Ezekiel 33:32
And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
33:30-33 Unworthy and corrupt motives often lead men to the places where the word of God is faithfully preached. Many come to find somewhat to oppose: far more come of curiosity or mere habit. Men may have their hearts changed. But whether men hear or forbear, they will know by the event that a servant of God has been among them. All who will not know the worth of mercies by the improvement of them, will justly be made to know their worth by the want of them.As the people cometh - literally, as in the margin, i. e., in crowds. Render it: they shall come "unto thee" like the coming of a people," and" shall "sit before thee as My people" etc., i. e., they assume the attitude of God's people listening to His prophet. Compare Ezekiel 14:1; Ezekiel 20:1.32. very lovely song—literally, a "song of loves": a lover's song. They praise thy eloquence, but care not for the subject of it as a real and personal thing; just as many do in the modern church [Jerome].

play well on an instrument—Hebrew singers accompanied the "voice" with the harp.

These Jews esteem and regard thee and what thou sayest, as men regard a skilful musician, who to a well-tuned instrument hath sung the praises of virtue or of virtuous men; it pleaseth their ear, but it doth not frame their hearts and life to virtue. They loved him for his eloquent lamentation, and reproof of their enemies, and for foretelling that they should fall, and saying nothing against them and their sins for these three years past; but when he exhorts them to duty, or dissuades from sin, they will hear, not do.

And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice,.... Whose voice, and the music of it, are regarded, and not the matter of the song, but the manner in which it is sung; so these people did not so much attend to what the prophet said as the manner of his delivery; they were delighted with the harmony of his voice, the eloquence of his speech, the propriety of his expressions, the eloquence and aptness of his diction, and the cadency of his words, and not with the excellent doctrines he delivered; they were affected and pleased no otherwise than if they had been at a concert of music; or had been entertained by one that understood not only vocal music, but could "play well on an instrument" at the same time, and make both agree together; which yields much pleasure to lovers of music. The Gospel is a lovely song indeed; "a song of loves" (o), as it may be rendered; of the love of God, and of the love of Christ; and the voice of a Gospel minister is a pleasant charming voice to those that understand it, but to others it is a voice, and nothing else; they may be delighted with his accents, but not with his matter: for they hear thy words, but they do them not; which is repeated, that it might be observed.

(o) "sicut canticum astorum", Vatablus.

And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
32. lovely song of one] lit. a lovely song; one that hath. The comparison “like a lovely song” is as usual inexact; “like” merely indicates the circumstances—as when there is a lovely song. The prophet is compared to the singer as A. V.

Verse 32. - A very lovely song; literally, a song of love, an erotic idyll, the word being the same as in Ver. 31. Yet this was the meaning of the large gathering. They came to hear the prophet, as they would to hear a hired singer at a banquet, like those of Amos 6:5. The prophet's words passed over them and left no lasting impression. All that they sought was the momentary tickling of the sense. The words receive a special significance from Psalm 137:3. The Jewish exiles were famous among their conquerors for the minstrel's art. The nobler singers refused to "sing the songs of Zion in a strange land;" others, it may be, were not so scrupulous. Had the prophet seen his people gather to listen to such a singer? Were they better occupied when they were listening to his message from Jehovah. Ezekiel 33:32Behaviour of the People Towards the prophet

Ezekiel 33:30. And thou, son of man, the sons of thy people converse about thee by the walls and in the house-doors; one talketh to another, every one to his brother, saying, Come and let us hear what kind of word goeth out from Jehovah. Ezekiel 33:31. And they will come to thee, like an assembly of the people, and sit before thee as my people, and will hear thy words, but not do them; but that which is pleasant in their mouth they do; their heart goeth after their gain. Ezekiel 33:32. And, behold, thou art unto them like a pleasant singer, beautiful in voice and playing well; they will hear thy words, but they will not do them. Ezekiel 33:33. But when it cometh - behold, it cometh - they will know that a prophet was in the midst of them. - This addition to the preceding word of God, which is addressed to Ezekiel personally, applies to the whole of the second half of his ministry, and stands in obvious connection with the instructions given to the prophet on the occasion of his first call (Ezekiel 3:16.), and repeated, so far as their substance is concerned, in Ezekiel 33:7-9, as Kliefoth himself acknowledges, in opposition to his assumption that vv. 1-20 of this chapter belong to the prophecies directed against the foreign nations. As God had directed the prophet's attention, on the occasion of his call, to the difficulties connected with the discharge of the duties of a watchman with which he was entrusted, by setting before him the object and the responsibility of his vocation, and had warned him not to allow himself to be turned aside by the opposition of the people; so here in Ezekiel 33:30-33, at the commencement of the second section of his ministry, another word is addressed to him personally, in order that he may not be influenced in the further prosecution of his calling by either the pleasure or displeasure of men.

