Ezekiel 20:9
But I acted for the sake of My name, that it should not be profaned in the eyes of the nations among whom they were living, in whose sight I had revealed Myself to Israel by bringing them out of the land of Egypt.
The Divine Motive of ActionA. B. Davidson, D. D.Ezekiel 20:9
The Glory of God, His Principle of ActionD. Moore, M. A.Ezekiel 20:9
Unacceptable PrayerJ.D. Davies Ezekiel 20:1-32
God, and Israel in EgyptW. Jones Ezekiel 20:5-9
The Memory of the Great DeliveranceJ.R. Thomson Ezekiel 20:5-9

The continuity of the national life seems to have been as constantly present to the mind of Ezekiel as was the fact of individual responsibility. He distinguished between national and personal character; but both were in his apprehension real. It is certainly remarkable that, in answering as he was directed to do, the application of the elders, he should proceed to epitomize the history of the nation. His aim seems to have been to show that the irreligion and rebellion of which he complained in the epoch of the Captivity had existed throughout the several periods of Israelitish history. In a few brief paragraphs the prophet, in a most graphic way, exhibits the conduct of the chosen people in several successive eras. As was customary and natural, the first period dealt with was that of the momentous deliverance from the bondage of Egypt.

I. REVELATION. God made himself known unto Israel in the land of Egypt. In this revelation were included:

1. Choice.

2. Covenant, confirmed by oath.

3. Promise of deliverance from bondage; further promise of a land flowing with milk and honey, the glory of all lands.

II. COMMAND. One great duty Jehovah laid upon his chosen and covenant people - the duty of abandoning the idolatry, whose evil effects they had witnessed among the Egyptians. They could not consistently receive the Divine revelation, and at the same time be guilty of idolatry, which in all its forms was a contradiction of the worship and service of the one living and true God. Idolatry was not only dishonouring to Jehovah; it was a defilement of all who took part in its practices.

III. REBELLION. Notwithstanding the grace displayed in the revelation, notwithstanding the authority accompanying the command, the chosen and favoured nation rebelled. The circumstances of the case, when considered, render this all the more marvellous. Although the superior power of the God of their fathers had been so conspicuously displayed, "they did not forsake the idols of Egypt." Such conduct was both treason and rebellion in one.

IV. THREATENING. The truly human manner in which the prophet, in this and similar places, speaks of the Eternal leads some readers to charge him with anthropomorphism. The language used of a man might imply vindictiveness; and, taken in connection with what follows, might even imply mutability and fickleness. The Divine "fury "and "anger" may not be free from emotion, but such language is mainly intended to convey the impression that the law of righteousness exists, and that it cannot be violated and defied with impunity, either by nations or by individuals.

V. RELENTING AND SALVATION. The ground upon which Jehovah bore with his sinful people is remarkable; it was "for his own Name's sake, that it should not be polluted before the heathen." For this reason he brought them forth out of the land of Egypt. Their emancipation was owing, not to any daring of their own, not to any heroism of their leaders, not to any fortunate conjunction of circumstances, but to the interposition of Almighty power. - T.

I wrought for My name's sake.
It is an admitted axiom of all enlightened legislation, that with man as a moral agent human lawmakers have nothing to do; that they must overlook many considerations of natural infirmity and educational bias, to which due weight will nevertheless be given in the merciful estimate of Heaven, confining their attention solely to what will most uphold the majesty of the law, and thus secure "the greatest good of the greatest number." Now with some difference in form, this is the very thing which takes place with the great rule of the Divine procedure. What the honour of the law is to earthly govermnents, the honour of His own great name is to Almighty God. Every decree that goes forth from the court of heaven is referred to this one rule.

