Ezekiel 14:8
And I will set my face against that man, and will make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the middle of my people; and you shall know that I am the LORD.
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(8) Will make him a sign.—The text of the Hebrew is here preferable to its margin, which has been followed by our translators, as well as by the ancient versions. There is a similar threat in Deuteronomy 28:37; and the clause should be rendered, “will make him desolate (or destroy him) for a sign and a proverb.” The English almost loses the idea of the wonder which will be occasioned by the severity of God’s dealings with the false worshipper.

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.Will make him - Or, I will make him amazed Ezekiel 32:10; or, astonished, so as to be a sign and a proverb. 8. And I will set my face against that man—(See on [1038]Le 17:10).

and will make him a sign—literally, "I will destroy him so as to become a sign"; it will be no ordinary destruction, but such as will make him be an object pointed at with wonder by all, as Korah, &c. (Nu 26:10; De 28:37).

My face; my displeased face, my wrath, which none can bear; the phrase Leviticus 17:10 20:3 Ezekiel 15:7.

A sign of Divine vengeance, provoked by sin and executed on the sinner.

A proverb; of whom every body shall speak with taunt and curse, Deu 28:37.

I will cut him off; either by an immediate stroke from heaven, or else in an undeniably vindictive way, Leviticus 20:3.

From the midst of my people; openly, as what is done in the sight of all, or as one separated from God’s people by this dreadfill excommunication, and who shall have no portion with them in this or the next life. And I will set my face against that man,.... And look him out of countenance, notwithstanding all his daring impudence and presumption in coming to a prophet of the Lord, and inquiring of him by him, when guilty of gross idolatry; which mast needs be the case, when the face of God is set against a man. The Targum renders it, "my fury", or "wrath"; and indeed that is what is meant; when God sets his face against a man, he pours out his wrath, or inflicts punishment on him; see Psalm 34:16. Jarchi's note is,

"as a man that says I am at leisure from all business, and I will attend to this;''

laying aside all other business, wholly giving himself up to one thing, on which he is set. Dreadful is a man's case, when the Lord thus sets himself against him!

and will make him a sign and a proverb; a spectacle of horror to look at, because of his misery; and a proverb, to be took up, and spoke of, as Zedekiah and Ahab were, Jeremiah 29:22;

and I will cut him off from the midst of my people; by a sudden death, which the Jews call death from heaven, or by the immediate hand of God; and which is answering by himself, as in Ezekiel 14:7;

and ye shall know that I am the Lord; that is, those that remain, are not cut off, but are reclaimed by these examples from idolatry, and are brought to repentance, the remnant among them that should be saved; these should know and acknowledge the Lord was omniscient, and knew the hypocrisy of those men above described; and was omnipotent, and could make good his threatenings, and inflict deserved punishment; and that he was holy, just, and true, in all his ways.

And I will set my face against that man, and will make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of my people; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
8. Jehovah’s answer to the idolatrous inquirer: he will make him a sign and a proverb, and cut him off from his people.

make him a sign] This is the traditional reading (Baer’s Ezek.—hiph. of sîm, cf. Ezekiel 21:16; Job 4:20). R.V. follows a different text. On “sign” &c. cf. Numbers 26:10; Deuteronomy 28:37.Verse 8. - To make him, add, with Revised Version, an astonishment; or better, I will make him amazed, as in Ezekiel 32:10. The words are an echo of Deuteronomy 28:37. The man's punishment shall be open and notorious, so as to strike terror into others. Against the False Prophetesses

As the Lord had not endowed men only with the gifts of prophecy, but sometimes women also, e.g., Miriam, Deborah, and Huldah; so women also rose up along with the false prophets, and prophesied out of their own hearts without being impelled by the Spirit of God. Ezekiel 13:17-19. Their conduct. - Ezekiel 13:17. And thou, son of man, direct thy face towards the daughters of thy people, who prophesy out of their heart and prophesy against them, Ezekiel 13:18. And say, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Woe to those who sew coverings together over all the joints of my hands, and make caps for the head of every size, to catch souls! Ye catch the souls of my people, and keep your souls alive. Ezekiel 13:19. And ye profane me with my people for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread, to slay souls which should not die, and to keep alive which should not live, by your lying to my people who hearken to lying. - Like the prophets in Ezekiel 13:2, the prophetesses are here described as prophesying out of their own heart (Ezekiel 13:17); and in Ezekiel 13:18 and Ezekiel 13:19 their offences are more particularly described. The meaning of these verses is entirely dependent upon the view to be taken of ידי, which the majority of expositors, following the lead of the lxx, the Syriac, and the Vulgate, have regarded as identical with ידים or יד, and understood as referring to the hands of the women or prophetesses. But there is nothing to justify the assumption that ידי is an unusual form for ידים, which even Ewald takes it to be (Lehrbuch, 177a). Still less can it stand for the singular יד. And we have not sufficient ground for altering the text, as the expression זרועתיכם in Ezekiel 13:20 (I will tear the כּסתות from your arms) does not require the assumption that the prophetesses had hidden their arms in כסתות; and such a supposition is by no means obviously in harmony with the facts.

