Ezekiel 3

 

וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלַי בֶּן־אָדָם אֵת אֲשֶׁר־תִּמְצָא אֱכֹול אֱכֹול אֶת־הַמְּגִלָּה הַזֹּאת וְלֵךְ דַּבֵּר אֶל־בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל׃   3:1

Ezek. 3:1   And He said to me, “Human, what you shall find, eat; eat this roll, then go, speak to the house of Israel.”

וָאֶפְתַּח אֶת־פִּי וַיַּאֲכִלֵנִי אֵת הַמְּגִלָּה הַזֹּאת׃   3:2

Ezek. 3:2   So I had to open my mouth and He made me eat that roll.

Because of my theory about non-inverting vavs, I translate this verse a bit differently than it is usually translated.  Typically, the other translations have “So I opened my mouth....   I claim that my translation conveys Ezekiel’s obvious reluctance to do these things commanded of him by the Lord.  In other words, he was himself indeed rebellious.  See also the next verse where the same condition exists.

וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלַי בֶּן־אָדָם בִּטְנְךָ תַאֲכֵל וּמֵעֶיךָ תְמַלֵּא אֵת הַמְּגִלָּה הַזֹּאת אֲשֶׁר אֲנִי נֹתֵן אֵלֶיךָ וָאֹכְלָה   3:3        וַתְּהִי בְּפִי כִּדְבַשׁ לְמָתֹוק׃

Ezek. 3:3   Then He said to me, “Human, you must make your belly devour, and you must fill your bowels with this roll that I have entrusted to you.”  And I had to eat it, but it was like sweet honey in my mouth.

וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָי בֶּן־אָדָם לֶךְ־בֹּא אֶל־בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל וְדִבַּרְתָּ בִדְבָרַי אֲלֵיהֶם׃   3:4

Ezek. 3:4   And He said to me, “Human, come, go to the house of Israel and you will speak to them with My words.”

כִּי לֹא אֶל־עַם עִמְקֵי שָׂפָה וְכִבְדֵי לָשֹׁון אַתָּה שָׁלוּחַ אֶל־בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל׃   3:5

Ezek. 3:5   “For you are not being sent to a people muddled of speech or slow of tongue; to the house of Israel,

לֹא אֶל־עַמִּים רַבִּים עִמְקֵי שָׂפָה וְכִבְדֵי לָשֹׁון אֲשֶׁר לֹא־תִשְׁמַע דִּבְרֵיהֶם אִם־לֹא אֲלֵיהֶם שְׁלַחְתִּיךָ   3:6       הֵמָּה יִשְׁמְעוּ אֵלֶיךָ׃

Ezek. 3:6   not to numerous peoples unintelligible of speech or slow of tongue that you would not understand their words.  Surely, if I sent you to them, they would listen to you.”

Note what the Lord is saying here.  Others, non-Jews, are more ready to accept Him than are the Jews.  Pagans would listen to Ezekiel if he spoke these words to them.  Well, he has and they did.  They are now called Christians.

וּבֵית יִשְׂרָאֵל לֹא יֹאבוּ לִשְׁמֹעַ אֵלֶיךָ כִּי־אֵינָם אֹבִים לִשְׁמֹעַ אֵלָי כִּי כָּל־בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל חִזְקֵי־מֵצַח   3:7        וּקְשֵׁי־לֵב הֵמָּה׃

Ezek. 3:7   “But the house of Israel will not be willing to listen to you, for none of them have been willing to listen to Me, for all the house of Israel, they are hard of forehead and stubborn of heart.”

הִנֵּה נָתַתִּי אֶת־פָּנֶיךָ חֲזָקִים לְעֻמַּת פְּנֵיהֶם וְאֶת־מִצְחֲךָ חָזָק לְעֻמַּת מִצְחָם׃   3:8

Ezek. 3:8   “Behold, I have set your face harder than their faces and your forehead harder than their foreheads.”

