|Ezekiel 3:1 Then He said to me, "Son of man, eat what you find; eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel."|
|ICB: Then the Lord said to me, "Human being, eat what you find. Eat this scroll. Then go and speak to the people of Israel."
Young's Literal: Then He said to me, "Son of man, eat what you find; eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel."
Son of man is translated by the TEV as "mortal man" and the Living Bible as "son of dust"! If we kept these latter pictures in mind, it would probably be easier for most of us
"Eat what you find, eat the scroll" (Ezek 3:10; 2:8, 9; 1Ti4:15; Rev 10:9, 10)
In our society “to eat one's words” is generally a negative unpleasant experience but in biblical thought it is an agreeable experience. The message was given by God but was to be assimilated by the prophet and made his own.
Scroll is used in 18 verses in the OT prophetic passages (Jer 36:2, 4, 6, 14, 20, 21, 23, 25, 27, 28, 29, 32; Ezek 2:9; 3:1, 2, 3; Zech 5:1, 2).
Go, speak to the house of Israel (Ezek 3:11, 15, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21; 2:3)
For Isaiah God had a "seraphim" fly to him
And here He had Ezekiel eat a scroll.
Eating Words - I read about an Australian woman who developed a craving for paper. She began her unusual diet as a child, and as she grew older she ate as many as 10 tissues and a half page of the newspaper every day. The woman had also consumed small quantities of blotting paper, sheets from exercise books, and petty cash vouchers.
Of course, there's no relationship between that woman's strange habit and the symbolic actions of the prophet Ezekiel. His eating of a scroll was meant to illustrate a spiritual exercise that all of us should engage in. If we are to declare God's truth with meaning and power, we must take time to let it fill our hearts. We need to feel the implications of what God has said. We are to let His Word become a vital part of us so that we can't talk about it glibly as uninvolved, detached students, but as those who have personally "tasted" it.
The actual words and thoughts of God are revealed in the Bible. Don't just read them and repeat them. Think them. Feel them. Ask the Lord to clarify them, to make them a part of your experience, and to teach you.
Yes, today's Bible reading contains a profound principle: We must "eat" the Word before we speak it. Maybe then we won't have to eat our own words later on. —Mart De Haan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Lord, teach us from Your holy Word
The truth that we must know;
And help us share the joyous news
Of blessings You bestow. —D. De Haan
Let God's Word fill your mind, rule your heart, and guide your
|Ezekiel 3:2 So I opened my mouth, and He fed me this scroll.|
|English of Septuagint: So He opened my mouth, and caused me to eat the volume.
Young's Literal: So I opened my mouth, and He fed me this scroll.
|I opened my mouth (Jer 25:17) Immediate obedience (delayed "obedience" is really disobedience!).
The apostle Paul on trial for his life was given a similar difficult command from the Lord and yet he stood firm declaring
In the case of both Ezekiel and Paul, their obedience was but an overflow of their steadfast faith.
As the writer of Hebrews says
When the LORD gives you clear instruction in His Word, do you obey or delay?
Obedience is the door to blessing and usefulness for Kingdom Work. To reiterate (we need to hear some things over and over!) don't fool yourself "delayed obedience" is still disobedience!
Ezekiel's response of ready reception of God's Word was in stark contrast with the utter rejection the rebellious house. The clear implication is that Ezekiel also accepted the perfect will of God because God's word is His will.
Ezekiel's presentation of his body, mind and spirit to the Lord for His use is a beautiful Old Testament illustration of Paul's exhortation to all believers today in Romans 12
Ezekiel came to know the "will of God" because of his willingness to humble himself to God. Are you wrestling with God's will for your life? Ezekiel's submission and reception of the LORD's word gives us a pattern by which we too can know His "good and acceptable and perfect" will in our life. Are you in the Word so that His Word can get in "your stomach and fill your body" and thereby you can be enabled to "prove what the will of God" is in specific situations?
|Ezekiel 3:3 He said to me, "Son of man, feed your stomach and fill your body with this scroll which I am giving you." Then I ate it, and it was sweet as honey in my mouth.|
|BBE: And he said to me, Son of man, let your stomach make a meal of it and let your inside be full of this roll which I am giving you. Then I took it, and it was sweet as honey in my mouth.
ICB: The Lord said to me, "Human being, eat this scroll which I am giving you. Fill your stomach with it." Then I ate it. And it was sweet like honey in my mouth.
Young's Literal: And He said to me, "Son of man, feed your stomach, and fill your body with this scroll which I am giving you." Then I ate it, and it was sweet as honey in my mouth.
|One practical application of this passage is that intake of God's Word is to be more than head knowledge but is to be so devoured that it becomes assimilated as part of our very being.
