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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
Ezekiel 33

 

 

Verse 1

Ezekiel 33:1 Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

Ver. 1. Again the word of the Lord came unto me, saying.] A new commission to preach again to his countrymen, which he had not done since Ezekiel 24:27. {See Trapp on "Ezekiel 24:27"}


Verse 2

Ezekiel 33:2 Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman:

Ver. 2. Speak to the children of thy people.] I say, "of thy people"; for I can scarce find in my heart to own them, they be so bad.

When I bring the sword upon a land.] The sword is of God’s sending; [Ezekiel 14:17] and whencesoever it cometh, it is bathed in heaven. [Isaiah 34:5] Think the same of any other public calamity, [Amos 3:6] and therefore frame to a patient and peaceable behaviour under it. Among philosophers the most noted sect for patience was that of the Stoics, who ascribed all to fate.


Verse 3

Ezekiel 33:3 If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people;

Ver. 3. He blow the trumpet.] Hence the ancients (a) infer that a bishop must preach, and that Praelati officium est sollicitudo non celsitudo. He taketh upon him the office of a constant preacher, saith Gregory, that undertaketh to be a minister.


Verse 4

Ezekiel 33:4 Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head.

Ver. 4. His blood shall be upon his own.] The blame shall rest wholly upon himself. Not to be warned is both a just presage and desert of destruction.


Verse 5

Ezekiel 33:5 He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul.

Ver. 5. But he that taketh warning.] Foresight is the best means of prevention.


Verse 6

Ezekiel 33:6 But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take [any] person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand.

Ver. 6. He is taken away in his iniquity.] This is a dismal kind of death, far worse than that of dying in prison, or of dying in a ditch.

As the watchman’s hand.] By whose treachery, or indiligence at least, he miscarried.


Verse 7

Ezekiel 33:7 So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me.

Ver. 7. {See Trapp on "Ezekiel 3:17"}


Verse 8

Ezekiel 33:8 When I say unto the wicked, O wicked [man], thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked [man] shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.

Ver. 8. {See Trapp on "Ezekiel 3:18"}


Verse 9

Ezekiel 33:9 Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.

Ver. 9. {See Trapp on "Ezekiel 3:19"}


Verse 10

Ezekiel 33:10 Therefore, O thou son of man, speak unto the house of Israel; Thus ye speak, saying, If our transgressions and our sins [be] upon us, and we pine away in them, how should we then live?

Ver. 10. Thus ye speak.] (a) But not well, while ye have hard thoughts of God and heavy thoughts of yourselves, as if your sins were unpardonable, and that ye were already ruined beyond relief; whereas true repentance is a ready remedy, a plank after shipwreck, that would set you safe, and render you right again. This they had been told before, [Ezekiel 18:25-32] but to little purpose: the word was not mingled with faith in their hearts, and did therefore run through them, [Hebrews 2:1] as water runs through a riven vessel.

And we pine away in them.] Ita punimur ut pereamus. And so be punished and perish. This the prophet had threatened, [Ezekiel 24:23] and they still stomachfully object it to him: it lay as hard meat, and they raise a cavil upon it, whereto the Lord answereth,


Verse 11

Ezekiel 33:11 Say unto them, [As] I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

Ver. 11. As I live, saith the Lord God, &c.] This is one of those precious places, those mellifluous honeycombs, which we should go on sucking towards heaven, as Samson once did towards his parents. [ 14:9] Here, if anywhere, we may find "strong consolation." God, when he swears, desires certainly to be credited, saith Tertullian. (a) Oh happy we, for whose sakes God vouchsafeth to swear! and oh, thrice wretched we, if we believe not God, no, though he swear to us! Oh, saith Theodoret here, who can ever sufficiently admire the Lord’s great goodness, who, being so shamefully slighted by the sinful sons of men, doth yet swear his readiness to receive them graciously who have revolted grievously? Well might Nazianzen say that God delighteth in nothing so much as in man’s conversion and salvation: (b) φοβεισθαι βουλεται, ου φονευσαι, saith Basil - i.e., he would we should fear him, not fall by his hand: Redire nos sibi, non perire desiderat, as Chrysologus phraseth it, return unto him, not "perish from the way." [Psalms 2:12]

For why will ye die?] Turn ye must, or burn. See Ezekiel 18:31-32.


Verse 12

Ezekiel 33:12 Therefore, thou son of man, say unto the children of thy people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression: as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall thereby in the day that he turneth from his wickedness; neither shall the righteous be able to live for his [righteousness] in the day that he sinneth.

Ver. 12. Say unto the children.] The same as before, only with a proviso of perseverance in welldoing, for else all is lost. Non enim quaeruntur in Christianis initia sed finis, saith Jerome, The end is better than the beginning.


