Ezekiel 33:21
And it came to pass in the twelfth year of our captivity, in the tenth month, in the fifth day of the month, that one that had escaped out of Jerusalem came to me, saying, The city is smitten.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(21) In the twelfth year.—Comp. 2Kings 25:8; Jeremiah 52:12. It was now a year and five months since the final destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, and this seems to be a long time to be occupied in carrying the news to Chaldea. The news itself must have reached Babylon long since, but Ezekiel was to receive the tidings, doubtless with full and circumstantial details, from the mouth of a fugitive, and there are reasons why this could not well have occurred earlier. After the capture of the city, the general, Nebuzaradan, took the mass of the people and the abundant spoil to carry them to Babylon (Jeremiah 52:15-27). He first took them to Nebuchadnezzar at Riblah, where a few were executed, and some time must have been occupied in settling the affairs of the desolated land. After this, the journey of the captives, carrying along with them the weighty spoil, was a slow one, and perhaps with frequent halts. We know from Ezra 7:9 that the returning captives, not thus hindered, occupied exactly four months in the journey from Babylon to Jerusalem. It is not surprising, therefore, that it should have been four times as long from the capture of Jerusalem to the arrival of the captives in Chaldea. This prophecy was nearly two months before that recorded in Ezekiel 32.

Ezekiel 33:21. In the twelfth year of our captivity, &c. — According to this reading, the news of the taking and burning of Jerusalem was brought to that part of the Babylonish dominions where the Jewish captives were placed in a year, five months, and twenty-six days after the calamity happened: see Jeremiah 52:12. But eight MSS. having עשׁתיinstead of שׂתי, Bishop Newcome, and some others, think the preferable reading is, the eleventh year. If this be adopted, only about six months passed between the taking of Jerusalem and the communication of that event to Ezekiel. One that had escaped out of Jerusalem came unto me — According to what God had foretold to him should be the case, as is mentioned Ezekiel 24:26, and which was to be as a new commission unto him to speak unto the people; from doing which, by the command of God, he had ceased for near three years before; the prophetic influence, or impulse, not coming upon him during that time.33:21-29 Those are unteachable indeed, who do not learn their dependence upon God, when all creature-comforts fail. Many claim an interest in the peculiar blessings to true believers, while their conduct proves them enemies of God. They call this groundless presumption strong faith, when God's testimony declares them entitled to his threatenings, and nothing else.The date shows an interval of 112 years from the taking of Jerusalem Jeremiah 52:12. The general news that the city was taken must have reached them, but it was only when the messenger arrived that the prophet's mouth was opened. It is not improbable that a body of men after the destruction of the city joined their brethren in Chaldaea; if so this would account for the lapse of time, and supply a reason why Ezekiel on their arrival should commence a new series of prophecies. 21. twelfth year … tenth month—a year and a half after the capture of the city (Jer 39:2; 52:5, 6), in the eleventh year and fourth month. The one who escaped (as foretold, Eze 24:26) may have been so long on the road through fear of entering the enemy's country [Henderson]; or, the singular is used for the plural in a collective sense, "the escaped remnant." Compare similar phrases, "the escaped of Moab," Isa 15:9; "He that escapeth of them," Am 9:1. Naturally the reopening of the prophet's mouth for consolation would be deferred till the number of the escaped remnant was complete: the removal of such a large number would easily have occupied seventeen or eighteen months. In the tenth month, in the fifth day of the month; that is one year and five months after the thing was done, and temple burnt, and the city sacked.

One that had escaped; one whose own care, but God’s wonderful providence had much more, befriended him; perhaps it might be one of those that yielded to the Babylonians before, but was resolved to see the upshot of all.

Saying; likely giving a particular account of the whole.

The city; Jerusalem. Smitten; taken and plundered, the inhabitants slain or captives, and the city sacked, razed, and burnt. And it came to pass in the twelfth year of our captivity,.... Of Jeconiah's captivity, when Ezekiel with others were carried into Babylon; see Ezekiel 1:2.

