corner graphic

Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible

Ezekiel 2

 

 

Verses 1-7

Ezekiel 2:1 to Ezekiel 3:15. The Call.—Ezekiel 2:1-7. The awful silence is broken by a voice from the Almighty upon His throne, bidding the prostrate prophet rise and accept his commission for service; for it is a work and not an inactive prostration that God and the world need. Into the phrase "son of man," which occurs nearly 100 times in the book, Ezekiel throws his sense of his own frailty in contrast with the majesty of God as illustrated by the vision of the previous chapter. The service which he feels himself Divinely summoned to render is to declare the message of God—in the first instance a message of doom (Ezekiel 2:10)—to his people: a doom justified by the infidelity which they had shown from the beginning of their national history up to that very moment, and which had already swept into exile those whom he was immediately addressing. The prophet is under no illusions: they are a rebellious house, "hard-faced and stubborn-hearted," and it is more than likely that they will not listen, though they are free to "hear or forbear," as they please: they will be "as briers and thorns," symbols of the opposition and persecution the prophet may expect to encounter (some emend these words in Ezekiel 2:6 to mean, they will "resist and despise thee"). There will be every temptation to refuse to embark upon so perilous a course, to "rebel" in one way as the people had rebelled in another: but he is to go on without flinching or fear to speak the word that would be given him, and the sequel would show them that he had been a true prophet, Divinely inspired.


Verses 8-10

Ezekiel 2:8 to Ezekiel 3:15. His inspiration is suggestively described by the symbolical swallowing of a book-roll. In Jer. (Jeremiah 1:9) it is more immediately conceived as due to the touch of the Divine Hand upon the prophet's lips: but by the publication of Dt. thirty years before (621 B.C.) the book had begun to hold a place in the religion of Israel which it had never held before (p. 90), and it is significant, not to say ominous, that Ezekiel is represented as owing his message and his inspiration to a book. The "lamentations, mourning, and woe" (Ezekiel 2:10) inscribed in the visionary book do, in point of fact, faithfully describe the general contents and temper of Ezekiel's message throughout the earlier part of his ministry and the first half of his book (Ezekiel 1-24), i.e. down to the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. Though this conception of inspiration might seem mechanical and superficial, it has some profoundly suggestive features. In particular it implies that the message he is to deliver must be his own. It is God's ultimately, but Ezekiel must make it his own, work it into the very fibre of his being, assimilate it, as we should say—this is the meaning of the strong language in Ezekiel 3:3—until it is himself that he is uttering. When he eats the roll. bitter as are its contents, it is as sweet as honey in his mouth, for it is sweet to do the will of God and to be trusted with tasks for Him.

But again he is reminded of the sternness of that task. He is sent to a stubborn people who will be infinitely less responsive to the Divine message than heathen foreigners would have been: this sorrowful comparison is drawn often enough in prophecy from Jonah to our Lord (Matthew 11:21, Luke 4:24-27) between the susceptibility of the unprivileged heathen and the callousness of privileged Israel. But with resolute face the prophet is to go forward to meet their hard and resolute faces, and fearlessly deliver the message of the God who has called and can equip and sustain him.

That, then, is the summons he seems to hear from the awful Figure upon the throne of the mysterious chariot. Then once more the whirr of the wings and the roar of the wheels is heard "when the glory of Yahweh rose from its place" (as we should probably read at the end of Ezekiel 3:12); and the chariot departed, leaving the prophet, on return to normal consciousness, in a state of reaction graphically described as bitterness and heat of spirit. In this mood he found his way to Tel-abib, a colony of his fellow-exiles, apparently at or near his home, where he remained for a week in a state of utter stupefaction, dumb and motionless.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Ezekiel 2:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/ezekiel-2.html. 1919.

Commentary Navigator
Search This Commentary
Enter query in the box below
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology