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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
Ezekiel 34

 

 

Verse 1

Ezekiel 34:1 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

Ver. 1. And the word.] See Ezekiel 18:1.


Verse 2

Ezekiel 34:2 Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe [be] to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks?

Ver. 2. Prophesy against the shepherds.] Good shepherds they should have been, but they were naught, [Jeremiah 23:1-4] and naught would come of them, for their maladministration.

Woe be to the shepherds of Israel.] Both to princes and priests, by whose evil government the people were so bad, as in the former chapter is fully set forth. Qualis rex, talis grex; the sheep will follow the shepherd; the common people are like a flock of cranes - as the first fly, all follow.

Should not the shepherds feed the flocks?] Such flocks especially as have golden fleeces, precious souls. Oh feed, feed, feed, saith our Saviour to Peter! [John 21:15] feed them for my sake, as the Syriac there hath it, rule them well, teach them well, go before them in good example, do all the offices of a faithful shepherd to them, and be instant, or stand close to the work; [2 Timothy 4:2] Dominus prope, the Arch-shepherd is at hand.


Verse 3

Ezekiel 34:3 Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: [but] ye feed not the flock.

Ver. 3. Ye eat the fat.] Ecce, lac et lanam recipitis. This ye might do, if in measure, for the workman is worthy of his wages, {see 1 Corinthians 9:7} but ye gorge yourselves with the best of the best. Et si ventri bene, si lateri, as Epicurus in Horace, If the belly may be filled, the back fitted, that is all you take care for. In parabola ovis capras quaeritis, et vestrum maxime compendium spectatis; ye are all for your own ends, nourishing your hearts as in a day of slaughter, or of good cheer. [James 5:5]

Ye kill them that are fed.] Heb., Ye sacrifice them; so ye pretend, but mind your own fat paunches. See Proverbs 7:14.

But ye feed not the flock.] As being falsi et ficti imo picti pastores, mock shepherds.


Verse 4

Ezekiel 34:4 The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up [that which was] broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them.

Ver. 4. The diseased have ye not strengthened.] Five sorts of sheep are here reckoned up that needed the shepherd’s best care and cure, but nothing was done; or, if anything, it was overdone, for with force and cruelty they ruled over them. See 1 Peter 5:3.


Verse 5

Ezekiel 34:5 And they were scattered, because [there is] no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered.

Ver. 5. And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd.] None but an idol shepherd, [Zechariah 11:17] a foolish shepherd; [Ezekiel 34:1-5] and the sheep, being a foolish creature, even to a proverb, (a) and apt to wander into harm’s way, will never return to the fold, if not fetched back, but stick in the thorns, or die in a ditch, or run into the wolf’s mouth.


Verse 6

Ezekiel 34:6 My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek [after them].

Ver. 6. My sheep wandered.] Through the shepherd’s supine negligence, or bloody truculence. Surely, as the herd of deer forsake and push away the wounded deer from them, so did these cruel shepherds, being non pastores sed impostores, non episcopi sed aposcopi, non praelati sed Pilati, as Bernard wittily; sheep biters rather than shepherds; "greedy dogs"; [Isaiah 56:10-11] "grievous wolves." [Acts 20:29]

And none did search or seek after them.] Nec erat qui quaereret aut requireret.


Verse 7

Ezekiel 34:7 Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD

Ver. 7. Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord.] And oh that this word might ever sound aloud in the ears of all shepherds as the voice of heaven’s trumpet!


Verse 8

Ezekiel 34:8 [As] I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because [there was] no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock;

Ver. 8. As I live, saith the Lord, surely because,] (a) God here seemeth to be in a great heat, in a perturbation of spirit, causing a kind of impediment in his speech, so thoroughly was he moved against these lewd shepherds, whose faults he rippeth up again to make better way to their sentence.

Because my flock became a prey.] To the Chaldees, but especially to that old man slayer.

Because there was no shepherd.] None but a company of nominals, or rather nullities.


