Ezekiel 33:17
Yet the children of thy 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?" Ezekiel 33:17As watchman over Israel, Ezekiel is to announce to those who are despairing of the mercy of God, that the Lord will preserve from destruction those who turn from their sin, and lead them into life. - Ezekiel 33:10. Thou then, son of man, say to the house of Israel, Ye rightly say, Our transgressions and our sins lie upon us, and in them we vanish away; how, then, can we live? Ezekiel 33:11. Say to them, As truly as I live, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah, I have no pleasure in the death of the sinner; but when the sinner turneth from his way, he shall live. Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways! for why will ye die, O house of Israel? Ezekiel 33:12. And thou, son of man, say to the sons of thy people, The righteousness of the righteous man will not deliver him in the day of his transgression, and the sinner will not fall through his sin in the day that he turneth from his sin, and the righteous man will not be able to live thereby in the day that he sinneth. Ezekiel 33:13. If I say to the righteous man that he shall live, and he relies upon his righteousness and does wrong, all his righteousnesses will not be remembered; and for his wrong that he has done, he will die. Ezekiel 33:14. If I say to the sinner, Thou shalt die, and he turns from his sin, and does justice and righteousness, Ezekiel 33:15. So that the wicked returns the pledge, restores what has been robbed, walks in the statutes of life without doing wrong, he will live, not die. Ezekiel 33:16. All his sins which he has committed shall not be remembered against him; he has done justice and righteousness, he will live. Ezekiel 33:17. And the sons of thy people say, The way of the Lord is not right; but they - their way is not right. Ezekiel 33:18. If the righteous man turneth from his righteousness and doeth wrong, he shall die thereby; Ezekiel 33:19. But if the wicked man turneth from his wickedness and doeth right and righteousness, he will live thereby. Ezekiel 33:20. And yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not right. I will judge you every one according to his ways, O house of Israel. - In Ezekiel 33:10 and Ezekiel 33:11 the prophet's calling for the future is set before him, inasmuch as God instructs him to announce to those who are in despair on account of their sins the gracious will of the Lord. The threat contained in the law (Leviticus 26:39), ימּקּוּ בּעונם, of which Ezekiel had repeatedly reminded the people with warning, and, last of all, when predicting the conquest and destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans (compare Ezekiel 4:17 and Ezekiel 24:23), had pressed heavily upon their heart, when the threatened judgment took place, so that they quote the words, not "in self-defence," as Hvernick erroneously supposes, but in despair of any deliverance. Ezekiel is to meet this despair of little faith by the announcement that the Lord has no pleasure in the death of the sinner, but desires his conversion and his life. Ezekiel had already set this word of grave before the people in Ezekiel 18:23, Ezekiel 18:32, accompanied with the summons to salvation for them to lay to heart: there, it was done to overthrow the delusion that the present generation had to atone for the sins of the fathers; but here, to lift up the hearts of those who were despairing of salvation; and for this reason it is accompanied with the asseveration (wanting in Ezekiel 18:23 and Ezekiel 18:32): "as truly as I live, saith the Lord," and with the urgent appeal to repent and turn. But in order to preclude the abuse of this word of consolation by making it a ground of false confidence in their own righteousness, Ezekiel repeats in Ezekiel 33:12-20 the principal thoughts contained in that announcement (Ezekiel 18:20-32) - namely, first of all, in Ezekiel 33:12-16, the thought that the righteousness of the righteous is of no avail to him if he gives himself up to the unrighteousness, and that the sinner will not perish on account of his sin if he turns from his wickedness and strives after righteousness (יכּשׁל , Ezekiel 33:12, as in Hosea 5:5; Jeremiah 6:15; compare Ezekiel 18:24-25, and Ezekiel 18:21, Ezekiel 18:22; and for Ezekiel 33:14 and Ezekiel 33:15, more especially Ezekiel 18:5 and Ezekiel 18:7); and then, secondly, in Ezekiel 33:17-20, the reproof of those who find fault with the way of the Lord (compare Ezekiel 18:25, Ezekiel 18:27, Ezekiel 18:29-30).
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