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Bible Commentaries
Ezekiel 33

Fairbairn's Commentary on Ezekiel, Jonah and Pastoral EpistlesFairbairn's Commentaries

Verses 1-33

CHAPTER 33.

RENEWAL OF EZEKIEL’S COMMISSION HIS OFFICE AS WATCHMAN.

Ezekiel 33:1 . And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying,

Ezekiel 33:2 . Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say to them, When I bring upon a land the sword, and the people of the land take a man from their borders, and set him for their watchman;

Ezekiel 33:3 . And he sees the sword coming upon the land, and blows the trumpet, and warns the people;

Ezekiel 33:4 . Then whosoever hears the sound of the trumpet, and does not take warning, and the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be upon his own head.

Ezekiel 33:5 . He heard the sound of the trumpet, and did not take warning; his blood shall be upon him; but he that takes warning shall deliver his soul.

Ezekiel 33:6 . And when the watchman sees the sword coming, and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword does come, and takes a person from among them, that person is taken away in his iniquity, and his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand.

Ezekiel 33:7 . And thou, son of man, I have set thee a watchman to the house of Israel, and thou shalt hear the word from my mouth, and shalt give them warning from me.

Ezekiel 33:8 . When I say to the wicked, wicked man, thou shalt surely die, and thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, and his blood I will require at thy hand.

Ezekiel 33:9 . And when thou dost warn the wicked from his way, that he should turn from it, and he does not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity, and thou hast delivered thy soul.

Ezekiel 33:10 . And thou, son of man, say to the house of Israel, Thus ye speak, saying, “For our transgressions and our sins are upon us, and we pine away in them; how then should we live?”

Ezekiel 33:11 . Say to them, As I live, saith the Lord Jehovah, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; and why will ye die, house of Israel?

Ezekiel 33:12 . And thou, son of man, say to the children of thy people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression, nor by the wickedness of the wicked shall he fall in the day that he turns from his wickedness; and the righteous shall not be able to live by it (viz. his righteousness) in the day of his transgression.

Ezekiel 33:13 . When I say to the righteous, He shall surely live; and he trusts in his righteousness, and commits iniquity, none of his righteousness shall be remembered, and in his iniquity that he has committed, in that shall he die.

Ezekiel 33:14 . And when I say to the wicked, Thou shalt surely die, and he turns from his iniquity, and does judgment and righteousness;

Ezekiel 33:15 . The wicked restores the pledge, compensates for his robbery, walks in the statutes of life without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die.

Ezekiel 33:16 . None of his sins that he has committed shall be remembered against him; he does what is just and right; he shall surely live.

Ezekiel 33:17 . Yet the children of thy people say, The way of the Lord is not equal: but for them, their way is not equal.

Ezekiel 33:18 . When the righteous turns from his righteousness, and commits iniquity, then he dies in them (viz. his iniquities).

Ezekiel 33:19 . And when the wicked turns from his wickedness, and does what is just and right, on account of these he shall live.

Ezekiel 33:20 . Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal: every man according to his way will I judge you, house of Israel.

21. And it came to pass, in the twelfth year of our captivity, in the fifth of the tenth month, the escaped from Jerusalem came to me, saying, The city is taken.

Ezekiel 33:22 . And the hand of Jehovah was upon me in the evening before that the escaped came; and had opened my mouth until he (the escaped) came in the morning; and my mouth was opened, and I was no more dumb.

Ezekiel 33:23 . And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying,

Ezekiel 33:24 . Son of man, the inhabitants of those wastes upon the territory of Israel speak, saying, Abraham was but one, and he inherited the land; while we are many, to us is the land given for an inheritance.”