Verse 9

Ezekiel 34:9 Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD

Ver. 9. Therefore, O ye shepherds.] See Ezekiel 34:7-8.


Verse 10

Ezekiel 34:10 Thus saith the Lord GOD Behold, I [am] against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them.

Ver. 10. Behold, I am against the shepherds.] Heb., Lo, I against, - by an angry aposiopesis. (a)

And cause them to cease from feeding the flock.] They shall be officiperdae, quondams, laid aside like broken vessels, as have been some kings of this land in their several generations - one of recent remembrance - Popish bishops not a few, Bonner and others, outed and deprived.


Verse 11

Ezekiel 34:11 For thus saith the Lord GOD Behold, I, [even] I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out.

Ver. 11. Behold, I, even I, (a) will both search.] Ego, ego reposcam et anquiram. Rather than the work shall be undone, I will do all myself, and then it is sure to be well done. Aristotle telleth of a certain Persian, who, being asked, What did most of all feed the horse? answered, The master’s eye; and of a certain African, of whom, when it was demanded, What was the best manure or soil for a field? answered, The owner’s footsteps - that is, his presence and perambulation. Praesul ut praesit et prosit suis, ab iis non absit, Shepherds should reside with their flocks; the Arch-shepherd will not fail to do so.


Verse 12

Ezekiel 34:12 As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep [that are] scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.

Ver. 12. As a shepherd.] He prosecuteth the allegory drawn from shepherdy all along, striking still upon the same string with much sweetness.

So will I seek out my sheep.] See Matthew 15:24, Psalms 119:176, Isaiah 40:11.

In the cloudy and dark day,] i.e., In the time of their calamity and captivity. When things are at worst, God himself will set in; he reserveth his holy hand for a dead lift.


Verse 13

Ezekiel 34:13 And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country.

Ver. 13. And I will bring them out from the people.] This they could very hardly believe, therefore he assureth them of it again and again. God will do the like for all his elect, seem it never so impossible.

And fled them upon the mountains of Israel.] Which are very high mountains; but the Church, God’s hill, is higher. [Isaiah 2:2] {See Trapp on "Isaiah 2:2"}


Verse 14

Ezekiel 34:14 I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and [in] a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel.

Ver. 14. I will feed them in a good pasture.] Daily and daintily; feed them among the lilies; [Song of Solomon 2:16 Psalms 23:1-3] feed them with the flesh and blood of my dear Son [John 6:51-58]

There shall they lie in a good fold.] Having a blessed calm in their consciences, full of spiritual security, and freed from all annoyances [Micah 5:5]


Verse 15

Ezekiel 34:15 I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord GOD.

Ver. 15. I will feed my flock.] Doing all the offices of a good shepherd for them, and charging mine undershepherds to do so too.

And I will cause them to lie down.] By giving rest to their souls, [Matthew 11:28] together with many happy halcyons, that they may serve me without fear. [Luke 1:74]


Verse 16

Ezekiel 34:16 I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up [that which was] broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment.

Ver. 16. I will seek that which was lost, &c.] As he did Peter, Paul, the good thief, Matthew, Zaccheus, the disciples after their shameful flight, Augustine, all us who, like sheep, were gone astray, &c.

But I will destroy the fat.] Pinguem et petulcam; such as in whom fulness breedeth forgetfulness, as in Jeshurun. [Deuteronomy 32:15] Queen Elizabeth was told, in a sermon by Mr Deering, that once she was tanquam ovis, like a meek sheep, but now tanquam indomita iuvenca, as an untamed heifer; and therefore wished her to meet God by repentance. Here good Oecolampadius complaineth, and cause enough he had, of some of Christ’s fatter sheep who were too too haunty and troublesome to their fellows. The Lutherans of Suevia he might well mean, who, in their Syngramma, used him very coarsely; and Luther himself, in his book of private mass, set forth A.D. 1533, passeth a very uncharitable censure upon his disease and death.

And I will feed them with judgment.] Putting a difference, and dealing with them as it is fit.


