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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Ezekiel 3

 

 

Verse 1

Ezekiel 3:1 Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel.

Ver. 1. Son of man, eat that thou findest.] Eat this roll or volume, without equivocation, or so much as questioning; yield simple obedience to the heavenly vision. It was in vision doubtless that the prophet did eat the roll, and not in very deed, as the foolish patient did the physician’s recipe, or as Mr Lewis of Manchester made the bishop’s summoner eat the citation which he brought for his wife, a martyr in Queen Mary’s days, by setring a dagger to his heart, and to drink to it when he had done. (a) It was non reipsa, sed spiritu, saith an interpreter. See Ezekiel 3:10.

Eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel.] First learn, and then teach others, that thou mayest utter my mind readily, dexterously, and affectionately, speaking a corde ad cor - ex intimo cordis affectu - and digging thy discourses out of thine own bosom, as it is said of Origen, and after him of Petrus Comestor, who merited that title, because, by his often allegations of the holy Scripture, he seemed to have eaten it up and digested it.


Verse 2

Ezekiel 3:2 So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat that roll.

Ver. 2. So I opened my mouth.] Without delays or consults, I obeyed Christ’s command, et hausi quodammodo donum prophetiae, (a) and yielded to become a prophet. This was well; but not long after, Ezekiel, through infirmity of the flesh, would have declined the office, and therefore sought to lurk among his countrymen at Telabib, [Ezekiel 3:15] till Christ called him out again and newly employed him. [Ezekiel 3:16]

And he caused me to eat that roll.] See on Ezekiel 3:1.


Verse 3

Ezekiel 3:3 And he said unto me, Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. Then did I eat [it]; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness.

Ver. 3. Cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels,] i.e., Deeply and duly ponder and practise those holy truths thou hast to press upon others; preach thine own experiences, &c. See 1 Timothy 4:15.

And it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness.] So was God’s law to good David; [Psalms 119:29; Psalms 119:103] to Augustine, Scripturae tuae sunt deliciae meae, saith he, Thy Scriptures are my delight; to Alphonsus, King of Arragon, who professed he would rather lose his kingdoms than be without the knowledge of God’s blessed book, which he had read over above a dozen times, together with such commentaries thereupon as those times afforded. See Revelation 10:10.


Verse 4

Ezekiel 3:4 And he said unto me, Son of man, go, get thee unto the house of Israel, and speak with my words unto them.

Ver. 4. Go, get thee unto the house of Israel.] This was a hard task, all things considered; but hard or not hard, there was a necessity of going on God’s errand. Ubi mel ibi fel. Necesse est ut eat, non ut vivat, Where there is honey, there is bitterness. It is necessary to go but not to live, as he once said.

And speak with my words unto them.] But see they be mine, and then I will bear thee out; then also they will the sooner take impression. Speak as the oracles of God. [1 Peter 4:11]


Verse 5

Ezekiel 3:5 For thou [art] not sent to a people of a strange speech and of an hard language, [but] to the house of Israel;

Ver. 5. For thou art not sent to a people of a strange speech and of an hard language.] Heb., Deep of lip and heavy of tongue. Qui strident sermone, et quasi e profundo gutture barbarum loquuntur. As Jonah was so sent, and those that now preach to the natives in New England in their own language, not without some good success.

But to the house of Israel.] Among whom thou must use vulgari et vernaculo sermone, who also are well seen in the Scriptures; they are indeed God’s library keepers, which is no small privilege, [Romans 3:2] and therefore the better to be dealt with.


Verse 6

Ezekiel 3:6 Not to many people of a strange speech and of an hard language, whose words thou canst not understand. Surely, had I sent thee to them, they would have hearkened unto thee.

Ver. 6. Surely had I sent unto them, they would have hearkened.] Or, If I had sent thee to them, would they not have hearkened unto thee? It may seem by the Ninevites that they would, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, [Matthew 12:41] at one single sermon made by a mere stranger, who sang so doleful a ditty to them that their city should be shortly destroyed, &c. Vatablus rendereth this text, Dispeream nisi te audissent, ei ad cos te misissem. And couldst thou but skill of foreign languages, thou couldst not easily be without disciples. The punishment of strange language, saith a grave divine, (a) was a heavy punishment, next to our casting out of paradise and the flood.


Verse 7

Ezekiel 3:7 But the house of Israel will not hearken unto thee; for they will not hearken unto me: for all the house of Israel [are] impudent and hardhearted.