Ezekiel 33:25 . Therefore say to them, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Ye eat with the blood, (Spencer (De Leg. Heb. ii. 11) has laboured to prove that the expression here עַל־הַדָּם תֹּאכֵלוּ , literally upon or over the blood ye eat, differs materially from that which merely prohibits the eating of blood: Ye shall not eat the blood. He understands the reference here to be to Leviticus 19:26, where the same form of expression is used; and that in both passages what is forbidden is the practice of eating over or near the blood of animals sacrificed in the celebration of magical rites, particularly the rites of evocation. And Horsley speaks of Spencer’s exposition being clearly and incontrovertibly proved. To me it seems to fail in the very point to be proved viz. that the connection between the eating near the blood of slain victims and practising the rites of magic was of so close and peculiar a kind, that the one might be sufficient to indicate the other. It was palpably the reverse: there was no sacrifice at all when the witch of Endor evoked Samuel, and while with Balaam’s enchantments there were sacrifices employed, yet, these being holocausts, there was no eating connected with them. Besides, in 1 Samuel 14:32-34, where the army of Saul are spoken of as eating with the blood, and where there was no room for enchantments or magical rites of any sort, it is precisely the expression before us that is used. Hence all recent commentators justly regard the sin here charged upon the people as simply a disregard of the Divine prohibition against eating the blood with the flesh.) and lift up your eyes to your idols, and shed blood; and shall ye inherit the laud?

Ezekiel 33:26 . Ye stand upon your swords (i.e., look to these as the ground of your security and strength), ye work abomination, and defile every one his neighbour’s wife; and shall ye inherit the land?

Ezekiel 33:27 . Thus shalt thou say to them, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, As I live, surely they that are in the wastes shall fall by the sword, and he who is in the open field I give him to the wild beast for food, and such as are in the forts and caves shall die of the pestilence.

Ezekiel 33:28 . And I give the land to be waste and desolate, and ceased is the pomp of its strength; and the mountains of Israel are desolate; so that there is none passing through.

Ezekiel 33:29 . And they shall know that I am Jehovah, in that I make the land waste and desolate, because of all their abominations which they have committed.

Ezekiel 33:30 . And thou, son of man, the children of the people, who speak against thee beside the walls and at the doors of their houses, and talk one to another, each man to his neighbour, saying, “Come, now, and let us hear what the word is that proceedeth from the Lord.”

Ezekiel 33:31 . And they come to thee like a gathering of the people (literally, according to the coming of a people like a streaming multitude, as in a solemn public meeting), and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they do them not; for with their mouths they act the part of lovers (literally, they do or act lovers), (The word עֲגָבִים , only occurs in Jeremiah 4:30, besides the double use of it in the present passage, and there it is plainly used in the sense of lovers. But in another passage (chap, 23:5) the verb is used by Ezekiel in much the same sense, “She doted upon her lovers,” or went after them with fond affection. So that simply lovers or admirers, not much love, as our version, nor jokes, as Ewald, nor lovely, as Hitzig, must be taken as the proper meaning of the word here. Hävernick says it is always used by Ezekiel in the sense of impure love, gallantry (buhlerei), and that he is particularly fond of it. But this fondness shows itself no more than three times, and then only as indicative of a strong, though not necessarily a wrong affection. His common word for lovers in a bad sense in not this, but מְאַֹהַבִיס , as it is also of the other prophets. If any subordinate meaning therefore were to be added to the meaning lovers, it should simply be that of fond or doting affection.) after their gain their heart goes.

Ezekiel 33:32 . And lo! thou art to them like a lover’s song, with a pleasant voice, and playing well on an instrument; and they hear thy words, but they do them not.

Ezekiel 33:33 . And when it comes behold, it is come; and they know that a prophet is among them.

AN entirely new department of Ezekiel’s labours begins here. After a period of suspended animation, the prophetic Spirit again returns to breathe in his soul, and prompts him to a new discharge of his prophetical function. Hitherto it has been chiefly the comminatory part that he has fulfilled, now it is to be the consolatory. He has laboured in vain to avert the stroke of Jerusalem’s overthrow, and the utter prostration of the tabernacle of David. The calamity, so often foretold and warned against, has come; and he must now address himself to the more agreeable task of reviving the hopes of the fallen, by disclosing to them the prospect of a glorious future. For judgment cannot rest for ever on the house of God. The night of sorrow must give way to the morning of joy; and when the period of lowest depression has been reached, the moment has assuredly come for the commencement of a new and better position.

It was not till the evil had got to its worst stage of judicial destruction, that the prophet was permitted to enter on this more cheering strain of announcements. At the close of Ezekiel 24:0 he was instructed to remain silent till the catastrophe had occurred; for till then neither should God be disposed to give, nor the people be prepared to receive, the word of comfort and encouragement. He was not to open his mouth to Israel again till the escaped from Jerusalem’s desolations came to him, as a witness that the work of judgment was completed, that the false foundations were thoroughly swept away (chap. Ezekiel 24:26-27). And in Ezekiel 33:21-22 he states the fact of such having actually come, with the additional intelligence that already on the evening previous the hand of God had begun to operate on his soul, and had reopened his closed lips.

