|<< Ezek 12|
Ezekiel 13-15 Listen
1 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
2 Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel that prophesy, and say thou unto them that prophesy out of their own hearts, Hear ye the word of the LORD;
3 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!
4 O Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes in the deserts.
5 Ye have not gone up into the gaps, neither made up the hedge for the house of Israel to stand in the battle in the day of the LORD.
6 They have seen vanity and lying divination, saying, The LORD saith: and the LORD hath not sent them: and they have made others to hope that they would confirm the word.
7 Have ye not seen a vain vision, and have ye not spoken a lying divination, whereas ye say, The LORD saith it; albeit I have not spoken?
8 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye have spoken vanity, and seen lies, therefore, behold, I am against you, saith the Lord GOD.
9 And mine hand shall be upon the prophets that see vanity, and that divine lies: they shall not be in the assembly 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 GOD.
10 Because, even because they have seduced my people, saying, Peace; and there was no peace; and one built up a wall, and, lo, others daubed it with untempered morter:
11 Say unto them which daub it with untempered morter, that it shall fall: there shall be an overflowing shower; and ye, O great hailstones, shall fall; and a stormy wind shall rend it.
12 Lo, when the wall is fallen, shall it not be said unto you, Where is the daubing wherewith ye have daubed it?
13 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; I will even rend it with a stormy wind in my fury; and there shall be an overflowing shower in mine anger, and great hailstones in my fury to consume it.
14 So will I break down the wall that ye have daubed with untempered morter, and bring it down to the ground, so that the foundation thereof shall be discovered, and it shall fall, and ye shall be consumed in the midst thereof: and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
15 Thus will I accomplish my wrath upon the wall, and upon them that have daubed it with untempered morter, and will say unto you, The wall is no more, neither they that daubed it;
16 To wit, the prophets of Israel which prophesy concerning Jerusalem, and which see visions of peace for her, and there is no peace, saith the Lord GOD.
17 Likewise, thou son of man, set thy face against the daughters of thy people, which prophesy out of their own heart; and prophesy thou against them,
18 And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe to the women that sew pillows to all armholes, and make kerchiefs upon the head of every stature to hunt souls! Will ye hunt the souls of my people, and will ye save the souls alive that come unto you?
19 And will ye pollute 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 hear your lies?
20 Wherefore thus saith the Lord GOD; 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 will let the souls go, even the souls that ye hunt to make them fly.
21 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 the LORD.
22 Because with lies ye have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad; and strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way, by promising him life:
23 Therefore ye shall see no more vanity, nor divine divinations: for I will deliver my people out of your hand: and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
Ezekiel didn't make the news; he just reported it. Here's the problem; there were these false prophets who made up their prophecies as they went - favorable prophecies despite the sins of Judah (verse 2). Ezekiel, like his fellow prophet, Jeremiah, back in Jerusalem, was constantly contending with these prophets who made up good news and passed it off to the exiles in Babylon as valid prophecies from God. Everybody likes good news. However, if your relative has terminal cancer, do you want a doctor who will tell you the truth or one who will tell you that it's just a temporary illness and restoration to health is just around the corner? That's the problem faced by both Jeremiah and Ezekiel; they competed against false prophets with favorable prophecies, yet they were false. So, here Ezekiel gets a prophecy from God against the false prophets and prophetesses. These prophetesses were gals who practiced witchcraft with their magic arm bands and head coverings (verse 18). Here's the big danger in verse 22: Their false prophecies discouraged righteousness among the people and encouraged the continuation of wickedness.
It is sobering to see the disdain God expresses through Ezekiel for these men and women who utter prophecies that were not authentic. They're just words, right? Look at verse 8, "Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye have spoken vanity, and seen lies, therefore, behold, I am against you, saith the Lord GOD." Here's a fact from chapter 13: Those who issue uninspired prophecies did and do cause great damage to their recipients. God tells Ezekiel to speak out against them in verse 17, "Likewise, thou son of man, set thy face against the daughters of thy people, which prophesy out of their own heart; and prophesy thou against them." And what's the big deal? There it is in verse 22, "Because with lies ye have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad; and strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way, by promising him life:" The big deal is that false prophecies cause people to alter their attitude and conduct in a way that is not in tune with God. This whole chapter is dedicated to the damage these false prophets were doing among the people, and Ezekiel is commanded to speak out against them. May I suggest this: When there are those who claim to be speaking by revelation from God, and they really aren't being directed by God to do so, you should read Ezekiel 13 to them! Oh...and while you're at it, throw in Ezekiel 14:9 to reinforce your point, "And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the LORD have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel."
Incidentally, Jeremiah issues a similar prophecy against the false prophets back in Jerusalem during this same period in Jeremiah 23:9-40 (see notes).
Then there are those idolatrous elders (Ezekiel 14:1-11)
1 Then came certain of the elders of Israel unto me, and sat before me.
2 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
3 Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumblingblock of their iniquity before their face: should I be enquired of at all by them?
4 Therefore speak unto them, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Every man of the house of Israel that setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to the prophet; I the LORD will answer him that cometh according to the multitude of his idols;
5 That I may take the house of Israel in their own heart, because they are all estranged from me through their idols.
6 Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations.
7 For every one of the house of Israel, or of the stranger that sojourneth in Israel, which separateth himself from me, and setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to a prophet to enquire of him concerning me; I the LORD will answer him by myself:
8 And I will set my face against that man, and will make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of my people; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
9 And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the LORD have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel.
