Ezekiel 33:10
Therefore, O thou son of man, speak unto the house of Israel; Thus ye speak, saying, If our transgressions and our sins be upon us, and we pine away in them, how should we then live?
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(10) How should we then live?—Formerly, when the prophet had given them warning of impending judgments, the people had refused to believe: now, however, when those judgments had been realised, they despaired, and cried out, “If all this is in punishment for our sins, how can there yet be any hope for us?”

Ezekiel 33:10-11. If our transgressions be upon us, &c. — If the unpardoned guilt of our sins lie upon us, and we be punished for them in the wasting of our country, the burning of our city, the abolishing the public worship of God, &c.; and we pine away in them — Experience their bitter consequences in famine and disease, and in a variety of other calamities; how shall we live? — How then can the promises of life belong to us? How can such assurances be true as were given us Ezekiel 18:17-32? What ground can we have to hope for a recovery of our former condition? Or, how canst thou promise the continuance or restoration of any mercy to us? How can it be better with us than it is? If thy threatenings be true, it will be worse with us, and not better; and if they be not true, how can we trust thy promises of recovery? These are supposed to be the words of impious persons, who, pretending to despair of God’s mercies, take encouragement from thence to continue in their sins. Say, As I live, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked — For an elucidation of this and the following verses to the 20th, compare chap. 18.; and see the notes there.

33:10-20 Those who despaired of finding mercy with God, are answered with a solemn declaration of God's readiness to show mercy. The ruin of the city and state was determined, but that did not relate to the final state of persons. God says to the righteous, that he shall surely live. But many who have made profession, have been ruined by proud confidence in themselves. Man trusts to his own righteousness, and presuming on his own sufficiency, he is brought to commit iniquity. If those who have lived a wicked life repent and forsake their wicked ways, they shall be saved. Many such amazing and blessed changes have been wrought by the power of Divine grace. When there is a settled separation between a man and sin, there shall no longer be a separation between him and God.Again - And. For Ezekiel 33:1-20, compare Ezekiel 18 notes. 10. be upon us—that is, their guilt remain on us.

pine away in them—if we suffer the penalty threatened for them in Eze 24:23, according to the law (Le 26:39).

how should we … live?—as Thou dost promise in Eze 33:5 (compare Eze 37:11; Isa 49:14).

Speak, declare from me,

unto the house of Israel; the residue of the two tribes, which are brought to Babylon; or else to those already there, and here their brethren are on the way thitherward, since Jerusalem was taken.

Thus ye speak; thus ye discourse among themselves, object against God, and his prophet, and your own duty, some of you out of infirmity, others out of perverseness.

If our transgressions and our sins be upon us; the unpardoned guilt and the unsupportable punishment of our sins, who were warned and took not warning, do thus, as in the wasting our country, burning our city, abolishing the public worship of God, come upon us, we shall pine away, consume; it is too late to hope it will be better with us now, we should have heard and followed the counsel earlier, if we would have delivered our own souls. If the prophet spake true at first, there is no hope, say the weaker; if there be hope now after so peremptory menaces and so great execution, the prophet did not speak truth, say the perverse, and so concluded they would as they were run the hazard.

How should we then live? how can it be better with us? if the threats be true and sure, it will be worse; if not true, how are his promises to be rested on, that it will be better.

Therefore, O thou son of man, speak unto the house of Israel,.... Such of them as were with him in the captivity: thus ye speak, saying; reasoning and arguing within and among themselves; which the Lord heard, and made known to the prophet, who is bid to repeat it to them in order to give an answer:

if our transgressions and our sins be upon us, and we pine away in them; as the prophet said they should, Ezekiel 24:23, with which he had concluded his prophecies to them; and now they take it up, and argue against themselves, and against him; if our sins and transgressions are laid upon us, and we must answer for them; if the guilt of them is charged on us, and they are unexpiated and unatoned for; and the punishment of them is, or will be, inflicted on us, and we do, and must pine away, and be consumed in them, and by them:

how should we then live? as thou promisest us upon repentance; it is all over with us; there is no hope for us; what signify our repentance, or thy promises of life unto us? these things can never hang together, that we should live, and yet pine away in our sins; so that these are the words of persons both despairing, and making the prophet to say things opposite and contradictory, and which would not admit of a reconciliation; see Ezekiel 37:11.

Therefore, O thou son of man, speak to the house of Israel; Thus ye speak, saying, If our transgressions and our sins are upon us, and we pine away in them, {e} how should we then live?

(e) Thus the wicked when they hear God's judgments for their sins, despair of his mercies and murmur.

10. If our transgressions] Better, direct: our transgressions … are upon us. The people had come to regard their calamities as due to their sins and evidence of them. They had come round to the prophet’s view of their history, for they saw his predictions fulfilled. But the new view came with a crushing weight upon them. The calamities of their country were unparalleled (Lamentations 1:12; Lamentations 2:13; Lamentations 2:20; Lamentations 3:1; Lamentations 4:6; Lamentations 4:9), and equally unparalleled must have been their guilt (Lamentations 1:9; Lamentations 1:14; Lamentations 2:14; Lamentations 4:13; Lamentations 5:7). And their calamities seemed final, their sin was expiable only by their complete destruction.

we pine away] Or, waste away. The word expresses not mental but physical wasting away, ending in complete dissolution. See the very similar figures, Isaiah 10:18; Isaiah 17:4; cf. Ezekiel 4:17; Ezekiel 24:23; Leviticus 26:39.

