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Saturday, June 22nd, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Ezekiel 12

Benson's Commentary of the Old and New TestamentsBenson's Commentary


A.M. 3411. B.C. 593.

Though the vision of the divine glory was withdrawn from the prophet, yet God’s word continues to come to him, and is by him sent to the people: and to the same purpose with that which was shown in the vision, namely, to announce the terrible judgments that were coming upon Jerusalem, by which the city and temple should be entirely destroyed. In this chapter,

(1,) The prophet, by removing his stuff and quitting his lodgings, is made a sign of Zedekiah’s flight out of Jerusalem in the utmost confusion, when the Chaldeans took the city, Ezekiel 12:1-16 .

(2,) By eating his meat trembling, he prefigures the famine and consternation in the city during the siege, Ezekiel 12:17-20 .

(3,) A message is sent from God to the people, to assure them that all these predictions should be accomplished very shortly, and not be deferred, as they flattered themselves they would be, Ezekiel 12:21-28 .

Verses 1-2

Ezekiel 12:1-2. The word of the Lord also came, &c. This is supposed to have happened in the sixth year of Zedekiah, and five years before the siege of Jerusalem: and the prophecies contained in the following chapters, to the twentieth, are thought to be of the same year. Thou dwellest in the midst of a rebellious house “He was among them of the captivity in Chaldea, as appears from Ezekiel 12:10, Ezekiel 11:24; Ezekiel 14:22, and Ezekiel 24:2. And these seem to have disbelieved the prophecies that Jerusalem should be smitten and burned, and its inhabitants scattered abroad: see Ezekiel 4:2; Ezekiel 9:5; Ezekiel 10:2; Ezekiel 11:9.” Newcome. They saw Jerusalem still inhabited, and under the government of its own king. And as they who were left in Judea thought themselves much more highly in God’s favour than those who had been carried away captives, so those who had been made captives repined at their lot, and thought those who remained in their own country were in a much better condition than themselves; therefore the following symbolical representations were designed to show, that they who were left behind, to endure the miseries of a siege, and the insults of a conqueror, would be in a much worse condition than those who were already settled in a foreign land: see Lowth. Which have eyes to see, and see not, &c. Who will not make use of that sense and understanding which God has given them, nor learn from those examples and incidents which have happened, and by which God intended they should be instructed.

Verses 3-6

Ezekiel 12:3-6. Therefore, prepare thee stuff for removing Hebrew, כלי גולה , vessels, or instruments of removing, namely, such as were suited for that purpose. Get all thy goods together, and pack them up as those do that remove from one place to another. Do this openly, and at noon-day, that the people, among whom thou dwellest, may all see and take notice of it. The prophets often prophesied in this way by signs, as being of greater force and efficacy than words. Thou shalt bring forth thy stuff by day in their sight Before it is quite night, that they, who ought to learn by this sign, may see and consider it. Thou shalt go forth at even To signify that Zedekiah and his retinue should escape out of the city by night, 2 Kings 25:4. Dig through the wall in their sight To show that the king would make his escape by the same means. Carry it forth in the twilight What the prophet was here commanded to carry out in the twilight, it seems, was something different from the goods he removed in the day-time; probably, necessary provision for his present subsistence may be intended. Thou shalt cover thy face that thou see not the ground As Zedekiah shall do, that he may not be discovered. Or, as the prophet was now in Chaldea, this covering of his face, that he might not see the ground, might be intended to signify, that though Zedekiah should be brought into that country, yet he should never see it; as his eyes would be put out on the borders of Judea, as we read they were, Jeremiah 52:0. For I have set thee for a sign unto the house of Israel I will show, by what thou dost, what shall happen to the Jewish nation, and particularly to their king.

