|Ezekiel 3:16 At the end of seven days the word of the LORD came to me, saying,|
NLT: At the end of the seven days, the LORD gave me a message. He said,
Young's Literal: And it cometh to pass, at the end of seven days, that there is a word of Jehovah unto me, saying,
Now it came about at the end of seven days that the word of the LORD came to me, saying,
The word of the LORD occurs 60 times in the NASB (Ezek 1:3; 3:16; 6:1, 3; 7:1; 11:14; 12:1, 8, 17, 21, 26; 13:1f; 14:2, 12; 15:1; 16:1, 35; 17:1, 11; 18:1; 20:2, 45, 47; 21:1, 8, 18; 22:1, 17, 23; 23:1; 24:1, 15, 20; 25:1, 3; 26:1; 27:1; 28:1, 11, 20; 29:1, 17; 30:1, 20; 31:1; 32:1, 17; 33:1, 23; 34:1, 7, 9; 35:1; 36:1, 4, 16; 37:4, 15; 38:1) in Ezekiel, more any other OT prophet. How wonderful to know that the Word of the Lord is never far from God’s servant who are willing to listen.
|Ezekiel 3: 17 "Son of man, I have appointed you a watchman to the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from My mouth, warn them from Me.|
NLT: "Son of man, I have appointed you as a watchman for Israel. Whenever you receive a message from me, pass it on to the people immediately.
Word Biblical Commentary: Human one, I appoint youa lookout for the community of Israel. Whenever you hear a message from my lips, you are to caution them against me
Young's Literal: 'Son of man, a watchman I have given thee to the house of Israel, and thou hast heard from My mouth a word, and hast warned them from Me.
Son of man, I have appointed you a watchman to the house of Israel: (Ezek 33:2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9; 1Co 12:28) (Song 3:3; 5:7; Is 21:6, 8, 11, 12; 52:8; 56:10; 62:6; 31:6; Acts 20:28, 29, 30, Heb 13:17)
The phrase "I have appointed you" emphasizes God's sovereignty. He is in charge.
A watchman is the Hebrew word tsaphah which conveys the idea of being fully aware of a situation in order to gain some advantage or keep from being surprised by an enemy. More than any word it describes the special characteristic of Ezekiel’s work for he is to watch personally over individual souls. In a similar sense the writer of Hebrews emphasizes this principle of accountability of Christian leaders exhorting the flock to
Spurgeon comments that
Watchmen in ancient times were sentinels stationed on city walls, hilltops or specially built watchtowers to warn citizens of danger. The office of watchman was extremely important because the safety of the entire population rested upon his diligence to carry out his task. The role of the watchman is illustrated in the following passage
In 2 Kings we see another illustration
The watchman was not to slumber on his post. The psalmist teaches the futility of functioning as a watchman without the LORD, writing that
Thus they had to remain awake and alert for approaching enemies and warn of impending attack and give those who dwelt outside the walls an opportunity to seek protection and time to secure the gates and man the defenses.
What an irony… any rational person in and around the city would never ignore the cry or trumpet of a secular watchman and yet God says they would refuse to hearken to a spiritual watchman.
Note that although Ezekiel is sent to the house of Israel, in these verses he is charged to warn individuals, emphasizing that independent of the national sins of Judah, each individual is responsible for his or her own behavior. This same theme of personal responsibility is described in more detail in chapters 18 and 33.
Ezekiel was responsible for sounding the warning of impending judgment to individuals in the house of Israel. Speaking of Israel God says
In Isaiah God reminded Israel that
As we see in this passage Ezekiel was silent (made mute by God) until he heard a word from the Lord and then he was to speak "Thus says the Lord God." (3:27)
Warren Wiersbe reminds us that
whenever you hear a word from My mouth, warn them from Me: (Ezek 33:6, 7, 8; 2Chr 19:10; Is 58:1; Jer 6:10; Mt 3:7; 1Co 4:14; 2Co 5:11, 20; Col 1:28; 1Th 5:14)
Whenever you hear a word from My mouth This is a good word for all God's children for as Spurgeon says "if we would be found really useful and serviceable for our Lord and Master" our ears need to be disciplined so that we hear only "the word from My mouth”, recognizing its Divine authority, studying it diligently as Spurgeon says going straight
The prophet Habakkuk gives us a good picture of how a prophet functions as a watchman declaring
Warn them from me The Greek Septuagint translates "warn" with the Greek verb (diapeileo) which means to intimidate or to threaten violently!