כְּשָׁמִיר חָזָק מִצֹּר נָתַתִּי מִצְחֶךָ לֹא־תִירָא אֹותָם וְלֹא־תֵחַת מִפְּנֵיהֶם כִּי בֵּית־מְרִי הֵמָּה׃   3:9

Ezek. 3:9   “I have made your forehead like a firm stone harder than flint; you need not fear them, and you need not be dismayed because of them, though they are a rebellious house.”

וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָי בֶּן־אָדָם אֶת־כָּל־דְּבָרַי אֲשֶׁר אֲדַבֵּר אֵלֶיךָ קַח בִּלְבָבְךָ וּבְאָזְנֶיךָ שְׁמָע׃   3:10

Ezek. 3:10   Then He said to me, “Human, receive in your heart all My words that I will speak to you and hear with your own ears.”

Here we have another example of an inverted description of events.  The Lord says “receive in your heart my words,” and then “hear with your own ears.”  Don’t you think Ezekiel would have to hear before he could receive?

וְלֵךְ בֹּא אֶל־הַגֹּולָה אֶל־בְּנֵי עַמֶּךָ וְדִבַּרְתָּ אֲלֵיהֶם וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵיהֶם כֹּה אָמַר אֲדֹנָי יְהֹוִה אִם־יִשְׁמְעוּ   3:11 וְאִם־יֶחְדָּלו

Ezek. 3:11   “Then come, go to the exiled, to the children of your people, and you shall speak to them and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Master, the Lord,’ whether they will listen or not.”

All right, why is the Lord telling Ezekiel to go to the exiles when he is supposed to be sitting among them?  This is one of my strongest clues that Ezekiel is dreaming.  See Ezek. 1:26.

There’s also a strange phrase in this verse: “your people,” used allegedly by the Lord.  It’s a phrase that is encountered five more times in Ezekiel (vss. 13:17, and 33:2, 12, 17, and 30).  Now I believe that this phrase implies something rather unique.  It appears no where else in the Bible in a context similar to this one.  It occurs about 90 more times in total, but always in different circumstances.  No where else does the Lord refer to the children of Israel as someone else’s people.  They are always called by Him “My people,” “ the people,” “the children of Israel,” or “My children.”  Now what does the phrase imply?  To me, it speaks to Ezekiel’s reluctance to address the people.  The Lord is emphasizing to him that they are Ezekiel’s people.  He is responsible for informing them of the Lord’s words.  I’ll refer to this hypothesis a number of times throughout thi8s book as we encounter more clues.

וַתִּשָּׂאֵנִי רוּחַ וָאֶשְׁמַע אַחֲרַי קֹול רַעַשׁ גָּדֹול בָּרוּךְ כְּבֹוד־יְהוָה מִמְּקֹומֹו׃   3:12

Ezek. 3:12   Then a spirit lifted me up, and I heard a sound behind me, a great rattling – “Blessed is the glory of the Lord from His place,”

וְקֹול כַּנְפֵי הַחַיֹּות מַשִּׁיקֹות אִשָּׁה אֶל־אֲחֹותָהּ וְקֹול הָאֹופַנִּים לְעֻמָּתָם וְקֹול רַעַשׁ גָּדֹול׃   3:13

Ezek. 3:13   as well as the sound of the wings of the living beings from touching one to another, and the sound of the wheels close beside them, and the sound of a great rattling.

וְרוּחַ נְשָׂאַתְנִי וַתִּקָּחֵנִי וָאֵלֵךְ מַר בַּחֲמַת רוּחִי וְיַד־יְהוָה עָלַי חָזָקָה׃   3:14

Ezek. 3:14   So the spirit lifted me up and took me away, and I went, bitter with an anger of my spirit; yet the hand of the Lord prevailed upon me.

In this verse we can see Ezekiel’s obvious reluctance (rebellion?)  He is saying he was bitter in his heart, but the Lord actually forced him to comply.  Please also be aware that the spirit took Ezekiel away.  I ask from where and to where?  Answer:  From where he was in his dream -- alone with the Lord, the expanse, and its entourage, not with the exiles at the river Chebar -- and to the exiles, presumably, who were at the river Chebar (see the next verse).  See also my remarks related to Ezek. 2:1.  I think here we have the first evidence that Ezekiel doesn’t seem to have his heart in his task.

