Son of man, speak to the elders of Israel, and say to them, Thus said the Lord GOD; Are you come to inquire of me? As I live, said the Lord GOD, I will not be inquired of by you.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)I will not be enquired of by you.—As in Ezekiel 14:3. St. Jerome thus comments on the words:—“ To the holy, and to those who ask for right things, the promise is given, ‘While they are yet speaking, I will say, Here I am;’ but to sinners, such as these elders of Israel were, and as those whose sins the prophet proceeds to describe, no answer is given, but only a fierce rebuke for their sins, to which He adds His oath,. ‘As I live,’ to strengthen His solemn refusal.”
I will not be inquired of by you—because their moral state precluded them from capability of knowing the will of God (Ps 66:18; Pr 28:9; Joh 7:17).Song of Solomon of man: see Ezekiel 2:3.
Speak unto the elders of Israel; speak plainly, boldly, and to their faces, fear not their frowns; if they are deputies from Zedekiah, yet let not that character make thee mealymouthed.
Thus saith the Lord God: this expression carries enough to encourage him.
Are ye come to inquire of me? are ye in good earnest? Nay, but you act a deep hypocrisy, being already resolved on your own course, and yet now pretend you would know my counsel. It is a sharp reproof of their wickedness, and God utterly refuseth to be inquired of by such.
As I live: see Ezekiel 14:16.
I will not be inquired of by you, profane hypocrites, that abuse my prophet, and tempt his God. They are, as all politicians who have less of religion than worldly wisdom, willing to hear whether the prophet will flatter, and fawn, and encourage them; if so, then he is a wise, able, honest man; else a sot to be slighted.
thus saith the Lord God, are ye come to inquire of me? no; not seriously, heartily, and in good earnest, determining to abide by the advice and counsel that might be given; or how can you have the face to inquire of me, when guilty of such abominations?
as I live, saith the Lord God, I will not be inquired of by you; knowing their wickedness and hypocrisy, which were detestable to him, and therefore would not hear what they had to say, nor give them any answer, or direct them what they should do. Sad is the case of persons when the Lord will not be inquired of by them! it is plain he has no favours to bestow upon them; for, when he has, he will put them upon inquiring of him for them, to do them unto them, Ezekiel 36:37; this was the case of Saul, whom God, when he inquired of him, would not answer in any of his usual ways, 1 Samuel 28:6.Son of man, speak unto the elders of Israel, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Are ye come to enquire of me? As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will not be enquired of by you.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)3. will not be inquired of] The proposed enquiries of the elders probably related to something in the present; to such men no answer will be given except to read the lesson of Israel’s history to them. For the history concerns them. They are one in spirit and conduct with Israel of the past, and the principles which have ruled the former history will rule also the history to come.Verse 3. - As I live, saith the Lord God, etc. The inquirers are answered, but not as they expected. Instead of hearing of the "times and seasons" of the events that were in the near future, the prophet at once enters on his stern work as a preacher. The general principle that determines the refusal to answer has been given in Ezekiel 14:3.
Ezekiel 19:1. And do thou raise a lamentation for the princes of Israel, Ezekiel 19:2. And say, Why did thy mother, a lioness, lie down among lionesses; bring up her whelps among young lions? Ezekiel 19:3. And she brought up one of her whelps: it became a young lion, and he learned to take prey; he devoured man. Ezekiel 19:4. And nations heard of him; he was caught in their pit, and they brought him with nose-rings into the land of Egypt. Ezekiel 19:5. And when she saw that her hope was exhausted, overthrown, she took one of her whelps, made it a young lion. Ezekiel 19:6. And he walked among lionesses, he became a young lion, and learned to take prey. He devoured man. Ezekiel 19:7. He knew its widows, and laid waste their cities; and the land and its fulness became waste, at the voice of his roaring. Ezekiel 19:8. Then nations round about from the provinces set up against him, and spread over him their net: he was caught in their pit. Ezekiel 19:9. And they put him in the cage with nose-rings, and brought him to the king of Babylon: brought him into a fortress, that his voice might not be heard any more on the mountains of Israel.
