Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,II. PREDICTIONS AFTER THE DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM (33-48)
A. The Watchman, the False Shepherds, and the True Shepherd
1. The renewed call of Ezekiel as watchman (Ezekiel 33:1-20)
2. Ezekiel’s mouth opened after Jerusalem’s fall is announced (Ezekiel 33:21-33)
3. Message against the shepherds of Israel (Ezekiel 34:1-19)
4. The True Shepherd and restoration promised (Ezekiel 34:20-26)
The exiles knew that the just wrath of God rested upon them as a nation and that their sins were unforgiven. Therefore they asked, “If our transgressions and sins be upon us, and we pine away in them, how should we then live?” They also accused the Lord of inconsistency by saying, “the way of the Lord is not equal” (Ezekiel 34:20; see also Ezekiel 18:25; Ezekiel 18:29). The answer Jehovah sends them makes known the principles on which He will deal with them individually as a just God. “O ye house of Israel, I will judge you every one after his ways.” Judgment rested upon them as a nation, but the individual still could turn to the Lord in repentance. What a wonderful declaration it is which is recorded in Ezekiel 34:11! “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?” What compassion and mercy! As it was a day of judgment which had come upon them, true repentance was the needed thing. A past righteousness could not shield them from the judgment if sin had been committed. “As for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall thereby in the day that he turneth from his wickedness.” The wicked confessing and forsaking his sin would find mercy and forgiveness, while those who were impenitent would surely die and not live. “None of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him; he hath done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live.” And this gracious promise was given in anticipation of the work of the cross, the redemption by the blood of Christ, by which God’s righteousness is declared in passing thus over sins of Old Testament believers who turned to God Romans 3:25. The principles of divine justice are summed up in Ezekiel 33:18 and Ezekiel 33:19 : “When the righteous turneth from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, he shall even die thereby. But if the wicked turn from his wickedness, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall live thereby.” Needless to say, all this must be viewed as under the law-covenant. But their complaint that the way of the Lord is not equal was wrong, it was their way which was not equal. They were to be judged each according to what he had done.
Ezekiel 33:21-33. In Ezekiel 24:27, the promise had been given to Ezekiel that when the one who escaped from Jerusalem when it fell, arrived, the prophet should no longer be dumb. This dumbness evidently does not mean that he was continually silent, without uttering a word, for he prophesied what is written in chapters 25-32. He was to be dumb concerning Israel; the intervening chapters, before the messenger came, concern other nations. And now that promised messenger arrived and his mouth was opened again to prophesy about Israel. The first message is one of rebuke, describing their condition.