Believers today, although not called to intimidate or threaten violently, do have a commission to be God's "mouthpiece" and to be "ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God." (2Cor 5:20)
APPLICATION -The Christian as A Sentinel (Watchman) from C H Spurgeon
Which station has He called you to man,
|Ezekiel 3:18 "When I say to the wicked, 'You will surely die,' and you do not warn him or speak out to warn the wicked from his wicked way that he may live, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand.|
|NLT: If I warn the wicked, saying, 'You are under the penalty of death,' but you fail to deliver the warning, they will die in their sins. And I will hold you responsible, demanding your blood for theirs.
GWT: Suppose I tell you that wicked people will surely die, but you don't warn them or speak out so that they can change their wicked ways in order to save their lives. Then these wicked people will die because of their sin, but I will hold you responsible for their deaths.
NIV: When I say to a wicked man, 'You will surely die,' and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood.
Word Biblical Commentary: When I tell someone who is wicked,a ‘You are doomed to die,’ and you have not cautioned him, giving the wicked person an explicit caution against his wicked behavior in order that he may live, the wrongdoing of that wicked persone will cause his death, but I will hold you responsible for his demise.
Young's Literal: In My saying to the wicked: Thou dost surely die; and thou hast not warned him, nor hast spoken to warn the wicked from his wicked way, so that he doth live; he -- the wicked -- in his iniquity dieth, and his blood from thy hand I require.
When I say to the wicked, 'You shall surely die': (Ezek 18:4, 18:13, 18:20; 33:6, 8; Ge2:17; 3:3, 4; 2Ki1:4; Lk13:3, 5; Ep 5:5, 6)
You shall surely die is literally, dying thou shalt die.
In this section God begins to teach the principle that every individual (in the house of Israel) will be responsible for their own iniquity, a principle elaborated on more in Ezekiel 18 where for example God says…
This truth is one that Satan has attacked from the beginning, the serpent declaring to Eve that "
Read again what God Himself clearly reiterates in this verse "You shall surely die". God always keeps His promises, and after the sons of Israel expressed disbelief in His promise to give them the land of milk and honey He fulfilled the "flipside" of that promise declaring that
and you do not warn him or speak out to warn the wicked from his wicked way that he may live: (Ezek 18:30, 31, 32; Acts 2:40; 3:19; 1Ti4:16 Jas 5:19, 20)
Note the emphasis of singular pronouns (him… his… he) was on individuals. Ezekiel’s ministry was personal, focused on individual responsibility to trust and obey God.
From his wicked way is translated by the Greek Septuagint "to turn from his ways" utilizing the verb apostrepho (apo = from, implying rupture of a former association + strepho = turn quite around) which means literally to turn away from and which refers to causing someone to turn away from a previous belief, changing from incorrect to correct behavior.
that wicked man shall die in his iniquity: (Isa 33:10; Pr14:32; Jn8:21)
Through Isaiah God reiterated
Die in his iniquity Over seven centuries later Jesus referring ultimately to eternal death said
but his blood I will require at your hand: (Ge 42:22; 2Sa 4:11; Lk 11:50, 51; 1Ti 5:22)
In ancient times, a night watchman guarded the city against danger, usually under penalty of death for failure.
