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Bible Commentaries
Ezekiel 34

Utley's You Can Understand the BibleUtley Commentary

Introduction

Ezekiel 34:0

PARAGRAPH DIVISIONS OF MODERN TRANSLATIONS

NASBNKJVNRSVTEVNJB
Oracles of Restoration(Ezekiel 33:1-29)
Prophecy Against the Shepherds of IsraelIrresponsible ShepherdsThe Shepherds of IsraelThe Shepherds of IsraelThe Shepherds of Israel
Ezekiel 34:1-6Ezekiel 34:1-6Ezekiel 34:1-6Ezekiel 34:1-6Ezekiel 34:1-6
Ezekiel 34:7-10Ezekiel 34:7-10Ezekiel 34:7-10Ezekiel 34:7-10Ezekiel 34:7-10
The Restoration of IsraelGod, the True Shepherd The Good Shepherd
Ezekiel 34:11-16Ezekiel 34:11-16Ezekiel 34:11-16Ezekiel 34:11-15Ezekiel 34:11-16
Ezekiel 34:16
Ezekiel 34:17-19Ezekiel 34:17-19Ezekiel 34:17-19Ezekiel 34:17-19Ezekiel 34:17-22
Ezekiel 34:20-22Ezekiel 34:20-24Ezekiel 34:20-22Ezekiel 34:20-25
Ezekiel 34:23-24 Ezekiel 34:23-24 Ezekiel 34:23-31
Ezekiel 34:25-31Ezekiel 34:25-31Ezekiel 34:25-31
Ezekiel 34:26-30
Ezekiel 34:31

READING CYCLE THREE (see “Guide to Good Bible Reading”)

FOLLOWING THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR'S INTENT AT PARAGRAPH LEVEL

This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects (reading cycle #3). Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.

Verses 1-6

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Ezekiel 34:1-6 1Then the word of the LORD came to me saying, 2”Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel. Prophesy and say to those shepherds, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, “Woe, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flock? 3You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat sheep without feeding the flock. 4Those who are sickly you have not strengthened, the diseased you have not healed, the broken you have not bound up, the scattered you have not brought back, nor have you sought for the lost; but with force and with severity you have dominated them. 5They were scattered for lack of a shepherd, and they became food for every beast of the field and were scattered. 6My flock wandered through all the mountains and on every high hill; My flock was scattered over all the surface of the earth, and there was no one to search or seek for them.”'“

Ezekiel 34:1 This is literally a marker for a new revelation.

Ezekiel 34:2 “Son of man” See note at Ezekiel 2:1.

“prophesy” This term (BDB 612, KB 659) is first used in Ezekiel 4:7 (Niphal PERFECT, cf. Ezekiel 37:7), but it appears often as a Niphal IMPERATIVE (cf. Ezekiel 6:2; Ezekiel 11:4[twice]; Ezekiel 13:2, Ezekiel 13:17; Ezekiel 20:46; Ezekiel 21:2, Ezekiel 21:9, Ezekiel 21:14, Ezekiel 21:28; Ezekiel 25:2; Ezekiel 28:21; Ezekiel 29:2; Ezekiel 30:2; Ezekiel 34:2[twice]; Ezekiel 35:2; Ezekiel 36:1, Ezekiel 36:3, Ezekiel 36:6; Ezekiel 37:9[twice], Ezekiel 34:12; Ezekiel 38:2, Ezekiel 38:14; Ezekiel 39:1). See Special Topic: Prophecy (OT).

“the shepherds of Israel” “Shepherd” (BDB 944, KB 1258, Qal PARTICIPLE, cf. Ezekiel 34:2[6 times], 3, 5,7,8[3 times],9,10,12,23[twice]) refers to the leaders, both political (i.e., 2 Samuel 7:7) and religious (i.e., priests, cf. Isaiah 56:11; prophets, cf. Jeremiah 23:1-4; both Jeremiah 23:9-10; Zechariah 11:17; and king, cf. Ezekiel 22:0). This VERB also occurs in

1. Qal IMPERFECT, Ezekiel 34:2, Ezekiel 34:3, Ezekiel 34:8, Ezekiel 34:10, Ezekiel 34:14(twice),15,16,18,19,23(twice)

2. Qal PERFECT, Ezekiel 34:8, Ezekiel 34:12, Ezekiel 34:13, Ezekiel 34:23

3. Qal INFINITIVE CONSTRUCT, Ezekiel 34:10

The origin of this concept comes (1) from the pastoral traditions of the Patriarchs (cf. Genesis 49:24); (2) Moses was a shepherd (cf. Exodus 3:1); or (3) from David's early life as a family herdsman (i.e., 1 Samuel 16:11; Psalms 78:70-71). Sheep are animals that need constant care and protection. Shepherding became a powerful metaphor for this.