Verse 17

Ezekiel 34:17 And [as for] you, O my flock, thus saith the Lord GOD Behold, I judge between cattle and cattle, between the rams and the he goats.

Ver. 17. And as for you, O my flock.] I have a saying to you also, such as are unruly especially, as well as to your shepherds.

Behold, I judge between cattle and cattle.] Between sincere Christians and hypocrites, sheep and goats; and can soon shed them, and show them to the world, who are fierce rams, and who are nasty goats. At last day, howsoever, all shall out, and a separation shall be made. The precious shall be taken out from the vile.


Verse 18

Ezekiel 34:18 [Seemeth it] a small thing unto you to have eaten up the good pasture, but ye must tread down with your feet the residue of your pastures? and to have drunk of the deep waters, but ye must foul the residue with your feet?

Ver. 18. Seemeth it a small thing unto you.] Extenuant hypocritae suam culpam honesto titulo. (a) Hypocrites make the best and the least of their sins, which good men acknowledge with aggravation; but the works of the flesh are manifest. And here we have a lively picture of the Popish clergy, who eat up the best, and tread down the rest, et pro salutaribus aquis suam salivam hominibus obtrudunt, and for wholesome, obtrude brackish waters upon men to quench their thirst,


Verse 19

Ezekiel 34:19 And [as for] my flock, they eat that which ye have trodden with your feet; and they drink that which ye have fouled with your feet.

Ver. 19. And as for my flock, they eat.] The poor, misled, and muzzled people are glad to eat such as they can catch. They are fed with traditions, legendary fables, indulgences, vowed pilgrimages, penances, &c. If Luther had not come in our way, say they, we could have persuaded the people to have eaten grass.


Verse 20

Ezekiel 34:20 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD unto them; Behold, I, [even] I, will judge between the fat cattle and between the lean cattle.

Ver. 20. I, even I, will judge between the fat cattle.] These are, saith Augustine, those that presume of their own strength, and boast of their own righteousness, being proud, insolent, and void of charity.


Verse 21

Ezekiel 34:21 Because ye have thrust with side and with shoulder, and pushed all the diseased with your horns, till ye have scattered them abroad;

Ver. 21. Because ye have thrust with side and with shoulder,] (a) i.e., With pretence of law on your side, and with power in your hand to do what you list; for who can withstand you?

And pushed all the diseased with your horns,] i.e., With your excommunications and persecutions. See Isaiah 66:5.

Till ye have scattered them abroad.] For how should they abide it? They drive them out of the fold, flock, pasture, so that they must either fly or die.


Verse 22

Ezekiel 34:22 Therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle and cattle.

Ver. 22. Therefore will I save my flock,] viz., By Christ the true shepherd, who once found out him whom the Jews had unjustly excommunicated, [John 9:35] and gave him encouragement. He knows all his sheep by name, {as Exodus 33:12; Exodus 33:17} and hath promised them safety here, and salvation hereafter. [John 10:27] It is not with the saints, as Isaiah 31:4, or as Amos 3:12, but as Jeremiah 31:10-12.


Verse 23

Ezekiel 34:23 And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, [even] my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd.

Ver. 23. And I will set up one shepherd.] Who, indeed, is the only shepherd. Magistrates and ministers are shepherds; but Christ is the "good shepherd"; [John 10:11] the "great shepherd and bishop of souls"; [1 Peter 2:25 Hebrews 13:20] the true shepherd, above all for skill, love, and power; above Jacob, above David, of whom he descended, and by whose name he is here called. {so Jeremiah 30:9 Hosea 3:5 Ezekiel 37:24}

Even my servant David,] i.e., Christ, the son and successor of David, not David George as that odious heretic who died at Basil blasphemously applied this text to himself, as if he had been the man here intended. The Jews themselves confess that Messiah is here meant.

He shall feed them.] This is thus repeated, as that which containeth a world of comfort. It showeth also that Christ will do it to the utmost. Jacob was a sedulous shepherd; Christ much more.