As Paul wrote to young Timothy
Writing to the church at Colossae Paul said
I believe that the vision or theophany (theos = God + phaino = appear) in chapter 1 was almost certainly one of many Old Testament appearances of our Lord Jesus Christ (prior to His incarnation) and so the word Ezekiel ate was the "Word of Christ" which would soon enable him "with all wisdom" to teach and admonish his Jewish brethren. (see related topic on The Angel of Jehovah on this site)
It was sweet as honey - What did it contain? "lamentations, mourning and woe" (Ezek 2:10) Why then would it be sweet? Although the words were bitter, the scroll tasted sweet because its contents were God’s word, and as discussed above would facilitate the carrying out of will of God which is always pleasing.
David agrees that
The psalmist writes
Feed your stomach and fill your body (Ezek 2:10; Job 32:18, 19; Jer 6:11; 20:9; Jn 7:38) signifies a complete assimilation of God's Word, not a superficial or simply intellectual reading of it. Only when God’s Word had become a part of Ezekiel's very being would he be able to share it with others. In a similar way, when God’s Word becomes a part of us, we are then equipped and enabled to share the message.
Let me ask you a practical question? How do you best assimilate it so that it fills your body? Is not the most practical way to realize this objective memorization of His precious sweet truth?
Then I ate it (Ps 119:11-note; Jn 6:53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63) Ezekiel was to be a prophet to a rebellious people who refused to obey God, and so the first thing he was asked to do was obey. In obeying the command to eat, he immediately distinguished himself from the disobedient people to whom he was sent. And in his act of obedience, he discovered the taste of the scroll to be “sweet as honey”. The same scroll that would taste so bitter to the house of Israel, tasted sweet on the prophet’s tongue.
There is in every act of obedience a sweet taste. Obedience as such guarantees no freedom from pain, but it does bring the satisfaction of a life being fulfilled, a life which is pleasing to our Father (1Sa 15:22)
"and it was sweet as honey" (Ps119:97-note; Pr 2:10, 11)
Whenever we "eat" God’s word, we experience a sweetness, for God’s words always contain hope. Yes, God’s judgment will come upon the rebellious, but in the midst of wrath He remembers mercy and so His judgment also holds promise for those who repent and return.
Jeremiah during a difficult time (read Jeremiah 15:1-15 for the context) said
Food that truly sustains in a time of trial or temptation is indeed the "bread of life". It is often (probably usually!) in the humbling circumstances of the trials that we come to
The apostle John describes a similar experience in the Revelation recording that
|Ezekiel 3:4 Then He said to me, "Son of man, go * to the house of Israel and speak with My words to them.|
|Brenton's English of Greek Septuagint And he said to me, Son of man, go (2SPAM - command to keep going) thy way, and go (2SAAM = calls for action, sense of urgency) in to the house of Israel, and speak (2SAAM = do this now, sense of urgency) My words to them.
KJV And he said unto me, Son of man, go, get thee unto the house of Israel, and speak with my words unto them.
NRSV: He said to me: Mortal, go to the house of Israel and speak my very words to them.
TLB: Then he said: “Son of dust, I am sending you to the people of Israel with my messages.
Young's Literal: And He saith unto me, 'Son of man, go (qal imperative), enter (qal imperative) in unto the house of Israel, and thou hast spoken (piel perfect) with My words unto them.
|Then He said to me, "Son of man, go to the house of Israel:
Note these 2 versions are more accurate as there are 2 verbs in the original Hebrew (go and enter), whereas NASB and most other modern translations drop one of these verbs, both of which are commands in the original Hebrew. Note in the samples above that the Greek Septuagint translates both of these verbs.
Don't be confused by the use of "Israel" which is here used to refer to Judah.
Why "then"? The context is that he has just eaten the Word of God, been filled with the Spirit and seen the exalted Lord. Now Ezekiel is commanded to "go".
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 message.
EAT THE WORD
YOU FEED OTHERS!
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. As believers, we too must digest the truths of the Bible and allow 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. Before we can serve the Bread of Life to others, we must feast on it ourselves.
After I have eaten, Lord,
Go is an important command providing specific instructions to Ezekiel from the One seated upon the chariot like throne.
The mind of man plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps (Pr 16:9)
Clearly at the inception of his prophetic ministry God is carefully "directing the steps" of Ezekiel, a fact which becomes even more obvious as one comes to the end of this chapter. The prophet Jeremiah understood this important principle declaring
Watch how Ezekiel responds to the "go" of the LORD.
