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Bible Commentaries
Ezekiel 11

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole BibleCommentary Critical




Verse 1

1. east gate—to which the glory of God had moved itself ( :-), the chief entrance of the sanctuary; the portico or porch of Solomon. The Spirit moves the prophet thither, to witness, in the presence of the divine glory, a new scene of destruction.

five and twenty men—The same as the twenty-five (that is, twenty-four heads of courses, and the high priest) sun-worshippers seen in :-. The leading priests were usually called "princes of the sanctuary" (Isaiah 43:28) and "chiefs of the priests" (Isaiah 43:28- :); but here two of them are called "princes of the people," with irony, as using their priestly influence to be ringleaders of the people in sin (Isaiah 43:28- :). Already the wrath of God had visited the people represented by the elders (Isaiah 43:28- :); also the glory of the Lord had left its place in the holy of holies, and, like the cherubim and flaming sword in Eden, had occupied the gate into the deserted sanctuary. The judgment on the representatives of the priesthood naturally follows here, just as the sin of the priests had followed in the description (Ezekiel 8:12; Ezekiel 8:16) after the sin of the elders.

Jaazaniah—signifying "God hears."

son of Azur—different from Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan (Ezekiel 8:16- :). Azur means "help." He and Pelatiah ("God delivers"), son of Benaiah ("God builds"), are singled out as Jaazaniah, son of Shaphan, in the case of the seventy elders (Ezekiel 8:11; Ezekiel 8:12), because their names ought to have reminded them that "God" would have "heard" had they sought His "help" to "deliver" and "build" them up. But, neglecting this, they incurred the heavier judgment by the very relation in which they stood to God [FAIRBAIRN].

Verse 2

2. he—the Lord sitting on the cherubim (Ezekiel 10:2).

wicked counsel—in opposition to the prophets of God (Ezekiel 10:2- :).

Verse 3

3. It is not near—namely, the destruction of the city; therefore "let us build houses," as if there was no fear. But the Hebrew opposes English Version, which would require the infinitive absolute. Rather, "Not at hand is the building of houses." They sneer at Jeremiah's letter to the captives, among whom Ezekiel lived ( :-). "Build ye houses, and dwell in them," that is, do not fancy, as many persuade you, that your sojourn in Babylon is to be short; it will be for seventy years (Jeremiah 25:11; Jeremiah 25:12; Jeremiah 29:10); therefore build houses and settle quietly there. The scorners in Jerusalem reply, Those far off in exile may build if they please, but it is too remote a concern for us to trouble ourselves about [FAIRBAIRN], (Compare Ezekiel 12:22; Ezekiel 12:27; 2 Peter 3:4).

this city . . . caldron . . . we . . . flesh—sneering at 2 Peter 3:4- :, when he compared the city to a caldron with its mouth towards the north. "Let Jerusalem be so if you will, and we the flesh, exposed to the raging foe from the north, still its fortifications will secure us from the flame of war outside; the city must stand for our sakes, just as the pot exists for the safety of the flesh in it." In opposition to this God says (2 Peter 3:4- :), "This city shall not be your caldron, to defend you in it from the foe outside: nay, ye shall be driven out of your imaginary sanctuary and slain in the border of the land." "But," says God, in 2 Peter 3:4- :, "your slain are the flesh, and this city the caldron; but (not as you fancy, shall ye be kept safe inside) I will bring you forth out of the midst of it"; and again, in Ezekiel 24:3, "Though not a caldron in your sense, Jerusalem shall be so in the sense of its being exposed to a consuming foe, and you yourselves in it and with it."

Verse 4

4. prophesy . . . prophesy—The repetition marks emphatic earnestness.

Verse 5

5. Spirit . . . fell upon me—stronger than "entered into me" (Ezekiel 2:2; Ezekiel 3:24), implying the zeal of the Spirit of God roused to immediate indignation at the contempt of God shown by the scorners.

I know— (Ezekiel 3:24- :). Your scornful jests at My word escape not My notice.

