Matthew Poole's Commentary
And he said unto me, Son of man, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak unto thee.Ezekiel’s commission, Ezekiel 2:1-5; his instructions, Ezekiel 2:6-8. The roll of heavy judgments spread before him, Ezekiel 2:9,10.
And he that sat upon the throne, Jesus Christ, whose messenger Ezekiel must be to the Jewish captives, now gone into captivity to Babylon.
Song of Solomon of man; a phrase very familiar with Ezekiel in this prophecy, and he useth it for distinction, being now among angels, perhaps to keep him humble, who had such great revelations, which might occasion him to think of himself above what was meet, as prophecy. 2 Corinthians 12:7.
Stand upon thy feet; arise, resume thy wonted strength of soul and body, which seem lost by thy fall to the ground. Fear not my coming to punish thee, I come to send thee forth a prophet; arise, therefore, and be as other prophets, ready to receive the Divine oracles, which usually came to prophets standing: and with this command God sent forth a power enabling him to arise and stand.
And I will speak unto thee; get thyself into a fit posture and readiness, and I will speak: what that was appears in what followeth, Ezekiel 2:3.
And the spirit entered into me when he spake unto me, and set me upon my feet, that I heard him that spake unto me.And; so soon as the encouraging command went forth, immediately.
The spirit; the vital spirit or soul of the prophet, say some; but these suppose the vision had struck Ezekiel dead, which neither can be supposed, other prophetic visions did not prove deadly, nor did this; others will have it the spirit of courage, some an angel; but it is indeed the Spirit of God, the Holy Ghost, Ezekiel 3:24. The same Spirit which actuated the living creatures and wheels enters the heart of the prophet.
Entered into me; gave the prophet special and suitable qualifications for his office. The Spirit entered that he might abide with the prophet as a constant assister and guide to him.
When he spake unto me; while the words were speaking, or so soon as they were spoken. The efficacy of the Spirit, and his accompanying the word of Christ, here appears.
He; either Christ, who from the throne spake to the prophet, or the Holy Spirit, newly entered into the prophet.
And set me upon my feet, that I heard him; opened his ear, that he heard what was spoken. It is the Spirit which is the fountain of all our abilities, and which also actuates them; without it there is neither life, strength, or motion.
And he said unto me, Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that hath rebelled against me: they and their fathers have transgressed against me, even unto this very day.And he: see Ezekiel 2:2.
Said unto me; either vocally, or by impression upon his mind.
Song of Solomon of man: the prophet had seen, Ezekiel 1:26 of the former chapter, a very glorious person on a throne above the firmament, and now the prophet is called son of man, perhaps, as the Jews conjecture, to encourage the prophet in his prophetic work, and to assure him he should be owned by that glorious One, who appeared as a man, and calls Ezekiel son of man: it is certain he would never forget what he had seen, and it is likely this Mda Ng as oft as it was spoken, would mind the prophet what relation it might have to the vision.
I send thee; I am sending, or he that sendeth thee is whom thou sawest on the throne advanced above angels, who directs them in their course of ministry subserving the will of God, and who will give them charge of thee in thy way.
Children, Heb. sons; God gives them still the name of sons and children, he is not hasty to abdicate, to disinherit, and cast off.
To the children of Israel, now in the low estate of captives: the lessening name of Jacob had been too great, one might think; but God tells the prophet they were the children of Israel, that prince who wrestled with God, and prevailed, Hosea 12:3-5. It is very likely they had some that feared and sought the God of Jacob, and did wrestle as he had done before them: it insinuateth some hope, however, that God would redeem them, Psalm 25:22, would be good unto them, Psalm 73:1; his dominion was over them, Psalm 114:2, and they were a peculiar people, Psalm 135:4,12.
To a rebellious nation, Heb. nations that are rebellious, very disobedient: as rebellion is the highest crime against the supreme magistrate, so were Israel’s sins against God. Hence some will have Ezekiel to be commissioned a prophet to denounce God’s judgments against the heathen, who are in Scripture called by the word here used. But though Ezekiel did prophesy against the nations, as against Egypt. Babylon, Gog, and Magog, yet here these nations in this third verse are the Jews, who were like the nations in their idolatry and manners; they had degenerated from their father Israel, and rebelled against Israel’s God. If the title
Israel be comfort to the best, the appellation given to the rest, they were a
rebellious nation, is terror and menace as well as rebuke to the worst, and God intimates they were what they accounted the Gentiles to be, polluted, profane, and hated of God.
That hath rebelled against me: this was implied in the former word, but thus expressly added to ascertain the charge, and to aggravate the crime of this people, who were from their fathers’ days to this very day rebelling against God. It was the glory of St. Paul, he served God with pure conscience; it is the shame of this nation, they have rebelled from their fathers.
They and their fathers have transgressed against me, even unto this very day; their fathers before them, and they with their fathers, and all successively; God was provoked at once with two generations of rebels, fathers who gave example, and children which took it.
For they are impudent children and stiffhearted. I do send thee unto them; and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD.Impudent children; shameless, who cannot blush, else they could never have transgressed so highly, constantly, and obstinately. Sodom in her day did not hide her sin, nor blush; so did the Jews in Isaiah’s times, so they did to the days of their captivity, and under the captivity.
Stiffhearted; hard-hearted, resolute, and strongly bent to do whatever liked them. Of disposition that relenteth not, but rather more confidently going on in evil.
