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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
Ezekiel 14

 

 

Verse 1

Ezekiel 14:1 Then came certain of the elders of Israel unto me, and sat before me.

Ver. 1. Then came certain of the elders unto me.] Rulers and chieftains of the captives in Babylon, pretending to be far better than those elders at Jerusalem, complained about in Ezekiel 8:11-12, but indeed no better; nay, so much the worse, because they had lost the fruit of all their afflictions, and were as arrant hypocrites as those veteratores old hands, the scribes and Pharisees, that came to John’s baptism and to our Saviour’s sermons, with evil and exulcerate minds.

Non omnes sancti qui calcant limina Templi.

A Doeg may set his foot as far within the sanctuary as a David.

And sat before me.] Demurely and, to see to, devoutly. But why could they not stand to hear the Word of God for reverence sake? Balak did so, [Numbers 23:18] though a king; and Eglon, though unwieldy; [ 3:20] and a better man than they both, Constantine the Great, as Eusebius (a) records, and further tells us, that being pressed, after long time of hearing, to sit down, with a stern countenance he answered, It were a great sin in me not to hear with utmost attention when God is speaking.


Verse 2

Ezekiel 14:2 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

Ver. 2. And the word of the Lord came.] Lest the prophet, seeing these seniors coming thus unto him, should favour them too far, God uncaseth them, as he doth mostly such gross hypocrites in this present life; Jeroboam and his wife, Ananias and Sapphira, Simon Magus, and others for instance. How else indeed should the name of such wicked wretches rot as they must? [Proverbs 10:24-29]


Verse 3

Ezekiel 14:3 Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumblingblock of their iniquity before their face: should I be enquired of at all by them?

Ver. 3. These men have set their idols in their hearts.] Though they would seem to abhor idols, yet the devil is at inn with them, and their hearts are no better than so many idol temples, as thou wouldst easily perceive hadst thou but my fiery eyes, and couldst see their insides as I do. Sustulerunt stercoreos deos suos super cor suum, (a) they have laid their dungy deities upon their very hearts; a place where I only should be by right, for it is the bridal bed.

And put the stumblingblock of their iniquity,] i.e., They are impudent sinners, as the scholiast (b) interprets it, and resolved of their course whatever comes of it.

Should I be inquired of (c) at all by them?] q.d., No, never; I scorn the motion, I abhor such ludibrious devotion as this is. Away with it. Piscator rendereth the words, An ergo serio interrogor ab eis? Thinkest thou that I am seriously sought unto by these? q.d., Nothing less.


Verse 4

Ezekiel 14:4 Therefore speak unto them, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD Every man of the house of Israel that setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to the prophet; I the LORD will answer him that cometh according to the multitude of his idols;

Ver. 4. I the Lord will answer him.] Or, As I am the Lord (oath wise), I will answer him, but with bitter answers

According to the multitude of his idols,] i.e., As by his abominations he hath well deserved; or, concerning the multitude of his idols; that is a sin he shall be sure to hear of, and to suffer for.


Verse 5

Ezekiel 14:5 That I may take the house of Israel in their own heart, because they are all estranged from me through their idols.

Ver. 5. That I may take the house of Israel in their own heart.] Ut deprehendam, or, as others, ut reprehendam; that I may convince their consciences of their impieties, and sting them to the heart with unquestionable conviction and horror.

Because they are all estranged from me.] And fallen in with the devil, who is ειδωλοχαρης, as saith Synesius, a great promoter of idolatry. Idola sunt prima saliva, et initium deficiendi a Deo. (a) Idolatry paveth the way to utter apostasy.


Verse 6

Ezekiel 14:6 Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD Repent, and turn [yourselves] from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations.

Ver. 6. Repent, and turn yourselves.] Or, Turn others; for true converts will be converting their brethren. They like not to go to heaven alone.

And turn away your faces.] Alii dicunt uxores vestras, saith Lavater here; your wives, which are according to your hearts, like as in water face answereth to face. Wean them from their idols, and win them over to the true God.


