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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible

Ezekiel 13

 

 

Introduction

13. Denunciation of the False Prophets (Ezekiel 13:1-16) and Prophetesses (Ezekiel 13:17-23).—Besides the delay of the doom which Ezekiel threatened, the people were deluded by the welcome and reassuring promises of the false prophets, of whose temper and methods this chapter draws a very living picture.


Verses 1-7

Ezekiel 13. Denunciation of the False Prophets (Ezekiel 13:1-16) and Prophetesses (Ezekiel 13:17-23).—Besides the delay of the doom which Ezekiel threatened, the people were deluded by the welcome and reassuring promises of the false prophets, of whose temper and methods this chapter draws a very living picture.

Ezekiel 13:1-7. The false prophets were jingoes, with no real inspiration, courage, or insight into the moral quality of the political situation. Some of them were sincere and hoped for the confirmation of their message, but all of them were shallow. They could repeat the formul of the true prophet, and preface their message with a "Thus saith Yahweh," but they were not real messengers of His at all. Instead of bravely stepping into the breach (the language is suggested by the siege), instead of giving warning like Ezekiel (Ezekiel 31:6 ff.) of the dread day of Yahweh that was coming, and strengthening the moral fabric of the state, they were only too much at home in its ruins, where, like burrowing foxes, they only succeeded in confounding the confusion.


Verses 8-16

Ezekiel 13:8-16. Their doom is therefore sealed. They too will be confounded in the confusion which they have helped to create. They shall be swept off the land of Israel, and their names shall not appear on the registry of the citizens of the restored community, because they said "It is well," when it was anything but well. In another picture suggested by the siege, Ezekiel very graphically describes their shallow, criminal methods. Instead of helping to repair the shattered wall of the state, they whitewash it, careless of the fact that "the whitewashing of the wall may hide its defects, but will not prevent its destruction" (Ex. B, p. 121). But one day—he is thinking of the siege and fall of the city—the awful storm will come, deluge, and hailstones, and hurl the fair but shoddy wall so violently to the ground that the very foundations will be laid bare. Then when the wall and its silly builders, the state and its shallow prophets, go down in a common ruin, in grim irony but with perfect justice Yahweh will put this question: "Where is the wall and where are those that whitewashed it?" (So we should probably read in Ezekiel 13:15.)


Verses 17-23

Ezekiel 13:17-23. The False Prophetesses.—But women, as well as men, contributed, and just as fatally, to the popular delusion. The false prophets were public men, who exercised an influence on politics; the false prophetesses corresponded roughly to our modern fortune-tellers, and wielded an enormous private influence over a people prone to superstition, and confused by the complexity of the situation. We have here a very vivid picture of their mysterious practices. They are seen sewing magic bands or amulets (not pillows) on to the wrists or elbows of their clients, and attaching long, flowing veils to their heads. The professed object of these superstitious practices is the capture and control of souls—more plainly to slay and to spare, i.e. to determine their fate by a solemn prediction of death or good fortune, as the case may be. Ezekiel takes three objections to all this profane jugglery: (a) it is done for sordid gain (Ezekiel 13:19), (b) it was a desecration of the Divine name, which was invoked at these performances: but (c) almost worse, if possible, even than this, was the complete contempt shown by these fortune-tellers for the indissoluble relation between character and destiny, on which the true prophets so uniformly insisted: they pretended to be able, by their spells, to decree death to the innocent and life to the guilty. Their effect was to disintegrate the moral life of the community: consequently they, with all the implements of their nefarious trade, must be destroyed. [J. G. Frazer, at the close of his discussion on "Absence and Recall of the Soul," says that Robertson Smith suggested to him that the practice of hunting souls denounced by Ezekiel may have been akin to those collected in this discussion (Taboo and the Perils of the Soul, p. 77).—A. S. P.]

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Ezekiel 13:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/ezekiel-13.html. 1919.

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