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Bible Commentaries

Ironside's Notes on Selected Books

Ezekiel 13

 

 

Verses 1-23

Chapter Thirteen

Lying Prophets Rebuked

At the time when these providential judgments were being meted out to Israel, already there were not wanting false prophets who dared to declare that Ezekiel’s predictions were the ravings of an ill-natured pessimist, and that the hour of Jerusalem’s deliverance and Judah’s triumph was near, when the Chaldean armies would be driven from the land of Palestine, defeated and utterly humiliated. To these vain optimists Ezekiel was commanded to speak in the name of Jehovah, declaring that they themselves were doomed to perish with the rest of the apostate nation when the full wrath of the Lord should fall upon them.

“And the word of Jehovah came unto me, saying, Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel that prophesy, and say thou unto them that prophesy out of their own heart, Hear ye the word of Jehovah: thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing! O Israel, thy prophets have been like foxes in the waste places. Ye have not gone up into the gaps, neither built up the wall for the house of Israel, to stand in the battle in the day of Jehovah. They have seen falsehood and lying divination, that say, Jehovah saith; but Jehovah hath not sent them: and they have made men to hope that the word would be confirmed. Have ye not seen a false vision, and have ye not spoken a lying divination, in that ye say, Jehovah saith; albeit I have not spoken?”-vers. 1-7.

Professing to speak by the Spirit of the Lord, these false prophets had but given utterance to the promptings of their own spirits. They expressed only what they vainly hoped might be the outcome of the conflict then going on. Their whole attitude was the result of wishful thinking. Failing to recognize the cause of the suffering of Judah, and thus not understanding the attitude of Jehovah toward the people called by His name, they predicted only that which they fondly hoped would come to pass.

Thus they were hindrances rather than helpers, making the people comfortable in their sins. Like foxes in the deserts, or rather, as jackals in the wilderness feeding on carrion, they were worthless messengers because they had no word from Jehovah.

They had not attempted to get at the root of the trouble by calling on Israel to judge the idolatry and all its attendant evils, which had led them so far astray and hidden Jehovah’s face from them.

Declaring the Lord had sent them to give assurance of coming deliverance, they made the people trust in a lie which would never be confirmed. Theirs was a vain or empty vision and a false divination, for in spite of their pretension to represent Jehovah, He had not spoken through them.

In every age when God has been dealing with His professed people because of their sins and apostasy there have been such false prophets who have sought to lull the offenders to sleep in a false confidence, assuring them that all is well and there need be no fear of judgment falling upon them. How these prophets abound in Christendom today! With the Judge standing at the door, they continue to cry, “Peace, peace, when there is no peace!”

“Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah: because ye have spoken falsehood, and seen lies, therefore, behold, I am against you, saith the Lord Jehovah. And My hand shall be against the prophets that see false visions, and that divine lies: they shall not he in the council of My people, neither shall they be written in the writing of the house of Israel, neither shall they enter into the land of Israel; and ye shall know that I am the Lord Jehovah. Because, even because they have seduced My people, saying, Peace; and there is no peace; and when one buildeth up a wall, behold, they daub it with untempered mortar: say unto them that daub it with untempered mortar, that it shall fall: there shall be an overflowing shower; and ye, O great hailstones, shall fall; and a stormy wind shall rend it”-vers. 8-11.

Like a careless or unfaithful workman who would build up a wall by attempting to cement the stones together with untempered mortar, so these lying prophets endeavored to build up the morale of their brethren who looked to them for guidance, by leading them to trust in a lie. Because of this God had set His face against them. They were doomed to die in their captivity, never again to see the land to which they declared the scattered nation would soon return in triumph.

The very names of these so-called seers were to be blotted out of the records of Israel because they had endeavored to discredit the testimony of the Lord, as given through His inspired representatives. The time would soon come when their falsity should be made manifest. Then the very people who had been deceived by them would ridicule their unfounded pretensions to be mouthpieces of Jehovah.

