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it, they [are] the flesh, and this [city is] the caldron : but Í will bring you forth out of the midst of it; the dead shall be all that are left in the city, you shall neither be secure, nor shall you 8 die there, but be reserved for another punishment. Ye have feared the sword, and pretended that as a reason why you did not surrender; and I will bring a sword upon you, saith the Lord GOD. And I will bring you out of the midst thereof, where you think yourselves most secure, and deliver you into the hands of strangers, and will execute judgments among you; the strangers whom you feared, and to whom you would not subio mit, shall overcome you. Ye shall fall by the sword; I will
judge you in the border of Israel; and ye shall know that I 11 [am] the LORD. This [city] shall not be your caldron, neither shall ye be the flesh in the midst thereof; [but] I will judge you in the border of Israel; the city (the caldron) as well as you shall be destroyed; which was fulfilled when Nebtchadnezzar condemned and executed the princes and nobles of 12 Israel in Riblah, on the borders of Israel, Jer. lii. 9, 10. And
ye shall know that I [am] the LORD: for ye have not walked in my statutes, neither executed my judgments, but have done after the manners of the heathen that [are] round about you; have practised their abominable idolatries, and therefore you cannot wonder that I should forsake you.
And it came to pass, when I prophesied, that Pelatiah the son of Benaiah died; he seemed to me in vision to be struck dead; a certain sign that his death would quickly follow. Then fell I down upon my face, and cried with a loud voice, and said, Ah Lord GOD! wilt thou make a full end of the remnant of Israel? wilt thou take them all away by the stroke of thy vengeance ?
14 Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 15 Son of man, thy brethren, [even thy brethren,] the men of thy kindred, or, thy fellow captives, and all the house of Israel wholly, even all of them, [are] they unto whom the inhabitants of Jerusalem have said, Get you far from the LORD: unto us is this land given in possession; they looked upon the captives as apostates, because they had surrendered to the Chaldeans; they thought that God had disowned them, because they were in a strange land, and that themselves were the only people of God, 16 because they were left at Jerusalem. Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Although I have cast them far off among the heathen, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet will I be to them as a little sanctuary, suited to their number and circumstances, in the countries where they shall come; they shall enjoy my presence, have opportunities of converse with me in Babylon, though far from the Jewish sunt17 tuary. Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord God; I will even gather you, as a precious commodity, from the people, and as
semble you, as an honourable body, out of the countries where ye have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel, 18 you shall have the grant and promise of it. And they shall come thither, their posterity shall possess it, and they shall take away all the detestable things thereof, and all the abominations thereof from thence; their captivity shall be the means of cur19 ing them of idolatry, which it actually did. And I will give them one heart, entirely for God, and not divided, and I will put a new spirit within you, new dispositions, or, an excellent spirit; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh, a serious, humble, tender, and 20 obedient heart: That they may walk in my statutes, or moral
law, and keep mine ordinances, the ordinances of religious worship, and do them and they shall be my people, and I will be their God; I will renew my covenant with them, though they 21 now seem to be cast off. But [as for them] whose heart walk
eth after the heart of their detestable things and their abominations, who love idolatry as well as they formerly did, I will recompense their way upon their own heads, saith the Lord GOD; I will show my justice upon such, and there needs nothing more to make them miserable.
Then did the cherubims lift up their wings, and the wheels beside them; and the glory of the God of Israel [was] over 23 them above. And the glory of the LORD went up from the midst of the city, and stood upon the mountain which [is] on the east side of the city; the Shekinah came first out of the most holy place into the holy, then to the threshold, then to the court, then to the gate of the house, and then to the mount of Olives; thus it gradually departed, and showed that their glory would soon be gone.
Afterwards the spirit took me up, and brought me in a vision by the Spirit of God into Chaldea, to them of the cap25 tivity. So the vision that I had seen went up from me. Then I
spake unto them of the captivity all the things that the LORD had showed me; Ifaithfully related what God had shown to me.*
NE source of the obstinacy and ruin of sinners is, their supposing that the judgments of God are at a distance. It is not near us, &c. Thus men now believe that though death
• This would be an encouragement to those captives who might repent of their surrendering and going to Babylon, while Jerusalem held out; it would teach them not to be troubled at the insults and sneers of their brethren; nor to expect redemption till the seventy years were completed. It is very likely that an account of this vision was sent to Jerusalem, as they had a correspondence with it; and it would have been happy for the Jews there if they had taken the warning.
and judgment will come, they are not near. They put afar off the evil day, and therefore say, Let us build houses, follow the world, enjoy our pleasures, and defer religion; we shall have time enough to repent, reform, and be wise hereafter. By this means the arguments taken from the solemnity and awful conse quences of death and judgment lose much of their force. But the folly of their conduct is most apparent, for they may be near, even at the door; and it is the duty of ministers to prophesy a gainst such triflers, and in the plainest and most rousing terms to . give them warning.
2. Let us impress this thought upon our hearts, that God knows the things that come into our minds, every one of them: not only actions and words, but thoughts; even the most transient; what men think and intend, what impressions are upon their imagina tions, what pains are taken to cherish good thoughts, and to banish bad ones. And as he knows, so he remembers and will judge them. May we then keep our hearts with all diligence: let no vain imaginations lodge within us: but let us approve all our thoughts to the heartsearching God.
