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Ezekiel 14:1 . Then came certain of the elders of Israel, ex-judges and magistrates in Judea. They were all idolaters, yet they wished to know whether there were any hope of their return to Jerusalem, and of restoration to their lands and their honours. They sat and waited for the Word of the Lord to speak by his prophet.
Ezekiel 14:3 . These men have set up their idols in their heart. Viri hi fecerunt ascendere stercora sua in cor suum. These men have caused the dung, or as the Munster version reads, stercoreos Deos suos, the dung of their gods to ascend before me. Delicacy induced our version to omit a part of the text; yet it has not omitted the same offensive word in Malachi 2:3.
Ezekiel 14:14 . Noah, Daniel, and Job. God may be so provoked with the sins of a nation, and so determined to destroy them, that he will hear no intercession for them. Even though Noah were to intersede, who was himself delivered because he was righteous, and delivered his children, though they were not all good: or Job, who interseded for his friends, and prevailed. To these Daniel is added, who was now alive, and but a young man. This honour God conferred upon him, as he intended to make him a great blessing to the public, and to animate him in all his services, and comfort him under all his sufferings. The jews at Jerusalem might hear of the growing fame of Daniel, and think that if he had been with them they should have been delivered; but God assures them of the contrary.
Ezekiel 14:15 . If I cause noisome beasts to pass through the land, to range abroad unexpectedly; if the lion roar against the shepherds; if the lurking leopard make his leap, and the powerful bear gripe them in his jaws; the holy triumvirate mentioned in the former verse shall not deliver them, for the land shall be waste and desolate. Such is the decision of offended Deity.
We have before us a striking case which developes the mind of God, and his providential dealings with incorrigible sinners. Elders who despised Ezekiel came to consult him. They sat waiting till the Spirit should move the prophet to speak. Zedekiah also, who imprisoned Jeremiah, came at last to consult him. But were not those elders afraid of offending their idols by coming to ask counsel of the Lord; or had they some doubts or distrust of the idols, ever dumb in the times of extremity.
The elders came for a new revelation, but the prophet preached to them an old sermon, and a very specific one it was. He assured them that God would not receive their worship, perfumed with all the ordures of their uncleanness. No, no; when the wild beasts shall desolate both them and their flocks in the fields; when the sword shall defeat their armies, when the famine, succeeded by the pestilence, shall prey upon the cities, then no prayers should save them. Even though Job, who shone as a morning star in the ancient church; though Noah, who preached righteousness, and withstood the scoffing of the antediluvian rebels; though Daniel whose virtues, though a captive, raised him to the presidency of Chaldea, stood before me, even as Moses stood in the gap when their fathers danced to the calf, I would turn away my face from their intercessions. I would not hear them for a temple desecrated with idols, and profaned with blood. They should only by their righteousness, which abounds to man through the new covenant, deliver their own souls. Nay, I will add more: I would not hear them for any mitigation of the calamities occasioned by the sword, the pestilence, and the famine. When God becomes inexorable, what shall sinners do?
How vain then is it for man, how obtrusive, how offensive to appear before the Lord in his sins. What, is the adulterer at confession? Is the learned seducer swearing faith to heaven? Is the swindler and the robber at the bar of equity, before he has made restitution? The Lord declares, as with an oath, I will not be enquired of by them. I will answer them according to their διανοηματα , according to all the crafts, twists, turns, and purposes of their deceitful hearts.
Oh my soul, what a dread tribunal is that of the Lord. How shall I appear? Have I repented of all my sins, and brought forth fruits meet for repentance? Have I sought the opposite virtue of every vice, and followed after every habitude of faith and piety? Lord help me, according to the multitude of thy tender mercies!
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Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Ezekiel 14". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 14 / Ordinary 19