|Ezekiel 2:1 Then He said to me, "Son of man, stand on your feet that I may speak with you!"|
KJV: And he said unto me, Son of man, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak unto thee.
YLT: It is the appearance of the likeness of the honour of Jehovah, and I see, and fall on my face, and I hear a voice speaking, and He saith unto me, 'Son of man, stand on thy feet, and I speak with thee.'
Ezekiel had received his initial "job training", a vision of the glory of God, the single most important aspect of his preparation for his difficult task. Speaking truth to rebellious people is not an easy task but the key is doing so not in our power but God's power. In Acts we see the early church facing intense opposition and yet Luke records that as the Jewish leaders
Son of man: (Ezek 2:3,6,8; 3:1,4,10,17; 4:1; 5:1; 7:2; 12:3; 13:2; 14:3,13; 15:2; 16:2; 17:2; 20:3; 37:3; Ps 8:4; Da 8:17; Mt 16:13, 14, 15, 16; Jn 3:13,16) It is noticeable that the phrase (ben adam), as addressed to a prophet, occurs only in Ezekiel, in whom we find it not less than eighty times, and in Daniel 8:17. As used elsewhere, e.g. in Nu 23:19; Psalm 8:4; Job 25:6; Isaiah 51:12; 56:2,and in Ezekiel's use of it, it is probably connected with the history of Adam, as created from the ground (adamah) in Genesis 2:7; 3:19.
In the Gospels "Son of man" refers to Jesus over 80 times where it most often emphasizes His humanity and His dependence on God’s Holy Spirit.
JFB adds that "son of man"
This designation "son of man" emphasizes Ezekiel's human frailty and ultimately his need to depend on God's vision, Spirit and message for the ability to carry out his commission. The prophet is reminded, in the very moment of his highest inspiration, of his Adam nature with all its infirmity and limitations. In the use of a like phrase (bar enosh, instead of ben adam) in Daniel 7:13 we have the same truth implied. There one like unto man in all things is called to share the sovereignty of the "Ancient of Days," the Eternal One. Here the prophet Ezekiel, nothing in himself, is called to be the messenger of God to other sons of men. It is in many ways suggestive that our Lord should have chosen the same formula for constant use when speaking of himself.
Matthew Henry adds that
MacDonald has an interesting note on "son of man" on the translation of this phrase in the New RSV noting that this version
He goes on to quote Taylor's comment that
The Bible knowledge Commentary adds that "son of man"
Stand upon thy feet: (Ezek 1:28; Da10:11,19; Mt 17:7; Acts 9:6; 26:16) The attitude of adoration is changed, by the Divine command, into that of expectant service, that of awe and dread for the courage of a soldier of the Lord of hosts (compare the parallels of Ezekiel 3:24; 43:3, 5; Daniel 8:18).
JFB adds that
Calvin comments that
Compare Ezekiel's experience with that of Paul Who fell to the ground upon seeing "the glory of the LORD" Who then commanded him to
KJV: And the spirit entered into me when he spake unto me, and set me upon my feet, that I heard him that spake unto me.
YLT: And there doth come into me a spirit, when He hath spoken unto me, and it causeth me to stand on my feet, and I hear Him who is speaking unto me.
"the Spirit entered me" (Ezek 3:12, 3:14 3:24; 36:27; Nu11:25, 11:26; Jdg 13:25; 1Sa16:13; Neh 9:30; Joel 2:28, 2:29; Rev11:11). Did you notice the sequence? First, God told Ezekiel to stand, but then He Himself provided the enablement to stand by the power of His Spirit. God's commands always include His enablement to carry out the command. (cf Php 2:12, 2:13) This is undoubtedly the same Spirit Who directed the movement of the living creatures in Ezek 1:12, 20, 21.
I love JFB's comment that
The Lxx has "the Spirit came upon me" rather than "entered me" but the idea is still the same. "The Spirit" that came upon Ezekiel was to equip and empower him to address the people. Whatever task God calls you to, He will also enable you to complete it.
