Ezekiel 34:13
And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country.
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(13) Bring them to their own land.—It is not to be forgotten that this is a part of the same figurative language with “the cloudy and dark day” of the preceding verse, and that they must be explained in the same way. God’s people have wandered in the gloom, and they shall be gathered back to Him again.

34:7-16 The Lord declared that he intended mercy towards the scattered flock. Doubtless this, in the first place, had reference to the restoration of the Jews. It also represented the good Shepherd's tender care of the souls of his people. He finds them in their days of darkness and ignorance, and brings them to his fold. He comes to their relief in times of persecution and temptation. He leads them in the ways of righteousness, and causes them to rest on his love and faithfulness. The proud and self-sufficient, are enemies of the true gospel and of believers; against such we must guard. He has rest for disquieted saints, and terror for presumptuous sinners.The cloudy and dark day - Contrasted with the day in which the Lord will be among them like a shepherd to gather them together again. 13. And I will bring them out from the people, &c.—(Eze 28:25; 36:24; 37:21, 22; Isa 65:9, 10; Jer 23:3). When Cyrus’s proclamation came forth that the Jews might return, this prophecy was literally fulfilled, God did incline the minds of the Jews to retire from the people amidst whom they had dwelt seventy years: see Ezra 1:5,6 7:13.

Gather them; assemble them together; so they did in a place appointed without the country, where they were, (as appears, Ezra 8:15) in their assembling at Ahava or Diava, near where it falls into Euphrates, in the country Adiabene, which was from the more inward recesses of the Babylonian kingdom onwards of their journey to Jerusalem.

Will bring them; lead, conduct, and as a shepherd go before them, till I have put them into possession again of their own land.

Their own land; Canaan, their own by grant from the crown of heaven, anciently possessed by their fathers, and out of which violence cast them.

Feed them; God will provide, maintain, and nourish them. The mountains of Israel; places proper for sheep, where now they shall once more be kept.

The rivers; water-brooks, as Psalm 42:1; which run down from the spring-heads in the sides and tops of the mountains, with some impetuousness and noise; or if greater rivers, they are those that run by the foot of the mountains, on which these sheep shall feed.

The inhabited places: this may explain the former. On such hills by rivers the returned captives would first settle their habitations, and here these sheep would be safest; thus literally: spiritually, it refers to the gathering the elect by the gospel out of the world, &c.

And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land,.... Which was in part fulfilled when the Jews were delivered from the Babylonish captivity; and which may well be ascribed to the Lord, since it was he that stirred up Cyrus, king of Persia, to proclaim their liberty; and which raised the spirit of the people to go up upon it, and build the temple in Jerusalem, Ezra 1:1, though it will have a more full accomplishment in the latter day, when these people shall be gathered out of all countries where they are dispersed, and return to their own land, and embrace the true Messiah, and be all saved; of which there was a pledge and presage in the apostles' time, on the day of Pentecost; when some out of all nations were collected together at Jerusalem, and heard the wonderful things of God in their own language, and were converted; and afterwards, wherever the Gospel came in the Gentile world, it was first preached to the Jews, and was the power of God to salvation first to them; by which means the sheep of Christ, the elect of God among them, in each of the parts of the world, were gathered in: but this need not be confined to the Jews only; since the Lord had other sheep beside them, even among the Gentiles, in all parts of the world; whom he searches for, and effectually calls by his grace, and separates them from the rest of the world, and brings them into his churches, and among his people:

and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers: not upon the barren mountains of Sinai and Horeb, or with the works of the law; for there is no righteousness, life, and salvation by them, and so no peace and comfort, or food for faith; but upon the mountains of Israel, the churches of Christ, comparable to mountains for their height, visibility, immovableness, and for their pasturage: here the great Shepherd, the Lamb Christ Jesus, is, even on Mount Zion; here his under shepherds are, who feed the flock with knowledge and understanding; here the word of God is preached, the wholesome words of our Lord Jesus, by which souls are nourished up to everlasting life; in these mountains the feast of fat things is made; here the green pastures are, the sheep are made to lie down in; and here the lilies grow, among whom Christ feeds; and by these mountains run the "rivers" of everlasting love and covenant grace, the streams of Gospel doctrines, and the waters of Gospel ordinances, to the great refreshment of the saints; here the Lord feeds his people:

and in all the inhabited places of the country; in the private dwellings of the saints, as well as in public assemblies.

And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country.
13. Read peoples as usual.