How do you respond when the LORD says
and speak with My words to them. (Ezek 3:11; 2:3, 7; Mt10:5, 6; 15:24; Acts 1:8)
"My words" is such a little phrase but it is so important for Ezekiel and every believer in every age to remember. God explains to Jeremiah why it is to be
This is the perfect rhetorical question (ask merely for the effect with no answer expected or needed). Whose words do I speak? Out of my mouth comes the word that fills my heart. Eat (memorize [see Memorizing His Word], meditate [see Primer on Biblical Meditation]) His word like honey each day as if your life depended on it (your spiritual vitality does!) and then you will be ready to speak His word to anyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have even though you yourself may be going through a trial.
Richards points out that
|Ezekiel 3:5 "For you are not being sent to a people of unintelligible speech or difficult language, but to the house of Israel,|
|NCV: You are not being sent to people whose speech you can’t understand, whose language is difficult. You are being sent to Israel.
NKJV: "For you are not sent to a people of unfamiliar speech and of hard language, but to the house of Israel,
Young's Literal: "For you are not being sent to a people of unintelligible speech or difficult language, but to the house of Israel,
For you are not being sent to a people of unintelligible speech or difficult language but to the house of Israel: (Jonah1:2; 3:2, 3, 4; Acts 26:17,18) (Ps 81:5; Isa 33:19)
Unintelligible speech is more literally "deep lip and heavy tongue" and refers to a foreign language. Ezekiel was not commissioned to speak to the Babylonians but to his own people in their native tongue.
|Ezekiel 3:6 nor to many peoples of unintelligible speech or difficult language, whose words you cannot understand. But I have sent you to them who should listen to you;|
|Amp Not to many peoples of foreign speech and of a hard language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely, had I sent you to such people, they would have listened to you and heeded My words.
BBE Not to a number of peoples whose talk is strange and whose language is hard and whose words are not clear to you. Truly, if I sent you to them they would give ear to you.
NLT No, I am not sending you to people with strange and difficult speech. If I did, they would listen!
NIV not to many peoples of obscure speech and difficult language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely if I had sent you to them, they would have listened to you.
NJB Not to big nations that speak difficult foreign languages, and whose words you would not understand–if I sent you to them, they would listen to you;
Young's Literal: nor to many peoples of unintelligible speech or difficult language, whose words you cannot understand. But I have sent you to them who should listen to you;
|nor to many peoples of unintelligible speech or difficult language whose words you cannot understand: (Mt 12:41, 42; Lk 11:30, 31, 32)
Not to many peoples of foreign speech and of a hard language" (Amp)
Unintelligible speech is literally "deep speech", conveying the picture of words that are unfathomable or difficult to comprehend.
"Difficult language" is literally "heavy (Hebrew kabed) tongue" denoting speech that is thick or sluggish. Moses used a similar phrase when objecting to the LORD's commissioning him to return to Egypt saying
But I have sent you to them who should listen to you
Brenton's English of the Greek Septuagint has
to them who should listen to you - Note that most of the other translations give a slightly different meaning then is apparent in the NASB. E.g., the NIV says
Surely if I had sent you to them, they would have listened to you.
The point is that Israel was more hardened than the worst of the nations round her. Going to another culture and nation would have been difficult because of the language barrier, the results would have been more rewarding for they would listen to him. It is amazing and sad that those who knew nothing of the One Living God would have been more responsive than those who claimed His Name.
Listen is the Hebrew word shama and means to hear intelligently and so to listen with attention with the idea of obeying what you hear. Even Webster's modern definition says that to really listen is to "hear something with thoughtful attention"!
Given this definition, we must all ask
Specifically am I a good listener when God is speaking? Am I even in His word daily that I might be able to listen? God says Israel will hear and they will even understand Ezekiel (Ezekiel is not speaking "unintelligible speech") but they won't listen! The Greek Septuagint does not use the usual word (akouo = hear) for hearing but the word (eisakouo) which specifically describes "active" listening or listening attentively to someone with the implication of heeding and responding to what is heard.
Indeed when Jonah begrudgingly (contrast his heart attitude with that of Ezekiel) went to a people "of unintelligible speech" (the wicked, vicious Assyrian people) Scripture records that
Paul picks up on this same theme in Romans 9 in explaining how it was that many of the Jews had "missed" salvation reminding his readers
|Ezekiel 3:7 yet the house of Israel will not be willing to listen to you, since they are not willing to listen to Me. Surely the whole house of Israel is stubborn * and obstinate *.|
|NLT I am sending you to the people of Israel, but they won't listen to you any more than they listen to me! For the whole lot of them are hard-hearted and stubborn
NET But the house of Israel will not listen to you, because they are not willing to listen to me, for the whole house of Israel is hard-headed and hard-hearted.
|yet the house of Israel will not be willing to listen to you since they are not willing to listen to Me. : (Lk 10:16; 13:34; 19:14; Jn 5:40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47; Jn 15:20, 21, 22, 23, 24)
The Amplified translation ("will not listen to you and obey") emphasizes the important link between listening and obeying, which is implicit in the Hebrew (shama') and Greek verbs used to translate "listen".
