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Bible Commentaries
Ezekiel 3

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-9



Verses 1-9:

Verse 1 recounts the Lord’s charge to Ezekiel to eat or digest what he had seen written upon the scroll concerning Lamentations, mourning and woe that awaited Israel in her rebellion in Chaldea, Galatians 6:7-8. Only after Ezekiel had digested God’s scroll-book message was he to go and bear it to the house of Israel. The idea is one must know, believe, and be earnest in bearing the testimony of God, 1 Timothy 2:15. One should know it first and share it second, Psalms 126:5-6; James 1:22; James 4:17.

Verse 2 asserts that Ezekiel opened his mouth, in obedience to God, took and ate or digested the message from the hand of the Lord, Ezekiel 2:10. Then only was he to be prepared to share it, much as John was called to do, Revelation 10:9; 1 Peter 3:15.

Verse 3 continues the Divine mandate for Ezekiel to cause his belly to eat until he had filled his bowels (seat of affection) with the roll, or understood the real meaning of the message on the scroll that God had given him, a message of Lamentations, mourning, and woe for His rebellious people, Israel, Ezekiel 2:10. Ezekiel then asserts that he obeyed the mandate from the Lord and ate or digested the message of the scroll, until it filled his soul, as honey and honeycomb, for sweetness, Psalms 19:10; Proverbs 16:24; Revelation 10:9; Psalms 119:103.

An hand from the throne brought the scroll message call to Jeremiah 2:9; Moses’ call was from a burning bush, Exodus 3:1-14; Isaiah was called with a live coal placed upon his lips, Isaiah 6:1-8; and the hand of the Lord touched the mouth of Jeremiah at his call, Jeremiah 1:9. Whom He calls He still charges them to bear His word and testimony of His Son, John 15:17; John 15:27; John 20:21; Acts 1:8; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 1 Peter 3:15.

Verse 4 relates the Lord’s direct charge to Ezekiel to go, leave his residence in the Chebar river area of Chaldea, and spread His word to the house of Israel, His forlorn people in rebellion against Him in heathen regions. Ezekiel was to speak the "Lord’s words", not his own words or opinions to them. For it is the word of the Lord that bears good fruit, not the words of men, Isaiah 55:8-11; Hebrews 4:12; Matthew 24:35; Matthew 28:18-20.

Verse 5 qualifies the limits of Ezekiel’s mission by certifying that he is not to go to a people, a language hard to speak or be understood, but to the "house of Israel," to his own national race, the Jewish people in Chaldean captivity, a people who could understand what he preached, Romans 1:16.

Verse 6 continues to clarify the object and goal of Ezekiel’s call and mandate, in bearing the message of God, that he had eaten or digested. The message was a clear message to the house of Israel, to be spoken in his and their own language, not in another language hard to speak or be understood. Then the Lord addressed, "Surely, had I sent thee to them," those of a strange language, the heathen of another language, they would have given heed to you, as on Pentecost, Acts ch. 2. For "my word is not carried in vain," Isaiah 55:11-12. For the word of God is a savior of "life into life or death unto death," 1 Corinthians 2:15-16; Hebrews 4:12.

Verse 7 warns Ezekiel that the "house of Israel" will not give a respectful hearing to his message of coming or increasing lamentations, mournings and woe, even as they did not that day of our Lord, John 15:20. Yet his call was to bear the message faithfully and afar. It was God’s part to give the increase or send judgment upon those who rejected the faithful message. God advised Ezekiel that all the house of Israel was impudent and hard-hearted, had seared souls, as described Proverbs 1:22-31; Proverbs 29:1; Romans 10:20-21. Ezekiel was to bear God’s message, then write it down, as he had affectionately digested and delivered it. The giving of the harvest, or sending of blasting, mildew, and the cankerworm to the unbelieving, and obstinate was God’s business, See? Ecclesiastes 11:1-6; 1 Corinthians 3:8-9.

Verse 8 is a Divine pledge that God had made Ezekiel’s face strong against their face, so that he could look them straight in the eye, in spite of their rejection of his message; and God promised to make Ezekiel’s forehead strong against their forehead so that he could butt heads with them, still be standing, never fall before them, Deuteronomy 33:9. He who had sent Ezekiel made him to be greater, stronger than his enemies, Philippians 1:6; 1 John 4:4.

Verse 9 pledges that the Lord would make Ezekiel’s forehead like an adamant (stone), harder than a flint against these rebellious children of Israel, as an antitype of the Messiah, Isaiah 1:9; Jeremiah 1:8; Jeremiah 1:17. He who calls to a task sustains His own in that task, if they first obediently eat or digest His word and will and commit themselves to do it, Philippians 4:19. Ezekiel was not to be dismayed at their scowling looks for his God would bring them down to fear, Joshua 1:5-8; Hosea 11:5.