“his blood I will require at your hand” The expression “require blood at your hand” is equivalent to requiring the death penalty as illustrated in (2Sa 4:11, 12) where David addressed the killers of Ish-bosheth, he declared to them
This principle of individual responsibility and accountability ("His blood I will require") finds its genesis in the book of Genesis where God declares
The Int'l Children's Bible paraphrases this verse
It is as though the blood of the sinner who dies in his iniquity had been shed because Ezekiel had failed to warn him and according to the law of retribution, Ezekiel was liable for the loss of life payable by the forfeit of his own.
THE NEGLIGENT WATCHMAN - Public sentiment in New York has been aroused against a poor brakeman on the New York Central railroad because he failed to give the danger signal to the St. Louis express. He was sent with a red lantern to wave down the approaching train, but, instead of doing so, he went into a depot and sat down by the fire. As the express thundered by he asked, “What’s that?” and, when told, he disappeared in the darkness and has not yet been found by the police. The express dashed into the train on the track and killed twelve persons. Everybody feels that such neglect was criminal, and yet how about us who believe that our friends are going headlong to ruin and we have not warned them of their danger?" (from The Biblical Illustrator)
In Ezekiel 33 God reiterates the seriousness of role of watchman declaring that
The apostle Paul in his final address to the Ephesian elders (who in turn would be held accountable) was fully conversant with the "watchman principle" declaring
In ancient times shepherds performed for sheep a similar watching, protecting role as the town watchman. God uses the shepherd metaphor to refer to Israel's leaders in Ezekiel 34 emphasizing their accountability and declaring
No More Excuses (READ: Ezekiel 18:1, 2, 3, 4, 5-18) - When salmon travel hundreds of miles up rivers and streams to spawn, they are acting on instinct. They are in a sense being driven by an uncontrollable force.
Our actions are accountable
|Ezekiel 3:19 "Yet if you have warned the wicked and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered yourself.|
NLT: If you warn them and they keep on sinning and refuse to repent, they will die in their sins. But you will have saved your life because you did what you were told to do.
Word Biblical Commentary: On the other hand, you have cautioned the wicked person, but he has failed to give up his wickedness or any of his wicked behavior,a his wrongdoing will cause his death, but you will have saved your life.
Young's Literal: And thou, because thou hast warned the wicked, and he hath not turned back from his wickedness, and from his wicked way, he in his iniquity dieth, and thou thy soul hast delivered.
Yet if you have warned the wicked and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his wicked way he shall die in his iniquity: (2Ki17:13-23; Jer 42:19, 20, 21, 22; 44:4, 5; Lk 10:10, 11; 1Th 4:6; Heb 2:1, 2, 3) (Ezek 3:18; 2Th1:8, 9)
Why does God warn through Ezekiel? In 2 Chronicles we read that
Did they respond? Surely they listened to the repeated pleas and warnings from Jehovah! The writer sadly records that
As the proverb declares "A man who hardens his neck after much reproof will suddenly be broken beyond remedy." (Pr 29:1, cp Pr 6:15, 28:18 Isa 30:13,14 Zech 7:11, 12, 13, 14 1Th 5:3-note)
A good illustration of the fulfillment of the responsibility of warning the wicked is found in Acts when Paul arrived at Corinth and "began devoting himself completely to the word, solemnly testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ (the Messiah). And when they resisted and blasphemed, he shook out his garments and said to them, "Your blood be upon your own heads! I am clean. From now on I shall go to the Gentiles." (Acts 18:5, 6)
The writer of Hebrews brings this principle out strongly, warning that if someone goes
Indeed as the Sovereign LORD has already explained to Ezekiel, the rebellious house of Israel will not listen to him because they refuse to listen to the Lord God Who "warns from heaven".
