Human Oppression
Ezekiel 45:8
In the land shall be his possession in Israel: and my princes shall no more oppress my people…

My princes shall no more oppress my people. God is now upon the throne (see Ezekiel 43:7), and there is no room for an earthly sovereign. The highest ruler is the "prince;" but that word stands for human authority and power, whatever be the name by which it is indicated. The promise has a reflex significance; it points to the evils which had been in past times. And Israel would have been fortunate indeed if it had escaped the common doom of oppression at the hand of its kings and princes. Many and sad are the sorrows which this poor world of ours has endured at the hand of those who should have lived to bless and not to curse it. The view, or review, is melancholy in the last degree; surely it is only too true that -

"Man's inhumanity to man Makes countless ages mourn."


1. Impressment. The children of Israel were plainly and powerfully forewarned of this evil (1 Samuel 8:11-17).

2. Taxation. It was not long before the land groaned beneath the weight of the sovereign's levies (2 Samuel 10:4).

3. Robbery of individual right, and invasion of individual liberty. It needs but to mention the case of David's sad defection from right, and Ahab's senseless covetousness and weak yielding to his truculent queen, to be reminded how kings, even of Judah and Israel, defrauded men of their dearest rights. And if we extend the meaning of the word "prince" to any one in authority, or in power, or in possession, we think at once of the terrible oppressions, in this worst form, that have dishonored the lands, darkened the homes, and blighted the lives of men under every sky and in every age of the world.

4. Violence.

II. ITS ESSENTIAL INIQUITY AND ENORMITY. For what is it, in truth? It is a shameful abuse of power. It is nothing less than a man taking from the hand of God the power or opportunity which he gave him in order that he might use for the good, the elevation, the happiness of his kind, and turning that power into an instrument of mischief and of sorrow. It is a heartless and shameless exaggeration by a man of his own personal importance, as if his comfort were everything, and an equally heartless and shameless disregard of the wishes and the wants, the joys and the sorrows, the hearts and the homes of other people. It is a guilty perversion of the purpose and debasement of the gift of God.

III. THE DEEP DIVINE DISAPPROVAL OF IT. How could the Divine Father of all human spirits see one of his children wronging, oppressing a number of his fellows, weighting them with grievous burdens or robbing them of the essential rights of their manhood or their womanhood, without deep, Divine indignation and sorrow (see Exodus 3:7; 2 Kings 13:4; 2 Kings 14:26; Isaiah 1:23, 24; Isaiah 49:25; Jeremiah 22:17; Hosea 4:18; and Ezekiel 22:27)?

IV. THE DIVINE PROMISE UNDER THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST. The time shall come when princes and powers "shall no more oppress." When Jesus Christ shall exercise his benignant sway over all nations, when his spirit of righteousness and of love shall fill the hearts and regulate the lives of men, then the hard hand of oppression will be taken off every shoulder; the cruel exactions shall cease; the spirit of the Christian poet will prevail, when he says -

"I would rather be myself the slave And wear the bonds than fasten them on him;" cruelty shall give place to kindness, and selfishness to considerateness; and instead of men asking - How much can I get out of the multitude to fill my purse and serve my purpose? they will ask - What can I do to enlighten, to enrich, to elevate, to bless? - C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: In the land shall be his possession in Israel: and my princes shall no more oppress my people; and the rest of the land shall they give to the house of Israel according to their tribes.

WEB: In the land it shall be to him for a possession in Israel: and my princes shall no more oppress my people; but they shall give the land to the house of Israel according to their tribes.

Devotement and Consecration
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