In Old Testament times the Holy Spirit did not indwell all believers but indwelt selected persons temporarily for divine service. David's prayer of contrition "do not take Thy Holy Spirit from me" (Ps 51:11) reflects the temporary indwelling by the Spirit in the Old Covenant. Obviously in the New Covenant believer's "body is a temple of the Holy Spirit Who is in you Whom you have from God" (1Cor 6:19) and have therefore been "sealed in (Christ) with the Holy Spirit of promise Who is given as a pledge of our inheritance" (Eph 1:13, 14) but we can still "quench the Spirit" (1Th 5:19) or "grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by Whom (we) were sealed for the day of redemption." (Eph 4:30)
Samuel speaking to Saul who is to be Israel's first king tells him
Ezekiel 2:3 Then He said to me, "Son of man, I am sending you to the sons of Israel, to a rebellious people who have rebelled against Me; they and their fathers have transgressed against Me to this very day.
|KJV: And he said unto me, Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that hath rebelled against me: they and their fathers have transgressed against me, even unto this very day.
YLT: And He saith unto Me, 'Son of man, I am sending thee unto the sons of Israel, unto nations who are rebels, who have rebelled against Me; they and their fathers have transgressed against Me, unto this self-same day.
"I am sending you" (Ezek 3:4, 5, 6, 7, 8; 2Chr 36:15,16; Is 6:8, 9, 10; Jer 1:7; 7:2; 25:3, 4, 5, 6, 7; 26:2, 3, 4, 5, 6; 36:2; Mk 12:2, 3, 4, 5; Lk 24:47,48; Jn 20:21,22; Ro 10:15) The LORD now explains the purpose of the vision and the Spirit's enablement, namely, that being armed with authority he might more freely discharge his duty as Prophet among the rebellious people.
"Rebellious… rebelled" (Hebrew marad) (Ezek 16:1-63; 20:1-49; 23:1-49) (Ezek 20:18-30; Nu 20:10; 32:13,14; Dt 9:24,27; 1Sa 8:7,8; 2Ki 17:17-20; Ezra 9:7; Neh 9:16-18,26,33-35; Ps 106:16-21,28,32-40; Jer 3:25; Jer 16:11,12; 44:21; Da 9:5-13; Acts 7:51)
God's chosen people were rebels from their "birth" and had repeatedly demonstrated opposition to the God's authority.
Webster adds that "rebellion" implies an "open formidable resistance that is often unsuccessful"!
"People" in the phrase "Rebellious people" is the Hebrew word "goyim" which elsewhere refers to the Gentile heathen and that may be Ezekiel's sense here.
JFB comments that
Calvin agrees commenting that
The Hebrew word for rebel is used in the following passages: For example in Nu 14:9, 10 God had clearly warned "Only do not rebel against the LORD; and do not fear the people of the land, for they shall be our prey. Their protection has been removed from them, and the LORD is with us; do not fear them. But all the congregation said to stone them (Moses and Aaron) with stones. Then the glory of the LORD appeared in the tent of meeting to all the sons of Israel."
Their rebellion was not against Moses' leadership but ultimately was against the LORD. Later God says that they had
Later after having entering the Promised Land under the leadership of Joshua, the congregation makes what would prove to be a shallow declaration
In Daniel's prayer in chapter 9 he specifically addresses the rebellion of Israel, even including himself in his confession:
Thus we see that Israel had been a "rebellious people" from before they entered the Promised Land after being freed from Egyptian bondage to the time of Daniel taken captive in 605BC ("to this very day")
Could Israel blame their fate on the transgressions of their fathers? God says both they and "their fathers have transgressed" against Me. This statement clearly teaches (they… their fathers) that each individual is responsible for his or her own sin. This sin problem is not something that has just developed but has been "festering" and necessitates a holy God's righteous judgment. Like father like son --The "children" are walking in their "father's'" footsteps.
"Transgressed" is the Hebrew word "pasha" which is the strongest word available for expressing a covenant violation or one who breaks away from authority. The word is used in the diplomatic arena to express treaty violation (2Ki 1:1; 3:5, 7).
