Ezekiel 3:25
But you, O son of man, behold, they shall put bands on you, and shall bind you with them, and you shall not go out among them:
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(25) They shall put bands upon thee.—Ezekiel’s contemporary prophet, Jeremiah, was actually thrown into prison in Judæa, and even into a foul dungeon (Jeremiah 37:21; Jeremiah 38:6); but nothing of this kind is to be understood here. There is no trace of such treatment throughout the book, nor is it likely that it would have been suffered by Nebuchadnezzar among his captives, or possible under the administration of Daniel. Besides, a similar laying of bands upon him (although for a different purpose) is mentioned in Ezekiel 4:8, which must necessarily be understood figuratively. The compulsion described in this and the following verse was a moral one. Ezekiel’s countrymen, especially during the period of his warnings until the destruction of Jerusalem, should so absolutely refuse to hear him, that it would become practically impossible for him to declare his prophecies; he would be as if he were bound.

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.

25. put bands upon thee—not literally, but spiritually, the binding, depressing influence which their rebellious conduct would exert on his spirit. Their perversity, like bands, would repress his freedom in preaching; as in 2Co 6:12, Paul calls himself "straitened" because his teaching did not find easy access to them. Or else, it is said to console the prophet for being shut up; if thou wert now at once to announce God's message, they would rush on thee and bind them with "bands" [Calvin]. Song of Solomon of man: see Ezekiel 2:1. It is not said who shall do this, therefore interpreters guess variously at it. Some say it is figurative, noting the malice of the Jews, who would not suffer him quietly to converse with them, their malice was like bonds. Others understand the words as they sound, and refer,

1. To angels, as if they bound him.

2. To his friends and domestics, who would take his intenseness and earnestness in continued, retired thoughtfulness to be madness; so prophets were mistaken and misreported, 2 Kings 9 Mr 3:21. To the ruder and more violent of the Jews, who on all occasions were ready thus to confine their prophets, when they foretold unwelcome tidings, and to stir up their governors hereto, as 1 Kings 22:27 Jeremiah 32:2 37:15 38:6,7. It is not improbable that the rabble should incense the aicuagotarcai, presidents of the captivity, to do this.

Put bands upon thee; signifying the bonds and chains of their future captivity who were yet at Jerusalem.

Shall bind thee with them: this I suppose denotes the severity with which the conqueror would treat them, he would bind their bonds fast, close, and this will be pain and grief to the bounden.

Thou shalt not go out among them; a Hebraism, thou shalt be denied a free converse. But thou, O son of man, behold, they shall put bands upon thee,.... Or, "bands shall be put upon thee"; either visionally, or really; not by angels, but by the Jews, who, taking the prophet for a madman by his motions and gestures; would bind him, and keep him within doors: or figuratively this may be understood of the sins of the people, their rebellion and obstinacy, which hindered the prophet from prophesying among them as yet; and so this is observed to conciliate his mind to the divine order, to shut up himself for a while in his own house, and be silent: or else by these bonds may be meant the divine order itself, which restrained him from doing his office as yet. So the Targum,

"behold, I have appointed the words of my mouth upon thee, as a band of ropes with which they bind;''

and shall bind thee with them; which some think is emblematical of the Jews being bound by the Chaldeans:

and thou shall not go out among them; to converse with them, or prophesy unto them. The Septuagint version renders it, "shall not go out from the midst of them"; as if he should be taken out of his own house by the Jews, and be bound by them, and kept among them, and not able to get away from them; but it is to be understood of his being bound in his own house, and not able to go out of that to them; and may signify, that in like manner the Jews should not be able to go out of Jerusalem when besieged by the Chaldeans.

But thou, O son of man, behold, they shall put bands upon thee, and shall bind thee with them, and thou shalt not go out among them:
25. they shall put bands upon thee] that is, the exiles, as the words “thou shalt not go out among them” imply. The expression can hardly be merely equivalent to the pass., “cords shall be put upon thee” (Sep. Vulg.). The language is a figure for the restraint of opposition (ch. Ezekiel 4:8).Verse 25. - They shall put bands upon thee, etc. Did the warning mean that the prophet's hearers would treat him as the men of Jerusalem treated Jeremiah (Jeremiah 32:3; Jeremiah 33:1; Jeremiah 38:6)? Of this, at all events, we have no record, and so far we are led to the other alternative of taking the words (as in Ezekiel 4:8) in a figurative sense. The prophet would feel, as he stood in the presence of the rebellious house, as tongue tied, bound hand and foot by their hardness of heart, teaching by strange and startling signs only, and, it may be, writing his prophecies. In Ezekiel 24:27, four years later, and again in Ezekiel 29:21, we have a distinct reference to a long period of such protracted silence. We may compare, as in some sense parallel, the silence of Zacharias (Luke 1:22). That silence unbroken for nine months was a sign to those who "were looking for redemption in Jerusalem," more eloquent than speech. 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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