And I did so as I was commanded: I brought forth my stuff by day, as stuff for captivity, and in the even I dig through the wall with my hand; I brought it forth in the twilight, and I bore it on my shoulder in their sight.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
cover thy face—as one who muffles his face, afraid of being recognized by anyone meeting him. So the Jews and Zedekiah should make their exit stealthily and afraid to look around, so hurried should be their fight [Calvin].
sign—rather, "a portent," namely, for evil.Forth; either out of the house into some court or yard, through the wall whereof he digged; or else here is a transposing of his actions, and rehearsal of that in the first place which was acted in the second place.
Digged through the wall: see Ezekiel 12:5.
I brought forth my stuff by day, as stuff for captivity; brought his goods out of his house, in order to be had to another place, as a type of the captivity of his countrymen the Jews:
and in the even I digged through the wall with mine hand; not with an iron instrument, with which walls are dug; but with his hand, he having no such instrument with him, and being in haste, and also that it might be done without noise; denoting the suddenness of Zedekiah's flight, and the haste he was in; not having time and leisure to take proper instruments with him, he and his men pulled out the stones of the wall with their own hands, and silently made their way through and escaped; see Ezekiel 12:12;And I did so as I was commanded: I brought forth my stuff by day, as stuff for captivity, and in the even I digged through the wall with mine hand; I brought it forth in the twilight, and I bare it upon my shoulder in their sight.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)7. with mine hand] lit. with hand, i.e. by force, Isaiah 28:2. LXX. omits.
in the twilight] the darkness, as Ezekiel 12:6, so Ezekiel 12:12.
Ezekiel 12:8-16. Exposition of the symbol.
The action of the prophet is a representation of what shall happen in the last days of the siege. The king and those about him shall prepare for flight; they shall go out secretly through the walls, but shall be captured and brought to Babylon.
Ezekiel 11:14. And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Ezekiel 11:15. Son of man, thy brethren, thy brethren are the people of thy proxy, and the whole house of Israel, the whole of it, to whom the inhabitants of Jerusalem say, Remain far away from Jehovah; to us the land is given for a possession. Ezekiel 11:16. Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Ye, I have sent them far away, and have scattered them in the lands, but I have become to them a sanctuary for a little while in the lands whither they have come. Ezekiel 11:17. Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, And I will gather you from the nations, and will collect you together from the lands in which ye are scattered, and will give you the land of Israel. Ezekiel 11:18. And they will come thither, and remove from it all its detestable things, and all its abominations. Ezekiel 11:19. And I will give them one heart, and give a new spirit within you; and will take the heart of stone out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh; Ezekiel 11:20. That they may walk in my statutes, and preserve my rights, and do them: and they will be my people, and I will be their God. Ezekiel 11:21. But those whose heart goeth to the heart of their detestable things and their abominations, I will give their way upon their head, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. - The prophet had interceded, first of all for the inhabitants of Jerusalem (Ezekiel 9:8), and then for the rulers of the nation, and had asked God whether He would entirely destroy the remnant of Israel. To this God replies that his brethren, in whom he is to interest himself, are not these inhabitants of Jerusalem and these rulers of the nation, but the Israelites carried into exile, who are regarded by these inhabitants at Jerusalem as cut off from the people of God. The nouns in Ezekiel 11:15 are not "accusatives, which are resumed in the suffix to הרחקתּים in Ezekiel 11:16," as Hitzig imagines, but form an independent clause, in which אחיך is the subject, and אנשׁי גאלּתך as well as כּל־בּית ישׂראל sa llew sa the predicates. The repetition of "thy brethren" serves to increase the force of the expression: thy true, real brethren; not in contrast to the priests, who were lineal relations (Hvernick), but in contrast to the Israelites, who had only the name of Israel, and denied its nature.
These brethren are to be the people of his proxy; and toward these he is to exercise גּאלּה. גּאלּה is the business, or the duty and right, of the Gol. According to the law, the Gol was the brother, or the nearest relation, whose duty it was to come to the help of his impoverished brother, not only by redeeming (buying back) his possession, which poverty had compelled him to sell, but to redeem the man himself, if he had been sold to pay his debts (vid., Leviticus 25:25, Leviticus 25:48). The Gol therefore became the possessor of the property of which his brother had been unjustly deprived, if it were not restored till after his death (Numbers 5:8). Consequently he was not only the avenger of blood, but the natural supporter and agent of his brother; and גּאלּה signifies not merely redemption or kindred, but proxy, i.e., both the right and obligation to act as the legal representative, the avenger of blood, the hair, etc., of the brother. The words "and the whole of the house of Israel" are a second predicate to "thy brethren," and affirm that the brethren, for whom Ezekiel can and is to intercede, form the whole of the house of Israel, the term "whole" being rendered more emphatic by the repetition of כּל in כּלּה. A contrast is drawn between this "whole house of Israel" and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, who say to those brethren, "Remain far away from Jehovah, to us is the land given for a possession." It follows from this, first of all, that the brethren of Ezekiel, towards whom he was to act as Gol, were those who had been taken away from the land, his companions in exile; and, secondly, that the exiles formed the whole of the house of Israel, that is to say, that they alone would be regarded by God as His people, and not the inhabitants of Jerusalem or those left in the land, who regarded the exiles as no longer a portion of the nation: simply because, in their estrangement from God, they looked upon the mere possession of Jerusalem as a pledge of participation in the grace of God. This shows the prophet where the remnant of the people of God is to be found. To this there is appended in Ezekiel 11:16. a promise of the way in which the Lord will make this remnant His true people. לכן, therefore, viz., because the inhabitants of Jerusalem regard the exiles as rejected by the Lord, Ezekiel is to declare to them