|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
20:45-49 Judah and Jerusalem had been full of people, as a forest of trees, but empty of fruit. God's word prophesies against those who bring not forth the fruits of righteousness. When He will ruin a nation, who or what can save it? The plainest truths were as parables to the people. It is common for those who will not be wrought upon by the word, to blame it.
Verse 49. - Doth he not speak parables? We can scarcely wonder that Ezekiel's enigmatic words here, as in ch. 15, 16, and 17, should have called forth some such expression from his hearers; but he obviously records the whisper which he thus heard, in a tone of sorrow and indignation. It was to him a proof, as a like question was to the Christ (Matthew 15:16; Matthew 16:9; Mark 8:21) proof that those hearers were yet without understanding. The question was, for those who asked it, an excuse for hardening their hearts against remonstrances which needed no explanation. The indignation was followed by another interval of silence, during which he brooded over their stubbornness, and at last, in Ezekiel 21:1, the word of the Lord comes to him, and he speaks "no more in proverbs," but interprets the latest parable even in its details.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Then said I, ah Lord God!.... The Septuagint version is, "by no means, Lord, Lord"; that is, let me not be sent on such an errand; at least, let it not be delivered in such figurative terms; or let not such a general calamity befall the people. The Targum is,
"receive my prayer, O Lord God;''
the prophet here either complains of the usage he had met with after delivering the above prophecy; or rather of what he had met with before, and which he expected again; and therefore desired either that he might be excused delivering the prophecy; or, however, that it might be delivered not in obscure and enigmatical terms, but in plain and easy ones:
they say of me, doth he not speak parables? as before, of a lion and her whelps; and of a vine, and its rods and branches, Ezekiel 19:1 and now here again, of a fire, and a forest, and trees of it, green and dry; things not easily understood, and so not attended to and regarded; as if they should say, this man brings us nothing but parables, riddles, and enigmas, and such sort of unintelligible stuff, not worth minding; and rather appears as a man delirious and mad than a prophet. Wherefore Ezekiel seems to desire that he might be sent to them with a message more plainly expressed; and which might excite their attention and regard, and not expose him to their ridicule and contempt; and accordingly we find it is explained and expressed in clearer terms in the next chapter.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
49. Ezekiel complains that by this parabolic form of prophecy he only makes himself and it a jest to his countrymen. God therefore in Eze 21:1-32 permits him to express the same prophecy more plainly.
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