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Ezekiel 2:4-5

4. For they are impudent children and stiffhearted. I do send thee unto them; and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD.

4. Et filii duri fade, et robusti corde: ergo mitto to ad eos. et dices illis, Sic dieit Dominator Iehovah.

5. And they, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, (for they are a rebellious house,) yet shall know that there hath been a prophet among them.

5. Et ipsi sive audiant sive desistant quoniam domus rebellionis ipsi: et 6060     The copula “and” is here redundant, but it may be resolved into the adverb of time or the adversative particle — “trot they shall know.” — Calvin. scient quod propheta fuerit inter ipsos.

 

God proceeds in the same discourse, but expresses in other words the great rebellion of the people, for they were not only obstinate and unbending in heart, but also of a contumacious countenance: therefore he places hardness in face as well as in heart. The words indeed are different, קשי, keshi, and חזקי, chezki, “of brazen countenance,” for we may translate “winked” and “contumacious,” for this disposition appears in the countenance, nor is it objectionable to render it “impudent.” But. propriety of speech must be retained; for we must speak of the robust of heart as “broken down,” or if the allusion seems more apposite, we must render it “of broken countenance,” then of “broken spirits,” as we call the wicked “brazen-fronted.” The meaning is, that the Jews were not only rebellious against God and puffed up with proud contempt, but their impiety was so desperate that they opposed themselves to God without disguise, as if they had been horned oxen or furious bulls. We know that hypocrisy often lies hid in the mind, and although men swell with malice, yet they do not betray what they inwardly nourish. But the Prophet here signifies that the Israelites were so immersed in impiety, that they displayed themselves as the open enemies of God in their very countenances. The result is, that the Prophet, while he applied himself to perform the commands of God, ought so to determine with himself, when he approaches the people, that his teaching would be not only useless as to them, because it would not be received with the reverence which it deserves, but would be even exposed to many reproaches: since the Israelites were not only filled with a hidden contempt of God, but they openly showed their ferocity, so to speak, since they were of so brazen a front that they would without doubt purposely reject the Prophet. They are hard-hearted children, etc., yet I send thee unto them Here, again, God opposes his own command, as the Prophet simply acquiesces in this word alone, “I have a divine mission.” If he displeases men, he is content to have his labor approved of God. This is the meaning of the phrase which is now a second time repeated, I send thee unto them For the Prophet might object, What can I do? for if they are of a brazen heart and of an iron front, I shall labor in vain. But God answers in return, that the Prophet need not be anxious, it is enough to have a command: as if a prince should not explain the whole of his counsel to his ambassador, and yet should order him to discharge his embassy, thus God acts towards his servant. We see then how God here magnifies his authority: and we must mark this diligently, that we may not wish always to be bargaining with him, as we are accustomed. For unless God show us the present fruit of our labor, we languish, and so we endeavor by turning back to withdraw ourselves from his authority: but God opposes this single sentence, Behold I send thee The rest I leave till to-morrow.


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