Ezekiel 20:10
Wherefore I caused them to go forth out of the land of Egypt, and brought them into the wilderness.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(10) Brought them into the wilderness.—Here begins the second period of the history under review—viz., the earlier part of the life in the wilderness (Ezekiel 20:10-17). It includes the exodus, the giving of the law, the setting up of the tabernacle, the establishment of the priesthood, and the march to Kadesh. By all this the nation was constituted most distinctly the people of God, and brought into the closest covenant relation with him.

Ezekiel 20:10-11. Wherefore I caused them to go forth out of Egypt — Removed all obstacles, furnished them with all necessaries, went before them, and showed them the way they should go, Exodus 13:17; And brought them into the wilderness — It was not Moses’s error, though Pharaoh thought so, Exodus 14:3-4, but the peculiar conduct of God that brought them thither. And I gave them my statutes — A favour not afforded to other nations: see Deuteronomy 4:8; Psalm 147:20. This was a treasure which David declared he prized above thousands of gold and silver, Psalm 119:72. Which if a man do, he shall even live in them — That is, in keeping God’s commandments there is abundance of comfort, and a great reward. “By life is generally meant, in the Old Testament, all that happiness which is contained in the literal sense of the promises belonging to that covenant. Under these were mystically comprehended the promises of a better life, wherein God will bestow upon his servants the peculiar marks of his favour, Psalm 16:11. These promises were made to the Jews upon condition of their punctual obedience to the whole law, Leviticus 18:5; Leviticus 26:3, &c.; Deuteronomy 27:26. And several persons under that dispensation are styled blameless, by reason of the sincerity of their obedience, though it was not perfect, or unsinning: see Luke 1:6; Php 3:6. But if we understand the forementioned condition in its rigorous sense, as implying a perfectly exact and unsinning obedience; and as the word life contains the promise of eternal life under it; (a promise which the pious Jews expected, and hoped to obtain, Matthew 19:16-17; Acts 26:6-7;) as it was impossible to be performed, so no person could lay claim to eternal life by virtue of any promise therein contained; from whence St. Paul infers the necessity of seeking to Christ, and laying hold on the promises in the gospel, for the obtaining of justification and eternal life.” — Lowth. It must always be remembered, that the promises of spiritual blessings that we find in the Old Testament, such as pardon, acceptance with God, the Holy Spirit, sanctification, &c., belong to the gospel, or covenant of grace, as much as those in the New Testament: see 2 Corinthians 1:20; Hebrews 6:17-18; Hebrews 8:10-12; Hebrews 11:13.

20:10-26. The history of Israel in the wilderness is referred to in the new Testament as well as in the Old, for warning. God did great things for them. He gave them the law, and revived the ancient keeping of the sabbath day. Sabbaths are privileges; they are signs of our being his people. If we do the duty of the day, we shall find, to our comfort, it is the Lord that makes us holy, that is, truly happy, here; and prepares us to be happy, that is, perfectly holy, hereafter. The Israelites rebelled, and were left to the judgments they brought upon themselves. God sometimes makes sin to be its own punishment, yet he is not the Author of sin: there needs no more to make men miserable, than to give them up to their own evil desires and passions.The probation in the wilderness. The promise was forfeited by those to whom it was first conditionally made, but was renewed to their children.8, 9. then I said, I will … But, &c.—that is, (God speaking in condescension to human modes of conception) their spiritual degradation deserved I should destroy them, "but I wrought (namely, the deliverance 'out of … Egypt') for My name's sake"; not for their merits (a rebuke to their national pride). God's "name" means the sum-total of His perfections. To manifest these, His gratuitous mercy abounding above their sins, yet without wrong to His justice, and so to set forth His glory, was and is the ultimate end of His dealings (Eze 20:14, 22; 2Sa 7:23; Isa 63:12; Ro 9:17). Wherefore, Heb. And.

I caused them to go forth; removed all obstacles, furnished them with all necessaries, went before them, and showed them the way they should go, as is expressed, Exodus 13:17.

And brought them; I brought; it was not Moses’s error, though Pharaoh thought so, Exodus 14:3,4, but the peculiar conduct of God, Exodus 14:2.

