Ezekiel 14:1
Then came certain of the elders of Israel unto me, and sat before me.
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(1) Certain of the elders of Israel.—There is no distinction intended here between the elders of Israel and the elders of Judah mentioned in 8:1, and therefore there is no occasion to suppose a deputation sent to the prophet from Jerusalem. Israel is now becoming the ordinary name of the existing nation, except where it is used with some special mark of distinction. The object of their enquiry is not mentioned, nor is it even expressly said that they made any enquiry; but the message to them implies this, and from what is said to them we may probably gather what was uppermost in their minds. Already told by the previous prophecies that God would not spare Jerusalem for its own sake, and that His long forbearance hitherto was no warrant for its continuance, they still evidently cherished the hope that, however sinful they might be in themselves, their city would yet be delivered for the sake of the holy men who lived therein. With such thoughts in their minds the elders came and sat before the prophet, in whose fearless words they had already learned to have confidence, and waited what he might have to say to them.

Ezekiel 14:1. Then came certain of the elders of Israel — Men of note, that were in office and power among the Jews. “The prophet neither tells us the name nor the intention of these elders of Israel, nor the time when they came to him. But the manner wherein God speaks, gives us to understand that they came only to tempt him, as the Pharisees came to Christ, and with no design to profit by what they heard, or to correct their faults:” see Calmet. And sat before me — As was the usual posture of those that came to hear the instructions of any prophet or teacher: see Ezekiel 8:1. In after times the teachers sat in a chair or eminent seat, and the hearers on lower forms at the feet of their masters: see Luke 10:39; Acts 22:3.

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.Elders of Israel - Some of the fellow-exiles of Ezekiel, among whom he ministered. CHAPTER 14

Eze 14:1-23. Hypocritical Inquirers Are Answered According to Their Hypocrisy. The Calamities Coming on the People; but a Remnant Is to Escape.

1. elders—persons holding that dignity among the exiles at the Chebar. Grotius refers this to Seraiah and those sent with him from Judea (Jer 51:59). The prophet's reply, first, reflecting on the character of the inquirers, and, secondly, foretelling the calamities coming on Judea, may furnish an idea of the subject of their inquiry.

sat before me—not at once able to find a beginning of their speech; indicative of anxiety and despondency.God reproveth those hypocrites, who came to inquire of him with idolatry in their hearts, Ezekiel 14:1-5. They are exhorted to repent, for fear of his judgments, Ezekiel 14:6-11. No intercession shall save the guilty land from God’s judgment of famine, Ezekiel 14:12-14, noisome beasts, Ezekiel 14:15,16, the sword, Ezekiel 14:17,18, the pestilence, Ezekiel 14:19, or from the four judgments together, Ezekiel 14:20,21. A remnant shall be left for the instruction and consolation of others, Ezekiel 14:22,23.

Then, Heb. And, that we need not inquire the precise time of this prophecy.

Certain of the elders; men of note, that were in office and power among the Jews, called here elders, &c.

Of Israel; who were yet in Jerusalem; not the elders who were now, and had been some time, in Babylon.

Sat before me: see Ezekiel 8:1.

Then came certain, of the elders of Israel unto me,.... The Syriac version adds, "to consult the Lord"; by the prophet. These, according to Kimchi, were the elders of the captivity, the heads of the captives that were now in Babylon with Ezekiel: but there are others that think they were some that came from Jerusalem to Babylon on some business or another; and having heard much of the prophet, came to visit him, and to hear his prophecies, and inquire of the Lord by him:

and sat before me; silent and pensive, as persons in anxiety and distress; or as hearers of him, for sitting is a hearing gesture; they sat and heard with great attention, gravity, and seriousness, with seeming affection and reverence; and all this was not in a visionary way, but was a real fact; see Ezekiel 33:31.

Then came certain of the elders of Israel to me, and {a} sat before me.

(a) He shows the hypocrisy of the idolaters, who will pretend to hear the prophets of God, though in their hearts they follow nothing less than their admonitions and also how by one means or another God discovers them.

1–9. Answer to idolaters who inquire of the Lord

1. elders of Israel] That is, in point of fact, elders of the exiles; but in them the prophet sees representatives of the house of Israel both at home and abroad (Ezekiel 14:4; Ezekiel 14:7), and when addressing them he feels himself speaking to his people in all places. Cf. ch. Ezekiel 8:1, Ezekiel 20:1. These elders came and sat before him. It is scarcely probable that their presence was due to the prophet’s words in ch. 13, denouncing their false prophets. It might no doubt be supposed that they were perplexed by these denunciations, and, not knowing whom to believe, waited on the prophet for some further enlightenment. It is more likely that their thoughts were occupied about Jerusalem and the future of their country, and that they hoped to hear something more from Ezekiel on these subjects.

Verse 1. - As the result, probably, of the previous utterances, certain elders of Israel, i.e. of the exiles in Tel-Abib, came to consult Ezekiel, wishing to know what counsels or what predictions he had for them. In Ezekiel 8:1 we have "the elders of Judah," and it is possible that there were two groups in the Population of the town, and that these represented Israel as distinct from Judah - a deputation, as it were, from the earlier exiles. The term appears again in Ezekiel 20:1. More probably, however, the terms are used interchangeably. Ezekiel 14:1The Lord Gives No Answer to the Idolaters

Ezekiel 14:1 narrates the occasion for this and the following words of God: There came to me men of the elders of Israel, and sat down before me. These men were not deputies from the Israelites in Palestine, as Grotius and others suppose, but elders of the exiles among whom Ezekiel had been labouring. They came to visit the prophet (v. 3), evidently with the intention of obtaining, through him, a word of God concerning the future of Jerusalem, or the fate of the kingdom of Judah. But Hvernick is wrong in supposing that we may infer, from either the first or second word of God in this chapter, that they had addressed to the prophet a distinct inquiry of this nature, to which the answer is given in vv. 12-23. For although their coming to the prophet showed that his prophecies had made an impression upon them, it is not stated in v. 1 that they had come to inquire of God, like the elders in Ezekiel 20:1, and there is no allusion to any definite questions in the words of God themselves. The first (Ezekiel 14:2-11) simply assumes that they have come with the intention of asking, and discloses the state of heart which keeps them from coming to inquire; and the second (Ezekiel 14:12-23) points out the worthlessness of their false confidence in the righteousness of certain godly men.

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