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Bible Commentaries

Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Ezekiel 36

Verses 1-15

EZEKIEL - CHAPTER 36

THE PROMISE OF BETTER DAYS FOR ISRAEL

Verses 1-15:

MESSAGE OF HOPE TO THE MOUNTAINS OF ISRAEL

Verses 1, 2 address the mountains of Israel, in contrast with "mount Seir" or Edom, a kinsman of Abraham, Esau’s lineage, who had become jealous and covetous enemies of Jacob and Israel. They had gloated "aha" at the fall of Judah and Israel, and boasted that her desolated land had become theirs or "ours in possession." But Israel’s land was "the everlasting hills" of Jacob’s prophecy, not to be perpetually seized by the Edomites, Genesis 49:26; Deuteronomy 32:13; Psalms 78:69. After chastisement, Israel’s land is to be recovered from her enemies, because of her Divine covenant rights to inherit it, Psalms 125:2.

Verse 3 calls upon Ezekiel to prophecy against her enemies that because they had made the mountains of Israel desolate, devouring her people and land as wild beasts devour their prey, making her a captive possession of the heathen; Yet He would rise up to vindicate His covenant people and their promised inheritance, Isaiah 42:14; Psalms 56:1-2. Edom, especially, had come to slander Israel with her lips and tongue and defame her people, as if God could or would not save them, Deuteronomy 28:37; 1 Kings 9:7; Jeremiah 24:9; Lamentations 2:15; Daniel 9:16.

Verses 4, 5 recount the Lord’s charge to Ezekiel to prophesy specifically to, or to the subject of, the eventual liberation of the mountains of Israel, to her rivers, valleys, and waste lands that had become a prey and object of derision to Edom and the heathen nations about her in her desolation. As inanimate objects they are addressed by the Lord of the covenant with Israel, as if they could hear; and one day they will, Psalms 79:4; Isaiah 64:10-11; Jeremiah 25:9; Jeremiah 25:13; Jeremiah 29:10; See also Romans 8:19-21. They will be set free from their desolation and corruption. In the fire or heat of Divine jealousy the Lord had decreed that, though chastened, Israel was to be restored to her inheritance, as He too administered just judgment to Idumea, the Edomites, and other heathen who had appropriated to themselves, with glee and despiteful minds, the land of Israel, as a prey for a time; Deuteronomy 4:14; Isaiah 66:15-16; Zephaniah 3:8; Zechariah 1:15; See also Psalms 83:4; Psalms 83:12; Jeremiah 49:1.

Verses 6, 7 again addresses the mountains of Israel, her hills, rivers, and valleys, representing the hope of her people. They were to be assured that the Lord has spoken in His jealousy over them, and with fury against their enemies, who heaped undue shame upon them, v. 13; Ezekiel 34:29; Psalms 123:3-4. They were to understand that the shame they had heaped upon Israel, God would one day cause to fall upon their own heads, as a perpetual shame, Ezekiel 20:5.

Verses 8, 9 assure Israel that soon, "at hand" she would return from her 70 year captivity to Babylon, to "shoot forth," prosper for a time in her own land, Jeremiah 25:11-12; Daniel 9:2. But such was only a foretaste of her eventual fulfillment of her "everlasting possession" of her land, in peace and righteousness, Luke 1:32-33.

Verse 10 pledges that the people of Israel shall be multiplied in the restoration. And the cities once desolated, made waste, and uninhabited, shall be rebuilt and occupied by the whole house of Israel, or her restored order of government. The names of David, a type of the Messiah, and Edom, Israel’s foe, are both associated with her coming restoration, Ezekiel 34:23-24.

Verse 11 continues a further Divine assurance that the Lord will multiply the increase of man and beast in all the land of Israel, in that day; He will cause their fruit to increase as He settles the people of His, in their old estates, so that their latter end shall be better than at their beginning. Then they will know or recognize the Lord, as they should have all the time; It will be much like Job’s latter end, Job 42:12.

Verse 12 addresses the hills and mountains of Israel again, upon which He will cause His people to walk, v. 8; They (Israel) shall possess or occupy "thee," O hill of Zion, singled out above all hills and mountains from which the king is to reign, Ezekiel 34:26; Obadiah 1:17. And God will no more bereave these mountains of Zion of men, Jeremiah 15:7.

