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Ezekiel 13:3-4 . Woe to the foolish prophets oh Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes in the deserts. The vineyards in rough and rocky places, like our bramble, produced the most delicious grapes. These foxes spoiled the vineyards, “for our vines have a tender,” a delicious and attractive “grape.” They are idle: they have neither stopped the gaps, nor made a hedge against depredators.
Ezekiel 13:10 . One built up a wall; and lo, others daubed it with untempered mortar. The lying prophets played into the hands of one another: they were like dishonest workmen, who engage to build a wall around the garden for a certain price, but daub it with loam instead of lime. When the rainy season comes, and the hurricanes blow, the wall becomes a ruin.
Ezekiel 13:18 . Woe to the women that sew pillows to all arm-holes; that make soft beds, sophas and couches, to allure indulgences, and excite desire; that make soft dresses to suit persons of every stature, to make the body effeminate, while the false prophets preach soft doctrines to soothe the conscience. What would Ezekiel have said to our monthly fashions, and French dresses? Our women fail in self-denial. But let not this case be understood as applicable to pious and benevolent women in the christian church, who act in subordination, and help their ministers in the Lord, by exercising hospitality and kindness to the needy and the destitute.
Ezekiel 13:19 . Will ye pollute me (my holy name) among my people for handfuls of barley, and for pieces of bread? Very few persons of rank identified themselves with the false prophets, and with the sibyls. If handfuls of barley were their hire, they slew the souls of the people, and brought destruction upon their own, for a paltry pittance.
Ezekiel 13:20 . I am against your pillows, wherewith ye there hunt the souls to make them fly. All critics seem dissatisfied with this reading. What connection can there be between effeminate couches, and the hardy exercises of the chace? Tirinus, after the word pulvillis, adds, reticulatis, that is, your nets, or your flatterers and liars, the arts of those Hebrew sibyls to catch flying souls. Calmet prefers nets, as the proper word. Then the reading is harmonized thus. “Behold, I am against your nets, with which you hunt souls, and will tear them from your arms on which you carry them; your smaller nets will I also tear.”
Ezekiel 13:23 . Ye shall know that I am the Lord, by the strokes of my justice in delivering you to the sword, who have thwarted the ministry of my true prophets, and destroyed the nation by your imaginations of peace, peace, soothing idolaters in their sins.
Hard were the battles and daily conflicts of the prophets of the Lord, while the false prophets, for a morsel of barley bread, went with the crowd. They had the people on their side, but the plaudits they received were with some quiverings of conscience, and misgivings of mind. The ear hears the shouts, but the heart feels dissent.
But what were the issues? Jehovah in anger says, they have seen vanity. I have not sent them. Wait then for two or three years, till the Chaldeans form the lines of the siege, till the inhabitants eat their bread by weight, and drink their water by measure, then they will curse those Balaams who came to curse Israel. Unable to support the sarcasms of the enraged citizens concerning augurs of fine harvests, and a superabundance of wine, they will hide their faces in the inner chambers, till outer darkness envelope their souls. Then how will they bear the salutations of Pluto’s dark house? When God breaks down the wall of a false minister, there is real danger lest he himself should be crushed under the ruins.
The popularity of those prophets lay with the wicked. They justified apostasy and crime by the laws of custom; they diminished the terrors which the law excited in the conscience of culprits; and instead of prayers, which bring down a cloud of mercy on an auditory, they excited unhallowed eulogies on themselves, and enflamed the benighted people to persecute and stone the servants of the Lord. Had it not been for the Lord; had it not been for that voice, Son of man, set thy face against those prophets, God’s true witnesses had utterly been put down. Be then encouraged, christian pastors, for heaven is on your side.
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Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Ezekiel 13". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 15 / Ordinary 20