Ezekiel 34:5
And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered.
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(5) They were scattered, because. . . .—The calamities of the people are attributed to the fault of the rulers, not because the people themselves were free from sin—the contrary has already been abundantly asserted in this book—but because the people’s sins were largely due to the evil example, the idolatries, the oppressions, and the disobedience of their rulers.

Ezekiel 34:5-6. And they were scattered, &c. — Driven into other parts of the land, or into other countries, by the severity, exactions, and oppressions of their rulers. Because there is no shepherd — No one worthy of the name of a shepherd; none that cared for or properly watched over and fed the flock. And they became meat to all the beasts of the field — They were made a prey to, and were spoiled by, their enemies, temporal and spiritual. My sheep wandered through all the mountains — As silly sheep, when there is no one to look after them, wander from one mountain and hill to another; so my thoughtless and infatuated people, disregarded and neglected, or treated with cruelty by those that should have protected and guided them, have manifested their ignorance and folly in following various species of idolatry, and in forming to themselves religions after their own imaginations, full of superstition and impiety. And none did search or seek after them — Their priests and princes were so far from calling them back from these wanderings, that they were the first to follow them; nay, and even to go before, and set them the example.34:1-6 The people became as sheep without a shepherd, were given up as a prey to their enemies, and the land was utterly desolated. No rank or office can exempt from the reproofs of God's word, men who neglect their duty, and abuse the trust reposed in them.Shepherds - Not priests or prophets, but rulers and kings (see the Jeremiah 2:8 note). The most ancient title for "ruler" is a monogram which occurs on the oldest monuments discovered in the cuneiform character. In the Assyrian language it became riu (compare Hebrew רעה râ‛âh equals shepherd). In the traditions of Berosus we find that Alorus, the first king in the world, received from the Divinity the title of Shepherd. The title, as well as the monogram, was preserved to the latest times of the Assyrian monarchy. While the distress and misery of the people daily in creased, the last kings of Judah exacted more and more from their subjects and lavished more and more on personal luxury and show. 5. scattered, because … no shepherd—that is, none worthy of the name, though there were some called shepherds (1Ki 22:17; Mt 9:36). Compare Mt 26:31, where the sheep were scattered when the true Shepherd was smitten. God calls them "My sheep"; for they were not, as the shepherds treated them, their patrimony whereby to "feed themselves."

meat to all … beasts—They became a prey to the Syrians, Ammon, Moab, and Assyria.

They, my neglected sheep, were scattered, by the inroads and invasions of their enemies, that broke in like devouring beasts.

No shepherd; no vigilant, faithful, good shepherd that loved the flock, and of love studied its welfare.

Became meat; were made a prey of, and devoured by Syrians, Ammonites, Moabites, Edomites, &c., all their neighbours might the devour them.

The beasts, signify men, troops of robbers, and spoilers.

When they were scattered; as sheep scattered are easily devoured by every hungry wolf or fox. And they were scattered because there is no shepherd,.... No good one; there were shepherds, but they were idol shepherds, good for nothing, and it was all one as if there were none: so, in Christ's time, there were the Scribes and Pharisees; yet, since these did not feed the people with wholesome doctrine, they are said to be as sheep without a shepherd, and scattered abroad, as here from the fold, and from one another; dispersed here and there, seeking food, and none, which moved his compassion, Matthew 9:36, in the political sense it may refer to their captivity, and their dispersion among the nations, having no king: So the Targum,

"and they were scattered without a governor.''

And they became meat to all beasts of the field when they were scattered; the Targum is,

"and they were delivered to all the kingdoms of the people to be consumed;''

such as the Assyrians, Babylonians, Ammonites, Moabites, and others; and may be applied to false teachers, those grievous wolves, which spare not the flock, into whose hands members of churches, professors of religion, fall, when neglected by their shepherds.

And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they {d} became food to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered.

(d) For lack of good government and doctrine they perished.

5. The allegory is simple enough. Owing to the evil and selfish government of the rulers the people became the prey of all the nations round about them. The figure of the flock indicates, however, the affection of Jehovah for his people and his compassion over their sufferings.Verse 5. - And they were scattered. The words are an echo of 1 Kings 22:17, and are, in their turn, echoed by Matthew 9:36. The words that follow paint the sufferings of the exiles who left their homes and were scattered among the heathen in the days of Jehoiachin and Zedekiah. Of these the kings took no heed, and shut themselves up in the luxurious seclusion of their palace. Calling of the Prophet for the Future - Ezekiel 33:1-20

The prophet's office of watchman. Ezekiel 33:1. And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Ezekiel 33:2. Son of man, speak to the sons of thy people, and say to them, When I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from their company and set him for a watchman, Ezekiel 33:3. And he seeth the sword come upon the land, and bloweth the trumpet, and warneth the people; Ezekiel 33:4. If, then, one should hear the blast of the trumpet and not take warning, so that the sword should come and take him away, his blood would come upon his own head. Ezekiel 33:5. He heard the blast of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood will come upon him: whereas, if he had taken warning, he would have delivered his soul. Ezekiel 33:6. But if the watchman seeth the sword come, and bloweth not the trumpet, and the people is not warned; and the sword should come and take away a soul from them, he is taken away through his guilt; but his blood will I demand from the watchman's hand. Ezekiel 33:7. Thou, then, son of man, I have set thee for the watchman to the house of Israel; thou shalt hear the word from my mouth, and warn them for me. Ezekiel 33:8. If I say to the sinner, Sinner, thou wilt die the death; and thou speakest not to warn the sinner from his way, he, the sinner, will die for his iniquity, and his blood I will demand from thy hand. Ezekiel 33:9. But if thou hast warned the sinner from his way, to turn from it, and he does not turn from his way, he will die for his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. - Ezekiel 33:7-9, with the exception of slight deviations which have little influence upon the sense, are repeated verbatim from Ezekiel 3:17-19. The repetition of the duty binding upon the prophet, and of the responsibility connected therewith, is introduced, however, in Ezekiel 33:2-6, by an example taken from life, and made so plain that every one who heard the words must see that Ezekiel was obliged to call the attention of the people to the judgment awaiting them, and to warn them of the threatening danger, and that this obligation rested upon him still. In this respect the expansion, which is wanting in Ezekiel 3, serves to connect the following prophecies of Ezekiel with the threats of judgment contained in the first part. The meaning of it is the following: As it is the duty of the appointed watchman of a land to announce to the people the approach of the enemy, and if he fail to do this he is deserving of death; so Ezekiel also, as the watchman of Israel appointed by God, not only is bound to warn the people of the approaching judgment, in order to fulfil his duty, but has already warned them of it, so that whoever has not taken warning has been overtaken by the sword because of his sin. As, then, Ezekiel has only discharged his duty and obligation by so doing, so has he the same duty still further to perform. - In Ezekiel 33:2 ארץ is placed at the head in an absolute form; and 'כּי אביא וגו, "if I bring the sword upon a land," is to be understood with this restriction: "so that the enemy is on the way and an attack may be expected" (Hitzig). מקציהם, from the end of the people of the land, i.e., one taken from the whole body of the people, as in Genesis 47:2 (see the comm. on Genesis 19:4). Blowing the trumpet is a signal of alarm on the approach of an enemy (compare Amos 3:6; Jeremiah 4:5). נזהר in Ezekiel 33:5 is a participle; on the other hand, both before and afterwards it is a perfect, pointed with Kametz on account of the tone. For Ezekiel 33:7-9, see the exposition of Ezekiel 3:17-19.

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