James Gray - Concise Bible Commentary
Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,Ezekiel 33:1-37:28
Ezekiel’s commission to his own countrymen is now renewed (Ezekiel 33:21-22), and evidences a new tone. “Heretofore his functions had been chiefly threatening, but now the evil having reached its worst in the overthrow of Jerusalem, the consolatory element preponderates.” (See Ezekiel 22:11.) Ezekiel 33:23-29 of the same chapter, have reference to the handful left in Jerusalem after the siege, the best commentary on which is Jeremiah 40-42. Ezekiel 33:30 to the end describes conditions at Chebar. The last verse alludes to the news in Ezekiel 33:21. When they heard that report which took some time to reach them, they had reason to change their minds about the prophet and his work.
MANY FALSE SHEPHERDS AND THE ONE TRUE ONE (Ezekiel 34)
“The shepherds of Israel” (Ezekiel 34:2) are not the prophets and priests so much (though they may be included), as the rulers kings, princes, judges. The indictment against them extends to Ezekiel 34:10, at which point encouragement and comfort is given to the scattered sheep, the people of Israel. The language corresponds with that of all the prophets, and points to the regather-ing of the nation in the latter times, and their restoration and blessing in the land again (Ezekiel 34:11-22). This will synchronize with the second coming of the Messiah, here called “my servant David” (Ezekiel 34:24) and “a plant of renown” (Ezekiel 34:29). Ezekiel 34:25-28 indicate that millennial conditions are in mind. Though a number of the people returned after the seventy years of captivity, and though they had a larger posterity in the land, yet they were continually under the Gentile yoke, until in A.D. 70, they were finally driven away again in a dispersion which still continues.
JUDGMENT ON MOUNT SEIR OR EDOM (Ezekiel 35)
This is placed here by way of contrast with Israel’s promised blessing. The Edomites, descendants of Esau, Jacob’s brother, had treated their kin shamefully in the past (Ezekiel 35:5), therefore, unlike them their desolations should be perpetual (Ezekiel 35:9). Remember that it is only in their national character of foes to Israel that they are to be destroyed. God is always merciful to individuals who repent. “When the whole earth rejoices” (Ezekiel 35:14), means Judah and the nations that submit themselves to her God.
MORAL RESTORATION (Ezekiel 36)
It is always understood that the national restoration of Israel implies their moral restoration. They will repent and turn to the Lord before the promised blessings shall be poured out upon them. It is this moral restoration which is foretold here.
We have first restoration of the land (Ezekiel 36:1-15), and then the people (Ezekiel 36:16; Ezekiel 37:28). Ezekiel 36:19-22, like those that follow, are spoken anticipatively. Observe God’s motive for restoring them (Ezekiel 36:22-23). Observe the symbolic allusion to their moral regeneration (Ezekiel 36:25-27), and that afterwards comes the material blessing. Many will have been gathered back to their land before the moral cleansing takes place, but the blessing will be withheld till then (Ezekiel 36:28-38).
VALLEY OF DRY BONES (Ezekiel 37)
In this chapter we have in symbol what the preceding foretold in plain language in other words what the prophet saw in vision. Ezekiel 37:11 is the key to the chapter. The “bones” are the whole house of Israel on the earth at the time to which the prophecy refers, which is the beginning of the millennial age. The “graves” are the Gentile nations among which they shall be scattered. They shall be gathered out from among these nations back to their land (Ezekiel 37:12). This will result in their conversion (Ezekiel 37:13), after which they will be filled with the Holy Spirit (Ezekiel 37:14). The two sticks (Ezekiel 37:16) are Israel and Judah which shall again become one (Ezekiel 37:17-27). Following this is a blessing on the whole earth (Ezekiel 37:28). Compare Acts 15:16-17.
Verse 8 indicates that the people will return to their land at first unconverted. “David my servant” (Ezekiel 37:24) is generally understood of the Messiah. The chapter, as a whole, presents a beautiful image of Christian faith, which believes in the coming general resurrection of the dead in the face of all appearances against it, because God said it (John 5:21; Romans 4:17; 2 Corinthians 1:9).
1. Explain the title of this lesson.
2. Quote Ezekiel 33:11.
3. Who are the shepherds of chapter 34?
4. What title is twice given the Messiah in this lesson?
5. What explains the location of chapter 35?
6. What precedes the national restoration of Israel?
7. Explain chapter 37.
8. Tell the story of that chapter in your own words.
9. What does verse 8 seem to show?
10. Of what is the chapter a beautiful image?