Verse 7

Ezekiel 14:7 For every one of the house of Israel, or of the stranger that sojourneth in Israel, which separateth himself from me, and setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to a prophet to enquire of him concerning me; I the LORD will answer him by myself:

Ver. 7. For every one of the house of Israel.] The same over again, and yet no win repetition: Duris enim illis capitibus res non potuit satis inculcari, to these dizzards nothing could be said too much.

Or of the stranger.] But proselyted to the Jewish religion, as Jethro, who was the first of that kind that we read of.

Which separateth himself from me.] As a harlot doth from her husband. See Hosea 4:14; Hosea 9:10.

I the, Lord will answer him by myself.] Non verbis sed verberibus; not with words, but with blows. Or, According to my most holy truth and justice; or, By myself - scil., do I swear that I will do it. See Ezekiel 14:4.


Verse 8

Ezekiel 14:8 And I will set my face against that man, and will make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of my people; and ye shall know that I [am] the LORD.

Ver. 8. And I will set my face against that man.] Vultuose torveque illum intuear. I will look him to death. Or, Laying aside all other business, I will see to it that he be soundly paid.

And will make him a sign and a proverb.] That when men would express a great punishment upon any, they shall resemble it to his, as the Jews did to Ahab’s and Zedekiah’s, that naughty couple, [Jeremiah 29:22] and the heathens to that of Tantalus (a) and Tityus.

And I will cut him off from the midst of my people.] This is yet a further and a more formidable menace; this is far worse than to he a byword to the people.


Verse 9

Ezekiel 14:9 And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the LORD have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel.

Ver. 9. I the Lord have deceived that prophet.] I had not only a permissive, but an active hand in that imposture; not as a sin, but as a punishment of other sins. See 1 Kings 22:20, Job 12:16, Jeremiah 4:10, 2 Thessalonians 2:11.

And I will stretch out mine hand upon him,] i.e., Upon that false prophet, who, although he hath thus acted, not without my providence, yet hath sinned against my law, which is the rule men must walk by, or else suffer for their transgression. Aut faciendum aut patiendum. Now God hath long hands, as we use to say of princes; neither may any think to live out of the reach of his rod.


Verse 10

Ezekiel 14:10 And they shall bear the punishment of their iniquity: the punishment of the prophet shall be even as the punishment of him that seeketh [unto him];

Ver. 10. And they shall bear the punishment of their iniquity.] Neither shall excuse other; but as they have sinned together, so shall they suffer together, quia volentes et scientes errabant, they wilfully went astray. Quandoquidem hic populus vult decipi, decipiatur; they shall infallibly perish. An evil pilot may easily drown himself, and all that are with him, on the same bottom.


Verse 11

Ezekiel 14:11 That the house of Israel may go no more astray from me, neither be polluted any more with all their transgressions; but that they may be my people, and I may be their God, saith the Lord GOD.

Ver. 11. That the house of Israel may go no more astray.] Thus "when God’s judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness." [Isaiah 26:9] Those elect that were bad will become good, and they that were good will he made better. Poena ad paucos, metus ad omnes. When a few are punished, all fear.


Verse 12

Ezekiel 14:12 The word of the LORD came again to me, saying,

Ver. 12. The word of the Lord came again to me.] The utter destruction of this perverse people is once again denounced and declared to be inevitable.


Verse 13

Ezekiel 14:13 Son of man, when the land sinneth against me by trespassing grievously, then will I stretch out mine hand upon it, and will break the staff of the bread thereof, and will send famine upon it, and will cut off man and beast from it:

Ver. 13. Son of man.] See on Ezekiel 2:1.

When the land sinneth against me,] i.e., The inhabitants of the land; not as if the land itself were alive and indued with reason, as Origen (a) doated, and as Plato held that the Spirit of God was the soul of the world.

By trespassing grievously.] Praevaricando perfide; by doing evil as men could.

Then will I stretch out my hand.] See Ezekiel 14:9.

And will break the staff.] See Ezekiel 4:16; Ezekiel 5:16.

And I will send famine.] Extreme famine, a heavy judgment, as hath eleswhere been shown out of sacred and profane history.


Verse 14

Ezekiel 14:14 Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver [but] their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord GOD.

Ver. 14. Though these three men.] See on Jeremiah 15:1.

