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15I came to the exiles at Tel-abib, who lived by the river Chebar. And I sat there among them, stunned, for seven days.
Now he says, that he had returned to his own people, not that he had ever removed from them, but had been drawn by the vision from the intercourse with men. For God revealed himself to him on the bank of the river Chebar, but he was solitary: and that this was done by vision, is by no means doubtful, since he was always among his own people. How then does he say, that he is now returned? Why, because the vision had vanished, and so he was entirely occupied with the other captives. What some affirm with subtlety, that he was like a monk, is frivolous: for they say, that he abhorred the wickedness of the people, and, that he might not contract any stain of impurity, had sought solitude: but this is not probable. Without doubt., the Prophet means that he returned to his former mode of life from the time when he heard God speaking and saw the vision. He then says — I sat seven days in some way absorbed in either admiration or sorrow, for שמם, shemew, signifies “to be desolate,” “to be astonished,” “to wonder.” But as to the Prophet sitting quiet and silent for seven days, there is little doubt but that in this way God prepared him for beginning to speak afterwards to the greater surprise of the whole people. Nor ought it to seem absurd that he was dumb although sent by God:: for this did not occur through any negligence or delay which can be accounted a fault, but the office of teaching had been so imposed that he was not yet instructed by any fixed commands; as if any one were chosen ambassador either by a king or a senate, and were afterwards furnished with his instructions, so the Prophet was called to the prophetic office., but knew not yet what he was to say. He had indeed eaten the roll, but God had not yet suggested whence he ought to begin, nor how he ought to temper his doctrine. Hence Ezekiel had not yet been drawn forth: therefore he says, that he sat with either great stupor or great desolation, as they say. For his very appearance would rouse the attention of men, that they should enquire the meaning of this unusual sorrow. Whatever it was, we see that this silence was a preparation for the discharge of his duty with greater fruit and efficacy, since his speech ought afterwards to be received with greater reverence when he had been silent for seven days
Then he says, I came to the exiles who sat in Thelabib I willingly accord with the opinion of those who take this for the name of a place, and ancient interpreters even have left these two words. Their Septuagint version has μετέωρον, as if it meant “lofty.” תלל, thelel, signifies to elevate, but it ought to be תלול, thelol, if the Prophet meant that he was exalted, but this is not suitable, since he rather asserts that he was like the rest of mankind after the vision was withdrawn. Some render it “skillful,” but I am not aware of their reason: but as I have already said, their opinion is probable, who suppose it the proper name of a place. Jerome translates, “a heap of fruit,” and not badly; for this was probably the origin of the place’s name, as cities and villages and mountains often receive their name from their situation and other circumstances; so also this place was called Thelabib. For תל, thel, signifies “a heap,” and אביב, abib, means a “stalk,” or “straw of corn,” and it may, therefore, be that the place was called Thelabib on account of its fertility, since the harvest there is very plentiful. But this is of no great moment. What we have mentioned must be especially remembered, that the Prophet was beheld in that sad and sorrowful countenance, and was silent for seven days