there shall none of my words be prolonged any more; the fulfilment of prophecies delivered in the name of the Lord by the prophets shall be no longer deferred, but shall quickly be:
but the word which I have spoken shall be done, saith the Lord God: one jot and tittle of it shall not pass away till all be fulfilled; sooner may heaven and earth pass away than that shall; it is for ever settled in heaven, and shall be fulfilled on earth; he that has said it is of one mind, and none can turn him; and is able to do whatsoever he pleases.
INTRODUCTION TO Ezekiel 13
It being said in Ezekiel 12:24; that there should be no more a vain vision, nor a flattering divination; the prophet is ordered to prophesy against the false prophets and prophetesses, Ezekiel 13:1; the former are described as prophesying out of their own hearts, Ezekiel 13:2; as foolish ones, following their own spirit, and seeing nothing, Ezekiel 13:3; they are compared to foxes in the deserts, Ezekiel 13:4; and are represented as unconcerned to stand in the gap for the people, Ezekiel 13:5; and as seeing vanity and lying divination; wherefore the Lord was against them, Ezekiel 13:6; what they are threatened with are, that they should not be in the assembly of God's people; nor written in the writing of the house of Israel; nor enter into the land of Israel, Ezekiel 13:9; the reason of which was, because they seduced the Lord's people, by speaking peace to them when there was none; which is figuratively expressed by building a wall, and daubing it with untempered mortar, Ezekiel 13:10; upon which the wall is threatened to be rent, and caused to fall with a stormy wind; signifying the destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldean army; and the false prophets to have the wrath of God poured on them who doubted it, Ezekiel 13:11; and then follows the order to the prophet to prophesy against the false prophetesses, and set his face against them, and pronounce woe upon them in the name of the Lord; who are described as prophesying out of their own hearts; sowing pillows to all armholes; and making kerchiefs on the head of all sorts of persons; and which they did for poor small gain, and to the detriment of immortal souls, good and bad, Ezekiel 13:17; wherefore the Lord threatens to tear off their pillows and kerchiefs, and deliver his people out of their hands, no more to be hunted by them, Ezekiel 13:20; the reason of which was, because they saddened the hearts of the righteous, and strengthened the hands of the wicked, Ezekiel 13:22; and the chapter is concluded with a resolution that they should see no more vanity nor divine divinations; and that the Lord's people should be delivered from them, and they should know that he was the Lord, Ezekiel 13:23.
that prophesy; that is, smooth things to the people; promising a speedy return from the captivity; or that Jerusalem should not be taken by the Chaldeans, and the inhabitants of it, and of the land, be carried captive:
and say thou unto them that prophesy out of their own hearts; who were not sent of God, nor spake from him; but of themselves, what came into their heads, and was agreeable to their fancies, imaginations, and carnal hearts; such are false teachers, that go forth without being sent, and teach not according to the word of God, but according to their own carnal reasonings; so the Targum,
"according to the will of their hearts;''
what they pleased themselves:
hear ye the word of the Lord; which came from the Lord himself, and not from man, meaning the following prophecy; so the written word of God should be attended to, both by teachers and hearers, as the only rule of faith and practice; see Isaiah 8:20.
that follow their own spirit; or "walk after it" (c); and not the Spirit of God, who leads into all truth; they pretended to a spirit of prophecy, but it was their own spirit and the dictates of it they followed, and not the Spirit of the Lord; and therefore it is no wonder that they prophesied false things, and led the people wrong; as all such teachers do, who give way to their own fancies and imaginations, and forsake the word of God, and do not implore the assistance and teachings of the blessed Spirit:
and have seen nothing; no vision, as the Syriac version renders it; they pretended to have revelations of things future from the Lord, but they had none; what they saw were vain visions and lying divinations, and were as nothing, and worse than nothing; yea, they said what they never saw.
