Ezekiel 33:11
Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?
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(11) I have no pleasure.—Comp. Ezekiel 18:28; Ezekiel 18:32. Ezekiel meets the despair of the people by the assurance, long before given in another connection, that the Creator and Father of all can have no pleasure in the death of any, and adds an earnest exhortation to repentance that they may be saved. Yet it was very important that there should be no misunderstanding in regard to the basis of acceptance with God, and the prophet therefore, in the following verses (12-20). briefly reiterates the teaching of Ezekiel 18 in regard to the individual responsibility of every one for himself before God. This teaching has already been explained under Ezekiel 18.

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. 11. To meet the Jews' cry of despair in Eze 33:10, Ezekiel here cheers them by the assurance that God has no pleasure in their death, but that they should repent and live (2Pe 3:9). A yearning tenderness manifests itself here, notwithstanding all their past sins; yet with it a holiness that abates nothing of its demands for the honor of God's authority. God's righteousness is vindicated as in Eze 3:18-21 and Eze 18:1-32, by the statement that each should be treated with the closest adaptation of God's justice to his particular case. As I live, saith the Lord God: see Ezekiel 5:11 16:48 17:16.

I have no pleasure: see Ezekiel 18:23,32.

But that the wicked: here is an ellipsis; but I have pleasure in the seasonable return the sinner makes from sin to holiness, and from death to life.

Turn ye; O leave sin, cease to do evil, be persuaded to repent; it will please me to pardon your faults, and to throw away the rod, and to save your persons.

Why will ye die? death is your choice, not mine, so long as you go on in the way that is not good; whoso sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul, and love to sin is interpretatively a love and choosing of death. It is your culpable will, not my severe resolution, that you die.

Say unto them, as I live, saith the Lord,.... The following is the answer returned from the Lord by the prophet to their above complaint and reasoning; to which is premised the oath of God, showing the certainty, reality, and sincerity of what is said, which might be depended on as true:

I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, &c. See Gill on Ezekiel 18:23, Ezekiel 18:31, Ezekiel 18:32,

Say to them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, {f} I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked should turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

(f) See Geneva Eze 18:23

11. Jehovah’s answer to the people’s despondency and despair of “life.” These verses must be estimated from the point of view of the people’s despair of life, to which they are an answer. The passage is not directly an affirmation of the rectitude of God, although this is indirectly affirmed in answer to the people’s objection, founded on traditional ways of thinking, that the Lord’s ways are not equal. The divine rectitude is not the point of view from which the prophet looks; he speaks in answer to the people’s despondency. And his answer is twofold: first, God’s desire is that men should live; and secondly, the past is not irrevocable. Not according to what men have been but according to what they shall be or become, will God judge them.

Verse 11. - Say unto them, etc. To meet that despair the prophet has to fall back on the truth which he had proclaimed once before (Ezekiel 18:32). He must appear as uttering a message of pardon resting on the unchanging character of the great Absolver. Now, as ever, it is true that he willeth not the death of the wicked, that all punishment (in this world, at least) is meant to lead to repentance, and that for those who repent there is the hope of restoration and of life. No righteousness in the past avails against the transgression of the present (Ver. 12); but then also no wickedness of the past prevails to shut out the penitent's claim to pardon. As a man is at any given moment, when the judgment comes on him, so is he dealt with. In some sense, as in Ver. 13, the righteousness of the post may become a stumbling-block. The man may trust in it, and be off his guard, ceasing to watch and pray, and so the temptation may prevail. Ezekiel 33:11As 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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