Noah, Daniel, and Job.] What could not these three, so mighty with God, have done if the matter had been feasible? Daniel was now alive and in his prime; Ezekiel, his contemporary and fellow prophet, envieth him not, but celebrateth him; as also Peter doth Paul. [2 Peter 3:15-16]

They should deliver but their own souls.] Because the decree was past, an end was come. [Ezekiel 7:2; Ezekiel 7:4-6; Ezekiel 7:10]


Verse 15

Ezekiel 14:15 If I cause noisome beasts to pass through the land, and they spoil it, so that it be desolate, that no man may pass through because of the beasts:

Ver. 15. If I cause noisome beasts.] As lions, wolves, bears, serpents, &c. Great hurt hath been done not only by such, as Numbers 21:6, 2 Kings 2:24; 2 Kings 17:25-26, Joshua 24:12; but also by tamer creatures when set on by God. Rebellis facta est, quia homo numini, creatura homini. (a) Rats, conies, frogs, wasps, moths, have done much mischief.


Verse 16

Ezekiel 14:16 [Though] these three men [were] in it, [as] I live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither sons nor daughters; they only shall be delivered, but the land shall be desolate.

Ver. 16. Though these three men were in it.] All alive, and lustily tugging; yet it would not do. In common calamities heathens had their supplications and sacrifices. Papists have their litanies and processions, though to small purpose. Let us, in the like ease, up and be doing, that the Lord may be with us.

They shall deliver neither sons.] Heb., If they deliver sons, &c.; q.d., then never trust me more. Formula iurandi elliptica.


Verse 17

Ezekiel 14:17 Or [if] I bring a sword upon that land, and say, Sword, go through the land; so that I cut off man and beast from it:

Ver. 17. Or if I bring a sword.] The sword, whensoever it comes is bathed in heaven. [Isaiah 34:5]

Sword, go through the land.] When the sword rideth circuit, as a judge, it is in commission. See Jeremiah 47:6-7.


Verse 18

Ezekiel 14:18 Though these three men [were] in it, [as] I live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither sons nor daughters, but they only shall be delivered themselves.

Ver. 18. Neither sons nor daughtens,] (a) Though never so dear to them: τα φιλτατα, the Greeks call them.


Verse 19

Ezekiel 14:19 Or [if] I send a pestilence into that land, and pour out my fury upon it in blood, to cut off from it man and beast:

Ver. 19. Or if I send a pestilence.] Which Hippocartes calleth το Yειον, because God hath a special hand in it. Physicians can give no good reason for it.

In blood,] i.e., In great slaughter, laying heaps upon heaps.


Verse 20

Ezekiel 14:20 Though Noah, Daniel, and Job, [were] in it, [as] I live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall [but] deliver their own souls by their righteousness.

Ver. 20. Neither son nor daughter.] Though it were an only one, and so more dear to them.

They shall but deliver.] Howbeit a good man also may die of the plague, as did Oecolampadius, Greenham, &c.


Verse 21

Ezekiel 14:21 For thus saith the Lord GOD How much more when I send my four sore judgments upon Jerusalem, the sword, and the famine, and the noisome beast, and the pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast?

Ver. 21. My four sore judgments.] Every one of the four (Cardan reckons three more of like nature, viz., earthquakes, inundations, and great winds) are sore judgments indeed. Each of them is pessimum, most wicked, i.e., perniciosum. Cavete. Dangerous. Beware.


Verse 22

Ezekiel 14:22 Yet, behold, therein shall be left a remnant that shall be brought forth, [both] sons and daughters: behold, they shall come forth unto you, and ye shall see their way and their doings: and ye shall be comforted concerning the evil that I have brought upon Jerusalem, [even] concerning all that I have brought upon it.

Ver. 22. Yet, behold.] See a thing sudden and serious.

They shall come.] Be captives here, as you are.

And ye shall see their way.] How wicked it was, and worthy of punishment.


Verse 23

Ezekiel 14:23 And they shall comfort you, when ye see their ways and their doings: and ye shall know that I have not done without cause all that I have done in it, saith the Lord GOD.

Ver. 23. And they shall comfort,] i.e., Quiet and qualify your spirits.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Ezekiel 14:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/ezekiel-14.html. 1865-1868.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, December 14th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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