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Bible Commentaries

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

Ezekiel 3

Verses 1-15

Ezekiel 3:1-27 Ezekiel Eats the Book Ezekiel 3:1-27 records the story of Ezekiel being commanded to eat a book. John also is commanded to eat a book in Revelation 10:9-11 for same purpose. Also, they experienced the same taste in their mouths.

Revelation 10:9-10, “And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. And I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.”

Perhaps the symbolism of the sweet and the bitter is found in the comments of Sadhu Sundar Singh.

“The cross is like a walnut whose outer rind is bitter, but the inner kernel is pleasant and invigorating. So the cross does not offer any charm of outward appearance, but to the cross-bearer its true character is revealed, and he finds in it the choicest sweets of spiritual peace.” [16]

[16] Sadhu Sundar Singh, At the Master’s Feet, trans. Arthur Parker (London: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1922) [on-line]; accessed 26 October 2008; available from http://www.ccel.org/ccel/singh/feet.html; Internet, “V The Cross and the Mystery of Suffering,” section 1, part 6.

Ezekiel 3:7 But the house of Israel will not hearken unto thee; for they will not hearken unto me: for all the house of Israel are impudent and hardhearted.

Ezekiel 3:7 Scripture References - Note similar verses:

Matthew 10:24-26, “The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household? Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.”

John 15:18, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.”

John 15:20, “Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.”

Ezekiel 3:8 Behold, I have made thy face strong against their faces, and thy forehead strong against their foreheads.

Ezekiel 3:9 As an adamant harder than flint have I made thy forehead: fear them not, neither be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house.

Ezekiel 3:8-9 Comments Jeremiah’s Ministry Parallels Ezekiel’s Ministry - While Ezekiel was prophesying to the children of the Captivity, Jeremiah was speaking to the children of Judah in Jerusalem. God gave Jeremiah a similar charge during the inauguration of his ministry (Jeremiah 1:10).

Jeremiah 1:10, “See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.”

Ezekiel 3:15 Then I came to them of the captivity at Telabib, that dwelt by the river of Chebar, and I sat where they sat, and remained there astonished among them seven days.

Ezekiel 3:15 Word Study on “Telabib” Strong says the Hebrew name “Telabib” “ Tel ’Abiyb ” ( תֵּל אָבִיב ) (H8512) literally means, “a mound of green growth.” Easton says it means, “hill of corn,” and refers to “a city in Babylon, the home of the prophet Ezekiel, located on the river Chebar which was probably a branch of the Euphrates.” This Hebrew word occurs only once in the Old Testament. Scholars tell us that its exact location is unknown today.

Ezekiel 3:15 Word Study on “astonished” Strong says the Hebrew word “astonished” “ shamem ” ( שָׁמֵם ) (H8074) is a primitive root meaning, “to stun, to devastate, to stupefy.” The Enhanced Strong says it is found in the Old Testament 92 times, being translated in the KJV as “desolate 49, astonished 20, desolation 7, waste 5, destroy 3, wondered 2, amazed 1, astonishment 1, misc 4.”

Ezekiel 3:15 Comments - Ezekiel 3:15 tells us how the prophet sat among his people the Jews by the river Chebar in silence for seven days. We are reminded of Zechariah’s vision in the Temple in Luke 1:5-25 how he also was speechless after his divine visitation from an angel.

Luke 1:22, “And when he came out, he could not speak unto them: and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple: for he beckoned unto them, and remained speechless.”

My brother Steve told me that after he had been taken up to Heaven and seen Jesus he could not speak about it to his wife for three days.

Verses 1-21

Ezekiel’s Commission (Comparison with John the Apostle on the Isle of Patmos) - In Ezekiel 1:1 to Ezekiel 3:21 we are given a description of Ezekiel’s supernatural vision and divine commission to be a witness to the Jews in Captivity. In a similar way that John the apostle was banished on the isle of Patmos and had a heavenly vision, so does Ezekiel have a vision in his banishment by the river Chebar. The Lord gave both of them a tremendous revelation using symbols of future events. Both of their books open with a vision. Both visions begin with a visitation from the throne of God. John the apostle was visited by Jesus Christ, who was now ascended to this heavenly throne. Ezekiel simply saw the throne with it glory, for Jesus Christ had not yet taken upon Himself the form of man. Both apocalyptic visions end with a description of heaven, where those who are faithful will abide eternally. Both men are given symbolic revelations of those events that will lead up to the fulfillment of all things.

