Ezekiel 3:25

Then the Spirit entered into me, and set me upon my feet, etc. Seclusion and silence were enjoined upon Ezekiel for a time. Our text teaches that the temporary suspension of his active ministry -

I. WAS COMMANDED BY THE LORD. "Then the Spirit entered into me, and set me upon my feet, and spake with me, and said unto me, Go, shut thyself within thine house" (cf. Ezekiel 2:2). One would have been inclined to conclude that, when he was revived by the Spirit, the prophet would have been ordered to enter upon active service. But he was commanded to seclude himself within his house. This seclusion was probably intended as:

1. A season of meditation for the prophet. Such seasons are requisite for those whose work for God is public and arduous; and in his providence God so orders their lives that such seasons are attainable by them; e.g.. Moses in the desert of Mitian (Exodus 3:1); St. Paul in Arabia (Galatians 1:17); Martin Luther in the monastery of Erfurt, and in the castle of Wartburg.

2. As a silent admonition to the people. God would instruct them by symbol, that from a rebellious people the prophetic presence and voice may be withdrawn. If men will not heed the reproofs of his servants, the reprover shall be silent towards them (ver. 26).

II. WAS OCCASIONED BY THE OBSTINACY OF THE PEOPLE IN WICKEDNESS. "But thou, O son of man, behold, they shall put bands upon thee, and shall bind thee with them, and thou shalt not go out among them." This verse is a difficult one, and we cannot assert dogmatically what it means; but it seems to us that it should be taken metaphorically, and that it symbolizes the truth that the persistent sins of the people occasioned the seclusion and silence of the prophet. Dr. Fairbairn thus paraphrases the verse under consideration: "Their obstinate and wayward disposition shall be felt upon thy spirit like restraining fetters, repressing the energies of thy soul in its spiritual labours, so that thou shalt need to look for thy encouragement elsewhere than in fellowship with them. The imposition of bands must be understood spiritually, of the damping effect to be produced upon his soul by the conduct of the people. It is a marked specimen of the strong idealism of our prophet, which clothes everything it handles with the distinctness of flesh and blood." The persistent rebelliousness of the people occasioned the temporary suspension of the active work of the prophet. The unbelief of our Lord's own countrymen was as bands upon him, restraining the exercise of his benevolent power. "And he did not many mighty works there, because of their unbelief." Obstinacy in wickedness deprives man of the most precious spiritual possessions.

III. WAS TO BE RIGIDLY ENFORCED. "And I will make thy tongue cleave to the roof of thy mouth, that thou shalt be dumb, and shalt not be to them a reprover: for they are a rebellious house." This is to be taken metaphorically. "Because the people would silence the prophet, God, to punish them, will close his mouth." During the time of the suspension of his prophetic activity he would be as silent to them as a dumb man. When the Lord determines to deprive a people of any blessing which they have despised or persistently disregarded, his determination will certainly be enforced.

IV. WAS TO BE ONLY TEMPORARY. "But when I speak with thee, I will open thy month, and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God," etc. The withdrawal of the messenger of the Lord was not to be permanent. The prophet would speak again when God willed him to do so. When his seclusion and silence had produced their effect, he must go forth and proclaim the word of the Lord. The following observations are suggested by this verse:

1. The prophet is empowered for his work by the Lord. "When I speak with thee, I will open thy mouth." Ezekiel received his message from the Lord, and was emboldened by him to deliver it.

2. The prophet is authorized in his work by the Lord. "Thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God." Both the silence and the speech of Ezekiel were expressly ordered by God. In both he was under the control of his Divine Master, remaining silent when so directed by him, and proclaiming his word whet, commanded and enabled by him to do so. "This represents forcibly the authoritative character and Divine origin of the utterances of the Hebrew prophets."

3. The prophet's great concern in his work should be to be faithful to the Lord. "Thus saith the Lord God; He that heareth, let him hear; and he that forbeareth, let him forbear: for they are a rebellious house." Ezekiel was not responsible for the success of his work with the people. But fidelity in executing the commissions which he received from his great Master was required of him. For this he was responsible. And still "it is required in stewards that a man be found faithful" (1 Corinthians 4:2).

