Ezekiel 14:15
If I cause noisome beasts to pass through the land, and they spoil it, so that it be desolate, that no man may pass through because of the beasts:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(15-20) In these verses the same declaration is repeated, for the sake of emphasis, with each one of three other instruments of punishment, with only such variations of phraseology as are required for rhetorical reasons. The phrase “their own soulsis here also simply equivalent to “themselves.” The judgments mentioned are all taken from the warnings in Leviticus 26, the famine from Leviticus 26:26, the wild beasts from Leviticus 26:22, the sword and also the pestilence from Leviticus 26:25.

Ezekiel 14:15-21. If I cause noisome beasts to pass through the land — We find it was one punishment of the inhabitants of Judea, to be infested by lions and other wild beasts. To this their neighbourhood to the deserts of Arabia exposed them; and God, at certain times, to punish them for their sins, either by causing a scarcity of food in the deserts, or by some other means, influenced these wild beasts to make incursions into Judea, in great numbers, which they otherwise were not wont to do. Or if I bring a sword upon that land, &c. — “If I deliver a land into the hand of a cruel enemy. The conquerors’ sword is often called the sword of the Lord, in the prophets, because they are the executioners of God’s judgments.” So that I cut off man and beast from it — “Men are destroyed by the sword, and the cattle are driven away by the enemy; or else consumed by pestilence, arising from the air’s being corrupted through the stench of dead bodies.” Or I send pestilence, and pour out my fury in blood — With great destruction of men’s lives, Ezekiel 38:22; for every kind of sudden and immature death is called blood in the Hebrew. How much more — Shall there be an utter destruction; when I send my four sore judgments upon Jerusalem — “If it is just, with respect to other countries, that the good alone should escape punishment, how much more with respect to Jerusalem, after such repeated instructions and admonitions?” And if the intercessions of such holy men as those above mentioned could not prevent the execution of one of these four judgments upon those that had filled up the measure of their iniquities, how much less would they be able to keep off all the four, when I commission them all to come at once?14:12-23 National sins bring national judgments. Though sinners escape one judgment, another is waiting for them. When God's professing people rebel against him, they may justly expect all his judgments. The faith, obedience, and prayers of Noah prevailed to the saving of his house, but not of the old world. Job's sacrifice and prayer in behalf of his friends were accepted, and Daniel had prevailed for the saving his companions and the wise men of Babylon. But a people that had filled the measure of their sins, was not to expect to escape for the sake of any righteous men living among them; not even of the most eminent saints, who could be accepted in their own case only through the sufferings and righteousness of Christ. Yet even when God makes the greatest desolations by his judgments, he saves some to be monuments of his mercy. In firm belief that we shall approve the whole of God's dealings with ourselves, and with all mankind, let us silence all rebellious murmurs and objections.Noah, Daniel, and Job - Three striking instances of men who, for their integrity, were delivered from the ruin which fell upon others. Some have thought it strange that Daniel, a contemporary, and still young, should have been classed with the two ancient worthies. But the account of him Daniel 2 shows, that by this time Daniel was a very remarkable man (compare Ezekiel 28:3), and the introduction of the name of a contemporary gives force and life to the illustration. There is in the order in which the names occur a kind of climax. Noah did not rescue the guilty world, but did carry forth with him his wife, sons, and sons' wives. Daniel raised only a few, but he did raise three of his countrymen with him to honor. To Job was spared neither son nor daughter.15-21. The argument is cumulative. He first puts the case of the land sinning so as to fall under the judgment of a famine (Eze 14:13); then (Eze 14:15) "noisome beasts" (Le 26:22); then "the sword"; then, worst of all, "pestilence." The three most righteous of men should deliver only themselves in these several four cases. In Eze 14:21 he concentrates the whole in one mass of condemnation. If Noah, Daniel, Job, could not deliver the land, when deserving only one judgment, "how much more" when all four judgments combined are justly to visit the land for sin, shall these three righteous men not deliver it. Noisome beasts are one of the great plagues or armies that God hath always at his command.

To pass through the land; to range over the land, and spoil their cattle, devour their servants and children, and destroy travellers, and make it as a wilderness.