I. SOME REASONS FOR THIS RULE OF THE DIVINE PROCEDURE. The steps of the reasoning, whereby a moral necessity (as it were) is imposed upon God, to consult first the glory of His own name, as distinguished from anything He should see in His creatures, appear to us to be both simple and conclusive. For what is a part of God must have more glory than that which comes from God, seeing that the glory of the one is original and the glory of the other is derived. Another reason to be offered for this rule of the Divine procedure is, that God designs to show to us, that in all the deliverances He has hitherto wrought, or any which He may be expected hereafter to work, He could be influenced by no considerations foreign to Himself: to show that He would put forth or withdraw His arm, according as He did or did not apprehend dishonour would be charged upon the rectitude of His government, or "His name be polluted in the sight of the heathen, from whom He brought them forth." We have yet another reason to urge why the glory of His own name should be chosen by God as the governing principle of His administration, in preference to seeking for that governing principle in anything that man does, or in anything that man is: that by so choosing He gives to men themselves the only security they can have, that the administration of heaven shall be free from all inconstancy, from all fluctuation, and from all change. It would not, however, we think, be sufficient that we should merely justify the principle laid down in our text, that in all which God hath done He hath "wrought for His name's sake"; the solemnity and frequency with which we see it repeated seem to require from us a distinct recognition, that it is designed to exert some direct influence on our faith and practice. And this influence we take to be, that in all our judgments of His ways, and in all our petitions for His help, we should have a uniform regard to that end, which He avows to be the ruling principle of the heavenly administration, namely, the glory of His own name. It is good to give back something of glory, for what hath been so largely bestowed of grace; and on all occasions of perplexity and of doubt which may arise, it will ever afford us comfort in the retrospect, to have known that we acted neither from ourselves, nor for ourselves, but that we "wrought for His name's sake." There is, however, another reason why we think God so frequently insists on the glory of His own name, as being the ruling principle of His government; and that is, because He would teach us that what is to Him the rule of action should be to us both a measure and a plea of prayer.


1. God had an eye to His glory in the works of creation. It is obvious, that had the necessities of man been the only motive to the Divine beneficence, Deity might have provided for man a less noble theatre for the exercise of his powers, and a less gorgeous home for the place of his rest. His design in creation is to lead us from the seen to the unseen; from the measured to the infinite; from the top of heights, which sense would apprehend and scale, to the loftier pinnacle of "His own eternal power and Godhead."

2. God has never lest sight of this great end in the various departments of His providence. It may be true — it must be true — that seeing as we do only a part of our Maker's ways, the mere fragments of the stupendous plan, the detached pieces of providence, we shall be prone to ask, Wherein is God's name exalted here? But ye must wait to see these pieces of providence put together; ye must wait to see all the wheels and springs of the great Timepiece adjusted and fitted in; and then shall ye find that the most inscrutable act of the Divine administration formed one of the letters of His own great Name.

3. It was with a view to the glory of His own great name that the Creator of all the ends of the earth devised, effectuated, and wrought out the plan of man's redemption.

(D. Moore, M. A.)

The conception that Jehovah acts only for His own name's sake, to sanctify His great name, is capable of being set in a repellent light. It seems to make the Divine Being egoistic, and His own sense of Himself the source of all His operations. The way too in which He brings the nations to know that He is Jehovah, through judgments mainly, invests the idea with additional harshness. The conception is not found in the earlier prophets, but is familiar in the age of Ezekiel. Perhaps two things, if considered, would help to explain the prophet's idea. One is his lofty conception of Jehovah, God alone and over all, and his profound reverence before Him. The "child of man" cannot conceive the motive of Jehovah's operations to be found anywhere but in himself. But that name for whose sake he works is a "great name" (Ezekiel 36:23) and a "holy name" (Ezekiel 39:25), it is that of Him who is God. The prophet thinks of Jehovah as one of his predecessors did. "For Jehovah your God is the God of gods, and Lord of lords, the great God, the mighty and the terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward" (Deuteronomy 10:17). And the second thing is this: the conception arose out of the conflicts of the times. There were antagonisms within Israel, and more powerful antagonisms without, between Israel and the nations. The conflicts on the stage of history were but the visible forms taken by a conflict of principles, of religions of Jehovah God with the idolatries of which the nations of the earth were the embodiments. The prophet could not help drawing up this antagonism into his conception of God; and not unnaturally he inflicted his own feeling upon the mind of God, and conceived Him thinking of Himself as he thought of Him. If it was but half a truth, it was perhaps the half needed for the age. When the fulness of time was come, the centre of Divine motive was shifted. God so loved the world, etc. Coming from the bosom of the Father, and knowing Him, the Son's mind was altogether absorbed in the positive truth the stream of which was so broad and deep that all antagonisms were buried beneath it.

(A. B. Davidson, D. D.)