in the tenth month, in the fifth day of the month; which was a year, four months, and some days, after the city of Jerusalem was taken; for that was destroyed in the eleventh year of Zedekiah, and so of the captivity, and in the fifth month, and tenth day of the month. 2 Kings 25:2. It is much it was not known at Babylon before; though so it might, and yet not one that escaped came to Ezekiel sooner to give him an account of it, which he had seen with his eyes. The Syriac version reads it, in the "eleventh year"; and so makes it but a few months after the destruction; and it may be observed that it is promised by the Lord, Ezekiel 24:26, that on the day the city was taken, one should escape, and bring the prophet the news; that is, directly, immediately, in a very short time, as soon as it was possible that he could arrive to him; and yet, as taken notice, here were a year and almost five months before he reached him, which seems pretty strange. The difficulty may be solved in this manner: Ezekiel reckons from the captivity of Jeconiah, which began in the month Chisleu; and the computation in 2 Kings 25:2, is from Zedekiah's reign, which is to be reckoned from the month Nisan, and from the first Nisan of his reign; for it is a rule with the Jews, (h) that the beginning of the year for kings is the first of Nisan; so that the tenth month from the captivity is the sixth from Nisan; whence it appears there was not a full month from the city being burnt to the news being brought to Ezekiel; which was time short enough, in such a troublesome season, to take a journey from Jerusalem to Babylon; for Zedekiah not being crowned before the Nisan following the captivity, the computation of his reign did not begin till that Nisan, which makes this difference in the chronology. According to Bishop Usher (i), this messenger came to Ezekiel the twenty fifth of January, the fourth day of the week (Wednesday), in 3417 A.M. or before Christ 587:

that one that had escaped out of Jerusalem came unto me; as it was foretold and promised he should, Ezekiel 24:26,

saying, the city is smitten; the city of Jerusalem; the walls were broken down, the houses burnt, and the whole destroyed.

(h) Misn. Roshhashanah, c. 1. sect. 1.((i) Annales Vet. Test. A. M. 3417.

And it came to pass in the twelfth year of our {i} captivity, in the tenth month, in the fifth day of the month, that one that had escaped out of Jerusalem came to me, saying, The city is smitten.

(i) When the prophet was led away captive with Jeconiah.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
21. The date here given is about a year and a half after the city’s fall. Considering the constant intercourse between the mother country and the exiles this period is very long. Some MSS. as well as the Syr. read eleventh year, leaving about six months for the news to travel by messenger. (Eleven and twelve are easily confused in Heb.).

our captivity] That of Jehoiachin, ch. Ezekiel 1:2. “One that had escaped,” lit. the fugitive, may refer to one or more, cf. Ezekiel 24:26.

21, 22. Fugitives from Judaea arrive among the exiles announcing that the city had fallen. This confirmation of all the prophet’s anticipations, which the exiles had received with so much incredulity, opened his mouth, gave him confidence to speak before his fellow exiles. And he announces what shall be the fate of those left in the land (Ezekiel 33:23-29).Verse 21. - In the twelfth year, etc. The capture of Jerusalem took place in the fourth month of the eleventh year (Jeremiah 39:2; Jeremiah 52:6) from the captivity of Jehoiachin and the beginning of Zedekiah's reign. Are we to assume some error of transcription? or is it within the limits of probability that eighteen months would pass without any direct communication from Jerusalem of what had passed there? There is, I conceive, nothing improbable in what is stated. The exiles of Tel-Ahib were not on the high-roads of commerce or of war. All previous communications were cut off by the presence of the Chaldean armies. In the words, one that had escaped, the prophet clearly referred to the intimation given him at the time of his wife's death (Ezekiel 24:26). When the fugitive entered he saw that the hour had at last come. One would give much to know who the fugitive was, but we can only conjecture. Had Baruch been sent by Jeremiah to bear the tidings to his brother prophet? Such a mission would have been a fulfillment of Jeremiah 45:5. A later tradition ascribes to Baruch a prominent part as a teacher among the exiles of Babylon (Bar. 1:2) shortly after the destruction of Jerusalem. Funeral-Dirge for the Destruction of the Might of Egypt

This second lamentation or mourning ode, according to the heading in Ezekiel 32:17, belongs to the same year as the preceding, and to the 15th of the month, no doubt the 12th month; in which case it was composed only fourteen days after the first. The statement of the month is omitted here, as in Ezekiel 26:1; and the omission is, no doubt, to be attributed to a copyist in this instance also. In the ode, which Ewald aptly describes as a "dull, heavy lamentation," we have six regular strophes, preserving the uniform and monotonous character of the lamentations for the dead, in which the thought is worked out, that Egypt, like other great nations, is cast down to the nether world. The whole of it is simply an elegiac expansion of the closing thought of the previous chapter (Ezekiel 31).

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