No man may pass through without much danger, and great guards that may repel the wild ravening beasts. If I cause noisome beasts to pass through the land,.... Evil and hurtful ones; not so much those that are poisonous as pernicious; such, as lions, tigers, foxes, wolves, and bears, that are very ravenous and devouring, and especially in a time of famine before threatened; though sometimes God makes use of lesser creatures to do damage to a land, and the fruits of it, as locusts, caterpillars, &c. but the former seem to be intended here, which sometimes God threatens and sends to a people disobedient and rebellious; see Leviticus 26:22;

and they spoil it; or, "make it childless" (x); they or I bereave the inhabitants of it of their children; or bereave it of other cattle that are tame, as sheep and oxen, as well as of men and women also, and even destroy the fruits of the earth:

so that it be desolate; having neither men nor cattle, corn or tillage, or any other fruit; all being destroyed by the evil beats, who have commission to pass through it, and lay it waste wherever they come, without control:

that no man may pass through because of the beasts; for fear of them: not only the inhabitants of the land should be destroyed by them, but even travellers, such as come from other countries, would not choose to pass through it because of the beasts; so that it would on this account be destitute both of inhabitants and of travellers; and must be a most desolate place, where only wild beasts were to be seen, ranging about at pleasure.

(x) "orbaturas eam", Pagninus, Montanus; "orbaturas eam", Junius & Tremellius, Polanus; "orbam fecere illam", Cocceius, Starckius.

If I cause noisome beasts to pass through the land, and they spoil it, so that it be desolate, that no man may pass through because of the beasts:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 15. - Noisome beasts (see note on Ezekiel 5:17). And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Ezekiel 14:3. Son of man, these men have let their idols rise up in their heart, and have set the stumbling-block to guilt before their face: shall I allow myself to be inquired of by them? Ezekiel 14:4. Therefore speak to them, and say to them, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Every man of the house of Israel who lifteth up his idols in his heart, and setteth the stumbling-block to his sin before his face, and cometh to the prophet, to him do I, Jehovah, show myself, answering according thereto, according to the multitude of his idols; Ezekiel 14:5. To grasp the house of Israel by their heart, because they have turned away from me, all of them through their idols. - We have not to picture these elders to ourselves as given up to gross idolatry. העלה על לב means, to allow anything to come into the mind, to permit it to rise up in the heart, to be mentally busy therewith. "To set before one's face" is also to be understood, in a spiritual sense, as relating to a thing which a man will not put out of his mind. מכשׁול , stumbling-block to sin and guilt (cf. Ezekiel 7:19), i.e., the idols. Thus the two phrases simply denote the leaning of the heart and spirit towards false gods. God does not suffer those whose heart is attached to idols to seek and find Him. The interrogative clause 'האדּרשׁ וגו contains a strong negation. The emphasis lies in the infinitive absolute אדּרשׁ et placed before the verb, in which the ה is softened into א, to avoid writing ה twice. נדרשׁ, to allow oneself to be sought, involves the finding of God; hence in Isaiah 65:1 we have נדרשׁ as parallel to נמצא. In Ezekiel 14:4, Ezekiel 14:5, there follows a positive declaration of the attitude of God towards those who are devoted to idolatry in their heart. Every such Israelite will be answered by God according to the measure of the multitude of his idols. The Niphal נענה has not the signification of the Kal, and does not mean "to be answerable," as Ewald supposes, or to converse; but is generally used in a passive sense, "to be answered," i.e., to find or obtain a hearing (Job 11:2; Job 19:7). It is employed here in a reflective sense, to hold or show oneself answering. בה, according to the Chetib בהּ, for which the Keri suggests the softer gloss בא, refers to 'בּרב גל which follows; the nominative being anticipated, according to an idiom very common in Aramaean, by a previous pronoun. It is written here for the sake of emphasis, to bring the following object into more striking prominence. ב is used here in the sense of secundum, according to, not because, since this meaning is quite unsuitable for the ב in Ezekiel 14:7, where it occurs in the same connection (בּי). The manner in which God will show Himself answering the idolatry according to their idols, is reserved till Ezekiel 14:8. Here, in Ezekiel 14:5, the design of this procedure on the part of God is given: viz., to grasp Israel by the heart; i.e., not merely to touch and to improve them, but to bring down their heart by judgments (cf. Leviticus 26:41), and thus move them to give up idolatry and return to the living God. נזרוּ, as in Isaiah 1:4, to recede, to draw away from God. כּלּם is an emphatic repetition of the subject belonging to נזרוּ.
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