Ezekiel 8:1 MEANING

Ezekiel 8:1
(1) The elders of Judah sat before me.--It is plain from this that Ezekiel, as a priest, and now already known as a prophet, was held in consideration among the captives. It also appears that he lived in his own house. Judah is not used in contradistinction to Israel; but as the captives were chiefly of the tribe of Judah, so their elders were known as "the elders of Judah."

Verse 1. - And it came to pass, etc. We begin with a fresh date. One year and one month had passed since the vision of Chebar, and had been occupied partly by the acted, partly by the spoken, prophecies of the preceding chapters. In the mean time, things had gone from bad to worse in Jerusalem. In the absence of the higher priests, idolatry was more rampant, and had found its way even into the temple. It is probable that tidings of this had reached Ezekiel, as we know that frequent communications passed between the exiles and those they had left behind (Jeremiah 29:1-3, 9, 25). Directly or indirectly, Elasah the son of Shaphan, and Genesisariah the son of Hilkiah. may have conveyed a message, orally or written, from Jeremiah himself. Some such report may have led to the visit from the elders of Judah, if we understand by that term the exiles of Tel-Abib. I venture, however, on the conjecture that possibly those who came to the prophet were actually visitors who had come from Judah. Elsewhere, as in Ezekiel 14:1 and Ezekiel 20:1, those who thus came are described as "elders of Israel," or the captives (Ezekiel 1:1), "they of the Captivity" (Ezekiel 3:15). In either case, the visions that follow gain a special significance. The prophet becomes the seer. It is given to him to know, in a manner which finds a spurious analogue in the alleged mental travelling of the clairvoyant of modern psychology, what is passing in the city from which the messengers had come - and to show that he knows it. With such facts before his eyes, what other answer can there be than that evil must meet its doom? And so we pass into the second series of prophecies which ends with Ezekiel 13:23. It would seem as if the enquirers had kept silent as well as the prophet. We are not told that they asked anything. His look and manner, perhaps also attitude and gesture, forbade utterance. The hand of the Lord - the trance state - was in the act to fall on him (see notes on Ezekiel 3:14, 22). When the trance state was over, we may think of him as reporting and recording what he had thus seen in vision..

8:1-6 The glorious personage Ezekiel beheld in vision, seemed to take hold upon him, and he was conveyed in spirit to Jerusalem. There, in the inner court of the temple, was prepared a place for some base idol. The whole was presented in vision to the prophet. If it should please God to give any man a clear view of his glory and majesty, and of all the abominations committing in any one city, he would then admit the justice of the severest punishments God should inflict thereon.And it came to pass in the sixth year, in the sixth month, in the fifth day of the month,.... This was the sixth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin; the sixth month was the month Elul, which answers to part of August, and part of September. The Septuagint and Arabic versions wrongly render it, the fifth month. The fifth day of the month is thought to have been the sabbath day, which seems probable by what follows; this was just a year and two months from the first vision, Ezekiel 1:1;

as I sat in mine house; in Chaldea, by the river Chebar; he was now sitting, the time of lying on his side, both right and left, being now up, even four hundred and thirty days. It was in the fifth year, and on the fifth of Tammuz, that the first vision was; seven days the prophet sat with them of the captivity at Telabib; at the end of which he was ordered to lie on his side; first on his left side three hundred ninety days, and then on his right side forty days: now reckoning from the middle of Tammuz, to the fifth of Elul in the sixth year, were but, as Kimchi observes, four hundred days; but this being, as another Jewish writer says (r), an intercalated year, by the intercalation of a month, which consisted of thirty days, the whole number was completed, and the prophet was now sitting: or it may be this position is observed, because he was now teaching and instructing the people, which was frequently done sitting; See Gill on Matthew 5:1; and this in his own private house, being now in captivity, and having neither temple nor synagogue to teach in;

and the elders of Judah sat before me; to hear the word of the Lord from his mouth, the law explained, or any fresh prophecy delivered by him; or to have his advice and counsel in their present circumstances. These were the elders of Judah that were carried captive along with Jehoiachin; though some think they were those that were at Jerusalem, and that all this was only in a visionary way; but the former sense seems most agreeable; seeing this was previous to the vision, and with what goes before describes the time, place, and witnesses of the vision;

that the hand of the Lord fell there upon me; which the Targum interprets of the spirit of prophecy, which came with power upon him: it denotes the energy and efficacy of the Spirit of God in throwing him into an ecstasy, and acting upon him, and revealing to him the things he did; which are related in the following verses.

(r) Seder Olam Rabba, c. 26. p. 73. Vid. Kimchi in loc.

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