Ezekiel 2:6
And thou, son of man, be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns be with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions: be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house.
Jump to: BarnesBensonBICalvinCambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsJFBKDKellyKingLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWParkerPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBWESTSK
(6) Briers and thorns.—These words occur only here, but their meaning is sufficiently plain. Briers, indeed, might admit of the marginal translation, rebels, but both words should be taken together, either as adjectives or nouns, and the latter is more in accordance with the following “scorpions,” and with the general strongly figurative style of Ezekiel.

Ezekiel 2:6-8. And thou, be not afraid of them — “The prophets and messengers of God are often exhorted to take courage, and are promised a proportionable assistance in the discharge of their office, without fearing any man’s person, or standing in awe of any man’s greatness.” — Lowth. Neither be afraid of their words — Their accusations, threats, or whatever else a malicious heart can suggest to the tongue. Though briers and thorns be with thee — Though thou art among such as study to vex and torment thee. Briers, usually running up among thorns, are a very fit emblem of the frowardness and keenness of sinners against God and his prophets, and therefore wicked and persecuting men are often denoted by this expression in the prophetical writings. And thou dost dwell among scorpions — Among men that are malicious and revengeful, and as dangerous and hurtful as the worst of serpents. Nor be dismayed at their looks — Wherewith they would brow-beat thee. They that would do any thing to purpose in the service of God, must not fear the faces of men. And thou shalt speak my words unto them — Do not forbear or desist from speaking to them what I have given thee in charge to speak, let them threaten and behave as they will, for thou shalt not receive any hurt from them, whether they pay regard to thee as a prophet or not. But thou, hear what I say unto thee — Obey when thou hearest. Those that would speak from God to their fellow-creatures, must be sure first to hear from God themselves, and then must be obedient to his voice. Be not thou rebellious, &c. — That is, do not refuse to go on this errand, or to deliver the message wherewith I send thee; do not fly off, as Jonah did, for fear of offending thy countrymen. If ministers, whose office it is to reprove sinners, connive at sin, and gratify sinners, either not showing them their wickedness, or not setting before them the fatal consequences of it, for fear of displeasing them, and exposing themselves to their ill will, they hereby make themselves partakers of their guilt, and are rebellious like them. If people will not do their duty in reforming, yet let ministers do theirs in reproving, and this will yield them comfort on reflection, whatever the success may be. Open thy mouth, and eat that I give thee — Receive into thy mind and heart, meditate upon, and digest the things which I reveal to thee. God’s words were to sink into him, that he might faithfully deliver them to others. The knowledge of divine truths is often expressed in Scripture by the metaphors of eating, digesting, and being nourished by bodily food: see Isaiah 55:1-2; John 6:27.

2:6-10 Those who will do any thing to purpose in the service of God, must not fear men. Wicked men are as briers and thorns; but they are nigh unto cursing, and their end is to be burned. The prophet must be faithful to the souls of those to whom he was sent. All who speak from God to others, must obey his voice. The discoveries of sin, and the warnings of wrath, should be matter of lamentation. And those acquainted with the word of God, will clearly perceive it is filled with woe to impenitent sinners; and that all the precious promises of the gospel are for the repenting, believing servants of the Lord.A rebellious house - A phrase employed continually by Ezekiel in bitter irony, in the place of house of Israel, as much as to say, "House no longer of Israel, but of rebellion." Compare Isaiah 30:9. 6. briers—not as the Margin and Gesenius, "rebels," which would not correspond so well to "thorns." The Hebrew is from a root meaning "to sting" as nettles do. The wicked are often so called (2Sa 23:6; So 2:2; Isa 9:18).

scorpions—a reptile about six inches long with a deadly sting at the end of the tail.

be not afraid—(Lu 12:4; 1Pe 3:14).

Thou, son of man; thou a prophet, sent by him whose throne is highest, whom thou sawest as the appearance of a man in glory, and provided with power to protect thee.

Be not afraid of them; cast away discouraging fear, be not dismayed at their persons; rulers, priests, and pretended prophets will oppose, but yet in the delivery of thy message fear none of them.

Words, Heb. will bear counsels, or words, misreports, accusations, threats, flouts, or whatever else an envious and malicious heart can suggest to the tongue.