(c) "qui ambulant post spiritm suum": Pagninus, Calvin, Cocceius, Starckius.
neither made up the hedge for the house of Israel; or a "fence", a fortification. The Vulgate Latin renders it, "a wall"; a new wall, which is generally made by the besieged within, when a breach is made upon them: it signifies the same as before. Jarchi and Kimchi interpret it of repentance and good works; and so the Targum, which paraphrases the words thus,
"neither have ye done for yourselves good works, to deprecate for the house of Israel, to stand to pray for them:''
to stand in the battle in the day of the Lord: when he came forth in battle array against them, with great wrath and indignation, in the way of his righteous judgments. The Targum is,
"when warriors come up against them in the day of the wrath of the Lord;''
when the Chaldeans came against them by the will of God, he being angry with them.
(d) "in fracturas", Pagninus, Montanus, Tigurine version; "rupturas", Calvin, Piscator, Starckius.
saying the Lord saith: and the Lord hath not sent them; they came to the people with a lie in their mouths, giving out that the Lord spoke by them; when they had no mission from him; nor any commission to say what they did; or any warrant from him for their prophecies:
and they have made others to hope that they would confirm the word; or, "that the word would be confirmed" (e); that what was said by them would have its accomplishment; and that their prophecies would be fulfilled. By their solemn way of speaking; by the use they made of the name of the Lord; by the strong assurances they gave, and by their frequent repetition of their predictions, the people were brought to hope and believe that the event would answer to what they said; wherefore, instead of bringing them to a sense of their sins, and repentance for them, whereby the judgments of God would have been prevented, they hardened them in them, and hastened their ruin.
(e) "ut praestet verbum", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Polanus; "ratum fore", Grotius; "eventurum esse", Castalio.
and have ye not spoken a lying divination; delivered out a known lie, saying they had it from the Lord, when they had it not; or a prophecy that will deceive, and be without effect, and in the issue prove a falsehood:
whereas ye say, the Lord saith it; albeit I have not spoken? this is a proof that what they gave out for a vision and prophecy was a vain and false one; seeing they pretended they had it from the Lord, when he never spoke a word to them, or by them.
because ye have spoken vanity, and seen lies; which will in the issue prove so, lying and deceitful; what never came from God, but from themselves and the father of lies, and would never be accomplished:
therefore, behold, I am against you, saith the Lord God; or, "I unto you"; which may be supplied thus, "I come", or "will come, unto you" (f); in a way of providence, and chastise and punish you; see Revelation 2:16; or I will be your adversary; and a sad thing it is for any to have God to be against them; there is no contending with him; none ever hardened themselves against him, and prospered; men are but with him as stubble, or as thorns and briers to a consuming fire.
(f) "ecce ego ad vos", V. L. "sub. venio", Grotius; "veniam", Piscator, Starckius; "venturus sum cum ira mea", Vatablus.
"and the stroke of my power shall be upon the false prophets, &c.''
The sense is, that they should feel the weight of his hand, and the lighting down of his arm with the indignation of his wrath, by inflicting punishment upon them:
they shall not be in the assembly of my people; shall have no place in the church of God, nor fellowship with the saints; they shall not join with them in religious worship here; but either shall be left by the righteous judgment of God to separate themselves from them, or shall be excluded their communion; and much less shall they stand in the congregation of the righteous hereafter: or, "they shall not be in the secret", or "council of my people" (g); shall not be consulted by them on any account, civil or religious; or not be let into the secret counsels of the Lord, as the Lord's people be, who are his favourites and his friends; see Psalm 25:14. The Targum is,
"in the good secret which is hidden for my people they shall not be:''
neither shall they be written in the writing of the house of Israel; their names shall not be in the roll or register of those that return from captivity, as in Ezra it but shall die in their exile; they shall not be in the list and catalogue of the citizens of any city in the land of Israel, particularly of Jerusalem, the chief city; see Isaiah 4:3; and it should appear that their names were never written in the Lamb's book of life; or that they ever were among the number of God's elect, the true and spiritual Israel of God. So the Targum,
"and in the writing of eternal life, which is written for the righteous of the house of Israel, they shall not be written;''
see Psalm 69:28;
neither shall they enter into the land of Israel; should not return to the land of Israel, when the captives should at the end of the captivity; nor enter into the land of Canaan, the heavenly rest, which remains for the people of God; for into the New Jerusalem state shall nothing enter that makes an abomination, or a lie, as these prophets had done; see Revelation 21:27;
and ye shall know that I am the Lord God; omniscient, omnipotent, true and faithful, holy, just, and good.