Both are given books to eat. They both experienced the books to taste like honey. John says that it became bitter to his belly, while Ezekiel says that he went in bitterness of spirit.

Ezekiel 3:1-2, “Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll , and go speak unto the house of Israel. So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat that roll.”

Ezekiel 3:3, “And he said unto me, Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. Then did I eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness .”

Ezekiel 3:14, “So the spirit lifted me up, and took me away, and I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit ; but the hand of the LORD was strong upon me.”

Revelation 10:9, “And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey .”

While John seems to emphasize the role of the Church in the last days, Ezekiel places emphasis upon the role of the nation of Israel.

Ezekiel 1:1 to Ezekiel 3:21 Ezekiel’s Divine Commission (Comparison with Other Divine Commissions) Ezekiel 1:1 to Ezekiel 3:21 describes the prophets divine commission to be a witness to the Jews in Captivity. We often find a divine commission at the beginning of the story of God’ servants in the Scriptures. We see in the book of Genesis that Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob each received their commissions at the beginning of their genealogies, which divide the book of Genesis into major divisions. We also see how Moses received his divine commission near the beginning of his story found within Exodus to Deuteronomy. Joshua received his commission in the first few verses of the book of Joshua. In addition, we see that Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel each received a divine commission at the beginning of their ministries. The book of Ezra opens with a divine call to rebuild the Temple and the book of Nehemiah begins with a call to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, which callings Ezra and Nehemiah answered. In the New Testament, we find Paul the apostle receiving his divine commission in Acts 9:1-22 at the beginning of the lengthy section on Paul’s life and ministry.

Each of these divine callings can be found within God’s original commission to Adam in the story of Creation to be fruitful and multiply. For these men were called to bring the about the multiplication of godly seeds. The patriarchs were called to multiply and produce a nation of righteousness. Moses was called to bring Israel out of bondage, but missed his calling to bring them into the Promised Land. Joshua was called to bring them in to the land. Esther was called to preserve the seed of Israel as was Noah, while Ezra and Nehemiah were called to bring them back into the Promised Land. All of the judges, the kings and the prophets were called to call the children of Israel out of sin and bondage and into obedience and prosperity. They were all called to bring God’s children out of bondage and destruction and into God’s blessings and multiplication. The stories in the Old Testament show us that some of these men fulfilled their divine commission while others either fell short through disobedience or were too wicked to hear their calling from God.

The awesome vision of God in the opened heavens would leave a deep impression on Ezekiel throughout his entire life as a priest to the children of Israel. This vision of God’s holiness would always stand as a measuring rod for Ezekiel as he spoke to the corrupt and wicked hearts of God’s people.

Moses had such an experience at the burning bush to launch him into his ministry (Exodus 3-4). God gave the children of Israel a similar vision as they stood before Mount Sinai and beheld God’s descent upon the mount (Exodus 19:0). We see Isaiah being given a vision of God on His throne (Isaiah 6:0). Jeremiah received his calling and a vision in the opening chapter of his book. Paul the apostle was struck down on the road to Damascus with a vision by which God called him into his ministry (Acts 9:1-22).

Verses 16-21

Ezekiel’s Charge as a Watchman Over Israel In Ezekiel 3:16-21 we have the Lord’s charge to Ezekiel as a watchman over His people Israel. His duty was to tell the people what he saw and heard from the Lord. Immediately after this charge God is going to give Ezekiel prophecies of the impending judgment upon Judah (Ezekiel 3:22 to Ezekiel 24:27) as well as seven nations (Ezekiel 25:1 to Ezekiel 32:32). These are the words of warning that Ezekiel is to deliver to Israel. And at the end of these prophecies, the Lord restates His divine charge to Ezekiel as a watchman over Israel (Ezekiel 33:7).

Ezekiel 33:7, “So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me.”

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Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Ezekiel 3". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/ezekiel-3.html. 2013.