The Presumptuous Security of Sinners Exhibited and Condemned
Ezekiel 11:1-13
Moreover the spirit lifted me up, and brought me to the east gate of the LORD's house, which looks eastward…

Moreover the Spirit lifted me up, and brought me unto the east gate of the Lord's house, etc.

I. THE PRESUMPTUOUS AND FALSE SECURITY OF SINNERS EXHIBITED. (Vers. 1-3.) The twenty-live men here mentioned are not the same as those mentioned in Ezekiel 8:16; for already they have been slain in vision. In both places the number is a round one. And in this place it is clear that they were leaders of the people; for they gave counsel unto them, and two princes of the people were in the midst of them. Their conduct shows to us:

1. Sinners boasting their security in defiance of the declarations of the Lord by his prophets. Some of the exiles in Babylon had looked forward to a speedy return to their own land. Jeremiah the prophet sent to them a letter to correct this error, saying, "Build ye houses, and dwell in them;" and assuring them that not until they had accomplished seventy years of exile would they be permitted to return to the land of their fathers (Jeremiah 29:1-14). In the same letter he threatened those that were loft at Jerusalem with "the sword, the famine, and the pestilence." . And these five and twenty men, in mockery of the words of the prophet, said, "It is not near to build houses." They encouraged themselves and others in the opinion that, however it might be with the captives in Babylon, they were safe enough in Jerusalem, and need not trouble themselves about building houses. Moreover, Jeremiah had seen in vision a seething pot, or cauldron, with its face toward the north, which symbolized the coming of the kingdoms of the north against Jerusalem and against the cities of Judah, and taking them (Jeremiah 1:13-16). And in derision of this prophecy these twenty-five men said," This is the cauldron, and we a, e the flesh." As the flesh within the cauldron is safe from the surrounding fire, so they regarded themselves as safe within their city wails, whatever forces may rage outside them. They deemed their position a secure one, and would trust to their city walls and defensive arrangements, rather than heed the words of the Prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel. In most ages there have been presumptuous and profane scoffers at the threatenings of Divine judgments (cf. 2 Peter 3:3, 4). And in our own age there are many who persist in sin, notwithstanding the warnings addressed to them in the sacred Scriptures. And if their own conscience also remonstrates with and warns them, they make light of its admonitions. They seem to think that they can sin on with impunity, that somehow they will escape the natural consequences of their trangressions (cf. Jeremiah 5:12).

2. Sinners in influential positions forming wicked plans and proffering wicked counsel, and so misleading others. "These are the men that devise mischief, and give wicked counsel in this city." They entered into political intrigues, and formed plans of resistance against the enemy in direct opposition to the will of God expressed by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 21:8-10; Jeremiah 27:8-18; Jeremiah 38:17-23). By following this course, these five and twenty men had brought calamity and slaughter upon many whom they had misled (ver. 6). Sin, mischievous in any one, is especially mischievous in those who, by reason of their position and influence, lead others astray. When leaders in society by evil and perilous examples, or politicians or statesmen by unwise or unrighteous speeches or measures, or authors by injurious books, mislead or corrupt others, it is unspeakably pernicious. Great is the responsibility attached to great influence, and great is the guilt when that influence is exerted for evil.


1. The Divine knowledge of their evil designs. "Thus saith the Lord; Thus have ye said, O house of Israel: for I know the things that come into your mind, every one of them;" or, as Hengstenberg translates, "And that which riseth up in your mind I know." To the Omniscient all their thoughts and purposes were fully known (cf. Deuteronomy 31:21; Psalm 139:1-6; John 2:24, 25; Acts 1:24; and see a homily on this verse which appears below).