The princes of Israel, to whom the lamentation applies, are the king (נשׂיא, as in Ezekiel 12:10), two of whom are so clearly pointed out in Ezekiel 19:4 and Ezekiel 19:9, that there is no mistaking Jehoahaz and Jehoiachin. This fact alone is sufficient to protect the plural נשׂיאי against the arbitrary alteration into the singular נשׂיא, proposed by Houbigant and Hitzig, after the reading of the lxx. The lamentation is not addressed to one particular prince, either Zedekiah (Hitzig) or Jehoiachin (Ros., Maurer), but to Israel as a nation; and the mother (Ezekiel 19:2) is the national community, the theocracy, out of which the kings were born, as is indisputably evident from Ezekiel 19:10. The words from מה to רבצה form one sentence. It yields no good sense to separate מה אמּך from רבצה, whether we adopt the rendering, "what is thy mother?" or take מה with לביּא and render it, "how is thy mother a lioness?" unless, indeed, we supply the arbitrary clause "now, in comparison with what she was before," or change the interrogative into a preterite: "how has thy mother become a lioness?" The lionesses, among which Israel lay down, are the other kingdoms, the Gentile nations. The words have no connection with Genesis 49:9, where Judah is depicted as a warlike lion. The figure is a different one here. It is not so much the strength and courage of the lion as its wildness and ferocity that are the points of resemblance in the passage before us. The mother brings up her young ones among young lions, so that they learn to take prey and devour men. גּוּר is the lion's whelp, catulus; כּפיר, the young lion, which is old enough to go out in search of prey. ותּעל is a Hiphil, in the tropical sense, to cause to spring up, or grow up, i.e., to bring up. The thought is the following: Why has Israel entered into fellowship with the heathen nations? Why, then, has it put itself upon a level with the heathen nations, and adopted the rapacious and tyrannical nature of the powers of the world? The question "why then?" when taken with what follows, involves the reproof that Israel has struck out a course opposed to its divine calling, and will now have to taste the bitter fruits of this assumption of heathen ways. The heathen nations have taken captive its king, and led him away into heathen lands. ישׁמעוּ אליו, they heard of him (אליו for עליו). The fate of Jehoahaz, to which Ezekiel 19:4 refers, is related in 2 Kings 23:31. - Ezekiel 19:5-7 refer to Jehoiachin, the son of Jehoiakim, and not to Zedekiah, as Hitzig imagines. For the fact that Jehoiachin went out of his own accord to the king of Babylon (2 Kings 24:12), is not at variance with the figure contained in Ezekiel 19:8, according to which he was taken (as a lion) in a net. He simply gave himself up to the king of Babylon because he was unable to escape from the besieged city. Moreover, Jehoahaz and Jehoiachin are simply mentioned as examples, because they both fell into the hands of the world-powers, and their fate showed clearly enough "what the end must inevitably be, when Israelitish kings became ambitious of being lions, like the kings of the nations of the world" (Kliefoth). Jehoiakim was not so suitable an example as the others, because he died in Jerusalem. נוחלה, which has been explained in different ways, we agree with Ewald in regarding as the Niphal of יחל equals חוּל, in the sense of feeling vexed, being exhausted or deceived, like the Syriac ̀ewaḥel, viribus defecit, desperavit. For even in Genesis 8:12, נוחל simply means to wait; and this is inapplicable here, as waiting is not equivalent to waiting in vain. The change from חוּל to יחל is established by Judges 3:25, where חוּל or חיל occurs in the sense of יחל. In Judges 3:7, the figurative language passes into a literal description of the ungodly course pursued by the king. He knew, i.e., dishonoured, its (Israel's, the nation's) widows. The Targum reads וירע here instead of וידע, and renders it accordingly, "he destroyed its palaces;" and Ewald has adopted the same rendering. But רעע, to break, or smash in pieces, e.g., a vessel (Psalm 2:9), is never used for the destruction of buildings; and אלמנות does not mean palaces (ארמנות), but windows. There is nothing in the use of the word in Isaiah 13:22 to support the meaning "palaces," because the palaces are simply called ̀almânōth (widows) there, with a sarcastic side glance at their desolate and widowed condition. Other conjectures are still more inadmissible. The thought is as follows: Jehoiachin went much further than Jehoahaz. He not only devoured men, but laid hands on defenceless widows, and laid the cities waste to such an extent that the land with its inhabitants became perfectly desolate through his rapacity. The description is no doubt equally applicable to his father Jehoiakim, in whose footsteps Jehoiachin walked, since Jehoiakim is described in Jeremiah 22:13. as a grievous despot and tyrant. In Ezekiel 19:8 the object רשׁתּם also belongs to יתּנוּ: they set up and spread out their net. The plural מצדות is used in a general and indefinite manner: in lofty castles, mountain-fortresses, i.e., in one of them (cf. Judges 12:7).
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