Ezekiel 2:3
And he said to me, Son of man, I send you to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me: they and their fathers have transgressed against me, even to this very day.
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(3) I send thee to the children of Israel.—Here properly begins the distinct commission of the prophet. After the captivity of the ten tribes, the two forming the kingdom of Judah, with such remnants of the others as had been induced by Hezekiah and others to cast in their lot with them, are constantly spoken of as “Israel.” (See Ezra 2:2.) The continuity of the whole nation was considered as preserved in the remnant, and hence this same mode of expression passed into the New Testament. (See Acts 26:7.) It is only when there is especial occasion to distinguish between the two parts of the nation, as in Ezekiel 4:5-6, that the name of Israel is used in contrast with that of Judah.

A rebellious nation.—Literally, as in the margin, rebellious nations, the word being the same as that commonly used distinctively for the heathen, so that the children of Israel are here spoken of as “rebellious heathen.” There could be no epithet which would carry home more forcibly to the mind of an Israelite the state of antagonism in which he had placed himself against his God. (Comp. the “Lo-ammi” of Hosea 1:9, and also the discourse of our Lord in John 8:39.) Yet still, the God from whom they had turned aside was even now sending to them His prophet, and seeking to win them back to His love and obedience, in true correspondence to the vision of the bow in the cloud about the majesty on high.

The following verses enlarge, with a variety of epithets and repetitions, upon the hard-heartedness and perverseness of the people. This had always been the character of the Israelites from the time of Moses (see Exodus 32:9; Exodus 33:3; Exodus 33:5, &c), and continued to be to the end (see Acts 7:51); so entirely without ground is the allegation that they were chosen as a people peculiarly inclined to the right. It is to such a people that Ezekiel is to be sent, and he needed to be prepared and encouraged for his work.

Ezekiel 2:3-5. I send thee to the children of Israel — God had for many ages been sending to them his servants the prophets, but to little purpose: they were now sent into captivity for abusing God’s messengers; and yet even there God raises up and sends a prophet among them, to try if their ears were open to receive instruction, now they were holden in the cords of affliction. To a rebellious nation — Hebrew, גוים, nations, the prophet’s commission extending to the dispersed Israelites, as well as the captive Jews, as also to the Jews still in Judea, to whom most of his predictions and reproofs related, and whom his writings would reach, in the order of Divine Providence. They and their fathers have transgressed against me — From age to age they had rebelled against him, and were now as much inclined to do so as ever. They are impudent children, and stiff-hearted — The Hebrew, קשׁי פנים וחזקי לב, may be more significantly rendered, They are children impudent in their countenance, and hardened in their hearts. “They are so far hardened in their wickedness as to have cast off all shame, and even the very outward show of modesty.” And whether they will hear, &c. — Whether they will regard what is said by thee or not, they shall know that there hath been a prophet, &c. — They that obey shall know by the good I will do them; those that will not, by the evil which I will bring upon them. So that the event, answering to thy predictions, shall render thy authority unquestionable, and them inexcusable for not hearkening to the warnings thou hast given them.2:1-5 Lest Ezekiel should be lifted up with the abundance of the revelations, he is put in mind that still he is a son of man, a weak, mortal creature. As Christ usually called himself the Son of man, it was also an honourable distinction. Ezekiel's posture showed reverence, but his standing up would be a posture of greater readiness and fitness for business. God will speak to us, when we stand ready to do what he commands us. As Ezekiel had not strength of his own, the Spirit entered into him. God is graciously pleased to work in us whatever he requires of us. The Holy Spirit sets us upon our feet, by inclining our wills to our duty. Thus, when the Lord calls upon the sinner to awake, and attend to the concerns of his soul, the Spirit of life and grace comes with the call. Ezekiel is sent with a message to the children of Israel. Many might treat his message with contempt, yet they should know by the event that a prophet had been sent to them. God will be glorified, and his word made honourable, whether it be a savour of life unto life, or of death unto death.Nation - literally, as in the margin - the word which usually distinguishes the pagan from God's people. Here it expresses that Israel is cast off by God; and the plural is used to denote that the children of Israel are not even "one nation," but scattered and disunited.

Translate: "I send thee to the children of Israel, the rebellious nation that have rebelled against Me (they and their fathers have transgressed against Me, even to this very day), and the children impudent and stiff-hearted: I do send thee unto them."

3. nation—rather, "nations"; the word usually applied to the heathen or Gentiles; here to the Jews, as being altogether heathenized with idolatries. So in Isa 1:10, they are named "Sodom" and "Gomorrah." They were now become "Lo-ammi," not the people of God (Ho 1:9). And he: see Ezekiel 2:2.

Said unto me; either vocally, or by impression upon his mind.

