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Bible Commentaries

Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Ezekiel 14

Verses 1-11

EZEKIEL - CHAPTER 14

GOD (JEHOVAH) REFUSES TO CONVERSE WITH IDOLATERS

Verses 1-11:

THE VISION OF THE ELDERS OF ISRAEL

Verse 1 reports that there came certain ones of the elders of Israel to Ezekiel and sat down before him; Evidently it was to hear words of counsel from him. They were alarmed at this threatenings of judgments and hoped to receive more favorable reports from him, Ezekiel 8:1; Ezekiel 10:1; Ezekiel 22:21. They were not deputies from the Israelites in Palestine, but elders among the exiles in Babylon, among whom Ezekiel had been laboring. Apparently they wanted to know more about the time their captivity would last, or the fate of Jerusalem. They did not come to inquire of the Lord, but to get Ezekiel’s judgment.

Verse 2 recertifies that the message to follow is of the Lord, not of his own devising, 2 Peter 1:20-21.

Verse 3 advises Ezekiel as the "son of man," God’s redemptive representative, that these men (the elders in Israel) had set up idols in their hearts, their own chosen idols, whether physical ones or mere opinions without Divine sanction, Ezekiel 7:19; Proverbs 3:21; Proverbs 3:23. Such had become stumblingblocks of their own iniquity to confront them, as one who digs a ditch then himself falls into it, Psalms 7:14-15. They had isolated themselves and become strangers to the true worship of God, worshipping their own self-created or self-chosen idols. Rhetorically the Lord says, "I should not be inquired at all of them, should I?" 2 Kings 3:13; Psalms 66:18; Proverbs 15:29; Proverbs 28:9.

Verse 4 directs Ezekiel to speak directly to these inquiring elders, in the name of the Lord God. He was to tell them, and tell them straight, that God would answer or respond to him, not just the prophet, according to the idols as stumblingblocks, that they had set up in their hearts. And his response was to be in harmony with His law, Exodus 20:1-5, as also set forth v. 8; Romans 1:28.

Verse 5 continues to explain that the Lord God will Himself take the house of Israel, who are rebellious in their own idolatrous hearts, Zechariah 11:8; Romans 8:7; Hebrews 3:12-19; Ephesians 4:18. Because they have become estranged or separated from him through their chosen paths of heathen idolatry; He will not hear their cries until they have been judged for their sins, Isaiah 59:1-3; Acts 13:46. He gave them to a reprobate mind, according to their own choice of direction, 2 Thessalonians 2:11.

Verse 6 further directs Ezekiel to say to the house of Israel that they must repent, and turn themselves, of their own conscience, will, or accord from their idols, and turn their faces or sanction (approval) from all their abominations before mercy may be found, Isaiah 55:6-7; Luke 13:3; 2 Corinthians 7:11.

Verse 7 asserts that every individual, either of the house of Israel or sojourning strangers or heathen in the land that separated himself from God by his own chosen idolatry, with its obstruction or stumblingblock in his face, then came to the prophet to inquire, would be answered, not by the prophet, but by the God of the prophet in person, Leviticus 20:2; Leviticus 18:26; Leviticus 27:10; Exodus 12:19; Jeremiah 2:13; Matthew 6:24; Judges 1:19.

Verse 8 explains that God Himself will set or fix His face against that idolatrous one to make him a sign, object of warning, and a proverb (a byword), Numbers 16:10; Deuteronomy 28:37. He asserted that He would cut such an one off from the midst of His people, until they who remained should come to know or recognize Him as the Lord, Ezekiel 15:7; Leviticus 17:10; Leviticus 20:3; Leviticus 20:5-6; Jeremiah 44:11. See also Ezekiel 5:15; Numbers 26:10; Deuteronomy 28:37.

Verse 9 attributes deceptive prophecies, by false prophets, to the Lord, to the extent that He will sustain that false prophet to rebel against Him, though He forbids the very rebellion and idolatry, Deuteronomy 13:3; Job 12:16; James 1:13. God sends lying spirits into false prophets, to the extent that He uses their self-willed rebellion to punish those who, following them, rebel against Him, even as in the case of Ahab, 1 Kings 22:20; 1 Kings 22:23; Job 12:16; Jeremiah 4:10; 2 Thessalonians 2:11.

Verse 10 declares that "they", the deceiving prophets, and those who resort to and follow them, shall bear the punishment or wrath of God, for their own chosen ways and deeds of iniquity, Romans 1:18; Romans 14:11-12; 1 Samuel 16:14; 1 Samuel 28:6-7.

Verse 11 indicates that the purpose of their punishment was that the house of Israel might go no more astray from the Lord, nor become polluted any more with all their iniquities of the past, in breaking His very first, priority commandment that had been given with very clear warnings, Exodus 20:1-5. See also 2 Peter 2:15; Ezekiel 11:20; Ezekiel 37:27.

Verses 12-23

THE RIGHTEOUS FEW IN JERUSALEM WILL NOT EXEMPT HER FROM JUDGMENTS

Verses 12-23:

Verse 12 sounds the transitional refrain of certified inspiration that the message to follow was directly from the Lord, as related by Ezekiel, 2 Timothy 3:1; 2 Timothy 3:17; 2 Peter 1:20-21. Israel’s sin was too great for God to pardon because of Intercession, Psalms 99:6; Jeremiah 15:1.

