Ezekiel 33

The watchman- responsibility for warning the wicked 1
God's regret for the lost 10
The fall of Jerusalem 21
Reasons for Judah's desolation 23
Hearing God's words but not doing them 30
Text Comments
 1 ¶ Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
 2  Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman:
.3  If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people;
 4  Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head.
 5  He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul.
 6  But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand.
  1 - Again the word Beginning a new section of the book. The prophet is commissioned to speak. The people need to know how to relate to the coming news about the fall of Jerusalem.
  2 - Set him for a watchman See ez0316, 2sa1824, 2ki0917, ha0201.
  4 - Taketh not warning ... blood ... head "metaphor from sacrificial victims, on the heads of which they used to lay their hands, praying that their guilt should be upon the victims." (JFB Commentary).
 7  So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me.
.8  When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
 9  Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.
  7 - I have set thee a watchman "application of the image. Ezekiel's appointment to be a watchman spiritually is far more solemn, as it is derived from God, not from the people." (JFB).
  8 - Wicked man, thou shalt ... die A principle for saving souls. We are to restore those who have slipped into a "fault" ga0601.
.10  ¶ Therefore, O thou son of man, speak unto the house of Israel; Thus ye speak, saying, If our transgressions and our sins be upon us, and we pine away in them, how should we then live?
.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?
 12  Therefore, thou son of man, say unto the children of thy people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression: as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall thereby in the day that he turneth from his wickedness; neither shall the righteous be able to live for his righteousness in the day that he sinneth.
.13  When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it.
   10 - Our transgressions Ezekiel is to identify with his people.
   11 - No pleasure in death of wicked This is a key principle in understanding the love of God. Satan would have Him pictured with his own evil character r14x.
  On the topic of why God permits suffering and evil see the notes page for Isaiah 14. That chapter is partly about Satan and you might want to read it, too.
Image: During the 3½ years of drought, Jezebel and her prophets tried to disprove the prophecy, 1ki18. PK17
 14  Again, when I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right;
 15  If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die.
 16  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.
 17  Yet the children of thy people say, The way of the Lord is not equal: but as for them, their way is not equal.
 17 Yet your people say, 'The way of the Lord is not just'; when it is their own way that is not just. (RSV).
 18  When the righteous turneth from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, he shall even die thereby.
 19  But if the wicked turn from his wickedness, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall live thereby.
 20  Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. O ye house of Israel, I will judge you every one after his ways.
  14 - Certainly die This is the second death where fire comes down from heaven re2009b. The warning relates to the sounding of the trumpet above.
  15 - Statutes of life "in the obeying of which life is promised (Le 18:5). If the law has failed to give life to man, it has not been the fault of the law, but of man's sinful inability to keep it (Ro 7:10,12; Ga 3:21). It becomes life-giving through Christ's righteous obedience to it (2Co 3:6)." (JFB).
  16 - None of his sins God's grace is as abundant in the Old Testament as in the New.
  17 - Equal From takan meaning, "to balance," "to measure," etc.
.21 ¶ And it came to pass in the twelfth year of our captivity, in the tenth month, in the fifth day of the month, that one that had escaped out of Jerusalem came unto me, saying, The city is smitten.
 22  Now the hand of the LORD was upon me in the evening, afore he that was escaped came; and had opened my mouth, until he came to me in the morning; and my mouth was opened, and I was no more dumb.
  22 - Hand of the Lord ... upon The Lord directs His prophets to speak. He withheld Ezekiel's ability to speak until the time was right.
.23  Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
 24  Son of man, they that inhabit those wastes of the land of Israel speak, saying, Abraham was one, and he inherited the land: but we are many; the land is given us for inheritance.
 25  Wherefore say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Ye eat with the blood, and lift up your eyes toward your idols, and shed blood: and shall ye possess the land?
 26  Ye stand upon your sword, ye work abomination, and ye defile every one his neighbour's wife: and shall ye possess the land?
  23 - Word of the Lord came We begin to hear the prophet's message. See on verses 21 and 22.
  24 - They inhabit ... Abraham The people under the leadership of Gedaliah were in rebellion. Here is what they claimed: "If God gave the land for an inheritance to Abraham, who was but one (Isa 51:2), much more it is given to us, who, though reduced, are still many. If he, with 318 servants, was able to defend himself amid so many foes, much more shall we, so much more numerous, retain our own. The grant of the land was not for his sole use, but for his numerous posterity." (JFB)
  25 - Ye eat with the blood Animals slain for the meat were to be bled so that the blood would not be consumed. le1926, ge0904. They were wicked in other ways, too.
 27  Say thou thus unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; As I live, surely they that are in the wastes shall fall by the sword, and him that is in the open field will I give to the beasts to be devoured, and they that be in the forts and in the caves shall die of the pestilence.
 28  For I will lay the land most desolate, and the pomp of her strength shall cease; and the mountains of Israel shall be desolate, that none shall pass through.
 29  Then shall they know that I am the LORD, when I have laid the land most desolate because of all their abominations which they have committed.
  27 - They ... shall fall ... be devoured They wanted to live by the sword but would die instead je40.
  29 - Then shall they know Sadly, the people did not listen to the warnings.
.30 ¶ Also, thou son of man, the children of thy people still are talking against thee by the walls and in the doors of the houses, and speak one to another, every one to his brother, saying, Come, I pray you, and hear what is the word that cometh forth from the LORD.
.31  And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness.
 32  And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not.
 33  And when this cometh to pass, (lo, it will come,) then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them.
   30 - Children of thy people The children were to have been taught de0607.
   31 - Talk love and make music This imitation religion is, too often, seen today. Obedience is considered impossible and unnecessary re1402b.
   33 - Prophet among them The prophetic voice is important and to be expected in our time, but there are false prophets, too. We need to listen for call of the Spirit. Doing the words of the Lord as found in the Scriptures is one of the tests r12w.
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Study questions - Chapter 33

  1. What was to happen when the sword was seen coming?
  2. What benefit did the watchman provide for the wicked?
  3. If we fail to warn the wicked what will be our fate?
  4. What characteristic of God helps us understand His character?
  5. What sobering news came in the story of this chapter?