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Ezekiel 12:3 . Son of man, prepare thee stuff for removing. Bring out thy goods ready packed up, and place the baggage before thy door. As the captives on the Chebar would neither see nor hear the predictions of the burning of Jerusalem, but constantly kept their hearts on a return to their habitations, the prophet must address them by signs, and thus excite the attention of the people.
Ezekiel 12:4 . At even. The evening and the morning are usual times of travelling in all hot countries; nature asks the shade during the heat at noon.
Ezekiel 12:5 . Dig through the wall in their sight, and carry out other effects, favoured with the shades of night. This was done to designate a sally port in the walls of Jerusalem, and made so as not to be observed by the besieging army. Thus the court fled, leaving the people behind for slaughter.
Ezekiel 12:12 . The prince shall bear upon his shoulder. He does not mention Zedekiah by name; we must respect the glory of the diadem; but this refers to his shameful flight to the plains of Jericho with his guards, and to the king’s retreat among the thorns or coverts on the western shores of the Jordan, as described in Jeremiah 12:5. The Lord knew what Zedekiah would do, therefore he revealed it to the prophet.
Ezekiel 12:13 . My net also will I spread upon him, and he shall be taken in my snare. The accomplishment of these words is recorded in Jeremiah 39:0. The net refers to the arts of the Chaldean hunters in catching captives. When heaven pursues, it is in vain to fly. Ancient nets were of various kinds, some for birds, and others for game. Strong ones were also used for entangling wild beasts. These, Virgil calls, retia rara, Æneid 4:131, used for entangling boars and other beasts of the chace. In book 10:714, he gives a fine view of an enraged boar, pausing and roaring before one of those nets, while the hunters, keeping a respectful distance, pierced him with their darts; but he fearlessly sustained the attacks on every side, and gnashing his tusks, shook the spears from his back.
Ille autem impavidus partes cunctatur in omnes, Dentibus infrendens, et tergo decutit hastas.
Ezekiel 12:18 . Eat thy bread with quaking, and drink thy water with trembling. This refers to allowances during the siege of Jerusalem, and likewise to the trembling and shaking of groups of captives, all but in a state of nudity, going to Babylon. What a reverse between the luxuries of a city, and the privations of a doleful journey.
The Lord, who still had compassion for Israel, would not let his prophets rest. Vision succeeded vision, one severity of labour followed another. While Jeremiah was working and fighting in Jerusalem, Ezekiel was preaching by signs to the captivity. He himself was that sign to the people, lying on his sides with pain, baking his bread as an afflicted exile, destitute of graceful hair, and the veneration of the ancient beard. Now, already a bye-word among the people, he must pack up his goods for flight, when going no whither. All this was done that the captives might believe, and cease from the fond hopes of re-seeing Jerusalem.
It is most remarkable, that those two living prophets and faithful witnesses, were at the same time saying the same things, but in such figures of speech and originality of thought as precludes all private correspondence. Proofs divine, that they both spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
But the moral character of the age forms the darkest shade of the portrait. Zedekiah disregarded Jeremiah, speaking from the mouth of the Lord. It was much the same with the priests and the people. On the shores of the Chebar, Ezekiel had some respect paid him as a prophet, but the ever- evasive heart feigned that he prophesied not of calamities near, but of visitations which regarded a distant age, and other times. And what else is it but the same spirit which now blunts the edge of our ministry? The world treats our warnings as morning dreams. The wicked are filling up their measure, yet there is no danger! Our streets are crowded with harlots, yet there is no eye that sees, no ear that listens to the cry of wrong. Our jails are thronged with prisoners, yet there is no oppression, no want of labour! One half of the nation despise devotion, yet there is no God to avenge his sanctuary. Sinners, look to the flames of Jerusalem; and know for certainty that this God will be to you a consuming fire.
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Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Ezekiel 12". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26