I. THE SCENE OF DIVINE DESTRUCTION. God's righteous anger is directed against the Holy Land, the holy places, the temple itself. Kings and priests alike are doomed. Traditional eminence and renown are impotent as a defence Against just retribution. God is no respecter of persons. Sin is equally detestable in an Israelite as in an Egyptian, and will be punished with equal severity. Oat of regard for a good man, God may employ a different method - more patience, perhaps - in dealing with his son; yet, in the end, there will not be the deviation of a hair's breadth from righteous principle. No man can cloak himself with privilege.
II. GOD'S VENGEANCE IRRESISTIBLE. "I have set the point of the sword against all their gates, that their heart may faint." As Samson lifted off the gates of Gaza from their hinges, much more can Samson's Creator pierce with his sword gates of brass and fortresses of iron. Who can withstand his thunderbolts? Who can raise a defence against his lightning? "Every heart shall melt, and all hands shall be feeble." Did the antediluvians stop the rising of the Deluge? Could the families of Egypt protect their firstborn against the angel of destruction? Had the dwellers in Pompeii any power to prevent the overthrow of their city? How vain and impotent are men in league against an avenging God!
III. GOD'S VENGEANCE IS THOROUGH IS ITS ACTION. "I will cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked." Man's estimate of righteousness and God's estimate differ widely. In a nation every variety of character will be found, and sin will exist in every shade and gradation. In comparison with the blackest characters some will appear righteous who are only less tainted with sin. These are the so called righteous. In the very nature of things God will not and cannot treat alike the righteous and the wicked. The truth, then, set before us here is this - that the whole nation was corrupt, yea, ripe for slaughter. So few were the righteous, as to be left out in this graphic and impressive description. The scourge should sweep through the land, and penetrate every secret place.
IV. GOD'S VENGEANCE, THOUGH APPARENTLY, NOT REALLY, INDISCRIMINATE. Outwardly the same calamity may befall the righteous and the wicked, while the real and inward effect differs widely. The same sentence of death will send the righteous to their heavenly rest, the wicked to their final doom. The sun that hardens clay, melts wax. The storm that sends a leaky ship to the bottom, drives faster home the tight and gallant hark. The scourge that kills the wicked, only chastens the righteous. The furnace that destroys the alloy, refines the silver. To the few righteous this visitation of God "is a trial" (ver. 13). The rod had not been severe enough, therefore the sword came. No ill can befall the righteous. Death is ours. "To die is gain."
V. DIVINE AND HUMAN COOPERATION. This sword, which was sharpened to destroy, was no less God's sword, though it was wielded by the captains of Babylon, The prophet had his part to take. The king and statesmen of Babylon - yea, even the rank and file of the army - had their part to take, with God, in the execution of his just fury. The prophet is directed (ver. 14) "to smite his hands together" - a matter of fact prophecy of the coming event - the sign to summon the great army. And (in ver. 17) God describes himself as about to do the same act: "I will also smite mine hands together." Men are often called to act in God's stead - as God's delegates.
VI. DIVINE ADMONITIONS, THROUGH MEN, MUST BE DELIVERED WITH DEEP EMOTION. "Sigh therefore, son of man, with the breaking of thy loins; and with bitterness sigh before their eyes." If it be possible, on our part, to impress our fellow, men with the reality and severity of God's judgments, we must do our utmost to arouse earnest repentance, or we incur grave responsibility. God has constituted human nature so that strong emotion in the preacher, seemingly manifested, awakens strong emotion in the hearers. Men everywhere are susceptible of influence from a superior or a holier man. Nothing God allows us to omit which may serve to lead our fellows to repentance. We must make it clear that the events of coming retribution adequately impress our own minds; then, and then only, shall we arouse attention, promote inquiry, and lead to reflection, self-examination, and return to God. - D.
Behold, I am against thee.I. THE PROPHET'S COMPELLATION, OR TITLE — "Son of man." There are but two persons in Scripture which have eminently this name — the one is our Saviour, the other Ezekiel. For our Saviour, it was not without very good reason — namely, as hereby to discover the truth of His humanity to us — that amongst those many miracles which were wrought by Him, from whence He did appear to be God, He might have somewhat also fastened upon Him declaring Him likewise to be man. Besides, as suitable to His present state of humiliation and future passion, that He might be looked upon according to that view wherein He tendered Himself to the world, and that those which were about Him might be prepared for what should happen unto Him, He thought it fitting thus to be called; in the meantime, likewise, encouraging them, upon these terms, to close with Him, as who having taken their nature upon Him, was not now ashamed to call them brethren. As for Ezekiel, why this name should be put upon him, this is a thing further considerable — especially why upon him rather than upon any other of the prophets, Daniel only excepted, who but once is distinguished by this compellation (Daniel 8:17). It is the general sense of divines, that it was for this reason especially, namely, to humble him in the midst of those many divine visions and revelations which he was partaker of, that though in regard of his work and employment he was a companion of angels, yet, for his condition, he was numbered amongst men. And so, in that respect, had a double disparagement upon him, which served to abase him — both of mortality and sinfulness. But we may add also another reason here in this place for the giving of it; and that was, not only to breed in him an humble spirit, but likewise a pitiful and compassionate. The message which he was now sent about, it was a matter of judgment and terror; it was a threatening, and foretelling of God's wrath and indignation against His people. Now, this did require some bowels and tenderness in him, that he should do it; and therefore "Son of man" was a very fit and proper compellation, that so, being a man himself, he might the more commiserate his brethren.
II. THE PROPHET'S INJUNCTION, OR COMMAND, WHICH IS LAID UPON HIM: and that is, how to carry himself in the denunciations of God's judgments against His people. This is laid forth in three clauses — First, to set his face toward Jerusalem. Secondly, to drop his word towards the holy places. Thirdly, to prophesy against the land of Israel. Where ye have a full enumeration of all kind of places, and conditions, and persons, as the objects of Divine wrath, which is threatened against them. First, the city, expressed in Jerusalem. Secondly, the Church, signified in the holy places. Thirdly, the country, or whole community, implied in the land of Israel. Here is God's judgments extended to all sorts and ranks of men — to the civil State, to the ecclesiastical, and to the popular. We will begin with the civil. "The Lord's voice crieth to the city" (Micah 6:9).
1. The place threatened is Jerusalem, the mother-city in the land of the princes and governors of the nation. This is that which God begins withal in the denunciation of His judgments against His people here in this place. This carries in it God's anger against great ones — the nobles and princes and judges and magistrates of the land; those which were of any eminency amongst them, whether for birth, or place, or power, or wealth; these sinning against the Lord were not without their correction — nay, God thinks fitting to take aim at them first of all: "Set thy face against Jerusalem." Now, there is a very good account which may be given of this dispensation.(1) Because such places as these are, do abound with greater mercies, and so opportunities of doing good; therefore they, rebelling against the Lord, and provoking Him, do become more obnoxious.(2) Because the sins of these are more exemplary and scandalous, The more eminent any are in place, the more notorious are their miscarriages — everyone looks upon them as so many patterns to all the rest.(3) They are populous places, and they are such places wherein the flower and glory of the whole land is gathered together. The strength and riches and state of any nation are in their chief cities. Now, therefore, when God has a mind to stain the pride of all glory, He does especially aim at these.
2. The prophet's gesture which he is required to use to it — and that is, to set his face towards it. "Set thy face towards Jerusalem." The setting of the face, in Scripture, does carry a different notion in it.(1) It is a note of attention. God would have him to set his face upon it, by way of serious consideration; to take notice of the manifold abominations which were in it. And thus now is it the concernment of ministers in like manner to do — not to shoot their arrows at random, rashly and unadvisedly, they care not how; but as being thoroughly appreciative of the guilt of the persons themselves they deal withal.(2) It is a note of compassion and commiseration. So we also find it sometimes in Scripture. As our Saviour (Luke 19:41).(3) It is a note of displeasure and indignation. So it is used sometimes (Jeremiah 21:10; Ezekiel 25:2; Ezekiel 28:21; Ezekiel 29:2).The second is in reference to the Church, or State Ecclesiastical. "And drop thy word towards the holy places."