Song of Solomon of man: the prophet had seen, Ezekiel 1:26 of the former chapter, a very glorious person on a throne above the firmament, and now the prophet is called son of man, perhaps, as the Jews conjecture, to encourage the prophet in his prophetic work, and to assure him he should be owned by that glorious One, who appeared as a man, and calls Ezekiel son of man: it is certain he would never forget what he had seen, and it is likely this Mda Ng as oft as it was spoken, would mind the prophet what relation it might have to the vision.

I send thee; I am sending, or he that sendeth thee is whom thou sawest on the throne advanced above angels, who directs them in their course of ministry subserving the will of God, and who will give them charge of thee in thy way.

Children, Heb. sons; God gives them still the name of sons and children, he is not hasty to abdicate, to disinherit, and cast off.

To the children of Israel, now in the low estate of captives: the lessening name of Jacob had been too great, one might think; but God tells the prophet they were the children of Israel, that prince who wrestled with God, and prevailed, Hosea 12:3-5. It is very likely they had some that feared and sought the God of Jacob, and did wrestle as he had done before them: it insinuateth some hope, however, that God would redeem them, Psalm 25:22, would be good unto them, Psalm 73:1; his dominion was over them, Psalm 114:2, and they were a peculiar people, Psalm 135:4,12.

To a rebellious nation, Heb. nations that are rebellious, very disobedient: as rebellion is the highest crime against the supreme magistrate, so were Israel’s sins against God. Hence some will have Ezekiel to be commissioned a prophet to denounce God’s judgments against the heathen, who are in Scripture called by the word here used. But though Ezekiel did prophesy against the nations, as against Egypt. Babylon, Gog, and Magog, yet here these nations in this third verse are the Jews, who were like the nations in their idolatry and manners; they had degenerated from their father Israel, and rebelled against Israel’s God. If the title

Israel be comfort to the best, the appellation given to the rest, they were a

rebellious nation, is terror and menace as well as rebuke to the worst, and God intimates they were what they accounted the Gentiles to be, polluted, profane, and hated of God.

That hath rebelled against me: this was implied in the former word, but thus expressly added to ascertain the charge, and to aggravate the crime of this people, who were from their fathers’ days to this very day rebelling against God. It was the glory of St. Paul, he served God with pure conscience; it is the shame of this nation, they have rebelled from their fathers.

They and their fathers have transgressed against me, even unto this very day; their fathers before them, and they with their fathers, and all successively; God was provoked at once with two generations of rebels, fathers who gave example, and children which took it. And he said unto me, son of man,.... Now follow his mission and commission, and an account of the persons to whom he was sent:

I send thee to the children of Israel; that were captives in Babylon, in Jehoiakim's captivity; so Christ was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, Matthew 15:24;

to a rebellious nation, that hath rebelled against me; or, "rebellious Gentiles", (u); not the nations of the earth, though Ezekiel did prophesy many things concerning them; but the Jews, the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin; or the twelve tribes of Israel, called Gentiles, because they joined with them in their idolatries; and, as Kimchi says, were divided in their evil works; some worshipping the gods of the Ammonites; and some the gods of the Moabites; and all guilty of rebellion and treason in so doing against the God of heaven:

they and their fathers have transgressed against me, even unto this very day; which is an aggravation of their rebellion; their fathers had sinned, and they had followed their ill examples, and had continued therein to that day; and as they, did to the times of Christ, when they were about to till up the measure of their iniquity, Matthew 23:31.

(u) "ad gentes, rebelles", Junius & Tremellius, Polanus, Starckius.

And he said unto me, Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that hath rebelled against me: they and their fathers have transgressed against me, even unto this very day.
3. to a rebellious nation] Rather, nations. First the people are called the children of Israel, then described more particularly as “nations,” the reference being either to the two houses of Israel, the north and south, or to the people as a whole considered as consisting of larger divisions (Psalm 106:5) as “peoples” is used elsewhere (Hosea 10:14; Deuteronomy 33:19). There hardly lies in “nations” any suggestion that they were as the “heathen.” The general character of the people is described as “rebellious;” and they had “rebelled” continuously throughout all their history, they and their fathers; cf. ch. Ezekiel 16:23. Israel is a moral person, with an unbroken identity all through its history; and its disposition has been uniformly disobedient—it is a rebellious house.Verse 3. - To a rebellious nation; literally, with Revised Version, nations that are rebellious. The Hebrew word (goim) is that used elsewhere for "heathen" and that may be its sense here. As in Ezekiel 28:22. Judah and Israel may be thought of as having fallen to the level of the heathen. Part of Ezekiel's work was actually addressed to the heathen as such (ch. 25-32.). The word may, however, be used in the plural to include both Judah and the remnant of the northern kingdom. They and their fathers. The words anticipate the teaching of ch. 18. The people to whom the prophet was sent could not say that they were suffering for the sins of their fathers. They, in their own persons, had transgressed up to the very day on which the prophet received his mission. They had rebelled as their fathers had done in the days of Moses and Joshua (Numbers 14:9; Joshua 22:18).
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