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Ezekiel 33-39. Changes and Preparations Necessary for the Blessed Future. Now that the security of Israel for the days to come is guaranteed by the destruction of the foreign nations, the mood of the prophet changes— the old rebellious house” ( Ezekiel 2:5) gives place to “ the children of my people” ( Ezekiel 33:2)— and he passes on to his programme of reconstruction. The turning-point is constituted by the definite announcement of the fall of Jerusalem brought to Babylon by one who had escaped ( Ezekiel 33:21). Ezekiel’ s gloomy threats, so long ignored or disbelieved, have at last been fulfilled; his prophetic reputation is confirmed; and he is now free to utter his message of hope and promise, to prepare his people, and to help them to prepare themselves, for the blessed future, with its restoration and reorganisation of Israel, which he so confidently anticipates. The first and fundamental item on his programme is the
Ezekiel 34:1-10 . Importance of Good Government.— But besides moral excellence on the part of its citizens (Ezekiel 33) a state needs good government. This chapter is a very severe indictment of the rulers or kings of Israel in the past, who are compared to shepherds— and the figure is maintained throughout the chapter— that have neglected or abused the flock. Governors should govern in the interests of the governed; but those “ shepherds” had used their power to feed themselves and not the flock— they are even compared in Ezekiel 34:10 to ravenous beasts (notice “ mouth” ). It was this misgovernment that in part accounted for the miseries, the defeats, the exile of Israel.
Ezekiel 34:11-16 . Therefore these evil shepherds must be replaced by none other than Yahweh Himself, the great Shepherd of the sheep, who will lovingly tend them, and seek them out on the dark and cloudy day, and bring them back ( i.e. from exile) to their own true pasture-land. (In Ezekiel 34:16 for “ destroy” read, with LXX watch over.” )
Ezekiel 34:17-22 . But among the flock there were differences too, the strong ( i.e. the rich) treating the weak with selfishness and brutality. This too will end.
Ezekiel 34:23-31 . In the coming days, while Yahweh will indeed be chief Shepherd, there will still be an earthly shepherd, to correspond to the old order of evil shepherds: in plain words, the monarchy will continue, but the monarch will have a real shepherd heart. His title, “ my servant David,” by no means implies the resurrection of the dead king of the olden times, but only a succession (or the first of a succession) of rulers continuing the Davidic line, or possibly even only one who will rule in the spirit and power of David. Instead of the divided kingdom, whose component parts (Israel and Judah) had run their parallel and sometimes hostile course for centuries, will be the united kingdom, under one shepherd, i.e. one king. Then will come the glorious Messianic days, the “ covenant of peace” or welfare, whose leading features will be the fertility of the land, the extirpation of its wild beasts, the security of its people from native and foreign oppressors. ( Ezekiel 34:26. “ My hill” = Zion. But perhaps we should read, “ I will give showers of rain in their season.” )
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Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Ezekiel 34". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany