Ezekiel 3:23
So I got up and went out to the plain, and behold, the glory of the LORD was present there, like the glory I had seen by the River Kebar, and I fell facedown.
God Communicating with ManW. Jones Ezekiel 3:22, 23
The Silenced Prophet, a CalamityJ.D. Davies Ezekiel 3:22-27

The apparent success of wickedness is a seed of retribution. The people do not wish to hear, therefore their ears shall be hardened. They gnash their teeth on God's prophet, therefore God will remove him into a corner.

I. SECLUSION FROM MEN BRINGS NEARER ACCESS TO GOD. Such experience our Lord himself passed through. "I shall be left alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me." "Arise, and go forth into the plain," said God to Ezekiel, "and I will there talk with thee." It is painful to be hindered and repulsed on a mission of mercy; but the servant of God may remember that the opposition is not to him, but to his Master. We naturally love society; we love success; we love to feel that our influence is moving men in the right direction. Resolute and persistent opposition is painful; but the friendship of God compensates for a thousand disappointments. If he smiles, it matters little who may frown.

II. THE OPPOSITION OF MEN BRINGS ALL GOD'S HOST TO THE PROPHET'S SIDE. The glorious vision which Ezekiel had seen on the banks of the Chebar was repeated in the plain. Representatives of all the living forces of heaven appeared again as the prophet's allies. In such a cause, and with such allied powers, triumph must eventually ensue. Though repelled, the prophet is not defeated; "Though cast down, not destroyed." If he pleased, God could have secured outward and apparent success for his messenger. He could have smitten with sudden death the more rebellious, and made the calamity an instrument for impressing and silencing others. But his wisdom preferred another course. "His thoughts are not our thoughts." Ezekiel very likely required yet further training for his work. We see not the scope and grandeur of Jehovah's plans at present; but by and by we shall be able to say, "He hath done all things well."

III. THE DEAFNESS OF MEN CURTAILS THE REVELATION FROM GOD. Men's pride usually becomes their punishment. They scourge themselves with their own sins. If they make themselves dear, God will make his servant dumb. The time will come when they shall earnestly desire to hear some message from the Lord, but they shall desire in vain. They may attempt to force the prophet into speech, but they will attempt in vain. Saul, the first King of Israel, was disobedient to the heavenly voice; yet when he was entangled in thick dangers, he cried to God, but God answered not, neither by prophet, nor by vision, nor by Urim or Thummim. "Because I called, and ye refused... I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh." Reproof was the kindest message the people could have from God, yet they understood it not. The hardened soil must be broken up by the plough before it is of any use to cast in the seed. The diseased man needs medicine, not sweetmeats. And when, at times, God does give his prophets a word to utter, it is only the word of reproof again. He will bring their self-will and pride again to remembrance. The pearls of his gospel he casts not before swine. - D.

Arise, go forth into the plain, and I will there talk with thee.
I. The DUTY enjoined — "Arise, and go forth into the plain." Premise two things —

1. The place is indifferent. It matters not whether it be a private room, or the open field. The thing required is to be alone.

2. It is not a state of absolute retirement that God enjoins, Man was made for society, as well as solitude: and so is the Christian. But what our subject demands is, comparative and occasional secession for moral and spiritual purposes. Says He not this by express commands? "Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Enter into thy closet; and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret, and thy Father which is in secret shall reward thee openly." And says He not this by example? Daniel retired three times a day. Of our Saviour, whose life has the force of a law, it is said: "In the morning, rising up a great while before day, He went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed. Says e not this by he institution of the Sabbath? The return of every Saturday evening cries, "Tomorrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the Lord." "Go forth into the plain, and there will I talk with thee." And says He not this by the dispensations of His providence? Affliction often at once disinclines us to social circles, and disqualifies us for them. Sickness separates a man from the crowd, and confines him on the bed of languishing, there to ask, "Where is God my Maker, who giveth songs in the night?" Says He not this by the influence of His grace? This agency always produces in its subjects certain sentiments and dispositions, which urge them to retirement. I will mention four of these.

1. The first is a devotional temper. Whoever delights in prayer will delight in retirement; because it is so favourable to the frequency and freedom of the exercise.

