Eze 11:1-25. Prophecy of the
Destruction of the Corrupt "Princes of
the People;" Pelatiah Dies; Promise of
Grace to the Believing Remnant; Departure of the Glory of God from the
City; Ezekiel's Return to the Captives.
1. east gate—to which the glory of God
had moved itself (Eze 10:19),
the chief entrance of the sanctuary; the portico or porch of Solomon.
The Spirit moves the prophet thither, to witness, in the presence of
the divine glory, a new scene of destruction.
five and twenty men—The same as the
twenty-five (that is, twenty-four heads of courses, and the high
priest) sun-worshippers seen in Eze 8:16. The leading priests were usually
called "princes of the sanctuary" (Isa 43:28) and "chiefs of the priests" (2Ch 36:14); but here two of them are called
"princes of the people," with irony, as using their priestly influence
to be ringleaders of the people in sin (Eze 11:2). Already the wrath of God had visited
the people represented by the elders (Eze 9:6); also the glory of the Lord had left
its place in the holy of holies, and, like the cherubim and flaming
sword in Eden, had occupied the gate into the deserted sanctuary. The
judgment on the representatives of the priesthood naturally
follows here, just as the sin of the priests had followed in the
description (Eze 8:12, 16) after the sin of the elders.
Jaazaniah—signifying "God hears."
son of Azur—different from Jaazaniah
the son of Shaphan (Eze 8:11).
Azur means "help." He and Pelatiah ("God delivers"), son of
Benaiah ("God builds"), are singled out as Jaazaniah, son of Shaphan,
in the case of the seventy elders (Eze 8:11, 12), because their names ought to have
reminded them that "God" would have "heard" had they sought His "help"
to "deliver" and "build" them up. But, neglecting this, they incurred
the heavier judgment by the very relation in which they stood to God
2. he—the Lord sitting on the cherubim
wicked counsel—in opposition to the
prophets of God (Eze 11:3).
3. It is not near—namely, the
destruction of the city; therefore "let us build houses," as if there
was no fear. But the Hebrew opposes English Version,
which would require the infinitive absolute. Rather, "Not at hand is
the building of houses." They sneer at Jeremiah's letter to the
captives, among whom Ezekiel lived (Jer 29:5). "Build ye houses, and
dwell in them," that is, do not fancy, as many persuade you, that your
sojourn in Babylon is to be short; it will be for seventy years (Jer
25:11, 12; 29:10); therefore
build houses and settle quietly there. The scorners in Jerusalem reply,
Those far off in exile may build if they please, but it is too
remote a concern for us to trouble ourselves about [Fairbairn], (Compare Eze 12:22, 27; 2Pe 3:4).
this city … caldron … we …
flesh—sneering at Jer 1:13,
when he compared the city to a caldron with its mouth towards the
north. "Let Jerusalem be so if you will, and we the flesh, exposed to
the raging foe from the north, still its fortifications will secure us
from the flame of war outside; the city must stand for our sakes, just
as the pot exists for the safety of the flesh in it." In opposition to
this God says (Eze 11:11),
"This city shall not be your caldron, to defend you in it from
the foe outside: nay, ye shall be driven out of your imaginary
sanctuary and slain in the border of the land." "But," says God,
11:7, "your slain are the
flesh, and this city the caldron; but (not as you fancy, shall ye be
kept safe inside) I will bring you forth out of the midst of
it"; and again, in Eze 24:3,
"Though not a caldron in your sense, Jerusalem shall be so in
the sense of its being exposed to a consuming foe, and you yourselves
in it and with it."
4. prophesy … prophesy—The
repetition marks emphatic earnestness.
5. Spirit … fell upon me—stronger
than "entered into me" (Eze 2:2; 3:24), implying the zeal of the Spirit of God
roused to immediate indignation at the contempt of God shown by the
I know—(Ps 139:1-4). Your scornful jests at My word escape
not My notice.
6. your slain—those on whom you have
brought ruin by your wicked counsels. Bloody crimes within the city
brought on it a bloody foe from without (Eze 7:23, 24). They had made it a caldron in which to
boil the flesh of God's people (Mic 3:1-3), and eat it by unrighteous oppression;
therefore God will make it a caldron in a different sense, one not
wherein they may be safe in their guilt, but "out of the midst of"
which they shall be "brought forth" (Jer 34:4, 5).
7. The city is a caldron to them, but it shall
not be so to you. Ye shall meet your doom on the frontier.
8. The Chaldean sword, to escape which ye
abandoned your God, shall be brought on you by God because of that very
abandonment of Him.
9. out of the midst thereof—that is, of
the city, as captives led into the open plain for judgment.
10. in the border of Israel—on the
frontier: at Riblah, in the land of Hamath (compare 2Ki
25:19-21, with 1Ki 8:65).
ye shall know that I am the Lord—by
the judgments I inflict (Ps 9:16).
11. (See on Eze
12. (De 12:30, 31).
13. Pelaliah—probably the ringleader of
the scorners (Eze 11:1);
his being stricken dead (like Ananias, Acts 5. 5) was an earnest of the destruction of
the rest of the twenty-five, as Ezekiel had foretold, as also of the
fell … upon … face—(See on
wilt thou make a full end of the
remnant—Is Pelatiah's destruction to be the token of the
destruction of all, even of the remnant? The people regarded Pelatiah
as a mainstay of the city. His name (derived from a Hebrew root,
"a remnant," or else "God delivers") suggested hope. Is that hope, asks
Ezekiel, to be disappointed?