Into the wilderness; a barren, sandy part of the country, the borders of Egypt towards the Red Sea; yet having mountains which shut them in on both sides, and frontier garrisons near them: and as he brought them in, so he conducted them out of these straits, though here it is not mentioned.

Wherefore I caused them to go forth out of the land of Egypt,.... It was the Lord that brought them out from thence with a mighty hand and outstretched arm; that obliged Pharaoh to let them go, and gave them favour in the eyes of the Egyptians, that they went out unmolested by them:

and brought them into the wilderness; before they went into the land of Canaan; here they had freedom from their bondage, and were in a wonderful manner provided for by the Lord, guided, supported, preserved, and at last brought to the promised land.

Wherefore I caused them to go forth out of the land of Egypt, and brought them into the wilderness.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
10. First half of the verse is wanting in LXX.

Ezekiel 20:10Behaviour of Israel in the Desert

Ezekiel 20:10. And I led them out of the land of Egypt, and brought them into the desert; Ezekiel 20:11. And gave them my statutes, and my rights I made known to them, which man is to do that he may live through them. Ezekiel 20:12. I also gave them my Sabbaths, that they might be for a sign between me and them, that they might now that I Jehovah sanctify them. Ezekiel 20:13. But the house of Israel was rebellious against me in the desert: they did not walk in my statutes, and my rights they rejected, which man is to do, that he may live through them, and my Sabbaths they greatly profaned: Then I thought to pour out my wrath upon them in the desert to destroy them. Ezekiel 20:14. But I did it for my name's sake, that it might not be profaned before the eyes of the nations, before whose eyes I had led them out. Ezekiel 20:15. I also lifted my hand to them in the desert, not to bring them into the land which I had given (them), which floweth with milk and honey; it is an ornament of all lands, Ezekiel 20:16. Because they rejected my rights, did not walk in my statutes, and profaned my Sabbaths, for their heart went after their idols. Ezekiel 20:17. But my eye looked with pity upon them, so that I did not destroy them, and make an end of them in the desert. - God gave laws at Sinai to the people whom He had brought out of Egypt, through which they were to be sanctified as His own people, that they might live before God. On Ezekiel 20:11 compare Deuteronomy 30:16 and Deuteronomy 30:19. Ezekiel 20:12 is taken almost word for word from Exodus 31:13, where God concludes the directions for His worship by urging upon the people in the most solemn manner the observance of His Sabbaths, and thereby pronounces the keeping of the Sabbath the kernel of all divine worship. And as in that passage we are to understand by the Sabbaths the actual weekly Sabbaths, and not the institutions of worship as a whole, so here we must retain the literal signification of the word. It is only of the Sabbath recurring every week, and not of all the fasts, that it could be said it was a sign between Jehovah and Israel. It was a sign, not as a token, that they who observed it were Israelites, as Hitzig supposes, but to know (that they might know) that Jehovah was sanctifying them, namely, by the Sabbath rest - as a refreshing and elevation of the mind, in which Israel was to have a foretaste of that blessed resting from all works to which the people of God was ultimately to attain (see the comm. on Exodus 20:11). It is from this deeper signification of the Sabbath that the prominence given to the Sabbaths here is to be explained, and not from the outward circumstance that in exile, when the sacrificial worship was necessarily suspended, the keeping of the Sabbath as the only bond which united the Israelites, so far as the worship of God was concerned (Hitzig). Historical examples of the rebellion of Israel against the commandments of God in the desert are given in ex. EZechariah 32:1-6 and Numbers 25:1-3; and of the desecration of the Sabbath, in ex. EZechariah 16:27 and Numbers 15:32. For the threat referred to in Ezekiel 20:13, compare Exodus 32:10; Numbers 14:11-12. - Ezekiel 20:15 and Ezekiel 20:16 are not a repetition of Ezekiel 20:13 (Hitzig); nor do they introduce a limitation of Ezekiel 20:14 (Kliefoth). They simply relate what else God did to put bounds to the rebellion after He had revoked the decree to cut Israel off, at the intercession of Moses (Numbers 14:11-19). He lifted His hand to the oath (Numbers 14:21.), that the generation which had come out of Egypt should not come into the land of Canaan, but should die in the wilderness. Therewith He looked with pity upon the people, so that He did not make an end of them by following up the threat with a promise that the children should enter the land. עשׂה כלה, as in Ezekiel 11:13.

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