“Lo, when the wall is fallen, shall it not be said unto you, Where is the daubing wherewith ye have daubed it? Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah: I will even rend it with a stormy wind in My wrath; and there shall be an overflowing shower in Mine anger, and great hailstones in wrath to consume it. So will I break down the wall that ye have daubed with untempered mortar, and bring it down to the ground, so that the foundation thereof shall be uncovered; and it shall fall, and ye shall be consumed in the midst thereof: and ye shall know that I am Jehovah. Thus will I accomplish My wrath upon the wall, and upon them that have daubed it with untempered mortar; and I will say unto you, The wall is no more, neither they that daubed it; to wit, the prophets of Israel that prophesy concerning Jerusalem, and that see visions of peace for her, and there is no peace, saith the Lord Jehovah”-vers. 12-16.

A wall speaks of protection and separation. The wall built with untempered mortar was destined to collapse, exposing the people to the power of the Chaldeans. In that day these self-styled optimists would become the objects of the scorn and contempt of those who had been misled by their lying predictions.

Back of Nebuchadnezzar’s armies was God Himself. It was He who would use these cruel foes to destroy the wall and to consume the people from off the land. In His wrath He was about to visit His indignation upon them because of their manifold iniquities of which they refused to repent. Their prophets cried, “Peace”; but the Lord declared, “There is no peace.” How could there be when the law of God was flouted, and His Word despised?

“And thou, son of man, set thy face against the daughters of thy people, that prophesy out of their own heart; and prophesy thou against them, and say, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Woe to the women that sew pillows upon all elbows, and make kerchiefs for the head of persons of every stature to hunt souls! Will ye hunt the souls of My people, and save souls alive for yourselves? And ye have profaned Me among My people for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread, to slay the souls that should not die, and to save the souls alive that should not live, by your lying to My people that hearken unto lies. Wherefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Behold, I am against your pillows, wherewith ye there hunt the souls to make them fly, and I will tear them from your arms; and I will let the souls go, even the souls that ye hunt to make them fly. Your kerchiefs also will I tear, and deliver My people out of your hand, and they shall be no more in your hand to be hunted; and ye shall know that I am Jehovah”-vers. 17-21.

There were not only false prophets, but also false prophetesses at this time. Often when men have failed it has pleased God to speak through faithful women. But in those days the women were as false and faithless as the men. They too prophesied smooth things and tried to make the people comfortable in their sins. So God pronounced a woe against them.

The expression, “The women that sew pillows (or cushions) to all armholes (or wristbands),” is admittedly a difficult passage to explain. Some think the reference is to binding charms and amulets upon their clothing; others think that it was simply a suggestive adornment that implied there was no danger to avoid, and so they were prepared to rest comfortably without fear of evil. The other expression, “That make kerchiefs for the head of persons of every stature,” is also somewhat perplexing. But may it not also suggest careless adornment in order to banish the fear of calamity and incite to increased mirth and vanity?

The verse that follows seems to coincide with this thought. Like harlots adorning themselves in order to attract unwary victims, these false prophetesses made everything as pleasing as they could in order to ensnare the souls of those who might be inclined to heed the word of the Lord as given by Ezekiel and others, who were divinely inspired and who warned of judgment to come.

“Because with lies ye have grieved the heart of the righteous, whom I have not made sad, and strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way, and be saved alive; therefore ye shall no more see false visions, nor divine divinations: and I will deliver My people out of your hand; and ye shall know that I am Jehovah”-vers. 22, 23.

Where conscience was at all active the heart was saddened by all this wicked perversion of the truth of God. The righteous were grieved as they saw the wicked lulled into a state of carnal security, from which only judgment would awaken them, when it would be too late for repentance. False teaching always tends to strengthen people, who accept it, in their wickedness and to make them believe that no matter how they live they will be secure from divine wrath.

God may seem tolerant of that which is untrue and unreal for a time, but He will deal eventually with those who propagate error, and will deliver His people from their hand.

 


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Bibliography Information
Ironside, H. A. "Commentary on Ezekiel 13:4". Ironside's Notes on Selected Books. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/isn/ezekiel-13.html. 1914.

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