Briers: here two words in the Hebrew are used, the first used only in this place, though frequently used in the Chaldee paraphrase, where it expresseth contumacy, as Exodus 7:14, of Pharaoh refusing to let Israel go, and Jeremiah 5:3, obstinate refusing to learn. But our translators, guided by the proper signification of the other word, have rendered it

briers, which usually run up among thorns, and are a very fit emblem of the frowardness and keenness of sinners against God and his prophet, and of the sure destruction which will befall these briers and thorns when God shall send his judgments like fire amongst them.

With thee; against thee.

Scorpions: some say this is an herb which, because it is every way armed with sharp, pricking stings, hath this name given it; but if we retain the more common interpretation, it speaks the rage and heat, the poisonous malice, and the sly lurking craft and irreconcilableness, of these apostate Jews, and of all other contemners of God and religion. These men, like scorpions, undiscerned, wound, torment, and kill.

Be not afraid; the admonition against sinful fear is repeated; lest Ezekiel should forget, or we in like case should fail of our duty, it is four times given in charge.

And thou, son of man, be not afraid of them,.... Of any of them, the greatest among them, their princes and nobles; who, by their grandeur and authority, their stern looks, and big words, might awe and terrify him; wherefore it follows:

neither be afraid of their words; of their calumnies, revilings, and reproaches, their scoffs and jeers, their menaces and threatenings:

though briers and thorns be with thee; that is, men comparable to such; wicked men are like to briers and thorns, 2 Samuel 23:6; are grieving, pricking, and distressing to good men, and are of no worth and value; are useless and unprofitable, and fit fuel for everlasting burning. The Targum is,

"for they are rebellious, and hard against thee;''

so Jarchi and Kimchi explain the first word, translated "briers", as signifying rebellious and disobedient; though the former observes, that R. Donesh interprets it of a kind of thorns, of which there are twenty names, and this is one:

and thou dost dwell among scorpions; that is, as the Targum paraphrases it,

"thou dwellest in the midst of a people whose works are like to scorpions.''

Some interpret it, as Kimchi observes, of sharp thorns, of a thorny plant that grows in the form of a scorpion (a); but scorpions here are a kind of serpents, subtle, venomous, and mischievous, which have stings in their tails; which, as Pliny says, they are continually thrusting out, and striking with, that they may lose no opportunity of doing hurt (b); and fitly describe wicked men their subtlety and mischievous nature,

be not afraid of their words; as before; with which they are like briers, thorns, and scorpions, being very grievous, defamatory, and mischievous:

nor be dismayed at their looks: their frowning furious, and angry countenances; forbidding with which, as well as with their words, the prophet from prophesying unto them:

though, or "for",

they be a rebellious house; See Gill on Ezekiel 2:5.

(a) Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 21. c. 15. and l. 22. c. 16. (b) Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 11. c. 25.

And thou, son of man, {e} be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions: be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they are a rebellious house.

(e) Read Jer 1:17. He shows that for no afflictions they would cease to do their duties.

6. Thorns and briars, that pierce and wound, and scorpions, that strike and sting, are figures for intractable and injurious men. The prophet must understand their character and not fear them.

though they be a rebellious] Rather: for they are. Stubborn opposition and injurious words may be expected of them; such conduct has always characterized them, for they are a rebellious house. Be not deceived by them nor dismayed before them, as if they were in the right and not thou; thou art in the right, and thou shalt speak my words to them (Ezekiel 2:7).

