Ezekiel 33:30
Also, thou son of man, the children of thy people still are talking against thee by the walls and in the doors of the houses, and speak one to another, every one to his brother, saying, Come, I pray you, and hear what is the word that cometh forth from the LORD.
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(30) The children of thy people.—The few remaining verses of this chapter are concerned with those in exile—perhaps not so much those who had been with Ezekiel all along as fresh captives of a worse moral character now just brought from Jerusalem. Yet of them all alike it was still true that they were much more ready to listen with deferential air to the words of the prophet than to take them to their hearts and act upon them in their life. The prophet is here warned (Ezekiel 33:30-33) not to be misled by the apparent compliance of the people, as he had been before strengthened against their opposition (Ezekiel 3:8-9); but it must have carried a pang deep into his heart to know how superficial was the effect of those labours to which he had devoted himself with such faithfulness.

Against thee.—Rather, of thee. The people are not represented as opposed to Ezekiel, but rather as enjoying his eloquence, and talking about him as they met one another, but without any serious effort to follow his counsels—much like the treatment of a popular preacher by his people at the present day.

By the walls and in the doors.—Better, within the walls. The meaning is, both privately and publicly.

Ezekiel 33:30-32. The children of thy people — Those of the captivity; still are talking against thee — Or rather, of thee, as the LXX. rightly render it; for with their mouths they showed much love, as it follows in the next verse. By the walls and in the doors of their houses — Both in their public places of concourse, and in their private meetings. And speak one to another, saying, Come, &c. — These were such as drew nigh to God with their mouths, but their hearts were far from him, as Isaiah describes their hypocrisy, Isaiah 29:13; and they come unto thee as the people cometh — Or, as disciples flock to their teachers: so the Chaldee paraphrase explains it. They make a profession of great regard to piety and virtue, and express a great esteem for thee, but at the same time they indulge themselves in sin and wickedness. And lo! thou art unto them as a very lovely song, &c. — They come to hear thee for their entertainment, not for their edification, in the spirit in which many go to hear noted and eloquent preachers. St. Austin tells us, that he himself was such an auditor of St. Ambrose before he was converted, Confess., 50. 5. c. 12; “I heard him diligently when he discoursed in the congregation, but not with that application of mind which I ought to have done; but I came rather out of curiosity, to know whether his eloquence was answerable to the opinion which the world had of him. I was very attentive to his style, and charmed with the sweetness of his delivery, but had little value or concern for the subjects he treated of.”

33:30-33 Unworthy and corrupt motives often lead men to the places where the word of God is faithfully preached. Many come to find somewhat to oppose: far more come of curiosity or mere habit. Men may have their hearts changed. But whether men hear or forbear, they will know by the event that a servant of God has been among them. All who will not know the worth of mercies by the improvement of them, will justly be made to know their worth by the want of them.God warns the prophet against being misled by the compliance of the people.

Ezekiel 33:30

Against thee - Rather, about "thee." "by the walls" Rather, within "the walls."

30. Not only the remnant in Judea, but those at the Chebar, though less flagrantly, betrayed the same unbelieving spirit.

talking against thee—Though going to the prophet to hear the word of the Lord, they criticised, in an unfriendly spirit, his peculiarities of manner and his enigmatical style (Eze 20:49); making these the excuse for their impenitence. Their talking was not directly "against" Ezekiel, for they professed to like his ministrations; but God's word speaks of things as they really are, not as they appear.

by the walls—in the public haunts. In the East groups assemble under the walls of their houses in winter for conversation.

in the doors—privately.

what is the word—Their motive was curiosity, seeking pastime and gratification of the ear (2Ti 4:3); not reformation of the heart. Compare Johanan's consultation of Jeremiah, to hear the word of the Lord without desiring to do it (Jer 42:1-43:13).

The children; captives in Babylon.

Thy people; thy, not my people; God doth debase, degrade, and disown them.

By the walls; as men now do in cities or towns, so then they stood up to the wall, when, meeting in the streets, they would talk together.

In the doors of the houses; others got into the porches or doors of their houses, this they did to tell each other what news of their country.

Speak one to another: and all ends in this at last: Come, I pray, let us go up to the prophet, the true prophet, and inquire what God hath revealed to him, and what he may reveal unto us, whether any, or when will that end of our sorrows be.