10–20. Despondency of the people, making the prophet’s appeals to them of none effect. Removal of the despair by two gracious words from the Lord.

Verse 10. - Thus ye speak, saying, etc. At the earlier stage the prophet had to contend with scorn, incredulity, derision (Ezekiel 12:22). They trusted in the promises of the false prophets (Ezekiel 13:6). They laid to their soul the flattering unction that they were suffering, not for their own sins, but for the sins of their fathers (Ezekiel 18:2). Now they stand face to face with the fulfillment of the prophet's words. They cherish no hopes, and they make no excuses. They have fallen into the abyss of despair. Admitting their own sin and the righteousness of their punishment, does not the very admission exclude hope? Who can bring life to those that are thus dead in trespasses and sins? The parallelism with Leviticus 26:39-42 is so striking that it can scarcely be accidental Ezekiel 33:10As watchman over Israel, Ezekiel is to announce to those who are despairing of the mercy of God, that the Lord will preserve from destruction those who turn from their sin, and lead them into life. - Ezekiel 33:10. Thou then, son of man, say to the house of Israel, Ye rightly say, Our transgressions and our sins lie upon us, and in them we vanish away; how, then, can we live? Ezekiel 33:11. Say to them, As truly as I live, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah, I have no pleasure in the death of the sinner; but when the sinner turneth from his way, he shall live. Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways! for why will ye die, O house of Israel? Ezekiel 33:12. And thou, son of man, say to the sons of thy people, The righteousness of the righteous man will not deliver him in the day of his transgression, and the sinner will not fall through his sin in the day that he turneth from his sin, and the righteous man will not be able to live thereby in the day that he sinneth. Ezekiel 33:13. If I say to the righteous man that he shall live, and he relies upon his righteousness and does wrong, all his righteousnesses will not be remembered; and for his wrong that he has done, he will die. Ezekiel 33:14. If I say to the sinner, Thou shalt die, and he turns from his sin, and does justice and righteousness, Ezekiel 33:15. So that the wicked returns the pledge, restores what has been robbed, walks in the statutes of life without doing wrong, he will live, not die. Ezekiel 33:16. All his sins which he has committed shall not be remembered against him; he has done justice and righteousness, he will live. Ezekiel 33:17. And the sons of thy people say, The way of the Lord is not right; but they - their way is not right. Ezekiel 33:18. If the righteous man turneth from his righteousness and doeth wrong, he shall die thereby; Ezekiel 33:19. But if the wicked man turneth from his wickedness and doeth right and righteousness, he will live thereby. Ezekiel 33:20. And yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not right. I will judge you every one according to his ways, O house of Israel. - In Ezekiel 33:10 and Ezekiel 33:11 the prophet's calling for the future is set before him, inasmuch as God instructs him to announce to those who are in despair on account of their sins the gracious will of the Lord. The threat contained in the law (Leviticus 26:39), ימּקּוּ בּעונם, of which Ezekiel had repeatedly reminded the people with warning, and, last of all, when predicting the conquest and destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans (compare Ezekiel 4:17 and Ezekiel 24:23), had pressed heavily upon their heart, when the threatened judgment took place, so that they quote the words, not "in self-defence," as Hvernick erroneously supposes, but in despair of any deliverance. Ezekiel is to meet this despair of little faith by the announcement that the Lord has no pleasure in the death of the sinner, but desires his conversion and his life. Ezekiel had already set this word of grave before the people in Ezekiel 18:23, Ezekiel 18:32, accompanied with the summons to salvation for them to lay to heart: there, it was done to overthrow the delusion that the present generation had to atone for the sins of the fathers; but here, to lift up the hearts of those who were despairing of salvation; and for this reason it is accompanied with the asseveration (wanting in Ezekiel 18:23 and Ezekiel 18:32): "as truly as I live, saith the Lord," and with the urgent appeal to repent and turn. But in order to preclude the abuse of this word of consolation by making it a ground of false confidence in their own righteousness, Ezekiel repeats in Ezekiel 33:12-20 the principal thoughts contained in that announcement (Ezekiel 18:20-32) - namely, first of all, in Ezekiel 33:12-16, the thought that the righteousness of the righteous is of no avail to him if he gives himself up to the unrighteousness, and that the sinner will not perish on account of his sin if he turns from his wickedness and strives after righteousness (יכּשׁל , Ezekiel 33:12, as in Hosea 5:5; Jeremiah 6:15; compare Ezekiel 18:24-25, and Ezekiel 18:21, Ezekiel 18:22; and for Ezekiel 33:14 and Ezekiel 33:15, more especially Ezekiel 18:5 and Ezekiel 18:7); and then, secondly, in Ezekiel 33:17-20, the reproof of those who find fault with the way of the Lord (compare Ezekiel 18:25, Ezekiel 18:27, Ezekiel 18:29-30).
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