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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Ezekiel 3

 

 

Verses 1-27

Ezekiel 3:3. The roll—was in my mouth as honey. To taste the good word of God is pleasant; but it was bitter in the belly with regard to imprisonment and martyrdom. Revelation 10:9. No matter; the sweetness is ultimately superior to the gall. See Ezekiel 3:25.

Ezekiel 3:9. As an adamant, harder than flint. See on Zechariah 7:12.

Ezekiel 3:12. Blessed be the glory of the Lord from his place. When the ark moved the levites sung, “Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered.”

Psalms 68:1. The seraphim sung eulogies to the Messiah, who is δοξα του θεου, the glory of God, being in himself the fulness of the Deity. Revelation 5:12.

Ezekiel 3:14. So the Spirit lifted me up, and took me away. I went with eager steps, though with bitterness and grief, to give battle to the errors, to the contumacious temper and habit which had borne away the captives. Never surely was soil less favourable to agriculture.

Ezekiel 3:15. I came to them of the captivity at Tel-abib, a compound name; tell or tail, a heap, and abib, spices, fruits, corn, &c. It was a country of Mesopotamia, through which the Chebar flowed. And remained there astonished among them seven days. Joseph mourned seven days for Jacob. Job’s friends also sat thus astonished for seven days. The custom is mentioned in the Apocrypha. Sirach 22:13. It imported the highest expression of grief, and gave the prophet time to be acquainted with their life and manners.

Ezekiel 3:17. I have made thee a watchman to the house of Israel. Many brigades have been cut off, and many cities surprised, where the watchman has been asleep. Concerning the punishment of the watchman, there was no variation of opinion; he must die. The watchman on the tower of Jezreel gave timely notice of the approach of Jehu; but the court, instead of flying to arms, sent to know whether it were peace or war. They perished by infatuation, in not obeying the watchman’s voice. But spiritual watchmen have the charge of souls, as well as that of nations. What a dread responsibility, while the youthful and the gay are slumbering on the lap of pleasure, the merchants and manufacturers in full pursuit of gain, the conscience of the more enlightened soothed with scepticism and seared with crime. Nay, worse, the watchmen themselves are largely identified with the slumbering crowd. Then let those that are awake cry aloud, and spare not. Isaiah 62:1.

Ezekiel 3:27. But when I speak with thee I will open thy mouth. There are times and seasons when God in a special manner opens the mouths of his ministers to pray and preach, and to make exertions even beyond the powers of nature. These are the seasons to be improved with redoubled exertions: if once lost, they may never return.

REFLECTIONS.

The Messiah continuing his charge to Ezekiel, bids him to eat the roll; to meditate upon the holy scriptures, and inwardly to digest them as the food and health of his soul. This was sweet as honey gathered from the flowers of paradise to his taste. It was the treasure of divine wisdom enriching his soul; it was the unction of heavenly life communicated to the hidden man of the heart, the joy of carrying a message of mercy to the remnant of Israel in exile. The bitterness of lamentation and woe was not for the prophet to taste, but for those who should reject his ministry.

The word was not only sweet, but the work was comparatively easy. He was not sent to a people of strange tongue as Jonah was, who it is presumed could not speak fluently in the Assyrian language. Let ministers be thankful for indulgence, and banish discontent and murmuring, by the consideration of the hardships to which their brethren have been exposed.

While ministers are active on earth, the angels are active in heaven; they praise God for every fresh discovery of love to man. No sooner did the cloud move than the cherubim gave a shout, and said, Blessed be the glory of the Lord from this place. The mission of a prophet was regarded as great in itself, and productive of good which should remain for ever. They saw a minister commissioned to stay the people from the wickedness of the gentiles, and to preserve a progeny to whom the Lord would unfold all the glory of his covenant in the latter day. May the Lord make us grateful for the ministry: perhaps angels only can properly appreciate its worth.

We have next the high character of Ezekiel’s mission and trust. He was made a military watchman for the safety of the people. Ancient kings could not place implicit reliance on the faith of treaties: they kept watchmen on their towers and frontiers. Jehu was seen afar by the watchmen on the tower of Jezreel. Hence the people pursued their labour by day, and slept at night, trusting their safety from surprise wholly in the watchman’s care. Just so, the man of God spending his life in the study of providence and grace, while the people pursue the duties of life, must watch for their safety. Where he sees vice reign he must blow the trumpet, and warn the wicked with a high voice; for as sure as the harvest follows the seed-time, the punishments of heaven will appropriately follow on every sin. The voluptuous man sleeps at ease like the fattened ox on his grassy couch; the miser and oppressor is swelled with the magnitude of his wealth; and he who was both just and righteous in his youth, associates with the enemies of God, boasts of superior wisdom, while forgetful that he was once purged from his old sins. Now, he who does not address these men in a ministry more efficacious than the strong ties and long habits of sin, is in fact but a triflier with their salvation. And in the day of vengeance, when these culprits shall allege that their minister did not tell them all those terrors, then God will require their life, and inflict the same punishment on the watchman as on them. Oh how much better to magnify the ministry, that in the great day we may have a multitude of children to be the crown of our rejoicing. Why should we honour the wicked more than God? What have we to fear while we have the cloud of glory resting on all our assemblies.

 


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Bibliography Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Ezekiel 3:4". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jsc/ezekiel-3.html. 1835.

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