Also, thou son of man,.... I have something to say to thee, and inform thee of, not only concerning the Jews in Judea, what they say, and what will befall them; but concerning those that are with thee, and what they say of thee, and what will be the issue of it:

the children of thy people still are talking against thee; not the Lord's people, but his own people, which was the more cutting to him to hear of, and the more ungrateful in them; though indeed they were but children, who acted a weak part, and the less to be regarded; these spake against the prophet: they could not say he was no prophet, he had his credentials and commission from the Lord, which were well known, and many of his prophecies had been fulfilled; they could not speak against his doctrine, which was of God; nor against his conversation, which was agreeable to his character and office; but they said some things in a ludicrous and jocose manner, in a slighting and contemptuous way, as showed they had little reverence and respect for him, and were careless and indifferent about hearing him; at least had little regard to this matter, or the subject of his ministry, which they had no great value for: and this they did still; they had been long at it; it was their common talk and constant business, though the prophet knew nothing of it, and thought they had the greatest respect for him, speaking fair to his face, and behaving with decency towards him; but the Lord knew it, and resented it, and informs him of it: and this they did continually, from time to time,

by the walls, and in the doors of the houses; privately and secretly; "by the walls", where they used to get together and sun themselves, and pass away their time, by talking against the prophet; and, when they did, would place themselves against the walls, that nobody might overhear them; and they would sometimes stand in the porches of their houses, and, as their neighbours and acquaintance passed by, would call them in, and hold a chat about the prophet; and jeer and laugh at him, and what he had said: and speak one to another,

every man to his brother, saying, come, l pray you, and hear what is the word that cometh forth from the Lord; let us go and amuse ourselves for an hour or two with what the prophet says; perhaps we shall hear some new thing, which may be pleasing and diverting: for, not their spiritual profit did they seek, but to have their ears tickled, and their fancies pleased.

Also, thou son of man, the children of thy people still are {p} talking against thee by the walls and in the doors of the houses, and speak one to another, every one to his brother, saying, Come, I pray you, and hear what is the word that cometh forth from the LORD.

(p) In derision.

30. are talking against thee] the children of thy people who talk of thee. The construction has a certain inconsequence in it. On “talk” cf. Malachi 3:16. The “walls” afforded a shade, under which men gathered for conversation.

one to another] The form “one” is Chaldee rather than Heb. The clause says the same thing as next clause and is wanting in LXX.

30–33. Demeanour of the people towards the prophet

The confirmation which the fall of the city gave to the prophet’s past predictions awakened the interest of his fellow exiles in him and his words. They congregated together in knots under the shadow of the walls and in the doors of the houses discussing his sayings. Recent events had given him a more prominent place in their thoughts. There was something also in the new truths he was uttering, in his outlook into the future and in his appeals to the individual mind, causing each to turn his eyes inward upon himself, that touched them and awakened a certain reality of concern. Still it was in the main curiosity rather than genuine seriousness that led them to listen to him. There was a certain charm, more perhaps in the kind of future presented by the prophet than in his manner of presenting it, which was like sweet music; but though they listened the drift of their minds was too steadily set in another direction to be changed.

Verse 30. - The children of thy people. The words, like those of Ezekiel 14:1 and Ezekiel 20:1, 49, throw light on the prophet's relations to his people. Now that the long silence was broken, and the prophet spoke with greater freedom than he had ever done before, he acquired a fresh notoriety. The character of his last utterance, vindicating, as it might seem, the claim of the exiles to "possess the land," as against that of the remnant "in the wastes," may even have made him popular. The Authorized Version against is misleading; read, with the margin and the Revised Version, about. There was for the time no open hostility. They talked much, in places of private or public resort, of the prophet's new action. Each invited his neighbor to go and hear the prophet as he spake to them his message from Jehovah. And they came as the people cometh, in crowds, even as my people, the people of Jehovah, with reverent gestures and listening eagerly. Never before, we may well believe, had the prophet had so large or so promising a congregation. But he was taught to look below the surface and to read their thoughts, and there he read, as preachers of all ages have too often read after him, that they were hearers, and not doers (Matthew 7:24-27; James 1:23-25). In words they showed much love (the LXX. gives "falsehood"), spoke pleasant things, but the root-evil, the besetting sin, was still there. Their heart went after their covetousness (camp. Matthew 13:22; 2 Timothy 4:10). Ezekiel 33:30Behaviour of the People Towards the prophet