CONCLUSION. Our subject addresses to us solemn admonition as to our treatment of the Word of the Lord. If we persistently despise or disregard that Word, he may withdraw it from us, or place us beyond the sphere of the ministry thereof. Neglected privileges may justly and reasonably be taken away from those who have neglected them (cf. Amos 1:4-12). - W.J.

They shall put bands upon thee.
I. THEY ARE OFTEN EXPERIENCED. Every true life for Christ, at one step or another, verifies the expression of Paul, "Without are fightings, within are fears."

1. The restraints may be in the servants. They may be ready to spread the Gospel, but are forbidden to enter the door which is apparently opened, or are afflicted with disease and unable to enter, or are prostrated in their energies by some domestic event and unfit to enter.

2. The restraints may be from those for whom the service is required.(1) They may become violent against the persons who stand up for the rights of God.(2) Or the people may be rebellious in heart.

II. THE RESTRAINTS ARE UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE LORD. He concerns Himself with every matter relating to His kingdom amongst men. The enforced silence and disablement of the prophet and the "gross" heart of the people are controlled for His righteous and good ends.

1. Traces of His working are perceptible. Restraints are felt teaching His suffering servants to be patient, vigilant for Him, and so qualifing for future action and future reward. "If we suffer with Him we are glorified together."

2. Hopes of His working may be entertained. When men make void His law, that is a time to ask God to do special work.


1. By a fresh consciousness of God in His service. He seems to come nearer to them, and they say, "Thou holdest me by my right hand."

2. By a deepened conviction that He who has led them is the same forever.

3. By the power of the Holy Spirit. He takes the things that are Christ's and shows them to us. He teaches to profit, and we receive power, love, and a sound mind. The efficacy of all true ministry depends on His energy.

(D. G. Watt, M. A.)

1. Christ deals fairly, not fraudulently with His; He tells them at first what they must expect; not gold and silver, but bands and chains "They shall bind thee." He told Jeremiah, they shall fight against him (Jeremiah 1:19). So Paul no sooner is called to preaching, but he hears of suffering (Acts 9:16). Christ tells all the apostles that they must be afflicted, hated, killed (John 16:2).

2. No excellency exempts a prophet from the malice of men's tongues and hands.

3. The generality of people are enemies to their own good, and active to their own ruin. The house of Israel, they are against the prophet; they fetter and chain him up, and think they have done well, to make him secure from coming amongst them. And alas, what have they done! thrust away the physician that should cure them; shut out mercy by shutting up a prophet; put out the light. Christ the great Prophet, the people, after all His precious sermons and glorious miracles, cry (Luke 23:18, 21).

4. Wicked ones deal severely, cruelly with the prophets when they fall into their hands.

5. Afflictive conditions seldom better men's spirits. In the case of the Jews here, their wronging of the prophets was the cause of their suffering, and yet all their sufferings did not subdue their spirits, and work them to entertain the truth. The plough breaks the earth in many places, but doth not better it, but leaves it as it was; nothing is put in by the plough.

6. It is no new thing for prophets and ministers to be roughly entreated, and laid by as useless things (1 Peter 5:9).

(W. Greenhill, M. A.)

When Bishop Hall was, with nine of his episcopal brethren, committed to the Tower on a charge of high treason, in the early days of the Long Parliament, besides preaching, as he had opportunity, on the Sundays, "he wrote a treatise, under the title: "Free Prisoner; or, The Comfort of the Saint," joyously contrasting the bondage which he endured with that of lust and sinful desires. Madame Guyon took the same happy view of her imprisonment in the Bastille, in which she reckoned herself one of God's singing birds, whom He had caged there to have pleasure in her music.

Chebar, Tel-abib
Bands, Behold, Bind, Bound, Cords, Forth, Goest, Lay, Midst, O, Placed, Prisoning, Ropes, Therewith, Thick
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 3:25

     5507   rope and cord

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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