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Barnes' Notes on the Bible
1The word of the LORD also came unto me, saying,
2Son of man, thou dwellest in the midst of a rebellious house, which have eyes to see, and see not; they have ears to hear, and hear not: for they are a rebellious house.
Compare Deuteronomy 1:26; margin reference; Romans 10:21. The repetition of such words from age to age, shows that the prophet's words are intended to reach beyond the generation in which he lived.
3Therefore, thou son of man, prepare thee stuff for removing, and remove by day in their sight; and thou shalt remove from thy place to another place in their sight: it may be they will consider, though they be a rebellious house.
Stuff - Raiment, vessels, and the like. The "removing" was to be of the kind that accompanied exile. The whole account of this transaction marks it as a real act. The prophet was to be "a sign" to his countrymen, and the "exiles" as well as those that remained in Judaea had need to be taught this lesson, for though themselves far away, they looked to Jerusalem as their home, and were scarcely less eager for its safety than the inhabitants themselves.
4Then shalt thou bring forth thy stuff by day in their sight, as stuff for removing: and thou shalt go forth at even in their sight, as they that go forth into captivity.
The particulars which Ezekiel here foretold actually occurred (compare 2 Kings 25:4; Jeremiah 39:4); but at this time Zedekiah seemed to be prosperous, and the Jews at Jerusalem expected, it is clear, a long continuance of his prosperity (see Ezekiel 17:1 note).
The prophetic character of the passage is undoubted (the prophet is declared to be "a sign," Ezekiel 12:6) - the genuineness of the book and of the position of the passage in the book, are beyond dispute; in the historical event we have an exact fulfillment. The only legitimate inference is that the prophet received his knowledge from above.
5Dig thou through the wall in their sight, and carry out thereby.
6In their sight shalt thou bear it upon thy shoulders, and carry it forth in the twilight: thou shalt cover thy face, that thou see not the ground: for I have set thee for a sign unto the house of Israel.
Thou shalt cover thy face - A sign of mourning (see Ezekiel 24:17); also of Zedekiah's blindness Ezekiel 12:12.
7And I did so as I was commanded: I brought forth my stuff by day, as stuff for captivity, and in the even I digged through the wall with mine hand; I brought it forth in the twilight, and I bare it upon my shoulder in their sight.
In the evening the prophet was to return to the wall, break through it, and transport the goods from the inside to the outside of the city.
8And in the morning came the word of the LORD unto me, saying,
9Son of man, hath not the house of Israel, the rebellious house, said unto thee, What doest thou?
10Say thou unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; This burden concerneth the prince in Jerusalem, and all the house of Israel that are among them.
Burden - A word used to indicate a prediction of woe to be borne by some individual or people (Isaiah 13:1 note). Ezekiel, bearing his "stuff" on his shoulder was a sign of the weight of calamity coming upon king and people.
11Say, I am your sign: like as I have done, so shall it be done unto them: they shall remove and go into captivity.
12And the prince that is among them shall bear upon his shoulder in the twilight, and shall go forth: they shall dig through the wall to carry out thereby: he shall cover his face, that he see not the ground with his eyes.
13My net also will I spread upon him, and he shall be taken in my snare: and I will bring him to Babylon to the land of the Chaldeans; yet shall he not see it, though he shall die there.
Compare Jeremiah 52:9 ff
14And I will scatter toward every wind all that are about him to help him, and all his bands; and I will draw out the sword after them.
15And they shall know that I am the LORD, when I shall scatter them among the nations, and disperse them in the countries.
16But I will leave a few men of them from the sword, from the famine, and from the pestilence; that they may declare all their abominations among the heathen whither they come; and they shall know that I am the LORD.
Few - literally, as in the margin; so few, that they can easily be counted Isaiah 10:19. The few who should escape destruction should make known to all among whom they should dwell how great had been the wickedness of the people, how just their punishment.
17Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying,
18Son of man, eat thy bread with quaking, and drink thy water with trembling and with carefulness;
Here the sign is the exhibition of such terror as the danger of a siege creates.
19And say unto the people of the land, Thus saith the Lord GOD of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and of the land of Israel; They shall eat their bread with carefulness, and drink their water with astonishment, that her land may be desolate from all that is therein, because of the violence of all them that dwell therein.
The people of the land - Chaldaea.
Of the inhabitants - In respect to "the inhabitants."
Desolate from, all that is therein - i. e., stripped of all its inhabitants and of all its wealth.
At one and the same time, Jeremiah was prophesying in Jerusalem, and Ezekiel in Chaldaea; the prophecies of the former were sent to the exiles, and those of Ezekiel to the dwellers at Jerusalem, that the guiding hand of One God in different places might be made clear (Jerome).
20And the cities that are inhabited shall be laid waste, and the land shall be desolate; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
21And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
As in Ezekiel 7, the nearness of the judgment is foretold.
22Son of man, what is that proverb that ye have in the land of Israel, saying, The days are prolonged, and every vision faileth?
The land of Israel - is put generally for the land where the children of Israel dwelt, whether at home, or in exile. There was prevalent a disregard for the true prophets, which is ever followed by a recognition of the false. First, the true prophet is rejected because it is thought that his prophecies fail. Then men persuade themselves that if the prophecy be true it respects some distant time, and that the men of the present generation need not disturb themselves about it. Compare Jeremiah 1:11; Amos 6:3; Matthew 24:43; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Peter 3:4. Against both these delusions Ezekiel is commissioned to protest, and so to lead the way to his condemnation of his countrymen for their blind reliance on false prophets.
23Tell them therefore, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will make this proverb to cease, and they shall no more use it as a proverb in Israel; but say unto them, The days are at hand, and the effect of every vision.
24For there shall be no more any vain vision nor flattering divination within the house of Israel.
25For I am the LORD: I will speak, and the word that I shall speak shall come to pass; it shall be no more prolonged: for in your days, O rebellious house, will I say the word, and will perform it, saith the Lord GOD.
26Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying,
27Son of man, behold, they of the house of Israel say, The vision that he seeth is for many days to come, and he prophesieth of the times that are far off.
28Therefore say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; There shall none of my words be prolonged any more, but the word which I have spoken shall be done, saith the Lord GOD.