|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
3:12-21 This mission made the holy angels rejoice. All this was to convince Ezekiel, that the God who sent him had power to bear him out in his work. He was overwhelmed with grief for the sins and miseries of his people, and overpowered by the glory of the vision he had seen. And however retirement, meditation, and communion with God may be sweet, the servant of the Lord must prepare to serve his generation. The Lord told the prophet he had appointed him a watchman to the house of Israel. If we warn the wicked, we are not chargeable with their ruin. Though such passages refer to the national covenant made with Israel, they are equally to be applied to the final state of all men under every dispensation. We are not only to encourage and comfort those who appear to be righteous, but they are to be warned, for many have grown high-minded and secure, have fallen, and even died in their sins. Surely then the hearers of the gospel should desire warnings, and even reproofs.
Verse 15. - At Tel-Abib, etc., We now enter on the first scene of the prophet's ministry. The LXX. leaves the proper name. The Vulgate rightly translates it as acervus novarum frugum, the "mound of ears of corn" (the meaning appears in the name of the Passover month, Abib). Luther gives, strangely enough, "where the almond trees stood, in the mouth Abib"). Jerome's suggestion, that here also there was a nomen et omen. and that those who shared Ezekiel's exile were regarded as the "firstfruits" of the future, is at least ingenious, and finds some support in Psalm 126:5, 6. The place has not been identified, and its position depends on that of the river with which it is connected (see note on Ezekiel 1:1). The word "Tel" is commonly applied to the mounds formed out of masses of ruins, which are common all over the plains of Mesopotamia. The name in this case may suggest that the earth had gathered over it, and that it was cultivated. I sat where they sat, etc. The ministry begins not with speech, but silence. Our Western habits hardly enable us to enter into the impressiveness of such a procedure. The conduct of Job's friends (Job 2:13) presents a parallel, and as Ezekiel seems to have known that book (Ezekiel 14:14, 20), he may have been influenced by it. Like actions meet us in Ezra 9:3-5; Daniel 4:19.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Then I came to them of the captivity at Telabib,.... For it seems the captive Jews were disposed of at different places, and there were some at this place; for this was the name of a place, as Jarchi and Kimchi observe; as were Telmelah, and Telharsa, Ezra 2:59; it signifies "a heap of new fruit", and so the Vulgate Latin version renders it: not that there were such at this time here; and the captives were beating out the ripe ears of corn, as "abib" signifies; whence the month Abib has its name, and which was the first month with the Jews; whereas it was in the fourth month when Ezekiel was here, and there could no ears of new corn, Ezekiel 1:1; according to Junius, this Telabib was a tract in Mesopotamia, reaching from Mount Masius to the river Euphrates, and lay between two rivers, Chebar and Saocoras; and he thinks the captive Jews were placed here, partly that they might be secured safe from getting away, or returning from their captivity; and partly that they might secure and defend the place from enemies, it being through inundations uninhabited, and so exposed unto them:
that dwelt by the river of Chebar; See Gill on Ezekiel 1:1;
and I sat where they sat; there is a double reading here; the "Cetib" or writing is which Junius takes to be the name of a river the prophet calls Haesher, the same with Saocoras, connecting it with the preceding clause, "that dwelt by the river of Chebar and Haesher"; the "Keri" or marginal reading is "and I sat" or "dwelt"; but both signify the same thing, Since is from which in Chaldee signifies to dwell (s); and the "Keri" is confirmed by the Targum, which we follow. The sense is, that he placed himself among the captives,
and remained there astonished among them seven days: at the change of place and company; at the sad condition his people were in; and, above all, at the dreadful things he had to deliver to them. The Targum renders it, "silent"; through grief and trouble. So many days Job's friends kept silence, when they came to visit him, and saw his distress, Job 2:13. Or he might be waiting all this time for orders and instructions to prophesy; or to prepare the people to attend with more reverence and earnestness, to hear what he had to say when he should break silence. The Septuagint render it the reverse, "conversing in the midst of them".
(s) Vid. Hillerum de Arcano Kethib & Keri, l. 2. p. 329.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
15. Tel-Abib—Tel means an "elevation." It is identified by Michaelis with Thallaba on the Chabor. Perhaps the name expressed the Jews' hopes of restoration, or else the fertility of the region. Abib means the green ears of corn which appeared in the month Nisan, the pledge of the harvest.
I sat, &c.—This is the Hebrew Margin reading. The text is rather, "I beheld them sitting there" [Gesenius]; or, "And those that were settled there," namely, the older settlers, as distinguished from the more recent ones alluded to in the previous clause. The ten tribes had been long since settled on the Chabor or Habor (2Ki 17:6) [Havernick].
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