וָאָבֹוא אֶל־הַגֹּולָה תֵּל אָבִיב הַיֹּשְׁבִים אֶל־נְהַר־כְּבָר (וָאֲשֶׁר) [וָאֵשֵׁב] הֵמָּה יֹושְׁבִים שָׁם   3:15                    וָאֵשֵׁב שָׁם שִׁבְעַת יָמִים מַשְׁמִים בְּתֹוכָם׃

Ezek. 3:15   So I had to come to the exiled of Tel-abib dwelling by the river Chebar, and since they were sitting there, so I had to sit there seven stupifying days among them.

More reluctance implied here by my translations I had to come and so I had to sit, which are based on my theory of non-inverting vavs.  Also notice that this verse adds support for my idea that Ezekiel is dreaming -- I had to come to the exiled.  In addition, please note that some of the words in this verse are mistranslated, including the word supposedly in error in the parentheses.  The word is correct as it stands; it needs no alteration, especially the change that has been traditionally applied in the brackets, which alters the sense of the verse.  The word in the parentheses can be translated as and since.  The word in the brackets can be translated as and I sat.  The usual translation of the verse goes something like this:  “Then I came to them of the captivity at Tel-abib that dwelt at the river Chebar, and I sat where they sat; and I remained there appalled among them seven days.”  Too many mistranslations for me to point out, but suffice it to say, there’s much misinterpretation of this verse.

וַיְהִי מִקְצֵה שִׁבְעַת יָמִים ף וַיְהִי דְבַר־יְהוָה אֵלַי לֵאמֹר׃   3:16

Ezek. 3:16   When it was at the end of the seven days, then the word of the Lord occurred to me saying,

בֶּן־אָדָם צֹפֶה נְתַתִּיךָ לְבֵית יִשְׂרָאֵל וְשָׁמַעְתָּ מִפִּי דָּבָר וְהִזְהַרְתָּ אֹותָם מִמֶּנִּי׃   3:17

Ezek. 3:17   “Human, I have given you a watch for the house of Israel; when you would hear a word from My mouth, then you must warn them from Me.”

בְּאָמְרִי לָרָשָׁע מֹות תָּמוּת וְלֹא הִזְהַרְתֹּו וְלֹא דִבַּרְתָּ לְהַזְהִיר רָשָׁע מִדַּרְכֹּו הָרְשָׁעָה לְחַיֹּתֹו הוּא   3:18     רָשָׁע בַּעֲוֹנֹו יָמוּת וְדָמֹו מִיָּדְךָ אֲבַקֵּשׁ׃

Ezek. 3:18   “On My saying to a wicked one, ‘Surely you shall die,’ but you have not warned him and you have not spoken to warn the guilty one from his way of wickedness, saving his life, that wicked one would die because of his iniquity, then I would require his blood from your hand.”

וְאַתָּה כִּי־הִזְהַרְתָּ רָשָׁע וְלֹא־שָׁב מֵרִשְׁעֹו וּמִדַּרְכֹּו הָרְשָׁעָה הוּא בַּעֲוֹנֹו יָמוּת וְאַתָּה אֶת־נַפְשְׁךָ   3:19     הִצַּלְתָּ׃

Ezek. 3:19   “But if you have warned the wicked one, and he has not turned from his wickedness or from his way of wickedness, he would die because of his iniquity, then you have delivered your soul.”

וּבְשׁוּב צַדִּיק מִצִּדְקֹו וְעָשָׂה עָוֶל וְנָתַתִּי מִכְשֹׁול לְפָנָיו הוּא יָמוּת כִּי לֹא הִזְהַרְתֹּו בְּחַטָּאתֹו יָמוּת   3:20   וְלֹא תִזָּכַרְןָ צִדְקֹתָוק אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה וְדָמֹו מִיָּדְךָ אֲבַקֵּשׁ׃

Ezek. 3:20   “And when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and would do wrong, so I would put a stumbling block before him; he would die because you did not warn him, he would die because of his sin, and his righteousness that he had done would not be remembered, then I would require his blood from your hand.”