Verse 13 informs Ezekiel, as "Son of man," that the Lord would stretch out His hand on the land of Israel when her people trespassed grievously against Him, Leviticus 26:26; Psalms 104:15; Isaiah 3:1. In such He declared that He would break their staff (life support) of bread, sending a famine over the land, bringing hunger and starvation to man and beast, to make them die in, or drive them from, the land. The treachery here referred to is that of idolatry, against which He warned, Deuteronomy 27:15; Deuteronomy 28:15; Deuteronomy 28:18; Deuteronomy 28:31.

Verse 14 states that though Noah, Job, and Daniel, three righteous men, were in the land of Israel and in Jerusalem they would be able to deliver only their own righteous souls or lives. He would not spare the land or city for their sake, Genesis 6:9; Job 1:1. Noah, in righteousness, saved himself and his family, Genesis 7:7; Hebrews 11:7; Daniel through righteousness was able to save his three friends, Daniel 2:17-18; Daniel 2:48-49. But Job, with his righteousness, was not able to save his own children from the judgment of their own course of sin, Job 1:13-19; Proverbs 11:4. See also Jeremiah 7:16; Jeremiah 11:14; Jeremiah 14:11; Jeremiah 15:1; Ezekiel 14:16; Ezekiel 14:18; Ezekiel 14:20.

Verse 15 warns that if the Lord should cause "noisome beasts" to pass through the land to spoil it; and He would, "two legged" beasts or ravenous flesh-hungry, blood thirsty warriors. Such would occur until the land was laid desolate with Divine judgment, inflicted by men of invading heathen nations, v. 17; Ezekiel 5:17; Leviticus 26:22; 2 Kings 17:25. The judgment is cumulative or increasing in force and form, as follows:

Verse 16 reasserts that even if these three righteous men, v. 14, Noah, Daniel, and Job were there, He would not spare the land or city of Jerusalem; So grave, open, and willfully obstinate had become the civil and religious rulers and masses of the Israelites in the land; It was almost in the state or condition of Sodom and Gomorrah when Abraham interceded for them, in vain, except for Lot and two of his daughters, Genesis 18:23-32; Genesis 19:28-29.

Verse 17 expresses the Lord’s irrevocable intent to punish the people of the land of Israel and desolate Jerusalem. It is asserted that nothing would prevent His sending the sword of warfare through all the land to execute judgment on those who claimed to be His own but pursued paths of idolatry, as also expressed, Ezekiel 25:13; Zephaniah 1:3.

Verse 18 reaffirms that even though those three former righteous men lived in Jerusalem, and the land of Israel, they only could be delivered from the sword, v. 14, 20. They could not deliver from the sword the sons and daughters of others who had become fixed in their adamant, obstinate, rebellious ways against the God of Israel and His laws. For the degenerate covenant people had willfully, knowingly desecrated the city, temple, and land of the Lord, Galatians 6:7-8.

Verse 19 adds a fourth form of judgment, that of pestilence to the famine, wild beasts, and sword, that the Lord had threatened to send upon the land and people and city of Israel and Jerusalem, v. 13-18; Ezekiel 38:22; 2 Samuel 24:25. He affirms that should He send a pestilence to pour out His fury upon them in blood, meaning every kind of death, to cut off man and beasts, there would be no righteous justification for Him to spare any. For they had been inexcusably warned of the judgments that should come upon them for their sins, Exodus 20:1-5; Deuteronomy 28 th chapter.

Verse 20 reiterates that even though Daniel, Job, or Noah were among them, they could deliver only their own lives, not that of the rebellious, idolatrous, trespassing, treacherous Israelites, personally, Ezekiel 18:1-17; Ezekiel 18:20; See also Deuteronomy 24:16; 2 Kings 14:6; 2 Chronicles 25:4; Jeremiah 31:29-30.

Verse 21 confirms the four severe judgments that are justifiably to come upon Jerusalem, her people, and her land. They are restated in perhaps the logical and chronological order in which they were to come: 1) First, the sword; 2) Second, the famine to accompany or follow the war; 3) Third, noisome carnivorous beasts to devour decaying dead bodies; and 4) Fourth, the pestilence, contagious diseases that should ravage those surviving, to cut off, drive out man and beast from the land. That those "who know and do not their Lord or Master’s will," shall all be beaten with many stripes, is a general axiom, rule, or standard of Divine judgment, Luke 12:47-48; Jeremiah 15:2-3; Amos 4:6-12.

Verse 22 extends assurance to Ezekiel and the captives in Babylon that there shall be a remnant left of Jerusalem and Israel who shall be "brought forth" out of the judgment and destruction, both sons and daughters, who should be brought "unto you", those already in exile in Babylon, v. 16, 18, 20; Ezekiel 6:8. They are assured that they shall then be comforted or confirmed that the Lord was righteous and just in His ways of judgment for sin and wrong, Ezekiel 20:43. For He is "righteous in all His ways," Psalms 145:17; 2 Thessalonians 1:5.

Verse 23 adds that "they" of the escaping remnant, would comfort those of the captivity in Babylon, when the captives in Babylon beheld their "ways and doings", in abandoning idolatry when they came, as a remaining remnant from Jerusalem, to live righteously among and with them there in Babylon. He assures the captives in Babylon that they shall then know that He had not sent the plagues of judgment upon the house of Israel in their land without a just and righteous cause, Genesis 18:22; Deuteronomy 8:2; Jeremiah 22:8-9.

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 14". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/ezekiel-14.html. 1985.