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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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
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. Punishment of the False Prophets

Ezekiel 13:8. Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Because ye speak vanity and prophesy lying, therefore, behold, I will deal with you, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. Ezekiel 13:9. And my hand shall be against the prophets who see vanity and divine lies: in the council of my people they shall not be, and in the register of the house of Israel they shall not be registered, and into the land of Israel shall they not come; and ye shall learn that I am the Lord Jehovah. Ezekiel 13:10. Because, yea because they lead my people astray, and say, "Peace," though there is no peace; and when it (my people) build a wall, behold, they plaster it with cement: Ezekiel 13:11. Say to the plasterers, that it will fall: there cometh a pouring rain; and ye hailstones fall, and thou stormy wind break loose! Ezekiel 13:12. And, behold, the wall falleth; will men not say to you, Where is the plaster with which ye have plastered it? Ezekiel 13:13. Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah, I cause a stormy wind to break forth in my wrath, and a pouring rain will come in my anger, and hailstones in wrath, for destruction. Ezekiel 13:14. And I demolish the wall which ye have plastered, and cast it to the ground, that its foundation may be exposed, and it shall fall, and ye shall perish in the midst of it; and shall learn that I am Jehovah. Ezekiel 13:15. And I will exhaust my wrath upon the wall, and upon those who plaster it; and will say to you, It is all over with the wall, and all over with those who plastered it; Ezekiel 13:16. With the prophets of Israel who prophesied to Jerusalem, and saw visions of peace for her, though there is no peace, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. - In Ezekiel 13:8 the punishment which is to fall upon the false prophets is threatened in general terms; and in Ezekiel 13:9 it is more specifically described in the form of a climax, rising higher and higher in the severity of its announcements. (1) They are no longer to form part of the council of the people of God; that is to say, they will lose their influential position among the people. (סוד is the sphere of counsellors, not the social sphere.) (2) Their names shall not be registered in the book of the house of Israel. The book of the house of Israel is the register in which the citizens of the kingdom of God are entered. Any one whose name was not admitted into this book, or was struck out of it, was separated thereby from the citizenship of Israel, and lost all the privileges which citizenship conferred. The figure of the book of life is a similar one (cf. Exodus 32:32). For Israel is not referred to here with regard to its outward nationality, but as the people of God; so that exclusion from Israel was also exclusion from fellowship with God. The circumstance that it is not the erasure of their names from the book that is mentioned here, but their not being entered in the book at all, may be accounted for from the reference contained in the words to the founding of the new kingdom of God. The old theocracy was abolished, although Jerusalem was not yet destroyed. The covenant nation had fallen under the judgment; but out of that portion of Israel which was dispersed among the heathen, a remnant would be gathered together again, and having been brought back to its own land, would be made anew into a holy people of God (cf. Ezekiel 11:17.). But the false prophets are not to be received into the citizenship of the new kingdom. (3) They are not even to come into the land of Israel; i.e., they are not merely to remain in exile, but to lose all share in the privileges and blessings of the kingdom of God. This judgment will come upon them because they lead astray the people of God, by proclaiming peace where there is no peace; i.e., by raising and cherishing false hopes of prosperity and peace, by which they encourage the people in their sinful lives, and lead them to imagine that all is well, and there is no judgment to be feared (cf. Jeremiah 23:17 and Micah 3:5). The exposure of this offence is introduced by the solemn יען וּביען, because and because (cf. Leviticus 26:43); and the offence itself is exhibited by means of a figure.

When the people build a wall, the false prophets plaster the wall with lime. והוּא (Ezekiel 13:10) refers to עמּי, and the clause is a circumstantial one. תּפל signifies the plaster coating or cement of a wall, probably from the primary meaning of תּפל, to stick or plaster over ( equals טפל, conglutinare, to glue, or fasten together), from which the secondary meaning of weak, insipid, has sprung. The proper word for plaster or cement is טיח (Ezekiel 13:12), and תּפל is probably chosen with an allusion to the tropical signification of that which is silly or absurd (Jeremiah 23:13; Lamentations 2:14). The meaning of the figure is intelligible enough. The people build up foolish hopes, and the prophets not only paint these hopes for them in splendid colours, but even predict their fulfilment, instead of denouncing their folly, pointing out to the people the perversity of their ways, and showing them that such sinful conduct must inevitably be followed by punishment and ruin. The plastering is therefore a figurative description of deceitful flattery or hypocrisy, i.e., the covering up of inward corruption by means of outward appearance (as in Matthew 23:27 and Acts 23:3). This figure leads the prophet to describe the judgment which they are bringing upon the nation and themselves, as a tempest accompanied with hail and pouring rain, which throws down the wall that has been erected and plastered over; and in connection with this figure he opens out this double thought: (1) the conduct of the people, which is encouraged by the false prophets, cannot last (Ezekiel 13:11 and Ezekiel 13:12); and (2) when this work of theirs is overthrown, the false prophets themselves will also meet with the fate they deserve (Ezekiel 13:13-16). The threat of judgment commences with the short, energetic ויפּל, let it (the wall) fall, or it shall fall, with Vav to indicate the train of thought (Ewald, 347a). The subject is תּפל, to which יפּל suggests a resemblance in sound. In Ezekiel 13:12 this is predicted as the fate awaiting the plastered wall. In the description of the bursting storm the account passes with ואתּנה (and ye) into a direct address; in other words, the description assumes the form of an appeal to the destructive forces of nature to burst forth with all their violence against the work plastered over by the prophets, and to destroy it. גּשׁם שׁוטף ., pouring rain; cf. Ezekiel 38:22. אבני אלגּבישׁ here and Ezekiel 38:22 are hailstones. The word אלגּבישׁ, which is peculiar to Ezekiel, is probably גּבישׁ (Job 28:18), with the Arabic article אל; ice, then crystal. רוּח , wind of storms, a hurricane or tempest. תּבקּע (Ezekiel 13:11) is used intransitively, to break loose; but in Ezekiel 13:13 it is transitive, to cause to break loose. The active rendering adopted by Kliefoth, "the storm will rend," sc. the plaster of the wall, is inappropriate in Ezekiel 13:11; for a tempest does not rend either the plaster or the wall, but throws the wall down. The translation which Kliefoth gives in Ezekiel 13:13, "I will rend by tempest," is at variance with both the language and the sense. Jehovah will cause this tempest to burst forth in His wrath and destroy the wall, and lay it level with the ground. The suffix in בּתוכהּ refers (ad sensum) to Jerusalem not to קיר (the wall), which is masculine, and has no תּוך (midst). The words pass from the figure to the reality here; for the plastered wall is a symbol of Jerusalem, as the centre of the theocracy, which is to be destroyed, and to bury the lying prophets in its ruins. וכלּיתי (Ezekiel 13:15) contains a play upon the word לכלה in Ezekiel 13:13. By a new turn given to klh כלה, Ezekiel repeats the thought that the wrath of God is to destroy the wall and its plasterers; and through this repetition he rounds off the threat with the express declaration, that the false prophets who are ever preaching peace are the plasterers to whom he refers.

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