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Bible Commentaries

Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Ezekiel 11

Verse 1

The gate - The gate of the templecourt. The gate was the place of judgment.

Five and twenty men - Not the same men as in Ezekiel 8:16. There they were representatives of the “priests,” here of the “princes.” The number is, no doubt, symbolic, made up, probably, of 24 men and the king. The number 24 points to the tribes of undivided Israel.

Jaazaniah ... Pelatiah - We know nothing more of these men. The former name was probably common at that time Ezekiel 8:11. In these two names there is an allusion to the false hopes which they upheld. “Jaazaniah” (Yah (weh) listeneth) “son of Azur” (the Helper); “Pelatiah” (Yah (weh) rescues) “son of Benaiah” (Yah (weh) builds). In the latter case, death Ezekiel 11:13 turned the allusion into bitter irony.

Verse 3

It is not near - In contradiction to Ezekiel 7:2.

Let us build houses - “To build houses” implies a sense of security. Jeremiah bade the exiles “build houses” in a foreign land because they would not soon quit it Jeremiah 29:5; Jeremiah 35:7. These false counselors promised to their countrymen a sure and permanent abode in the city which God had doomed to destruction. No need, they said, to go far for safety; you are perfectly safe at home. The Hebrew, however, is, difficult: literally it means, “It is not near to build houses,” which may be explained as spoken in mockery of such counsel as that of Jeremiah: matters have not gone so far as to necessitate “house-building” in a foreign land. The same idea is expressed by the image of the “caldron:” whatever devastation may rage around the city, we are safe within its walls, as flesh within a caldron is unburned by the surrounding fire (compare Ezekiel 24:6).

Verse 7

All that shall remain in the city are the buried dead. Bloodshed and murder were at this time rife in Jerusalem, and these were among the chief crimes that were bringing down judgment upon the city. All the inhabitants that should yet survive were destined to be carried away into exile.

Verse 10

In the border of Israel - Hamath was the northern border of Israel (margin reference). At Riblah in Hamath the king of Babylon judged and condemned Zedekiah and the princes of Judah Jeremiah 52:9-10.

Verse 13

The death of Pelatiah was communicated in this vision, which represented ideally the idolatry in which Pelatiah had actually been foremost.

Verse 15

Thy kindred - The original word is derived from a root, suggesting the ideas of “redeeming” and “avenging” as connected with the bond of “kindred.” The word, therefore, conveys here a special reproach to the proud Jews, who have been so ready to cast off the claims of blood-relationship, and at the same time a hope of restoration to those who have been rudely thrown aside.

Verse 16

As a little sanctuary - Rather, I will be to them for a little while a sanctuary. The blessing was provisional, they were to look forward to a blessing more complete. For a little while they were to be satisfied with God’s special presence in a foreign land, but they were to look forward to a renewal of His presence in the restored temple of Jerusalem. “sanctuary” means here strictly the holy place, the tabernacle of the Most High: Yahweh will Himself be to the exiles in the place of the local sanctuary, in which the Jews of Jerusalem so much prided themselves (compare the margin reference). Here is the germ from which is developed Ezek. 40–48, the picture of the kingdom of God in its new form.

Verses 19-21

One heart - So long as the Israelites were distracted by the service of many gods, such unity was impossible; but now, when they shall have taken away the “abominations” from the land, they shall be united in heart to serve the true God.

Stony heart ... heart of flesh - The heart unnaturally hardened, and the heart reawakened to feelings proper to man.

Verse 23

The mountain which is on the east side of the city - The Mount of Olives. The rabbis commenting on this passage said the Shechinah retired to this Mount, and there for three years called in vain to the people with human voice that they should repent. On that mountain, Christ stood, when He wept over the fair city so soon to be utterly destroyed. From that mountain he descended, amid loud Hosannas, to enter the city and temple as a Judge.

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Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Ezekiel 11". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.