Zechariah also uses the concept of true and evil shepherds in an eschatological, apocalyptic setting (cf. Zechariah 11-13).

Ezekiel 34:3-4 These false shepherds think more of their own well-being than they do of the people of God (cf. Jeremiah 50:6).

1. feed (lit. pasturing) themselves, Ezekiel 34:2, Ezekiel 34:8, Ezekiel 34:10

2. eat the fat of the sheep, Ezekiel 34:3, Ezekiel 34:10 (usually the fat is not eaten, cf. Ezekiel 39:19)

3. take the wool, Ezekiel 34:3

4. do not feed the flock, Ezekiel 34:3

5. do not help the sick, Ezekiel 34:4

6. do not bind the broken, Ezekiel 34:4

7. do not seek the scattered, Ezekiel 34:4

8. treat the flock violently, Ezekiel 34:4

Ezekiel 34:4 “but with force and with severity you have dominated them” Note the three terms which denote the cruel treatment.

1. with force, BDB 306, cf. Judges 4:3; Judges 8:1; 2 Samuel 2:16

2. with severity, BDB 827, cf. Exodus 1:13, Exodus 1:14; Leviticus 25:43, Leviticus 25:46, Leviticus 25:53

3. dominated, BDB 921, KB 1109, Qal PERFECT, cf. Leviticus 25:53; Leviticus 26:17 (this is the same root used in Genesis 1:26, Genesis 1:28)

Ezekiel 34:5-6 As a result of the action, or lack of action, of leaders, the people of God

1. are scattered (cf. Jeremiah 23:1-2)

2. are preyed on (cf. Ezekiel 34:8, Ezekiel 34:23; Ezekiel 14:15, Ezekiel 14:21)

3. wandered away and no one searched for them

Sheep usually stay together. For them to be scattered demonstrates a stressful, dangerous situation.

Ezekiel 34:5 “they are scattered for lack of a shepherd” Also refer to Numbers 27:17; 1 Kings 22:17; and Matthew 9:36.

Ezekiel 34:6 “there was no one to search or seek for them The term “search” (BDB 205, KB 233, Qal PARTICIPLE) is used several times in this chapter.

1. Judah's leaders did not seek, Ezekiel 34:6

2. the shepherds did not seek (BDB 205, KB 233, Qal PERFECT), Ezekiel 34:8

3. YHWH will require (BDB 205, KB 233, Qal PERFECT) His sheep, Ezekiel 34:10

4. YHWH, Himself will search (BDB 205, KB 233, Qal PERFECT) for His sheep

The word “search” is parallel in this verse with “seek” (BDB 134, KB 152, Piel PARTICIPLE, cf. Judges 6:29; 1 Chronicles 16:11; 2 Chronicles 20:3-4; Job 10:6; Psalms 24:6; Psalms 38:12; Psalms 105:4; Jeremiah 29:13)

Verses 7-10

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Ezekiel 34:7-10 7Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: 8”As I live,” declares the Lord GOD, “surely because My flock has become a prey, My flock has even become food for all the beasts of the field for lack of a shepherd, and My shepherds did not search for My flock, but rather the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock; 9therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: 10'Thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will demand My sheep from them and make them cease from feeding sheep. So the shepherds will not feed themselves anymore, but I will deliver My flock from their mouth, so that they will not be food for them.”'“

Verses 11-16

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Ezekiel 34:11-16 11For thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. 12As a shepherd cares for his herd in the day when he is among his scattered sheep, so I will care for My sheep and will deliver them from all the places to which they were scattered on a cloudy and gloomy day. 13I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries and bring them to their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the streams, and in all the inhabited places of the land. 14I will feed them in a good pasture, and their grazing ground will be on the mountain heights of Israel. There they will lie down on good grazing ground and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15I will feed My flock and I will lead them to rest,” declares the Lord GOD. 16I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken and strengthen the sick; but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with judgment.”