Ezekiel 33:30. And thou, son of man, the sons of thy people converse about thee by the walls and in the house-doors; one talketh to another, every one to his brother, saying, Come and let us hear what kind of word goeth out from Jehovah. Ezekiel 33:31. And they will come to thee, like an assembly of the people, and sit before thee as my people, and will hear thy words, but not do them; but that which is pleasant in their mouth they do; their heart goeth after their gain. Ezekiel 33:32. And, behold, thou art unto them like a pleasant singer, beautiful in voice and playing well; they will hear thy words, but they will not do them. Ezekiel 33:33. But when it cometh - behold, it cometh - they will know that a prophet was in the midst of them. - This addition to the preceding word of God, which is addressed to Ezekiel personally, applies to the whole of the second half of his ministry, and stands in obvious connection with the instructions given to the prophet on the occasion of his first call (Ezekiel 3:16.), and repeated, so far as their substance is concerned, in Ezekiel 33:7-9, as Kliefoth himself acknowledges, in opposition to his assumption that vv. 1-20 of this chapter belong to the prophecies directed against the foreign nations. As God had directed the prophet's attention, on the occasion of his call, to the difficulties connected with the discharge of the duties of a watchman with which he was entrusted, by setting before him the object and the responsibility of his vocation, and had warned him not to allow himself to be turned aside by the opposition of the people; so here in Ezekiel 33:30-33, at the commencement of the second section of his ministry, another word is addressed to him personally, in order that he may not be influenced in the further prosecution of his calling by either the pleasure or displeasure of men.

His former utterances had already induced the elders of the people to come to him to hear the word of God (cf. Ezekiel 14:1 and Ezekiel 20:1). But now that his prophecies concerning Jerusalem had been fulfilled, the exiles could not fail to be still more attentive to his words, so that they talked of him both secretly and openly, and encouraged one another to come and listen to his discourses. God foretells this to him, but announces to him at the same time that this disposition on the part of his countrymen to listen to him is even now no sign of genuine conversion to the word of God, in order that he may not be mistaken in his expectations concerning the people. Kliefoth has thus correctly explained the contents, design, and connection of these verses as a whole. In Ezekiel 33:30 the article before the participle נדבּרים takes the place of the relative אשׁר, and the words are in apposition to בּני עמך, the sons of thy people who converse about thee. נדבּר is reciprocal, as in Malachi 3:13, Malachi 3:16, and Psalm 119:12. But ב is to be understood, not in a hostile sense, as in the passage cited from the Psalms, but in the sense of concerning, like דּבּר ב in 1 Samuel 19:3 as contrasted with דּבּר ב in Numbers 21:7, to speak against a person. The participle is continued by the finite ודּבּר, and the verb belonging to בּני follows, in the ויבאוּ of Ezekiel 33:31, in the form of an apodosis. There is something monstrous in Hitzig's assumption, that the whole passage from Ezekiel 33:30 to Ezekiel 33:33 forms but one clause, and that the predicate to בּני עמך does not occur till the וידעוּ of Ezekiel 33:33. - אצל , by the side of the walls, i.e., sitting against the walls, equivalent to secretly; and in the doors of the houses, in other words publicly, one neighbour conversing with another. חד, Aramean for אחד, and אישׁ by the side of אחד, every one; not merely one here or there, but every man to his neighbour. כּמבוא־עם, lit., as the coming of a people, i.e., as when a crowd of men flock together in crowds or troops. עמּי is a predicate, as my people, i.e., as if they wished, like my people, to hear my word from thee. But they do not think of doing thy words, i.e., what thou dost announce to them as my word. עגבים are things for which one cherishes an eager desire, pleasant things in their mouth, i.e., according to their taste (cf. Genesis 25:28). Hvernick is wrong in taking עגבים to mean illicit love. The word בּפיהם is quite inapplicable to such a meaning. The rendering, they do it with their mouth, is opposed both to the construction and the sense. בּצעם .esnes , their gain, the source from which they promise themselves advantage or gain. In Ezekiel 33:32 a clearer explanation is given of the reason why they come to the prophet, notwithstanding the fact that they do not wish to do his words. "Thou art to them כּשיּר עגבים;" this cannot mean like a pleasant song, but, as מטב נגּן (one who can play well) clearly shows, like a singer of pleasant songs. The abstract שׁיּר stands for the concrete שׁר, a singer, a man of song (Hitzig). In Ezekiel 33:32, "they hear thy words, but do them not," is repeated with emphasis, for the purpose of attaching the threat in Ezekiel 33:33. But when it cometh - namely, what thou sayest, or prophesiest - behold, it cometh, i.e., it will come as surely as thy prophecies concerning the destruction of Jerusalem; then will they know that a prophet was among them (cf. Ezekiel 2:5), that is to say, that he proclaimed God's word to them. Therefore Ezekiel is not to be prevented, by the misuse which will be made of his words, from preaching the truth. - This conclusion of the word of God, which points back to Ezekiel 2:5, also shows that it forms the introduction to the prophecies which follow.

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