Pasha conveys the fundamental idea of a breach of relationships (civil or religious) between two parties. It means to be in open defiance of an authority or standard of an agreement. Israel stood condemned of rebelling against her King and His covenant (cf Isa1:28; 48:8; Hos 8:1). Webster adds that "transgress" means to go beyond set or prescribed limits (in this case the "limits" set by the Mosaic covenant).
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia explains that transgression (pasha/pesha) is
In conclusion, could individual Jews even though in exile in Babylon be forgiven? David answers
Calvin draws attention to the principle that
Even as the LORD was giving Ezekiel a difficult charge, In a similar way the LORD also warned Isaiah of the futility of much of his preaching, a telling him to
And so the Lord told Isaiah (and later Ezekiel) that his message would not result in national revival for the people had not listened before and they would not listen now and that in fact upon hearing Isaiah’s message, Israel would become even more hardened against the Lord. How would you respond if God told you the ministry you are doing today would be viewed as a failure in men's eyes! This is a difficult word, but the point is not to seek to be fruitful but to submit and be faithful! How are you doing? Has God called you into a difficult field where you are seeing little if any fruit? If God has called you and you are certain of that, as the 1956 Greyhound bus commercial used to say "It's such a comfort to travel by bus and leave the driving to us!" Leave the "driving" to God. You can be
Calvin goes on to conclude
|KJV: For they are impudent children and stiff hearted. I do send thee unto them; and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD.
DRA: And they to whom I send thee are children of a hard face, and of an obstinate heart: and thou shalt say to them: Thus saith the Lord God:
YLT: And the sons are brazen-faced and hard-hearted to whom I am sending thee, and thou hast said unto them: Thus said the Lord Jehovah:
"I am sending you": God's "jobs" are initiated by God. Listen to what even our Lord Jesus said centuries later (also sent to a "stubborn and obstinate people"):
This is a good pattern for all God's servants to follow. To whom is Ezekiel sent? To Jews already in exile, Jews who have already felt the sting of God's wrath and yet who are still not broken. What does God ultimately desire for these exiles to do? Surely he would be pleased if they confessed and repented. Would He forgive them? Obviously he would. Would they be returned to Jerusalem? No the consequences of the rebellion had sealed the fate of the holy city and holy temple. God in the midst of wrath is remembering mercy and sending a warning to those already punished. The point is that if you have breathe in your lungs, no matter how heinous your rebellion against God, He still desires your repentance rather than your destruction. Peter affirms the Father's heart writing that
Compare God's commission to that of Isaiah (Isa. 6:9, 10, 11, 12) and Jeremiah (Jer. 1:17, 18, 19), both of whom were also sent to a rebellious people.
God had prepared Ezekiel for this commission by giving him a vision of His glory which changed him forever. We may not see visions like Ezekiel but God still desires to reveal Himself to His saints that we might be prepared (changed forever) for His service for His glory. Consider boldly praying like Moses' "I pray Thee, show me Thy glory!" (Ex 33:18) and then wait expectantly to see and hear His answer as you commune with Him in His word, through meditation and prayer.
Stubborn and obstinate children (See Torrey's Topic Rebellion Against God National Sins) "defiant and stubborn children" (GWT), "sons are brazen-faced and hard-hearted" (YLT), "impudent and stubborn children" (NKJV), "children of a hard face, and of an obstinate heart:" (DRA), "the children are brazen-faced and stiff-hearted," (JPS)
Stubborn is actually two Hebrew words which are literally "stiff faced". This implies they were callous to their shame! Jeremiah had accused the people of Jerusalem of no longer even being able to blush! This reminds one of Paul's description of the lost describing them as "having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality, for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness." (Eph 4:19)
The word for "stiff" (hard, cruel, stubborn) is derived from a Hebrew root that apparently arose from an agricultural milieu and which emphasizes the effect exerted by an overly heavy yoke, which is hard to bear, and secondarily, the rebellious resistance of oxen to the yoke! God's chosen children were acting like dumb resisting oxen!
