Ezekiel 13:4
O Israel, your prophets are like the foxes in the deserts.
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(4) Like the foxes in the deserts.—The comparison is sufficiently close if it is considered as extending only to these mischievous men living unconcerned among the ruins of their state and country, as the foxes find their home in desolated cities (Lamentations 5:18); but many extend the simile to the undermining of the ground by the foxes, as these prophets accelerated the ruin of their people.

13:1-9 Where God gives a warrant to do any thing, he gives wisdom. What they delivered was not what they had seen or heard, as that is which the ministers of Christ deliver. They were not praying prophets, had no intercourse with Heaven; they contrived how to please people, not how to do them good; they stood not against sin. They flattered people into vain hopes. Such widen the breach, by causing men to think themselves deserving of eternal life, when the wrath of God abides upon them.In the deserts - Foxes find a home among ruins etc. Lamentations 5:18. So the prophets find their profit in the ruin of their country. 4. foxes—which cunningly "spoil the vines" (So 2:15), Israel being the vineyard (Ps 80:8-15; Isa 5:1-7; 27:2; Jer 2:21); their duty was to have guarded it from being spoiled, whereas they themselves spoiled it by corruptions.

in … deserts—where there is nothing to eat; whence the foxes become so ravenous and crafty in their devices to get food. So the prophets wander in Israel, a moral desert, unrestrained, greedy of gain which they get by craft.

O Israel; a pathetical exclamation to awake Israel, both the dwellers at Jerusalem and those at Babylon.

Thy prophets, not mine, as Ezekiel 13:2.

Like the foxes; hungry and ravening, crafty and guileful, and living by their wits, but not one whit helpful to those they deceive. Such are false prophets. In the deserts, where want of prey makes them more eager of their prey, and where other devouring beasts endanger travellers, but no defence to them from foxes; these flee into their holes betimes, and leave the endangered ones. Or thus, O Israel, thou art like the desert, spoiled and robbed, and thy false prophets, like foxes hungry and hunting for some prey, live upon what they can catch, but will be no more profitable to thee than foxes are to the wilderness. O Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes of the deserts. The false prophets, as the Targum; these are called Israel's prophets, because received, embraced, and encouraged by them; not the Lord's, for they were not sent by him, nor had any messages from him; and such are comparable to foxes, for their craftiness and cunning, and lying in wait to deceive, as these seduced the Lord's people, Ezekiel 13:10; and such are false teachers, who walk in craftiness, and handle the word of God deceitfully, and are deceitful workers; and to foxes in the deserts, which are hungry and ravenous, and make a prey of whatsoever comes within their reach, as these prophets did of the people, Ezekiel 13:19. Kimchi interprets "deserts" of breaches and ruinous places in the walls of a vineyard, where the foxes lie, or through which they enter into the vineyard and spoil it; as these false prophets entered in among the Israelites, like to a vineyard, and did them much hurt and damage, by insinuating themselves among the weak, and those of little faith, which the above writer compares to breaches in vineyards; see Sol 2:15. It may be the deserts may have respect to the land of Chaldea, where Israel was carried captive, and where these foxes, the false prophets, could play their part to advantage; not being under the notice and restraints of the sanhedrim at Jerusalem. O Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes {b} in the deserts.

(b) Watching to destroy the vineyard.

4. foxes in the deserts] in the waste places, i.e. ruins. The prophets are like foxes; ruins are congenial to them; a condition of decay is their proper sphere; there they can burrow as their instincts prompt them. The main idea, however, is that their operations only increase the devastation and undermine and bring down anything that may yet be standing. In a declining and disastrous time the minds of men are excited and feed on the wildest schemes, and feeling themselves helpless they readily turn to those who pretend to speak to them in God’s name. And it only adds to their ruin when those to whom they turn have no higher wisdom than themselves.Verse 4 - Like the foxes in the deserts, etc. The points of comparison are manifold. The fox is cunning (Luke 13:32, where the term is applied to Herod Antipas). It spoils the vine and its fruits (Song of Solomon 2:15); it burrows among ruins (Nehemiah 4:3; Lamentations 5:18). So the false prophets were crafty, laid waste the vineyard of the Lord of hosts (Isaiah 5:7), made their profit out of the ruin of Israel, and made that ruin worse. The 'Reineke Fuchs,' in satirizing the monks and priests of the sixteenth century under the same comparison, presents a curious, though probably unconscious, analogue. In Matthew 7:15 and Acts 20:29 wolves appear as the types of the false prophet. Sign Depicting the Terrors and Consequences of the Conquest of Jerusalem

Ezekiel 12:17. And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Ezekiel 12:18. Son of man, thou shalt eat thy bread with quaking, and drink thy water with trembling and trouble; Ezekiel 12:19. And say to the people of the land, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, in the land of Israel, They will eat their bread in trouble, and drink their water in amazement, because her land is laid waste of all its fulness for the wickedness of all who dwell therein. Ezekiel 12:20. And the inhabited cities become desolate, and the land will be laid waste; that ye may learn that I am Jehovah. - The carrying out of this sign is not mentioned; not that there is any doubt as to its having been done, but that it is simply taken for granted. The trouble and trembling could only be expressed by means of gesture. רעשׁ, generally an earthquake or violent convulsion; here, simply shaking, synonymous with רגזה, trembling. "Bread and water" is the standing expression for food; so that even here the idea of scanty provisions is not to be sought therein. This idea is found merely in the signs of anxiety and trouble with which Ezekiel was to eat his food. אל־אדמת equals 'על־אד, "upon the land," equivalent to "in the land." This is appended to show that the prophecy does not refer to those who had already been carried into exile, but to the inhabitants of Jerusalem who were still in the land. For the subject-matter, compare Ezekiel 4:16-17. למען indicates not the intention, "in order that," but the motive, "because."

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