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Bible Commentaries

Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Ezekiel 12

Verses 1-16

EZEKIEL - CHAPTER 12

A VISION OF EZEKIEL’S FLIGHT

Verses 1-16:

HIS DEPARTURE FOR A SIGN, v. 11

Verse 1 certifies that the word of the Lord came to Ezekiel anew, as it came to: 1) Moses at the burning bush, 2) to Philip in Samaria, and 3) to Paul on the Damascus road, calling each to bear a Divine message, 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21.

Verse 2 is an explanation from the Lord, to Ezekiel, that He knows the people of Tel-Abib there in Babylon, even the captive Jews, among whom he dwelt. God Himself declared them to be: 1) a rebellious house, 2) with blind eyes, 3) and deaf ears, too stubborn, blind, and deaf to look upon, listen to, or obey the God of their fathers, whose laws they had and were breaking, Exodus 20:4-5. See also Isaiah 6:9; Isaiah 42:20; Jeremiah 5:21; Matthew 13:13; John 12:40; Acts 28:27.

Verse 3 then is a charge for Ezekiel to pack up his stuff, equipment, and move out of his residence in open daylight, to another area, still in view of the people. It was explained that his move from directly among his own people by the river Chebar, near Tel-Abib would remind them of Lot’s orders to leave Sodom and Gomorrah causing them to listen to his message from the Lord, Genesis 19:12-26. Though they were a rebellious house, an organized Jewish society that claimed to be of the order of Moses, Hebrews 3:1-6.

Verse 4 continues to direct him to bring his stuff, equipment for a journey in open day, packing it in view of all his neighbors, as one hastily preparing to move. He was then told to leave in haste, late in the evening, as one would go into captivity, or exile, carrying only the necessities of life, Exodus 12:11; Exodus 12:34. He was then to leave before total darkness fell, with his neighbors looking on, with uncertainty, curiosity and suspicion.

Verse 5 adds that he was to dig through the wall (of either his own estate residence or the village) in full view of his neighbors, carrying his stuff out through the hole, with the residents nearby looking on, as in Ezekiel 13:11. Such was by Divine command, as surely as God directed His people in Egypt to borrow from their neighbors and prepare for a flight from there.

Verse 6 further explains that God commanded Ezekiel to shoulder all his stuff, where he had carried it outside through the hole in the wall; He was to leave the place with his stuff on his shoulders and his face covered, to avoid recognition, so that he could not see the ground. The Lord certified to him that his obedient conduct would thus be set or fixed as a sign to the house of Israel, v. 11; Ezekiel 4:3; Ezekiel 24:24; Isaiah 8:18. This is believed to be symbolic or typical of the coming fate of King Zedekiah and the rebellious remnant of the house of Israel back in Jerusalem. Such symbolism appears, Isaiah 20:2; Jeremiah 27:2.

Verse 7 explains that Ezekiel obeyed the Lord, did as he was told, carried out his stuff by day, as stuff one would carry away from his house, knowing he was going into captivity. Then in the twilight of evening he hastily dug through the wall with his hand, and carried the stuff away on his shoulders, in the twilight, before the people, as darkness fell over Tel-Abib.

Verse 8 accounts that early in the morning following, yet in view of the city, the Lord asked of Ezekiel whether or not the rebellious house of Israel had inquired of him, what he was doing? For surely they had, God did not ask for information, but to elicit from him a testimony for the record’s sake. And surely they had inquired of him, as well as wonder among themselves, regarding this action of the prophet-man, who had been set for a sign to them, v. 6, 11; 1 Corinthians 1:22.

Verse 10 states that this "burden" (weighty judgment just described) concerned the prince or ruler (Zedekiah) in Jerusalem, and all the house of Israel that was among them, Isaiah 13:1. The burden was heavy or weighty for two reasons: 1) First, for Ezekiel to declare it, and 2) Second, for those who bare from it the wrath of God, Romans 1:18. The "burden" term was used Hosea 8:10; Nahum 1:1.

Verse 11 recounts Ezekiel’s declaration that he was (existed as) a sign to those who beheld him leaving his home in the twilight with his necessary household stuff or bare survival needs on his back, as one going away into captivity, v. 3-6. Then he asserted to those who watched him, as he moved out of his Tel-Abib residence, that so should their brethren back in Jerusalem also yet be carried into captivity, Jeremiah 39:4; 2 Samuel 15:30.

Verse 12 prophecies that the prince or ruler of Jerusalem shall bear upon his shoulder his stuff and go forth from his home and throne in the twilight, digging through the wall, city of Jerusalem, to escape, not daring to go through the city gates which should be guarded by the invading Chaldean army, Jeremiah 39:4. As Ezekiel had done, so would the king cover his eyes and face so that he could not see the ground, going forth disguised as a fugitive slave or common man, to save his life, v. 6, 7.

Verse 13 continues a statement of the Lord’s words that He would spread His net as a snare over the escaping prince, King Zedekiah, and bring him into Babylon, to the land of the Chaldeans. Yet he would not see it for he would surely die there, in the land with his two sons and with both of his eyes punched out, 2 Kings 25:1-7; Jeremiah 32:1-11.

Verse 14 further warns that the Lord would scatter to the winds all who were guards about Zedekiah, placed there to protect him; so that he was helpless, in the hands of the vicious Chaldeans, who pursued Zedekiah and those who fled with him from Jerusalem, until they were slain with the sword, Ezekiel 5:10; 2 Kings 25:4-5.