(g) "in secreto populi mei non erunt", Montanus; "in arcano", Munster; "in comilio", Junius & Tremellius, Calvin, Polanus; "in concilio", Vatablus.
saying, peace, and there was no peace; giving out that peace would be made with the king of Babylon; that the captives would return to their own land, where, with those that were in it, they would enjoy great prosperity; when no such thing came to pass, nor would; but the contrary was certain, by the predictions of the true prophets sent by the Lord:
and one built up a wall; one of the false prophets, and of the chief of them, gave out that Jerusalem would continue a walled city, and abide firm and impregnable against the Chaldean army, and would never be taken:
and, lo, others daubed it with untempered mortar; others of the false prophets, observing that what the first had delivered out was pleasing to the people, not only assented to it, but strongly affirmed it; and, with colourings and specious arguments, made it look more plausible and probable; when, alas! the whole was no other than like putting a parcel of loose stones or bricks together, and throwing some slushy stuff upon them, as, moistened sand without lime, or clay without straw, as the Targum and Vulgate Latin versions render it; which would never cement the bricks or stones together. R. Joseph Kimchi interprets it of bricks not burnt: so false teachers imitate the true ministers of the word, in preaching peace; but then they do not direct aright where it is to be had, which is only in Christ; or the proper persons, sinners pressed with the guilt of sin, and seeking for ease and peace in a right way; but publish it to those to whom it does not belong, for there is no peace to the wicked; and put them upon making peace themselves by their own works of righteousness, and their legal repentance, and outward humiliation; or promise it to them, though they have no faith in Christ, and are not sensible of their sin and danger: these men are builders, but not wise master builders; they do not build upon the foundation Christ, but build up a wall without him; leaving him out of the building who is the chief corner stone; deliver out some loose and unconnected doctrines, that are not according to the Scriptures, nor consistent with each other; and encourage the people to perform some loose duties and cold services, without the cement of faith and love; and which is no other than building upon the sand, or with it; though they fancy it to be a wall, a shelter, and protection to them, from the wrath and justice of God, and by which they shall climb up to heaven; which will prove a bowing wall, and a tottering fence; and in these mistakes they are buoyed up by false teachers, and are flattered as being in a fair way for eternal happiness.
that it shall fall; the wall they have built and daubed over; the city of Jerusalem shall be taken and destroyed; the predictions of the prophets shall prove lies; and the vain hopes and expectations of the people fail:
there shall be an overflowing shower; that shall wash away the wall with its untempered mortar; meaning the Chaldean army, compared to an overflowing shower of rain, for the multitude of men it, and the force, power, and noise, with which it should come, bearing down all before it; see Isaiah 8:7;
and ye, O great hailstones, shall fall; upon the wall, and break it down: or, "ye, O great hailstones, shall cause it to fall" (h); or, "I will give great hailstones, and it shall fall" (i). The word "elgabish", which in some copies is one word, and in others two, as Kimchi and Ben Melech observe, is either the same with "gabish", which signifies a precious stone, and is rendered pearl in Job 28:18; or it may be, as it seems to be, an Arabic word; and Hottinger (k) takes it to be "gypsus", or lime, or the "lapis laminosus", or slate; so the Lord threatens to rain down lime or slate upon them from heaven, which should destroy the wall built with untempered mortar:
and a stormy wind shall rend it; this seems to signify the same as the overflowing shower, the Chaldean army, compared to a strong tempestuous wind; see Jeremiah 4:11; as the hailstones, may signify the king of Babylon, with his princes, nobles, and generals.
(h) "et vos, O lapides grandinis, ruere facietis aedificium", Munster. (i) "Et dabo lapides grandinis, qui corruere facient parietem", Pagninus. (k) Smegma Oriental. l. 1. c. 7. p. 119.
shall it not be said unto you; the false prophets, by the people who had been deceived by them:
where is the daubing wherewith ye have daubed it? what is become of all your promises of peace, and assurance of safety and prosperity; your smooth words and plausible arguments; your specious pretences, and flattering prophecies? thus would they be insulted by those they had deceived, as well as laughed at by such who disregarded their predictions, and believed the prophets of the Lord.