Calvin sees in this word picture an emphasis on the countenance of the Jews writing
Obstinate in this verse is two Hebrew words, one meaning hard or firm and the other word meaning heart and thus describes these children as "hard-hearted". "Heart" (leb) in Scripture is the part of our being where we desire, deliberate, and decide. It has been described as "the place of conscious and decisive spiritual activity," "the comprehensive term for a person as a whole; his feelings, desires, passions, thought, understanding and will," and "the center of a person. The place to which God turns" and in the present context the place which is turned against the Lord God. Instead of confessing their sins and seeking repentance, they hardened their hearts and refused to accept God's Word as subsequent chapters reveal.
Elwell adds that “obstinate” (lit. hard-faced)
God declared to Moses shortly after their liberation from Egypt
God went on to add tell Moses
Thus says the LORD This exact phrase occurs 418 times in the Old Testament (in the NASB). It is interesting that the first 9 uses in Scripture are in declarations by God's prophet Moses to Pharaoh who hardened his heart to the message even as did the children of Israel.
Clarke adds that
Lord God is the Hebrew 'adonay yehovah translated by the NIV and NLT as "the Sovereign LORD"
BKC adds that
Lord God in Ezekiel - Ezek 2:4; 3:11, 27; 4:14; 5:5, 7f, 11; 6:3, 11; 7:2, 5; 8:1; 9:8; 11:7f, 13, 16f, 21; 12:10, 19, 23, 25, 28; 13:3, 8f, 13, 16, 18, 20; 14:4, 6, 11, 14, 16, 18, 20f, 23; 15:6, 8; 16:3, 8, 14, 19, 23, 30, 36, 43, 48, 59, 63; 17:3, 9, 16, 19, 22; 18:3, 9, 23, 30, 32; 20:3, 5, 27, 30f, 33, 36, 39f, 44, 47, 49; 21:7, 13, 24, 26, 28; 22:3, 12, 19, 28, 31; 23:22, 28, 32, 34f, 46, 49; 24:3, 6, 9, 14, 21, 24; 25:3, 6, 8, 12ff; 26:3, 5, 7, 14f, 19, 21; 27:3; 28:2, 6, 10, 12, 22, 24f; 29:3, 8, 13, 16, 19f; 30:2, 6, 10, 13, 22; 31:10, 15, 18; 32:3, 8, 11, 14, 16, 31f; 33:11, 25, 27; 34:2, 8, 10f, 15, 17, 20, 30f; 35:3, 6, 11, 14; 36:2ff, 13ff, 22f, 32f, 37; 37:3, 5, 9, 12, 19, 21; 38:3, 10, 14, 17f, 21; 39:1, 5, 8, 10, 13, 17, 20, 25, 29; 43:18f, 27; 44:2, 6, 9, 12, 15, 27; 45:9, 15, 18; 46:1, 16; 47:13, 23; 48:29;
Disciples Study Bible…
The major part of the first half of the Book of Ezekiel is spent in presenting the stubbornness of the people known by His name and God’s wrath against them because of their obstinacy. Moses wrote has a parallel thought
The emphasis in the New Testament is upon the love and grace of God. Today we don't talk much about God's holiness and wrath. It is because of the wrath of God that we need the grace of God. The tendency in the church today is to give the “good” news and to minimize the bad news. The fact is that the good news is "good" only in the context of "bad news". In our efforts to be consumer friendly, many pulpits refrain from preaching the wrath of God lest they frighten away the “seekers! And the tragic result is that we have produced a milk toast gospel and a "soft" Christianity that talks mainly about the promises of God, without mentioning our need for commitment to God. The result is God has been lowered to the level of a cosmic vending machine.
J. I. Packer in "Knowing God" has this to say about God’s wrath
There is no other book in the whole Bible that presents the sins of God’s people in as much detail as the Book of Ezekiel. Do you want to get the full picture of the sinfulness of man? Do you want to get the full picture of the hopeless situation of man? Do you want to get the full picture of the awesome character of God and His holiness? Do you want to get the full picture of the wrath of God? Study the Book of Ezekiel, and your life will be transformed.
