Ezekiel 34:1
And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Ezekiel 34:1. The word of the Lord came unto me, saying — It is probable that this prophecy immediately followed the preceding; and that at, or immediately after, the arrival of the news that Jerusalem was conquered, the prophet was commissioned to speak of the tyranny and carelessness of the governors and teachers, and to point out their negligence as a principal cause of the incredulity and wickedness of the people. Thus the transition appears to be natural, and the connection close, between this prophecy and the foregoing one, as also between the beginning of this prophecy and its conclusion. For considering that, in parts at least, the people suffered for the faults of the shepherds, mercy now urged the prophet to declare, from God, that he would judge between them, save the flock, and set up one shepherd over them, who should feed them, even his servant David.

34:1-6 The people became as sheep without a shepherd, were given up as a prey to their enemies, and the land was utterly desolated. No rank or office can exempt from the reproofs of God's word, men who neglect their duty, and abuse the trust reposed in them.The prophet has yet to pronounce a judgment upon unfaithful rulers, whose punishment will further the good of those whom they have misguided. He shows what the rulers should have been, what they have been, and what in the coming times they shall be when the True King shall reign in the true kingdom. Hence, follows a description of Messiah's reign. CHAPTER 34

Eze 34:1-31. Reproof of the False Shepherds; Promise of the True and Good Shepherd.

Having in the thirty-third chapter laid down repentance as the necessary preliminary to happier times for the people, He now promises the removal of the false shepherds as preparatory to the raising up of the Good Shepherd.A reproof of the shepherds of Israel, Ezekiel 34:1-6. God’s judgment against them, Ezekiel 34:7-10. His providence over his flock, Ezekiel 34:11-19. The blessings of Christ’s kingdom, Ezekiel 34:20-31.

No text from Poole on this verse.

The word of the Lord came unto me,.... The date of this prophecy is not given; however, it seems to have been delivered after the destruction of Jerusalem; the causes of which are mentioned, the sins of the people and their governors, which the prophet is directed to expose:

saying: as follows:

And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 1. - And the word of the Lord, etc. As no date is given, we may infer that what follows came as an almost immediate sequel to that which precedes it. The kernel of the chapter is found in the Messianic prophecies of vers. 23, 24, as the first stage in the restoration of Israel which is beginning to open to the prophet's gaze. We can hardly avoid seeing in it the deliberate expression of words that had been spoken by Ezekiel's master (Jeremiah 23:1-4), and which in his case also were followed by a directly Messianic announcement. In Matthew 9:36, still more in John 10:1-16, we can scarcely avoid recognizing the distinct appropriation of the words to himself by him of whom they both had spoken. So far as we may venture to speculate on the influence, so to speak, of the words of the prophets of the Old Testament on our Lord's human soul, we may think of these as having marked out for him the work which he was to do, just as we may think of Psalm 22. and Isaiah 53. as having pointed out to him the path of suffering which he was to tread. Ezekiel 34:1Woe to the Bad Shepherds

Ezekiel 34:1. And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Ezekiel 34:2. Son of man, prophesy concerning the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, to the shepherds, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Woe to the shepherds of Israel, who fed themselves; should not the shepherds feed the flock? Ezekiel 34:3. Ye eat the fat, and clothe yourselves whit the wool; ye slay the fattened; the flock ye do not feed. Ezekiel 34:4. The weak ones ye do not strengthen, and that which is sick ye do not cure, the wounded one ye bind not up, the scattered ye bring not back, and the lost one ye do not seek; and ye rule over them with violence and with severity. Ezekiel 34:5. Therefore they were scattered, because without shepherd, and became food to all the beasts of the field, and were scattered. Ezekiel 34:6. My sheep wander about on all the mountains, and on every high hill; and over all the land have my sheep been scattered, and there is no one who asks for them, and no one who seeks them. Ezekiel 34:7. Therefore, ye shepherds, hear ye the word of Jehovah: Ezekiel 34:8. As I live, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah, because my sheep become a prey, and my sheep become food to all the beasts of the field, because there is no shepherd, and my shepherds do not inquire after my sheep, and the shepherds feed themselves, but do not feed the sheep, Ezekiel 34:9. Therefore, ye shepherds, hear ye the word of Jehovah, Ezekiel 34:10. Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Behold, I will deal with the shepherds, and will demand my sheep from their hand, and cause them to cease to feed my flock, that they may feed themselves no more; and I will deliver my sheep from their mouth, that they may be food to them no more. - In Ezekiel 34:2 לרעים is an explanatory apposition to אליהם, and is not to be taken in connection with כּה אמר יי, in opposition to the constant use of this formula, as Kliefoth maintains. The reason for the woe pronounced is given in the apposition, who fed themselves, whereas they ought to have fed the flock; and the charge that they only care for themselves is still further explained by a description of their conduct (Ezekiel 34:3 and Ezekiel 34:4), and of the dispersion of the flock occasioned thereby (Ezekiel 34:5 and Ezekiel 34:6). Observe the periphrastic preterite היוּ רעים, they were feeding, which shows that the woe had relation chiefly to the former shepherds or rulers of the nation. אותם is reflective, se ipsos (cf. Gesen. 124. 1b). The disgracefulness of their feeding themselves is brought out by the question, "Ought not the shepherds to feed the flock?" Ezekiel 34:3 shows how they fed themselves, and Ezekiel 34:4 how they neglected the flock. חלב, the fat, which Bochart and Hitzig propose to alter into החלב, the milk, after the Septuagint and Vulgate, is not open to any objection. The fat, as the best portion of the flesh, which was laid upon the altar, for example, in the case of the sacrifices, as being the flower of all the flesh, is mentioned here as pars melior pro toto. Hvernick has very properly pointed, in vindication of the reading in the text, to Zechariah 11:16, where the two clauses, ye eat the fat, and slay the fattened, are joined together in the one clause, "the flesh of the fattened one will he eat." There is no force in the objection raised by Hitzig, that "the slaughtering of the fat beasts, which ought to be mentioned first, is not introduced till afterwards;" for this clause contains a heightening of the thought that they use the flock to feed themselves: they do not even kill the leaner beasts, but those that are well fattened; and it follows very suitably after the general statement, that they make use of both the flesh and the wool of the sheep for their own advantage. They care nothing for the wellbeing of the flock: this is stated in the last clause of Ezekiel 34:3, which is explained in detail in Ezekiel 34:4. נהלות is the Niphal participle of חלה, and is a contracted form of נחלות, like נחלה in Isaiah 17:11. The distinction between נהלות and חולה is determined by the respective predicates חזּק and רפא. According to these, נחלה signifies that which is weak in consequence of sickness, and חלה that which is weak in itself. נשׁבּרת, literally, that which is broken, an animal with a leg or some other member injured. נדּח, scattered, as in Deuteronomy 22:1.

