Ezekiel 14:7
For every one of the house of Israel, or of the stranger that sojourneth in Israel, which separateth himself from me, and setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to a prophet to inquire of him concerning me; I the LORD will answer him by myself:
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(7) Or of the stranger.—Under the Mosaic legislation, “the stranger” living among the Israelites was bound to observe a certain outward deference to the law of the land, just as a foreigner in any country now is bound to respect in certain things the law of the country in which he lives. Israel being a theocracy, its fundamental law against idol-worship could not be violated with impunity by those who sought the protection of its government (Leviticus 17:10; Leviticus 20:1-2, &c.). In this case, however, outward idolatry is not alleged, as the accusations of this verse and Ezekiel 14:4 refer only to the secret idolatry of the heart; and the point insisted upon is not so much the idol-worship in itself, as the hypocrisy of attempting to join with this the enquiring of the Lord. God declares that He will answer such hypocrisy, in whomsoever it may be found, not by the prophet through whom the enquiry is made, but by Himself interposing to punish the enquirer, and to make him an example to deter others from a like course.

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.The stranger - They who sojourned among Israel, though they were not of Israel, were bound to abstain from idol-worship Leviticus 17:10; Leviticus 20:2.

By myself - Or, as in Ezekiel 14:4, "according to" Myself. He who comes to inquire with a heart full of idolatry shall have his answer,

(1) "according to the multitude of his idols" - in delusion,

(2) "according to the holiness of God" - in punishment.

The inquiry was hypocritical and unreal - but God will answer not by the mouth, but by the hand, not by word but by deed, not by speech but by a scourge.

7. stranger—the proselyte, tolerated in Israel only on condition of worshipping no God but Jehovah (Le 17:8, 9).

inquire of him concerning me—that is, concerning My will.

by myself—not by word, but by deed, that is, by judgments, marking My hand and direct agency; instead of answering him through the prophet he consults. Fairbairn translates, as it is the same Hebrew as in the previous clause, "concerning Me," it is natural that God should use the same expression in His reply as was used in the consultation of Him. But the sense, I think, is the same. The hypocrite inquires of the prophet concerning God; and God, instead of replying through the prophet, replies for Himself concerning Himself.

For every Jew of the seed of Abraham, and every proselyte, who withdraws himself from me, and worships idols, keeps them in his heart to the increase of their own sin and my displeasure, yet forsooth comes to the prophet to inquire how his God resenteth what they do, and what God will do with them, what they should do, what they may expect, yet all this while dote on idols, and resolutely hold on in unjust practices, they shall find by the answer it was not the prophet, but the God of the prophet, that answered them, so dreadful, searching, and astonishing shall my answer be.

For everyone of the house of Israel,.... King and subjects, princes and people, high and low, rich and poor, of every rank, sex, and age:

or of the stranger that sojourneth in Israel; the proselytes; whether of righteousness, such as were circumcised, and embraced the Jewish religion; or of the gate, who were only inhabitants with them; one as another were obliged to worship the God of Israel, and abstain from idolatry; there was but one law to the Israelite and to the stranger, respecting this matter:

which separateth himself from me; from the worship of God, and so from communion with him; turns his back on him, and becomes an apostate from him, by joining himself with idols:

and setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumbling block of his iniquity before his face; these things are repeated, partly to observe the heinousness of the sin they were guilty of; and partly to show the stupidity of this people, which required things to be said over and over, before they could take them in, and be convinced of their evil:

and cometh to a prophet to inquire of him concerning me; this explains what such persons would come to a prophet for, Ezekiel 14:4; and exposes their hypocrisy:

I the Lord will answer him by myself; not by the prophet to whom he comes, but by himself: or, "in my word", as the Targum; yet not by words, but by blows; not in mercy, but in wrath; and in such manner, that it shall appear to come from the Lord, and to be according to truth and justice.

For every one of the house of Israel, or of the stranger that sojourneth in Israel, which separateth himself from me, and setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to a prophet to enquire of him concerning me; I the LORD will answer him by myself:
7. every one … sojourneth in Israel] Comp. Leviticus 17:8; Leviticus 17:10; Leviticus 17:13; Leviticus 20:2, and remark on Ezekiel 14:1 above. On “setteth up” cf. Ezekiel 14:3.

answer him by myself] Or, through myself, directly in deeds.