Verses 13, 14 answer heathen critics who allege the Land of Israel ate up or devoured her people like voracious beasts, Numbers 13:32. She had bereaved her own nations, Judah and Israel, but only because of their own sins.

Verse 15 assures Israel that after her restoration, under her Lord, she will never fall or hear the derision of heathen against her any more, Luke 1:31-32; Isaiah 54:4; Isaiah 60:14; Micah 7:8-10; Zephaniah 3:19-20.

Verses 16-38

ISRAEL’S PAST SINS, FUTURE CONVERSION AND

RESTORATION

Verses 16-38:

Verses 16, 17 begin another message from the Lord; It reminds the house of Israel that when they dwelt safely in their own land they defiled or polluted it by their own willful course of sinful practices, Leviticus 18:25; Leviticus 18:27-28; Psalms 106:37-38; Isaiah 24:5; Jeremiah 2:7; Jeremiah 3:1; Jeremiah 16:18; Micah 2:10. Their former behavior is compared with a woman who was put aside because of her uncleanness period, Leviticus 15:19; Isaiah 64:6.

Verse 18 declares that the fury of the Lord was poured out upon them, to drive them captives from their land, because of their murderous practice of bloodshed and their worship of "dung-gods," as idols, Ezekiel 16:36; Ezekiel 16:38; Ezekiel 23:37.

Verse 19 asserts that the Lord had judged their nation, both Israel and Judah, in dispersing them among the heathen, as He had forewarned them He would, should they defy His laws and moral, ethical, and spiritual ways, without excuse, Leviticus 25:38; Ezekiel 22:15; Amos 9:9; Ezekiel 7:3; Ezekiel 18:30; Ezekiel 39:24. God would not permit their unholy behavior to go unpunished.

Verse 20 explains that Israel’s former sins, in her own land, caused even the heathen to deride them as hypocrites. For though they claimed to be an holy people, they had turned to commit every kind of immoral act that heathen practiced, including murder and adultery. They were justly derided as followers of the holy, omnipotent, covenant-keeping God. Thus their punishment was justified, Isaiah 52:5; Romans 2:24; Ezekiel 20:9; Ezekiel 20:14.

Verse 21 reminds the dispersed Jews in Babylon captivity that the Lord had pity on His people Israel for His holy name’s sake, which the house or nation of Israel had profaned among the very heathen, to whom they became captives, Ezekiel 20:9; Ezekiel 20:14.

Verse 22 calls upon Ezekiel to make it clear and plain to the house of Israel that the pity He had shown them was not because of any personal merit or virtue that they had. It was solely because of the integrity of His own holy name and character, Titus 3:5. It was shown because of His covenant of grace toward them--a thing He fulfilled to vindicate His holy character, though severity of their chastisement was just, Deuteronomy 9:5-6; Psalms 106:8; Psalms 106:45.

Verse 23 states that the Lord would sanctify His great name before the heathen, though Israel had profaned it before them. And the heathen, by demonstrations of both His righteous chastening and extended pity, would come to recognize Him as the true God, because of His deeds of judgment and mercy, Ezekiel 20:41; Ezekiel 28:22.

Verse 24 pledges that the Lord would and will bring Israel back from among the heathen or Gentile nations, where he had dispersed them for their sins, until they should dwell in their own land, the land of promise; It was a foretaste of the final, complete fulfillment of this prophetic promise that occurred in her restoration, after 70 years in Babylon. But the greater fulfillment is yet to come, Jeremiah 25:11-12; Daniel 9:1-2; Luke 21:24; Romans 11:25-27; Ezekiel 34:13; Ezekiel 37:21.

Verse 25 further states that upon the Lord’s restoring Israel to her homeland, He will "sprinkle clean water" upon them, or cleanse them from all their uncleanness, pollution, and defilement. Sprinkling was a symbol of cleansing, as expressed Numbers 19:13; Isaiah 52:15; Jeremiah 33:8. The blood through faith in it, cleanses from sin, always has, 1 John 1:7; Romans 3:25; Acts 10:43.