Grant, O Almighty God, since thou hast counted us worthy of enjoying the privilege of daily listening to thy word, that it may not find our hearts of stone and our minds of iron, but may we so submit ourselves to thee with all due docility, that we may truly perceive thee to be our Father, and may be confirmed in the confidence of our adoption, as long as thou perseverest to address us, until at length we enjoy not merely thy voice, but also the aspect of thy glory in thy heavenly kingdom, which thine only-begotten Son has acquired for us by his blood. — Amen. (Calvin)
|KJV: And they, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, (for they are a rebellious house,) yet shall know that there hath been a prophet among them.
NLT: And whether they listen or not--for remember, they are rebels--at least they will know they have had a prophet among them.
LXX (Greek): And thou, son of man, fear them not, nor be dismayed at their face; (for they will madden and will rise up against thee round about, and thou dwellest in the midst of scorpions): be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their countenance, for it is a provoking house.
YLT: and they -- whether they hear, or whether they forbear, for a rebellious house they are -- have known that a prophet hath been in their midst.
"Among them" is more literally right in the middle (Young's Literal "a prophet hath been in their midst" and the Greek Lxx has mesos = middle or in the middle) of the rebellious people, people who reserve the right to make the final decisions in their life independent of what would please and/or honor God. Thus positioned he would be able to reach the maximum number of rebels.
"Whether they listen or not" (Ezek 2:7; 3:10,11,27; Mt 10:12, 13, 14, 15; Acts 13:46; Ro3:3; 2Co 2:15, 16, 17)
And so we see that Ezekiel was warned that his ministry would not necessarily be well received. Things have not changed much in almost 2500 years since Ezekiel's time. Believers today are forewarned that a true presentation of the gospel will be offensive to unsaved rebels for the cross is a "stumbling block" (Gal5:11) and "the word of the Cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God" (1Cor 1:18)
As we go forth with God's message in His authority we will be
How would like to go to work next week and you receive your assignment with the "guarantee" that you are being given "mission impossible" and you will almost certainly fail to achieve the hoped for results? That's essentially the message that God was giving to Ezekiel. But read the comment below regarding what would ultimately determine the "success" of Ezekiel's mission!
Larry Richards adds that
They will know that a prophet has been among them (Ezek 3:19; 33:9,33; Lk 10:10, 11, 12; Jn 15:22) How would they know? Obviously in time the message that Ezekiel spoke to them would come to pass and validate his credentials as a true prophet of the Sovereign Lord.
And so we see in chapter 33 the declaration that "when it comes to pass-- as surely it will-- then they will know that a prophet has been in their midst." (Ezek 33:33). The clear implication of this statement are that God in His longsuffering and lovingkindness has given rebellious Israel due warning and that the rebellious house is without excuse for not receiving and responding to the warnings.
Prophet (Torrey's Topic Prophet) (More detailed discussion of prophets in Int'l Std Bible Encyclopedia Pt1, Pt2 Pt 3 Pt 4)is the Hebrew word for prophet is nabi/nabiy', derived from a verb signifying "to bubble forth" like a fountain or boil forth and hence means one who announces or pours forth the declarations of God or who speaks with fervor of mind under divine inspiration. The primary idea of a prophet, therefore, is a declarer, announcer, one who utters a communication.
Nelson's New Christian Dictionary describes a "prophet" as a
Easton's Dictionary adds that a prophet spoke
Locke adds that
During the later years of the monarchy in Judah, before the Nebuchadnezzar laid his first siege against Jerusalem (605BC), the Jews in Judah had taken Him for granted. They assumed that God’s covenant with their forefathers was irrevocable (which is true), the ownership of the land was permanent (which is true), and that they were immune to any foreign captivity as long as God was in their midst because of the temple in Jerusalem (this was true in one sense but as described in chapters 8-11 the glory departs and He is no longer in their midst). To their dismay and shock, Jerusalem was captured in 605BC, then again in 597BC when Ezekiel was taken with 10,000 into exile. Can you not see the mindset of the Jews in Ezekiel's audience? They were asking "How could this happen? Is our God impotent before the Babylonian gods? Has He forgotten us? Why has He abandoned us?" And thus they were likely angry, disillusioned, bitter, and cynical much like Jews we have heard describe the horrible events of the Holocaust in Nazi Germany -- "Where was God when Hitler killed so many?" To these people, Ezekiel is called to bring God’s message to the people who have constantly rebelled against God.