Verses 10-21


Verses 10-21:

Verse 10 continues God’s call and charge to Ezekiel as the "Son of man," speaking in the place of and for the Lord, even as His church and children are to witness for Him, bear His message today, Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8-9; Acts 4:12; Romans 1:16; 1 Corinthians 15:1-3. Ezekiel was to hear with his ears, receive into his heart, and obey with his body of service and testimony, all that the God from the glory throne had called him to do, Proverbs 16:1; Psalms 10:17. Even so the Lord calls each of His children and servants to obey Him still, Ephesians 2:10; Matthew 5:13-15; James 1:22.

Verse 11 directs Ezekiel to move out, to go and keep on going to the whole house of Israel in Chaldean captivity, and tell them that they must yet suffer, lament, mourn, and endure judgment woes for their sins and the sins of their idolatrous, immoral, law-breaking, trespassing fathers, as forewarned from the Lord, Deuteronomy ch. 26-29; Whether the people heeded or did not heed his message, he was to keep on bearing the message, facing them down, and "butting" heads with them, v. 9; Numbers 31:23; 2 Timothy 4:1-5.

Verse 12 asserts that at this point in time the Spirit took him up (as surrounded by a whirlwind), overwhelmed him, and he heard behind him a voice of a great rushing, saying (repeatedly saying) "Blessed be the glory of the Lord from his place," where He sat, and from His throne, from which He had called and commissioned Ezekiel as His preaching and writing prophet, Ezekiel 1:17; Ezekiel 1:28. The throne of God’s glory is contrasted with man’s sitting on the ground, a "throne of accursed misery," Lamentations 1:1-3.

Verse 13 adds that he also heard the noise (unintelligible sounds) of the wings (flight) of the living creatures that touched one another, or "kissed" one another, closely embraced, and the noise of the wheels over against them, as they touched one another, against the living creatures, making a sound of rushing in unity. Let it be recalled that these came forth from the storm, the cloud, and the fire of amber, out of the north, headed for judgment upon the then prosperous, but also idolatrous, Chaldea, ch. 1, v. 4, 5.

Verse 14 further asserts that the spirit lifted or (buoyed) Ezekiel up to start his prophecying work, in bitterness of spirit, and the heat or fervor of his spirit, much as Paul felt, 1 Corinthians 2:3-4. Then it is added, "but the hand of the Lord," (ordination, mandate) of the Lord was upon him. Blessed is every servant who goes forth with the "hand of the Lord strong upon him," though his message be one of chastening from the Lord, Zechariah 4:6; Romans 8:14-16. See also 2 Kings 3:15; Ezekiel 8:1; Ezekiel 37:1.

Verse 15 asserts that Ezekiel then or first came to them of Telabib, that resided by the river of Chebar, near where he himself seems to have resided, beginning with his message first, to them near his home. "Tel" means a rise or elevation. He there discloses that he then sat where they sat, simply lived close with them, for seven days, remaining there astonished, stunned, or shocked, at what he saw and heard, as formerly revealed to him in the first vision, Ezekiel 1:1-3; Ezra 9:3-4.

Verse 16 announces that at the end of seven days, the word of the Lord came to him again," repeatedly" saying to him, speaking, as follows: (revealing that there was more to come), Isaiah 28:10-13. The ten tribes had long before been carried away by Shalmaneser,. king of Assyria, and settled on the Chabor or harbor, 2 Kings 17:6.

Verse 17 addresses Ezekiel a third time as "Son of man," or representative of the "heir-redeemer." This time the Lord advises him that he has been made to be (to become) a "watchman unto the house of Israel," as one to go up and down upon the wall, to warn those within the walls of lurking danger, of the approaching enemy or destroyer, as described, Isaiah 52:8; Isaiah 56:10; Isaiah 62:6; Jeremiah 6:17. He was to warn them against personal disobedience to the word of the Lord, not lecture them on history and business affairs. He is the only prophet called a watchman. He was to show them their greatest enemy was within their own souls, and that certain storms of Divine judgment would come upon them for doing evil and neglecting righteousness, Psalms 1:1-6; Galatians 6:6-8; Matthew 5:13-16. Like true ministers of God, he was to proclaim the word he had received from God, reproving, rebuking, and exhorting with longsuffering and doctrine, 2 Timothy 4:1-6.

Verse 18 warns Ezekiel that when the Lord declared that the wicked should surely die for their deeds of wickedness, unless he faithfully and repeatedly warned them what the Lord said, to save their lives, such would die in their iniquity, state of lawlessness, but their blood should be required at the hand of Ezekiel, Ezekiel 33:6; John 8:21; John 8:24. Capitol punishment was the Mosaic law-decree for serious crimes, against which this warning is first given, to a new generation in captivity, yet soul death too is embraced, Acts 20:31; 2 Timothy 4:2.

Verse 19 further pledges that if Ezekiel warned the wicked, and the wicked turned not or repented not of his wickedness, nor turned from his wicked course of conduct, that one would die in his iniquity, or state of anarchy against God and God’s law, John 8:21; John 8:24; Romans 2:12. But Ezekiel would then be free from or liberated from any soul-guilt regarding his witness to the impenitent wicked one, Isaiah 49:4-5; Acts 20:26. This teaches personal accountability of each person, in matters of both salvation and moral behavior before men, Romans 14:11-12; Isaiah 49:4-5.

