Ezekiel 33


The prophet, after having addressed several other nations,

returns now to his own; previously to which he is told, as on a

former occasion, the duty of a watchman, the salvation or ruin

of whose soul depends on the manner in which he discharges it.

An awful passage indeed; full of important instruction both to

such as speak, and to such as hear, the word of God, 1-9.

The prophet is then directed what answer to make to the cavils

of infidelity and impiety; and to vindicate the equity of the

Divine government by declaring the general terms of acceptance

with God to be (as told before, Eze 18:3, 4 &c.,)

without respect of persons; so that the ruin of the finally

impenitent must be entirely owing to themselves, 10-20.

The prophet receives the news of the destruction of Jerusalem

by the Chaldeans, about a year and four months after it

happened, according to the opinion of some, who have been led

to this conjecture by the date given to this prophecy in the

twenty-first verse, as it stands in our common Version: but

some of the manuscripts of this prophet consulted by Dr.

Kennicott have in this place the ELEVENTH year, which is

probably the genuine reading. To check the vain confidence of

those who expected to hold out by possessing themselves of its

other fastnesses, the utter desolation of all Judea is

foretold, 21-29.

Ezekiel is informed that among those that attended his

instructions were a great number of hypocrites, against whom he

delivers a most awful message. When the Lord is destroying

these hypocrites, then shall they know that there hath been a

prophet among them, 30-33.


Verse 2. Son of man-if the people of the land take a man] The

first ten verses of this chapter are the same with Eze 3:17-22;

and to what is said there on this most important and awful subject

I must refer the reader. Here the PEOPLE choose the watchman;

there, the Lord appoints him. When God chooses, the people should


Verse 10. If our transgressions and our sins be upon us] They

are upon us, as a grievous burden, too weighty for us to bear: how

then can we live under such a load?

We pine away in them] In such circumstances how consoling is

that word: "Come unto me, all ye who are heavy laden, and I will

give you rest!"

Verse 11. As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in

the death of the wicked] From this to the twentieth verse

inclusive is nearly the same with Eze 18:3 &c., on which I wish

the reader to consult the notes. See Clarke on Eze 18:3.

Verse 13. If he trust to his own righteousness, and commit

iniquity] If he trust in his acting according to the statutes and

ordinances of religion, and according to the laws relative to

rights and wrongs among men, and in other respects commit

iniquity, he shall die for it.

Verse 19. He shall live thereby] "The wages of sin is death;"

the "gift of God is eternal life." It is a miserable trade by

which a man cannot live; such a trade is sin.

Verse 21. In the twelfth year of our captivity, in the tenth

month, in the fifth day of the month] Instead of the twelfth year,

the eleventh is the reading of seven of Kennicott's MSS., one

of De Rossi's, and the Syriac. My own, mentioned in the preceding

chapter, reads with the present text. This was on Wednesday, Jan.

25, A.M. 3416 or 3417.

One that had escaped out of Jerusalem] After it had been taken

by the Chaldeans.

Came unto me, saying, THE CITY IS SMITTEN.] This very message

God had promised to the prophet, Eze 24:26.

Verse 22. My mouth was opened] They had now the fullest evidence

that I had spoken from the Lord. I therefore spoke freely and

fully what God delivered to me, Eze 24:27.

Verse 24. Abraham was one] If he was called to inherit the land

when he was alone, and had the whole to himself, why may we not

expect to be established here, who are his posterity, and are

many? They wished to remain in the land and be happy after the

Chaldeans had carried the rest away captives.

Verse 25. Ye eat with the blood] Abraham was righteous, ye are

unrighteous. Eating of blood, in any way dressed, or of flesh

from which the blood had not been extracted, was and is in the

sight of God abominable. All such practices he has absolutely and

for ever forbidden. Let the vile blood-eaters hear and tremble.

See Clarke on Ac 15:20, and the passages in the margin.

Verse 26. Ye stand upon your sword] Ye live by plunder, rapine,

and murder. Ye are every way impure; and shall ye possess the

land? No.

Verse 27. They that are in the wastes] He seems to speak of

those Jews who had fled to rocks, caves, and fortresses, in the

mountains; whose death he predicts, partly by the sword, partly

by wild beasts, and partly by famine.

Verse 30. The people still are talking against thee] bach

should be rather translated, "concerning thee," than "against

thee;" for the following verses show that the prophet was much

respected. The Vulgate translates, de te; the Septuagint, περι

σου, "concerning thee," both right.

Talking by the walls and in the doors of the houses is not a

custom peculiar to the Copts, mentioned by Bp. Pococke, it is a

practice among idle people, and among those who are resting from

their work, in every country, when the weather permits. Gossiping

in the inside of the house is not less frequent, and much more


Verse 31. As the people cometh] As they are accustomed to come

on public days, Sabbaths, &c.

With their mouth they show much love] They respected the

prophet, but would not bend themselves to follow his precepts.

They loved earthly things, and did not relish those of heaven.

Verse 32. As a very lovely song] They admired the fine voice and

correct delivery of the prophet; this was their religion, and this

is the whole of the religion of thousands to the present day; for

never were itching ears so multiplied as now.

Verse 33. When this cometh to pass-then shall they know that a

prophet hath been among them.] What I have predicted, (and it is

even now at the doors,) then they will be convinced that there was

a prophet among them, by whose ministry they did not profit as

they ought.

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