Ezekiel 3:24
Then the spirit entered into me, and set me on my feet, and spoke with me, and said to me, Go, shut yourself within your house.
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(24) Go, shut thyself within thine house.—The prophet’s consecration being now complete, he is to enter upon his actual work; yet, in view of the disposition of the people, he is to begin his prophecies in a private way, shut up in his house. Or it may be that this should be understood of a period of absolute silence and meditation preparatory to entering upon his work. Moreover, fresh warning is given of the reception he must be prepared to meet.

3:22-27 Let us own ourselves for ever indebted to the mediation of Christ, for the blessed intercourse between God and man; and a true believer will say, I am never less alone than when thus alone. When the Lord opened Ezekiel's mouth, he was to deliver his message boldly, to place life and death, the blessing and the curse, before the people, and leave them to their choice."Shut" in the privacy of his own chamber he is to receive a message from Yahweh. This "shutting up," however, and the "bands" (Ezekiel 3:25, used figuratively) were signs of the manner in which Ezekiel's countrymen would close their ears, hindering him as far as in them lay from delivering the message of the Lord.

With this verse commences a series of symbolic actions enjoined to the prophet in order to foretell the coming judgments of Jerusalem Ezekiel 4; 5. Generally speaking symbolic actions were either literal and public, or figurative and private. In the latter case they impressed upon the prophet's mind the truth which he was to enforce upon others by the description of the action as by a figure. Difficulties have arisen, because interpreters have not chosen to recognize the figurative as well as the literal mode of prophesying. Hence, some, who would have all literal, have had to accept the most strange and unnecessary actions as real; while others, who would have all figurative, have had arbitrarily to explain away the most plain historical statement. There may be a difference of opinion as to which class one or other figure may belong; but after all, the determination is not important, the whole value of the parabolic figure residing in the lesson which it is intended to convey.

24. set me upon my feet—having been previously prostrate and unable to rise until raised by the divine power.

shut thyself within … house—implying that in the work he had to do, he must look for no sympathy from man but must be often alone with God and draw his strength from Him [Fairbairn]. "Do not go out of thy house till I reveal the future to thee by signs and words," which God does in the following chapters, down to the eleventh. Thus a representation was given of the city shut up by siege [Grotius]. Thereby God proved the obedience of His servant, and Ezekiel showed the reality of His call by proceeding, not through rash impulse, but by the directions of God [Calvin].

The spirit: see Ezekiel 2:2.

Shut thyself within thy house: some say this is to be an interrogation, wilt thou, &c.? others add it is an irony, upbraiding him; but I see no ground for either. It is, as we read it, a plain command, which appears, in that with the command God giveth strength to do what is commanded; and he is to shut up himself, to learn of God what he must foretell, to foresignify the shutting up of Jews in Jerusalem. Then the spirit entered into me,.... Again; the Spirit of God, that was in the wheels and living creatures: see Ezekiel 2:2;

and set me upon my feet; as he had done before, when in the same prostrate condition, Ezekiel 2:2;

and spake with me; either the Spirit that entered into him, and set him upright; or rather the Lord Christ, the glory of the Lord that stood where he was, and appeared to him:

and said unto me, go, shut thyself within thine house: this was not said ironically, but in earnest; and the reason either was, because the people were not fit for reproof and correction, as Jarchi thinks, being a rebellious people; or that the prophet might receive further instructions, and have all the words of his prophecy delivered to him, before he began to prophesy. Some think this shutting up was an emblem of the siege of Jerusalem. It may seem strange that the prophet should be bid to go into the plain, where the Lord promised to talk with him; and this is all that is said to him, to go home, and shut himself up in his house: but it should be observed, that this was not the only thing for which he went into the plain: he was to have, and had, a fresh view of the glory of the Lord, and of the vision he had before, for the further confirmation of him; besides, this moving him from place to place, before he prophesied, might be partly to try his faith, and partly to preserve him from the violence of the people; who, had he delivered his message at once, might have been so provoked, as to have fallen upon him, and destroyed him; as well as to prepare them to receive his prophecies with more respect and reverence, when they saw he did not rashly, and at once, deliver them out to them.