The word כּסתות, from כּסת, with ת fem. treated as a radical letter (cf. Ewald, 186e), means a covering or concealment equals כּסוּת. The meaning "cushion" or "pillow" (lxx προσκεφάλαια, Vulg. pulvilli) is merely an inference drawn from this passage, and is decidedly erroneous; for the word תּפר (to sew together) is inapplicable to cushions, as well as the phrase על כּל־אצּילי ידי, inasmuch as cushions are not placed upon the joints of the hands, and still less are they sewed together upon them. The latter is also a decisive reason for rejecting the explanation given by Hvernick, namely, that the kesâthōth were carpets, which were used as couches, and upon which these voluptuous women are represented as reclining. For cushions or couches are not placed upon, but under, the arm-joints (or elbows) and the shoulders, which Hvernick understands by אצּילי יד. This also overthrows another explanation given of the words, namely, that they refer to carpets, which the prophetesses had sewed together for all their arm-joints, so as to form comfortable beds upon splendid carpets, that they may indulge in licentiousness thereon. The explanation given by Ephraem Syrus, and adopted by Hitzig, namely, that the kesâthōth were amulets or straps, which they would round their arm-joints when they received or delivered their oracles, is equally untenable. For, as Kliefoth has observed, "it is evident that there is not a word in the text about adultery, or amulets, or straps used in prayer." And again, when we proceed to the next clause, the traditional rendering of מספּחות, as signifying either pillows (ὑπαυχένια, Symm.; cervicalia, Vulg.) or broad cloaks equals מטפּחות (Hitzig, Hvernick, etc.), is neither supported by the usage of the language, nor in harmony with על ראשׁ. Mispâchōth, from sâphach, to join, cannot have any other meaning in the present context than a cap fitting close to the head; and על must denote the pattern which was followed, as in Psalm 110:4; Esther 9:26 : they make the caps after (answering to) the head of every stature. The words of both clauses are figurative, and have been correctly explained by Kliefoth as follows: "A double charge is brought against the prophetesses. In the first place, they sew coverings together to wrap round all the joints of the hand of God, so that He cannot touch them; i.e., they cover up and conceal the word of God by their prophesying, more especially its rebuking and threatening force, so that the threatening and judicial arm of God, which ought above all to become both manifest and effective through His prophetic word, does not become either one or the other. In the second place, they make coverings upon the heads of men, and construct them in such a form that they exactly fit the stature or size or every individual, so that the men neither hear nor see; i.e., by means of their flattering lies, which adapt themselves to the subjective inclinations of their hearers at the time, they cover up the senses of the men, so that they retain neither ear nor eye for the truth." They do both of these to catch souls. The inevitable consequence of their act is represented as having been intended by them; and this intention is then still further defined as being to catch the souls of the people of God; i.e., to allure them to destruction, and take care of their own souls. The clause הנּפשׁות תּצודדנה is not to be taken as a question, "Will ye catch the souls?" implying a doubt whether they really thought that they could carry on such conduct as theirs with perfect impunity (Hvernick). It contains a simple statement of what really took place in their catching of souls, namely, "they catch the souls of the people of God, and preserve their own souls;" i.e., they rob the people of God of their lives, and take care of their own (Kliefoth). לעמּי is used instead of the genitive (stat. constr.) to show that the accent rests upon עמּי. And in the same way we have לכנה instead of the suffix. The construction is the same as in 1 Samuel 14:16. Ezekiel 13:19 shows how great their sin had been. They profane God among His people; namely, by delivering the suggestions of their own heart to the people as divine revelations, for the purpose of getting their daily bread thereby (cf. Micah 3:5); by hurling into destruction, through their lies, those who are only too glad to listen to lying; by slaying the souls of the people which ought to live, and by preserving those which ought not to live, i.e., their own souls (Deuteronomy 18:20). The punishment for this will not fail to come.

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