10 And they shall bear the punishment of their iniquity: the punishment of the prophet shall be even as the punishment of him that seeketh unto him;
11 That the house of Israel may go no more astray from me, neither be polluted any more with all their transgressions; but that they may be my people, and I may be their God, saith the Lord GOD.
Some of the Jewish leaders among the exiles came and sat before Ezekiel for some counsel. What to do, what to do? I mean, their coming is good news...right? Not exactly! Here's the big issue: They did come to Ezekiel to inquire of him a word from God, but they were not willing to surrender their false gods and idols. So, we see in this passage that Ezekiel is directed by God not to give them the information they seek, but rather to deal with their disgraceful practice of idolatry instead. This idolatry had to go as a first step to any counsel from God. The one true God is not willing to run with a pack of false gods.
You will also notice that Ezekiel again mentions the culpability of the false prophets who had caused these leaders to be comfortable in their idolatry with their false prophecies of future relief and success in verses 9-11.
There's a lesson for all time here regarding God, and here it is: The first step to receiving anything from God is to have a relationship with God. When those who are lost and without Christ have needs, the very first need which supersedes all others is their need for a savior, Jesus Christ. To pray for the other needs of one who has never trusted Christ as Savior is futile and even counter productive.
Jerusalem will fall (Ezekiel 14:12-23)
12 The word of the LORD came again to me, saying,
13 Son of man, when the land sinneth against me by trespassing grievously, then will I stretch out mine hand upon it, and will break the staff of the bread thereof, and will send famine upon it, and will cut off man and beast from it:
14 Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord GOD.
15 If I cause noisome beasts to pass through the land, and they spoil it, so that it be desolate, that no man may pass through because of the beasts:
16 Though these three men were in it, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither sons nor daughters; they only shall be delivered, but the land shall be desolate.
17 Or if I bring a sword upon that land, and say, Sword, go through the land; so that I cut off man and beast from it:
18 Though these three men were in it, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither sons nor daughters, but they only shall be delivered themselves.
19 Or if I send a pestilence into that land, and pour out my fury upon it in blood, to cut off from it man and beast:
20 Though Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness.
21 For thus saith the Lord GOD; How much more when I send my four sore judgments upon Jerusalem, the sword, and the famine, and the noisome beast, and the pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast?
22 Yet, behold, therein shall be left a remnant that shall be brought forth, both sons and daughters: behold, they shall come forth unto you, and ye shall see their way and their doings: and ye shall be comforted concerning the evil that I have brought upon Jerusalem, even concerning all that I have brought upon it.
23 And they shall comfort you, when ye see their ways and their doings: and ye shall know that I have not done without cause all that I have done in it, saith the Lord GOD.
Here's an idea. Maybe a really righteous man before God could persuade God to spare Jerusalem - a man like Noah, Job or perhaps their contemporary Daniel serving Nebuchadnezzar right now (verse 14). God says, NO! The righteous can only save themselves. Though these famous men of the Bible should stand in the land on behalf of Israel, it wouldn't cause God to spare the land by overlooking the gross idolatry and worship of false gods there. Ezekiel continues to drive his point home regarding the fact that even these three righteous men couldn't intercede for the unrighteousness of Judah; the capper to this point comes in verse 21, "For thus saith the Lord GOD; How much more when I send my four sore judgments upon Jerusalem, the sword, and the famine, and the noisome beast, and the pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast?"
However, there is a bright spot in this prophecy - the remnant of verses 22-23. These are those few in Jerusalem/Judah who will stand for God and righteousness - who will not bow to false gods and idols. About these it is said in verse 23, "And they shall comfort you." One thing's for certain: Ezekiel could use a little comforting.
A vine parable (Ezekiel 15)
1 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
2 Son of man, What is the vine tree more than any tree, or than a branch which is among the trees of the forest?
3 Shall wood be taken thereof to do any work? or will men take a pin of it to hang any vessel thereon?
4 Behold, it is cast into the fire for fuel; the fire devoureth both the ends of it, and the midst of it is burned. Is it meet for any work?
5 Behold, when it was whole, it was meet for no work: how much less shall it be meet yet for any work, when the fire hath devoured it, and it is burned?
6 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; As the vine tree among the trees of the forest, which I have given to the fire for fuel, so will I give the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
7 And I will set my face against them; they shall go out from one fire, and another fire shall devour them; and ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I set my face against them.
8 And I will make the land desolate, because they have committed a trespass, saith the Lord GOD.
Israel is frequently likened to a vine (Isaiah 5:1-7, see notes; Isaiah 27:2-6, see notes; Jeremiah 2:21, see notes; Jeremiah 12:10, see notes; Ezekiel 19:10-14, see notes; Hosea 10:1, see notes). We infer a question that may have been posed to Ezekiel by the leaders of the exiles from Jerusalem: "Won't God protect his vine, Israel?" Well...Israel had taken downturns in the past, but God never allowed them to be completely destroyed; they always sprang back...like a sprout of a vine. Could it not be that a tiny sprout of a remnant back in Jerusalem would be enough to cause Jerusalem to bounce back once again?
Ezekiel takes off on this vine metaphor. The Hebrew word here for vine (gheh´-fen) indicates a branch that is only substantial when it is bearing fruit. The wood is not substantial enough for any other purpose except to fuel a fire. Therefore, when Israel is not bearing fruit, the fire of God's judgment is imminent. Bottom line: Too little too late - this time Jerusalem will be destroyed. Ezekiel 15:8 says, "And I will make the land desolate, because they have committed a trespass, saith the Lord GOD."