Ezekiel 33:17
Yet the children of your people say, The way of the Lord is not equal: but as for them, their way is not equal.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
33:10-20 Those who despaired of finding mercy with God, are answered with a solemn declaration of God's readiness to show mercy. The ruin of the city and state was determined, but that did not relate to the final state of persons. God says to the righteous, that he shall surely live. But many who have made profession, have been ruined by proud confidence in themselves. Man trusts to his own righteousness, and presuming on his own sufficiency, he is brought to commit iniquity. If those who have lived a wicked life repent and forsake their wicked ways, they shall be saved. Many such amazing and blessed changes have been wrought by the power of Divine grace. When there is a settled separation between a man and sin, there shall no longer be a separation between him and God.Again - And. For Ezekiel 33:1-20, compare Ezekiel 18 notes. 17. The way of the Lord—The Lord's way of dealing in His moral government. These impious, obstinate quarrellers will accuse and do condemn the just and holy God, that they may acquit themselves. See this verse explained, See Poole "Ezekiel 18:25", See Poole "Ezekiel 18:29". Yet the children of thy people say,.... "Not my people"; for surely the children of God could never say what follows; and one would think that even no man could say it, after so much had been said by the Lord concerning the righteous and the wicked, and his dealings with them, which must appear to be just and right, good and gracious; and yet such were the atheism, the perverseness and peevishness of these people, they went on to say as they had done before:

the way of the Lord is not equal: is not according to the rules of justice and equity. The Targum is,

"the ways of the goodness of the Lord are not made plain (or exposed) unto us.''

The answer to which is,

but, as for them, their way is not equal; according to the rule of the divine word; as for God, his way and methods, both of providence and grace, were right and good; See Gill on Ezekiel 18:25.

Yet the children of thy people say, The way of the Lord is not equal: but as for them, their way is not equal.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
17. Cf. Ezekiel 18:25; Ezekiel 18:29.Verse 17. - The way of the Lord is not equal. The prophet now proclaims what he had been taught, perhaps then, without proclaiming it, in Ezekiel 18:25-30. Men are dealt with by the Divine Judge, not as their fathers have Been before them, not even as they themselves have been in times past, but exactly as they are. Where could there be a more perfect rule of equity? The question how far Ezekiel thinks of the judgment itself as final, whether there is the possibility of repentance and pardon after it has fallen, and during its continuance, is not directly answered. He is speaking, we must remember, of a judgment on this side the grave, and therefore what we call the problems of eschatology were not before him. But the language of the document which lies at the basis of his theology (Leviticus 26:41) asserts that if men repented and, "accepted" their earthly punishment, then Jehovah would remember his covenant, and would not destroy them utterly. And his own language as to Sodom and Samaria (Ezekiel 16:53) indicates a leaning to the wider hope. If the problems of the unseen world had been brought before him, we may believe that he would have dealt with them as with those with which he actually came in contact, and that there also his words would have been, "O house of Israel, O sons of men, are not my ways equal? are not your ways unequal?" The judgment upon Egypt will be executed by the king of Babylon. - Ezekiel 32:11. For thus saith the Lord Jehovah, The sword of the king of Babylon will come upon thee. Ezekiel 32:12. By swords of heroes will I cause thy tumult to fall, violent ones of the nations are they all, and will lay waste the pride of Egypt, and all its tumult will be destroyed. Ezekiel 32:13. And I will cut off all its cattle from the great waters, that no foot of man may disturb them any more, nor any hoof of cattle disturb them. Ezekiel 32:14. Then will I cause their waters to settle and their streams to flow like oil, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah, Ezekiel 32:15. When I make the land of Egypt a desert, and the land is made desolate of its fulness, because I smite all the inhabitants therein, and they shall know that I am Jehovah. Ezekiel 32:16. A lamentatoin (mournful ode) is this, and they will sing it mournfully; the daughters of the nations will sing it mournfully, over Egypt and over all its tumult will they sing it mournfully, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. - In this concluding strophe the figurative announcement of the preceding one is summed up briefly in literal terms; and toward the close (Ezekiel 32:14) there is a slight intimation of a better future. The destruction of the proud might of Egypt will be effected through the king of Babylon and his brave and violent hosts. עריצי גּוים, as in Ezekiel 31:12 (see the comm. on Ezekiel 28:7). המון in Ezekiel 32:12 and Ezekiel 32:13 must not be restricted to the multitude of people. It signifies tumult, and embraces everything in Egypt by which noise and confusion were made (as in Ezekiel 31:2 and Ezekiel 31:18); although the idea of a multitude of people undoubtedly predominates in the use of המון in Ezekiel 32:12. גּאון , the pride of Egypt, is not that of which Egypt is proud, but whatever is proud or exalts itself in Egypt. The utter devastation of Egypt includes the destruction of the cattle, i.e., of the numerous herds which fed on the grassy banks of the Nile and were driven to the Nile to drink (cf. Genesis 47:6; Genesis 41:2.; Exodus 9:3); and this is therefore specially mentioned in Ezekiel 32:13, with an allusion to the consequence thereof, namely, that the waters of the Nile would not be disturbed any more either by the foot of man or hoof of beast (compare Ezekiel 32:13 with Ezekiel 29:11). The disturbing of the water is mentioned with evident reference to Ezekiel 32:2, where Pharaoh is depicted as a sea-monster, which disturbs the streams of water. The disturbance of the water is therefore a figurative representation of the wild driving of the imperial power of Egypt, by which the life-giving streams of the nations were stirred up.

