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Bible Commentaries

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary
Ezekiel 34

 

 

Verse 1

CONTENTS

The Prophet is here again instructing the Church by figure, in representing the unfaithfulness of the Shepherds who neglect the Lord's fold, and the faithfulness of Jesus the first Shepherd, who layeth down his life for his sheep. The subject under this similitude, runs through the whole Chapter.


Verses 1-6

This Chapter begins with a woe, and an awful charge follows. Who are particularly meant here by the Shepherds, is not said; perhaps both Priests and Levites; the Elders, and all that had a charge; (for at this time the government had no prince) and the people were in captivity. The Holy Ghost indeed hath given no date to this Sermon; but as it was delivered by Ezekiel, it must have been while the Church was in Babylon. Perhaps the Holy Ghost was pleased to have it handed down to the Church without a date, on purpose that it might suit shepherds of every generation. Reader! look at God's charge of unfaithful shepherds, and tremble! They are said to feed themselves, but not the flock. They are charged with neglecting the diseased of the fold; and even with force and cruelty to be ruling over them. They are said to be altogether inattentive to poor strayed sheep and wanderers, and never to search nor seek after them. Reader! awfully ponder these things. But do not fail while noticing the worthlessness of men, to observe the tender mercy of the Lord. The poor, diseased, neglected, and even wandering and scattered sheep, the Lord still calls his. My sheep (saith the Lord) wandered; yea my flock was scattered. Precious Jesus! how blessed is it thus to eye thy grace and favor, amidst all the infirmities of thy fold, and the worthless conduct of their keepers!


Verses 7-10

The Lord having by his servant the Prophet, preferred the charge of the unworthiness of his servants, here pronounceth the sentence which he will execute against them: and a tremendous one it is. And it is rendered the more awful being ushered in by the solemnity of the Lord's oath. The sentence is included under two branches; either one of which, if alone, had been enough to have made the ears of every unfaithful shepherd to tingle; but taken together, becomes tremblingly awful. Behold, I am against you, saith the Lord, this is one; and the other is, I will require my flock at your hands. Oh! who can read such a solemn declaration of Jehovah, among even the faithful servants of the Lord; but with fear and trembling? And who that is conscious of neglect in the ministerial function, but must fall down under the most awakening apprehensions!


Verses 11-16

What a sweet relief doth this part of the Chapter afford, after beholding what went before, in the unfaithfulness of false shepherds, to hear what is promised to the true. Reader! you will not, I am sure, need my pointing out, that it is Jesus who here takes up the subject. His Church is his flock, and for every one of the fold he is intimately concerned. Indeed, under how many characters of a shepherd doth the Holy Ghost represent him, in various parts of his sacred word. At one place as the chief shepherd, 1 Peter 5:4. at another as the Great shepherd, Hebrews 13:20. And for the identity of the person and character, in the same Chapter, he is called the one shepherd; to intimate that there is no other. See Ezekiel 34:23. And Jesus calls himself the good shepherd. John 10:11. And God the Father calls him my shepherd. Zechariah 13:7. And Reader! you and I are not, I hope, without a personal knowledge of him, under everyone of those sweet distinctions. And that Jesus hath a flock, a Church, a people, which are his, both by the Father's gift, and his own purchase; this I hope is also well known both to the Writer and the Reader. And this flock, like the glorious Shepherd of it, is known by various names in the word of God, which the Holy Ghost hath given to it. At one place it is called a little flock: Luke 12:32. At another a beautiful flock: Jeremiah 13:20. And by one of the Prophets it is called a flock of slaughter. Zechariah 11:4. But still Jesus's flock is costly, and precious in his eyes. No wonder that the Lord therefore so graciously undertakes those compassionate offices himself, which are here marked down. Reader! are you of Christ's fold? fear not then, Jesus will feed, protect, heal, restore, comfort, bring home, and cause to lie down in his bosom, every poor, diseased, and wandering sheep of his fold!


Verses 17-28

Here we have, in the midst of many gracious promises, the Lord's address to the flock itself. As in the circumstances of life, in a wilderness state, even the flock of Jesus, like the flock of the field, will have their contentions with each other, the Lord noticeth this, and declares he will judge between them. Reader! what a sad thing it is that quarrels should arise among the people of the Lord. But so it is, and so it will be, from the infirmities of fallen nature. In the world, the peaceable, and harmless, will he too often injured by the great and the mighty. Jesus knows all this; and Jesus saith he wilt take part with the oppressed.


Verse 29

Christ himself is this plant of renown, which Jehovah hath raised up for a blessing to his Church and people. And oh! how truly renowned, in his person, office, character, and relations! Hail thou glorious Lord! be thou everlastingly known and loved, and adored, by all the nations of the earth: and may thy saving health be to all thy people!


Verse 30-31

That there might be no possible mistake made by the Church, from this preaching of the Prophet, he is directed in the close of his sermon to drop the figure, both of the shepherd and the sheep, and in plain terms to say, that the Church is all along meant by the flock; and the Lord God is the shepherd of his people.


Verse 31

REFLECTIONS

OH! ye shepherds in the fold of Christ's Church by whatever name or rank ye are distinguished among men; here read the solemn declarations of the Lord, and behold the awful and tremendous consequences of unfaithfulness in your several and distinct charges! Who, for the sake of a trifling, short, and transitory distinction among men, would take the solemn care of the fold of Christ upon them, and have the blood of souls to lie at their doors! Oh! ye hirelings! who from carnal ends, and not from love to Christ and his sheep, rush into the service of the Lord's pastures! Here behold the sad and miserable termination of a life so wretched, and a trust so abused! Oh! that the Lord, in compassion to his flock, would stop the mad and desperate attempt of men so lost and depraved; and give, as he hath graciously promised, to his Church, Pastors after his own heart, who shall feed his people with knowledge and understanding. Jeremiah 3:15.

But from a subject so truly awful, Reader, let you and I seek relief in looking to Jesus, the good shepherd, who hath given his life for the sheep! Truly, Lord, thy Father graciously gave thee thy flock, and made them thine when thou camest to seek and save that which was lost. Through every part of this Chapter, in all that is promised of the faithful pastor, we trace thy footsteps, and mark the distinguishing features of thy character. Yea, blessed Jesus! it is thou, and thou alone, that hast gone over the mountains, and through every hill and vale, in quest of thy flock; and thou hast brought home, and wilt bring home all and everyone on thy shoulders rejoicing. It is thine office to separate the goats from the sheep; and to distinguish between the precious and the vile. And ere long, thou, who art now the Lamb in the midst of the throne, feeding those now above, and leading them to fountains of living waters, wilt bring home the whole flock that remain out of the spiritual Egypt of this world, and not an hoof shall be left behind. Then blessed Lord, all thy sheep shall be brought into one fold, and everlastingly secured from all future wanderings, when thou, the Chief Shepherd shall appear, they all shall appear with thee in glory. Amen.

 


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Bibliography Information
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Ezekiel 34:4". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/ezekiel-34.html. 1828.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, September 21st, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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