Ezekiel Eats the Roll. Is Commissioned to Go to
Them of the Captivity and Goes to Tel-abib by the Chebar: Again Beholds
the Shekinah Glory: Is Told to Retire to
His House, and Only Speak when God Opens His Mouth.
1. eat … and … speak—God's
messenger must first inwardly appropriate God's truth himself, before
he "speaks" it to others (see on Eze 2:8).
Symbolic actions were, when possible and proper, performed outwardly;
otherwise, internally and in spiritual vision, the action so narrated
making the naked statement more intuitive and impressive by presenting
the subject in a concentrated, embodied form.
3. honey for sweetness—Compare Ps 19:10; 119:103; Re 10:9, where, as here in Eze 3:14, the "sweetness" is followed by
"bitterness." The former being due to the painful nature of the
message; the latter because it was the Lord's service which he was
engaged in; and his eating the roll and finding it sweet, implied that,
divesting himself of carnal feeling, he made God's will his will,
however painful the message that God might require him to announce. The
fact that God would be glorified was his greatest pleasure.
5. See Margin, Hebrew, "deep of lip,
and heavy of tongue," that is, men speaking an obscure and
unintelligible tongue. Even they would have listened to the prophet;
but the Jews, though addressed in their own tongue, will not hear
6. many people—It would have increased
the difficulty had he been sent, not merely to one, but to "many
people" differing in tongues, so that the missionary would have needed
to acquire a new tongue for addressing each. The after mission of the
apostles to many peoples, and the gift of tongues for that end, are
foreshadowed (compare 1Co 14:21 with Isa 28:11).
had I sent thee to them, they would have
hearkened—(Mt 11:21, 23).
7. will not hearken unto thee: for … not
… me—(Joh 15:20).
Take patiently their rejection of thee, for I thy Lord bear it along
8. Ezekiel means one "strengthened by God."
Such he was in godly firmness, in spite of his people's opposition,
according to the divine command to the priest tribe to which he
9. As … flint—so Messiah the
antitype (Isa 50:7;
compare Jer 1:8, 17).
10. receive in … heart …
ears—The transposition from the natural order, namely, first
receiving with the ears, then in the heart, is designed.
The preparation of the heart for God's message should precede the
reception of it with the ears (compare Pr 16:1; Ps 10:17).
11. thy people—who ought to be better
disposed to hearken to thee, their fellow countryman, than hadst thou
been a foreigner (Eze 3:5, 6).
12. (Ac 8:39). Ezekiel's abode heretofore had not
been the most suitable for his work. He, therefore, is guided by the
Spirit to Tel-Abib, the chief town of the Jewish colony of captives:
there he sat on the ground, "the throne of the miserable" (Ezr 9:3; La
1:1-3), seven days, the usual
period for manifesting deep grief (Job 2:13; see Ps 137:1), thus winning their confidence by
sympathy in their sorrow. He is accompanied by the cherubim which had
been manifested at Chebar (Eze 1:3, 4),
after their departure from Jerusalem. They now are heard moving with
the "voice of a great rushing (compare Ac 2:2), saying, Blessed be the glory of
the Lord from His place," that is, moving from the place in
which it had been at Chebar, to accompany Ezekiel to his new
destination (Eze 9:3); or,
"from His place" may rather mean, in His place and manifested "from"
it. Though God may seem to have forsaken His temple, He is still in
it and will restore His people to it. His glory is "blessed," in
opposition to those Jews who spoke evil of Him, as if He had been
unjustly rigorous towards their nation [Calvin].
13. touched—literally, "kissed," that
is, closely embraced.
noise of a great rushing—typical of
great disasters impending over the Jews.
14. bitterness—sadness on account of the
impending calamities of which I was required to be the unwelcome
messenger. But the "hand," or powerful impulse of Jehovah, urged me
15. Tel-Abib—Tel means an
"elevation." It is identified by Michaelis with Thallaba on the Chabor.
Perhaps the name expressed the Jews' hopes of restoration, or else the
fertility of the region. Abib means the green ears of
corn which appeared in the month Nisan, the pledge of the harvest.
I sat, &c.—This is the Hebrew
Margin reading. The text is rather, "I beheld them
sitting there" [Gesenius]; or, "And
those that were settled there," namely, the older settlers, as
distinguished from the more recent ones alluded to in the previous
clause. The ten tribes had been long since settled on the Chabor or
17. watchman—Ezekiel alone, among the
prophets, is called a "watchman," not merely to sympathize, but to give
timely warning of danger to his people where none was suspected.