Ezekiel 34:11-31 Notice the number of FIRST PERSON MASCULINE SINGULAR statements! YHWH, Himself will act on behalf of His people. This is exactly the opposite of Ezekiel 34:2-6.

1. I Myself will search for My sheep, Ezekiel 34:11

2. I Myself will seek them out, Ezekiel 34:11

3. I will care for My sheep, Ezekiel 34:12

4. I will deliver them, Ezekiel 34:12, Ezekiel 34:22

5. I will bring them out from the peoples, Ezekiel 34:13 (cf. Ezekiel 11:17; Ezekiel 20:41)

6. I will gather them, Ezekiel 34:13 (cf. Ezekiel 11:17; Ezekiel 20:34. Ezekiel 20:41; Ezekiel 28:25; Ezekiel 36:24; Ezekiel 37:21; Ezekiel 38:8; Ezekiel 39:27)

7. I will feed them, Ezekiel 34:13, Ezekiel 34:14, Ezekiel 34:15, Ezekiel 34:18

8. I will lead them to rest (lit. “cause to lie down”), Ezekiel 34:15 (cf. Psalms 23:1, Psalms 23:2)

9. I will seek the lost, Ezekiel 34:16

10. I will bring back the scattered, Ezekiel 34:16

11. I will bind up the broken, Ezekiel 34:16 (cf. Isaiah 30:26)

12. I will strengthen the sick, Ezekiel 34:16 (cf. Psalms 147:3)

13. I will feed them judgment, Ezekiel 34:16

14. I will judge between one sheep and another, Ezekiel 34:17, Ezekiel 34:22

15. I will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep, Ezekiel 34:20 (cf. Ezekiel 34:16)

16. I will set over them one shepherd, My servant David

17. I will be their God, Ezekiel 34:24

18. I will make a covenant of peace with them, Ezekiel 34:25

19. I will eliminate harmful beasts, Ezekiel 34:25

20. I will make them and the places around My hill a blessing, Ezekiel 34:26

21. I will cause showers to come down in their season, Ezekiel 34:26

22. I have broken the bars of their yoke, Ezekiel 34:27

23. I have delivered them, Ezekiel 34:27

24. I will establish for them a renowned planting place, Ezekiel 34:29

Here God acts because of His faithless leaders, but in Ezekiel 36:27-38 He acts because of His people's inability to be faithful and obedient to His Mosaic covenant. This default on the part of His people precipitates a new covenant based on God's actions and faithfulness (cf. Jeremiah 31:31-34)! Jesus is the Good Shepherd (cf. John 10:0; Hebrews 13:20; 1 Peter 2:25).

Ezekiel 34:12 “when he is among the scattered sheep” As a shepherd was present with his flock, so God will be personally present (i.e., for blessing and protection) with His people.

“on a cloudy and gloomy day” This is an idiom for judgment (cf. Ezekiel 30:3; Psalms 97:2; Joel 2:2; Jeremiah 13:16; Zephaniah 1:15), in this case Israel and Judah's exile.

Ezekiel 34:16

NASB, NKJV, NRSV, TEV, JPSOA, NAB“but the fat and strong I will destroy” NJB“I shall watch over the fat and healthy” LXX“I will guard the strong” PESHITTA“I will protect the fat and strong”

The MT has “I will destroy,” BDB 1029, KB 1552, Hiphil IMPERFECT FIRST PERSON SINGULAR (דמש), but the ancient versions (LXX, Peshitta, and Vulgate) have “I will preserve,” BDB 1036, KB 1581 (רמש). The context supports both.

1. “preserve” fits the immediate verse

2. “destroy” fits the larger context (cf. Ezekiel 34:17-22) of the chapter better

Verses 17-19

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Ezekiel 34:17-19 17”As for you, My flock, thus says the Lord GOD, 'Behold, I will judge between one sheep and another, between the rams and the male goats. 18Is it too slight a thing for you that you should feed in the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pastures? Or that you should drink of the clear waters, that you must foul the rest with your feet? 19As for My flock, they must eat what you tread down with your feet and drink what you foul with your feet!'“

Ezekiel 34:17 “As for you, My flock” Ezekiel is making a comparison between the future condition of

1. the current leadership

2. the people

“I will judge between one sheep and another, between the rams and the male goats” This refers to a judgment between the strong and the weak, between the greedy shepherds and the true shepherds (cf. Ezekiel 34:22).