Ezekiel 2:6 "And you, son of man, neither fear them nor fear their words, though thistles and thorns are with you and you sit on scorpions; neither fear their words nor be dismayed at their presence, for they are a rebellious house.
|KJV: And thou, son of man, be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns be with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions: be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house.
NLT: Son of man, do not fear them. Don't be afraid even though their threats are sharp as thorns and barbed like briers, and they sting like scorpions. Do not be dismayed by their dark scowls. For remember, they are rebels!
NIV: And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them or their words. Do not be afraid, though briers and thorns are all around you and you live among scorpions. Do not be afraid of what they say or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious house.
YLT: 'And thou, son of man, thou art not afraid of them, yea, of their words thou art not afraid, for briers and thorns are with thee, and near scorpions thou art dwelling, of their words thou art not afraid, and of their faces thou art not affrighted, for they are a rebellious house,
"Neither fear them nor fear their words" (Ezek 3:8,9; 2Ki1:15; Is 51:12; Jer 1:8,17; Mic 3:8; Mt 10:28; Lk 12:4; Acts 4:13,19,29; Ep 6:19; Php 1:28; 2Ti 1:7 1Pe 3:14).) What does God repeat to Ezekiel? Why? Three times he tells Ezekiel not to fear, implying circumstances will occur that could cause him to shrink back in fear. His hearers will mistreat him because of his message; but he is not to let the apprehension of this persuade him to desist from speaking the truth.
It is interesting that the most frequent command by Jesus to His disciples was "do not fear". (KJV has "fear not" 13 times- Matt 1:20; 10:28; 28:5; Luke 1:13, 30; 2:10; 5:10; 8:50; 12:7, 32; 18:4; John 12:15; Rev 1:17) The subsequent chapters reveal that Ezekiel learned his lesson well. Nowhere is there even a hint that became dismayed, cowered in fear or hesitated to proclaim God’s message.
Dismayed (Hebrew = chathath) has the basic meaning of "to be broken" which Calvin says
Calvin goes on to add that
Webster says that "dismayed" means to be
This man filled with a vision of God's glory, empowered by His Spirit and nourished by His sweet word would not be deterred by the resistance of the rebels. He lived up to his name which means "God my strength." May his tribe increase.
God had given Jeremiah a similar warning to "gird up your loins, and arise, and speak to them all which I command you. (compare this latter phrase to God's next instruction to Ezekiel) Do not be dismayed before them, lest I dismay you before them." (Jer 1:17)
Larry Richards comments that
thistles & thorns… scorpions (2Sa 23:6,7; Is 9:18; Jer 6:28; Mic 7:4) God warns Ezekiel that his job description will not be the proverbial "bed of roses".
JFB adds that
The reaction of the "rebellious house" to Ezekiel's message as well as to that of the other prophets is tragically summarized in 2 Chronicles
Craigie quips that Ezekiel's call is not like the slogan
God says that speaking to his Jewish brethren will be like sitting on venomous scorpions whose sting can be excruciatingly painful. Although clearly "scorpions" is used as a metaphor (figure of speech in which a word or phrase literally denoting one kind of object or idea is used in place of another to suggest a likeness or analogy between them) to describe the quality or character of the reception of Ezekiel's message by the Jewish exiles, Smith's Bible Dictionary adds that the scorpion was
they are a rebellious house (Ezek 3:9,26,27; Pr 30:13,14; Is 51:7; Jer 18:18; Am 7:10-17; Heb11:27) (See Torrey's Topic Rebellion Against God)
Ezekiel's "job description" is not an easy one but is one that clearly predicts he will experience resistance from his audience. The truth is that you and I as God's ambassadors of reconciliation have been sent to "sons of Adam" all of whom are rebellious from birth against the Lord God and who will quite likely resist His message from us His messengers, whether we are living it before them or whether we are provided an opportunity to speak it before them. In either case we need not fear, especially if we like Ezekiel have "had a vision". What does that mean practically? Where do we see the "glory of the LORD" today? Primarily in His written word of course. So as we take time to sit at the feet of the Living Word of the Living Lord Jesus we will be transformed into that same image by His Spirit. And we will begin to fulfill our purpose on earth even as did Peter and John of whom Luke documents that as their enemies
Have you "been with Jesus" today?