James reinforces the importance of this principle calling on us (in truth he is commanding us) to be
The house of Israel will not be willing to listen Ezekiel’s task did not involve linguistic barriers. Indeed, language barriers can be overcome but the barrier of a hard forehead and a stiff heart is difficult to penetrate.
And so too He would reject those who were unwilling to listen but remember that because of His eternal, unconditional covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, He would preserve a remnant of Israel who did listen, who did obey, and who were made righteous by faith. So the phrase "house of Israel" does no signify ALL of Israel denied Him and His Word, although it does appear that the majority did what was right in their own eyes. Things haven't changed much have they!
The LORD had similarly warned Isaiah not to expect dramatic results from his ministry, commissioning him with the promise to
In a parallel passage in the New Testament Jesus
As a result of their refusal to receive Jesus as their saving Messiah
"for they are not willing to listen to Me" Jesus also warned His disciples that
There is none so deaf as the person who does not want to hear. Israel’s unnatural unresponsiveness would not result from a lack of understanding but from a spiritual barrier, a deliberate refusal.
The point is that Ezekiel is not to "take it personally" when his message is rejected for this was in the "job description" for God's prophets.
The BKC explains that
Jeremiah had a similar experience declaring that for
Does this warning to Ezekiel have practical application for God's ambassadors today? In the "job description" of a disciple Jesus forewarned us to not be surprised at resistance and rejection but to
Have you experienced persecution (for His Name's sake) at work, in your school, even in your own family? (cp 2Ti 3:12-note, Php 1:29-note) If so, dear tried and true saint, listen to Jesus' encouraging words declaring that
Surely the whole house of Israel is stubborn and obstinate: (Ezek 2:4)
BKC explains that "the whole house of Israel (Judah)"
Stubborn is actually two Hebrew words which literally mean a hard forehead ("stern brows"). The word for “hard” (chazaq) is the same word as the first half of Ezekiel’s name.
Isaiah records a similar description of Israel, declaring that
Jeremiah helps us understand the picture of a "hard forehead" declaring to Israel that
Sin not only hardens the heart so that sinning becomes easier, but it produces a contemptuous spirit that is so deceived that it even disdains God and His right to judge.
"Obstinate" is more literally "a stiff heart".
Obstinate describes the whole house of Israel as fixed and unyielding in course or purpose with the implication of usually an unreasonable persistence in such behavior. The whole house of Israel is perversely adhering to their opinion, purpose, and course (in this case headed for disaster) in spite of God's reasoning, arguments, and persuasion through his prophets like Ezekiel. In 3:10 Ezekiel by contrast was to have a supple, teachable, tender heart ready and willing to receive all of the Words of the LORD. How is your heart? Tough or tender? Resistant or receptive to His Word.
Amp Behold, I have made your face strong and hard against their faces and your forehead strong and hard against their foreheads.
GWT Yet, I will make you as stubborn and as hardheaded as they are.
NET: I have set your face hard against their faces, and your forehead hard against their foreheads.
NJB: But now, I am making you as defiant as they are, and as obstinate as they are;
TLB: But see, I have made you hard and stubborn too—as tough as they are.
Young's Literal: 'Lo, I have made thy face strong against their face, and thy forehead strong against their forehead.
Behold, I have made your face as hard as their faces, and your forehead as hard as their foreheads. (Ex 4:15, 16; 11:4, 5, 6, 7, 8; 1Ki 21:20; Is 50:7; Heb 11:27, 32, 33,34, 35, 36, 37)
Behold (hinneh) calls attention to the text and directs reader to give special attention. Hinneh can be translated Here!, There!, Look!, Now! all of which serve as markers used to enliven a narrative, to change a scene, to emphasize an idea or to call attention to a detail.
God now gives Ezekiel an encouraging word to enable him to minister in such a discouraging setting. God knows when and how to encourage us for as Paul recorded centuries later
Note that the verse does not say "escape" that we may be able to "escape" but that we may be able to continue to bear up despite difficulty, suffering or persecution. How does God encourage and undergird Ezekiel?