Ezekiel 34:18 “Is it too slight a thing for you” This is an idiom of inappropriate actions (cf. Ezekiel 16:20; Numbers 16:9, Numbers 16:13; Joshua 22:17; 2 Samuel 7:19; Isaiah 7:13).

Sheep do not like to feed in trampled pastures nor drink from muddied waters (cf. Psalms 23:0). The wealthy not only exploited the weak, poor, and socially ostracized, they made it such that they could not prosper and become free of their situation. This violates many passages in Leviticus and Deuteronomy about how the covenant people should treat each other.

Verses 20-22

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Ezekiel 34:20-22 20Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD to them, “Behold, I, even I, will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. 21Because you push with side and with shoulder, and thrust at all the weak with your horns until you have scattered them abroad, 22therefore, I will deliver My flock, and they will no longer be a prey; and I will judge between one sheep and another.

Ezekiel 34:21 The leaders are described as aggressive male rams and goats that push and shove the people away.

Verses 23-24

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Ezekiel 34:23-24 23”Then I will set over them one shepherd, My servant David, and he will feed them; he will feed them himself and be their shepherd. 24And I, the LORD, will be their God, and My servant David will be prince among them; I the LORD have spoken.

Ezekiel 34:23 “one shepherd” This probably refers to a united Israel (i.e., the children of Jacob, seed of Abraham). There will no longer be a divided monarchy as occurred in 922 B.C. (i.e., Israel and Judah).

“My servant” This is an honorific title used first of the Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, cf. Deuteronomy 9:27). It is used of Moses in Numbers 12:7; Deuteronomy 34:5; and Joshua 1:1, Joshua 1:2, Joshua 1:13, Joshua 1:15; Joshua 8:31, Joshua 8:33; Joshua 11:12, Joshua 11:15; Joshua 12:6; Joshua 13:8; Joshua 14:7; Joshua 18:7; Joshua 22:2, Joshua 22:4, Joshua 22:5. It is also used of Joshua after his death (i.e., Joshua 24:29). In Isaiah it becomes a way of referring to Israel collectively, but also to the special coming son of David (cf. Isaiah 40-56). You can clearly see this interplay between the corporate and individual in Isaiah 42:0. Note that Isaiah 42:1 is quoted in the NT as referring to the Messiah (cf. Matthew 12:18-21), but Isa 42:34:19 obviously refers to the people of God (cf. Isaiah 41:8-10; Isaiah 44:21). This interplay occurs in several of the “Servant Songs” (cf. Isaiah 42:1-9; Isaiah 49:1-7; Isaiah 50:4-11; Isaiah 52:13-12), which are unique to Isaiah.

“David” David became the ideal king (cf. Ezekiel 34:24; Ezekiel 37:24; 2 Samuel 7:0; Psalms 18:50; Psalms 89:0; Isaiah 9:6-7; Isaiah 11:1-5; Isaiah 16:5; Isaiah 55:3-5; Jeremiah 23:5-6; Jeremiah 30:9; Jeremiah 33:15, Jeremiah 33:17; Hosea 3:5; Micah 5:2-5). David was sinful (like all humans), but he had a heart for God. He became a way of referring to the special coming king of righteousness (see E. W. Hengstenber, Christology of the Old Testament, pp. 687-690).

Ezekiel 34:24 “I, the LORD, will be their God, and My servant David will be a prince among them” These verses are (i.e., Ezekiel 34:23-24) parallels of Ezekiel 37:24-25. It is obviously Messianic. Note the typical covenant language! This is reunification of the covenant people under a Davidic monarch, as well as the fulfillment of God's covenant blessings (cf. Leviticus 26:0; Deuteronomy 27-28). Also note the concluding phrase, which assures the fulfillment of this divine promise (cf. Amos 9:11-15).

The questions related to these verses are

1. when does it occur?

2. who does it refer to?

Some try to relate this to the return under Zerubbabel (a prince of Judah, cf. Ezra 1:8; the exact relationship between Sheshbazzar and Zerubbabel is disputed). Others note the continuing problems of the post-exilic period (see Haggai and Malachi) and assert that these ideal conditions must refer to the future.