It was in the eleventh year of Zedekiah’s reign, or Ezekiel’s captivity, the fourth month, that Jerusalem was taken by the Chaldeans, and on the following month was reduced to ashes. It would seem, therefore, that a whole year and five months had elapsed before this appearance of the escaped before Ezekiel too long, Hitzig thinks, for the communication of so important a piece of intelligence to the captivity at Chebar, and therefore he would substitute the eleventh for the twelfth year; as Ewald also does, though without assigning any reason. Not too long, however, Hävernick judges, considering the turmoil and confusion which must necessarily have ensued on the destruction of Jerusalem, and the existing state of things in Judea. If it were simply, indeed, the communication of the tidings of what had taken place that was meant, seventeen months would certainly be a very long period for the conveyance of such intelligence over a distance so comparatively short. But there is no need for supposing that. The expression “he that has escaped,” or “the escaped,” is very often used in a collective sense, to denote generally the remnant that survived any great catastrophe. (See, for example, Isaiah 15:9, “the escaped of Moab;” also Isaiah 37:31-32; Jeremiah 48:19, “he that is escaped;” Amos 9:1, “he that escapeth of them;” 1 Kings 19:17; in all which passages the singular is used collectively for the whole company.) And it is the more probable that such should be the meaning of the term here, as the reopening of the prophet’s mouth, and that for the special purpose of speaking the word of consolation and hope, would most naturally be deferred till the last deportation had taken place, and the number of the captives was complete. But in that case we can easily suppose the period of seventeen months to have elapsed, as all the arrangements connected with the settlement of affairs in Judea, and the transportation of a considerable band of captives to Chebar, must necessarily have occupied much time.

Such, then, being the case, the time having arrived when, by the appearance of an escaped remnant from Jerusalem, the prophet was again to open his mouth in new and more encouraging strains to his countrymen, the prophetic spirit began to prepare him for the work by descending on him the night before; thus graciously anticipating the circumstances., and giving practical proof of his readiness to meet them by suitable communications from above. What the Spirit actually communicated to the prophet on that preceding night, with what tidings his mind was filled or what words his mouth was opened to speak, we are not expressly told. But the natural supposition is, that the message contained in the earlier part of the chapter (Ezekiel 33:1-20) forms the substance of his first communication; while that contained in the latter part (Ezekiel 33:23-33), which is very much like a resumption and practical application of the former, constitutes what the prophet delivered after the escaped had actually come. We thus most naturally account for the first part standing without any intimation of the time or occasion prefixed this was more fitly reserved for the arrival of the escaped on the following day. And it also affords an easy explanation of the close connection as to substance between the two divisions of the chapter, the one being indeed properly the continuation of the other, with a more special reference to the existing circumstances of the people.

1. In regard to the first part of the communication that which we suppose to have been made to the prophet on the preceding night there is no need to dwell at any length, as it consists of representations which have already in substance passed under our notice. The first nine verses exhibit anew the prophet’s calling and office, under the same character in which it was presented at the outset, in chap. Ezekiel 3:16-21, as that of a spiritual watchman; only here the description commences with a detailed account of the responsibilities and duties of such an office, when it has respect merely to common evils, and when the person exercising it is the delegate simply of his fellow-men. This distinct reference to human affairs, and minute delineation of a watchman’s calling, is doubtless introduced for the purpose of impressing upon those with whom Ezekiel had to do the paramount importance of faithfulness in the discharge of his ministerial function. For who does not know that faithfulness is the one grand prerequisite in him who is chosen to do the part of a watchman in times of peril or alarm? He must have his eye intent simply on the realities of things, whether these may be agreeable or not to men’s feelings; nay, all the more intent on these the more they are fraught with danger and distress; that those for whom he watches may learn from him the true position of affairs, and know how to provide against the coming evil. For such an one to slumber at his post, or to conceal the danger he descries, is to incur the highest guilt; as, on the other hand, for them to neglect and slight the faithful warning, is to exhibit the most reckless folly. Now the people had only to transfer such reflections from the earthly to the spiritual region, in order to acquit Ezekiel in the judgment of their own minds, and condemn themselves. He had received, not from man, but from God, the charge to do the part of a watchman to his countrymen; so that faithfulness was pre-eminently required of him. Nor had it been wanting. He had most zealously and devotedly done his part. He had sounded the trumpet of alarm over every cause of disquietude, and at every appearance of danger; but it was only to deaf ears and incredulous hearts. The dreaded calamities had come, sending multitudes to destruction, and involving all in the deep waters of affliction and sorrow. The blood of souls to a fearful extent has been incurred but not on the part of the prophet; his hands are clean; it rests upon the head of the people themselves.