I have made your face as hard as their faces - This pictures resolve, determination and defiance, providing Ezekiel the strength and the ability to stand firm in the evil day. Ezekiel is now steeled to confront his opponents without flinching. The exiles would be a tough "congregation" but Ezekiel would be an even tougher "preacher" for God had made him hard, unyielding, stubborn and defiant.
The word for "hard" is the same Hebrew word forming the first part of Ezekiel's name. And so even Ezekiel's name ("God is my strength") implied the Lord's strengthening him for the difficult task. You too as a soldier of the Lord, can be confident that the Lord always prepares and reassures His messengers with the needed equipment. It is interesting that the phrase "set your face" occurs 11 times (click here) in Ezekiel.
Similarly, God encouraged and equipped Jeremiah reminding him
In Jeremiah's darkest hours these words would sustain him mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, just as would God's words to Ezekiel. Perhaps today you need to recall God's promise first given to Israel but in principle applicable to you as a child of God --
The prophet Micah asserts that will be able to reveal God's Word of judgment empowered by the Lord, declaring
As hard as their foreheads Centuries later Stephen a man filled (controlled, empowered) with the Holy Spirit confronted the Jewish leaders with their hardness declaring
|Ezekiel 3:9 "Like emery harder than flint I have made your forehead. Do not be afraid of them or be dismayed before * them, though they are a rebellious house."|
Amplified: Like an adamant harder than flint or a diamond point have I made your forehead; fear them not, neither be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house
Brenton's English of Greek Septuagint: And it (referring to his forehead) shall be continually stronger than a rock: be not afraid of them, neither be dismayed at their faces, because it is a provoking house.
KJV: As an adamant harder than flint have I made thy forehead: fear them not, neither be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house.
NIV: I will make your forehead like the hardest stone, harder than flint. Do not be afraid of them or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious house.”
TEV: I will make you as firm as a rock, as hard as a diamond; don’t be afraid of those rebels.”
Young's Literal: As an adamant harder than a rock I have made thy forehead; thou dost not fear them, nor art thou affrighted before them, for a rebellious house are they.'
Like emery ( adamant ) harder than flint I have made your forehead (Zech 7:12)
Emery or adamant refers to a stone formerly believed to be of impenetrable hardness and then of any unbreakable or extremely hard substance. The same Hebrew word is translated "diamond" in (Jer 17:1) where Jehovah declares that
The point of the comparison ("like emery") is that emery or adamant was used to cut flint or stones as hard as flint and so by analogy Ezekiel's "forehead" would be fully capable of "cutting" the hard foreheads of the house of Israel. Hardened in sin as the people were, they would meet their match in his resolute hardness in standing firm for God. Like diamond, the hardest substance known, he would resist their browbeating.
Ezekiel was soon to pass from the "twilight zone" of a visionary encounter with the glory of the LORD into the "war zone" with the house of Israel. For this spiritual war Ezekiel (and every saint) needed to
Although Ezekiel would be confronted by resistance from the whole house of Israel he needed to remember as do all God's soldier saints that
BKC comments that
I like MacDonald's reminder that
Do not be afraid of them or be dismayed before them though they are a rebellious house: (Is 41:10, 14; 50:7; Mic 3:8; 1Ti 2:3; 2Ti 2:6)
God's exhortation to Ezekiel "Do not be afraid" is the second time (see Ezek 2:6) in the prophet's commissioning that he has been told there is no reason to fear. The response of the exiles to Ezekiel's message was not to govern the nature or manner of his ministry. God had similarly encouraged Jeremiah
This was a message that Jeremiah later "preached" to himself saying
What God commands (“do not be afraid”) He gives sufficiency to do (“I have made”) so God will enable the prophet to live up to his name (“strengthened by God”).
So sure was Ezekiel to be of the Lord God’s help that he was to resolutely determine to remain unswayed by whatever hardship might await Him. Jesus demonstrated this same determination for
Dismayed is the Hebrew verb which refers to the shattering of an object and here is applied figuratively to describe a feeling of discouragement, implying fear, terror, and/or panic and confusion. Word Biblical Commentary translates this section as
I also like the BBE translation of
We have all experienced those despising looks filled with daggers of hatred which cut deep into our innermost being. God is saying to Ezekiel
Years earlier God had given similar encouragement to Israel faced with the certainty of warfare upon entering Canaan saying
And to Joshua who would lead the children of God into the promised land God said
Ezekiel need not fear them for he had been armed with the "Spirit of the Lord" and the "sword of the Spirit" which is
Rebellious house in a sense "Israel's nickname" in Ezekiel is a key phrase occurring 13x in 12v = (Ezek 2:5, 6, 8; 3:9, 26, 27; 12:2, 3, 9, 25; 17:12; 24:3).