1. The place is the Church and house of God. Here is God's vengeance threatened against that, as to the destruction of it. This is worse than the former; by how much spirituals are better than temporals, and any prejudice to our souls worse than to our outward estates.(1) Here is a threatening of the place, the temple itself, which was afterwards verified and made good in the destruction and rendition of that: "Not one stone left upon another." God threatens to take away. that visible token of His presence from amongst them, which was one step of this punishment.(2) Here is a threatening of the persons, the priests and ministers — there is an heavy judgment belonging to them; forasmuch as they had corrupted themselves, and others with them.(3) In reference to the performances — the ordinances and ministerial dispensations. God drops upon the sanctuary when He threatens to suspend these, as oftentimes He does when He sends a famine of His word (Amos 8:11) Especially when His ordinances are neglected, when there is no heed or regard unto them: in such cases as these does God remove them, and otherwise bestow them; neither is there anything here which shall stand in the way of His judgments.
2. The carriage and proceeding towards it, and that is expressed here by dropping.(1) A leisurable proceeding — one thing after another, in a succession. The judgments of God, they are not to be denounced all at once; that were enough to astonish men, and wholly overwhelm them. No, but by steps and degrees. They must first be acquainted with lesser judgments, and then afterwards with greater.(2) A gentle proceeding — not boisterously, with over-much rigour; but mildly, and with the spirit of meekness.(3) A constant proceeding. Dropping — it has frequency in it. So should it be with us here: "Precept upon precept, and line upon line" (Isaiah 28:10).The third, and last, in reference to the community and whole nation in general. In these words: "And prophesy against the land of Israel."
1. The place threatened — "the land of Israel." These words do carry two things in them, which might seem, at the first hearing, to plead for exemption from punishment.(1) Israel, God's own peculiar people.(2) The land of Israel, that is, a great number of them. Yet it will not do, or serve the turn neither. Though it be Israel, God's own people; though it be the land of Israel, all states and degrees amongst them; yet sinners, they must not shun judgment.
2. The carriage towards it, and that is prophesying. "Prophesy against the land of Israel." This was a very ill message, and very unwelcome, which Ezekiel was sent with; but yet he must carry it, for all that. He must prophesy against them — that is, declare God's punishments upon them for their sins and provocations of Him.
(T. Herren, D. D.)
PlacesBabylon, Jerusalem, Negeb, Rabbah
TopicsDirection, Drop, Dropped, Face, Ground, Holy, Jerusalem, Places, Preach, Prophesy, Prophet, Sanctuaries, Sanctuary, Speak, Towards
Outline1. Ezekiel prophesies against Jerusalem with a sign of sighing
8. The sharp and bright sword
18. against Jerusalem
25. against the kingdom
28. and against the Ammonites
Dictionary of Bible ThemesEzekiel 21:2
LibraryScriptures Showing the Sin and Danger of Joining with Wicked and Ungodly Men.
Scriptures Showing The Sin And Danger Of Joining With Wicked And Ungodly Men. When the Lord is punishing such a people against whom he hath a controversy, and a notable controversy, every one that is found shall be thrust through: and every one joined with them shall fall, Isa. xiii. 15. They partake in their judgment, not only because in a common calamity all shares, (as in Ezek. xxi. 3.) but chiefly because joined with and partakers with these whom God is pursuing; even as the strangers that join …
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning
Light for them that Sit in Darkness;
Sundry Sharp Reproofs
Saurin -- Paul Before Felix and Drusilla
LinksEzekiel 21:2 NIV
Ezekiel 21:2 NLT
Ezekiel 21:2 ESV
Ezekiel 21:2 NASB
Ezekiel 21:2 KJV
Ezekiel 21:2 Bible Apps
Ezekiel 21:2 Parallel
Ezekiel 21:2 Biblia Paralela
Ezekiel 21:2 Chinese Bible
Ezekiel 21:2 French Bible
Ezekiel 21:2 German Bible
Ezekiel 21:2 Commentaries