Verses 13-15. - On the mountains of Israel by the rivers. The picture of the pleasant pasture-lands of Judah, almost, as it were, an expansion of Psalm 23, of the mountains which are not barren and stony, of the streams that flow calmly in the inhabited places of the country, serves as a parable of that which is to follow on the restoration of Israel. The sheep that had been wandering so long in the wilderness should at last lie down in a fat pasture (ver. 15), and the tender care of the Shepherd should watch with an individualizing pity over each sheep that had been brought back. Every broken limb should be bound up. Every sickness should be treated with its appropriate means of healing. Ezekiel 34:13Jehovah Himself will seek His flock, gather it together from the dispersion, lead it to good pasture, and sift it by the destruction of the bad sheep. - Ezekiel 34:11. For thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Behold, I myself, I will inquire after my flock, and take charge thereof. Ezekiel 34:12. As a shepherd taketh charge of his flock in the day when he is in the midst of his scattered sheep, so will I take charge of my flock, and deliver them out of all the places whither they have been scattered in the day of cloud and cloudy night. Ezekiel 34:13. And I will bring them out from the nations, and gather them together out of the lands, and bring them into their land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel, in the valleys, and in all the dwelling-places of the land. Ezekiel 34:14. I will feed them in a good pasture, and on the high mountains of Israel will their pasture-ground be: there shall they lie down in a good pasture-ground, and have fat pasture on the mountains of Israel. Ezekiel 34:15. I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. Ezekiel 34:16. That which is lost will I seek, and that which is driven away will I bring back; that which is wounded will I bind up, and that which is sick will I:strengthen: but that which is fat and strong will I destroy, and feed them according to justice. Ezekiel 34:17. And you, my sheep, thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Behold, I will judge between sheep and sheep, and the rams and the he-goats. Ezekiel 34:18. Is it too little for you, that ye eat up the good pasture, and what remains of your pasture ye tread down with your feet? and the clear water ye drink, and render muddy what remains with your feet? Ezekiel 34:19. And are my sheep to have for food that which is trodden down by your feet, and to drink that which is made muddy by your feet? Ezekiel 34:20. Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah to them, Behold, I, I will judge between fat sheep and lean. Ezekiel 34:21. Because ye press with side and shoulder, and thrust all the weak with your horns, till ye have driven them out; Ezekiel 34:22. I will help my sheep, so that they shall no more become a prey; and will judge between sheep and sheep. - All that the Lord will do for His flock is summed up in Ezekiel 34:11, in the words דּרשׁתּי את־צאני וּבקּרתּים, which stand in obvious antithesis to 'ואין דּורשׁ וגו in Ezekiel 34:6 - an antithesis sharply accentuated by the emphatic הנני אני, which stands at the head in an absolute form. The fuller explanation is given in the verses which follow, from Ezekiel 34:12 onwards. Observe here that biqeer is substituted for בּקּשׁ. בּקּר, to seek and examine minutely, involves the idea of taking affectionate charge. What the Lord does for His people is compared in Ezekiel 34:12 to the care which a shepherd who deserves the name manifests towards sheep when they are scattered (נפרשׁות without the article is connected with צאנו in the form of apposition); and in Ezekiel 34:12 it is still more particularly explained. In the first place, He will gather them from all the places to which they have been scattered. הצּיל implies that in their dispersion they have fallen into a state of oppression and bondage among the nations (cf. Exodus 6:6). בּיום belongs to the relative clause: whither they have been scattered. The circumstance that these words are taken from Joel 2:2 does not compel us to take them in connection with the principal clause, as Hitzig and Kliefoth propose, and to understand them as relating to the time when God will hold His judgment of the heathen world. The notion that the words in Joel signify "God's day of judgment upon all the heathen" (Kliefoth), is quite erroneous; and even Hitzig does not derive this meaning from Joel 2:2, but from the combination of our verse with Ezekiel 30:3 and Ezekiel 29:21. The deliverance of the sheep out of the places to which they have been scattered, consists in the gathering together of Israel out of the nations, and their restoration to their own land, and their feeding upon the mountains and all the dwelling-places of the land (מושׁב, a place suitable for settlement), and that in good and fat pasture (Ezekiel 34:14); and lastly, in the fact that Jehovah bestows the necessary care upon the sheep, strengthens and heals the weak and sick (Ezekiel 34:15 and Ezekiel 34:16) - that is to say, does just what the bad shepherds have omitted (Ezekiel 34:4) - and destroys the fat and strong. In this last clause another side is shown of the pastoral fidelity of Jehovah. אשׁמיד has been changed by the lxx, Syr., and Vulg. into ,אשׁמורφυλάχω; and Luther has followed them in his rendering, "I will watch over them." But this is evidently a mistake, as it fails to harmonize with ארענּה במשׁפּט. The fat and strong sheep are characterized in Ezekiel 34:18 and Ezekiel 34:19 as those which spoil the food and water of the others. The allusion, therefore, is to the rich and strong ones of the nation, who oppress the humble and poor, and treat them with severity. The destruction of these oppressors shows that the loving care of the Lord is associated with righteousness - that He feeds the flock בּמשׁפּט.

This thought is carried out still further in Ezekiel 34:17-21, the sheep themselves being directly addressed, and the Lord assuring them that He will judge between sheep and sheep, and put an end to the oppressive conduct of the fat sheep and the strong. בּין שׂה לשׂה: between the one sheep and the other. לשׂה is extended in the apposition, "the rams and he-goats," which must not be rendered, "with regard to the rams and he-goats," as it has been by Kliefoth. The thought is not that Jehovah will divide the rams and he-goats from the sheep, as some have explained it, from an inappropriate comparison with Matthew 25:32; but the division is to be effected in such a manner that sheep will be separated from sheep, the fat sheep being placed on one side with the rams and he-goats, and kept apart from the lean (רזה, Ezekiel 34:20) and the sickly sheep (נהלות, Matthew 25:21). It is to the last-named sheep, rams, and he-goats that Matthew 25:18 and Matthew 25:19 are addressed. With regard to the charge brought against them, that they eat up the pasture and tread down the remainder with their feet, etc., Bochart has already correctly observed, that "if the words are not quite applicable to actual sheep, they are perfectly appropriate to the mystical sheep intended here, i.e., to the Israelites, among whom many of the rich, after enjoying an abundant harvest and vintage, grudged the poor their gleaning in either one or the other." משׁקע, a substantive formation, like מרמס, literally, precipitation of the water, i.e., the water purified by precipitation; for שׁקע, to sink, is the opposite of רפשׂ, to stir up or render muddy by treading with the feet (compare Ezekiel 32:14 and Ezekiel 32:2). בּריה, Ezekiel 34:20 equals בּראה or בּריּה. Ezekiel 34:22 brings to a close the description of the manner in which God will deliver His flock, and feed it with righteousness. והושׁעתּי points back to והצּלתּי in Ezekiel 34:12, and ושׁפטתּי to ארענּה במשׁפּט in Ezekiel 34:16. - To this there is appended in Ezekiel 34:23. a new train of thought, describing how God will still further display to His people His pastoral fidelity.

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