Ezekiel 32:14. Then will God cause the waters of Egypt to sink. Hitzig and Kliefoth understand this as signifying the diminution of the abundance of water in the Nile, which had previously overflowed the land and rendered it fertile, but for which there was no further purpose now. According to this explanation, the words would contain a continued picture of the devastation of the land. But this is evidently a mistake, for the simple reason that it is irreconcilable with the אז, by which the thought is introduced. אז, tunc, is more precisely defined by 'בּתתּי וגו in Ezekiel 32:15 as the time when the devastation has taken place; whereas Kliefoth takes the 15th verse, in opposition both to the words and the usage of the language, as the sequel to Ezekiel 32:14, or in other words, regards בּתתּי as synonymous with ונתתּי. The verse contains a promise, as most of the commentators, led by the Chaldee and Jerome, have correctly assumed.

(Note: The explanation of Jerome is the following: "Then will purest waters, which had been disturbed by the sway of the dragon, be restored not by another, but by the Lord Himself; so that their streams flow like oil, and are the nutriment of true light.")

השׁקיע, to make the water sink, might no doubt signify in itself a diminution of the abundance of water. But if we consider the context, in which reference is made to the disturbance of the water through its being trodden with the feet (Ezekiel 32:13), השׁקיע can only signify to settle, i.e., to become clear through the sinking to the bottom of the slime which had been stirred up (cf. Ezekiel 34:18). The correctness of this explanation is confirmed by the parallel clause, to make their streams flow with oil. To understand this as signifying the slow and gentle flow of the diminished water, would introduce a figure of which there is no trace in Hebrew. Oil is used throughout the Scriptures as a figurative representation of the divine blessing, or the power of the divine Spirit. כּשׁמן, like oil, according to Hebrew phraseology, is equivalent to "like rivers of oil." And oil-rivers are not rivers which flow quietly like oil, but rivers which contain oil instead of water (cf. Job 29:6), and are symbolical of the rich blessing of God (cf. Deuteronomy 32:13). The figure is a very appropriate one for Egypt, as the land is indebted to the Nile for all its fertility. Whereas its water had been stirred up and rendered turbid by Pharaoh; after the fall of Pharaoh the Lord will cause the waters of the stream, which pours its blessings upon the land, to purify themselves, and will make its streams flow with oil. The clarified water and flowing oil are figures of the life-giving power of the word and Spirit of God. But this blessing will not flow to Egypt till its natural power is destroyed. Ewald has therefore given the following as the precise meaning of Ezekiel 32:14 : "The Messianic times will then for the first time dawn on Egypt, when the waters no more become devastating and turbid, that is to say, through the true knowledge to which the chastisement leads." Ezekiel 32:16 "rounds off the passage by turning back to Ezekiel 32:2" (Hitzig). The daughters of the nations are mentioned as the singers, because mourning for the dead was for the most part the business of women (cf. Jeremiah 9:16). The words do not contain a summons to the daughters of the nations to sing the lamentation, but the declaration that they will do it, in which the thought is implied that the predicted devastation of Egypt will certainly occur.

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