Ezekiel 2:3 MEANING

Ezekiel 2:3
(3) I send thee to the children of Israel.--Here properly begins the distinct commission of the prophet. After the captivity of the ten tribes, the two forming the kingdom of Judah, with such remnants of the others as had been induced by Hezekiah and others to cast in their lot with them, are constantly spoken of as "Israel." (See Ezra 2:2.) The continuity of the whole nation was considered as preserved in the remnant, and hence this same mode of expression passed into the New Testament. (See Acts 26:7.) It is only when there is especial occasion to distinguish between the two parts of the nation, as in Ezekiel 4:5-6, that the name of Israel is used in contrast with that of Judah.

A rebellious nation.--Literally, as in the margin, rebellious nations, the word being the same as that commonly used distinctively for the heathen, so that the children of Israel are here spoken of as "rebellious heathen." There could be no epithet which would carry home more forcibly to the mind of an Israelite the state of antagonism in which he had placed himself against his God. (Comp. the "Lo-ammi" of Hosea 1:9, and also the discourse of our Lord in John 8:39.) Yet still, the God from whom they had turned aside was even now sending to them His prophet, and seeking to win them back to His love and obedience, in true correspondence to the vision of the bow in the cloud about the majesty on high.

The following verses enlarge, with a variety of epithets and repetitions, upon the hard-heartedness and perverseness of the people. This had always been the character of the Israelites from the time of Moses (see Exodus 32:9; Exodus 33:3; Exodus 33:5, &c), and continued to be to the end (see Acts 7:51); so entirely without ground is the allegation that they were chosen as a people peculiarly inclined to the right. It is to such a people that Ezekiel is to be sent, and he needed to be prepared and encouraged for his work.

Verse 3. - To a rebellious nation; literally, with Revised Version, nations that are rebellious. The Hebrew word (goim) is that used elsewhere for "heathen" and that may be its sense here. As in Ezekiel 28:22. Judah and Israel may be thought of as having fallen to the level of the heathen. Part of Ezekiel's work was actually addressed to the heathen as such (ch. 25-32.). The word may, however, be used in the plural to include both Judah and the remnant of the northern kingdom. They and their fathers. The words anticipate the teaching of ch. 18. The people to whom the prophet was sent could not say that they were suffering for the sins of their fathers. They, in their own persons, had transgressed up to the very day on which the prophet received his mission. They had rebelled as their fathers had done in the days of Moses and Joshua (Numbers 14:9; Joshua 22:18).

2:1-5 Lest Ezekiel should be lifted up with the abundance of the revelations, he is put in mind that still he is a son of man, a weak, mortal creature. As Christ usually called himself the Son of man, it was also an honourable distinction. Ezekiel's posture showed reverence, but his standing up would be a posture of greater readiness and fitness for business. God will speak to us, when we stand ready to do what he commands us. As Ezekiel had not strength of his own, the Spirit entered into him. God is graciously pleased to work in us whatever he requires of us. The Holy Spirit sets us upon our feet, by inclining our wills to our duty. Thus, when the Lord calls upon the sinner to awake, and attend to the concerns of his soul, the Spirit of life and grace comes with the call. Ezekiel is sent with a message to the children of Israel. Many might treat his message with contempt, yet they should know by the event that a prophet had been sent to them. God will be glorified, and his word made honourable, whether it be a savour of life unto life, or of death unto death.And he said unto me, son of man,.... Now follow his mission and commission, and an account of the persons to whom he was sent:

I send thee to the children of Israel; that were captives in Babylon, in Jehoiakim's captivity; so Christ was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, Matthew 15:24;

to a rebellious nation, that hath rebelled against me; or, "rebellious Gentiles", (u); not the nations of the earth, though Ezekiel did prophesy many things concerning them; but the Jews, the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin; or the twelve tribes of Israel, called Gentiles, because they joined with them in their idolatries; and, as Kimchi says, were divided in their evil works; some worshipping the gods of the Ammonites; and some the gods of the Moabites; and all guilty of rebellion and treason in so doing against the God of heaven:

they and their fathers have transgressed against me, even unto this very day; which is an aggravation of their rebellion; their fathers had sinned, and they had followed their ill examples, and had continued therein to that day; and as they, did to the times of Christ, when they were about to till up the measure of their iniquity, Matthew 23:31.

(u) "ad gentes, rebelles", Junius & Tremellius, Polanus, Starckius.

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