It seems best to me because of

1. the nature of prophecy (see D. Brent Sandy, Plowshares and Pruning Hooks)

2. the expansion of the NT into a universal gospel (i.e., Ephesians 2:11-13)

3. the symbolic nature of Ezek. 34-39, 40-41, which relates this to God's plans for a restored Israel in the Persian period. All prophecy is conditional, even this one. God wanted to restore Israel and would have if only Israel wanted to and would have been obedient.

Does the “everlasting covenant” of Ezekiel 16:60 and Ezekiel 37:26 (cf. Isaiah 55:3; Isaiah 61:8) refer to a realized OT community or the NT human family? My presuppositional theology pushes me to option #2. For me as a historical-grammatical interpreter, the OT must stand on its own as the word of God. I must interpret it in light of the original inspired author's intent. However, progressive revelation (i.e., Jesus' life, actions, and teaching, plus NT authors) refocuses the message from a Jewish setting in Palestine to a universal gospel for all peoples (cf. Acts), thus fulfilling the concept of monotheism and the universal promise of Genesis 3:15. These prophecies must be analyzed through two lenses (i.e., the OT and the NT). Christianity is only true if the NT is the fulfillment of the OT and Jesus is the promised Messiah, see Special Topic: Messiah. The hope is wider than Israel. Genesis 3:15 is a promise to all the sons and daughters of Adam, not just Jews. There were no Jews in Genesis 3:0.

“I will be their God” The king of Israel was to be God's representative (cf. 1 Samuel 8:0). This represents the ideal picture of a society where God is the true King and the righteous leader is His visible representative!

Verses 25-31

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Ezekiel 34:25-31 25”I will make a covenant of peace with them and eliminate harmful beasts from the land so that they may live securely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods. 26I will make them and the places around My hill a blessing. And I will cause showers to come down in their season; they will be showers of blessing. 27Also the tree of the field will yield its fruit and the earth will yield its increase, and they will be secure on their land. Then they will know that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bars of their yoke and have delivered them from the hand of those who enslaved them. 28They will no longer be a prey to the nations, and the beasts of the earth will not devour them; but they will live securely, and no one will make them afraid. 29I will establish for them a renowned planting place, and they will not again be victims of famine in the land, and they will not endure the insults of the nations anymore. 30Then they will know that I, the LORD their God, am with them, and that they, the house of Israel, are My people,” declares the Lord GOD. 31As for you, My sheep, the sheep of My pasture, you are men, and I am your God,” declares the Lord GOD.

Ezekiel 34:25 “I will make a covenant of peace” This term “peace” is the Hebrew Shalom (BDB 1022, cf. Ezekiel 37:24-28; Ezekiel 39:25-29; Leviticus 26:6). It must be remembered that all covenants have obligations (see Special Topic: COVENANT). Free creatures have options!

Is this “covenant of peace” the same as “the new covenant” of Jeremiah 31:31-34? Ezekiel 36:22-38 (like these texts) describes a new way that YHWH will relate to His covenant people, a way characterized by (1) a new heart and a new mind and (2) YHWH's personal action on their behalf. A new covenant initially focuses on God's graciousness in redemption, still desires a righteous people to draw “the nations” to Himself!

“eliminate harmful beasts from the land” As is so often the case, Ezekiel is influenced by Leviticus 26:0 (i.e., Leviticus 26:22) and Deuteronomy (i.e., Deuteronomy 32:24). The curses of disobedience are reversed into the blessing of covenant fidelity. The blessing was always YHWH's intent. He wanted to attract the nations to Himself by blessing Israel (see Special Topic: YHWH's ETERNAL REDEMPTIVE PLAN).

The prophecy of the new age is Isaiah 11:6-9; Isaiah 65:25, which includes animals and shows the original intent of Eden (i.e., a place of fellowship between God and humanity, and humanity and the animal kingdom). The Bible starts with an Edenic setting and also ends the same way (cf. Revelation 21-22). Heaven is depicted as a recreated Garden of Eden. Animals are part of this depiction!

“so that they may live securely” This was part of the promises of Deuteronomy, which Ezekiel restates (cf. Ezekiel 28:26; Ezekiel 34:27, Ezekiel 34:28; Ezekiel 38:8, Ezekiel 38:11, Ezekiel 38:14; Ezekiel 39:26; Jeremiah 33:16). Their security is because of the presence of God!