In the last clause of Ezekiel 34:4, the neglect of the flock is summed up in the positive expression, to rule over them with violence and severity. רדה בפרך is taken from Leviticus 25:43, Leviticus 25:46; but there as well as here it points back to Exodus 1:13-14, where בפרך is applied to the tyrannical measures adopted by Pharaoh for the oppression of the Israelites. The result of this (Ezekiel 34:5, Ezekiel 34:6) was, that the sheep were scattered, and became food to the beasts of prey. מבּלי, on account of there not being a shepherd, i.e., because there was no shepherd worthy of the name. This took place when Israel was carried away into exile, where it became a prey to the heathen nations. When we find this mournful fate of the people described as brought about by the bad shepherds, and attributable to faults of theirs, we must not regard the words as applying merely to the mistaken policy of the kings with regard to external affairs (Hitzig); for this was in itself simply a consequence of their neglect of their theocratic calling, and of their falling away from the Lord into idolatry. It is true that the people had also made themselves guilty of this sin, so that it was obliged to atone not only for the sins of its shepherds, but for its own sin also; but this is passed by here, in accordance with the design of this prophecy. And it could very properly be kept out of sight, inasmuch as the rulers had also occasioned the idolatry of the people, partly by their neglect of their duty, and partly by their bad example. ותּפוּצינה is repeated with emphasis at the close of Ezekiel 34:5; and the thought is still further expanded in Ezekiel 34:6. The wandering upon all the mountains and hills must not be understood as signifying the straying of the people to the worship on high places, as Theodoret and Kliefoth suppose. The fallacy of this explanation is clearly shown by the passage on which this figurative description rests (1 Kings 22:17), where the people are represented as scattered upon the mountains in consequence of the fall of the king in battle, like a flock that had no shepherd. The words in the next clause, corresponding to the mountains and hills, are כּל־פּני הארץ, the whole face of the land, not "of the earth" (Kliefoth). For although the dispersion of the flock actually consisted in the carrying away of the people into heathen lands, the actual meaning of the figure is kept in the background here, as is evident from the fact that Ezekiel constantly uses the expression הארצות (plural) when speaking of the dispersion among the heathen (cf. Ezekiel 13). The distinction between דּרשׁ and בּקּשׁ is, that דרשׁ taht , signifies rather to ask, inquire for a thing, to trouble oneself about it, whereas בקשׁ means to seek for that which has strayed or is lost. In Ezekiel 34:7-10, the punishment for their unfaithfulness is announced to the shepherds themselves; but at the same time, as is constantly the case with Ezekiel, their guilt is once more recapitulated as an explanation of the threatening of punishment, and the earnest appeal to listen is repeated in Ezekiel 34:9. The Lord will demand His sheep of them; and because sheep have been lost through their fault, He will dispose them from the office of shepherd, and so deliver the poor flock from their violence. If we compare with this Jeremiah 23:2 : "Behold, I will visit upon you the wickedness of your doings," the threat in Ezekiel has a much milder sound. There is nothing said about the punishment of the shepherd, but simply that the task of keeping the sheep shall be taken from them, so that they shall feed themselves no more. This distinction is to be explained from the design of our prophecy, which is not so much to foretell the punishment of the shepherds, as the deliverance from destruction of the sheep that have been plunged into misery. The repetition of צאני, my flock (Ezekiel 34:8 and Ezekiel 34:10, as before in Ezekiel 34:6), is also connected with this. The rescue of the sheep out of the hand of the bad shepherds had already commenced with the overthrow of the monarchy on the destruction of Jerusalem. If, then it is here described as only to take place in the future, justice is not done to these words by explaining them, as Hitzig does, as signifying that what has already actually taken place is now to be made final, and not to be reversed. For although this is implied, the words clearly affirm that the deliverance of the sheep out of the hand of the shepherds has not yet taken place, but still remains to be effected, so that the people are regarded as being at the time in the power of bad shepherds, and their rescue is predicted as still in the future. How and when it will be accomplished, by the removal of the bad shepherds, is shown in the announcement, commencing with Ezekiel 34:11, of what the Lord will do for His flock.

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