the Lord to the present day by violating the Mosaic Covenant. The history of Israel had been "one unbroken apostasy." [Note: C. H. Toy, The Book of the Prophet Ezekiel, p. 97.]

"The word ’rebellious’ can be understood as the key to the attitude of Israel throughout the book." [Note: Feinberg, p. 23.]

"Though the technical language of covenant is sparse in Ezekiel, the notion of covenant is everywhere presupposed." [Note: Merrill, p. 369.]

Verse 4

The people to whom God was sending Ezekiel were stubborn and obstinate (lit. hard-faced and hard-hearted), as children often are. The prophet was to announce to them what their master Yahweh said. Ezekiel used the title "Lord God" (Heb. ’adonay Yahweh, Sovereign Yahweh) 217 times. It emphasizes both God’s sovereign authority and His covenant-keeping faithfulness. [Note: Dyer, "Ezekiel," p. 1230.]

Verse 5

As a result of Ezekiel’s ministry these people would know that a prophet had been among them, that God had sent a messenger to them, whether they chose to listen or not. They might not listen because they were a rebellious "house" (nation), but Ezekiel was not to change his message to accommodate his hearers.

Verse 6

Ezekiel was not to fear the Israelites to whom he was to minister even though their reactions to him might be as uncomfortable as pricking thorns or stinging scorpions (cf. Joshua 1:9). Their words and actions would not be able to harm him even though they were a rebellious people (cf. Isaiah 6:9-10; Jeremiah 1:18-19).

Verses 6-7

2. The encouragement in Ezekiel’s ministry 2:6-7

Verse 7

Whether these rebels listened or not, Ezekiel was to announce God’s messages to them.

"The measure of success in God’s work is not always in terms of the amount and frequency of visible response. Success is to be measured in terms of our obedience to the words, commands, and will of God regardless of the visible results [cf. Matthew 25:21; Matthew 25:23; 1 Corinthians 4:2]." [Note: Cooper, p. 77.]

"Rare is the person who can set out on a task knowing that people will hate him or her for doing it. But this is exactly what Ezekiel was called to do. His faithfulness stands as a challenge to ours." [Note: Stuart, p. 39.]

Verse 8

The Lord warned Ezekiel not to be rebellious like the people of Israel but to listen to Him and to receive the messages that God would feed him (cf. Deuteronomy 8:3; Jeremiah 15:16; Matthew 4:4; John 6:53-58).

Verses 8-11

3. The nature of Ezekiel’s ministry 2:8-3:11

This pericope contains 10 commands, and it is the center of the chiasm in chapters 1-3.

"The Lord’s charge to Ezekiel emphasized the absolute necessity of hearing, understanding, and assimilating God’s message prior to going forth as a spokesman for the Lord." [Note: Alexander, "Ezekiel," p. 763.]

All the Lord’s representatives must do the same (cf. Ezra 7:10).

Verses 9-10

Ezekiel then saw a hand extending a scroll to him. The Lord spread it out before the prophet and he saw that it was full of lamentations, mourning, and woes (i.e., bad news; chs. 4-32). Normally scrolls had writing on only one side, but this one had writing on both sides; it was full of revelation (cf. Revelation 5:1).

"This accurately summarizes the contents of Ezekiel 4-32. It does not, however, reflect the latter part of the book in which the prophet spoke of Israel’s restoration. This could explain, in part, why Ezekiel was recommissioned (chapter 33)-the content of his message was substantially changed after his message of woe was fulfilled." [Note: Dyer, in The Old . . ., pp. 661-62.]

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Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Ezekiel 2". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/ezekiel-2.html. 2012.