They have seen vanity and lying divination, saying, The LORD said: and the LORD has not sent them: and they have made others to hope that they would confirm the word.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)They have made others to hope.—Omit the word “others,” which is not in the original, and translate, “The Lord hath not sent them that they should hope”—i.e., they have no ground to expect that their prophecies will prove true, because they have no warrant for uttering them.
EXCURSUS D: ON CHAPTER 13:6, 7, AND 17.
In these verses a broad and crucial distinction is made between the self-imagined vision and that which is sent from the Lord. It may be that in this case the prophets and prophetesses were untrue to their own convictions, and wilfully declared what they knew to be false; or it may be that they simply uttered as God’s message that which they had persuaded themselves would be the issue. This point is not entirely clear from the passage, and is of secondary importance. What deserves to be carefully noted is the difference here made between subjective views of truth—that which conies “out of their own heart”—and those objective communications which God gave to His true prophets. This distinction has a most important bearing upon the whole subject of revelation, and establishes clearly the fact that the Scriptures look upon it as something expressly communicated to their writers, and not as a thing which could be the result of their own thought and reflection. He, therefore, who puts “Thus saith the Lord” before that which God has not in some objective way made known to him, must fall under the condemnation pronounced here and elsewhere upon “the prophet which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak” (Deuteronomy 18:20).Ezekiel 13:6-9. They have seen vanity and lying divinations — They have uttered false prophecies concerning peace and prosperity, pretending to have seen that which they did not see, and producing that as a divine truth which they knew to be a detestable lie. They have made others — Who were so simple as to believe them; to hope that they would confirm the word — Or rather, that the word would be confirmed. Their speaking with so much assurance made others confidently expect that the event would answer their predictions, and that the judgments which the true prophets had threatened in the name of God would never come, whereby they hardened those in sin whom they ought to have endeavoured to bring to repentance. Therefore, because ye have spoken vanity — Have uttered mere fictions and lies, with a view to your own advantage. Behold, I am against you, saith the Lord God — And who can be for you when I am against you? And my hand shall be upon the prophets — My power striking them so, that it shall be evident they fall under my displeasure; as Pelatiah, Ezekiel 11:13, and Hananiah, Jeremiah 28:15. They shall not be in the assembly of my people — Of those who shall hereafter worship me in Jerusalem; or, in the secret council of those who shall consult on public affairs. They shall not be members of my church here, nor partake of the communion of saints hereafter. The Hebrew word סוד, here rendered assembly, properly signifies a secret assembly, or privy council; such as are acquainted with the secret intents and purposes of their prince. Hence it is applied to God’s chosen people, those that are acquainted with the whole counsel of God, and whom he instructs and directs by his Holy Spirit: see notes on Psalm 25:14; Jeremiah 23:18. The prophet, therefore, here tells these men who pretended to know so much of the secrets of the Almighty that they should never be of the number of those favourites of heaven to whom God would reveal himself and his counsels. Neither shall they be written, &c. — The sense of this clause is nearly the same with that of the preceding; the words containing an allusion to the registers usually kept of the members of cities or corporations, to the privileges of which societies none are admitted but they whose names are entered into such registers. The false prophets, it seems, promised a speedy return to the exiles; God, therefore, tells them that they should never live to see it, nor should their names be entered into the register of those that should return home. Neither shall they enter into the land of Israel —
They shall never see their own country again, nor shall they have a share in the blessings peculiar to true Israelites: see Lowth.They have seen; they pretend to have seen, but still they see nothing, as Ezekiel 13:2. The prophet speaks as if indeed they had seen, but the very censure of the things they said they saw clears it, that all was but pretence.
Vanity and lying divination; things that have no ground or foundation, and which will never be, and are therefore called vanity and lying divinations.
The Lord saith; foretelleth and promiseth.
Hath not sent them; never revealed any such thing to them, or bade them tell the Jews any such thing.
They have made others; by their pretences and arguments they have wheedled some into a belief of their word, and into a hope of that they promise; and so the credulous Jew is undone by his prophet, who tells him all is well, and needs no alteration, and all will be well, and they need fear no desolation.
saying the Lord saith: and the Lord hath not sent them; they came to the people with a lie in their mouths, giving out that the Lord spoke by them; when they had no mission from him; nor any commission to say what they did; or any warrant from him for their prophecies:
and they have made others to hope that they would confirm the word; or, "that the word would be confirmed" (e); that what was said by them would have its accomplishment; and that their prophecies would be fulfilled. By their solemn way of speaking; by the use they made of the name of the Lord; by the strong assurances they gave, and by their frequent repetition of their predictions, the people were brought to hope and believe that the event would answer to what they said; wherefore, instead of bringing them to a sense of their sins, and repentance for them, whereby the judgments of God would have been prevented, they hardened them in them, and hastened their ruin.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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)6, 7. Their prophecies are false: they are self-deceived
6. have made others to hope] Rather: they have hoped for the confirmation of the word. The usual sense of the verb is to “hope;” only in a single passage (Psalm 119:49) does it appear to mean to “cause to hope.” The false prophets looked for the confirmation (in fulfilment) of their prophecies and visions—they were self-deceived, not consciously false. Prophecy being an inward thing, a speaking by the spirit in the mind and to the mind, there was no external criterion, and while the true prophet had the witness in himself that he was true, the false prophet might not be aware that he was false (Jeremiah 23:21; Jeremiah 23:31). It is an interesting question what kind of mental experience the true prophet had, which verified to him his own genuineness.