Ver. 7. But the house of Israel will not hearken unto thee.] They will not. See the like, John 5:40; John 8:44. A man’s will is his hell, saith Bernard. And it is easier, saith another, to deal with twenty men’s reasons, than with one man’s will. What hope is there of those that will not hear; or, if they do, yet have made their conclusion beforehand, and will stir no more than a stake in the midst of a stream?

For they will not hearken unto me.] Speaking unto them in the Scriptures. See Hosea 8:12, Matthew 10:24-25, John 15:18, &c. Let this speech of God to the prophet comfort faithful ministers, contra cervicosos et cerebrosos istos hypocritas, that reject or resist their preaching. What are we that we may not be slighted, whenas Christ himself the arch-prophet is?

Impudent.] Heb., Stiff of forehead. This was a point next the worst. Illum ego periisse dice cui periit pudor, said that heathen: (a) he is an undone man who is past shame.


Verse 8

Ezekiel 3:8 Behold, I have made thy face strong against their faces, and thy forehead strong against their foreheads.

Ver. 8. Behold, I have made thy face strong against their faces.] I have steeled thy forehead and strengthened thine heart, that thou shalt budge for none of them. I have rendered thee insuperable.


Verse 9

Ezekiel 3:9 As an adamant harder than flint have I made thy forehead: fear them not, neither be dismayed at their looks, though they [be] a rebellious house.

Ver. 9. As an adamant, harder than flint.] Heb., Strong above a rock. Instar rupis quae in mari vadoso horridi Iovis, et irati, ut ita dicam, Neptuni fervidis assultibus undique verberata, non cedit, aut minuitur; sed obtendit assuetum fluctibus latus, et firma duritis, tumentis undae impetum sustinet ac frangit. This (a) invincible courage and constance in God’s ministers the mad world calleth and counteth pride and pertinace; but these know not the power of the Spirit, nor the privy armour of proof that such have about their hearts. (b)

Fear them not, &c.] See Ezekiel 2:6.


Verse 10

Ezekiel 3:10 Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, all my words that I shall speak unto thee receive in thine heart, and hear with thine ears.

Ver. 10. Son of man, all my words receive in thine heart, &c.] This is to eat the roll, to turn it in succum et sanguinem, that it may surely nourish. See on Ezekiel 3:1-3.


Verse 11

Ezekiel 3:11 And go, get thee to them of the captivity, unto the children of thy people, and speak unto them, and tell them, Thus saith the Lord GOD whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear.

Ver. 11. Go, get thee to them of the captivity.] The fruit whereof they have lost in great part, because so little amended thereby.

Unto thy people.] For I can scarce find in my heart to own them. So Exodus 32:7. God fathers that rebellious people upon Moses.

Whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear,] q.d., Let them choose; and if they have a mind to it, be miserable by their own election. See Ezekiel 2:5.


Verse 12

Ezekiel 3:12 Then the spirit took me up, and I heard behind me a voice of a great rushing, [saying], Blessed [be] the glory of the LORD from his place.

Ver. 12. Then the spirit took me up, and I heard behind me, &c.] This was for the prophet’s encouragement, and to put mettle into him, as it were, that he might the better bear up amidst all, since he should shortly bear a part in that angelic concert, whose λειτουργια εστι ψαλμωδια, as Theodoret hath it, their daily service is singing of psalms.

Blessed be the glory of the Lord from his place,] i.e., From heaven, where saints and angels glorify his name without ceasing or satiety. Monica, after a discourse with her son Augustine about the happiness of heaven, concluded thus: Quantum ad me attinet, fili, nulla re amplius delector in hac vita. Quid hic facio? As for me, what make I here, since I take no more pleasure in anything that is here to be had? A picture of a globe of the whole earth, saith one, set out with all the brave things that sea and land can afford, with this sentence encircling it round, "To be with Christ is far better," is a Christian’s emblem, and should be his ambition.


Verse 13

Ezekiel 3:13 [I heard] also the noise of the wings of the living creatures that touched one another, and the noise of the wheels over against them, and a noise of a great rushing.

Ver. 13. I heard also the noise of the wings of the living creatures.] In consent with the former doxology.

That touched one another.] Heb., Kissed; noting the love and good agreement that is between the holy angels. No woman is so well affected to her sister as they are one to another in serving God and his people.