His former utterances had already induced the elders of the people to come to him to hear the word of God (cf. Ezekiel 14:1 and Ezekiel 20:1). But now that his prophecies concerning Jerusalem had been fulfilled, the exiles could not fail to be still more attentive to his words, so that they talked of him both secretly and openly, and encouraged one another to come and listen to his discourses. God foretells this to him, but announces to him at the same time that this disposition on the part of his countrymen to listen to him is even now no sign of genuine conversion to the word of God, in order that he may not be mistaken in his expectations concerning the people. Kliefoth has thus correctly explained the contents, design, and connection of these verses as a whole. In Ezekiel 33:30 the article before the participle נדבּרים takes the place of the relative אשׁר, and the words are in apposition to בּני עמך, the sons of thy people who converse about thee. נדבּר is reciprocal, as in Malachi 3:13, Malachi 3:16, and Psalm 119:12. But ב is to be understood, not in a hostile sense, as in the passage cited from the Psalms, but in the sense of concerning, like דּבּר ב in 1 Samuel 19:3 as contrasted with דּבּר ב in Numbers 21:7, to speak against a person. The participle is continued by the finite ודּבּר, and the verb belonging to בּני follows, in the ויבאוּ of Ezekiel 33:31, in the form of an apodosis. There is something monstrous in Hitzig's assumption, that the whole passage from Ezekiel 33:30 to Ezekiel 33:33 forms but one clause, and that the predicate to בּני עמך does not occur till the וידעוּ of Ezekiel 33:33. - אצל , by the side of the walls, i.e., sitting against the walls, equivalent to secretly; and in the doors of the houses, in other words publicly, one neighbour conversing with another. חד, Aramean for אחד, and אישׁ by the side of אחד, every one; not merely one here or there, but every man to his neighbour. כּמבוא־עם, lit., as the coming of a people, i.e., as when a crowd of men flock together in crowds or troops. עמּי is a predicate, as my people, i.e., as if they wished, like my people, to hear my word from thee. But they do not think of doing thy words, i.e., what thou dost announce to them as my word. עגבים are things for which one cherishes an eager desire, pleasant things in their mouth, i.e., according to their taste (cf. Genesis 25:28). Hvernick is wrong in taking עגבים to mean illicit love. The word בּפיהם is quite inapplicable to such a meaning. The rendering, they do it with their mouth, is opposed both to the construction and the sense. בּצעם .esnes , their gain, the source from which they promise themselves advantage or gain. In Ezekiel 33:32 a clearer explanation is given of the reason why they come to the prophet, notwithstanding the fact that they do not wish to do his words. "Thou art to them כּשיּר עגבים;" this cannot mean like a pleasant song, but, as מטב נגּן (one who can play well) clearly shows, like a singer of pleasant songs. The abstract שׁיּר stands for the concrete שׁר, a singer, a man of song (Hitzig). In Ezekiel 33:32, "they hear thy words, but do them not," is repeated with emphasis, for the purpose of attaching the threat in Ezekiel 33:33. But when it cometh - namely, what thou sayest, or prophesiest - behold, it cometh, i.e., it will come as surely as thy prophecies concerning the destruction of Jerusalem; then will they know that a prophet was among them (cf. Ezekiel 2:5), that is to say, that he proclaimed God's word to them. Therefore Ezekiel is not to be prevented, by the misuse which will be made of his words, from preaching the truth. - This conclusion of the word of God, which points back to Ezekiel 2:5, also shows that it forms the introduction to the prophecies which follow.

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