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Eze 14:1-23. HYPOCRITICAL INQUIRERS ARE ANSWERED ACCORDING TO THEIR HYPOCRISY. THE CALAMITIES COMING ON THE PEOPLE; BUT A REMNANT IS TO ESCAPE.
1. elders--persons holding that dignity among the exiles at the
Chebar. GROTIUS refers this to Seraiah and those
sent with him from Judea
The prophet's reply, first, reflecting on the character of the
inquirers, and, secondly, foretelling the calamities coming on Judea,
may furnish an idea of the subject of their inquiry.
3. heart . . . face--The heart is first corrupted, and then the
outward manifestation of idol-worship follows; they set their idols
before their eyes. With all their pretense of consulting God now,
they have not even put away their idols outwardly; implying gross
contempt of God. "Set up," literally, "aloft"; implying that their idols
had gained the supreme ascendancy over them.
4. and cometh--and yet cometh, reigning himself to be a true
worshipper of Jehovah.
5. That I may take--that is, unveil and overtake with
punishment the dissimulation and impiety of Israel hid in their
own heart. Or, rather, "That I may punish them by answering them
after their own hearts"; corresponding to "according to the
multitude of his idols" (see on
an instance is given in
God giving them up in wrath to their own lie.
6. Though God so threatened the people for their idolatry
yet He would rather they should avert the calamity by "repentance."
7. stranger--the proselyte, tolerated in Israel only on condition of
worshipping no God but Jehovah
(Le 17:8, 9).
8. And I will set my face against that
9. I the Lord have deceived that prophet--not directly, but through Satan and his ministers; not merely permissively, but by overruling their evil to serve the purposes of His righteous judgment, to be a touchstone to separate the precious from the vile, and to "prove" His people (De 13:3; 1Ki 22:23; Jer 4:10; 2Th 2:11, 12). Evil comes not from God, though God overrules it to serve His will (Job 12:16; Jas 1:3). This declaration of God is intended to answer their objection, "Jeremiah and Ezekiel are but two opposed to the many prophets who announce 'peace' to us." "Nay, deceive not yourselves, those prophets of yours are deluding you, and I permit them to do so as a righteous judgment on your wilful blindness."
10. As they dealt deceitfully with God by seeking answers of peace without repentance, so God would let them be dealt with deceitfully by the prophets whom they consulted. God would chastise their sin with a corresponding sin; as they rejected the safe directions of the true light, He would send the pernicious delusions of a false one; prophets would be given them who should re-echo the deceitfulness that already wrought in their own bosom, to their ruin [FAIRBAIRN]. The people had themselves alone to blame, for they were long ago forewarned how to discern and to treat a false prophet (De 13:3); the very existence of such deceivers among them was a sign of God's judicial displeasure (compare in Saul's case, 1Sa 16:14; 28:6, 7). They and the prophet, being dupes of a common delusion, should be involved in a common ruin.
12. The second part of the chapter: the effect which the presence of a few righteous persons was to have on the purposes of God (compare Ge 18:24-32). God had told Jeremiah that the guilt of Judah was too great to be pardoned even for the intercession of Moses and Samuel (Ps 99:6; Jer 14:2; 15:1), which had prevailed formerly (Ex 32:11-14; Nu 14:13-20; 1Sa 7:8-12), implying the extraordinary heinousness of their guilt, since in ordinary cases "the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man (for others) availeth much" (Jas 5:16). Ezekiel supplements Jeremiah by adding that not only those two once successful intercessors, but not even the three pre-eminently righteous men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, could stay God's judgments by their righteousness.
14. Noah, Daniel . . . Job--specified in particular as having been
saved from overwhelming calamities for their personal righteousness.
Noah had the members of his family alone given to him, amidst the
general wreck. Daniel saved from the fury of the king of Babylon the
(Da 2:17, 18, 48, 49).
Though his prophecies mostly were later than those of Ezekiel,
his fame for piety and wisdom was already established, and the
events recorded in
had transpired. The Jews would naturally, in their fallen condition,
pride themselves on one who reflected such glory on his nation at the
heathen capital, and would build vain hopes (here set aside) on his
influence in averting ruin from them. Thus the objection to the
authenticity of Daniel from this passage vanishes. "Job" forms the
climax (and is therefore put out of chronological order), having not
even been left a son or a daughter, and having had himself to pass
through an ordeal of suffering before his final deliverance, and
therefore forming the most simple instance of the righteousness of God,
which would save the righteous themselves alone in the nation, and that
after an ordeal of suffering, but not spare even a son or daughter for
(Eze 14:16, 18, 20;
Jer 7:16; 11:14; 14:11).
15-21. The argument is cumulative. He first puts the case of the land sinning so as to fall under the judgment of a famine (Eze 14:13); then (Eze 14:15) "noisome beasts" (Le 26:22); then "the sword"; then, worst of all, "pestilence." The three most righteous of men should deliver only themselves in these several four cases. In Eze 14:21 he concentrates the whole in one mass of condemnation. If Noah, Daniel, Job, could not deliver the land, when deserving only one judgment, "how much more" when all four judgments combined are justly to visit the land for sin, shall these three righteous men not deliver it.
19. in blood--not literally. In Hebrew, "blood" expresses every premature kind of death.
21. How much more--literally, "Surely shall it be so now, when I send," &c. If none could avert the one only judgment incurred, surely now, when all four are incurred by sin, much more impossible it will be to deliver the land.
22. Yet . . . a remnant--not of righteous persons, but
some of the guilty who should "come forth" from the destruction of
Jerusalem to Babylon, to lead a life of hopeless exile there. The
reference here is to judgment, not mercy, as