Bishop Simpson writes in The Biblical Illustrator - Often on the ocean I have gone to the prow of the vessel and looked out into the darkness of the night. I have found the watchman not one moment from his post, his eye gazing far over the sea, where he might discern at the greatest distance and at the earliest moment any cause of possible danger. The lives of the crew and passengers were in his hands. The mist might come down heavily, the wind might blow furiously, the storm rage incessantly; but still on and ever the watchman looks out in the one direction. The whales may sport in multitudes around the vessel, the whole sea behind him be in a phosphorescent glow. His own great object is not to care for these things, but to look ahead! So you are watchmen. You are on the ship. The vessel may be running towards shore; there may be breakers ahead. You are to sound the alarm.
but you have delivered yourself: (Ezek 3:21;Is 49:4, 5; Acts 13:45 13:46; 20:26; 2Co 2:15, 16, 17)
Note some versions have translations like "save yourself" or "save your life" but there is no implication of salvation as used in the New Testament sense of being born again.
Delivered yourself Here the words do not imply more than deliverance from bodily death. Note that Ezekiel cannot deliver the wicked (or the righteous) but only himself. As God says in verse 27, to quote from God's Word Translation
Ezekiel can warn but he can't force them to listen and obey. This principle is elaborated on In Ezekiel 14 where the Sovereign LORD declares to Ezekiel that
The dread warning has for its complement a message of comfort. The judgment passed on the prophet does not depend on the results of his ministry. “Whether men will bear, or whether they will forbear,” Ezekiel has “delivered his soul” (i.e. saved his life) when he has done his duty as a watchman.
Warning! (READ: Ezekiel 18:26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32) - During the past year, cars, trucks, tires, window blinds, and toy xylophones have been recalled by their manufacturers. In every case, the message was similar: "This product is defective or dangerous and could cause serious injury or even death. Return it to us and we will correct the problem." But it's up to the consumer to heed the warning and return the dangerous item.
Suppose God put this warning on the heart and soul of every person: "Because of a fatal attraction to sin and willful misuse, this item is defective. Failure to correct this problem will result in certain spiritual death."
Through the prophet Ezekiel, God said that the hearts of His people had become adulterous (Ezekiel 6:9) and as hard as a rock (Ezek 11:19). Yet the Lord longed for their hearts to be softened, and for them to come back to Him. He made this impassioned plea: "Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin… Get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies … Therefore turn and live!" (Ezek 18:30-32).
Today, by turning from sin to God through faith in Jesus Christ, anyone can have a new heart. — David C. McCasland (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
The power of God can turn a heart
Ezekiel 3:20 "Again, when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I place an obstacle before him, he will die; since you have not warned him, he shall die in his sin, and his righteous deeds which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand.
BBE: Again, when an upright man, turning away from his righteousness, does evil, and I put a cause of falling in his way, death will overtake him: because you have given him no word of his danger, death will overtake him in his evil–doing, and there will be no memory of the upright acts which he has done; but I will make you responsible for his blood.
NLT: If good people turn bad and don't listen to my warning, they will die. If you did not warn them of the consequences, then they will die in their sins. Their previous good deeds won't help them, and I will hold you responsible, demanding your blood for theirs.
GWT: If righteous people turn from living the right way and do wrong, I will make them stumble, and they will die. If you don't warn them, they will die because of their sin, and the right things they did will not be remembered. I will hold you responsible for their deaths.
NIV: "Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and does evil, and I put a stumbling block before him, he will die. Since you did not warn him, he will die for his sin. The righteous things he did will not be remembered, and I will hold you accountable for his blood
NJB: When someone upright renounces uprightness to do evil and I set a trap for him, it is he who will die; since you failed to warn him, he will die for his guilt, and the uprightness he practised will no longer be remembered; but I shall hold you responsible for his death.
Word Biblical Commentary: Moreover, when someone who is virtuous gives up his virtuea and does wrong, I will put in his path an obstacle that causes his downfall: he will die. If you have not cautioned him, his sin will cause his death and no cognizance will be taken of his virtuous deeds that he has done, but I will hold you responsible for his demise.
Young's Literal: 'And in the turning back of the righteous from his righteousness, and he hath done perversity, and I have put a stumbling-block before him, he dieth; because thou hast not warned him, in his sin he dieth, and not remembered is his righteousness that he hath done, and his blood from thy hand I require.