And the noise of the wheels.] As the angels, so all actions and motions do, as they can, sing praise to God.


Verse 14

Ezekiel 3:14 So the spirit lifted me up, and took me away, and I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit; but the hand of the LORD was strong upon me.

Ver. 14. So the spirit lifted me up.] As it did afterwards also Philip, [Acts 8:39-40] not visionally, but really.

And took me away.] To Telabib.

And I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit.] (a) Heb., I went bitter in the hot anger of my spirit, q.d., I was in a great pet, as considering that God’s truths must be spoken, however they are taken: and full ill they would be taken from me by mine untoward countrymen. This made me, for the time, much out of temper; but I soon denied myself, and got the better of mine unruly passions. For,

The hand of the Lord was strong upon me.] I was overpowered by the Spirit of God, who soon brought those high thoughts of mine into captivity and conformity to Christ. [2 Corinthians 10:5]


Verse 15

Ezekiel 3:15 Then I came to them of the captivity at Telabib, that dwelt by the river of Chebar, and I sat where they sat, and remained there astonished among them seven days.

Ver. 15. Then I came to them of the captivity of Telabib.] Which was the name of some chief place or plantation of the Jews in captivity, saith Diodat. It was in the middle part of Mesopotamia, saith Junius, between two rivers, Chebar and Saocorah.

I sat where they sat.] Skulking and lurking, or at least not acting according to my prophetic function, and the gift bestowed upon me, which I ought to have stirred up and exercised for the good of my fellow captives. This he freely confesseth, as giving glory to God, and taking shame to himself.

Seven days.] Which circumstance of time increased his sins, saith Polanus.


Verse 16

Ezekiel 3:16 And it came to pass at the end of seven days, that the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

Ver. 16. And it came to pass at the end of seven days.] Probably on the Sabbath day, that day of grace, and opportunity of holiness. God glorifieth his free grace in coming to his offending prophet, as the physician doth to his sick patient, and by setting him to work again, sealing up his love to him: like as he also did to the eleven apostles, by sending them abroad to preach the gospel, after that they had so basely deserted him at his apprehension, and death upon the cross.


Verse 17

Ezekiel 3:17 Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me.

Ver. 17. Son of man.] So Christ constantly calleth this prophet, to keep him humble. See Ezekiel 2:1.

I have made thee a watchman.] I, who am the chief Bishop and Shepherd of souls, [1 Peter 2:25] have set thee in thy watch tower, with charge to look well to my flock with golden fleeces, precious souls, that none be lost for want of warning. See therefore that thou be Episcopus, not Aposcopus; an overseer, not a byseer; a watcher, not a sleeper: Somnoleatia Pastorum est gaudium luporum. (a) Shall the shepherds sleep whenas the wolves watch and worry the flock? [Acts 20:29-30] Herodotus (b) telleth of one Euenius, a city shepherd, who for sleeping and allowed the wolf to enter the fold and kill sixty sheep, had his eyes pulled out. God threateneth the like punishment upon sleepy watchmen, idol shepherds. [Zechariah 11:17]

Therefore, hear the word at my mouth.] Who am the arch-prophet, the only doctor of my Church; [Matthew 23:8; Matthew 17:4] admonish them therefore in my words, foresee and foretell them their danger in my name and stead. See Habakkuk 2:1, 2 Corinthians 5:20.


Verse 18

Ezekiel 3:18 When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked [man] shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.

Ver. 18. When I say to the wicked, Thou shalt surely die.] When I bid thee tell the wicked from me, it shall be ill with him; for "the reward of his hands shall be given," [Isaiah 3:11] even "death the wages of sin," [Romans 6:23] death of all sorts, which is the just hire of the least sin: woe then to the wicked, say.

And thou givest him not warning.] Heb., Non expolieris; Gr., Non distinxeris; if thou do not distinctly and clearly warn him, seeking to rub off his rust, and to make his soul clear and circumspect. {as Psalms 19:12 Ecclesiastes 4:13}

To save his life.] That "iniquity may not be his ruin." Sin hales hell at the heels of it.

But his blood will I require at thine hand.] These are fulmina, non verba, not words, but thunderbolts, saith Erasmus. This sentence sounding much in his ears made Augustine constant and instant in preaching, and warning the people of their danger. Bernard (a) also, for the same reason, thus bespeaketh his hearers: If I deal not freely and faithfully with you, it will be to your loss, and mine own danger. Timeo itaque damnum vestrum: timeo damnationem meam, si tacuero.