SYNONYMS FOR REBELLIOUS
The description that permeates Ezekiel then is that Israel (Judah) was consistently in active opposition to the authority of the Most High God. Synonyms of rebellious apropos to Israel include bullheaded, headstrong, intractable, mulish, perverse, self-willed, stiff-necked, stubborn, unyielding, contumacious, factious, insurgent, mutinous, seditious, disaffected, disloyal, disobedient, disorderly, insubordinate, insurrectionary, recalcitrant, revolutionary, turbulent, ungovernable, unruly, defiant, difficult, incorrigible, obstinate, refractory, resistant, unmanageable… just to mention a few!
Would any of these synonyms describe your current walk with the LORD?
The Greek Septuagint gives us an additional insight into the nature/effect of this rebellion. Eight times in chapters 2-3 "rebellious house" is translated with the Greek verb parapikraino (pará = implying movement toward a certain point + pikrós = bitter, originally “pointed,” “sharp”) which means to provoke to bitterness or anger, to exasperate or to arouse to indignation (see only NT use in Heb 3:16-note). The implication is clear - the house of Israel was continually (the verb is in the present tense in the Septuagint) provoking God to anger, arousing the indignation of the Almighty! And such is the effect of rebellion. Praise God for His lovingkindness and compassion that flow freely from the Cross of Christ, His precious blood covering all who once were in the rebel Adam but now by faith are safe in the Ark of Christ, the glory of the LORD.
|Ezekiel 3:10 Moreover, He said to me, "Son of man, take into your heart all My words which I will speak to you and listen closely.|
Brenton's English of Greek Septuagint And he said to me, Son of man, receive (2nd person Sing Aorist Act Imperative = do it now, speak of urgency) into thine heart all the words that I have spoken (Perfect tense = speaks of the permanence of God's Words to Ezekiel) to thee, and hear (2nd Sing Present Act Imperative = command to continually hear) them with thine ears.
TLB: Then he added: “Son of dust, let all my words sink deep into your own heart first; listen to them carefully for yourself.
TEV: God continued, “Mortal man, pay close attention and remember everything I tell you.
Young's Literal: Moreover, He said to me, "Son of man, take (Qal Imperative = command) into your heart all My words which I shall speak to you, and listen closely (Qal Imperative = command).
Moreover, He said to me, "Son of man, take into your heart all My words which I shall speak to you and listen closely. (Ezek 3:1, 2, 3; 2:8; Job 22:22; Ps 119:11; Pr 8:10; 19:20; Lk 8:15; 1Th 2:13; 1Th 4:1)
Take into your heart all My words. Not "your head" but "your heart". Not for information but transformation.
"Your heart" is one of the key phrases in the Old Testament, especially in the book of Deuteronomy. If you need a "heart checkup" or just want a fascinating study that will give you God's insights into the matter of your "heart" click here and study the 31 uses in Deuteronomy or here for 18 occurrences in Proverbs (or if you want more of a challenge click here to study all 123 uses in the Old Testament).
Related Resource: Study of kardia - Greek word for heart
How does one take all God's words into his or her heart today?
The psalmist says "Thy word I have treasured in my heart… " (Ps119:11).
How better to treasure God's Word than to bury it deep within our heart through memorization.
As Billy Graham once said
All my words The stress lies on the first word "all". The prophet was not to pick and choose out of the message, but was to be like the apostle Paul and
The LORD empowered Jeremiah with His word when He
Listen closely is a marked contrast to the exiles, who would refuse to listen. Ezekiel is to make God's Words his own words.
|Ezekiel 3:11 "Go to the exiles, to the sons of your people, and speak to them and tell them, whether they listen or not, 'Thus says the Lord GOD.' "|
BBE And go now to those who have been taken away as prisoners, to the children of your people, and say to them, This is what the Lord has said; if they give ear or if they do not.
Brenton's English of Greek Septuagint And go (2nd Sing Present Act Imperative = command to continually go) thy way, go (2nd person Sing Aorist Act Imperative = do it now, speaks of urgency) in to the captivity, to the children of thy people, and thou shalt speak to them, and say to them, Thus saith the Lord; whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear.
TEV Then go to your countrymen who are in exile and tell them what I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying to them, whether they pay attention to you or not.”
Young's Literal and go (Qal Imperative = command) , enter in (Qal Imperative = command) unto the Removed, unto the sons of thy people, and thou hast spoken unto them, and hast said unto them: Thus said the Lord Jehovah: whether they hear, or whether they forbear.'