Verse 6. - Though briers and thorns be with thee. The two Hebrew nouns are not found elsewhere, and have consequently puzzled translators. The LXX. gives two verbs, παροιστρήσπυσιν καὶ ἐπισυστήσονται ἐπὶ σὲ; the Vulgate, increduli et subversores. The words, however, are formed from roots that imply "pricking" or "burning," and the Authorized Version rendering, followed by the Revised Version, is tenable enough. A cognate form of the first is found in Ezekiel 28:24, and there the LXX. gives σκόλοψ, and the Vulgate, spina. A like figurative use of "scorpions" is found in 1 Kings 12:11 (but here the reference may be to some scorpion like scourge) and Ecclus. 26:7 (compare also our Lord's words in Luke 10:19). Be not afraid Compare the like command in Jeremiah 1:17. The words imply, probably, a past as well as a future experience. Ezekiel had already known what it was to dwell among those whose hearts were venomous as scorpions. The comparison was a sufficiently familiar one among both Eastern and Greek writers. Ezekiel 2:6The calling of the prophet begins with the Lord describing to Ezekiel the people to whom He is sending him, in order to make him acquainted with the difficulties of his vocation, and to encourage him for the discharge of the same. Ezekiel 2:3. And He said to me, Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to the rebels who have rebelled against me: they and their fathers have fallen away from me, even until this very day. Ezekiel 2:4. And the children are of hard face, and hardened heart. To them I send thee; and to them shalt thou speak: Thus says the Lord Jehovah. Ezekiel 2:5. And they - they may hear thee or fail (to do so); for they are a stiff-necked race - they shall experience that a prophet has been in their midst. Ezekiel 2:6. But thou, son of man, fear not before them, and be not afraid of their words, if thistles and thorns are found about thee, and thou sittest upon scorpions; fear not before their words, and tremble not before their face; for they are a stiff-necked race. Ezekiel 2:7. And speak my words to them, whether they may hear or fail (to do so); for they are stiff-necked.

The children of Israel have become heathen, no longer a people of God, not even a heathen nation (גּוי, Isaiah 1:4), but גּוים, "heathens," that is, as being rebels against God. המּורדים (with the article) is not to be joined as an adjective to גּוים, which is without the article, but is employed substantively in the form of an apposition. They have rebelled against God in this, that they, like their fathers, have separated themselves from Jehovah down to this day (as regards פּשׁע בּ, see on Isaiah 1:2; and עצם היּום הזּה, as in the Pentateuch; cf. Leviticus 23:14; Genesis 7:13; Genesis 17:23, etc.). Like their fathers, the sons are rebellious, and, in addition, they are קשׁי פנים, of hard countenance" equals חזקי, "of hard brow" (Ezekiel 3:7), i.e., impudent, without hiding the face, or lowering the look for shame. This shamelessness springs from hardness of heart. To these hardened sinners Ezekiel is to announce the word of the Lord. Whether they hear it or not (אם־ואם, sive-sive, as in Joshua 24:15; Ecclesiastes 11:3; Ecclesiastes 12:14), they shall in any case experience that a prophet has been amongst them. That they will neglect to hear is very probable, because they are a stiff-necked race (בּית, "house" equals family). The Vau before ידעוּ (Ezekiel 2:5) introduces the apodosis. היה is perfect, not present. This is demanded by the usus loquendi and the connection of the thought. The meaning is not: they shall now from his testimony that a prophet is there; but they shall experience from the result, viz., when the word announced by him will have been fulfilled, that a prophet has been amongst them. Ezekiel, therefore, is not to be prevented by fear of them and their words from delivering a testimony against their sins. The ἁπάξ λεγόμενα, סרבים and סלּונים, are not, with the older expositors, to be explained adjectively: "rebelles et renuentes," but are substantives. As regards סלּון, the signification "thorn" is placed beyond doubt by סלּון in Ezekiel 28:24, and סרב in Aramaic does indeed denote "refractarius;" but this signification is a derived one, and inappropriate here. סרב is related to צרב, "to burn, to singe," and means "urtica," "stinging-nettle, thistle," as Donasch in Raschi has already explained it. אותך is, according to the later usage, for אתּך, expressing the "by and with of association," and occurs frequently in Ezekiel. Thistles and thorns are emblems of dangerous, hostile men. The thought is strengthened by the words "to sit on (אל for על) scorpions," as these animals inflict a painful and dangerous wound. For the similitude of dangerous men to scorpions, cf. Sir. 26:10, and other proof passages in Bochart, Hierozoic. III. p. 551f., ed. Rosenmll.

Ezekiel 2:6 Interlinear
Ezekiel 2:6 Parallel Texts

Ezekiel 2:6 NIV
Ezekiel 2:6 NLT
Ezekiel 2:6 ESV
Ezekiel 2:6 NASB
Ezekiel 2:6 KJV

Ezekiel 2:6 Bible Apps
Ezekiel 2:6 Parallel
Ezekiel 2:6 Biblia Paralela
Ezekiel 2:6 Chinese Bible
Ezekiel 2:6 French Bible
Ezekiel 2:6 German Bible

Bible Hub

Ezekiel 2:5
Top of Page
Top of Page