Verses 9-16

Ezekiel 12:9-16. Hath not the house of Israel said That is, I know they have said; as the words, “are they not written in the book of Chronicles, &c.?” mean, they are written there. What doest thou, &c. They have inquired by way of derision and contempt, what these signs mean. Say This burden concerneth the prince, &c. Namely, King Zedekiah, chap. Ezekiel 7:27. The prince that is among them shall bear upon his shoulder, &c. Their king shall even be forced himself to carry what he can out of the city, in the dusk of the evening. They shall dig through the wall, &c. His retinue shall make a private way to get out of the city, that they may not be discovered: see Jeremiah 39:4; Jeremiah 52:7. It is probable that the king and his companions fled through a breach made by themselves in the wall. Or the gate through which they fled might have been walled up during the siege. He shall cover his face, &c. See note on Ezekiel 12:6, and on 2 Kings 25:7. My net also will I spread upon him Though he thinks to escape, yet I will bring his enemies upon him, who shall encompass him, and stop his flight, as when a wild beast is entangled in a net. I will bring him to Babylon, yet shall he not see it Neither the land nor the city; for his eyes will be put out at Riblah: see notes on 2 Kings 25:5-7. I will scatter toward every wind all that are about him Either the Egyptians, who came to assist him, or those that fled with him. And I will draw out the sword after them I will cause them to be pursued by the sword and slain, whithersoever they go. But I will leave a few men Hebrew, מספר אנשׁי , men of number: that is, populus numerabilis utpote parvus, a people easily numbered, as being few: Hor., Ars Poet., 50: 206. From the sword &c ., that they may declare all their abominations May confess that they were justly punished for their idolatries and immoralities: or that they may declare the cause (namely, their heinous wickedness) why the city of Jerusalem, and the temple dedicated to Jehovah there, were delivered up to destruction, and thereby may justify my proceedings. And they shall know that I am the Lord Namely, the Chaldeans shall know it. See how God brings good out of evil! The dispersion of sinners, who had done God much dishonour and disservice in their own country, proves the dispersion of penitents, who shall do him much honour and service in other countries.

Verses 17-19

Ezekiel 12:17-19. Moreover, &c. As he was a sign to them in digging through the wall and carrying out his stuff, so he must now be a sign to them in another way. Eat thy bread with quaking, &c. Show all the signs of anxiety and consternation when thou takest thy common sustenance. This he was to do that he might express the calamitous condition of those that should be in Jerusalem during the siege. And say unto the people Thy fellow-captives; Thus saith the Lord of the inhabitants of Jerusalem This was designed to inform the captives that they were not in a worse condition than those that were left behind in Judea. They shall eat their bread with carefulness, &c. See note on Ezekiel 4:16-17. That her land may be desolate Rather, because her land shall be desolate, namely, the land of Jerusalem, or the country, of which it was the head city, which was shortly to be laid waste, emptied of its inhabitants, wealth, and plenty. Because of the violence, &c. The injustice, oppression, and tyranny of the Jews toward one another.

Verses 22-25

Ezekiel 12:22-25 . Son of man, what is that proverb? The saying become proverbial. The days are prolonged, and every vision faileth Words of the same import with those that occur Ezekiel 12:27, and Ezekiel 11:3. Both of them the words of scoffers, who turned the grace of God into wantonness, and took encouragement from his patience and long-suffering, to despise his threatenings, as if they would never be fulfilled. Tell them therefore Who either use this proverb, or who stumble at my deferring to execute judgment; I will make this proverb to cease My patience shall soon be at its period, and will call on my justice to vindicate it, and then calamities felt will prove that there can be no more place for such a proverb, the groundlessness of it being manifest to all. Say unto them, The days are at hand The time when God will show his wrath, and make his power and justice known to the world by fulfilling his threatenings and the predictions of his prophets. For there shall be no more any vain vision The false prophets, who foretold peace and safety, shall see their prophecies so confuted by the events, quite contrary to what they foretold, that they will never pretend any more to publish new prophecies. I am the Lord I am able to discover the vanity and falsehood of the prophets that have flattered the people, and will do it by accomplishing what my true prophets have foretold. The word that I shall speak shall come to pass No length of time shall make me forget it; no pretences of self-flattering prophets or people shall divert me from my purpose; no power can hinder, nor counsel defeat my design. It shall be no more prolonged: for in your days, &c. My threatenings shall be fulfilled in your own days, and you shall have ocular demonstration of their truth.

Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Ezekiel 12". Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rbc/ezekiel-12.html. 1857.
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