Ezekiel 14:17
Or if I bring a sword on that land, and say, Sword, go through the land; so that I cut off man and beast from it:
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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. He is Lord of hosts, and hath the militia of all the world in his hand, the sword is the right of the King of kings.

Bring a sword; raise war, and send enemies to invade it. That land; what land soever it be.

Go through the land: though inanimate things have not ears to hear, yet God speaks of them sometimes as if they had ears to hear, and understanding to discern; hereby intimating to us his overruling power, wisdom, justice, and sovereignty.

So that I cut off man: men cut off men in war, yet here God takes it to himself, he doth it by men.

And beast: though wars chiefly destroy men, yet the beasts of the field go to wreck too, the beasts that are serviceable in wars are waste, as horses and beasts of burden. The Eastern nations have brought store of camels and many elephants into the wars; beside the slaughter of these in fight, the spoiler wasting his enemy doth often destroy whole herds and flocks. Or if I bring a sword upon that land,.... The land which had grievously sinned; the same land into which a famine should come, and through which evil beasts should pass; to which, if the Lord should add, as he would, a third judgment, the sword; suffer a foreign enemy to come in among them, and destroy them. So the Targum,

"or if those that slay with the sword I should bring upon that land;''

the Chaldean army, as he did; the sword has its commission from God; war is not by chance; the invasion of a foreign enemy is from the Lord; and all the mischiefs and ravages of a tumultuous army are all by divine order:

and say, sword, go through the land; not only enter the borders of it, or proceed far in it, but even go through it; which is terrible indeed! but if the Lord bids it go, it must go, and does; it is a servant of his, and punctually obeys his commands; that is, such are those that use it, however profane and wicked they may be in themselves, as generally armies consist of dissolute persons; yet these are under a divine direction, and are obedient to the will of God, though they may know it not. So the Targum,

"and I say that they that kill with the sword pass through the land:''

so that I cut off man and beast from it; by the sword; the one being destroyed as an enemy, the other for food.

Or if I bring a sword upon that land, and say, Sword, go through the land; so that I cut off man and beast from it:
17. say, Sword, go through] This rendering assumes a grammatical anomaly. Rather, the sword shall go through.

Ezekiel 14:19-20. The pestilence.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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