When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he has committed, he shall die for it.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Ezekiel 33:13. When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live — When I make him a promise of life, peace, and every blessing which he stands in need of; if he trust to his own righteousness — Formerly performed, but now abandoned; or, if he rely upon the good works he hath done, and think the worth of them will overbalance the guilt of his evil deeds; which seems to have been the opinion of the later Jews, who lay it down for a rule in their Mishna, That all Israel shall have a share in the world to come. All his righteousness shall not be remembered, &c. — He shall come again under the guilt of all his past sins, and shall be exposed to condemnation and wrath: see notes on Ezekiel 18:24-29. It is evidently signified here, that to trust in our own righteousness, whether internal or external, whether graces or virtues, past or present, or to entertain high thoughts of our own attainments in religion, and to put confidence therein, is one step toward a fall, and generally issues in apostacy.Ezekiel 33:1-20, compare Ezekiel 18 notes. The righteous; who hath in his life that is past kept the law and forborne evil, hath done what is right and good, and not done what is evil, both which parts of this righteousness are described in Eze. xviii, 5-9.
He shall surely live; make him promise of doing him good, and giving him life, peace, every blessing, and happiness. If he trust to his own righteousness; if he conclude former righteousness is sufficient, and therefore turn to ways of sin, pleasing to an evil heart.
Commit iniquity; give himself to doing evil, as it were his work.
Shall not be remembered; no regard shall be had to what he had done, he doth himself practically renounce it, and interpretatively recant his doing it.
His iniquity that he hath committed; in his apostacy and backslidden state.
He shall die; shall be punished, his comforts shall be taken away or die in his hand, he shall live and die miserably.
For it; his iniquity and punishment of it, and this is emphatically repeated, as Ezekiel 18:26.
but if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity; as he will by trusting to it; if he trusts to it for acceptance with God, and justification in his sight, and thinks himself proof against all temptation to sin on account of it; and that he has righteousness enough to make amends for sins committed, or for other sins he may commit; and which he may venture upon through this false notion, and so be led on to an open course of sinning, and series of committing iniquity:
all his righteousness shall not be remembered; God will take no notice of it; it shall be of no avail to justify him from sin, and secure him from wrath; it will be as if it never had been:
but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it; an eternal death, which is the just wages of sin; from which a man's own righteousness can never deliver him, though the righteousness of Christ does deliver from it; see Proverbs 10:2.When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)13. Cf. Ezekiel 3:20, Ezekiel 18:24.Ezekiel 32:7. When I extinguish thee, I will cover the sky and darken its stars; I will cover the sun with cloud, and the moon will not cause its light to shine. Ezekiel 32:8. All the shining lights in the sky do I darken because of thee, and I bring darkness over thy land, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. Ezekiel 32:9. And I will trouble the heart of many nations when I bring out thine overthrow among the nations into lands which thou knowest not, Ezekiel 32:10. And I will make many nations amazed at thee, and their kings shall shudder at thee when I brandish my sword before their face; and they shall tremble every moment, every one for his life on the day of his fall. - The thought of Ezekiel 32:7 and Ezekiel 32:8 is not exhausted by the paraphrase, "when thou art extinguished, all light will be extinguished, so far as Egypt is concerned," accompanied with the remark, that the darkness consequent thereupon is a figurative representation of utterly hopeless circumstances (Schmieder). The thought on which the figure rests is that of the day of the Lord, the day of God's judgment, on which the lights of heaven lose their brightness (cf. Ezekiel 30:3 and Joel 2:10, etc.). This day bursts upon Egypt with the fall of Pharaoh, and on it the shining stars of heaven are darkened, so that the land of Pharaoh becomes dark. Egypt is a world-power represented by Pharaoh, which collapses with his fall. But the overthrow of this world-power is an omen and prelude of the overthrow of every ungodly world-power on the day of the last judgment, when the present heaven and the present earth will perish in the judgment-fire. Compare the remarks to be found in the commentary on Joel 3:4 upon the connection between the phenomena of the heavens and great catastrophes on earth. The contents of both verses may be fully explained from the biblical idea of the day of the Lord and the accompanying phenomena; and for the explanation of בּכבּותך, there is no necessity to assume, as Dereser and Hitzig have done, that the sea-dragon of Egypt is presented here under the constellation of a dragon; for there is no connection between the comparison of Egypt to a tannim or sea-dragon, in Ezekiel 32:2 and Ezekiel 29:3 ( equals רהב, Isaiah 51:9), and the constellation of the dragon (see the comm. on Isaiah 51:9 and Isaiah 30:7). In בּכבּותך Pharaoh is no doubt regarded as a star of the first magnitude in the sky; but in this conception Ezekiel rests upon Isaiah 14:12, where the king of Babylon is designated as a bright morning-star. That this passage was in the prophet's mind, is evident at once from the fact that Ezekiel 32:7 coincides almost verbatim with Isaiah 13:10. - The extinction and obscuration of the stars are not merely a figurative representation of the mourning occasioned by the fall of Pharaoh; still less can Ezekiel 32:9 and Ezekiel 32:10 be taken as an interpretation in literal phraseology of the figurative words in Ezekiel 32:7 and Ezekiel 32:8. For Ezekiel 32:9 and Ezekiel 32:10 do not relate to the mourning of the nations, but to anxiety and terror into which they are plunged by God through the fall of Pharaoh and his might. הכעיס , to afflict the heart, does not mean to make it sorrowful, but to fill it with anxiety, to deprive it of its peace and cheerfulness. "When I bring thy fall among the nations" is equivalent to "spread the report of thy fall." Consequently there is no need for either the arbitrary alteration of שׁברך into שׂברך, which Ewald proposes, with the imaginary rendering announcement or report; nor for the marvellous assumption of Hvernick, that שׁברך describes the prisoners scattered among the heathen as the ruins of the ancient glory of Egypt, in support of which he adduces the rendering of the lxx αἰχμαλωσίαν σου, which is founded upon the change of שׁברך into שׁביך. For Ezekiel 32:10 compare Ezekiel 27:35. עופף, to cause to fly, to brandish. The sword is brandished before their face when it falls time after time upon their brother the king of Egypt, whereby they are thrown into alarm for their own lives. לרגעים, by moments equals every moment (see the comm. on Isaiah 27:3).
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