Verse 13

Ezekiel 33:13 When I shall say to the righteous, [that] he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it.

Ver. 13. When I shall say to the righteous.] See on Ezekiel 18:24.

If he trust to his own righteousness.] As thinking that he hath thereby purchased a licence to commit iniquity.


Verse 14

Ezekiel 33:14 Again, when I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right;

Ver. 14. Thou shalt surely die,] viz., Except thou repent; for that altereth the case. Penitence is almost as good as innocence.

If he turn from his sin and do.] These two parts make up true repentance.


Verse 15

Ezekiel 33:15 [If] the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die.

Ver. 15. Give again that he had robbed.] Quod rapuit reddideret. The law for restitution, see Numbers 5:6-7.


Verse 16

Ezekiel 33:16 None of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him: he hath done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live.

Ver. 16. None of his sins.] This is point blank against the doctrine of purgatory.


Verse 17

Ezekiel 33:17 Yet the children of thy people say, The way of the Lord is not equal: but as for them, their way is not equal.

Ver. 17. Yet the children of the people say.] This was a second cavil of theirs. See Ezekiel 33:10; Ezekiel 18:25. Archesilas was surnamed Cavillator: so might these well have been.

Their way is not equal.] There is no equity at all in this causeless quarrel of theirs.


Verse 18

Ezekiel 33:18 When the righteous turneth from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, he shall even die thereby.

Ver. 18. When the righteous turneth.] To set them down, if right reason would do it (and man should be mancipium rationis, a slave to reason), he repeateth what he hath said before.


Verse 19

Ezekiel 33:19 But if the wicked turn from his wickedness, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall live thereby.

Ver. 19. He shall live thereby.] Provided that he rest not in his righteousness, but learn to live by the faith of the Son of God. [Galatians 2:20]


Verse 20

Ezekiel 33:20 Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. O ye house of Israel, I will judge you every one after his ways.

Ver. 20. Yet ye say.] But therein ye lie, which is not the guise of God’s children. [Isaiah 63:8]

I will judge you every one after his ways.] And so wring a testimony, if not from your mouths, yet from your consciences, of mine impartial justice; such as is that in Deuteronomy 32:4, "A God of truth, and without iniquity, just and right is he."


Verse 21

Ezekiel 33:21 And it came to pass in the twelfth year of our captivity, in the tenth [month], in the fifth [day] of the month, [that] one that had escaped out of Jerusalem came unto me, saying, The city is smitten.

Ver. 21. In the twelfth year.] Some read the eleventh year; and indeed it was wonder that such ill news came no sooner, for αι βλαβαι ποδωκεις, saith Sophocles.

That one that had escaped.] (a) This God had promised. [Ezekiel 24:26]

The city is smitten,] i.e., Sacked and burnt. This man spoke much in few.


Verse 22

Ezekiel 33:22 Now the hand of the LORD was upon me in the evening, afore he that was escaped came; and had opened my mouth, until he came to me in the morning; and my mouth was opened, and I was no more dumb.

Ver. 22. The hand of the Lord,] i.e., The Spirit of the Lord, which acted me and carried me out. [2 Peter 1:21 1 Corinthians 12:3]

And my mouth was opened.] As God had promised. [Ezekiel 24:27] And this happened before the messenger’s narration. This was much for the prophet’s honour.


Verse 23

Ezekiel 33:23 Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

Ver. 23. Then the word of the Lord.] See Ezekiel 18:1.


Verse 24

Ezekiel 33:24 Son of man, they that inhabit those wastes of the land of Israel speak, saying, Abraham was one, and he inherited the land: but we [are] many; the land is given us for inheritance.

Ver. 24. They that inhabit those wastes of the land of lsrael.] Those poor few now left in the land. [2 Kings 25:12; 2 Kings 25:22 Jeremiah 40:5-6] Surely they are poor, they are foolish, they have lost the fruit of their affliction; Miserrimi facti sunt et pessimi permanent, as Augustine saith of some in his time, They are nevertheless wicked for being wretched.

Speak.] Bubbles of words. Antiquum obtinent. They are no changelings, not at all crest fallen.

Abraham was one.] (a) And no such one but that we may match him. Thus these proud hypocrites hit up their counter for a thousand pounds, and stand upon their comparisons without all shame or sense.

The land is given to us.] And here we will hold our own, for we are well worthy.


Verse 25

Ezekiel 33:25 Wherefore say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD Ye eat with the blood, and lift up your eyes toward your idols, and shed blood: and shall ye possess the land?