Ezekiel 13:8-9. Chastisement from Jehovah upon these prophets.
Because these prophets speak falsely Jehovah is against them, for he is the living and the true (Ezekiel 13:8); but that which God is against must speedily feel the effects of his opposition—his hand will be upon them (Ezekiel 13:9). There is no inert, inoperative opposition on God’s part. The sweep of his operation is so vast that its movement may be unperceived, as the earth appears to stand still, though moving with inconceivable rapidity, but its effect will become apparent.Verse 6. - The Lord saith. The verb is that specially used for the utterance of prophets, and the deceivers used it without the authority of a true mission. For they have made others (or, men) to hope, etc., as in the Authorized Version and Revised Version, read, with the margin of Revised Version, they hope to confirm their word, taking the verb as in Psalm 119:43, 49; Job 6:11, et al.). So the Vulgate, persereraverunt confirmare. Through deceiving others, they came to deceive themselves, and were really expecting a fulfilment.
The scepticism of the people as to the fulfilment of these threatening prophecies, which had been made still more emphatic by signs, manifested itself in two different ways. Some altogether denied that the prophecies would ever be fulfilled (Ezekiel 12:22); others, who did not go so far as this, thought that it would be a long time before they came to pass (Ezekiel 12:27). These doubts were fed by the lying statements of false prophets. For this reason the refutation of these sceptical opinions (Ezekiel 12:21-28) is followed in the next chapter by a stern reproof of the false prophets and prophetesses who led the people astray. - Ezekiel 12:21. And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Ezekiel 12:22. Son of man, what kind of proverb have ye in the land of Israel, that ye say, The days become long, and every prophecy comes to nothing? Ezekiel 12:23. Therefore say to them, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, I will put an end to this saying, and they shall say it no more in Israel; but say to them, The days are near, and the word of every prophecy. Ezekiel 12:24. For henceforth there shall be no vain prophecy and flattering soothsaying in the midst of the house of Israel. Ezekiel 12:25. For I am Jehovah; I speak; the word which I speak will come to pass, and no longer be postponed; for in your days, O refractory generation, I speak a word and do it, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. - Mâshâl, a proverb, saying current among the people, and constantly repeated as a truth. "The days become long," etc., i.e., the time is lengthening out, and yet the prophecy is not being fulfilled. אבד, perire, to come to nothing, to fail of fulfilment, is the opposite of בּוא, to come, to be fulfilled. God will put an end to these sayings, by causing a very speedy fulfilment of the prophecy. The days are near, and every word of the prophecy, i.e., the days in which every word predicted shall come to pass. The reason for this is given in Ezekiel 12:24 and Ezekiel 12:25, in two co-ordinate sentences, both of which are introduced with כּי. First, every false prophecy shall henceforth cease in Israel (Ezekiel 12:24); secondly, God will bring about the fulfilment of His own word, and that without delay (Ezekiel 12:25). Different explanations have been given of the meaning of Ezekiel 12:24. Kliefoth proposes to take שׁוא and מקסם as the predicate to חזון: no prophecy in Israel shall be vain and flattering soothsaying, but all prophecy shall become true, i.e., be fulfilled. Such an explanation, however, is not only artificial and unnatural, since מקסם would be inserted as a predicate in a most unsuitable manner, but it contains this incongruity, that God would apply the term מקסם, soothsaying, to the predictions of prophets inspired by Himself. On the other hand, there is no force in the objection raised by Kliefoth to the ordinary rendering of the words, namely, that the statement that God was about to put an end to false prophecy in Israel would anticipate the substance of the sixth word of God (i.e., Ezekiel 13). It is impossible to see why a thought should not be expressed here, and then still further expanded in Ezekiel 13. חלק, smooth, i.e., flattering (compare Hosea 10:2; and for the prediction, Zechariah 13:4-5). The same reply serves also to overthrow the sceptical objection raised by the frivolous despisers of the prophet's words. Hence there is only a brief allusion made to them in Ezekiel 12:26-28. - Ezekiel 12:26. And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Ezekiel 12:27. Son of man, behold, the house of Israel saith, The vision that he seeth is for many days off, and he prophesies for distant times. Ezekiel 12:28. Therefore say to them, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, All my words shall be no longer postponed: the word which I shall speak shall come to pass, saith the Lord Jehovah. - The words are plain; and after what has already been said, they need no special explanation. Ezekiel 12:20 compare with Ezekiel 12:25.
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