Again, when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity: (Ezek 18:24, 26; 33:12, 13; 2Chr 24:2, 24:17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22; Ps 36:3; 125:5; Zeph 1:6; Mt 13:20, 21; Heb 10:38; 2Pe 2:18, 19, 20, 21, 22; 1Jn 2:19) (Is 64:6; Da 9:18)
and I place an obstacle (stumbling block) before him, he shall die: (Ezek 7:19; 14:3 14:7, 8, 9; Dt 13:3; Is 8:14; Lk 2:34; Ro 9:32, 33; 11:9; 1Co1:23; 2Th2:9, 10, 11, 12; 1Pe 2:8)
Obstacle or stumbling block (mikshowl) is a key word in Ezekiel with 8 of 14 OT occurrences being found in Ezekiel (Lev 19:14; 1Sa 25:31; Ps 119:165; Is 8:14; 57:14; Je 6:21; Ezek 3:20; 7:19; 14:3f, 7; 18:30; 21:15; 44:12). In Leviticus mikshowl refers to a literal obstacle in the path, Moses recording that
The Pulpit Commentary has the following interesting note on "obstacle/stumbling block" explaining that
The psalmist gives one of the best ways for a righteous man to avoid stumbling over an "obstacle" or stumbling block, writing that
In Ezekiel 18 God says to Israel
In Jeremiah God reiterates the effect of the stumbling block declaring
since you have not warned him, he shall die in his sin: (Ezek 3:18; Lv 19:17; 2Sa 12:7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13; 2Chr 19:2, 3, 4; 25:15; Mt 18:15)
and his righteous deeds which he has done shall not be remembered: (Ezek 18:24, 26; 33:12, 13; Lk 8:15; Ro 2:7 2:8; Heb 10:38; 2Pe 2:21)
but his blood I will require at your hand: (Ezek 3:18; 33:6; Heb 13:17)
The Apostle Paul had this passage (and Ezek33:6,8) in view in Acts 18:6 and Acts 20:26. Even for preachers today, there is such a warning, Hebrews exhorting believers to
Certainly the consequence for such unfaithfulness on the preacher’s part includes divine chastening and loss of eternal reward (cf. 1Cor. 4:1, 2, 3, 4, 5).
Richards applies this truth to believers pointing out that
|Ezekiel 3:21 "However, if you have warned the righteous man that the righteous should not sin and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; and you have delivered yourself|
NLT: "But if you warn them and they repent, they will live, and you will have saved your own life, too."
Word Biblical Commentary: on the other hand, you have cautioned the virtuous person that as a virtuous person he should not sin, and he stops sinning, he will certainly live, because he heeded the caution, while you will have saved your life.” —
Young's Literal: And thou, because thou hast warned him -- the righteous -- that the righteous sin not, and he hath not sinned, he surely liveth, because he hath been warned; and thou thy soul hast delivered.'
However, if you have warned the righteous man that the righteous should not sin: (Mt24:24 24:25; Ac 20:31; 1Co4:14; 10:12; Gal 1:6-10; 5:2-7; Ep 4:17-21; 5:5 5:6; Col1:28; 3:5-8; 1Th4:6-8; 5:14; Titus2:15; 1Jn3:6-9; Rev 3:19)
and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning: (Ezek 20; Pr 9:9; 17:10; Gal 2:11, 12, 13; Jas 5:20)
Proverbs records that
David adds that God's righteous judgment
and you have delivered yourself: (Ezek 3:19; 1Ti 4:16)
James reiterates this teaching declaring
|Ezekiel 3:22 The hand of the LORD was on me there, and He said to me, "Get up, go out to the plain, and there I will speak to you."|
Young's Literal: And there is on me there a hand of Jehovah, and He saith to me, 'Rise, go forth to the valley, and there I do speak with thee.'