Verse 19

Ezekiel 3:19 Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.

Ver. 19. He shall die in his iniquity.] Because now he falleth with open eyes. Many sorrows shall be to such wicked as will not be warned. [Psalms 32:9-10] (a)

But thou hast delivered thy soul,] scil., From thine other men’s sin. [1 Timothy 4:16]


Verse 20

Ezekiel 3:20 Again, When a righteous [man] doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand.

Ver. 20. Again, When a righteous man.] So esteemed by others, and haply also by himself; a self-deceiver.

Doth turn from his righteousness.] As he may soon do, where it is but a semblance. Falling stars were never but meteors.

And commit iniquity.] This a righteous man, rightly so called, doth not. [John 8:34 1 John 3:8] {See Trapp on "1 John 3:8"}

And I lay a stumblingblock before him,] i.e., I cause him to prosper in his sin, saith Vatablus, which is a heavy judgment. Fatted ware is but fitted for the shambles.

Because thou hast not given him warning.] Hast not uncased and unkennelled the hypocrite, driving him out of his starting-holes. (a)

And his righteousness.] His works that were materially good, but not formally and eventually. Bonum non sit nisi ex integra causa.

Shall not be remembered,] i.e., Reckoned to him he shall not thereby set off with God, or make amends by his good deeds for his bad; nay, his dissembled sanctity shall pass for double iniquity, and he shall be held therefore the worse, because he pretended to be better.


Verse 21

Ezekiel 3:21 Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous [man], that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul.

Ver. 21. Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous.] As the best may need to be warned, and must take it for a mercy.

Acer et ad palmae per se cursurus honores,

Si tamen horteris, fortius ibit equus. ” - Ovid.


Verse 22

Ezekiel 3:22 And the hand of the LORD was there upon me; and he said unto me, Arise, go forth into the plain, and I will there talk with thee.

Ver. 22. And the hand of the Lord,] i.e., The Spirit of the Lord, whereby he led his prophet into all truth and holiness.

Arise, go forth into the plain.] Or, Valley, where thou mayest be alone and at liberty, solitary and sedate, that I may further converse with thee.


Verse 23

Ezekiel 3:23 Then I arose, and went forth into the plain: and, behold, the glory of the LORD stood there, as the glory which I saw by the river of Chebar: and I fell on my face.

Ver. 23. Then I arose and went forth.] Such prompt and present obedience meeteth with mercies unexpected.

As the glory which I saw.] The same as before for the prophet’s further confirmation. So Acts 10:10, and so God sealeth to us again and again in the sacrament of the supper, showing us all his goodness. {as Exodus 33:19}

And I fell on my face.] The nearer any one draweth to God, the more doth rottenness enter into his bones.


Verse 24

Ezekiel 3:24 Then the spirit entered into me, and set me upon my feet, and spake with me, and said unto me, Go, shut thyself within thine house.

Ver. 24. Go shut thyself within thine house,] q.d., Thou hast a mind, I perceive to do so; but it is not thy wisest way to decline thine office, how hard soever it seemeth.


Verse 25

Ezekiel 3:25 But thou, O son of man, behold, they shall put bands upon thee, and shall bind thee with them, and thou shalt not go out among them:

Ver. 25. Behold, they shall put bands upon thee.] Thy friends shall bind thee for a madman. See Mark 3:21. {See Trapp on "Mark 3:21"}


Verse 26

Ezekiel 3:26 And I will make thy tongue cleave to the roof of thy mouth, that thou shalt be dumb, and shalt not be to them a reprover: for they [are] a rebellious house.

Ver. 26. And I will make thy tongue.] A spiritual and a special judgment upon the people, thus to silence the prophet. So he dealt by our ancestors, upon the setting up of Queen Mary.


Verse 27

Ezekiel 3:27 But when I speak with thee, I will open thy mouth, and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD He that heareth, let him hear; and he that forbeareth, let him forbear: for they [are] a rebellious house.

Ver. 27. But when I speak with thee.] As speak I will with thee again, by prophetic revelation, ere long be.

He that heareth, let him hear.] See Ezekiel 2:5; whether more or fewer hearken to thee, be not troubled, I shall have my purpose howsoever.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Ezekiel 3:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/ezekiel-3.html. 1865-1868.

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