The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Ezekiel 20

Eze 20:1

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).

Eze 20:4

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.

Eze 20:5

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.

Eze 20:7

Even at this early stage, your fathers had transgressed.

Eze 20:8

BUT THEY REBELLED AGAINST ME...: Cp Psa 106:7,29,33,43.

Eze 20:9

I HAVE REVEALED MYSELF: The signs and wonders: plagues and Passover.

Eze 20:10

God enters into covenant with Israel: Exo 19:1--24:7,8.

Eze 20:11

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 18:5).

Eze 20:13


Eze 20:15

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.

Eze 20:21

They continue to rebel, even after being punished.

Eze 20:23

The warnings of Lev 26:33; Deu 28:64.

Eze 20:26

I LET THEM BECOME DEFILED: God gave them over to corruption: Rom 1:28; 2Th 2:11.

Eze 20:27

Vv 27-32: The sinful state of Israel, in Ezekiel's day.

Eze 20:29

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.

Eze 20:32

LIKE THE NATIONS, LIKE THE PEOPLES OF THE WORLD: As though a perfect conformity to heathen customs was a consummation to be greatly desired.

Eze 20:33

Vv 33-44: Working of god with Israel from Ezekiel's day until consummation.

Eze 20:34

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 2:15).

Eze 20:35

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" (Luk 9:31).

Eze 20:37

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).

Eze 20:38

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).

Eze 20:42

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

Eze 20:45 -- 21:32: A ruin, "until he come!"

Eze 20:46

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.

Eze 20:47

FIRE: Judgment of fire: Eze 5; 10; 15; Jer 1:14; 4:6; 6:1.

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.

Eze 20:49

"Is he not a maker of allegories?" (RSV). In answer, Ezekiel received a second, similar vision: Eze 21.
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