Centuries later Peter writes to saints who were experiencing affliction
|Ezekiel 2:7 "But you shall speak My words to them whether they listen or not, for they are rebellious.|
|KJV: And thou shalt speak my words unto them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear: for they are most rebellious.
NLT: You must give them my messages whether they listen or not. But they won't listen, for they are completely rebellious!
ICB: But speak my words to them. They may listen, or they may not, because they turn against me.
YLT: And thou hast spoken My words unto them, whether they hear or whether they forbear, for they are rebellious.
"But you shall speak My words" (Ezek 3:10,17; Jer1:7,17; 23:28; 26:2; Jonah 3:2; Matthew 28:20) Ezekiel has a two-fold message. On the one hand, he brings the message of judgment. The holiness of God cannot tolerate sin, especially sin in the life of His own people, people known by His name. So He has to bring judgment on them. God seems to be saying,
If God seems far away, before blaming Him, consider who has moved! The first half of the book, chapters 1-24, presents this message of judgment. On the other hand, Ezekiel brings the message of hope. God cannot forsake His people. God cannot forget His covenant.
Jesus (and I believe that it was the pre-incarnate Jesus speaking to Ezekiel) gave the same message to His disciples encouraging them that
BKC makes the interesting observation that
Whether they listen or not repeats God's earlier warning emphasizing as Calvin says that Ezekiel
Ezekiel is responsible for speaking God's Word, not for how the people responded to it. This principle is important for all believer's to grasp. We are called to bear witness with our walk and our words of a glorious God and His eternal gospel but we are not responsible for the results. Paul writes that he was
If you have been faithfully living out or speaking forth the gospel message to a rebellious person, don't cease and desist! Your very presence in that person's life is proof that God has not given up on him or her. If you have fear of failure about speaking the gospel to someone, God's words to Ezekiel should encourage you.
They are rebellious the Biblical Illustrator says that since the Hebrew is a noun here, the phrase is more literally translated "they are rebellion or stubbornness itself."!
|Ezekiel 2:8 "Now you, son of man, listen to what I am speaking to you; do not be rebellious like that rebellious house. Open your mouth and eat what I am giving you."|
KJV: But thou, son of man, hear what I say unto thee; Be not thou rebellious like that rebellious house: open thy mouth, and eat that I give thee.
YLT: 'And thou, son of man, hear that which I am speaking unto thee: Thou art not rebellious like the rebellious house, open thy mouth, and eat that which I am giving unto thee.'
"Do not be rebellious" conveys a warning against our natural weakness and tendency to shrink away from conflict and dissension. Ezekiel must not lower himself to the people’s spiritual level.
Calvin adds that
Rebellious house (Lv 10:3; Nu 20:10, 11, 12, 13,24; 1Ki 13:21,22; Is 50:5; 1Pe 5:3): note God calls the chosen privileged people, a "rebellious people (nation)", "stubborn and obstinate children", and a "rebellious house".