Ezekiel 34:26 “My hill” This is a reference to Jerusalem and specifically the temple mount (cf. Ezekiel 20:40-49). God's hill is a contrast to the worship of the fertility gods of Canaan on the natural and manmade hills.

The prophecy, which is typical of the prophets, refers to a restored Jerusalem. Must this be taken literally? This is a central issue in dispensational theology. I have come to a different conclusion. Here are the introductory notes from my commentary on Revelation.

SPECIAL TOPIC: CRUCIAL INTRODUCTORY ARTICLE

“I will cause showers” Moisture at the appropriate time and in expected amounts was part of the covenant blessings of Leviticus 26:4 and Deuteronomy 28:12. These were agricultural people living in an arid climate. Society was based on the regular and expected cycles of the seasons! God controls the cycle and the seasons (i.e., Leviticus 25:21).

The phrase “showers of blessings” reflects the agricultural nature of God's promised blessings (cf. Deuteronomy 28:0).

Ezekiel 34:27 “a tree of the field will yield its fruit” This refers to the covenant abundance (cf. Deuteronomy 27:0; Hosea 2:22; Joel 3:18; Amos 9:13, Amos 9:14; Zechariah 8:12).

“I have broken the bars of their yoke” This is an idiom of oppression first used in Leviticus 26:13. So much of Ezekiel's vocabulary and theology comes from Leviticus 26:0 and Deuteronomy 27-29.

Ezekiel 34:28-29 The nations will no longer dominate God's people. This is the result of the original covenant coming into reality!

Ezekiel 34:29

NASB“a renowned planting” NKJV“a garden of renown” NRSV, NJB“a splendid vegetation” TEV“fertile fields” JPSOA“a planting of renown” NIV“a land of renown” REB“their crops renowned” PESHITTA“a plantation of peace” LXX“a plant of peace”

The word “planting” (BDB 642) can mean the plant itself or where it is planted. So the text is referring to (1) God's people's crops and herds being very productive (i.e., evidence covenant restored, which is the fruitfulness and safety described in Ezekiel 34:25-27) or (2) God's people going back to Palestine (evidence covenant restored). The LXX and Peshitta reverse two consonants in the PREPOSITION plus the NOUN “renown/name” (BDB 1027) and change it to “peace” (BDB 1023, see Special Topic: Peace [shalom]) to link up with Ezekiel 34:25 (i.e., “I will make a covenant of peace”).

This imagery goes back to Ezekiel 17:22-24 and the opposite of Ezekiel 19:10-14 (cf. Isaiah 60:21; Isaiah 61:3). One of the titles for the Messiah is “Branch” (see Special Topic: The Branch of the Lord, cf. Isaiah 4:2). There is a mixing of metaphors here.

1. the cosmic tree (i.e., Ezekiel 31:0)

2. Israel as a plant (or planting place, which is parallel to Ezekiel 34:26a)

3. the Messiah as a shoot or branch from a stump (cf. Isaiah 11:2, Isaiah 11:10; Isaiah 53:2; Romans 15:12)

Ezekiel 34:30 “I the LORD their God am with them” These are Covenant terms which show that the Covenant has been restored in the midst of the destruction of the temple! There is no more significant statement than “I am with them” (i.e., Emmanuel).

Ezekiel 34:31 This covenant language about God as Shepherd (cf. John 10:0) and His people as sheep is also found in Psalms 23:0; Psalms 78:52; Psalms 80:1; Isaiah 40:11; Jeremiah 31:10). This is such a wonderful metaphor of personal presence, care, protection, and provision!

“you are men, and I am your God” This is not meant to be an emphasis on transcendence, but on the special creation of humanity (cf. Genesis 1:26-27; Genesis 2:7-8). The LXX omits “you are men” and it is followed by RSV, REB, NAB. Because “men” are mentioned in parallel texts in this literary unit of Ezekiel (i.e., Ezekiel 36:37, Ezekiel 36:38), it seems best to stay with the MT.

Bibliographical Information
Utley. Dr. Robert. "Commentary on Ezekiel 34". "Utley's You Can Understand the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ubc/ezekiel-34.html. 2021.
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