NLT: Then the LORD took hold of me, and he said to me, "Go out into the valley, and I will talk to you there."
GWT: The power of the LORD came over me. He said, "Get up, and go to the plain. I will speak to you there."
Word Biblical Commentary: felt Yahweh’s hand on me there. “Get up,” he told me, “and go out to the plain so I can speak with you there.”
And the hand of the LORD was on me there: (Ezek 3:14; 1:3; 37:1)
Hand of the LORD in the Old Testament often refers to "power" or enablement (Study in context the 37 uses of this exact phrase - Ex 9:3; Deut 2:15; Josh 4:24; 22:31; Jdg 2:15; Ruth 1:13; 1Sam 5:6, 9; 7:13; 12:15; 2Sam 24:14; 1 Kgs 18:46; 2 Kgs 3:15; 1 Chr 21:13; Ezra 7:6, 28; Job 12:9; Ps 75:8; 118:15f; Pr 21:1; Isa 19:16; 25:10; 41:20; 62:3; 66:14; Jer 51:7; Ezek 1:3; 3:14, 22; 8:1; 33:22; 37:1; 40:1; NT uses = Luke 1:66; Acts 11:21; 13:11). When the hand of God came upon Elijah he received supernatural strength and direction (1Ki 18:46).
Hand of the LORD" is found 7 times in Ezekiel (Ezek 1:3; 3:14, 22; 8:1; 33:22; 37:1; 40:1).
Related Resource: See in depth study on Ezra 7:10 and the relationship with the good hand of the LORD.
and He said to me, "Get up, go out to the plain, and there I will speak to you. (Acts 9:6)
Ezekiel like the apostle Paul after seeing the risen Lord and receiving His appointment was summoned to go into the desert to receive further instruction for his assignment (Gal 1:16 1:17).
"Plain" (biq'ah) is probably more accurately translated "valley" as it is translated in (Ezek37:1), where Ezekiel has another vision in the "valley of bones". God calls Ezekiel out of the midst of the rebellious sons of Israel and to a place of solitude, that he might be alone with the "glory of the LORD" and receive refreshment and instruction for the difficult task that lay before him. Do you have times where you "get up, go out to the plain" that you might be alone with the Almighty, away from hustle and bustle which distracts our attention and all but drowns out God's voice? If you answer "No I've never done that" then you need to consider your ways and get alone with Him for He says "there I will speak to you."
When God says "I will speak to you" it is an invitation and appointment from a Friend. God does not say “I will lighten and thunder” or “I will overpower you with My strength” but simply “I will speak to you” as a father might speak with his only son. Ezekiel again finds himself prostrate before God's glory, but the Spirit enables him to arise. He did not arise unchanged as subsequent verses testify and neither can we walk away unchanged after being in His presence.
As Parker says
The Pulpit Commentary comments that
|Ezekiel 3:23 So I got up and went out to the plain; and behold, the glory of the LORD was standing there, like the glory which I saw by the river Chebar, and I fell on my face.|
BBE: Then I got up and went out into the valley; and I saw the glory of the Lord resting there as I had seen it by the river Chebar; and I went down on my face.
NLT: So I got up and went, and there I saw the glory of the LORD, just as I had seen it in my first vision by the Kebar River. And I fell face down in the dust.
Word Biblical Commentary: Getting up, I went out to the plain, where I found the glorious manifestation of Yahweh’s presence resting, just asa I had seen it by the Kebar Canal. I threw myself down on my face,
Young's Literal: And I rise and go forth unto the valley, and lo, there the honour of Jehovah is standing as the honour that I had seen by the river Chebar, and I fall on my face.
