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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Ezekiel 14

 

 

Introduction

Ezekiel 12:21 to Ezekiel 14:11. The Folly of the Popular Attitude to Prophecy.

In two further ways the people allowed themselves to be deluded—(i.) by their ignoring of true prophets, such as Jeremiah and Ezekiel, (ii.) by their confidence in false prophets.


Verses 1-11

Ezekiel 14:1-11. Insincerity of those who Consult the Prophets.—Like prophet, like people. The prophets, as we have just seen (Ezekiel 13), were greatly to blame; but no less were the people—partly because of their scepticism (Ezekiel 12:21-28), and partly, as we now see, because of their insincerity. This is illustrated by a question put by certain elders on the occasion of a visit to Ezekiel—a question which neither deserved nor received an answer; for they are idolaters, certainly at heart and probably in fact; they worship Yahweh with divided heart, and are therefore inevitably excluded from a knowledge of His purpose and will. No answer can be given to such, but the answer of the Divine judgment; and if they continue their policy of impenitent compromise, their fate will be nothing less than terrible (Ezekiel 14:1-8). And not only their fate, but the fate of any prophet that gives them an answer. The only prophet who could accommodate himself to men like these would be one who was himself infatuated—perhaps as the result of some moral obliquity; and such prophets, like those who consult them, must bear their punishment. Only through true prophets and a true people can the better day come (Ezekiel 14:9-11).


Verses 12-23

Ezekiel 14:12-23. The Righteous cannot Save the City, but only Themselves.—In spite of all Ezekiel's visions and warnings, the people still cherish the illusion that Jerusalem will be spared—if for no other reason, at least for the sake of the righteous to be found in it, on the principle of solidarity. Why might it not, like Sodom (Genesis 18:32), be spared "for ten's sake"? In this very interesting and rhetorical passage, where Ezekiel develops the broad doctrine of individual responsibility, at which he has just hinted (Ezekiel 14:10) and which he had touched upon before (Ezekiel 3:16-21), he strikes away this illusion. When the judgment comes, he tells them—be it in the form of famine, wild beasts, or pestilence—the most godly men, for all their piety, will be able to deliver no one but themselves: not their families, not even a single member of them (Ezekiel 14:20), far less their city or their land. As types of piety he chooses the names of men whose stories must have been familiar to his contemporaries (Noah, Daniel, Job) though the books named after the two latter had not yet been written (Ezekiel 14:12-21). This dogmatic theory of strict individual retribution would seem to be difficult to square with the survival of a guilty remnant, such, e.g. as those who were deported later to Babylon after the fall of the city in 586 B.C. Ezekiel meets this undoubted difficulty by the suggestion that this remnant, by their corrupt lives, will show how thoroughly just the doom of the others was; and the exiles will have the grim comfort of witnessing this confirmation of the Divine justice.

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Ezekiel 14:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/ezekiel-14.html. 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, December 12th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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