Verse 24

Ezekiel 34:24 And I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the LORD have spoken [it].

Ver. 24. And I the Lord will be their God.] This is that beehive of heavenly honey we so oft meet with in the Old Testament, which therefore those sectaries have so little reason to reject.

And my servant David a prince among them.] Captain of the Lord’s hosts, [Joshua 6:2] captain also of his people’s salvation, [Hebrews 2:10] Messiah the prince. [Daniel 9:25]


Verse 25

Ezekiel 34:25 And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods.

Ver. 25. And I will make with them a covenant of peace.] Pactum pacis, pacis omnimodae [Jeremiah 31:13 Isaiah 11:10 John 14:27]

And will cause the evil beasts.] That were wont to worry the flock. I will set them safe from Satan and his imps, his instruments, such as was Nero the lion, and bloody Bonner, the Pope’s slaughter slave here.


Verse 26

Ezekiel 34:26 And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing.

Ver. 26. And I will make them a blessing.] By blessing them with all spiritual benedictions in Christ Jesus, [Ephesians 1:3] so that they shall be felices et faecundi, happy and fruitful.

There shall be showers of blessing.] Or, Very large showers [2 Corinthians 9:6] of divine doctrine, [Isaiah 55:9] and of righteousness. [Hosea 10:12]


Verse 27

Ezekiel 34:27 And the tree of the field shall yield her fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase, and they shall be safe in their land, and shall know that I [am] the LORD, when I have broken the bands of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them.

Ver. 27. And the tree of the field shall yield her fruit.] There shall be a confluence of all comforts and contentments.

When I have broken the bands of their yoke.] Freed them from the Babylonish bondage, but especially from the tyranny of sin and terror of hell; when I have broke the devil’s yoke from off the necks of their souls.

Out of the hands of those that served themselves of them.] As did the devil, whose drudges they were, and who had them wholly at his beck and check.


Verse 28

Ezekiel 34:28 And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen, neither shall the beast of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and none shall make [them] afraid.

Ver. 28. And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen.] As the Jews then were, and are to this day, being used by the Papists as sponges. The Christian Hebrews also suffered with joy the spoiling of their goods; but then, for an allay to their grief, they knew within themselves that which did sufficiently support them, and make up their loss. [Hebrews 10:34]


Verse 29

Ezekiel 34:29 And I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more.

Ver. 29. And I will raise up for them a plant of renown,] (a) i.e., Christ the true tree of life. Or the Church planted and rooted in Christ, and much renowned all the world over. Christ mystical is a vine covering the whole earth.

And they shall be no more consumed with hunger.] They shall have enough of all good things, a sufficiency, though not a superfluity; a David’s sat habeo, because the Lord hath heard the voice of my supplications. [Psalms 116:1]

Neither bear the shame of the heathen any more.] God will bring them in credit with those which formerly slighted and reproached them. God fashioneth men’s opinions, ruleth their tongues, promiseth to them who, by patient continuance in well doing, seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life, where the saints shall shine as the sun in his strength. [Romans 2:7 Matthew 13:43]


Verse 30

Ezekiel 34:30 Thus shall they know that I the LORD their God [am] with them, and [that] they, [even] the house of Israel, [are] my people, saith the Lord GOD.

Ver. 30. Thus shall they know that I the Lord their God am with them.] They shall understand the lovingkindness of the Lord; [Psalms 107:43] they shall know the salvation of their God; [Psalms 50:23] they shall have a plerophory of faith. {as Romans 8:38}


Verse 31

Ezekiel 34:31 And ye my flock, the flock of my pasture, [are] men, [and] I [am] your God, saith the Lord GOD.

Ver. 31. And ye my flock … are men.] Sheep ye are, but rational sheep, having your spiritual "senses habitually exercised to discern good and evil," [Hebrews 5:14] so that ye "taste and see" my goodness. [Psalms 34:8]

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Ezekiel 34:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/ezekiel-34.html. 1865-1868.

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Tuesday, September 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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