Then the spirit entered into me, and {o} set me upon my feet, and spoke with me, and said to me, Go, {p} shut thyself within thy house.

(o) Read Jer 2:2.

(p) Signifying that not only would he not profit, but they would grievously trouble and afflict him.

24. shut thyself within thy house] The words are not to be pressed to mean more than abstention from the exercise of his ministry in public. Cf. ch. Ezekiel 8:1, Ezekiel 11:25, Ezekiel 14:1 &c.Verse 24. - Go, shut thyself within thy heroin, etc. The command implied that he was to cease for a time from all public ministrations. There was a time to keep silence, as well as a time to speak (Ecclesiastes 3:7), and for the immediate future silence was the more effective of the two. It would, at least, make them eager to hear what the silence meant. After the Lord had pointed out to the prophet the difficulties of the call laid upon him, He prepared him for the performance of his office, by inspiring him with the divine word which he is to announce. - Ezekiel 2:8. And thou, son of man, hear what I say to thee, Be not stiff-necked like the stiff-necked race; open thy mouth, and eat what I give unto thee. Ezekiel 2:9. Then I saw, and, lo, a hand outstretched towards me; and, lo, in the same a roll of a book. Ezekiel 2:10. And He spread it out before me; the same was written upon the front and back: and there were written upon it lamentations, and sighing, and woe. Ezekiel 3:1. And He said to me: Son of man, what thou findest eat; eat the roll, and go and speak to the house of Israel. Ezekiel 3:2. Then opened I my mouth, and He gave me this roll to eat. Ezekiel 3:3. And said to me: Son of man, feed thy belly, and fill thy body with this roll which I give thee. And I ate it, and it was in my mouth as honey and sweetness. - The prophet is to announce to the people of Israel only that which the Lord inspires him to announce. This thought is embodied in symbol, in such a way that an outstretched hand reaches to him a book, which he is to swallow, and which also, at God's command, he does swallow; cf. Revelation 10:9. This roll was inscribed on both sides with lamentations, sighing, and woe (הי is either abbreviated from נהי, not equals אי, or as Ewald, 101c, thinks, is only a more distinct form of הוי or הו). The meaning is not, that upon the roll was inscribed a multitude of mournful expressions of every kind, but that there was written upon it all that the prophet was to announce, and what we now read in his book. These contents were of a mournful nature, for they related to the destruction of the kingdom, the destruction of Jerusalem and of the temple. That Ezekiel may look over the contents, the roll is spread out before his eyes, and then handed to him to be eaten, with the words, "Go and speak to the children of Israel," i.e., announce to the children of Israel what you have received into yourself, or as it is termed in Ezekiel 3:4, דּברי, "my words." The words in Ezekiel 3:3 were spoken by God while handing to the prophet the roll to be eaten. He is not merely to eat, i.e., take it into his mouth, but he is to fill his body and belly therewith, i.e., he is to receive into his innermost being the word of God presented to him, to change it, as it were, into sap and blood. Whilst eating it, it was sweet in his mouth. The sweet taste must not, with Kliefoth, be explained away into a sweet "after-taste," and made to bear this reference, that the destruction of Jerusalem would be followed by a more glorious restoration. The roll, inscribed with lamentation, sorrow, and woe, tasted to him sweetly, because its contents was God's word, which sufficed for the joy and gladness of his heart (Jeremiah 15:16); for it is "infinitely sweet and lovely to be the organ and spokesman of the Omnipotent," and even the most painful of divine truths possess to a spiritually-minded man a joyful and quickening side (Hengstenberg on Revelation 10:9). To this it is added, that the divine penal judgments reveal not only the holiness and righteousness of God, but also prepare the way for the revelation of salvation, and minister to the saving of the soul.
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