Eze 20: "The importance of recognising the principles of
Goodness and Severity is brought before us in this chapter. Eze 20 commences a
new section of the prophecy. Previously (Eze 8-19) the sin of Jerusalem has been
described, but from Eze 20-25 the prophecy covers the period between the final
drift of the nation into revolt (590 BC; Eze 24:1). While covering much of the
ground already traverses, the prophet now goes deeper, and lays bare the deeper
reason for Jerusalem's sin. God takes it as an affront when those come to
inquire of Him who are resolved to go on in their trespasses. His judgment in
Egypt, in the wilderness and in the Land, illustrate that principle. His purpose
requires the ultimate redemption of Israel, but that will be accomplished only
through judgment, and the purging out of rebels. So Ezekiel records the judgment
of the Deity: (1) Yahweh refuses the elder's enquiry: vv 1-4. (2) Israel's
rebellion in Egypt: vv 5-9. (3) Israel's rebellion in the wilderness: vv 10-17.
(4) The generation that followed, which entered the Land: vv 18-26. (5) Israel's
apostasy while in the Land: vv 27,28. (6) Ezekiel's own generation: vv 30-32.
(7) The triumph of Yahweh in the final redemption: vv 33-44. (8) The doomed city
and the sighing prophet, with sharpened sword: vv 45-49" (GEM).
WILL YOU JUDGE THEM? WILL YOU JUDGE THEM, SON OF MAN?:
Repetition; an impatient imperative: 'You will most certainly judge them!' Cp
Eze 22:2; 23:36.
Vv 5-26: Summary of Israel's history: her repeated failures,
until Ezekiel's day.
AND REVEALED MYSELF TO THEM IN EGYPT: Revelation of a
new name (and purpose) to Moses: Exo 3:7,13-15.
Even at this early stage, your fathers had
BUT THEY REBELLED AGAINST ME...: Cp Psa
I HAVE REVEALED MYSELF: The signs and wonders: plagues
God enters into covenant with Israel: Exo
THE MAN WHO OBEYS THEM WILL LIVE BY THEM: "Keep my
decrees and laws, for the man who obeys them will live by them" (Lev
THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL REBELLED AGAINST ME: Exo
Their rebellion, at the very edge of the Land of Promise (Num
14:2,3,29-32), leading to 38 more years in the wilderness.
They continue to rebel, even after being punished.
The warnings of Lev 26:33; Deu 28:64.
I LET THEM BECOME DEFILED: God gave them over to
corruption: Rom 1:28; 2Th 2:11.
Vv 27-32: The sinful state of Israel, in Ezekiel's
BAMAH: Sig "high places" -- where all altars were. The
Lord had confronted His people with their use of the high places or hilltops for
idolatry. The name of the high places, "Bamah", had a double significance. It
meant "high place," but it also meant literally "go where" or "go what" (Heb 'ba
mah'). Thus Bamah became a contemptuous pun. When the people went to the high
places to worship idols, where were they going? They were going nowhere of any
significance, to do nothing of any importance, since these idols were
nonentities (they were, in the sarcastic phrase of the apostle Paul, "no-gods":
1Co 8:4; 10:19,20) and could not help them. The name Bamah said more about these
places than just identifying them as high places of worship, and the Lord had
perpetuated the name Bamah for this reason.
LIKE THE NATIONS, LIKE THE PEOPLES OF THE WORLD: As
though a perfect conformity to heathen customs was a consummation to be greatly
Vv 33-44: Working of god with Israel from Ezekiel's day until
Even those in Land were still in bondage: cp prayer, etc of
Luk 1:68-74. The Jews, all their lifetimes, were subject to bondage (Heb
I WILL EXECUTE JUDGMENT: "I will plead" (KJV) is
erroneous. This word means to accuse, to indict -- a judicial term. (Christ was
sent to Israel to declare holy name of God, to deliver by his "passover/exodus"
AS YOU PASS UNDER MY ROD: The rod was for counting and
dividing. Israel passed under the Good Shepherd's rod of correction, and the
tenth part were chosen (Lev 27:32).
THOSE WHO REVOLT AND REBEL: There were rebels in the
New Covenant ecclesia as well. Many Jews were dispersed immediately, AD 70,
while many Jewish converts later returned to the weak and beggarly elements
under which they had been in bondage (Gal 4:9).
Before being brought into the Land again, Israel will be
purged (v 38) and brought under the covenant of God again (v 37) -- i.e. the
"new" covenant (Jer 31:31-34). National repentance in anticipation of the return
of Christ: Zec 12:10-14.
Eze 20:45 -- 21:32: A ruin, "until he come!"
Vv 46-49: Against the forests of the south: 3 words for south:
"teman" = right hand (if looking east); "darom" = south point of compass; and
"negev" = desert/wilderness south of Judea.
FIRE: Judgment of fire: Eze 5; 10; 15; Jer 1:14; 4:6;
BOTH GREEN AND DRY: The seeming undeserving with the
ones ready for destruction: cp Eze 21:3.
EVERY FACE: Sig a definite judgment upon PEOPLE, not
just upon the land in general.
"Is he not a maker of allegories?" (RSV). In answer, Ezekiel
received a second, similar vision: Eze 21.