So I got up and went out to the plain; and behold, the glory of the LORD was standing there: (Ezek 1:4 1:28; 9:3; 10:18; Nu16:19, 42; Acts 7:55) (Ezek 8:4; 10:19, 20; 43:3; Ex16:7, 10; 24:16; 33:18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23; Nu 12:6, 7, 8 1Ki8:10, 11; 1Co 13:12)
like the glory which I saw by the river Chebar, and I fell on my face:(Ezek 1:28; Ge17:3; Lv 9:24; Da8:17; 10:7, 8, 9, 10:16, 17; Mt 17:5; 6 Acts 9:4; Rev 1:17, 18 Rev 4:10; 5:8, 14)
|Ezekiel 3:24 The Spirit then entered me and made me stand on my feet, and He spoke with me and said to me, "Go, shut yourself up in your house.|
NLT: Then the Spirit came into me and set me on my feet. He talked to me and said, "Go, shut yourself up in your house.
Word Biblical Commentary: whereupon the spirit entered me and made me stand on my feet. Yahweh spoke with me: “Go home,” he told me, “and shut yourself indoors—
Young's Literal: And come into me doth a spirit, and causeth me to stand on my feet, and He speaketh with me, and saith unto me, 'Go in, be shut up in the midst of thy house.
The Spirit then entered me and made me stand on my feet: (Ezek 2:2; 3:12, 14, 24; 36:27; 37:10 Nu 11:25, 26; Jdg 13:25; 1Sa 16:13; Neh 9:30; Da10:8, 9, 10, 19 Joel 2:28, 29; Rev 11:11)
and He spoke with me and said to me, "Go, shut yourself up in your house.
Go, imprison yourself in your house (TLB)
We often talk about "getting alone with God" but this pushes the envelope.
|Ezekiel 3:25 "As for you, son of man, they will put ropes on you and bind you with them so that you cannot go out among them.|
NET: As for you, son of man, they will put ropes on you and tie you up with them, so you cannot go out among the people.
NLT: There you will be bound with ropes so you cannot go out among the people.
Word Biblical Commentary: they will actually put ropes round you, human one, and tie you up, so that you will not be able to mix with them outdoors
Young's Literal: 'And thou, son of man, lo, they have put on thee thick bands, and have bound thee with them, and thou goest not forth in their midst;
As for you, son of man, they will put ropes on you and bind you with them, so that you cannot go out among them: (Ezek 4:8; Mk 3:21; Jn 21:18; Ac 9:16; 20:23; 21:11, 21:12,13)
While some commentaries reject the idea of a literal binding of the prophet, there seems no reason to take it as figurative.
John MacArthur who I hold in the highest regard and who usually takes a very literal approach does not on this verse writing that the ropes
Assuming that the ropes are literal, it is not clear how long he was tied up. His confinement reminds one of the truth that Ezekiel was not his own but belonged to the Lord and the Lord could do with him whatever He desired.
|Ezekiel 3:26 "Moreover, I will make your tongue stick to the roof of your mouth so that you will be mute and cannot be a man who rebukes them, for they are a rebellious house.|
NLT: "And I will make your tongue stick to the roof of your mouth so you won't be able to pray for them, for they are rebellious.
Word Biblical Commentary: and I will make your tongue stick to your palate, and you will be dumb and so unable to relate to them as an agent of punishment, rebel community though they are.
Young's Literal: and thy tongue I cause to cleave unto thy palate, and thou hast been dumb, and art not to them for a reprover, for a rebellious house are they.
Moreover, I will make your tongue stick to the roof of your mouth so that you will be dumb: (Ezek 24:27; Ps 51:15; 137:6; Jer 1:17; Lk 1:20, 21, 22)
The binding of Ezekiel’s body and tongue showed that he could only act and speak as God enabled him.
The Evangelical Commentary poses an interesting question
and cannot be a man who rebukes them for they are a rebellious house.: (Ps 36:11 Ps 36:12; Lam 2:9; Hos 4:17; Am 5:10; 8:11 8:12; Mic 3:6 3:7) (Ezek 2:3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8; Is1:2)
Rebukes (yakach) is translated in the Greek Septuagint by elegcho which means to bring to the light and so to expose which conveys the idea of showing someone that he has done something wrong and summoning him to repent. Ezekiel will be unable to rebuke them (at least at this time), but God would open his mouth to speak his words, which in the first 24 chapters will definitely include words of rebuke.