2. The disastrous consequences of their evil designs. "Ye have multiplied your slain in this city, and ye have filled the streets thereof with the slain." At this time bloodshed and murder were terribly prevalent in Jerusalem, and were amongst the chief crimes mentioned by Ezekiel as calling for the Divine judgment upon the city and its guilty inhabitants (cf. Ezekiel 8:17; Ezekiel 9:9). And in addition, "the slain" includes those who would be killed "by the Chaldeans, already slain from the standpoint taken up in the discourse of God." And they are said to be the slain of" the men that devise mischief," because their deaths were a consequence of their evil counsels. Who can gauge the miseries that arise in every age from the evil counsels of incompetent, unprincipled, or wicked leaders of men?

3. The fatal issue of their evil designs. (Vers. 8-13.) Here are several points which call for brief notice.

(1) The utter failure of their boasted security in the city. "I will bring you out of the midst thereof, and deliver you into the hands of strangers, and will execute judgments among you."

(2) Their slaughter in the execution of the just judgment of God. "Ye have feared the sword; and I will bring a sword upon you, saith the Lord God .... Ye shall fall by the sword; I will judge you in the border of Israel." And this prophecy was fulfilled with remarkable fidelity. After they had taken Jerusalem, the Chaldean army made prisoners of many of the chief men; they also captured King Zedekiah as he was endeavouring to escape by flight; and they carried them "to Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon, to Ribtah in the land of Hamath," on the northern border of Israel; and there the King of Babylon slew the princes and nobles of Judah, and put out the eyes of Zedekiah, and bound him in chains, to carry him to Babylon (2 Kings 25:18-21; Jeremiah 39:4-7; Jeremiah 52:8-1).

(3) Their recognition of Jehovah as the true and supreme God when it was too late. "And ye shall know that I am the Lord" (we have noticed these words in Ezekiel 6:7, 10). "It is lamentable," says Hengstenberg, "if we must gain the knowledge of God by our own destruction, if he in whom we live, and move, and are, is first recognized by the strokes which break our own head. The knowledge has here, moreover, no moral import. It is a mere passive knowledge, forced upon the ungodly, unconnected with repentance."

(4) The awful earnest of the fulfilment of the words of the prophet. "And it came to pass, when I prophesied, that Pelatiah the son of Benaiah died." In vision Ezekiel beheld the death of Pelatiah; and it seems to us that he died, in fact when this prophecy was made known unto him. "This incident, whose awful character is attested to us by the impression upon Ezekiel, symbolizes prophetically the certainty in actual fact of the judgment of death on the others also (cf. Jeremiah 28:17)" (Schroder). And so the issue of their presumptuous security and wicked counsel was to be their violent and ignominious death. We have in this an illustration of the issue of persistent wickedness. "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." "The wages of sin is death." "Sin, when it is full grown, bringeth forth death."

III. THE SORROW OF A GODLY MAN IN VIEW OF GOD'S JUDGMENTS UPON THE WICKED, "Then fell I down upon my face, and cried with a loud voice, and said, Ah, Lord God! wilt thou make a full end of the remnant of Israel?" To Ezekiel the death of Pelatiah was an awful pledge of the death of all the others against whom he had prophesied; and it so deeply affected his spirit as to cause him to cry out thus to God (we have noticed these words on Ezekiel 9:8). "Sudden or great judgments do put the saints and servants of God upon humble, earnest, and argumentative prayer. Humble, 'Then fell! down upon my face;' earnest, 'and cried with a loud voice;' argumentative, 'Ah, Lord God! wilt thou make a full end of the remnant of Israel?'" (Greenhill).


1. The peril of presumption in any course which is opposed to the will of God.

2. The great worth to a people of wise and upright leaders. - W.J.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Moreover the spirit lifted me up, and brought me unto the east gate of the LORD'S house, which looketh eastward: and behold at the door of the gate five and twenty men; among whom I saw Jaazaniah the son of Azur, and Pelatiah the son of Benaiah, princes of the people.

WEB: Moreover the Spirit lifted me up, and brought me to the east gate of Yahweh's house, which looks eastward: and see, at the door of the gate twenty-five men; and I saw in the midst of them Jaazaniah the son of Azzur, and Pelatiah the son of Benaiah, princes of the people.

Evil in High Places
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