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Eze 3:1-27. EZEKIEL EATS THE ROLL. IS COMMISSIONED TO GO TO THEM OF THE CAPTIVITY AND GOES TO TEL-ABIB BY THE CHEBAR: AGAIN BEHOLDS THE SHEKINAH GLORY: IS TOLD TO RETIRE TO HIS HOUSE, AND ONLY SPEAK WHEN GOD OPENS HIS MOUTH.
1. eat . . . and . . . speak--God's messenger must first inwardly appropriate God's truth himself, before he "speaks" it to others (see on Eze 2:8). Symbolic actions were, when possible and proper, performed outwardly; otherwise, internally and in spiritual vision, the action so narrated making the naked statement more intuitive and impressive by presenting the subject in a concentrated, embodied form.
3. honey for sweetness--Compare Ps 19:10; 119:103; Re 10:9, where, as here in Eze 3:14, the "sweetness" is followed by "bitterness." The former being due to the painful nature of the message; the latter because it was the Lord's service which he was engaged in; and his eating the roll and finding it sweet, implied that, divesting himself of carnal feeling, he made God's will his will, however painful the message that God might require him to announce. The fact that God would be glorified was his greatest pleasure.
5. See Margin, Hebrew, "deep of lip, and heavy of tongue," that is, men speaking an obscure and unintelligible tongue. Even they would have listened to the prophet; but the Jews, though addressed in their own tongue, will not hear him.
6. many people--It would have increased the difficulty had he been
sent, not merely to one, but to "many people" differing in tongues, so
that the missionary would have needed to acquire a new tongue for
addressing each. The after mission of the apostles to many peoples, and
the gift of tongues for that end, are foreshadowed (compare
with Isa 28:11).
10. receive in . . . heart . . . ears--The transposition from the natural order, namely, first receiving with the ears, then in the heart, is designed. The preparation of the heart for God's message should precede the reception of it with the ears (compare Pr 16:1; Ps 10:17).
11. thy people--who ought to be better disposed to hearken to thee, their fellow countryman, than hadst thou been a foreigner (Eze 3:5, 6).
12. (Ac 8:39). Ezekiel's abode heretofore had not been the most suitable for his work. He, therefore, is guided by the Spirit to Tel-Abib, the chief town of the Jewish colony of captives: there he sat on the ground, "the throne of the miserable" (Ezr 9:3; La 1:1-3), seven days, the usual period for manifesting deep grief (Job 2:13; see Ps 137:1), thus winning their confidence by sympathy in their sorrow. He is accompanied by the cherubim which had been manifested at Chebar (Eze 1:3, 4), after their departure from Jerusalem. They now are heard moving with the "voice of a great rushing (compare Ac 2:2), saying, Blessed be the glory of the Lord from His place," that is, moving from the place in which it had been at Chebar, to accompany Ezekiel to his new destination (Eze 9:3); or, "from His place" may rather mean, in His place and manifested "from" it. Though God may seem to have forsaken His temple, He is still in it and will restore His people to it. His glory is "blessed," in opposition to those Jews who spoke evil of Him, as if He had been unjustly rigorous towards their nation [CALVIN].
15. Tel-Abib--Tel means an "elevation." It is identified by
MICHAELIS with Thallaba on the Chabor. Perhaps the name expressed
the Jews' hopes of restoration, or else the fertility of the region.
Abib means the green ears of corn which appeared in the month
Nisan, the pledge of the harvest.
17. watchman--Ezekiel alone, among the prophets, is called a "watchman," not merely to sympathize, but to give timely warning of danger to his people where none was suspected. Habakkuk (Hab 2:1) speaks of standing upon his "watch," but it was only in order to be on the lookout for the manifestation of God's power (so Isa 52:8; 62:6); not as Ezekiel, to act as a watchman to others.
18. warning . . . speakest to warn--The repetition implies that it
is not enough to warn once in passing, but that the warning is to be
"in season, out of season";
"night and day with tears").
20. righteous . . . turn from . . . righteousness--not one "righteous"
as to the root and spirit of regeneration
(Ps 89:33; 138:8;
Isa 26:12; 27:3;
but as to its outward appearance and performances. So the
the minister is required to lead the wicked to good, so in
he is to confirm the well-disposed in their duty.
22. hand of the Lord--
23. glory of the Lord-- (Eze 1:28).
24. set me upon my feet--having been previously prostrate and unable
to rise until raised by the divine power.
25. put bands upon thee--not literally, but spiritually, the binding, depressing influence which their rebellious conduct would exert on his spirit. Their perversity, like bands, would repress his freedom in preaching; as in 2Co 6:12, Paul calls himself "straitened" because his teaching did not find easy access to them. Or else, it is said to console the prophet for being shut up; if thou wert now at once to announce God's message, they would rush on thee and bind them with "bands" [CALVIN].
27. when I speak . . . I will open thy mouth--opposed to the silence
imposed on the prophet, to punish the people
After the interval of silence has awakened their attention to the cause
of it, namely, their sins, they may then hearken to the prophecies
which they would not do before.