But now that the worst has come, is there nothing more to be done? Has the office of Heaven’s watchman ceased when the cloud of Heaven’s vengeance has burst on the guilty? Has he no commission to speak to those who are sinking under the stroke of judgment the miserable remnant that have escaped absolute destruction, but are still shivering on the brink of ruin? Yes; and it is here that a new sphere of labour presents itself to the prophet, and that a new call comes to him to enter on it. “Therefore, O thou son of man,” or rather, as it literally is, “And thou, son of man,” since by thy past watchings and warnings thou hast but delivered thy own soul, and the children of thy people are involved in the just desert of their sins, “say to the house of Israel, Thus ye speak, saying, ‘For our transgressions and our sins are upon us, and we pine away in them; and how should we live?’ Say to them, As I live, saith the Lord Jehovah, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; and why will ye die, O house of Israel?” (Ezekiel 33:10-11.)

A yearning tenderness here manifests itself, still seeking, notwithstanding all that has taken place, the return of those who survived to the way of peace. But with that tenderness, what a stern and unflinching holiness! There can be no relaxation or abatement mentioned in respect to this, not even amid the meanings of pain and cries of distress which arose from the people, no return to life possible but through a return to righteousness. God is anxious, as a kind and affectionate parent, to see them restored to a happy and prosperous condition; he would not have them ignorant of that. But they must also know that in God’s sight there was a higher thing still, which he could on no account sacrifice for the sake of the other; he must maintain in his dealings with them the honour of his authority and the rectitude of his government; and only if they turn from their wicked ways, can he turn from his fierce displeasure. Here, therefore, stands the one door-way of escape; and the prophet, in entering upon the second department of his ministerial calling, must begin by reiterating the message with which he entered on the first (Ezekiel 3:18-21), and which he had also subsequently repeated and enlarged upon (Ezekiel 18:0.) the message, namely, that each should be dealt with according to his ways. The righteousness of the righteous should not deliver him if he turned aside to transgression; but neither would the wickedness of the wicked prove his destruction, if he sincerely repented of his sins and laid hold of the covenant of God. These are God’s terms now, as they have been all along; the Lord’s servant has no other to offer; and if they are not concurred in, recovery is impossible.

There was something too, especially since matters had come to the worst, in the individual and personal character of God’s communication to the prophet. It not only disclosed the righteous nature in general of the Divine administration, but the close adaptation of its righteousness to each particular case; the righteous, the wicked the righteous lapsed into a transgressor, the wicked reclaimed from the paths of transgression each according to their state and conduct were to receive at the hands of God. The people, therefore, must be done with the imagination that outward political changes were to avail them much; that their fortunes were to be determined, as it were, in the lump; and that it should matter little what they might be in their single and separate conditions. But on the other hand, every encouragement was held out to the penitent and believing; as it was God’s settled purpose to distinguish in his dealings between the righteous and the wicked, and so to do it that such as were inclined to submit to the righteousness of God might be sure it would go well with them whether in Chaldea or in Canaan they at least should be made to experience the loving-kindness of God.

2. So much, then, for the first communication, received immediately before the arrival of the escaped from Jerusalem. And that which came immediately afterwards, and fills up the concluding part of the chapter, is so far an application of the former, as it shows, in the case of two distinct portions of the people, how opposed they still generally were to the righteousness of God, and consequently how far from salvation.