2. The second is a desire to rise above the world. How often does the Christian lament that his conversation is so little in heaven, and that he is so much governed, by things that are seen and temporal! But where is the world conquered? In a crowd? No: but — alone.

3. The third is a wish to obtain self-knowledge. It is only alone that he can examine his state; that he can explore his defects; and set a watch against future temptation.

4. The fourth is love to God. When we are supremely attached to a person, his presence is all we want; how desirable then to meet him alone, where he seems wholly ours, and we can yield and receive undivided attention!

II. The PRIVILEGE promised — "And I will there talk with thee."

1. The condescension of the Speaker. It is the Creator talking with the creature. Annexed to our meanness are our unworthiness, and our guilt. Here is, therefore, the condescension not only of goodness, but of mercy and grace.

2. Observe the happiness of the believer. By what scale can we judge of blessedness so rightly as the degree of nearness to God, the supreme good, the fountain of life? In His presence there is fulness of joy, and at His right hand there are pleasures for evermore. How blessed, then, is the man whom God chooses, and causes to approach unto Him now!

3. What is the subject of communication? It is variously expressed in the Scripture. It is called, His secret, and His covenant: "The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him, and He will show them His covenant." It is called judgment, and His way: "The meek will He guide in judgment, and the meek will He teach His way. It is peace: "He will speak peace unto His people." It regards everything that is important to their welfare, or interesting to their feelings and hopes.

4. What is the mode of address? He does not talk with us in a preternatural manner, as he did sometimes of old with His people. But He opens our eyes to see wondrous things out of His law. He leads us into all truth. He applies the doctrines and promises of His word by His Spirit; and, by enabling us to realise our own interest in them, He says to our souls, I am thy salvation.

5. What is the evidence of the fact? How shall we know that He does talk with us? Remember the two disciples going to Emmaus.Determine the Divine converse with you in the same way. Judge of it by its influences and effects.

1. It will produce a deep and solemn sense of our vanity and vileness.

2. It will draw forth unquenchable desires after additional indulgence.

3. It will produce likeness. "He that walketh with wise men shall be wise."

(W. Jay.)


1. Society has a tendency to stir and strengthen the impulses of our animal nature.

2. Society has a tendency to produce habits of superficial thought. The spicy anecdote, the volatile language, the feathery and the flippant — these are the popular wares.

3. Society has a tendency to destroy the sense of individual responsibleness.

4. Society has a tendency to promote a forgetfulness of God. The lamp of piety will soon flicker and expire in the gusts of social influences, unless we retire to devout solitude for fresh oil to feed its waning fires.

II. SEASONS OF DEVOUT SOLITUDE ARE NECESSARY IN ORDER PERSONALLY TO APPROPRIATE THE GOOD THERE IS IN SOCIETY. The conversations of the noblest circles, the most renovating principles of the most Christ-like discourses, will all prove worse than useless if their good effect is allowed to terminate with their first impressions. First impressions, of a holy kind, if they are not cultured by devout reflection, will not only pass away as the early dew goes off in the sun, but will carry off with them something of the freshness and the sensibility of the heart — something that will render the spirit less susceptible to other good impressions. In devout solitude, and nowhere else, can the faculty of discrimination rightly do its work. Here, the mind has its "senses exercised to discern good and evil." The two opposite elements, alas! are so mixed together here, so compounded, that a rigid and searching discrimination is required to separate the chaff from the wheat — the dross from the gold. In the presence of God, evil and good dissolve their connection, and appear in their own distinct essences. The night is divided from the day. Now without this discrimination there can be no true appropriation. In devout solitude, therefore, I can turn the universe to my service; aye, even make enemies serve my purpose.

III. SEASONS OF DEVOUT SOLITUDE ARE NECESSARY IN ORDER TO QUALIFY US TO BENEFIT SOCIETY. Nature and the Bible teach that our bounden duty is to "serve our generation" — to endeavour to improve the condition of the race. Three things seem indispensable, and these are dependent upon devout solitude.

1. Self-formed conviction of Gospel truth. Alone with God you can search the Gospel to its foundation, and feel the congruity of its doctrines with your reason, its claims with your conscience, its provisions with your wants.