Open your mouth (Ezek 3:1, 2, 3,10; Je 15:16; 1Ti 4:14, 15, 16; Rev 10:9) This message was not to be some superficial pabulum for infants but was to enter so intimately into the prophet's innermost life as to nourish his soul, invigorating him for the difficulties that lie ahead. Are you regularly taking in a diet of "solid food" (Heb5:14) and "sound (hygienic, healthy, health giving) doctrine" (Titus 1:9) that you might "may be adequate, equipped for every good work"? (2Ti 3:17)
Jeremiah had a similar experience in a difficult chapter writing
Social Stomachs - Honey ants survive in difficult times by depending on certain members of their group, known as "honey pots." They take in so much nectar that they swell into "little round berries" hardly able to move. When food and water become scarce, they act as "social stomachs" and sustain the entire ant colony by dispensing what they have stored in their own bodies.
Similarly, the messenger of God must fill his heart and mind with the truths of Scripture. Only as he is faithful to apply the Word of God to his own life can he honestly give its nourishing encouragement and exhortation to help others.
The Lord told the prophet Ezekiel to eat a scroll that contained a message full of "lamentations and mourning and woe" (Ezek. 2:10). Because he was submissive to the Lord and applied the lesson to his own heart first, he could boldly present the life-giving message to all who would listen.
As believers, we too must develop a "social stomach" by digesting the truths of the Bible and allowing the Spirit of God to make them a part of our lives. Then, filled with God's Word, we can speak effectively to others in need. --M R De Haan II (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
After I have eaten, Lord,
Before we can serve the Bread of Life to others,
we must feast on it ourselves.
|Ezekiel 2:9 Then I looked, and behold, a hand was extended to me; and lo, a scroll * was in it.|
KJV: And when I looked, behold, an hand was sent unto me; and, lo, a roll of a book was therein;
YLT: And I look, and lo, a hand is sent forth unto me, and lo, in it a roll of a book,
|"a hand was extended" (Ezek 8:3; Je 1:9; Da 5:5; 10:10,16-18)
Scroll (Hebrew = meghillah) from the root galal = to roll) was a rolled manuscript (Ezek 3:1; Heb 10:7; Rev 5:1, 2, 3, 4, 5; 10:8, 9, 10, 11) usually inscribed on only one side. This particular scroll was inscribed on both back and front, indicating an extensive message, one of judgment. God had much to say. Scrolls were used before the development of the codex in the first or second century AD (codex = writing done on flat surfaces such as boards, vellum, or parchment, which were sometimes folded once and bound or sewn). A papyrus scroll (without writing) was found in an Egyptian tomb dating to circa 3000BC.
Harper's Bible dictionary adds that
|Ezekiel 2:10 When He spread it out before me, it was written on the front and back, and written on it were lamentations, mourning and woe|
|KJV: And he spread it before me; and it was written within and without: and there was written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe.
NLT: He unrolled it, and I saw that both sides were covered with funeral songs, other words of sorrow, and pronouncements of doom.
GWT: He spread the scroll in front of me. There was writing on the front and back. There were funeral songs, songs of mourning, and horrible things written on it.
ICB: The Lord opened the scroll in front of me. The scroll was written on the front and back. Funeral songs, sad writings and troubles were written on the scroll.
YLT: and He spreadeth it before me, and it is written in front and behind, and written on it are lamentations, and mourning, and woe!
When He spread it out before me (Isaiah 30:8, 9, 10, 11; Habakkuk 2:2)
It was written on the front and back contrary to the state of rolls in general, which are written on the inside only. Zech 5:3 and Rev 5:1 for the same description. It was as if its divine author had so much to say that the conventional space was insufficient; the writing must be squeezed into every blank space!
Lamentations (qiynah) (Is 3:11; Jer 36:29, 30, 31, 32; Rev 8:13; 9:12; 11:14) refers to a funeral dirge with beating of breasts or instruments, indicating the activity of mourners intoned. It might be sung during the mourning rites. Used by the prophets it speaks of impending death and/or destruction (Jer 7:19).
Lamentations is a key word in this book, being found 9 times (Ezek 2:10; 31:15, 19:1, 14; 26:17; 27:2, 32; 28:12; 32:2, 16). The meaning is not so much that the message as such was mournful; rather, its effect on those who read, or heard, it would be to create misery and woe.