Verse 7. - The stranger that sojourneth among you. It is noticeable that Ezekiel uses here and elsewhere (Ezekiel 47:22, 23) the familiar phrase of the books which most influenced his teaching (Leviticus 16-25; Numbers 9, 15; Deuteronomy passim). It is probable that some such proselytes were found among the exiles of Tel Abib. I the Lord will answer him by myself, etc. This, as has been seen, was probably the right reading in ver. 4. What it means is that, instead of a spoken answer by the mouth of the prophet, there should be an answer in the discipline of life, in the immediate utterance through the conscience, which was the voice of God. The inquirer who came with unconfessed and unrepented hankerings after the worship of other gods deserved and would receive no other answer. Ezekiel 14:7In these verses the divine threat, and the summons to repent, are repeated, expanded, and uttered in the clearest words. - Ezekiel 14:6. Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Repent, and turn away from your idols; and turn away your face from all your abominations. V.7. For every one of the house of Israel, and of the foreigners who sojourn in Israel, if he estrange himself from me, and let his idols rise up in his heart, and set the stumbling-block to his sin before his face, and come to the prophet to seek me for himself; I will show myself to him, answering in my own way. Ezekiel 14:8. I will direct my face against that man, and will destroy him, for a sign and for proverbs, and will cut him off out of my people; and ye shall learn that I am Jehovah. - לכן in Ezekiel 14:6 is co-ordinate with the לכן in Ezekiel 14:4, so far as the thought is concerned, but it is directly attached to Ezekiel 14:5: because they have estranged themselves from God, therefore God requires them to repent and turn. For God will answer with severe judgments every one who would seek God with idols in his heart, whether he be an Israelite, or a foreigner living in the midst of Israel. שׁוּבוּ, turn, be converted, is rendered still more emphatic by the addition of פניכם... השׁיבוּ. This double call to repentance corresponds to the double reproof of their idolatry in Ezekiel 14:3, viz., שׁוּבוּ, to על לב 'העלה גל; and השׁיבוּ פניכם, to their setting the idols נכח פּניהם. השׁיבוּ is not used intransitively, as it apparently is in Ezekiel 18:30, but is to be taken in connection with the object פניכם, which follows at the end of the verse; and it is simply repeated before פניכם for the sake of clearness and emphasis. The reason for the summons to repent and give up idolatry is explained in Ezekiel 14:7, in the threat that God will destroy every Israelite, and every foreigner in Israel, who draws away from God and attaches himself to idols. The phraseology of Ezekiel 14:7 is adopted almost verbatim from Leviticus 17:8, Leviticus 17:10,Leviticus 17:13. On the obligation of foreigners to avoid idolatry and all moral abominations, vid., Leviticus 20:2; Leviticus 18:26; Leviticus 17:10; Exodus 12:19, etc. The ו before ינּזר and יעל does not stand for the Vav relat., but simply supposes a case: "should he separate himself from my followers, and let his idols rise up, etc." לדרשׁ־לו בּי does not mean, "to seek counsel of him (the prophet) from me," for לו cannot be taken as referring to the prophet, although דּרשׁ with ל does sometimes mean to seek any one, and ל may therefore indicate the person to whom one goes to make inquiry (cf. 2 Chronicles 15:13; 2 Chronicles 17:4; 2 Chronicles 31:21), because it is Jehovah who is sought in this case; and Hvernick's remark, that "דּרשׁ with ל merely indicates the external object sought by a man, and therefore in this instance the medium or organ through whom God speaks," is proved to be erroneous by the passages just cited. לו is reflective, or to be taken as a dat. commodi, denoting the inquirer or seeker. The person approached for the purpose of inquiring or seeking, i.e., God, is indicated by the preposition בּ, as in 1 Chronicles 10:14 (דּרשׁ ); and also frequently, in the case of idols, when either an oracle or help is sought from them (1 Samuel 28:7; 2 Kings 1:2.). It is only in this way that לו and בּי can be made to correspond to the same words in the apodosis: Whosoever seeks counsel of God, to him will God show Himself answering בּי, in Him, i.e., in accordance with His nature, in His own way, - namely, in the manner described in Ezekiel 14:8. The threat is composed of passages in the law: 'נתתּי and 'הכרתּי וגו, after Leviticus 20:3, Leviticus 20:5-6; and 'וחשׁמותיהוּ וגו, though somewhat freely, after Deuteronomy 28:37 ('היה לשׁמּה למשׁל). There is no doubt, therefore, that השׁמותי is to be derived from שׁמם, and stands for השׁמּותי, in accordance with the custom in later writings of resolving the Dagesh forte into a long vowel. The allusion to Deuteronomy 28:37, compared with היה in v. 46 of the same chapter, is sufficient to set aside the assumption that השׁמותי is to be derived from שׂים, and pointed accordingly; although the lxx, Targ., Syr., and Vulg. have all renderings of שׂים (cf. Psalm 44:16). Moreover, שׂים in the perfect never takes the Hiphil form; and in Ezekiel 20:26 we have אשׁמּם in a similar connection. The expression is a pregnant one: I make him desolate, so that he becomes a sign and proverbs.
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