2. Unconquerable love for Gospel truth. The man only who loves truth more than popularity, fortune, or even life, can so use it as really and lastingly to benefit mankind. In devout solitude you can cultivate this invincible attachment to truth, and be made to feel with Paul, who said — "I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ."

3. A living expression of Gospel truth. We must be "living epistles." Our conduct must confirm and illumine the doctrines which our lips declare. It is said of Moses "that the skin of his face shone while he talked with God." But in seasons of devout solitude, our whole nature may grow luminous, and every phase of our character coruscate with "the deep things of the spirit."


God speaks as surely in the city as in the desert. By unexpected events, by labour and strife, by the various fortunes of vice, and the amazing struggles of virtue, God speaks to men with distinctness and solemnity. The point is that busy men may hear God in solitude, and solitary men may hear Him in the city. Change of mere position may have moral advantages.

I. THE SPECIALITY OF GOD'S APPOINTMENTS. He appoints places, times, methods, He appoints, in this case, the plain. "Where two or three are gathered together," etc.; "Wheresoever My name is recorded," etc. Where the appointment is special, the obedience should be instantaneous, cordial, punctual.

II. THE PERSONALITY OF GOD'S COMMUNICATIONS. "I will talk with thee." We should know more of God if we held closer intercourse with Him. We may go to God directly. Every devout meditation brings us into the Divine presence. Expect this; believe it; realise it. In the sanctuary we are not hearing the voice of man, but of God. In nature we hear the Divine voice. God talks with man in the garden in the cool of the day.

III. THE FAMILIARITY OF GOD'S CONDESCENSION. "I will talk with thee." It is a friend's appointment. It is not, "I will lighten and thunder," or, "I will overpower thee with My strength," but, "I will talk with thee," as a father might talk to his only son. Though the prophet was at first thrown down, yet the Spirit entered into him, and set him upon his feet. Application —

1. God has ever something to say to man. Must have —

(1)as a Ruler;

(2)as a Father. His word is ever new.

2. In seeking solitude, man should seek God. Solitude without God leads to madness. Solitude with God leads to strength and peace. Undevout solitude is the wilderness where the devil wins his battles.

3. Man himself should often propose to commune with God, In this case God proposed; in other cases man may "seek the Lord." Communion with God shows —

(1)the capacity of our spiritual nature;

(2)the infinite superiority of the spiritual as compared with the material.When Moses talked with God, his face shone; when we commune with Him, our life will be full of brightness. Divine fellowship may be kept silent, but it cannot be kept secret. Jesus Christ Himself went away from men to commune with God. If the Master required solitude, can the servant safely do without it?

(J. Parker D. D.)

