Ezekiel 20:47
And say to the forest of the south, Hear the word of the LORD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will kindle a fire in thee, and it shall devour every green tree in thee, and every dry tree: the flaming flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from the south to the north shall be burned therein.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(47) Every green tree in thee, and every dry treei.e., persons of every condition, the condition here having reference probably to their moral state; the approaching desolation should be so complete, that, like other national judgments, it should sweep away all alike. No distinction could be made in favour of those who might be less ripe in evil. Our Lord may have had this expression in mind in Luke 23:31. At the close of the verse, by introducing the words “all faces,” the prophet, as he so often does, breaks away from the figure to its interpretation, and shows plainly the meaning of the former.

20:45-49 Judah and Jerusalem had been full of people, as a forest of trees, but empty of fruit. God's word prophesies against those who bring not forth the fruits of righteousness. When He will ruin a nation, who or what can save it? The plainest truths were as parables to the people. It is common for those who will not be wrought upon by the word, to blame it.Forest of the south - The land of Israel. See Ezekiel 21:1-2.47. fire—every kind of judgment (Eze 19:12; 21:3, "my sword"; Jer 21:14).

green tree … dry—fit and unfit materials for fuel alike; "the righteous and the wicked," as explained in Eze 21:3, 4; Lu 23:31. Unsparing universality of the judgment!

flaming flame—one continued and unextinguished flame. "The glowing flame" [Fairbairn].

faces—persons; here the metaphor is merged in the reality.

Hear; hearken diligently, and consider.

The word of the Lord; what God foretells shall be done.

I will kindle a fire, I will bring an evil like fire, the Chaldean forces, in thee, in the midst of the land.

Every green tree, & c.; all that flourish, and all that are poor.

The flaming flame; it will be a raging and swift fire.

Shall not be quenched; all means that can be used will not avail to quench this fire, till it hath burnt up all.

Faces; persons and orders of men, expressed by faces.

From the south to the north; from one end of the land to the other: the length of Judea did so lie from south to north.

Shall be burnt: with terrors, labours, flight, famine, and sickness, occasioned by this mighty invasion, all persons shall wither, and be as parched, or burnt.

And say to the forest of the south,.... To the inhabitants of Jerusalem and Judea:

hear the word of the Lord; attend to it, and receive it, believe it, and take warning from it:

thus saith the Lord God, behold, I will kindle a fire in thee; in Jerusalem; meaning that he would send great calamities among them, the sword of the Chaldean army, famine, and pestilence; and that at last it should be burnt with fire, and the remainder of the inhabitants be carried captive:

and it shall devour every green tree, and every dry tree; all sorts of persons should be consumed by one or other of the above calamities, high and low, rich and poor, good and bad; and if good men should suffer, comparable to green trees, which fire will not so easily burn, not being fit fuel for it; then much more bad men, who were by far the most numerous, comparable to dry trees, and so fit fuel for the flames, and easily consumed thereby:

the flaming flame shall not be quenched or, the "flame, flame"; or, "the flame of flame" (o); signifying either the succession of these calamities one after another; or the force and strength of them, which should not be abated until the ruin of the city was completed:

and all faces from the south to the north shall be burnt therein; which some understand of an utter destruction of the Jews, either by sword, famine, and pestilence, or by captivity from Jerusalem or Judea unto Babylon; but rather the meaning is, that all the inhabitants thereof should suffer, from one end of it to the other, from Beersheba to Dan, the country lying in such a position.

(o) "flamma flamma, pro flamma continua et perpetua", Vatablus; "flamma inflamatissima", Junius & Tremellius, Polanus "flamma flammae", Montanus, Piscator.

And say to the forest of the south, Hear the word of the LORD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will kindle a fire in thee, and it shall devour every {y} green tree in thee, and every dry tree: the blazing flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from the south to the north shall be burned in it.

(y) Both strong and weak in Jerusalem.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 47. - All faces from the south to the north, etc. The phrase seems, at first, to pass from the figure to the reality. Possibly, however, face may stand for "the outward appearance," the leaves and branches, of the trees. "From the south (Negeb) to the north" takes the place of the older "from Dan to Beersheba" (Judges 20:1; 1 Samuel 3:20). Of that "fire" of judgment, it is said, as in our Lord's use of a like imagery, that it shall not be quenched (Mark 9:43). It shall do its dread work till that work is accomplished. Ezekiel 20:47The Burning Forest

Ezekiel 20:45. And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Ezekiel 20:46. Son of man, direct thy face toward the south, and trickle down towards the south, and prophesy concerning the forest of the field in the south land; Ezekiel 20:47. And say to the forest of the south land, Hear the word of Jehovah; Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Behold, I kindle a fire in thee, which will consume in thee every green tree, and every dry tree: the blazing flame will not be extinguished, and all faces from the south to the north will be burned thereby. Ezekiel 20:48. And all flesh shall see that I, Jehovah, have kindled it: it shall not be extinguished. Ezekiel 20:49. And I said, Ah, Lord Jehovah! they say of me, Does he not speak in parables? - The prophet is to turn his face toward the south, and prophesy concerning the forest of the field there. הטּיף is used for prophesying, as in Amos 7:16 and Micah 2:6, Micah 2:11. The distinction between the three epithets applied to the south is the following: תּימן is literally that which lies on the right hand, hence the south is a particular quarter of the heavens; דּרום, which only occurs in Ezekiel and Ecclesiastes, with the exception of Deuteronomy 33:23 and Job 37:17, is derived from דּרר, to shine or emit streams of light, and probably signifies the brilliant quarter; נגב, the dry, parched land, is a standing epithet for the southern district of Palestine and the land of Judah (see the comm. on Joshua 15:21). - The forest of the field in the south is a figure denoting the kingdom of Judah (נגב is in apposition to השּׂדה, and is appended to it as a more precise definition). שׂדה is not used here for a field, as distinguished from a city or a garden; but for the fields in the sense of country or territory, as in Genesis 14:7 and Genesis 32:3. In Ezekiel 20:47, יער , forest of the south land, is the expression applied to the same object (הנגב, with the article, is a geographical term for the southern portion of Palestine). The forest is a figure signifying the population, or the mass of people. Individual men are trees. The green tree is a figurative representation of the righteous man, and the dry tree of the ungodly (Ezekiel 21:3, compare Luke 23:31). The fire which Jehovah kindles is the fire of war. The combination of the synonyms להבת שׁלהבת, flame of the flaming brightness, serves to strengthen the expression, and is equivalent to the strongest possible flame, the blazing fire. כּל־פּנים, all faces are not human faces or persons, in which case the prophet would have dropped the figure; but pânim denotes generally the outside of things, which is the first to feel the force of the flame. "All the faces" of the forest are every single thing in the forest, which is caught at once by the flame. In Ezekiel 21:4, kŏl-pânim (all faces) is interpreted by kŏl̇-bâsar (all flesh). From south to north, i.e., through the whole length of the land. From the terrible fierceness of the fire, which cannot be extinguished, every one will know that God has kindled it, that it has been sent in judgment. The words of the prophet himself, in Ezekiel 20:49, presuppose that he has uttered these parabolic words in the hearing of the people, and that they have ridiculed them as obscure (mâshâl is used here in the sense of obscure language, words difficult to understand, as παραβολή also is in Matthew 13:10). At the same time, it contains within itself request that they may be explained. This request is granted; and the simile is first of all interpreted in Ezekiel 21:1-7, and then still further expanded in Ezekiel 21:8.

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