The prophet Amos presents a parallel thought recording the Sovereign LORD's declaration that
|Ezekiel 3:27 "But when I speak to you, I will open your mouth and you will say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD.' He who hears, let him hear; and he who refuses, let him refuse; for they are a rebellious house|
NLT: "But whenever I give you a message, I will loosen your tongue and let you speak. Then you will say to them, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says!' Some of them will listen, but some will ignore you, for they are rebels.
GWT: But when I speak to you, I will open your mouth. You will tell them, 'This is what the Almighty LORD says.' Some will listen, and some will refuse to listen. They are rebellious people."
Word Biblical Commentary: But whenever I speak with you, I will open your mouth and you will tell them ‘This is the message of the Lord Yahweh.’ Anyone ready to listen may listen and anyone who refuses to do so may refuse, rebel community as they are.
Young's Literal: And in My speaking with thee, I do open thy mouth, and thou hast said unto them: Thus said the Lord Jehovah; the hearer doth hear, and the forbearer doth forbear; for a rebellious house are they.
|But when I speak to you, I will open your mouth, and you will say to them 'Thus says the Lord GOD.' : (Ezek 11:25; 24:27; 29:21; 33:32)
Can you imagine what his wife must have thought? Furthermore it appears that this speech impediment lasted for the next 71/2-8 years, until the news of the fall of Jerusalem reached him. In chapter 24 we find God says
Note the 2 effects of these events: Ezekiel would be a "sign" to the exiles and they would know that God was the LORD. Chapter 33 gives us the specific dating of this event recording that
And so for almost 8 years Ezekiel is to give out nothing but God’s Word to the rebellious house people, and that is the only time he’s to speak to them. He had only the Word of God to give them.
At first glance Ezekiel's speech impediment seems to be incompatible with his appointment as a watchman who was to warn the wicked and the righteous. How could he fulfill the serious responsibility to warn sinners, a responsibility for which he would be accountable to God? Who would speak to the wicked? In verse 18 God says "when I say to the wicked" but in this verse He says He will speak to Ezekiel and through Ezekiel and in so doing Ezekiel would fulfill his function as a watchman saying "thus says the Lord God" every time he opened his mouth.
"I will open your mouth" When Moses complained that he was not eloquent enough to be the LORD's spokesman, God reminded him
Jesus encouraged His disciples that although difficult times would come, it would lead to an opportunity for their testimony and that they were to
Paul wrote the Ephesian church to
He who hears, let him hear; and he who refuses, let him refuse: (Ezek 3:11; 2:5; Mt11:15; 13:9)
Let anyone listen who wants to, and let anyone refuse who wants to, for they are rebels" (TLB)
Refuse (chadel) means to refrain from doing something and pertains to being deliberately disobedient. Chadel is translated "forbear" by the KJV, forbear meaning to to hold oneself back from, especially with an effort. The Greek Septuagint translates "refuse" with the word apeitheo which means to disobey, be disobedient, to refuse to believe and so is translated "he that is (present tense = continuously, as a habit of their life) disobedient, let him be (present imperative = a command to continuously be) disobedient." Is it as if these individuals make the choice to be habitually disobedient, and if that is what they want, then they are in a sense given over to power of their choice. It's almost like once they have made their mind up to have "their way", they are commanded (even in a judicial sense) to continue along that path, ultimately to perdition. The same idea is apparent in the passage in Revelation where the angel tells John
Regardless of the hearer's response, they would be personally responsible for their response.
Craigie adds this explanatory note regarding "he who hears let him hear, etc":
for they are a rebellious house: (Ezek 3:9,26; 12:2, 3)
The difficult, restrictive aspects of his ministry described in these last several verses emphasize Ezekiel’s need to be faithful regardless of the response of the people who are as the Greek translation puts it "a provoking house."