Ezekiel 14:5
That I may take the house of Israel in their own heart, because they are all estranged from me through their idols.
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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.That I may take ... - i. e., that I may take them, as in a snare, deceived by their own heart. 5. That I may take—that is, unveil and overtake with punishment the dissimulation and impiety of Israel hid in their own heart. Or, rather, "That I may punish them by answering them after their own hearts"; corresponding to "according to the multitude of his idols" (see on [1037]Eze 14:4); an instance is given in Eze 14:9; Ro 1:28; 2Th 2:11, God giving them up in wrath to their own lie.

idols—though pretending to "inquire" of Me, "in their hearts" they are "estranged from Me," and love "idols."

That I may convince and pierce their very hearts, or lay open what is in their heart, and discover their hypocrisy and impiety; because they have shamefully followed idols, which now in their distress neither know the cause, or can frame a remedy; and what folly is it to choose such gods! what greater impiety than this, to adhere to idols, and forsake God, the only true God and Saviour?

Estranged from me; minds that increase their averseness to God. Idolatry draws the man more and more from the Lord.

That I may take the house of Israel in their own heart,.... By which they are ensnared, and drawn aside to their ruin; being given up to strong delusions, to believe a lie, and worship idols; God threatening to answer them by righteous judgments, and thereby take the wickedness, the hypocrisy, and idolatry, that were in their hearts, and expose and make it manifest unto others; or, by punishing them, to draw out the corruption and sin that were in them, that it might be seen what a wicked people they were. The Targum interprets the text in another way,

"that I may bring near the house of Israel, and put repentance into their hearts;''

because they are all estranged from me through their idols; they grew shy of God and his worship, when they fell into idolatry. Alienation from God, from the life of God, from the law of God, from the worship of God, and of the affections from him, is owing to some idol or another set up in the heart, or before the eye; whatever is worshipped besides God, or gains the ascendant in the heart, alienates from him; and God will not admit of a rival, he cannot and will not bear it; and for this reason he inflicts punishment, or answers in a terrible way.

That {e} I may take the house of Israel in their own heart, because they are all estranged from me through their idols.

(e) That is, convince them by their own conscience.

5. take … in their own heart] The sinner’s sin is like a snare in which he is captured and destroyed; sin carries its own retribution in itself (Job 8:4). The phrase “take them in their own heart” is explained by the words that follow, “because they are all estranged from me through their idols.” Their “heart” is the idolatrous direction of their thoughts and affections; in this they shall be taken (Ezekiel 14:3-4; Ezekiel 14:7).

Verse 5. - That I may take the house of Israel, etc. The words me a threat rather than a promise. The "double-hearted" shall be taken in the snare which they have made for themselves. Ezekiel 14:5And 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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