3. God's promises to the captive Jews, speak encouragement to those who are necessarily hindered from his house and worship. I say necessarily, for those who forsake the assembling of themselves together without necessity, have no claim to it. He engages to be to such a little sanctuary; to visit, instruct, comfort, and accept them in their private meetings, as much as if they were at the temple in Jerusalem. And God will be a little church to his people when confined by sickness, in the care of young children, or other necessary avocations. If their spirits be serious and devout, he will grant them the tokens of his presence, the teachings of his Spirit, and communicate strength and comfort to them, though their brethren may censure or despise them. Persons in such circumstances should guard their spirits; improve their solitude well, and employ their secret hours, even at home, as much as possible in sacred and sabbath work.
4. The greatest of God's favours is a pious, tender heart; when its natural hardness is subdued; corrupt dispositions rooted out; and the whole heart is for God and religion, tenderly affected with divine things, and fearful of sin. The best proof of possessing such a heart is walking in God's statutes, and keeping his or. dinances. It is happy when afflictions produce such a temper ; when a change of condition is attended with a suitable change of heart. Without this, there can be no well grounded hope of possessing the better country: and this must be sought of God; for he alone can create in us a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within us.
As some of the captives in Babylon regretted leaving Judea, and thought that by Zedekiah's continued reign, or the king of Baby lon's being overcome, they might return to their own land; this chapter is designed to show them that those who were left at Jerusalem should soon be in a worse condition than they.
1 HE word of the LORD also came unto me, saying, Son
which have eyes to see, and see not; they have ears to hear, and hear not for they [are] a rebellious house; they do not use their understanding, are many of them rebellious, and encourage the Jews at Jerusalem to hold out, contrary to God's 3 command. Therefore, thou son of man, prepare thee stuff for removing, and remove by day in their sight; and thou shalt remove from thy place to another place in their sight: it may be they will consider, though they [be] a rebellious house; pack up thy goods, as if going to remove, and do it by day, that 4 all may see thee and consider it. Then shalt thou bring forth
thy stuff by day in their sight, as stuff for removing and thou shalt go forth at even in their sight as they that go 5 forth into captivity. Dig thou through the wall in their sight, and carry out thereby. In their sight shalt thou bear [it] upon [thy] shoulders, [and] carry [it] forth in the twilight thou shalt cover thy face, that thou see not the ground: for I have set thee [for] a sign unto the house of Israel; thou shalt steal away quietly, as if afraid to be seen, and through the wall, because the enemy surrounds the gate and this shall be a sign that the inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be glad to escape any 7 how. And I did so as I was commanded: I brought forth my stuff by day, as stuff for captivity, and in the even I digged through the wall with mine hand; I brought [it] forth in the twilight, [and] I bare [it] upon [my] shoulder in their 8 sight. And in the morning came the word of the LORD unto 9 me, saying, Son of man, hath not the house of Israel, the rebellious house, said unto thee, What doest thou? It was natural for them to make the inquiry, and a strange instance of stu10 pidity if they did not. Say thou unto them, Thus saith the Lord GoD; This burden [concerneth] the prince in Jerusalem, from whom the captives have such high expectations, and 11 all the house of Israel that [are] among them. Say, I [am]
your sign like as I have done, so shall it be done unto them: 12 they shall remove [and] go into captivity. And the prince that [is] among them shall bear upon [his] shoulder in the twilight his valuable things or necessary provisions, and shall go forth they shall dig through the wall to carry out there
by: he shall cover his face, that he see not the ground with [his] eyes, and that he be not discovered, which was exactly 13 the case with Zedekiah. My net also will I spread upon him,
and he shall be taken in my snare and I will bring him to Babylon, [to] the land of the Chaldeans; yet shall he not see 14 it, though he shall die there.* And I will scatter toward every wind all that [are] about him to help him, and all his bands, or guards, so that they shall not be able to rally their forces for his deliverance, and I will draw out the sword after them. 15 And they shall know that I [am] the LORD, when I shall scat
ter them among the nations, and disperse them in the coun16 tries. But I will leave a few men of them from the sword, from the famine, and from the pestilence; that they may declare all their abominations among the heathen whither they come; and they shall know that I [am] the LORD; some, though but few, shall remain; they shall be humbled, make an ingenuous confession of their sin, justify my proceedings against them, and thus give glory to the Lord.
17 18 Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, Son of man, eat thy bread with quaking, and drink thy water with trembling and with carefulness; look with an air of anxiety and terror, as if expecting that some one would come and take it 19 away, or that it would be thy last; And say unto the people of the land, Thus saith the Lord God of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, [and] of the land of Israel; They shall eat their bread with carefulness, and drink their water with astonishment, that her land may be desolate from all that is therein, or rather, so that the land shall be desolate, there shall be no fulness thereof, because of the violence of all them that dwell there20 in. And the cities that are inhabited shall be laid waste, and the land shall be desolate; and ye shall know that I [am] the LORD.
21 22 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, what [is] that proverb [that] ye have in the land of Israel, saying, The days are prolonged, and every vision faileth? are prolonged beyond what the prophets foretold, and therefore there is no dependence to be placed upon any vision. 23 Tell them therefore, Thus saith the Lord God; I will make
this proverb to cease, and they shall no more use it as a proverb in Israel; but say unto them, The days are at hand, and the 24 effect of every vision; every vision shall take effect. For there
shall be no more any vain vision nor flattering divination with
This is a remarkable prediction; he was taken and brought to the king of Babylon at Riblah; there sentence was given against him as a rebel, and his eyes were put out; he was then carried to Babylon, and died there, but he did not see it, 2 Kings xxv. 5—7. Josephus tells us that Zedekiah thought this prophecy of Ezekiel inconsistent with that of Jeremiah, xxxiv. 3. and resolved to believe neither. Both however were literally ful filled, and the event convinced him that they were not irreconcilcable. Thus, blinded by infidelity, sinners rush on to that destruction against which they have been sufficiently warned.