And the cities that are inhabited shall be laid waste, and the land shall be desolate; and you shall know that I am the LORD.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Of the inhabitants - In respect to "the inhabitants."
Desolate from, all that is therein - i. e., stripped of all its inhabitants and of all its wealth.
At one and the same time, Jeremiah was prophesying in Jerusalem, and Ezekiel in Chaldaea; the prophecies of the former were sent to the exiles, and those of Ezekiel to the dwellers at Jerusalem, that the guiding hand of One God in different places might be made clear (Jerome).The cities, the lesser cities up and down the land, which now are and will be inhabited when Jerusalem is destroyed,
shall be wasted with the sword, as the word seems to imply. Then shall you, who are now in Chaldea, know how the goodness of God brought you hither, that you had no real cause to complain that your condition was worse than your brethren’s in Judea. You shall know the truth and severity of God against sinners.
and the land shall be desolate; the whole land of Judea be destitute of men and cattle, and lie uncultivated, and become barren and unfruitful:
and ye shall know that I am the Lord; who were then captives in Babylon, as well as those who should be dispersed among the nations would; see Ezekiel 12:15.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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Ezekiel 12:1. And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Ezekiel 12:2. Son of man, thou dwellest amidst the refractory generation, who have eyes to see, and see not; and have ears to hear, and hear not; for they are a refractory generation. Ezekiel 12:3. And thou, son of man, make thyself an outfit for exile, and depart by day before their eyes; and depart from thy place to another place before their eyes: perhaps they might see, for they are a refractory generation. Ezekiel 12:4. And carry out thy things like an outfit for exile by day before their eyes; but do thou go out in the evening before their eyes, as when going out to exile. Ezekiel 12:5. Before their eyes break through the wall, and carry it out there. Ezekiel 12:6. Before their eyes take it upon thy shoulder, carry it out in the darkness; cover thy face, and look not upon the land; for I have set thee as a sign to the house of Israel. Ezekiel 12:7. And I did so as I was commanded: I carried out my things like an outfit for exile by day, and in the evening I broke through the wall with my hand; I carried it out in the darkness; I took it upon my shoulder before their eyes. - In Ezekiel 12:2 the reason is assigned for the command to perform the symbolical action, namely, the hard-heartedness of the people. Because the generation in the midst of which Ezekiel dwelt was blind, with seeing eyes, and deaf, with hearing ears, the prophet was to depict before its eyes, by means of the sign that followed, the judgment which was approaching; in the hope, as is added in Ezekiel 12:3, that they might possibly observe and lay the sign to heart. The refractoriness (בּית מרי, as in Ezekiel 2:5-6; Ezekiel 3:26, etc.) is described as obduracy, viz., having eyes, and not seeing; having ears, and not hearing, after Deuteronomy 29:3 (cf. Jeremiah 5:21; Isaiah 6:9; Matthew 13:14-15). The root of this mental blindness and deafness was to be found in obstinacy, i.e., in not willing; "in that presumptuous insolence," as Michaelis says, "through which divine light can obtain no admission." כּלי גולה, the goods (or outfit) of exile, were a pilgrim's staff and traveller's wallet, with the provisions and utensils necessary for a journey. Ezekiel was to carry these out of the house into the street in the day-time, that the people might see them and have their attention called to them. Then in the evening, after dark, he was to go out himself, not by the door of the house, but through a hole which he had broken in the wall. He was also to take the travelling outfit upon his shoulder and carry it through the hole and out of the place, covering his face all the while, that he might not see the land to which he was going. "Thy place" is thy dwelling-place. כּמוצאי : as the departures of exiles generally take place, i.e., as exiles are accustomed to depart, not "at the usual time of departure into exile," as Hהvernick proposes. For מוחא, see the comm. on Micah 5:1. בּעלטה differs from בּערב, and signifies the darkness of the depth of night (cf. Genesis 15:17); not, however, "darkness artificially produced, equivalent to, with the eyes shut, or the face covered; so that the words which follow are simply explanatory of בּעלטה," as Schmieder imagines. Such an assumption would be at variance not only with Ezekiel 12:7, but also with Ezekiel 12:12, where the covering or concealing of the face is expressly distinguished from the carrying out "in the dark." The order was to be as follows: In the day-time Ezekiel was to take the travelling outfit and carry it out into the road; then in the evening he was to go out himself, having first of all broken a hole through the wall as evening was coming on; and in the darkness of night he was to place upon his shoulders whatever he was about to carry with him, and take his departure. This he was to do, because God had made him a mōphēth for Israel: in other words, by doing this he was to show himself to be a marvellous sign to Israel. For mōphēth, see the comm. on Exodus 4:21. In Ezekiel 12:7, the execution of the command, which evidently took place in the strictness of the letter, is fully described. There was nothing impracticable in the action, for breaking through the wall did not preclude the use of a hammer or some other tool.
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