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Ezekiel Israel’s Sentry

33

The word of the Lord came to me: 2O Mortal, speak to your people and say to them, If I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take one of their number as their sentinel; 3and if the sentinel sees the sword coming upon the land and blows the trumpet and warns the people; 4then if any who hear the sound of the trumpet do not take warning, and the sword comes and takes them away, their blood shall be upon their own heads. 5They heard the sound of the trumpet and did not take warning; their blood shall be upon themselves. But if they had taken warning, they would have saved their lives. 6But if the sentinel sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, so that the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any of them, they are taken away in their iniquity, but their blood I will require at the sentinel’s hand.

7 So you, mortal, I have made a sentinel for the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. 8If I say to the wicked, “O wicked ones, you shall surely die,” and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from their ways, the wicked shall die in their iniquity, but their blood I will require at your hand. 9But if you warn the wicked to turn from their ways, and they do not turn from their ways, the wicked shall die in their iniquity, but you will have saved your life.


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Eze 33:1-33. Renewal of Ezekiel's Commission, Now that He Is Again to Address His Countrymen, and in a New Tone.

Heretofore his functions had been chiefly threatening; from this point, after the evil had got to its worst in the overthrow of Jerusalem, the consolatory element preponderates.

2. to the children of thy people—whom he had been forbidden to address from Eze 24:26, 27, till Jerusalem was overthrown, and the "escaped" came with tidings of the judgment being completed. So now, in Eze 33:21, the tidings of the fact having arrived, he opens his heretofore closed lips to the Jews. In the interval he had prophesied as to foreign nations. The former part of the chapter, at Eze 33:2-20, seems to have been imparted to Ezekiel on the evening previous (Eze 33:22), being a preparation for the latter part (Eze 33:23-33) imparted after the tidings had come. This accounts for the first part standing without intimation of the date, which was properly reserved for the latter part, to which the former was the anticipatory introduction [Fairbairn].

watchmanEze 33:1-9 exhibit Ezekiel's office as a spiritual watchman; so in Eze 3:16-21; only here the duties of the earthly watchman (compare 2Sa 18:24, 25; 2Ki 9:17) are detailed first, and then the application is made to the spiritual watchman's duty (compare Isa 21:6-10; Ho 9:8; Hab 2:1). "A man of their coasts" is a man specially chosen for the office out of their whole number. So Jud 18:2, "five men from their coasts"; also the Hebrew of Ge 47:2; implying the care needed in the choice of the watchman, the spiritual as well as the temporal (Ac 1:21, 22, 24-26; 1Ti 5:22).

3. the sword—invaders. An appropriate illustration at the time of the invasion of Judea by Nebuchadnezzar.

4. blood … upon his own head—metaphor from sacrificial victims, on the heads of which they used to lay their hands, praying that their guilt should be upon the victims.

6. his iniquity—his negligence in not maintaining constant watchfulness, as they who are in warfare ought to do. The thing signified here appears from under the image.

7. I have set thee a watchman—application of the image. Ezekiel's appointment to be a watchman spiritually is far more solemn, as it is derived from God, not from the people.

8. thou shalt surely die—by a violent death, the earnest of everlasting death; the qualification being supposed, "if thou dost not repent."

9. Blood had by this time been shed (Eze 33:21), but Ezekiel was clear.




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