I will even rend it with a stormy wind in my fury; stormy winds sometimes rend rocks asunder, 1 Kings 19:11; and much more feeble tottering walls; what is before ascribed to the stormy wind is said to be done here by the Lord himself, making use of that as an instrument; stormy winds fulfil his word, Psalm 148:8; the cause of which is his wrath, which made the dispensation, or the invasion of the Chaldean army, the more terrible; and this is mentioned in all the following clauses:
and there shall be an overflowing shower in mine anger, and great hailstones in my fury to consume it; which, coming from the Lord, and attended with his wrath and fury, must needs bring on utter ruin and destruction. The whole is paraphrased by the Targum thus,
"and I will bring a mighty king with the force of tempests; and a destroying people as a prevailing rain in my fury shall come; and kings, who were powerful as hailstones, in wrath to consume.''
and bring it down to the ground, so that the foundation thereof shall be discovered; meaning the city of Jerusalem, and by these phrases declaring the utter destruction of it; whereby also would be discovered the vain assurances and lying predictions of the false prophets, and which would appear to be entirely groundless: so the Targum,
"and I will destroy the city in which ye have prophesied false prophecies; and I will cause it to fall to the ground, and its foundations shall be discovered:''
and it shall fall, and ye shall be consumed in the midst of it; the false prophets perished in the destruction of Jerusalem, and not one of them escaped:
and ye shall know that I am the Lord; who is true to his word, and able to accomplish it, whether of punishment or of threatening.
and upon them that have daubed it with untempered mortar; the false prophets: so the Targum,
"and the false prophets that prophesy in it false prophecies:''
and will say unto you, the wall is no more, neither they that daubed it; neither the city of Jerusalem, nor the prophets that prophesied of its safety; nor their false prophecies; nor the vain hopes of the people they fed them with: so the Targum,
"there is no city, nor false prophets.''
and which see visions of peace for her; not in reality, but in pretence; they boasted that they had visions and revelations from the Lord, and assured the people they should enjoy great peace and prosperity; but these, as they are before called, were vain visions and lying divinations: there seems to be in this an allusion to the name of Jerusalem, which, according to some, signifies,
"they shall see peace:''
and there is no peace, saith the Lord God; not to the wicked; nor to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, who listened to the false prophets; nor to the false prophets themselves.
who prophesy out of their own heart; as the men did, Ezekiel 13:2; what their own hearts suggested to them; what came into their minds, and their own fancies and imaginations led them to; what was according to their carnal affections and desires, and agreeable to those that heard them:
and prophesy thou against them; declare their prophecies false; warn the people from giving heed to them; and foretell what shall befall them for deceiving the people.
and make kerchiefs upon the head of every stature; whether taller or lower; the word stature, according to Kimchi, is used, because the people stood when they inquired of these prophetesses whether they should have peace or not, or good or evil should befall them: or, "of every age", as the Septuagint version; young or old; they put these kerchiefs, or "veils" (m), as some render the word, upon all sorts of persons (for they refused none that came to them they could get any thing by), upon their heads, either as a token of victory and triumph, signifying that they should have the better of their enemies, and rejoice over them; or to make them proud, and suggest to them that they should never be stripped of their ornaments; or else, as the former sign shows that they lulled them asleep upon pillows, and led them on in a carnal security, so they kept them in blindness and ignorance: and this they did,
to hunt souls; to bring them into their nets and snares; to catch them with their false prophecies, and deceive them by their fallacious signs, and superstitious rites and ceremonies, and so ruin and destroy them (n);
will ye hunt the souls of my people; that cleave to me, and regard my prophets; will ye endeavour to ensnare those, and seek to destroy their peace and comfort, and even their souls? ye shall not be able to do it:
and will ye save the souls alive that come unto you? and inquire of you how things will be, and listen to your lying divinations; can you save them from the ruin and destruction that is coming upon them? no, you will not be able to do it; and what wickedness is it in you to attempt the one or the other? The Targum is,
"the souls of my people can ye destroy or quicken? your souls, which are yours, can you quicken?''
the sense is they could neither do the one nor the other; and yet such was their iniquity, that they sought to do both.