The first portion are those who remained in Judea, the miserable fraction who dwelt among its desolations, and who, notwithstanding all they had seen and suffered of the righteous judgments of God, were still wedded to their sinful ways and cherishing the most groundless hopes. They are represented as continuing much in the same condition, and practising the same enormities as those which had brought down the judgments of God upon the land. The particular sins specified eating with blood, lawless murder, adultery, and continued adherence to the practices of idolatry are evidently given as individualizing examples of the corruption prevalent among the remnant in Judea: not only was sin unrepented of, but sins of the worst kind crying enormities were still openly practised. And that this was but too faithful a description of the state of matters in desolate Judea, is abundantly confirmed by the historical notices in Jeremiah (Jeremiah 40:1), which exhibit a degree of spiritual blindness, resolute opposition to the will of God, reckless disregard of consequences, and inveterate attachment to the soul-destroying errors of idolatry, which, considering the circumstances, have few parallels in the records of human guilt. Yet, with such apparent contempt for everything sacred, the people still seemed anxious to keep up a hypocritical show of piety. They sought advice of Jeremiah, though, when obtained, they refused to follow it in anything that crossed their own inclinations; and here they are represented as appealing in the most confident manner to their connection with Abraham, and on that ground assuring themselves of their right to possess the land of Canaan. He, though but one, got the land for an inheritance; and we his descendants, who, however reduced in numbers, are still a greatly larger company than he could boast of, may not we justly expect to be kept in possession of it? Strange infatuation! that when the signs of God’s displeasure had been so strikingly displayed against them for their sins, scattering all their vain confidences to the wind, they should still, without abandoning those sins, hope for the peculiar tokens of the Divine favour! Yet in a more subtle and refined form we find the same flagrant inconsistence practised by the Jews of our Lord’s time, who in like manner reckoned with confidence on their being children of Abraham, as if that alone were enough to secure them in all covenant blessings, while he charged them with being in spirit children of the devil, and consequently entitled only to look for the portion of the lost (John 8:33-44). Indeed the folly, in one form or another, is common to all ages though the carnal Jews were more peculiarly in danger of falling into it, as their external connection with Abraham formed a strong temptation in that particular direction. In their case the title to blessing was held by a double tie, a natural and a spiritual one the spiritual, however, being of necessity the one of chiefest and most essential moment in the estimation and reckoning of God that without which the other was in a manner nothing. Oneness with Abraham in faith and obedience could alone in his account carry any title to Abraham’s heritage of blessing. But on the other hand, with the carnal portion of his posterity the tendency always was, in proportion as they receded from the right spiritual position, to cling to the mere outward tie of a corporeal descent, and to rest their views and prospects on simply natural considerations. And it is not a disadvantage as compared with them, but a great and important boon, a freedom from one of the most insidious and powerful temptations to which human nature can be exposed, that the believer’s title to blessing under the gospel rests so exclusively on spiritual grounds, and that no assurance of the Divine favour can be found apart from continuance in faith and holiness before God. Could men know, as they would often fain do, their election of God in an absolute manner, were it to be held by them as a simple piece of information, derived from supernatural insight into the purposes of Deity, it would be their misfortune rather than a privilege, for it would immensely increase the danger of their falling into spiritual inactivity or presumption. That assurance only can be safe which is the fruit of a living faith and a righteous behaviour.

The small remnant in Judea being so far from righteousness, the prophet could only speak to them as a minister of condemnation: they had not turned from their evil ways, and they could not live. What they had to expect was only judgment still more severe and exterminating than what yet had been appointed. For them the desolations of the land must become still more desolate, and new horrors be inflicted by the sword, the pestilence, and the wild beast. All must be reduced to the condition of a howling wilderness, as it really was, that the new hope for Israel might spring from another and better root, and that the people might know how impossible it was to attain to blessing from God without first separating from sin.

But unfortunately these were not the only persons who still stood in irreconcilable opposition to the righteousness of God; there were others, close beside the prophet, apparently, indeed, the great mass of the exiles on the banks of the Chebar, who, though less flagrantly at variance with the mind of God in out ward conduct, were actuated at heart by the same wayward and refractory spirit. Referring now to this class, the word of the Lord says to the prophet: “And thou, son of man, the children of thy people, who speak against thee beside the walls and at the doors of their houses, and talk one to another, each man to his neighbour, saying, ‘Come now, and let us hear what the word is that proceedeth from the Lord.’ And they come to thee like a gathering of the people, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they do them not; for with their mouths they act the part of lovers, after their gain their heart goes. And lo! thou art to them like a lover’s song, with a pleasant voice, and playing well on an instrument; and they hear thy words, and do them not: And when it comes lo! it is come: and they know that a prophet is among them” (Ezekiel 33:30-33).

