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He said to me, O mortal, eat what is offered to you; eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel. 2So I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat. 3He said to me, Mortal, eat this scroll that I give you and fill your stomach with it. Then I ate it; and in my mouth it was as sweet as honey.

4 He said to me: Mortal, go to the house of Israel and speak my very words to them. 5For you are not sent to a people of obscure speech and difficult language, but to the house of Israel— 6not to many peoples of obscure speech and difficult language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely, if I sent you to them, they would listen to you. 7But the house of Israel will not 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. 8See, I have made your face hard against their faces, and your forehead hard against their foreheads. 9Like the hardest stone, harder than flint, I have made your forehead; do not fear them or be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house. 10He said to me: Mortal, all my words that I shall speak to you receive in your heart and hear with your ears; 11then go to the exiles, to your people, and speak to them. Say to them, “Thus says the Lord G od”; whether they hear or refuse to hear.

Ezekiel at the River Chebar

12 Then the spirit lifted me up, and as the glory of the L ord rose from its place, I heard behind me the sound of loud rumbling; 13it was the sound of the wings of the living creatures brushing against one another, and the sound of the wheels beside them, that sounded like a loud rumbling. 14The spirit lifted me up and bore me away; I went in bitterness in the heat of my spirit, the hand of the L ord being strong upon me. 15I came to the exiles at Tel-abib, who lived by the river Chebar. And I sat there among them, stunned, for seven days.

16 At the end of seven days, the word of the L ord came to me: 17Mortal, I have made you a sentinel 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 them no warning, or speak to warn the wicked from their wicked way, in order to save their life, those wicked persons shall die for their iniquity; but their blood I will require at your hand. 19But if you warn the wicked, and they do not turn from their wickedness, or from their wicked way, they shall die for their iniquity; but you will have saved your life. 20Again, if the righteous turn from their righteousness and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before them, they shall die; because you have not warned them, they shall die for their sin, and their righteous deeds that they have done shall not be remembered; but their blood I will require at your hand. 21If, however, you warn the righteous not to sin, and they do not sin, they shall surely live, because they took warning; and you will have saved your life.

Ezekiel Isolated and Silenced

22 Then the hand of the L ord was upon me there; and he said to me, Rise up, go out into the valley, and there I will speak with you. 23So I rose up and went out into the valley; and the glory of the L ord stood there, like the glory that I had seen by the river Chebar; and I fell on my face. 24The spirit entered into me, and set me on my feet; and he spoke with me and said to me: Go, shut yourself inside your house. 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; 26and I will make your tongue cling to the roof of your mouth, so that you shall be speechless 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 G od”; let those who will hear, hear; and let those who refuse to hear, refuse; for they are a rebellious house.

The Prophet again affirms what we have formerly seen, that God had worked upon his mind by the secret instinct of his own Spirit. Although, therefore, God had exhorted him to fortitude, yet the Prophet shows what he demanded of himself. In short, the Prophet was strong in God, because God implanted his virtue within him. He says, therefore, that he was raised up by the Spirit, which only means that the agitation within him was of no avail, unless through heavenly inspiration; so also he ought to be carried beyond himself for the time, that nothing human should appear within him. But more will be said about this hereafter.

He adds, that he heard a voice of a great rushing, that is, a sonorous voice, and one different from the usual voice of men: for the, Prophet, by the noise or tumult of the voice, could distinguish it from the usual voice of men. Blessed, said it, be the glory of Jehovah from his own place We cannot doubt that this benediction was suitable to the occasion of its utterance: when, therefore, this voice was heard, God wished to refute the clamorous voices of the people who thought themselves injured. For we know that the people were querulous, and murmured because they thought themselves treated with greater harshness than they deserved. Hence the glory of God is opposed to all impious and sacrilegious blasphemies, which the Israelites were in the habit of vomiting forth against God, as if he treated them cruelly. In short, this voice restrained all calumnies, by which the impious then endeavored to overwhelm the glory of God. He says that glory is blessed, because although men dare not utter gross and open reproaches against God, nevertheless they curse his glory as often as they detract from his justice, and accuse him of too much rigor. Hence, in opposition to this, a voice is heard, saying, the glory of God is blessed

By God’s place, I understand the Temple. I confess that in many passages of Scripture heaven is so called; not that God’s essence, which is immense, can be included within any place; for as heaven is called his throne or seat, so also the earth is his footstool, because he fills all things with his immensity. So here, as often in other places, the Temple is called God’s place, because he dwelt there with respect to men. Besides, this is said as well with reference to the exiles as to the rest of the people yet remaining at Jerusalem. For the exiles did not sufficiently consider that they were banished from their country, and dragged into a distant region, through the just vengeance of God. Since, therefore, this captivity did not sufficiently subdue them, the name of God ought to be set before them, that they might know that they were not banished from their country by the cruelty of their enemies, but by the judgment of God. The Prophet, doubtless, regards also those Jews who as yet remained at home: for they boasted that God was seated in the Temple, and so fancied that they should be always safe under his protection. But the Prophet, as we shall afterwards see, denounces on those who remained a punishment similar to that of those who were in captivity. It is then just as if he had said that God remained in his Temple, that he might shine there with conspicuous glory. Now as he wished to humble the ten tribes as well as the other two, so he wished to alleviate the grief of them all, that they should not cease to hope for the promised return. For calamity itself might lead them to despair, and to suppose their salvation impossible: nay, to think that God was as it were dead, and his virtue extinct. To what purpose, then, was the worship of God? to what purpose the splendor and dignity of the Temple, unless that God should protect his own? But they had been deserted by him; here then was matter for despair, unless it had been met: the Prophet now treats this, since on one side he reminds them that God was the just avenger of wickedness, when he suffered the ten tribes to be dragged into exile, yet that he would be their deliverer, because he does not cease to reign in his Temple, although profane men think him conquered, and treat with wanton insolence their own triumphs over him. Now therefore we perceive the sense of the Prophet: for this sentence would be cold if it were merely general; but when it is accommodated to the state of things at the time, we see that the glory of God is not extolled by any vain eulogium, and that the Temple is not mentioned in vain. (Psalm 11:4; Psalm 103:19; Isaiah 66:1.)

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