And go to the exiles to the sons of your people: (Ezek 3:15; 11:24, 25; Da6:13) (Ezek 33:2, 12, 17, 30; 37:18; Ex 32:7; Dt9:12)
God does not call them "My" people but "your" people for Jehovah can no longer recognize them as His children but as rebels.
and speak to them and tell them whether they listen or not, 'Thus says the Lord GOD (Adonai jehovah). (Ezek 3:27; Acts 20:26, 27)
God repeats the same phrase mentioned in (Ezek 2:5,7)
Ezekiel has the authority of the Sovereign LORD to validate his message.
Some would listen (obey) and others would fail to listen, that is, refuse to obey
|Ezekiel 3:12 Then the Spirit lifted me up, and I heard a great rumbling sound behind me, "Blessed be the glory of the LORD in His place."|
|Brenton's English of Greek Septuagint Then the Spirit took me up, and I heard behind me the voice as of a great earthquake (seismos = series of violent movements causing shaking, agitation), saying, Blessed be the glory of the Lord from His place.
NLT Then the Spirit lifted me up, and I heard a loud rumbling sound behind me. (May the glory of the Lord be praised in his place!)
Young's Literal And lift me up doth a spirit, and I hear behind me a noise, a great rushing -- 'Blessed is the honour of Jehovah from His place!'--
Then the Spirit lifted me up: (Ezek 3:14; 2:2; 8:3; 11:1, 24; 40:1, 2; 1Ki 18:12; 2Ki 2:16)
Luther translates it I think incorrectly as "a wind lifted me up" which although the same Hebrew word (Ruach) does not fit the context as well as the Holy Spirit. In the NT we see a similar action by the Spirit, Luke recording that when the Ethiopian eunuch and Philip
and I heard a great rumbling sound behind me: (Acts 2:2; Rev 1:10, 15)
Great rumbling" is translated by the Greek Septuagint with seismos which can be translated as a shaking, a tempest or an earthquake.
Blessed be the glory of the LORD in His place. (Ps 72:18, 19; 103:20, 21; 148:2; Is 6:3; Rev 5:11, 12, 13, 14; 19:6) (Ezek 9:3; 10:4, 18, 19; 11:22, 23; Ex 40:34, 35; 1Sa4:21, 22)
The glory of the LORD occurs 11 times in the first 11 chapters. You will want to mark this phrase in a distinctive in your Bible. Here in context it appears to clearly refer to the throne chariot of God initially described at the end of chapter 1 and apparently remaining in place during the succeeding description of Ezekiel's commission.
Young's Lit even a noise of the wings of the living creatures touching one another, and a noise of the wheels over-against them, even a noise of a great rushing.
And I heard the sound of the wings of the living beings touching one another: (Ezek 1:24; 10:5; 2Sa 5:24)
and the sound of the wheels beside them, even a great rumbling sound. (Ezek 10:10, 16, 17)
|Ezekiel 3:14 So the Spirit lifted me up and took me away; and I went embittered in the rage of my spirit, and the hand of the LORD was strong on me.|
|CEV Then the Spirit carried me away. The LORD's power had taken complete control of me, and I was both annoyed and angry.
NAB The spirit which had lifted me up seized me, and I went off spiritually stirred, while the hand of the LORD rested heavily upon me.
NET The Spirit lifted me up and carried me away. I went bitterly, my spirit full of anger, and the hand of the Lord rested powerfully on me.
TEV The power of the Lord came on me with great force, and as his spirit carried me off, I felt bitter and angry.
Young's Literal And a spirit hath lifted me up, and doth take me away, and I go bitterly, in the heat of my spirit, and the hand of Jehovah on me is strong.
So the Spirit lifted me up and took me away: (Ezek 3:12; 8:3; 37:1)
and I went embittered in the rage of my spirit: (Nu 11:11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19; Jer 6:11; 20:14, 15,16, 17, 18; Jn 4:1, 3, 9)
Bitterness (mar) is that which is distasteful or distressing to the mind and causes affliction and misery. He had just been told to "take to your heart" all the words so it seems likely that his bitterness and heat of anger are the result of Ezekiel associating himself with God and feeling the same emotions toward Israel’s sin as God did. Note that the Greek Septuagint does not translate the Hebrew word for embittered but does translate the next phrase as "I went in the impulse of my spirit".
"In the rage of my spirit" is more literally heat, hot displeasure, indignation, anger, wrath of my spirit.