Verse 6

6. your slain—those on whom you have brought ruin by your wicked counsels. Bloody crimes within the city brought on it a bloody foe from without (Ezekiel 7:23; Ezekiel 7:24). They had made it a caldron in which to boil the flesh of God's people (Ezekiel 7:24- :), and eat it by unrighteous oppression; therefore God will make it a caldron in a different sense, one not wherein they may be safe in their guilt, but "out of the midst of" which they shall be "brought forth" (Jeremiah 34:4; Jeremiah 34:5).

Verse 7

7. The city is a caldron to them, but it shall not be so to you. Ye shall meet your doom on the frontier.

Verse 8

8. The Chaldean sword, to escape which ye abandoned your God, shall be brought on you by God because of that very abandonment of Him.

Verse 9

9. out of the midst thereof—that is, of the city, as captives led into the open plain for judgment.

Verse 10

10. in the border of Israel—on the frontier: at Riblah, in the land of Hamath (compare 2 Kings 25:19-21; 1 Kings 8:65).

ye shall know that I am the Lord—by the judgments I inflict (1 Kings 8:65- :).

Verse 11

11. (See on :-).

Verse 12

12. (Deuteronomy 12:30; Deuteronomy 12:31).

Verse 13

13. Pelaliah—probably the ringleader of the scorners ( :-); his being stricken dead (like Ananias, :-) was an earnest of the destruction of the rest of the twenty-five, as Ezekiel had foretold, as also of the general ruin.

fell . . . upon . . . face—(See on Ezekiel 9:8).

wilt thou make a full end of the remnant—Is Pelatiah's destruction to be the token of the destruction of all, even of the remnant? The people regarded Pelatiah as a mainstay of the city. His name (derived from a Hebrew root, "a remnant," or else "God delivers") suggested hope. Is that hope, asks Ezekiel, to be disappointed?

Verse 15

15. thy brethren . . . brethren—The repetition implies, "Thy real brethren" are no longer the priests at Jerusalem with whom thou art connected by the natural ties of blood and common temple service, but thy fellow exiles on the Chebar, and the house of Israel whosoever of them belong to the remnant to be spared.

men of thy kindred—literally, "of thy redemption," that is, the nearest relatives, whose duty it was to do the part of Goel, or vindicator and redeemer of a forfeited inheritance (Leviticus 25:25). Ezekiel, seeing the priesthood doomed to destruction, as a priest, felt anxious to vindicate their cause, as if they were his nearest kinsmen and he their Goel. But he is told to look for his true kinsmen in those, his fellow exiles, whom his natural kinsmen at Jerusalem despised, and he is to be their vindicator. Spiritual ties, as in the case of Levi (Deuteronomy 33:9), the type of Messiah (Deuteronomy 33:9- :) are to supersede natural ones where the two clash. The hope of better days was to rise from the despised exiles. The gospel principle is shadowed forth here, that the despised of men are often the chosen of God and the highly esteemed among men are often an abomination before Him (Luke 16:15; 1 Corinthians 1:26-28). "No door of hope but in the valley of Achor" ("trouble," 1 Corinthians 1:26-46.1.28- :), [FAIRBAIRN].

Get you far . . . unto us is this land—the contemptuous words of those left still in the city at the carrying away of Jeconiah to the exiles, "However far ye be outcasts from the Lord and His temple, we are secure in our possession of the land."

Verse 16

16. Although—anticipating the objection of the priests at Jerusalem, that the exiles were "cast far off." Though this be so, and they are far from the outer temple at Jerusalem, I will be their asylum or sanctuary instead (Psalms 90:1; Psalms 91:9; Isaiah 8:14). My shrine is the humble heart: a preparation for gospel catholicity when the local and material temple should give place to the spiritual (Isaiah 57:15; Isaiah 66:1; Malachi 1:11; John 4:21-24; Acts 7:48; Acts 7:49). The trying discipline of the exile was to chasten the outcasts so as to be meet recipients of God's grace, for which the carnal confidence of the priests disqualified them. The dispersion served the end of spiritualizing and enlarging the views even of the better Jews, so as to be able to worship God everywhere without a material temple; and, at the same time, it diffused some knowledge of God among the greatest Gentile nations, thus providing materials for the gathering in of the Christian Church among the Gentiles; so marvellously did God overrule a present evil for an ultimate good. Still more does all this hold good in the present much longer dispersion which is preparing for a more perfect and universal restoration (Isaiah 2:2-4; Jeremiah 3:16-18). Their long privation of the temple will prepare them for appreciating the more, but without Jewish narrowness, the temple that is to be (Jeremiah 3:16-24.3.18- :).

