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Ezekiel 14:6

6. Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord GOD; Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations.

6. Propterea die ad domum Israel, Sic dicit Dominator Iehovah, revertimini et redire facite ab idolis vestris, et a cunctis abominationibus vestris redire facite 3939     Or, “turn away?.” — Calvin. facies vestras.

 

Now God shows why he had threatened the false prophets and the whole people so severely, namely, that they should repent; for the object of God’s rigor is, that, when terrified by his judgments, we should return into the way. Now, therefore, he exhorts them to repentance. Hence we gather the useful lesson, that whenever God inspires us with fear, he has no other intention than to humble us, and thus to provide for our salvation, when he reproves and threatens us so strongly by his prophets, and in truth is verbally angry with us, that he may really spare us. But the exhortation is short, that they may be converted and turned away from their idols, and may turn their faces from all their abominations. When he uses the word השיבו, heshibev, in the second clause, some understand “wives;” but this is frigid: others think the verb transitive, but yet impersonal, thus make yourselves return: this also is harsh. 4040     Calvin has not explained the difficulty which he raises. The verb “return” is in Hiphil, and thought to have a case following it. Houbigant reads it in Hophal, and Newcombe prefers to understand “yourselves.” Rosemuller, as usual, is very explanatory. I have no doubt that the Prophet here exhorts the Israelites that each should desire to reconcile himself to God, and at the same time bring others with him. As many were mutually the authors of evils to each other, he now orders them to do their utmost to bring back others with them: and surely this is a true proof of our repentance, when we are not only converted to God one by one, but, when we stretch forth our hand to our brethren, and recall them from error; especially if they have wandered away through our fault, we must take care to make up for the injury by at least equal diligence. The sense therefore of the Prophet is, first, that, the Israelites should repent; next, that one should assist another to repentance, or that they should mutually unite in the pursuit of piety, just as each was previously corrupted by his companion and brother. This seems to be the full meaning. Besides, this series must be remarked: because many show zeal in seizing others, and stretching out the hand to free them from error; but they themselves never think of repenting. But the Holy Spirit here shows us the true method of proceeding, when he commands us to repent, and then extends our desires to our brethren who have need of our exhortations. At length he adds, withdraw your faces, or turn away from all your abominations. A part is here put by the Prophet for the whole, since turning away the face means the same as withdrawing all the senses. Since, therefore, they had been almost affixed to their own abominations to which they had cast their eyes, and were completely intent upon them, he orders them to turn away their faces, so as to bid them farewell. It follows —


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