Ezekiel, Israelites, Jacob, Teman
Babylon, Bamah, Egypt, Negeb
Acted, Acting, Bring, Bringing, Dwelt, Egypt, Forth, Heathen, Honour, Israelites, Midst, Myself, Name's, Nations, Pollute, Polluted, Profaned, Revealed, Sake, Sight, Taking, Unclean, Worked, Wrought
1. God refuses to be consulted by the elders of Israel
4. He shows the story of their rebellions in Egypt
19. in the desert
27. and in the land
33. He promises to gather them by the Gospel
45. Under the name of a forest he shows the destruction of Jerusalem

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Ezekiel 20:9

     1185   God, zeal of
     1403   God, revelation
     8135   knowing God, nature of

Ezekiel 20:1-44

     7348   defilement

Ezekiel 20:9-10

     8332   reputation

Ten Reasons Demonstrating the Commandment of the Sabbath to be Moral.
1. Because all the reasons of this commandment are moral and perpetual; and God has bound us to the obedience of this commandment with more forcible reasons than to any of the rest--First, because he foresaw that irreligious men would either more carelessly neglect, or more boldly break this commandment than any other; secondly, because that in the practice of this commandment the keeping of all the other consists; which makes God so often complain that all his worship is neglected or overthrown,
Lewis Bayly—The Practice of Piety

Manner of Covenanting.
Previous to an examination of the manner of engaging in the exercise of Covenanting, the consideration of God's procedure towards his people while performing the service seems to claim regard. Of the manner in which the great Supreme as God acts, as well as of Himself, our knowledge is limited. Yet though even of the effects on creatures of His doings we know little, we have reason to rejoice that, in His word He has informed us, and in His providence illustrated by that word, he has given us to
John Cunningham—The Ordinance of Covenanting

There are few subjects on which the Lord's own people are more astray than on the subject of giving. They profess to take the Bible as their own rule of faith and practice, and yet in the matter of Christian finance, the vast majority have utterly ignored its plain teachings and have tried every substitute the carnal mind could devise; therefore it is no wonder that the majority of Christian enterprises in the world today are handicapped and crippled through the lack of funds. Is our giving to be
Arthur W. Pink—Tithing

Questions About the Nature and Perpetuity of the Seventh-Day Sabbath.
AND PROOF, THAT THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN SABBATH. BY JOHN BUNYAN. 'The Son of man is lord also of the Sabbath day.' London: Printed for Nath, Ponder, at the Peacock in the Poultry, 1685. EDITOR'S ADVERTISEMENT. All our inquiries into divine commands are required to be made personally, solemnly, prayerful. To 'prove all things,' and 'hold fast' and obey 'that which is good,' is a precept, equally binding upon the clown, as it is upon the philosopher. Satisfied from our observations
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

Covenanting Sanctioned by the Divine Example.
God's procedure when imitable forms a peculiar argument for duty. That is made known for many reasons; among which must stand this,--that it may be observed and followed as an example. That, being perfect, is a safe and necessary pattern to follow. The law of God proclaims what he wills men as well as angels to do. The purposes of God show what he has resolved to have accomplished. The constitutions of his moral subjects intimate that he has provided that his will shall be voluntarily accomplished
John Cunningham—The Ordinance of Covenanting

The Old Testament Canon from Its Beginning to Its Close.
The first important part of the Old Testament put together as a whole was the Pentateuch, or rather, the five books of Moses and Joshua. This was preceded by smaller documents, which one or more redactors embodied in it. The earliest things committed to writing were probably the ten words proceeding from Moses himself, afterwards enlarged into the ten commandments which exist at present in two recensions (Exod. xx., Deut. v.) It is true that we have the oldest form of the decalogue from the Jehovist
Samuel Davidson—The Canon of the Bible

A Sermon on Isaiah xxvi. By John Knox.
[In the Prospectus of our Publication it was stated, that one discourse, at least, would be given in each number. A strict adherence to this arrangement, however, it is found, would exclude from our pages some of the most talented discourses of our early Divines; and it is therefore deemed expedient to depart from it as occasion may require. The following Sermon will occupy two numbers, and we hope, that from its intrinsic value, its historical interest, and the illustrious name of its author, it
John Knox—The Pulpit Of The Reformation, Nos. 1, 2 and 3.

The Covenant of Works
Q-12: I proceed to the next question, WHAT SPECIAL ACT OF PROVIDENCE DID GOD EXERCISE TOWARDS MAN IN THE ESTATE WHEREIN HE WAS CREATED? A: When God had created man, he entered into a covenant of life with him upon condition of perfect obedience, forbidding him to eat of the tree of knowledge upon pain of death. For this, consult with Gen 2:16, 17: And the Lord commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

To a modern taste, Ezekiel does not appeal anything like so powerfully as Isaiah or Jeremiah. He has neither the majesty of the one nor the tenderness and passion of the other. There is much in him that is fantastic, and much that is ritualistic. His imaginations border sometimes on the grotesque and sometimes on the mechanical. Yet he is a historical figure of the first importance; it was very largely from him that Judaism received the ecclesiastical impulse by which for centuries it was powerfully
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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