Ver. 25. Ye eat with the blood.] Which wicked Saul would not do, [1 Samuel 14:32-34] much less would righteous Abraham have done it, since it was against the light and letter of the law. [Genesis 9:4 Leviticus 7:26 Deuteronomy 12:16] Nay, ye do worse things; and are you Abraham’s children, and heirs of the promised land, together with that faithful patriarch? I think not. See a like manner of reasoning, Micah 2:7, John 8:39. So the learned Linaker, having read our Saviour’s sermon in the mount, and considering how little it is lived among us, broke out into these words, Certainly either this is not gospel, or we are not right gospellers.


Verse 26

Ezekiel 33:26 Ye stand upon your sword, ye work abomination, and ye defile every one his neighbour’s wife: and shall ye possess the land?

Ver. 26. Ye stand upon your sword.] Vivitur ex rapto. He that hath the longest sword carrieth it among you: ye are also very revengeful, ready to say with him in the poet,

Virtus mihi numeri, et ensis

Quem teneo.

Dextra mihi deus, et telum quod missile libro. ”{a}

Ye work abomination.] This R. Solomon understandeth de venere obscaeniore. It is in the original, Ye women work abomination, as prostituting yourselves to an unnatural filthiness, as the casuists complain still of some Spanish courtezans. (b)

And shall ye possess the land,] q.d., Ye shall be set up: what should you expect better than exilium et excitium, banishment and destruction?


Verse 27

Ezekiel 33:27 Say thou thus unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD [As] I live, surely they that [are] in the wastes shall fall by the sword, and him that [is] in the open field will I give to the beasts to be devoured, and they that [be] in the forts and in the caves shall die of the pestilence.

Ver. 27. They that are in the wastes.] Ezekiel 33:4.

Shall die of the pestilence.] Or else of the famine, which is worse. When, where, and how this was fulfilled upon them, we read not; in Egypt likely, whither they went after Gedaliah’s death; if not sooner at home, as Jeremiah also had before prophesied. [Jeremiah 42:13-14]


Verse 28

Ezekiel 33:28 For I will lay the land most desolate, and the pomp of her strength shall cease; and the mountains of Israel shall be desolate, that none shall pass through.

Ver. 28. For I will lay the land most desolate.] Heb., Desolation and desolation. God made clean work there; there was not a Jew left in the country. See Zechariah 7:14.


Verse 29

Ezekiel 33:29 Then shall they know that I [am] the LORD, when I have laid the land most desolate because of all their abominations which they have committed.

Ver. 29. Then shall they know.] By woeful experience.


Verse 30

Ezekiel 33:30 Also, thou son of man, the children of thy people still are talking against thee by the walls and in the doors of the houses, and speak one to another, every one to his brother, saying, Come, I pray you, and hear what is the word that cometh forth from the LORD.

Ver. 30. The children of thy people.] These captives in Babylon, no whit better than those in Jewry.

Still are talking.] Detracting from thee, and deriding thee.

By the walls.] Susurros miscentes clancularios; fearing lest any one behind them should hear them, they get the walls at their backs.

Come, I pray you, and hear.] Thus they jeer; (a) and there are too many such scoffers at this day.


Verse 31

Ezekiel 33:31 And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee [as] my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, [but] their heart goeth after their covetousness.

Ver. 31. And they come unto thee.] Very goodly.

And they sit before thee.] Very demurely, and, to see to, devoutly, taking up all the seats.

They hear thy words.] But they were as heartless in hearing, as they were listless in praying. [Ezekiel 33:10]

They will not do them.] Of the Athenians also it was said of old, that they knew well what was good and right, but would do neither.

Their heart goeth after their covetousness.] Their heart is on their halfpenny, as we say; neither can the loadstone of God’s Word hale them one jot from the earth. It should be Sursum corda; up from the heart, but when many men’s bodies are in sacculis, in their purse, their hearts are in sacculis, in their purse, as Augustine complaineth; as serpents have their bodies in the water, their heads out of the water, so here; as those Gergesites, they more mind a swine sty than a sanctuary. (a)


Verse 32

Ezekiel 33:32 And, lo, thou [art] unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not.

Ver. 32. As a very lovely song.] Or, A love song. (a) The word leaves no more impression upon carnal men’s consciences than a sweet lesson upon the lute in the ear when it is ended, for then both the vocal and instrumental sweetness dissolve into the air and vanish into nothing. Happy was Augustine, who, coming to Ambrose to have his ears tickled, had his heart touched.


Verse 33

Ezekiel 33:33 And when this cometh to pass, (lo, it will come,) then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them.

Ver. 33. That a prophet.] See on Ezekiel 2:5.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Ezekiel 33:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/ezekiel-33.html. 1865-1868.

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Monday, December 16th, 2019
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