(l) "applicantibus, sive accommodantibus", Gataker; "conjungentibus, vel adunantibus", Gussetius, Ebr. Comment. p. 947. "pulvillos super omnes cubitos manus", Calvin; "pro omnibus cubitis manuum", Piscator. (m) "Velamina", Polanus. So Kimchi and Ben Melech. (n) Gussetius thinks that by the words rendered "pillows" and "kerchiefs" are meant "nets", with which they covered their heads and arms; for, otherwise, what connection is there between the above things and hunting? Ebr. Comment. p. 395, 565.
for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread; which shows them to be abandoned creatures, that were ready to do or say anything for the meanest trifle; their consciences were seared; they gave up themselves to work wickedness with greediness, and for filthy lucre's sake, and for a small portion of that; which exaggerates their sin and folly; see Proverbs 28:21;
to slay the souls that should not die; by threatening the captives in Babylon, who had surrendered themselves in Jehoiachim's time, with destruction and death; who ought to have been comforted in their exile, and whom the Lord in his own time would deliver:
and to save the souls alive that should not live; by promising the inhabitants of Jerusalem long life, safety, and prosperity; when they should either die by the sword, famine, and pestilence; or be carried captive, which was as death; for so they did, or attempted to do, both the one and the other, by their false prophecies, as follows:
by your lying to my people that hear your lies? their false prophecies, which some hearkened to, and believed; and others were intimidated by, and feared that so it would be.
wherewith ye there hunt the souls to make them fly; to the places where they prophesied; into the toils and nets they spread for them, in order to catch them with their divinations and prophecies, and make a gain of them: or, "into the gardens", or "groves" (o); there to commit idolatry, Isaiah 65:3;
and I will tear them from your arms; by which it seems that those pillows were not only put under the arms of those that came to inquire of these female prophets or fortune tellers; but they put them under their own arms, and lay upon them as if they were asleep, and in a trance or ecstasy; and so the kerchiefs or veils were upon their heads, which covered their faces, to show that they were quite retired from the world, and wholly attentive to the visions and revelations they pretended were made them by the Lord; and which they gave out, in this superstitious way, to the credulous people that flocked about them:
and will let the souls go, even the souls that ye hunt to make them fly; which were captivated with their superstitions; drawn into their nets and snares; decoyed into the gardens, where they were prevailed upon to sacrifice to idols, and were taken with their soothsaying and lying divinations; these the Lord promises to break the snare for them, and set them at liberty, and preserve them from that ruin and destruction they were ready to come into; see Psalm 124:7.
(o) "in floralia", Junius & Tremellius, Polanus, Starckius; "in floridis hortis", Piscator.
and deliver my people out of your hand; from being hunted, ensnared, and deceived by them:
and they shall be no more in your land to be hunted; but should either flee into Egypt, and other countries, for shelter, or be carried captive into Babylon:
and ye shall know that I am the Lord; see Ezekiel 13:9.
whom I have not made sad; nor would he have them made sad by others; neither by false prophets and their lies, nor by any other means; neither by anything within them, nor anything without them; not by any or all of their spiritual enemies: he would have them comforted; the covenant of grace, and the promises of it, are made for such a purpose; the Scriptures are written for this use; ordinances are designed for this end; ministers are appointed for this work; and this is the office of the divine Spirit; and the Son of God himself was sent on this account:
and strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way; by repentance and reformation; and so far were the wicked from returning from it in this way, that they were emboldened in sin, and hardened in it; and were more frequent and open in the commission of it; and that through the prophecies of these false prophetesses; as wicked men are by the doctrines of false teachers: and particularly
by promising him life; or that he should live long, and enjoy much peace and prosperity in the land of Israel, and not be carried captive into Babylon; and so false teachers harden men in sin, by giving them hopes of eternal life, though they continue in their evil ways; or upon the foot of universal redemption, and upon their repentance, as the fruit of their own free will; and therefore take their swing of sin, as believing that Christ died for all men, and so for them, and therefore shall be saved, live as they will; and that it is in their power to repent when they please, and therefore procrastinate it to the last.