If asked to mention the most prominent characteristic of the present day, I should point the requirer without hesitation to the immense speed at which everything is going, to the never: ceasing and ever-increasing activity of men; to the multiplied and still multiplying engagements which occupy all the day; to the vast amount of work done in the conduct of the affairs of the world. As a direct consequence of this, those things in these busy days of ours, which can be looked at and apprehended by a swift glance of the ever-active eye, and grasped and measured and weighed by a quick application of the ever-ready hand, occupy, in the case of the vast majority of men, the mind as well as the time, to the exclusion of those things which are not seen but which are quite as real and important. In the bustle and noise of the activities of every day, the whisperings of the Divine voice, ever appealing to our hearts, are unheard and unheeded, even as would be the strains of the songbird amid the din and clash of armed men in mortal combat. In the swift race for worldly prosperity or distinction or honour, the messages of Divine love, straight from the Father's heart to ours, fall and pass away without leaving any impression, even as the silvery moonbeams leave no impress upon the granite rock. It is, then, for our souls' health and strength that God frequently uses with us rather stringent measures, and, by His dealings with us, forces us to think of what is not seen, both within us and beyond us. Thus we now and again hear the Divine mandate: "Arise, go forth into the plain, and I will there talk with thee." Everything whose function is activity or growth demands, as a necessity for its healthy being, recurring periods of rest and seclusion. This principle pervades external nature. After the earth has been glowing with the beauties of summer and the richness of autumn; after the trees have been robed with their garment of green, and the flowers have put forth their many-hued blossoms, and basked in all their brilliance under the warm rays of the genial sun, the blossoms begin to wither and fade, and the leaves to fall, and the sap to return slowly downward to the root or the bulb underground, there in darkness, and seclusion, and quiet, to gain fresh strength for another recurring period of activity, and growth, and beauty. If you have an eye strained or weary or sore by much writing, or by protracted reading, or by ceaseless watching, you give it, when you can, rest and seclusion, that its delicate mechanism may get readjusted and serve you well for the time to come. If your brain has become hot and tired and next to useless for the moment by much study or by intense application at the desk or over a book, you instinctively incline to give it that which it naturally and imperatively demands — the cessation of the tax upon its mental powers. If your man of business, with perhaps vast responsibilities resting upon him, suddenly awakens to the fact that he has, in regard both to body and to mind, considerably overdone it, and feels jaded and wearied, and is only too conscious of the swift-coming retribution in the form of a break down, both bodily and mental, which so often follows such a sin committed against both body and mind, he will, the first moment that he possibly can, go forth from the bustle and excitement and hurry and conflict of the mart or the exchange to the plain — to the rest and solitude of the country where God's own hills are swept by the pure and invigorating air of heaven, or to the seashore, where the untainted breezes from the deep may be his, and thus be fitted for further activity and usefulness in life. The illustrations which I have afforded speak to us of an all-pervading, a God-implanted principle in nature and in man; that even darkness and solitude are sometimes absolutely necessary for fit preparation for true and good work; and that, carrying the principle to its highest application, occasional retirement from the bustle and heady contest of life and restful meditation are requisite ere we can distinctly hear God's voice, and have the heart and the life attuned to the Divine message, and thus be fully fitted to do God's will. We must from time to time arise and go forth into the plain, and there our Father shall talk with us. You need not say that God could have talked to Ezekiel quite as well, and with as much effect, amid the bustle and turmoil of the everyday life in which he was as in the quiet retirement of the plain. If He could have done so He unquestionably would have done so. He never, in any of His dealings, either in nature or with man, makes use of superfluous means to any end. Ezekiel was surrounded and pestered by sinful, selfish, unbelieving men, to whom he was heaven's appointed minister; and it was not, certainly in the sight or in the presence of such, or in their noisy company, that he could distinctly hear the Divine message which was to guide him in his ministrations to them. It stands to reason he had to be secluded from all such that he might receive ever-refreshing manifestations of the Divine glory to inspirit him for his trying work — seclusion and retirement being especially needed by those who have to discharge the duties of a commission from God to men. Thus, and thus only, are they set by the Spirit upon their feet. It is when apart from the bustling and rushing scenes of everyday life, and when separate from the noise and the dash and the heady excitement of society, that His tenderest messages come to the heart, and the most encouraging tones of His voice fall upon the ear; His highest, most strengthening, most comforting, most lasting communications, come to us when we are alone with Him.

(W. M. Arthur, M. A.)

I. THE DESERT, OR SOLITUDE, IS A NECESSARY MEANS OF GRACE. The true Israel of God now, as ever, confess that they are "strangers and pilgrims on the earth." And all who say not this "make it manifest that they are 'not' seeking after a country of their own" — a better country, that is a heavenly. Life must be a wilderness, a desert, or Canaan when we reach it won't be heaven. But turn now upon this doctrine the light of individual experiences recorded in God's Word for our instruction and encouragement. When was it that Jacob drew nearest to God and realised that God had drawn nearest to him? First of all when, a fugitive by reason of sin, he pillowed his head upon a stone in the awesome loneliness of Luz. The years roll by, and once again is Jacob "left alone." The God of Bethel meets him by the Jabbok's tortuous stream, to change the man this time with the place, to effect a far more radical transformation scene, to transfigure character as well as circumstance. "Jabbok" becomes "Peniel," it is true; but not before "Jacob" has become "Israel" — i.e., "he who striveth successfully with God." It was in the wilderness that Moses learnt the sacredness of solitude, and received from Jehovah his stupendous commission. The case of Ezekiel, recorded in this chapter, was, in all essential features, a parallel experience. We come to the New Testament and turn over its pages and find this same doctrine — the doctrine of the desert — illustrated and enforced in many ways. Of the forerunner of Jesus we are told — and the last-mentioned fact, no doubt, had its influence on his spirituality — "And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his showing unto Israel." From the earliest days of childhood the key of nature's solitudes was hanging at his girdle. But, passing from the servant to the Master, the doctrine of the desert finds its best illustration, highest possible sanction, and strongest emphasis in the precept and example of Christ Jesus. When He wished to draw very near to God, and wanted that God should draw very near to Him, it was His invariable custom to retire to some solitary place.

