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25As for you, mortal, cords shall be placed on you, and you shall be bound with them, so that you cannot go out among the people;

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Now God explains the reason why he wishes the Prophet to cease for a time, and to remain at home as if dumb. They have placed, said he, ropes upon thee with which they may bind thee. The opinion of those who take the passage metaphorically is not unsuitable, as if it had been said, the perverseness of the people hinders Ezekiel in the discharge of his duty, just as if he had been bound with ropes.

To make this clearer, we may call to mind what Paul says to the Corinthians, (2 Corinthians 6:11,) namely, that he was held in bondage, because his teaching could not find access to them, nor penetrate to their souls. “Our mouth,” says he, “is open towards you, O Corinthians! Our heart is enlarged towards you:” that is, as far as lieth in me, I am prepared faithfully to spend my labors upon you: but your bowels are straitened. Since therefore men, by their own depravity, hinder the course of doctrine, by reducing the servants of God to straits, it is quite consistent to represent the malice of those who are not teachable to be like ropes by which faithful teachers are bound, so that they cannot proceed freely in the course of their duty. If any one, however, prefers taking what is here said strictly and literally, the sentence must thus be understood, that the Israelites were not as yet prepared for instruction, because if the Prophet shall utter God’s commands immediately, they would be like the furious who would lay hands upon him and bind him with ropes. This sense also is very appropriate, and hence we may choose freely between them. But as to the general purport, God’s intention is by no means obscure, namely, that the Prophet ought not to take it ill, if he be for a time apparently useless without obtaining either hearers or fit disciples. We see then that this is said for the Prophet’s comfort, that he should not murmur or take it ill that God wishes him ‘to remain shut up at home; because the fit time had not yet come, as if it had been said — “If you hasten now, you will approach furious men who will by and bye rush against you and bind you with ropes. Because, therefore, you see them not yet prepared for learning, wait a while until I prepare their ears for you, that they may attend to you; or at least, that they may be rendered the more excuseless, I will send thee; and meanwhile, although they are as yet perverse, yet they cannot rise violently against thee, but whether they will or not, they shall be compelled to hear the commands which proceed from my mouth.” And he afterwards confirms this at length, as we shall see.




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