Ezekiel 13


This chapter denounces heavy judgments against the lying

prophets who flattered the people, in the midst of their sin

and danger, with false hopes of peace and security, 1-9.

The work of these deceivers is beautifully compared to a frail

and insolent piece of building, which can never stand against

the battering elements of heaven, (the Chaldean forces,) which

God will commission against it, 10-16.

In the remaining part of the chapter woes are denounced against

false prophetesses who practiced vain rites and divinations,

with the view of promoting their own gain by deceiving the

people, 17-23.


Verse 2. That prophesy out of their own hearts] Who are neither

inspired nor sent by ME. They are prophets out of their own

hearts. They have their mission from their own assumption, and

proceed in it from their own presumption. Such either go of

themselves, or are sent by man. Such prophets, ministers,

preachers, and clergy have been a curse to the Church and to the

world for some thousands of years.

Verse 4. Thy prophets are like the foxes in the deserts.] The

cunning of the fox in obtaining his prey has been long proverbial.

These false prophets are represented as the foxes who, having got

their prey by great subtlety, run to the desert to hide both

themselves and it. So the false prophets, when the event did not

answer to their prediction, got out of the way, that they might

not be overwhelmed with the reproaches and indignation of the


Verse 5. Ye have not gone up into the gaps] Far from opposing

sinners, who are bringing down the wrath of God upon the place,

you prevent their repentance by your flattering promises and false

predictions. Ye have neither by prayers, example, nor advice,

contributed any thing for the preservation of the place, or the

salvation of the people's souls.

Verse 9. They shall not be in the assembly of my people] They

shall not be reputed members of my Church. They shall not be

reckoned in the genealogy of true Israelites that return from

captivity; and they shall never have a possession in the land;

they shall be exhereditated and expatriated. They shall all perish

in the siege, by the sword, the famine, and the pestilence.

Verse 10. One built up a wall] A true prophet is as a wall of

defense to the people. These false prophets pretend to be a wall

of defense; but their wall is bad, and their mortar is worse. One

gives a lying vision, another pledges himself that it is true; and

the people believe what they say, and trust not in God, nor turn

from their sins. The city is about to be besieged; it needs

stronger fortifications than what it possesses. The prophet should

be as a brazen wall for its defence; and such my prophets would

have been had the people received the word from my mouth. But ye

have prevented this by your lying vanities; and when you have

perverted the people, you pretend to raise up a rampart of

specious prophecy, full of fine promises, for their defence. What

one false prophet says, another confirms; and this is like daubing

over a bad wall with bad mortar, which prevents its blemishes and

weaknesses being discovered, though it has no tendency to

strengthen the building.

Verse 11. There shall be an overflowing shower] That shall wash

off this bad mortar; sweep away the ground on which the wall

stands, and level it with the earth. In the eastern countries,

where the walls are built with unbaked bricks, desolations of this

kind are often occasioned by tempestuous rains. Of this sort of

materials were the walls of ancient cities made, and hence the

reason why no vestige of them remains. Witness Babylon, which was

thus built. See Clarke on Eze 4:1.

Verse 17. Set thy face against the daughters of thy people,

which prophesy] From this it appears that there were prophetesses

in the land of Israel, that were really inspired by the Lord: for

as a false religion necessarily implies a true one, of which it is

the ape; so false prophetesses necessarily imply true ones, whom

they endeavoured to imitate.

That there were true prophetesses among the Jews is evident

enough from such being mentioned in the sacred writings. Miriam,

the sister of Moses Ex 15:20; Nu 12:2;

Deborah, Jud 4:4;

Huldah, 2Ki 22:14;

Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, Lu 2:36; the

four daughters of Philip the deacon, Ac 21:9.

Calmet observes that there was scarcely a heresy in the

primitive Church that was not supported and fomented by seducing


Verse 18. That sew pillows to all arm holes] I believe this

refers to those cushions which are so copiously provided in the

eastern countries for the apartments of women; on which they sit,

lean, rest their heads, and prop up their arms. I have several

drawings of eastern ladies, who are represented on sofas; and

often with their arm thrown over a pillow, which is thereby

pressed close to their side, and against which they thus recline.

The prophet's discourse seems to point out that state of softness

and effeminacy to which the predictions of those false

prophetesses allured the inhabitants of Jerusalem. A careless

voluptuous life is that which is here particularly reprehended.

And make kerchiefs] The word kerchief is French, couvre chef,

that which covers the head; hence handkerchief and neck

handkerchief, and pocket handkerchief are pitifully improper;

because none of them is used to cover the head, from which alone,

that article of dress has its name. But what are we to understand

by kerchiefs here? Probably some kind of ornamental dress which

rendered women more enticing, so that they could the more

successfully hunt or inveigle souls (men) into the worship of

their false gods. These they put on heads of every stature-women

of all ages, komah, of every woman that rose up to

inveigle men to idolatry.

The word mispachoth, translated here kerchiefs, and by

the Vulgate cervicalia, bolsters, Calmet contends, means a sort of

nets used in hunting, and in every place where it occurs it will

bear this meaning; and hence the use to which it is here said to

be applied, to hunt souls.

Verse 20. The souls that ye hunt to make them fly.]

lephorechoth, into the flower gardens, says Parkhurst. These

false prophetesses decoyed men into these gardens, where probably

some impure rites of worship were performed, as in that of

Asherah or Venus. See Parkhurst under .

Verse 21. Your kerchiefs] Nets, or amulets, as some think.

Verse 22. With lies ye have made the heart of the righteous sad]

Here is the ministry of these false prophetesses, and its effects.

They told lies: they would speak, and they had no truth to tell;

and therefore spoke falsities. They "saddened the souls of the

righteous, and strengthened the hands of the wicked." They

promised them life, and prevented them from repenting and turning

from their sins.

Verse 23. Ye shall see no more vanity] They pretended visions;

but they were empty of reality.

Nor divine divinations] As God would not speak to them, they

employed demons. Where God is not, because of the iniquity of the

people, the devil is, to strengthen and support that iniquity. And

if he cannot have his priests, he will have his priestesses; and

these will have a Church like themselves, full of lying doctrines,

and bad works.

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