Ezekiel 3:1
Moreover he said to me, Son of man, eat that you find; eat this roll, and go speak to the house of Israel.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Ezekiel 3:1-3. Song of Solomon of man, eat that which thou findest — Chaldee, that which is given thee. Eat this roll — Receive into thy mind and heart, as certain and important truth, what is written therein: see note on Ezekiel 2:8-9. So I opened my mouth, &c. — In my vision I thought I readily complied with God’s command, and ate the roll which he ordered me to eat. This was a sort of symbolical introduction of Ezekiel to the prophetic office, whereby he was fitted for, and enabled to discharge it. Thus Isaiah was in a vision fitted for it, by having his mouth touched with a live coal, taken from the altar by one of the seraphim; and Jeremiah, by having his mouth touched seemingly by the hand of God. And he said, Cause thy belly to eat — The mouth is the proper instrument for eating, but when food is digested, the belly is said to eat. As the belly often signifies in Scripture the mind, or secret thoughts, the expression here denotes the laying up this prophecy in his memory, and thoroughly considering and laying to heart its contents. And it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness — I took delight in having God’s secret counsels communicated to me, and in delivering his commands to my brethren; and was pleased with the hopes of being an instrument of the conversion and amendment at least of some of them. But when he afterward understood of what heavy tidings he was to be the messenger, and what predictions and denunciations of divine judgments and wrath he was to deliver to the people, and that he would be hated and persecuted on this account, his mind was filled with grief and anguish. Thus when St. John took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up, (Revelation 10:10,) though at first it was sweet as honey in his mouth, as soon as he had eaten it his belly was bitter; on which Bishop Newton remarks, “The knowledge of future things at first was pleasant, but the sad contents of the little book afterward filled his soul with sorrow.”3:1-11 Ezekiel was to receive the truths of God as the food for his soul, and to feed upon them by faith, and he would be strengthened. Gracious souls can receive those truths of God with delight, which speak terror to the wicked. He must speak all that, and that only, which God spake to him. How can we better speak God's mind than with his words? If disappointed as to his people, he must not be offended. The Ninevites were wrought upon by Jonah's preaching, when Israel was unhumbled and unreformed. We must leave this unto the Divine sovereignty, and say, Lord, thy judgments are a great deep. They will not regard the word of the prophet, for they will not regard the rod of God. Christ promises to strengthen him. He must continue earnest in preaching, whatever the success might be.Before, there was a direct commission, now there is a symbolic action. John has the same vision (Revelation 10:8 ff), but there that is expressed, which is here left to be inferred, namely, that "as soon as he had eaten it his belly was bitter." The sweetness in the mouth denoted that it was good to be a messenger of the Lord (compare the margin reference), but the bitterness which accompanied it, denoted that the commission brought with it much sorrow. CHAPTER 3

Eze 3:1-27. Ezekiel Eats the Roll. Is Commissioned to Go to Them of the Captivity and Goes to Tel-abib by the Chebar: Again Beholds the Shekinah Glory: Is Told to Retire to His House, and Only Speak when God Opens His Mouth.

1. eat … and … speak—God's messenger must first inwardly appropriate God's truth himself, before he "speaks" it to others (see on [1020]Eze 2:8). Symbolic actions were, when possible and proper, performed outwardly; otherwise, internally and in spiritual vision, the action so narrated making the naked statement more intuitive and impressive by presenting the subject in a concentrated, embodied form.Ezekiel is made to eat the roll, Ezekiel 3:1-3. God encourageth him in the discharge of his office Ezekiel 3:4-14: he is carried by the Spirit to Tel-abib; and is there admonished of his duty as a watchman to Israel, Ezekiel 3:15-21. God further instructeth him concerning his typical bands, and the shutting and opening of his mouth, Ezekiel 3:22-27.

He who sat on the throne and directed the chariot or cherubims, the Lord Jesus Christ, who also spake to him in the chapter before. Eat: this was done in a vision.

That thou findest, in the hand which was sent to him, Ezekiel 2:9: this explains the former, and being ingeminated, doth require the prophet’s greatest resolution and diligence.

Eat this roll; read attentively, meditate thoroughly, impress the things upon thy soul deeply, for thou must declare them with very great affection and tenderness, with exact faithfulness and fearless courage.

And go, for then art thou fitted for and commissioned to undertake the prophetic function, speak unto the house of Israel; publish to them of the captivity in Babylon what I have declared to them, tell them what they should do, and what I will do.

Moreover he said unto me,.... The same glorious Person who had been speaking all along in the preceding chapter; and who was seen by the prophet on a sapphire throne, and described in Ezekiel 1:26; the first fifteen verses of this chapter are by Junius and Tremellius made a part of the second:

son of man, eat that thou findest; not anything, but what he found in the hand sent unto him; wherefore the Targum is,

"son of man, receive what is given thee;''

which was the roll, as follows:

eat this roll; not literally, but figuratively, as John is bid to eat the little book, Revelation 10:9; that is, read it, meditate upon the things contained therein; and digest them, that he might be able to impart them, and make them known to others: it is explained in Ezekiel 3:10; by hearing and receiving the words of the prophecy; and so the Targum,

"receive what is written in this roll;''

this is to eat it; as great readers of books are called "helluones librorum", eaters of books, gluttons at them; read them greedily, deeply meditate upon what is in them, and thoroughly digest them; so it becomes all good men to eat the word, to mix it with faith, to receive it in the love of it, and constantly meditate on it, Psalm 1:1; and especially ministers of the Gospel, 1 Thessalonians 4:15;

and go, speak unto the house of Israel; or, as the Targum,

"go, and prophesy to the house of Israel;''

for by eating the roll, in the sense given, he was fit for it; and when ministers of the word have read, and thought of, and digested the truths of the Gospel themselves, then they are prepared to go and enter upon their work, and feed others with knowledge and understanding.

Moreover he said to me, Son of man, eat what thou findest; {a} eat this scroll, and go speak to the house of Israel.

(a) By which is meant that no one is fit to be God's messenger before he has received the word of God in his heart, as in Eze 3:10 and has a zeal to it, and delight in it, as in Jer 15:16, Re 10:10.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 1. - Eat that thou findest, etc. The iteration of the command of Ezekiel 2:8 seems to imply, like the words, "be not thou rebellious," in that verse, some reluctance on the prophet's part. In substance the command was equivalent to that of Revelation 22:18, 19. The true prophet does not choose his message (Acts 4:20); his "meat" is to do his Lord's will (John 4:34), and he takes what he "finds" as given to him by that will.
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