|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
14:1-11 No outward form or reformation can be acceptable to God, so long as any idol possesses the heart; yet how many prefer their own devices and their own righteousness, to the way of salvation! Men's corruptions are idols in their hearts, and are of their own setting up; God will let them take their course. Sin renders the sinner odious in the eyes of the pure and holy God; and in his own eyes also, whenever conscience is awakened. Let us seek to be cleansed from the guilt and pollution of sins, in that fountain which the Lord has opened.
Verse 3. - These men, etc. The prophet, taught by the word of the Lord, reads the hearts of those who came to him. The words do not imply, rather they exclude, the open practice of idolatry. The sin of the inquirers was that they had set up idols (gillulim, Ezekiel's favourite word; see note on Ezekiel 6:4) in their hearts. The LXX. gives διανοήματα,"thoughts of their hearts," as if to express this. They were hankering after the old false worships in which they had once, taken part. The stumbling block (see Ezekiel 3:20) of their iniquity was set up there. That divided heart, the "double mind" of James 1:8, made true inquiry, as it made true prayer for guidance, impossible. Shall I be inquired of at all, etc.? The "at all" represents the emphatic iteration of the verb in the Hebrew. The Vulgate, Numquid interrogatus respondebo eis? gives a fair paraphrase.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart,.... Though they look so grave and demure, seem so devout and religious, and hear with so much attention and reverence, and express such a desire of consulting me by thee, they are no other than idolaters; and though they are at such a distance from their native place, and have not their idols with them, yet they have them in their fancy and imagination, and their hearts are after them, and are set upon them; these engross their affections, they are near and dear unto them, notwithstanding all their pretensions: or, they "have caused their idols to ascend upon their heart" (p); their hearts are the altars on which they worship them, and the throne on which they have placed them; they are held in the highest esteem by them, and have the greatest honours done them, and have the ascendant over them; even their "dunghill" gods, as the word (q) signifies; though they are but dung, filthy and abominable, these they lay upon their hearts; and what else is man's righteousness, when made an idol of, trusted to, and depended on? it is no other, as the apostle says, than "loss" and "dung", Philippians 3:8; and so every carnal lust that is gratified and indulged is no other than an idol, or a dunghill god, set up in the heart:
and put the stumbling block of their iniquity before their face; whenever they had an opportunity of so doing; for their hearts were not only inwardly affected to idols, but they outwardly worshipped them; set them before them, and bowed the knee to them, and prayed: and these idols are called "the stumbling block of their iniquity", because by worshipping these they fell into sin, and so into ruin; they were the occasion of their sin, and of their punishment; they stumbled at them, and fell, even though they were before their eyes; nay, they set them themselves before their face, which shows their obstinacy and resolution to continue in idolatry, though it would be their ruin:
should I be inquired of at all by them? suffer them to come near me, and put a question to me, or be consulted by them through thee? no, I will not: or, "am I seriously inquired of by them?" so some (r) render the words; no, I am not; or, "being asked, shall I answer them?" so the Targum and Vulgate Latin version: or, "answering shall I answer them" (s)? no, I wilt not, they deserve no answer from me; they shall have none other of me than such an one as follows.
(p) "ascendere fecerunt idola sua in, vel super cor suum", Pagninus, Montanus, Calvin. (q) "stercoreos deos suos", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "stercora sua", Cocceius; "stercora ipsorum", Starckius. (r) "an igitur serio interrogor ab eis?" Piscator. (s) "An respondeudo respondebo illis?" Starckius. So Sept. Ar.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
3. heart … face—The heart is first corrupted, and then the outward manifestation of idol-worship follows; they set their idols before their eyes. With all their pretense of consulting God now, they have not even put away their idols outwardly; implying gross contempt of God. "Set up," literally, "aloft"; implying that their idols had gained the supreme ascendancy over them.
stumbling-block of … iniquity—See Pr 3:21, 23, "Let not them (God's laws) depart from thine eyes, then … thy foot shall not stumble." Instead of God's law, which (by being kept before their eyes) would have saved them from stumbling, they set up their idols before their eyes, which proved a stumbling-block, causing them to stumble (Eze 7:19).
inquired of at all—literally, "should I with inquiry be inquired of" by such hypocrites as they are? (Ps 66:18; Pr 15:29; 28:9).
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