The Pulpit Commentary says that
The expression in the heat of spirit may refer to the prophet’s knowledge that his ministry would be largely one of rejection and pain. He experienced the same type of anger that the Lord had toward His rebellious people. It was not uncommon for exiles to occupy such ruins (see Ezra 2:59; Neh. 7:61). Ezekiel’s “seven days” may refer symbolically to the traditional time of mourning for the dead (see Gen. 50:10; Num. 19:11; Job 2:13), as well as to the period of consecration for a priest (see Lev. 8:33).
Clarke comments that the sense of this verse is that
The Evangelical Commentary feels that
and the hand of the LORD was strong on me: (Ezek 1:3; 8:1; 37:1; 2Ki2:16; 3:15)
The hand of the LORD was strong on me" most likely refers to the LORD's empowerment of Ezekiel much like the situation in First Kings when
Elijah, empowered by God, ran on foot ahead of King Ahab’s chariot some 15-25 miles from Mt. Carmel to Jezreel, clearly indicating he was not running according to his own power but according to the power of the LORD. May his tribe increase!
|Ezekiel 3:15 Then I came to the exiles who lived beside the river Chebar at Tel-abib, and I sat there seven days where they were living, causing consternation among them|
KJV Then I came to them of the captivity at Telabib, that dwelt by the river of Chebar, and I sat where they sat, and remained there astonished among them seven days.
NET I came to the exiles at Tel Abib, who lived by the Kebar River. And I sat among them there, where they were living, for seven days, dumbfounded.
Young's Literal And I come in unto the Removed, at Tel-Ahib, who are dwelling at the river Chebar, and where they are dwelling I also dwell seven days, causing astonishment in their midst.
Then I came to the exiles who lived beside the river Chebar at Tel-abib: (Ezek 3:23; 1:1; 10:15; 43:3)
Young's Literal has an interesting translation of "the exiles" rendering the Hebrew as "the Removed"!
We now enter on the first scene of the prophet’s ministry in "Tel-Abib" which most major reference works indicate is the translation "mound of ears of grain" or "mound of corn" probably related to the fertility of the surrounding valley. Other references state that the meaning is "mound of the flood" which may reflect the fact that there are many places in Babylon with the closely related name, Tel-Abubi, meaning ‘mound of the deluge’ (‘place destroyed by the deluge’). It is not to be confused with the modern city of Tel Aviv on the western coast of Israel.
and I sat there seven days where they were living causing consternation among them: (Ps 137:1)
in a stupor (NJB)
God sets up his Ezekiel's speaking engagement but he can't speak. We would have expected him to begin at once to deliver Gods message but instead he sat shocked and overwhelmed among them seven days.
A similar response to a divine encounter is found in Acts 9:8, 9 Luke recording that
Seven days may be related to a period of mourning. In Genesis on the occasion of Jacob's death and burial we find that when the entourage of Joseph
Job records that his "friends"
Seven days was also the period during which one is unclean after touching a corpse (Num 19:11), and the period of consecration for a priest (Lev 8:33). As noted in (Ezek 1:3), Ezekiel was a priest whom God had now commissioned to carry out the work of a prophet and this fact may have something to do with the seven days but that is somewhat speculative. In fact we can't be absolutely certain what the "seven days" signifies4.
Ezekiel’s emotional and mental state after this vision is described as one of "Consternation" the Hebrew verb (shamen with 23/91 OT uses found concentrated in Ezekiel = Ezek 3:15; 4:17; 6:4, 6; 20:26; 25:3; 26:16; 27:35; 28:19; 29:12; 30:7, 12, 14; 32:10, 15; 33:28; 35:12, 15; 36:3, 4, 34, 35, 36) the basic meaning being desolation caused by some great disaster especially that related to divine judgment and stresses the horror caused by the desolation of judgment. The result of this devastation is what the verb refers to in the present context and so conveys the sense of being appalled, dismayed, stupefied, shocked, horrified. Appalled means overcome with consternation, shock, or dismay and implies that one is faced with that which perturbs, confounds, or shocks. "Astonished" (NKJV, KJV, YLT) is not a good translation. I like the New Jerusalem Bible's rendering "I stayed with them in a stupor" or the NET Bible's "dumbfounded" which suggests intense but momentary confounding. The character of the vision Ezekiel had just seen and the awesomeness of the task before him left the prophet stunned.
Ezra the scribe had a similar reaction when he learned that Israelites had taken foreign women as wives, recording that
In a chapter in which he denounces the false prophets of Israel, Jeremiah describes a reaction similar to Ezekiel's recording
Someone has commented that Ezekiel was transported from God’s glorious presence to the harshness of exile (Ezek 3:12, 13, 14, 15) so that there is little wonder he sat overwhelmed for seven days!
The prophet Habakkuk likewise is deeply affected by the thought of judgment recording that