|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
11:1-13 Where Satan cannot persuade men to look upon the judgment to come as uncertain, he gains his point by persuading them to look upon it as at a distance. These wretched rulers dare to say, We are as safe in this city as flesh in a boiling pot; the walls of the city shall be to us as walls of brass, we shall receive no more damage from the besiegers than the caldron does from the fire. When sinners flatter themselves to their own ruin, it is time to tell them they shall have no peace if they go on. None shall remain in possession of the city but those who are buried in it. Those are least safe who are most secure. God is often pleased to single out some sinners for warning to others. Whether Pelatiah died at that time in Jerusalem, or when the fulfilment of the prophecy drew near, is uncertain. Like Ezekiel, we ought to be much affected with the sudden death of others, and we should still plead with the Lord to have mercy on those who remain.
Verse 1. - Moreover the Spirit lifted me up, etc. It is noticeable that the position to which Ezekiel was thus transported in his vision from his place in the inner court (Ezekiel 8:14), was identical with that which he had just seen occupied by the cherub chariot before its departure (Ezekiel 10:19). What he is about to see will throw light on the significance of their departure. The gate is probably, here as there, that of the court of the temple. Five and twenty men. The number at first reminds us of the worshippers of the sun, in Ezekiel 8:16; but that, as we saw, was probably a company of priests. On the other hand, the two who are named are styled princes of the people, which suggests a lay rather than a priestly status, and they are seen in a different locality. Conjectures as to the significance of the number vary.
(1) Two from each tribe of Israel, with the king at their head.
(2) Two from each of the twelve divisions of the army, each containing twenty-four thousand men (1 Chronicles 27:1-15).
(3) Representatives of twelve regions of the city - a kind of municipal council, with their president. Possibly, after all, the number was used more or less vaguely - a "round" number, as we say (Smend). It is probably safe, however, to think of them as representing the lay element of authority. Nothing is known further as to the persons named. Jaazaniah is distinguished by his parentage from his namesake of Ezekiel 8:11 and Jeremiah 35:3. Both were probably familiar to those for whom Ezekiel wrote, as leaders of the party that was "always devising mischief," in opposition, i.e., to Jeremiah and the true prophets. Possibly the meanings of the names Jaazaniah (equivalent to "God hearkens") the son of Azur (equivalent to "The Helper"), Pelatiah (equivalent to "God rescues") the son of Benaiah (equivalent to "God builds"), are chosen as with a grim irony. The name of Azur meets us in Jeremiah 28:1 as that of the father of the false prophet Hananiah. The death of Pelatiah was probably an historical event to which the prophet pointed as a warning to those who, either at Jerusalem or among the exiles, were speaking as he spoke.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Moreover, the spirit lifted me up,.... From the inner court of the temple, where the prophet was, according to the last account of him, Ezekiel 8:16; it was the same Spirit that took him by the lock of his head, and lifted him up, as in Ezekiel 8:3; and perhaps in the same manner:
and brought me unto the east gate of the Lord's house, which looketh eastward; where were the cherubim, and the wheels, and the glory of God above them, Ezekiel 10:19;
and behold at the door of the gate five and twenty men; not the same as in Ezekiel 8:16; for they were in a different place, between the porch and the altar; and about different service, they were worshipping there; and seem to be men of a different order, priests; whereas these were at the door of the eastern gate, sitting as a court of judicature, and were civil magistrates; though Jarchi and Kimchi take them to be the same. Some say Jerusalem was divided into twenty four parishes, districts, or wards, and everyone had its own head, ruler, and governor; and that there was one who was the president over them all, like the mayor and aldermen of a city;
among whom I saw Jaazaniah the son of Azur; not the same that is mentioned in Ezekiel 8:11; he was the son of Shaphan, this of Azur; he was one of the seventy of the ancients of Israel, this one of the twenty five heads or rulers of the people; he seems to have been a prince; by having a censer in his hand, this was a priest: the Septuagint and Arabic versions call him Jechoniah:
and Pelatiah the son of Benaiah; these two are mentioned by name, as being principal men, and well known by the prophet; and the latter is observed more especially for what befell him, hereafter related:
princes of the people; men who were entrusted with power and authority to exercise the laws of the nation; and who should have been reformers of the people, and ought to have given them good advice, and set them good examples; whereas they were the reverse, as follows:
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Eze 11:1-25. Prophecy of the Destruction of the Corrupt "Princes of the People;" Pelatiah Dies; Promise of Grace to the Believing Remnant; Departure of the Glory of God from the City; Ezekiel's Return to the Captives.
1. east gate—to which the glory of God had moved itself (Eze 10:19), the chief entrance of the sanctuary; the portico or porch of Solomon. The Spirit moves the prophet thither, to witness, in the presence of the divine glory, a new scene of destruction.
five and twenty men—The same as the twenty-five (that is, twenty-four heads of courses, and the high priest) sun-worshippers seen in Eze 8:16. The leading priests were usually called "princes of the sanctuary" (Isa 43:28) and "chiefs of the priests" (2Ch 36:14); but here two of them are called "princes of the people," with irony, as using their priestly influence to be ringleaders of the people in sin (Eze 11:2). Already the wrath of God had visited the people represented by the elders (Eze 9:6); also the glory of the Lord had left its place in the holy of holies, and, like the cherubim and flaming sword in Eden, had occupied the gate into the deserted sanctuary. The judgment on the representatives of the priesthood naturally follows here, just as the sin of the priests had followed in the description (Eze 8:12, 16) after the sin of the elders.
Jaazaniah—signifying "God hears."
son of Azur—different from Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan (Eze 8:11). Azur means "help." He and Pelatiah ("God delivers"), son of Benaiah ("God builds"), are singled out as Jaazaniah, son of Shaphan, in the case of the seventy elders (Eze 8:11, 12), because their names ought to have reminded them that "God" would have "heard" had they sought His "help" to "deliver" and "build" them up. But, neglecting this, they incurred the heavier judgment by the very relation in which they stood to God [Fairbairn].
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