The description forms a continuous and incomplete sentence. The Lord does not say what the prophet was to do, though he begins with the address to him, “And thou, son of man.” But there can be no doubt as to what is meant. He is furnished with a delineation of the people, as to their real state and conduct, and especially of the false and hypocritical manner in which they had acted toward him as the Lord’s messenger; ending with the conclusion, that now, at least, now that the great catastrophe had come, and that they had living evidence before them of the fact in the presence of the escaped from Jerusalem, they could no longer treat his communications with the disbelief, nor speak of himself with the disrespect, they had done. They must at length be convinced in their minds that a true prophet is among them. And this conviction, of course, would be for him like a higher vantage-ground from which to address them in his future ministrations.

It will be understood that the description here given of the people properly applies to the past. During the period of the prophet’s former ministrations their bearing had been that of those who, with a certain degree of deference to the prophet’s character, continued to retain and manifest the most settled antipathy to the spiritual object he had in view. His high vocation as an ambassador of Heaven they durst not altogether disavow; the manner in which he fulfilled it bore on it too distinctly the impress of Heaven’s majesty and earnestness; and they even professed to seek with desire after the communications he had been receiving from above. In respect to these they had done, as it were, a lover’s part with their mouths, exciting one another to go and learn what might be the mind of the Lord. Various occasions of this kind are recorded in the earlier part of the Book, on which they appeared before the prophet as avowed inquirers respecting the will or purposes of Heaven. Not only so, but even while receiving the prophet’s message, there was nothing irreverent or unbecoming in their manner; they listened to his communications as if they felt really interested in the matter hearing it with lovers ears, as with lovers lips they had prompted one another to go where it might be heard. But still it was only as persons floating on the surface of things dealing as with a lover’s song pleasantly chanted, and set off with fit accompaniments of music. Their hearts remained impenetrably shut against the substance of the tidings brought to them, because inveterately attached to their own fond imaginations and foolish conceits. And, as a natural consequence, they talked among themselves against the prophet, both more privately at the doors of their houses, and also in their more public haunts around the walls of the city. They noticed in a hostile spirit everything that was peculiar in his manner, or enigmatical in the style of his communications, with the view of excusing themselves from giving an implicit reception to his testimony, or yielding a hearty obedience to his commands. Precisely as in another age their descendants took refuge in the distinctive characteristics of our Lord and his forerunner: alleging, in excuse of their impenitence, that the one was a wine-bibber, and that the other had a devil.

In all such cases, which are unfortunately confined to no age or country, the make-shift can only last for a time; sooner or later the spell of delusion must be broken God’s word proves to be true, and every man that sets at naught its counsel a liar. So now it fared with those exiles on the Chebar: the gain they were each looking for, by a speedy return to Judea, perished; the often reiterated, but as often discredited, announcement of Jerusalem’s fall and desolation, took effect. With all the prophet’s peculiarities, and notwithstanding everthing they could say against him, the seal of Heaven is at length given to his testimony, in such a manner as to put all doubt and disbelief to silence, wisdom is justified in him as one of her true witnesses and most faithful children. So that here again the lesson comes forth with loud and impressive warnings for all times, that “the word of the Lord is pure, like silver purified seven times.” Whatever exceptions men may be able to take against the casket in which it is presented, or the characteristic properties of the instrument that wields it, the truth it contains is great, and must prevail: “The counsel of the Lord standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations;” while “he brings the counsel of the heathen to nought, he makes the devices of the people of none effect.” In making use of human agents to reveal his will to men, the Lord teaches us to look for no external perfection. There may be found all the diversities of manner, and nearly, too, all the imperfections which distinguish ordinary speakers among men, in his most special instruments of working; for the Spirit, even in his highest operations, must still leave free play to native peculiarities of thought and utterance. But in regard to its substance, God’s word is perfect, and stands nobly apart from all that is of man. Let it ever be ours, therefore, to hear it with reverence, and bow r to its requirements with child-like submission. It is we that must fall in with its terms, not it that must accommodate itself to ours. And whatever is opposed to it, either in the imaginations of the heart or in the course of life outwardly pursued, must sooner or later be brought to nought. They only find the true wisdom who have learned to prove what is the holy and acceptable will of God; for theirs is the “way everlasting.”

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Ezekiel 33". "Fairbairn's Commentary on Ezekiel, Jonah and Pastoral Epistles". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/fbn/ezekiel-33.html.
 
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