|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
36:25-38 Water is an emblem of the cleansing our polluted souls from sin. But no water can do more than take away the filth of the flesh. Water seems in general the sacramental sign of the sanctifying influences of the Holy Ghost; yet this is always connected with the atoning blood of Christ. When the latter is applied by faith to the conscience, to cleanse it from evil works, the former is always applied to the powers of the soul, to purify it from the pollution of sin. All that have an interest in the new covenant, have a new heart and a new spirit, in order to their walking in newness of life. God would give a heart of flesh, a soft and tender heart, complying with his holy will. Renewing grace works as great a change in the soul, as the turning a dead stone into living flesh. God will put his Spirit within, as a Teacher, Guide, and Sanctifier. The promise of God's grace to fit us for our duty, should quicken our constant care and endeavour to do our duty. These are promises to be pleaded by, and will be fulfilled to, all true believers in every age.
Verse 37. - I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel. On two previous occasions (Ezekiel 14:3; Ezekiel 20:3), Jehovah had declined to be inquired of by the hypocritical and idol-loving elders of Israel, who pretended to consult him through his prophet; now he makes it known that in the future era no barrier of moral and spiritual unfitness on their part will prevent their free approach to his throne, but rather that they will come to him with fervent supplications for the very blessings he has pro-raised. In answer to their prayers, he engages, going back to the language of Ezekiel 34:22, to increase them with men like a flock - incorrectly rendered by Kliefoth to "multiply them so that they shall become the flock of mankind." Thus he meets the despondency of those among the exiles who, fixing their attention on the small number of them who should form the new Israel - those who should return with those, perhaps, who still remained in the land-could not see how Israel's future prosperity was to be secured.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Thus saith the Lord God, I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel,.... Besought and prayed unto for the accomplishment of the above promises, as well as what follows: for though God has promised and will perform, yet he expects that his people will apply to him for it; it is our duty to put the Lord in mind of his promises, to plead them with him, and pray unto him for the fulfilment of them. The Syriac version is, "even for this I seek Israel"; and so the Arabic version; as if the sense was, that the Lord will seek the people of Israel wherever they are, and find them out, and call them by his grace, and gather them out of all countries, and bring them into their own land: "to do it for them"; everything before promised, and what next follows:
I will increase them with men like a flock; as a flock of sheep is increased, which is a very increasing creature: or, "as a flock of men" (p); it signifies that the people of the Jews will be very numerous at their conversion; see Hosea 1:10.
(p) "sicut gregem hominum", V. L. Syr.; "sicut pecus hominus", Montanus; "pecudes hominum", Pagninus.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
37. I will yet for this be inquired of—so as to grant it. On former occasions He had refused to be inquired of by Israel because the inquirers were not in a fit condition of mind to receive a blessing (Eze 14:3; 20:3). But hereafter, as in the restoration from Babylon (Ne 8:1-9:38; Da 9:3-20, 21, 23), God will prepare His people's hearts (Eze 36:26) to pray aright for the blessings which He is about to give (Ps 102:13-17, 20; Zec 12:10-14; 13:1).
like a flock—resuming the image (Eze 34:23, 31).
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