15. thy brethren … brethren—The
repetition implies, "Thy real brethren" are no longer the priests at
Jerusalem with whom thou art connected by the natural ties of
blood and common temple service, but thy fellow exiles on the Chebar,
and the house of Israel whosoever of them belong to the remnant to be
men of thy kindred—literally, "of thy
redemption," that is, the nearest relatives, whose duty it was to do
the part of Goel, or vindicator and redeemer of a forfeited inheritance
25:25). Ezekiel, seeing the
priesthood doomed to destruction, as a priest, felt anxious to
vindicate their cause, as if they were his nearest kinsmen and he their
Goel. But he is told to look for his true kinsmen in those, his fellow
exiles, whom his natural kinsmen at Jerusalem despised, and he is to be
their vindicator. Spiritual ties, as in the case of Levi (De 33:9), the type of Messiah (Mt 12:47-50) are to supersede natural ones
where the two clash. The hope of better days was to rise from the
despised exiles. The gospel principle is shadowed forth here, that the
despised of men are often the chosen of God and the highly esteemed
among men are often an abomination before Him (Lu 16:15;
1Co 1:26-28). "No door of
hope but in the valley of Achor" ("trouble," Ho 2:15), [Fairbairn].
Get you far … unto us is this
land—the contemptuous words of those left still in the city
at the carrying away of Jeconiah to the exiles, "However far ye be
outcasts from the Lord and His temple, we are secure in our
possession of the land."
16. Although—anticipating the objection
of the priests at Jerusalem, that the exiles were "cast far off."
Though this be so, and they are far from the outer temple at Jerusalem,
I will be their asylum or sanctuary instead (Ps 90:1;
91:9; Isa 8:14). My shrine is
the humble heart: a preparation for gospel catholicity when the local
and material temple should give place to the spiritual (Isa 57:15; 66:1; Mal 1:11; Joh 4:21-24; Ac 7:48,
49). The trying discipline of
the exile was to chasten the outcasts so as to be meet recipients of
God's grace, for which the carnal confidence of the priests
disqualified them. The dispersion served the end of spiritualizing and
enlarging the views even of the better Jews, so as to be able to
worship God everywhere without a material temple; and, at the
same time, it diffused some knowledge of God among the greatest Gentile
nations, thus providing materials for the gathering in of the Christian
Church among the Gentiles; so marvellously did God overrule a present
evil for an ultimate good. Still more does all this hold good in the
present much longer dispersion which is preparing for a more perfect
and universal restoration (Isa 2:2-4; Jer 3:16-18). Their long privation of the temple
will prepare them for appreciating the more, but without Jewish
narrowness, the temple that is to be (Eze 40:1-44:31).
a little—rather, "for a little
season"; No matter how long the captivity may be, the seventy years
will be but as a little season, compared with their long subsequent
settlement in their land. This holds true only partially in the case of
the first restoration; but as in a few centuries they were dispersed
again, the full and permanent restoration is yet future (Jer 24:6).
17. (Eze 28:25; 34:13; 36:24).
18. They have eschewed every vestige of
idolatry ever since their return from Babylon. But still the Shekinah
glory had departed, the ark was not restored, nor was the second temple
strictly inhabited by God until He came who made it more glorious than
the first temple (Hag 2:9); even
then His stay was short, and ended in His being rejected; so that the
full realization of the promise must still be future.
19. I will give them—lest they should
claim to themselves the praise given them in Eze 11:18, God declares it is to be the free
gift of His Spirit.
one heart—not singleness, that
is, uprightness, but oneness of heart in all, unanimously
seeking Him in contrast to their state at that time, when only single
scattered individuals sought God (Jer 32:39; Zep 3:9) [Hengstenberg]. Or, "content with one God,"
not distracted with "the many detestable things" (Eze
11:18; 1Ki 18:21; Ho 10:2)
new spirit—(Ps 51:10; Jer
31:33). Realized fully in the
"new creature" of the New Testament (2Co 5:17); having new motives, new rules, new
stony heart—like "adamant" (Zec 7:12); the natural heart of every
heart of flesh—impressible to what is
20. walk in my statutes—Regeneration
shows itself by its fruits (Ga 5:22, 25).
they … my people, … I … their
God—(Eze 14:11; 36:28; 37:27; Jer
24:7). In its fullest sense
still future (Zec 13:9).
21. whose heart … after … heart of
… detestable things—The repetition of "heart" is
emphatic, signifying that the heart of those who so obstinately clung
to idols, impelled itself to fresh superstitions in one continuous
tenor [Calvin]. Perhaps it is implied
that they and their idols are much alike in character (Ps 115:8). The heart walks astray first,
the feet follow.
recompense … way upon …
heads—They have abandoned Me, so will I abandon them; they
profaned My temple, so will I profane it by the Chaldeans (Eze 9:10).
23. The Shekinah glory now moves from the east
gate (Eze 10:4, 19) to the Mount of Olives, altogether
abandoning the temple. The mount was chosen as being the height whence
the missiles of the foe were about to descend on the city. So it was
from it that Jesus ascended to heaven when about to send His judgments
on the Jews; and from it He predicted its overthrow before His
crucifixion (Mt 24:3). It
is also to be the scene of His return in person to deliver His people
14:4), when He shall come by
the same way as He went, "the way of the east" (Eze 43:2).
24. brought me in a vision—not in actual
fact, but in ecstatic vision. He had been as to the outward world all
the time before the elders (Eze 8:3) in
Chaldea; he now reports what he had witnessed with the inner eye.
25. things … showed me—literally,
"words"; an appropriate expression; for the word communicated to him
was not simply a word, but one clothed with outward symbols "shown" to
him as in the sacrament, which Augustine
terms "the visible word" [Calvin].