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1And he said to me, “Son of man, eat whatever you find here. Eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.” 2So I opened my mouth, and he gave me this scroll to eat. 3And he said to me, “Son of man, feed your belly with this scroll that I give you and fill your stomach with it.” Then I ate it, and it was in my mouth as sweet as honey.

4And he said to me, “Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak with my words to them. 5For you are not sent to a people of foreign speech and a hard language, but to the house of Israel— 6not to many peoples of foreign speech and a hard language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely, if I sent you to such, they would listen to you. 7But the house of Israel will not be willing to listen to you, for they are not willing to listen to me: because all the house of Israel have a hard forehead and a stubborn heart. 8Behold, I have made your face as hard as their faces, and your forehead as hard as their foreheads. 9Like emery harder than flint have I made your forehead. Fear them not, nor be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house.” 10Moreover, he said to me, “Son of man, all my words that I shall speak to you receive in your heart, and hear with your ears. 11And go to the exiles, to your people, and speak to them and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God,’ whether they hear or refuse to hear.”

12Then the Spirit11Or the wind; also verse 14 lifted me up, and I heard behind me the voice22Or sound of a great earthquake: “Blessed be the glory of the Lord from its place!” 13It was the sound of the wings of the living creatures as they touched one another, and the sound of the wheels beside them, and the sound of a great earthquake. 14The Spirit lifted me up and took me away, and I went in bitterness in the heat of my spirit, the hand of the Lord being strong upon me. 15And I came to the exiles at Tel-abib, who were dwelling by the Chebar canal, and I sat where they were dwelling.33Or Chebar, and to where they dwelt And I sat there overwhelmed among them seven days.

A Watchman for Israel

16And at the end of seven days, the word of the Lord came to me: 17“Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. 18If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for44Or in; also verses 19, 20 his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. 19But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die for his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul. 20Again, if a righteous person turns from his righteousness and commits injustice, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die. Because you have not warned him, he shall die for his sin, and his righteous deeds that he has done shall not be remembered, but his blood I will require at your hand. 21But if you warn the righteous person not to sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live, because he took warning, and you will have delivered your soul.”

22And the hand of the Lord was upon me there. And he said to me, “Arise, go out into the valley,55Or plain; also verse 23 and there I will speak with you.” 23So I arose and went out into the valley, and behold, the glory of the Lord stood there, like the glory that I had seen by the Chebar canal, and I fell on my face. 24But the Spirit entered into me and set me on my feet, and he spoke with me and said to me, “Go, shut yourself within your house. 25And you, O son of man, behold, cords will be placed upon you, and you shall be bound with them, so that you cannot go out among the people. 26And I will make your tongue cling to the roof of your mouth, so that you shall be mute and unable to reprove them, for they are a rebellious house. 27But when I speak with you, I will open your mouth, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God.’ He who will hear, let him hear; and he who will refuse to hear, let him refuse, for they are a rebellious house.


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When the Prophet is ordered to eat whatever he receives, this ought not to be extended to everything which he meets with, but, whatever may be the taste of the book, he is forbidden to refuse it: for its bitterness might possibly cause him to reject the threats of God. Lastly, the quality of the book is noted, because it contained nothing but the material for sorrow. He adds, that he opened his mouth, for the sake of obedience; by which he signifies that he was not curious or dainty in seeking to taste it, but that he took what was divinely offered him, without the slightest hesitation. Now he adds —

Ezekiel 3:3

3. And he said unto me, Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. Then did I eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness.

3. Et dixit mihi, Fili hominis, ventrem tuum pasce, et viscera tua reple 6666     “Thou shalt fill.” — Calvin volumine isto, quod ego do tibi, et comedi, et fuit in ore meg tanquam mel in dulcedine.

 

Ezekiel, as we have just seen, proceeds to say, that a book was given him to eat, because God’s servants ought to speak from the inmost affection of their heart. We know that many have a tongue sufficiently fluent, but use it only for ostentation: meanwhile, God treats their vanity as a laughing stock, because their labor is fruitless. Hence we must observe the passage of Paul already quoted, “the kingdom of God is with power.” (1 Corinthians 4:20.) But the efficacy of the Holy Spirit is not exerted unless when he who is called to teach applies his serious endeavors to attain to the discharge of his duty. For this reason, then, Ezekiel is commanded to eat the roll Next he says, it was as sweet as honey; and, but a little before, he said it was filled with curses: therefore, either he had put off all humanity, or ought to be grieved, when he found himself appointed to be the herald of God’s vengeance. But, in other places, we saw that the servants of God were endued with feelings of an opposite kind; for, as they were often rough and stern like their work, so they condoled with the miserable people: but, their grief did not hinder them from proceeding in the discharge of their duty. For this reason Ezekiel now says, the book was sweet, because he acquiesced in God’s commands, and although he pitied his own people, yet he acknowledged that it could not happen otherwise, and subscribed to the just judgment of God. Therefore, by the word sweetness, he signifies his acquiescence in embracing the office enjoined upon him, and he so obeyed God that he forgot all the material for sorrow in the book, because the justice of God prevailed and thus extinguished the feeling of too great humanity which might otherwise have delayed him. Jeremiah uses the same expression. (Jeremiah 15:16.) He says, that he found the words of God, and that they became to him gladness and joy of heart. For we saw, that he was only anxious but very sorrowful when he thought that utter destruction was impending over the people. But, as I have just said, these two things are not discordant: that Prophets should desire the safety of the people, and use their utmost endeavors to promote it, and yet manifest a firm constancy, and never hesitate, when necessity demands it, to condemn the people and to utter God’s threats which are enjoined ‘upon them. Thus shortly afterwards Jeremiah says, that he was filled with anger; thy words were found, says he, and I did eat them, and they afforded me joy and gladness of heart, because thy name has been called over me, O Jehovah God of hosts: that is, because I have been taught by the power of thy Spirit, and as I have been called to this office, so thou hast stretched forth thy hand unto me that I may fulfill thy commands with good faith and constancy: therefore thy words were my delight. Afterwards he adds, (Ezekiel 3:17,) neither have I sat in the council of scorners, nor have I exalted myself for the sake of throwing off the yoke; for since I perceived that thou must be obeyed, I was, as it were, overpowered, yet I did not sit with the scorners, but I sat alone, says he, because thou hast filled me with indignation. Hence we see, that in one person were two feelings very different and contrary in appearance, because he was filled with indignation, and yet received joy through the words of God.




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