Verse 20 explains that even when or after a righteous man, one who has turned to God in repentance, turns back into unrighteousness, and lives in lawless ways or law-forbidden ways, and the Lord laid a stumblingblock before him he should die, be put to death, for breach of those moral principles stated in their Mosaic law. Ezekiel was told that he must tell this rebellious house of Israel what their law required, even for their new generation born in captivity, else their blood would be required at Ezekiel’s hand, when they died in their iniquity. For even a righteous or saved man could not murder, commit adultery, or desecrate the sabbath without being subject to the death penalty pronounced in the just execution of the Mosaic Law. The fact that one had turned to the Lord or repented did not provide him security from the penalty of personal, willful breaches of the Mosaic Law. For it was impartially to be executed toward the saved and unsaved, Galatians 3:19; Galatians 3:25. Except Ezekiel warned the house of Israel of such their blood would be required at his hand, as expressed Proverbs 1:21-30.

Verse 21 then assures Ezekiel that if or when he has warned the righteous man, that man who has repented or turned to the Lord, to walk uprightly, obediently in the Law of their God, that righteous one shall live, have no fear of execution or the capital penalty of a broken law, because he has been warned. And also Ezekiel, "you shall have liberated your soul," your life from any act of disobedience through neglect, that would have brought chastisement you. See? Hebrews 12:5-11; 1 Corinthians 11:31-32; Luke 12:47; James 4:17; Hebrews 13:17.

Verses 22-23


Verses 22, 23:

Verse 22 asserts that the "hand of the Lord," was again placed. upon Ezekiel, who reported that the Lord called him to arise, (get up) from where he had sat among his own people in astonishment, and where he had again settled down, Ezekiel 1:3. The Lord called upon him to go out and away into the plain, perhaps near Tel-abib (the open field), where He would talk to or commune with him further, much as the Lord spoke again and again to His missionary Paul, Acts 9:4-6; Acts 13:2; Acts 16:9-10; Acts 26:12-20; 1 Corinthians 15:58; Galatians 6:9; Ephesians 2:10.

Verse 23 certifies that Ezekiel immediately obeyed and went away into the plain and there appeared bodily before him "the glory of the Lord," even His brilliant glory upon the throne, which he had formerly seen by the river Chebar, Ezekiel 1:1; Ezekiel 1:27-28. In holy reverence he then fell upon his face, much as Peter, James and John did at the transfiguration of our Lord, Matthew 17:1-8; Luke 9:31-35.

Verses 24-27


Verses 24-27:

Verse 24 relates that the spirit entered once again into Ezekiel and set him upon his feet, to walk and witness again. But first the spirit directed him to go and shut himself up within his own house, in privacy, away from the den of the world. There he was to remain a time in a secret closet for a Divine purpose, to rest a little time, Matthew 6:31; Galatians 1:11-17.

Three lessons were given to Ezekiel:
1) by eating (digesting) the roll he learned that he was a messenger of God,
2) by being a watchman he learned accountability to God, and
3) by being shut up he learned there is a time to be silent.

Verse 25 announces to Ezekiel that "they", his own rebellious people of his home area, would put "bands" or restrictions upon him, much as our Lord certified that a "prophet is not without honor save in his own country," where he could not do "many mighty works," because of their unbelief, Luke 4:24-29; John 4:44. He was told that when bound he should not go out among his own people, but remain isolated, much as Paul too was bound for two. full years, restricted in prison at Caesarea by the seaside, where it is believed he did much writing, as his spirit was not bound, Acts 24:26-27; 2 Corinthians 6:12. And the word of the Lord was "not bound", 2 Timothy 2:9. When bound in the Roman prison he soon wrote "they of Caesar’s household greet you," Philippians 1:12-13; Philippians 4:22.

Verse 26 advised Ezekiel that the Lord would make his tongue cleave to the roof of his mouth, that he should be dumb (speechless) for a time, much as they of Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, Luke 1:18-22; Luke 1:26. God told him that he should not be to them a reprover, for a time, because of their obstinate or set rebellion. They were not ready to listen to him. So he made him dumb that he could not speak, Ezekiel 24:27; Ezekiel 29:21. God deprived Israel of hearing His prophet for a time, 1 Samuel 7:2; Amos 8:11-12.

Verse 27 assures
Ezekiel that when the Lord speaks to him again he will open his mouth, as opposed to his silence, v. 26; Ezekiel 24:27; Ezekiel 33:22. He is then to say to them repeatedly, "he that heareth, let him hear," or give heed, and "he that forbeareth, let him forbear." But this was to be, only after the fall of Jerusalem. It is his own choice! For "they are (exist as) a rebellious people," a people of enmity against God, Romans 8:7; Romans 10:20-21; Revelation 22:1.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Ezekiel 3". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/ezekiel-3.html. 1985.
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