Yet also I lifted up my hand to them in the wilderness, that I would not bring them into the land which I had given them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)I would not bring them into the land.—Numbers 14:28-29. In consequence of their rebellion and want of faith, all the men above twenty years old when they came out of Egypt were doomed by the Divine oath to perish in the wilderness. Yet He did not utterly take His mercy from them, but promised that their children should be brought into the land, as is set forth in Ezekiel 20:17.Yet also; moreover also, as the same particles are rendered, Ezekiel 20:12.
I lifted up my hand unto them; see Ezekiel 20:5; sware in his wrath against them, Psalm 95:11.
In the wilderness of Paran, where the Israelites pitched and abode in several parts of it many days, during which time they lust for flesh, Numbers 11:4,5, and murmur against the Lord, Moses, and the two faithful spies, who had searched out the land: here it was they would make them a captain and return to Egypt, Numbers 14:4.
That I would not bring them, & c: so it is recorded, Numbers 14:11,12,22,23,28-32; so all the murmuring, disobedient, unbelieving generation was excluded, and their children were brought in; which, well noted, reconcileth the seeming contrariety between the oaths of God.
Them; those rebellious and murmuring ones.
Given them; promised to the seed of Abraham, but not confined to that generation; the promise was made good, though to the next generation.
Flowing with milk and honey: see Ezekiel 20:6. Ezekiel 20:5;
that I would not bring them into the land which I had given them; by promise to their fathers, and to them. This is to be understood of the generation that came out of Egypt, that received the ill report the spies made, and murmured against the Lord; wherefore he swore in his wrath that they should not enter into his rest; or he would not bring them into the land of Canaan, save Caleb and Joshua; and accordingly none else entered but them, though their posterity did; and so both his oath to them, that they should not enter, and his oath to Abraham, that he would give to his seed the land, had their accomplishment, Numbers 14:23; a land
flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands; See Gill on Ezekiel 20:6.Yet also I lifted up my hand unto them in the wilderness, that I would not bring them into the land which I had given them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands;
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Ezekiel 20:1 applies not only to Ezekiel 20, but also to Ezekiel 20-23 (compare Ezekiel 24:1); the prophetic utterances in these four chapters being bound together into a group of connected words of God, both by their contents and by the threefold repetition of the expression, "wilt thou judge?" (vid., Ezekiel 20:4; Ezekiel 22:2, and Ezekiel 23:36). The formula התשׁפּוט, which is only omitted from the threat of punishment contained in Ezekiel 21, indicates at the same time both the nature and design of these words of God. The prophet is to judge, i.e., to hold up before the people once more their sinful abominations, and to predict the consequent punishment. The circumstance which occasioned this is narrated in Ezekiel 20:1-3. Men of the elders of Israel came to the prophet to inquire of the Lord. The occasion is therefore a similar one to that described in the previous group; for we have already been informed, in Ezekiel 14:1, that elders had come to the prophet to hear God's word from him; but they had not gone so far as to inquire. Here, however (Ezekiel 20), they evidently address a question to the prophet, and through him to the Lord; though the nature of their inquiry is not given, and can only be gathered from the answer, which was given to them by the Lord through the prophet. The ground for the following words of God is therefore essentially the same as for those contained in Ezekiel 14-19; and this serves to explain the relation in which the two groups stand to each other, namely, that Ezekiel 20-24 simply contain a further expansion of the reproachful and threatening addresses of Ezekiel 14-19.
In Ezekiel 20 the prophet points out to the elders, in the form of a historical survey, how rebellious Israel had been towards the Lord from the very first, even in Egypt (Ezekiel 20:5-9) and the desert (Ezekiel 20:10-17 and Ezekiel 20:18-26), both the older and the later generations, how they had sinned against the Lord their God through their idolatry, and how it was only for His own name's sake that the Lord had not destroyed them in His anger (Ezekiel 20:27-31). And as Israel hath not given up idolatry even in Canaan, the Lord would not suffer Himself to be inquired of by the idolatrous generation, but would refine it by severe judgments among the nations (Ezekiel 20:32-38), and sanctify it thereby into a people well-pleasing to Him, and would then gather it again out of the dispersion, and bring it into the land promised to the fathers, where it would serve Him with sacrifices and gifts upon His holy mountain (Ezekiel 20:39-44). This word of God is therefore a more literal repetition of the allegorical description contained in Ezekiel 16.
Date, occasion, and theme of the discourse which follows. - Ezekiel 20:1. And it came to pass in the seventh year, in the fifth (moon), on the tenth of the moon, there came men of the elders of Israel, to inquire of Jehovah, and sat down before me. Ezekiel 20:2. Then the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Ezekiel 20:3. Son of man, speak to the elders of Israel, and say to them, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Have ye come to inquire of me? As I live, if I suffer myself to be inquired of by you, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. Ezekiel 20:4. Wilt thou judge them? Wilt thou judge, O son of man? Make known the abominations of their fathers to them. - If we compare the date given in Ezekiel 20:1 with Ezekiel 8:1, we shall find that this word of God was uttered only eleven months and five days after the one in Ezekiel 8; two years, one month, and five days after the call of Ezekiel to be a prophet (Ezekiel 1:2); and two years and five months before the blockading of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans (Ezekiel 24:1). Consequently it falls almost in the middle of the first section of Ezekiel's prophetic work. דּרשׁ את , to seek Jehovah, i.e., to ask a revelation from Him. The Lord's answer in Ezekiel 20:3 is similar to that in Ezekiel 14:3. Instead of giving a revelation concerning the future, especially with regard to the speedy termination of the penal sufferings, which the elders had, no doubt, come to solicit, the prophet is to judge them, i.e., as the following clause explains, not only in the passage before us, but also in Ezekiel 22:3 and Ezekiel 23:36, to hold up before them the sins and abominations of Israel. It is in anticipation of the following picture of the apostasy of the nation from time immemorial that the sins of the fathers are mentioned here. "No reply is given to the sinners, but chiding for their sins; and He adds the oath, 'as I live,' that the sentence of refusal may be all the stronger" (Jerome). The question התשׁפּוט, which is repeated with emotion, "gives expression to an impatient wish, that the thing could have been done already" (Hitzig). The interrogative form of address is therefore adopted simply as a more earnest mode of giving expression to the command to go and do the thing. Hence the literal explanation of the word התשׁפּוט is also appended in the form of an imperative (הודיעם). - The prophet is to revert to the sins of the fathers, not merely for the purpose of exhibiting the magnitude of the people's guilt, but also to hold up before the sinners themselves, the patience and long-suffering which have hitherto been displayed by the Lord.
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