Verse 26 pledges that the Lord will, in the restoration of Israel, give her people a "new heart," new affections, dispositions, and attitudes. He too pledged to take away or remove their "stony heart," their hard, stubborn, and obstinate heart, affections, dispositions, and attitudes toward Him and His holiness, Deuteronomy 30:6; Psalms 51:10; Jeremiah 32:39; John 3:3-5; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Philippians 2:12-13.

Verse 27 adds that they will also then have the spirit of God put in them, or fixed in their hearts, so that they will obey His statutes and walk in His ways, Isaiah 55:8-9; See also Ezekiel 11:19; Ezekiel 37:14; Jeremiah 32:39. This was only partially fulfilled in Israel’s return from Babylon, Ezra 10:6; Isaiah 44:3; Joel 2:28-29; Romans 8:9; Galatians 5:5; 1 John 3:24.

Verse 28 affirms to the house of Israel that she shall dwell or reside again in the land God gave to their fathers, at which time they shall be His people, and He will be their God, as set forth Ezekiel 11:20; Ezekiel 28:25; Jeremiah 30:22.

Verse 29 further explains that at that era, of their restoration to their fatherland, the Lord will save or deliver them from their uncleanness, cause the corn of the land to grow abundantly, and lay no famine in all the land, Matthew 1:21; Matthew 8:8-9; Psalms 105:16; Romans 11:26.

Verse 30 adds that He will also multiply the fruit of the tree and the fruit of the field crops so that they will be no more reproached by any famine before the eyes of the heathen or unbelieving nations, v. 13; Ezekiel 34:27.

Verse 31 discloses that in their restoration, Israel will recall her evil ways of stubbornness and rebellion against God, to the extent that she will "loathe" herself, in her own eyes, because of her former iniquities and abominations, Ezekiel 6:9; Ezekiel 16:61; Ezekiel 20:43; Leviticus 26:39. Their repentance, and loathing before God, will lead them to genuine repentance and harmony with God, Psalms 130:4; Zechariah 12:10; Jeremiah 33:8-9.

Verse 32 vows that the Lord grants this mercy and grace, not for the sake of Israel’s goodness, but for the sake of His covenant of Grace; And it is upon the basis of their shame and repentance that the house of Israel is reset in her land, Deuteronomy 9:5; Daniel 9:19; 1 Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:3-6.

Verse 33 further discloses that in that day of cleansing and restoration, the Lord will cause them to dwell in their cities and rebuild their wasted places and properties, throughout the land, Romans 8:30-32; Acts 3:19-21.

Verse 34 adds that the former waste and desolate land, that lay desolate before all who passed by, shall be tilled for production of food in that day, Jeremiah 25:9; 2 Chronicles 26:21.

Verse 35 continues to explain that those who pass through the land, the heathen, in the day of restoration, will testify that the once desolate land has become prosperous and beautiful, like the garden of Eden and her cities are rebuilt, fenced, and inhabited again, as promised, Isaiah 51:3; Ezekiel 28:13; Joel 2:3.

Verse 36 certifies that at that time the heathen, that are left surrounding the land of Israel, will know that it is the Lord who is rebuilding and replanting the land, not just natural Israel, Psalms 58:11; Psalms 64:9; See also Ezekiel 17:24; Ezekiel 22:14; Ezekiel 37:14; See further Numbers 23:19.

Verse 37 calls upon Ezekiel to remind Israel that it is the Lord of whom they inquire who will increase their population, cause a "population explosion" among them, like the growth of a flock, Isaiah 45:11; Isaiah 45:19; Ezekiel 14:3; Zechariah 12:10-14; Zechariah 13:1.

Verse 38 declares that as the holy flock, Israel as the flock of Jerusalem, in her three annual festivals of: 1) Passover, 2) Pentecost, and 3) The feast of festivals, so would all the cities of the land be rebuilt and occupied by flocks of men of Israel, who were committed to obey and honor their Lord, the Messiah, Romans 12:1; Luke 1:31-32.

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 36". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/ezekiel-36.html. 1985.