a little—rather, "for a little season"; No matter how long the captivity may be, the seventy years will be but as a little season, compared with their long subsequent settlement in their land. This holds true only partially in the case of the first restoration; but as in a few centuries they were dispersed again, the full and permanent restoration is yet future (Jeremiah 3:16-24.3.18- :).

Verse 17

17. (Ezekiel 28:25; Ezekiel 34:13; Ezekiel 36:24).

Verse 18

18. They have eschewed every vestige of idolatry ever since their return from Babylon. But still the Shekinah glory had departed, the ark was not restored, nor was the second temple strictly inhabited by God until He came who made it more glorious than the first temple ( :-); even then His stay was short, and ended in His being rejected; so that the full realization of the promise must still be future.

Verse 19

19. I will give them—lest they should claim to themselves the praise given them in :-, God declares it is to be the free gift of His Spirit.

one heart—not singleness, that is, uprightness, but oneness of heart in all, unanimously seeking Him in contrast to their state at that time, when only single scattered individuals sought God (Jeremiah 32:39; Zephaniah 3:9) [HENGSTENBERG]. Or, "content with one God," not distracted with "the many detestable things" (Ezekiel 11:18; 1 Kings 18:21; Hosea 10:2) [CALVIN].

new spirit— (Psalms 51:10; Jeremiah 31:33). Realized fully in the "new creature" of the New Testament (Jeremiah 31:33- :); having new motives, new rules, new aims.

stony heart—like "adamant" (Zechariah 7:12); the natural heart of every man.

heart of flesh—impressible to what is good, tender.

Verse 20

20. walk in my statutes—Regeneration shows itself by its fruits (Galatians 5:22; Galatians 5:25).

they . . . my people, . . . I . . . their God— (Ezekiel 14:11; Ezekiel 36:28; Ezekiel 37:27; Jeremiah 24:7). In its fullest sense still future (Zechariah 13:9).

Verse 21

21. whose heart . . . after . . . heart of . . . detestable things—The repetition of "heart" is emphatic, signifying that the heart of those who so obstinately clung to idols, impelled itself to fresh superstitions in one continuous tenor [CALVIN]. Perhaps it is implied that they and their idols are much alike in character (Psalms 115:8). The heart walks astray first, the feet follow.

recompense . . . way upon . . . heads—They have abandoned Me, so will I abandon them; they profaned My temple, so will I profane it by the Chaldeans (Psalms 115:8- :).

Verse 23

23. The Shekinah glory now moves from the east gate (Ezekiel 10:4; Ezekiel 10:19) to the Mount of Olives, altogether abandoning the temple. The mount was chosen as being the height whence the missiles of the foe were about to descend on the city. So it was from it that Jesus ascended to heaven when about to send His judgments on the Jews; and from it He predicted its overthrow before His crucifixion (Ezekiel 10:19- :). It is also to be the scene of His return in person to deliver His people (Zechariah 14:4), when He shall come by the same way as He went, "the way of the east" (Ezekiel 43:2).

Verse 24

24. brought me in a vision—not in actual fact, but in ecstatic vision. He had been as to the outward world all the time before the elders ( :-) in Chaldea; he now reports what he had witnessed with the inner eye.

Verse 25

25. things . . . showed me—literally, "words"; an appropriate expression; for the word communicated to him was not simply a word, but one clothed with outward symbols "shown" to him as in the sacrament, which AUGUSTINE terms "the visible word" [CALVIN].

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Ezekiel 11". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfb/ezekiel-11.html. 1871-8.
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