וְאַתָּה כִּי הִזְהַרְתֹּו צַדִּיק לְבִלְתִּי חֲטֹא צַדִּיק וְהוּא לֹא־חָטָא חָיֹו יִחְיֶה כִּי נִזְהָר וְאַתָּה אֶת־נַפְשְׁךָ   3:21   הִצַּלְתָּ׃

Ezek. 3:21   “But if you have warned him, the righteous man, that a righteous man does not sin, and he does not sin, he would live his life because he took the warning, then you have delivered your soul.”

Please make note of the Lord’s patience and His kindness to Ezekiel in explaining to him the idea presented in the previous five verses (3:17 to 3:21).  If we can warn someone that his wickedness will lead to dire consequences and we don’t do it, we may be responsible for his blood.  If we give the warning, we are relieved of that responsibility.  This should be something we must all understand.

וַתְּהִי עָלַי שָׁם יַד־יְהוָה וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלַי קוּם צֵא אֶל־הַבִּקְעָה וְשָׁם אֲדַבֵּר אֹותָךְ׃   3:22

Ezek. 3:22   And the “hand” of the Lord was on me there, and He said to me, “Arise, go out to the plain, and there I will speak with you.”

וָאָקוּם וָאֵצֵא אֶל־הַבִּקְעָה וְהִנֵּה־שָׁם כְּבֹוד־יְהוָה עֹמֵד כַּכָּבֹוד אֲשֶׁר רָאִיתִי עַל־נְהַר־כְּבָר וָאֶפֹּל   3:23         עַל־פָּנָי׃

Ezek. 3:23   So I had to rise, and I went out to the plain, and behold, the glory of the Lord was standing there, like the glory that I had seen by the river Chebar, and I fell on my face.

                                                                                                                                      [Return to Ezek. 8:4]

וַתָּבֹא־בִי רוּחַ וַתַּעֲמִדֵנִי עַל־רַגְלָי וַיְדַבֵּר אֹתִי וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלַי בֹּא הִסָּגֵר בְּתֹוךְ בֵּיתֶךָ׃   3:24

Ezek. 3:24   Then a spirit came into me that stood me up on my feet, and He spoke with me and said to me, “Go, be shut up in the middle of your house.”

וְאַתָּה בֶן־אָדָם הִנֵּה נָתְנוּ עָלֶיךָ עֲבֹותִים וַאֲסָרוּכָ בָּהֶם וְלֹא תֵצֵא בְּתֹוכָם׃   3:25

Ezek. 3:25   “And you, human, behold, cords have been put upon you, that they will bind you with them, so you will not be able to go out of their midst.”

This verse is typically mistranslated; the grammar denoted by three words (the fifth, eighth, and the last) in the verse is ignored.  The other translations make it seem as it the exiles are to bind him and that he would not be able to go to them.  I claim the verse is all about the cords.  They will be doing the binding and Ezekiel will not get out of their binds.

וּלְשֹׁונְךָ אַדְבִּיק אֶל־חִךֶּךָ וְנֶאֱלַמְתָּ וְלֹא־תִהְיֶה לָהֶם לְאִישׁ מֹוכִיחַ כִּי בֵּית מְרִי הֵמָּה׃   3:26

Ezek. 3:26   “And I will make your tongue stick to your gums that you will be dumb, and not be for a rebuking man to them that they are a rebellious house.”

The Lord is offering another opportunity to Ezekiel that he might learn from it.  See the next verse.

וּבְדַבְּרִי אֹותְךָ אֶפְתַּח אֶת־פִּיךָ וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵיהֶם כֹּה אָמַר אֲדֹנָי יְהֹוִה הַשֹּׁמֵעַ יִשְׁמָע וְהֶחָדֵל יֶחְדָּל   3:27      כִּי בֵּית מְרִי הֵמָּה׃

Ezek. 3:27   “So when I will be talking with you, I will open your mouth; then you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Master, the Lord.’  Let the listener hear, and let the controlled one abstain, for they are a rebellious house.”

Notice the Lord’s acknowledgment of -- no, respect for -- human free will in the last part of the verse.

 

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