A prophecy very similar to this was uttered by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 23), only a few years before, against the false prophets in and around Jerusalem. It is not unlikely that Ezekiel may have read it; as Jeremiah (Jeremiah 29:1) certainly sent some of his prophecies to those in the captivity, and it is altogether probable that he knew its substance. He, however, addresses himself here to the false prophets among the captives (see Ezekiel 13:9), and in the latter part of the chapter (Ezekiel 13:17-23) especially to the prophetesses. In both parts their conduct is first described (Ezekiel 13:3-7; Ezekiel 13:17-19), and then their doom (Ezekiel 13:8-16; Ezekiel 13:20-23). Such false prophets have always been a chief hindrance to the truth (just as false teaching within the Church now is far more dangerous than any attack from without), and they especially abounded in times of difficulty and danger. Jeremiah speaks repeatedly of their opposition to him in Judæa (Jeremiah 14:13-14; Jeremiah 23:9; Jeremiah 23:13; Jeremiah 23:16; Jeremiah 23:21; Jeremiah 23:25; Jeremiah 27, 28.), and expressly mentions also their activity among the exiles (Jeremiah 29:15-22).
EXCURSUS D: ON CHAPTER 13:6, 7, AND 17.
In these verses a broad and crucial distinction is made between the self-imagined vision and that which is sent from the Lord. It may be that in this case the prophets and prophetesses were untrue to their own convictions, and wilfully declared what they knew to be false; or it may be that they simply uttered as God’s message that which they had persuaded themselves would be the issue. This point is not entirely clear from the passage, and is of secondary importance. What deserves to be carefully noted is the difference here made between subjective views of truth—that which conies “out of their own heart”—and those objective communications which God gave to His true prophets. This distinction has a most important bearing upon the whole subject of revelation, and establishes clearly the fact that the Scriptures look upon it as something expressly communicated to their writers, and not as a thing which could be the result of their own thought and reflection. He, therefore, who puts “Thus saith the Lord” before that which God has not in some objective way made known to him, must fall under the condemnation pronounced here and elsewhere upon “the prophet which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak” (Deuteronomy 18:20).
Hear your lies.—Or, hearken to a lie. The words imply a willingness to listen to the pleasing falsehood, and the state of things is that described by Jeremiah 5:31. “The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means, and my people love to have it so.”