II. IF THE DESERT IS ESSENTIAL TO OUR SPIRITUAL WELL-BEING, IT IS BETTER THAT WE SHOULD SEEK IT THAN IT US. What the enterprising builder has done with open spaces, those solitudes in which God used to speak to our fathers, that money-making engine that was formerly called "man" has done with vacant days, hours, moments, seconds — those solitudes of time in which the godly of the past were wont to hold sweet converse with their God. The number of place-spaces and time-spaces has rapidly decreased, and is still rapidly decreasing. The result is a lamentable falling off all round, an alarming lowering of spiritual temperature from which none is exempt, and of which even the most godly are painfully conscious. These would fain live the life of the saints of long ago, but they find themselves caught in the current of the age, and are powerless to do more than hold their own in this universal craze of competition. But though the opportunities of solitude are fewer, the necessity for solitude remains undiminished. Our religious life must perish if we do not obtain it. Now the question that confronts us here is this, "How does the child of God obtain this needful solitude?" The answer is twofold, and runs thus: "If wise, he will go to it; if foolish, God will send it to him."

1. The wise child of God has more roads to the desert where he meets with Him than one. The first is that of private devotion — compliance with the mandate of the Master, "enter into thine inner chamber, and having shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret." The second is the weighing of his thoughts, words, and actions in the sacred scale of God's Word. A third is the transfusion of "other worldliness" into the concerns of his so-called worldly life.

2. The foolish child of God will not go to the desert, therefore, the Father sends the desert to him. It comes upon the wings of sickness, sorrow, and bereavement, is borne along of trouble and disaster. Its blessing is wrapt up in all the trappings of a curse — so wrapped up that he cannot at first recognise it through his tears. Must God lay us low that He may parley with us? Must He fill our heart with tears ere we will look into His face?

III. JESUS HAS ALTERED THE "GO" OF THE COMMAND INTO A "COME" OF INVITATION. Yes, Jesus has peopled all the solitudes of life with His presence, and cries to us from each, "Come unto Me." He meets us in the Desert of Temptation, and nerves us for the fight with His example. He meets us in the Desert of Uncomprehended Worth, and says to us, "A servant is not greater than his lord." He meets us in the Desert of Solitary Suffering, and, showing us His cross, makes us forget our own.

(P. Morrison.)

We here in England, like the old Greeks and Romans, dwellers in the busy mart of civilised life, have got to regard mere bustle as so integral a part of human life, that we consider a love of solitude a mark of eccentricity, and if we meet anyone who loves to be alone, are afraid that he must needs be going mad: and that with too great solitude comes the danger of too great self-consciousness, and even at last of insanity, none can doubt. But, still, we must remember, on the other hand, that without solitude, without contemplation, without habitual collection and recollection of ourselves from time to time, no great purpose is carried out, and no great work can be done; and that it is the bustle and hurry of our modern life which causes shallow thought, unstable purpose and wasted energy, in too many who would be better and wiser, stronger and happier if they would devote more time to silence and meditation; if they would commune with their own heart and in their chamber, and be still. Even in art and in mechanical science, those who have done great work upon the earth have been men given to solitary meditation. When Brindley, the engineer, had a difficult problem to solve, he used to go to bed, and stay there till he had worked it out. And if this silent labour, this steadfast thought, are required for outward arts and sciences, how much more for the highest of all arts, the deepest of all sciences, that which involves the questions — Who are we? and Where are we? Who is God? and What are we to God, and He to us? — namely, the science of being good, — which deals not with time merely, but with eternity. No retirement, no loneliness, no period of earnest and solemn meditation, can be misspent which helps us towards that goal.