I, who appeared in so much glory, and on the throne,
send thee unto them; give thee authority that thou mayst, and I give thee charge that thou must, go to them, and say unto them what I shall say unto thee. They will scoff and persecute, but I command; and remember whom thou hast seen, who is with thee.
Thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; be sure to tell them who sends thee, read the commission,
Thus saith, & c.
And they, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, (for they are a rebellious house,) yet shall know that there hath been a prophet among them.Though the omniscient God knows which they will do, yet he lets not the prophet know, but enjoins him his duty, affords these sinners the mercy of warnings and calls, and expects that they act like men, hear and obey.
Hear; they only hear that comply with God’s counsel, and as for others, they hearing hear not.
Forbear; either forbear their ways of sinning, and cease to do evil, or forbear to hear thee: be not too much dejected about it: some perhaps may hear and forbear to sin, others will forbear to hear thee but not forbear to sin, the greatest part will show themselves a rebellious house.
For they are a rebellious house; family, house put for the whole nation; yet wait the event, do thy duty.
Shall know that there hath been a prophet among them; all of them shall know; they that hear and obey shall know by the good that I will do to them, I will bless them and bring them back; those that will neither hear what they should do, nor forbear doing what they should not do, shall know by the evil which I will bring upon them. Thy truth and name will I vindicate, and prove thee a prophet, to the comfort of thyself and others who are obedient, but to the shame and confusion of the evil and wicked.
And thou, son of man, be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns be with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions: be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house.Thou, son of man; thou a prophet, sent by him whose throne is highest, whom thou sawest as the appearance of a man in glory, and provided with power to protect thee.
Be not afraid of them; cast away discouraging fear, be not dismayed at their persons; rulers, priests, and pretended prophets will oppose, but yet in the delivery of thy message fear none of them.
Words, Heb. will bear counsels, or words, misreports, accusations, threats, flouts, or whatever else an envious and malicious heart can suggest to the tongue.
Briers: here two words in the Hebrew are used, the first used only in this place, though frequently used in the Chaldee paraphrase, where it expresseth contumacy, as Exodus 7:14, of Pharaoh refusing to let Israel go, and Jeremiah 5:3, obstinate refusing to learn. But our translators, guided by the proper signification of the other word, have rendered it
briers, which usually run up among thorns, and are a very fit emblem of the frowardness and keenness of sinners against God and his prophet, and of the sure destruction which will befall these briers and thorns when God shall send his judgments like fire amongst them.
With thee; against thee.
Scorpions: some say this is an herb which, because it is every way armed with sharp, pricking stings, hath this name given it; but if we retain the more common interpretation, it speaks the rage and heat, the poisonous malice, and the sly lurking craft and irreconcilableness, of these apostate Jews, and of all other contemners of God and religion. These men, like scorpions, undiscerned, wound, torment, and kill.
Be not afraid; the admonition against sinful fear is repeated; lest Ezekiel should forget, or we in like case should fail of our duty, it is four times given in charge.
And thou shalt speak my words unto them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear: for they are most rebellious.Thou shalt speak my words unto them; declaring what I shall show thee, and in words which I will put into thy mouth.
Whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear: see Ezekiel 2:5.
For they are most rebellious; Heb. rebellion in the abstract, by which the Hebrew (as some other languages do) expresseth the superlative degree, as we have it rightly translated.
But thou, son of man, hear what I say unto thee; Be not thou rebellious like that rebellious house: open thy mouth, and eat that I give thee.Hear what I say unto thee; obey when thou hearest. Harden not thyself in a seeming modest declining the office of a prophet, wed not thine own resolution herein.
Rebellious house; house of rebellion, as Ezekiel 2:7.
Open thy mouth, and eat that I give thee: some take this figuratively, as if here the prophet had been called to open the powers of his soul and mind, to receive, retain all that God speaks; but I rather think that the prophet is required to open his mouth to eat what was put into his hand, i.e. the book, insinuating his Divine call and inspiration, and the bitterness of the Jews’ calamity. A visionary book and a visionary eating is here spoken of.
And when I looked, behold, an hand was sent unto me; and, lo, a roll of a book was therein;The prophet, newly come out of that astonishing trance wherein he lay, and gotten upon his feet, hearing what was spoken, and possibly looking if he might see who spake, he discovers a hand; either of one of those angels which ministered before the Lord, or the hand of God, or of Christ. This might fortify the prophet; when he saw a hand so soon with him as he was ready to hear and obey, power and skill to defend and guide him will ever be as ready.
Behold, an hand was sent unto me; an Eastern idiom of speech.
A roll of a book; their books were not of that fashion and make as ours now are, but written in parchment, and in the length of it, and so one piece fastened to other, till the whole would contain what was to be written, and then was it wrapped or rolled about a round piece of wood, fashioned for that purpose: hence books are called volumes.
And he spread it before me; and it was written within and without: and there was written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe.He: Ezekiel 2:9 it was the hand, here it is the person, he who held out his hand.
Spread it before me; unrolled it within that distance the prophet might read what was written therein.
Written within and without; on both sides, on that side which was inward when rolled upon its roundle, and on that side also that was outward, and as it were the back side: a long roll, and full on both sides; so would the sorrows of the Jews be.
Lamentations, and mourning, and woe; such things as would make the stoutest heart lament, inwardly grieve; and mourn, express it in visible tokens; and woe, sad thoughts and guesses at worse to come: so this prophet’s message would be a most heavy burden to the Jews and other nations against which he prophesied.