Verse 15 asserts that these dispersed from the house of Israel to the four winds, among the nations, would come to know or recognize that He was the Lord, through His righteous judgments, when driven afar, v. 16-20; Ezekiel 6:7; Ezekiel 6:14; Ezekiel 11:10; Psalms 9:16.

Verse 16 pledges that the Lord would leave a few men of them, a small remnant, who should escape the sword, and famine, and pestilence, in order that they might testify among the nations, certify to their own offspring and the nations, that it was their abominations against God and His law that caused their captivity and slavery, Exodus 20:1-5; Proverbs 1:21-31; Acts 1:8; Ezekiel 14:22-23.

Verses 17-20

THE FINAL AND FULL CAPTIVITY AT HAND

Verses 17-20:

THE BREAD AND WATER SYMBOL, v. 17-20

Verse 17 reasserts Ezekiel’s claim to receive His message from the Lord, a message of judgment for sin and available redemption for men, Acts 10:43; 2 Peter 1:20-21; 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

Verse 18 directs Ezekiel to eat his bread (food) with quaking or trembling fear, and drink his water with trembling and reverent care, or respect toward God, who had called him, informed him, by word and vision, and commissioned him as a Divine prophet to speak to the people of the land as follows: See 2 Peter 1:20-21.

Verse 19 proceeds to direct him to tell the people of the land (those in Babylon) what should surely befall their remaining brethren back in Jerusalem and the land of Israel. They would eat their bread with carefulness (watchful fear), and drink their water with astonishment, that their land should become desolate. And it was stated that the cause of the pillage, plunder, and desolation would be their own violence, brother against brother that brought the wrath of God down upon them, as described more fully 2 Kings 25:1-16.

Verse 20 concludes that "the cities that are inhabited" should be laid waste, desolated, and the land should be desolated. Then, by this, they should know that the Lord was the true God, not their idols, Exodus 20:1-5; Psalms 115:4-9.

Verses 21-28

THE FOOLISH PROVERB, v. 21-28

Verse 21 again certifies that what Ezekiel was to speak and write was from the Lord, not of himself, Ezekiel 2:2; Ezekiel 3:27.

Verse 22 asks Ezekiel to consider and state a special proverb then prevalent in the land of Israel. The proverb was that "the days were prolonged, and every vision faileth," or none ever came to pass, could not be trusted, all were delusions, they concluded, v. 27; Ezekiel 11:3; 2 Peter 3:4. It is much as that proverbially spoken "because sentence is not executed speedily therefore the hearts of men are fully set to do (or repeatedly practice) evil," Ecclesiastes 8:11; Psalms 119:160. Such is the cry of those with little or no faith, Amos 6:3; Isaiah 5:19; Jeremiah 17:15; Matthew 24:48.

Verse 23 is a declaration from the Lord, to be given by Ezekiel, that He would make that, "it never has happened yet", proverb to cease, and it should never again be used in Israel, as an excuse to disregard His promises and warnings. Instead Ezekiel was directed to prophesy to them that the days and effective fulfillment of every vision He had shown Ezekiel, to relate to them, were at hand, or coming down upon them shortly, without delay, Joel 2:1; Zechariah 1:14. How different from the Baptist, Matthew 3:2; Matthew 4:17; and Paul, Romans 13:11.

Verse 24 asserts that there should be or exist no more any vain vision or flattering divination from false prophets in the house of Israel. For judgment was at hand, Proverbs 1:28; Proverbs 1:30. See also the phrases "smooth things" and "flattering lips" Isaiah 30:10; Psalms 12:2-3. The false prophets promised a speedy deliverance from the Chaldeans, within "two years." Their promises were vain, false, see? Jeremiah 28:3.

Verse 25 warns "For I am the Lord; I will speak, and the word that I shall speak shall come to pass; it shall be no more prolonged," Isaiah 55:11; Ezekiel 12:28; Daniel 9:12; Luke 21:33. Addressing the rebellious house of Israel, the Lord affirmed that though He long lingered in mercy, He was a God of His word, and what He spoke would be fulfilled, recognized one day in their own life, as "true from the beginning," even if Israel and the Gentile, heathen world was filled with cynics and doubters, Psalms 119:160; Romans 3:4 a.

Verse 26 again uses the transition of the subtopic formula, certifying that what was to follow, was of the Lord, not just of Ezekiel himself, even as claimed by Paul, 1 Corinthians 15:3; Galatians 1:11-12. The formula implies both a translation and elapse of time between the former and following message.

Verse 27 reminds Ezekiel, as the son and heir of man, that the house of Israel was repeatedly and habitually saying that the vision Ezekiel saw and related was for a "far off" or "far away" fulfillment, not relative to their time, 2 Peter 3:4. They were asserting in Israel that Ezekiel’s prophecies were perhaps true, but predominantly relevant to the far future. They procrastinated, sought to prevent his prophesies, rather than face the consequence of their own sins, as people are yet prone to do when confronted with the Word of God, 2 Corinthians 6:2; Hebrews 4:7; Revelation 22:17.

Verse 28 declares that none of the Lord’s judgments of destroying the city and holy temple would be further postponed nor departure of the Shekinah glory, nor His mercies further extended. God’s spirit and patience do not always linger and strive with men, there is a line of procrastination in rebellion beyond which a sinner can not go, Genesis 6:3; Proverbs 1:22-30; Proverbs 29:1; Hebrews 4:7.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Blessed Hope Foundation and the Baptist Training Center.
Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Ezekiel 12". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/ezekiel-12.html. 1985.