Habakkuk (Hab 2:1)
speaks of standing upon his "watch," but it was only in order to be on
the lookout for the manifestation of God's power (so Isa 52:8;
62:6); not as Ezekiel, to act
as a watchman to others.
18. warning … speakest to warn—The
repetition implies that it is not enough to warn once in passing, but
that the warning is to be inculcated continually (2Ti 4:2, "in season, out of season"; Ac 20:31, "night and day with tears").
save—Eze 2:5 had seemingly taken away all hope of
salvation; but the reference there was to the mass of the people whose
case was hopeless; a few individuals, however, were reclaimable.
die in … iniquity—(Joh 8:21, 24). Men are not to flatter
themselves that their ignorance, owing to the negligence of their
teachers, will save them (Ro 2:12, "As
many as have sinned without law, shall also perish without
19. wickedness … wicked
way—internal wickedness of heart, and
external of the life, respectively.
delivered thy soul—(Isa 49:4, 5;
20. righteous … turn from …
righteousness—not one "righteous" as to the root and
spirit of regeneration (Ps
89:33; 138:8; Isa 26:12; 27:3; Joh 10:28; Php 1:6), but as to its outward
appearance and performances. So the "righteous" (Pr 18:17; Mt
9:13). As in Eze 3:19 the minister is required to lead the
wicked to good, so in Eze 3:20 he
is to confirm the well-disposed in their duty.
commit iniquity—that is, give himself
up wholly to it (1Jo 3:8, 9),
for even the best often fall, but not wilfully and
I lay a stumbling-block—not that God
tempts to sin (Jas 1:13, 14), but God gives men over to judicial
blindness, and to their own corruptions (Ps 9:16, 17;
94:23) when they "like not to
retain God in their knowledge" (Ro 1:24, 26); just as, on the contrary, God makes
"the way of the righteous plain" (Pr 4:11, 12; 15:19), so that they do "not stumble." Calvin refers "stumbling-block" not to the
guilt, but to its punishment; "I bring ruin on
him." The former is best. Ahab, after a kind of righteousness (1Ki
21:27-29), relapsed and
consulted lying spirits in false prophets; so God permitted one of
these to be his "stumbling-block," both to sin and its corresponding
punishment (1Ki 22:21-23).
his blood will I require—(Heb 13:17).
22. hand of the Lord—(Eze 1:3).
go … into the plain—in order
that he might there, in a place secluded from unbelieving men, receive
a fresh manifestation of the divine glory, to inspirit him for his
23. glory of the Lord—(Eze 1:28).
24. set me upon my feet—having been
previously prostrate and unable to rise until raised by the divine
shut thyself within …
house—implying that in the work he had to do, he must look
for no sympathy from man but must be often alone with God and draw his
strength from Him [Fairbairn]. "Do not
go out of thy house till I reveal the future to thee by signs and
words," which God does in the following chapters, down to the eleventh.
Thus a representation was given of the city shut up by siege [Grotius]. Thereby God proved the obedience of
His servant, and Ezekiel showed the reality of His call by proceeding,
not through rash impulse, but by the directions of God [Calvin].
25. put bands upon thee—not literally,
but spiritually, the binding, depressing influence which their
rebellious conduct would exert on his spirit. Their perversity, like
bands, would repress his freedom in preaching; as in 2Co 6:12, Paul calls himself "straitened" because
his teaching did not find easy access to them. Or else, it is said to
console the prophet for being shut up; if thou wert now at once to
announce God's message, they would rush on thee and bind
them with "bands" [Calvin].
26. I will make my tongue …
dumb—Israel had rejected the prophets; therefore God deprives
Israel of the prophets and of His word—God's sorest judgment
(1Sa 7:2; Am 8:11, 12).
27. when I speak … I will open thy
mouth—opposed to the silence imposed on the prophet, to
punish the people (Eze 3:26).
After the interval of silence has awakened their attention to the cause
of it, namely, their sins, they may then hearken to the prophecies
which they would not do before.
He that heareth, let him hear …
forbear—that is, thou hast done thy part, whether they hear
or forbear. He who shall forbear to hear, it shall be at his own peril;
he who hears, it shall be to his own eternal good (compare Re 22:11).