(Charles Kingsley.)

Chebar, Tel-abib
Behold, Chebar, Face, Facedown, Fall, Fell, Forth, Glory, Got, Honour, Kebar, Plain, Resting, Rise, River, Standing, Stood, Valley
1. Ezekiel eats the scroll
4. God encourages him
15. God shows him the rule of prophecy
22. God shuts and opens the prophet's mouth

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Ezekiel 3:23

     1193   glory, revelation of
     8422   equipping, spiritual

Cæsarius of Arles.
He was born in the district of Chalons-sur-Saone, A. D. 470. He seems to have been early awakened, by a pious education, to vital Christianity. When he was between seven and eight years old, it would often happen that he would give a portion of his clothes to the poor whom he met, and would say, when he came home, that he had been, constrained to do so. When yet a youth, he entered the celebrated convent on the island of Lerins, (Lerina,) in Provence, from which a spirit of deep and practical piety
Augustus Neander—Light in the Dark Places

Boniface, Apostle of the Germans.
BONIFACE, or Winfried, as they called him in Anglo-Saxon, born at Crediton in Devonshire, in 680, deserves to be honoured as the father of the German Church, although he was by no means the first who brought the seeds of the Gospel to Germany. Many had already laboured before him; but the efforts which had been made here and there did not suffice to secure the endurance of Christianity amongst the many perils to which it was exposed. Christianity needs to be linked with firm ecclesiastical institutions,
Augustus Neander—Light in the Dark Places

Epistle xxxiv. To Venantius, Ex-Monk, Patrician of Syracuse .
To Venantius, Ex-Monk, Patrician of Syracuse [1331] . Gregory to Venantius, &c. Many foolish men have supposed that, if I were advanced to the rank of the episcopate, I should decline to address thee, or to keep up communication with thee by letter. But this is not so; since I am compelled by the very necessity of my position not to hold my peace. For it is written, Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet (Isai. lviii. 1). And again it is written, I have given thee for a watchman
Saint Gregory the Great—the Epistles of Saint Gregory the Great

The Greatness of the Soul,
AND UNSPEAKABLENESS 0F THE LOSS THEREOF; WITH THE CAUSES OF THE LOSING IT. FIRST PREACHED AT PINNER'S HALL and now ENLARGED AND PUBLISHED FOR GOOD. By JOHN BUNYAN, London: Printed for Benjamin Alsop, at the Angel and Bible in the Poultry, 1682 Faithfully reprinted from the Author's First Edition. ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR. Our curiosity is naturally excited to discover what a poor, unlettered mechanic, whose book-learning had been limited to the contents of one volume, could by possibility know
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

The Servant's Inflexible Resolve
'For the Lord God will help Me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set My face like a flint.'--ISAIAH l. 7. What a striking contrast between the tone of these words and of the preceding! There all is gentleness, docility, still communion, submission, patient endurance. Here all is energy and determination, resistance and martial vigour. It is like the contrast between a priest and a warrior. And that gentleness is the parent of this boldness. The same Will which is all submission
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Iranian Conquest
Drawn by Boudier, from the engraving in Coste and Flandin. The vignette, drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a statuette in terra-cotta, found in Southern Russia, represents a young Scythian. The Iranian religions--Cyrus in Lydia and at Babylon: Cambyses in Egypt --Darius and the organisation of the empire. The Median empire is the least known of all those which held sway for a time over the destinies of a portion of Western Asia. The reason of this is not to be ascribed to the shortness of its duration:
G. Maspero—History Of Egypt, Chaldaea, Syria, Babylonia, and Assyria, V 9

The Prophet Jonah.
It has been asserted without any sufficient reason, that Jonah is older than Hosea, Joel, Amos, and Obadiah,--that he is the oldest among the prophets whose written monuments have been preserved to us. The passage in 2 Kings xiv. 25, where it is said, that Jonah, the son of Amittai the prophet, prophesied to Jeroboam the happy success of his arms, and the restoration of the ancient boundaries of Israel, and that this prophecy was confirmed by the event, cannot decide in favour of this assertion,
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg—Christology of the Old Testament

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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