that Jehovah is their sanctuary even in their dispersion (v. 16); and because the others deny that they have any share in the possession of the land, the Lord will gather them together again, and give them the land of Israel (Ezekiel 11:17). The two לכן are co-ordinate, and introduce the antithesis to the disparaging sentence pronounced by the inhabitants of Jerusalem upon those who have been carried into exile. The כּי before the two leading clauses in Ezekiel 11:16 does not mean "because," serving to introduce a protasis, to which Ezekiel 11:17 would form the apodosis, as Ewald affirms; but it stands before the direct address in the sense of an assurance, which indicates that there is some truth at the bottom of the judgment pronounced by their opponents, the inhabitants of Jerusalem. The thought is this: the present position of affairs is unquestionably that Jehovah has scattered them (the house of Israel) among the Gentiles; but He has not therefore cast them off. He has become a sanctuary to them in the lands of their dispersion. Migdâsh does not mean either asylum or an object kept sacred (Hitzig), but a sanctuary, more especially the temple. They had, indeed, lost the outward temple (at Jerusalem); but the Lord Himself had become their temple. What made the temple into a sanctuary was the presence of Jehovah, the covenant God, therein. This even the exiles were to enjoy in their banishment, and in this they would possess a substitute for the outward temple. This thought is rendered still more precise by the word מעט, which may refer either to time or measure, and signify "for a short time," or "in some measure." It is difficult to decide between these two renderings. In support of the latter, which Kliefoth prefers (after the lxx and Vulgate), it may be argued that the manifestation of the Lord, both by the mission of prophets and by the outward deliverances and inward consolations which He bestowed upon the faithful, was but a partial substitute to the exile for His gracious presence in the temple and in the holy land. Nevertheless, the context, especially the promise in Ezekiel 11:17, that He will gather them again and lead them back into the land of Israel, appears to favour the former signification, namely, that this substitution was only a provisional one, and was only to last for a short time, although it also implies that this could not and was not meant to be a perfect substitute for the gracious presence of the Lord. For Israel, as the people of God, could not remain scattered abroad; it must possess the inheritance bestowed upon it by the Lord, and have its God in the midst of it in its own land, and that in a manner more real than could possibly be the case in captivity among the Gentiles. This will be fully realized in the heavenly Jerusalem, where the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb will be a temple to the redeemed (Revelation 21:22). Therefore will Jehovah gather together the dispersed once more, and lead them back into the land of Israel, i.e., into the land which He designed for Israel; whereas the inhabitants of Jerusalem, who boast of their possession of Canaan (Ezekiel 11:15), will lose what they now possess. Those who are restored will then remove all idolatrous abominations (Ezekiel 11:17), and receive from God a new and feeling heart (Ezekiel 11:19), so that they will walk in the ways of God, and be in truth the people of God (Ezekiel 11:20).
The fulfilment of this promise did, indeed, begin with the return of a portion of the exiles under Zerubbabel; but it was not completed under either Zerubbabel or Ezra, or even in the Maccabean times. Although Israel may have entirely relinquished the practice of gross idolatry after the captivity, it did not then attain to that newness of heart which is predicted in Ezekiel 11:19, Ezekiel 11:20. This only commenced with the Baptist's preaching of repentance, and with the coming of Christ; and it was realized in the children of Israel, who accepted Jesus in faith, and suffered Him to make them children of God. Yet even by Christ this prophecy has not yet been perfectly fulfilled in Israel, but only in part, since the greater portion of Israel has still in its hardness that stony heart which must be removed out of its flesh before it can attain to salvation. The promise in Ezekiel 11:19 has for its basis the prediction in Deuteronomy 30:6. "What the circumcision of the heart is there, viz., the removal of all uncleanliness, of which outward circumcision was both the type and pledge, is represented here as the giving of a heart of flesh instead of one of stone" (Hengstenberg). I give them one heart. לב אחד, which Hitzig is wrong in proposing to alter into לב , another heart, after the lxx, is supported and explained by Jeremiah 32:39, "I give them one heart and one way to fear me continually" (cf. Zephaniah 3:9 and Acts 4:32). One heart is not an upright, undivided heart (לב ), but a harmonious, united heart, in contrast to the division or plurality of hearts which prevails in the natural state, in which every one follows his own heart and his own mind, turning "every one to his own way" (Isaiah 53:6). God gives one heart, when He causes all hearts and minds to become one. This can only be effected by His giving a "new spirit," taking away the stone-heart, and giving a heart of flesh instead. For the old spirit fosters nothing but egotism and discord. The heart of stone has no susceptibility to the impressions of the word of God and the drawing of divine grace. In the natural condition, the heart of man is as hard as stone. "The word of God, the external leadings of God, pass by and leave no trace behind. The latter may crush it, and yet not break it. Even the fragments continue hard; yea, the hardness goes on increasing" (Hengstenberg). The heart of flesh is a tender heart, susceptible to the drawing of divine grace (compare Ezekiel 36:26, where these figures, which are peculiar to Ezekiel, recur; and for the substance of the prophecy, Jeremiah 31:33). The fruit of this renewal of heart is walking in the commandments of the Lord; and the consequence of the latter is the perfect realization of the covenant relation, true fellowship with the Lord God. But judgment goes side by side with this renewal. Those who will not forsake their idols become victims to the judgment (Ezekiel 11:21). The first hemistich of Ezekiel 11:21 is a relative clause, in which אשׁר is to be supplied and connected with לבּם: "Whose heart walketh after the heart of their abominations." The heart, which is attributed to the abominations and detestations, i.e., to the idols, is the inclination to idolatry, the disposition and spirit which manifest themselves in the worship of idols. Walking after the heart of the idols forms the antithesis to walking after the heart of God (1 Samuel 13:14). For 'דּרכּם וגו, "I will give their way," see Ezekiel 9:10.
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