Introduction

\\INTRODUCTION TO EZEKIEL 20\\

The prophecy in this chapter is occasioned by some of the elders of
Israel coming to inquire of the Lord; when the prophet is bid to tell
them that he would not be inquired of by them. The reason of which were
their abominations he is ordered to make known unto them, \\#Eze 20:1-4\\;
and then proceeds the narration of them; first of what their fathers
committed in Egypt; of God's goodness to them, and their ingratitude;
how that though he promised and swore that he would bring them from
thence, when he charged them to abstain from the idolatry of that
people where they were, nevertheless they did not, for which he
threatened them with his wrath to consume them; yet such was his
goodness as to spare them, and bring them out of that land,
\\#Eze 20:5-9\\; being brought out of Egypt into the wilderness, the Lord
gave them statutes and ordinances to observe, particularly sabbaths, as
a sign between him and them, but these they despised and broke;
wherefore the Lord threatened to consume them in the wilderness, and
not bring them into the land of Canaan; yet such was his kindness and
mercy to them, that he did not make an utter end of them in the
wilderness, \\#Eze 20:10-17\\; and whereas he exhorted their posterity not
to imitate their parents, but to walk in his statutes and judgments,
and observe his sabbaths, yet they would not; which drew out his
resentment against them, and he threatened to scatter them among the
Heathens; but, for his name's sake, that that might not be polluted
among the heathen, he spared them, and did not cut them off, only gave
them up to do things very pernicious to them, \\#Eze 20:18-26\\; and even
when they were brought into the land of Canaan, they were guilty of
blasphemy against God, and of idolatry on every high hill they saw,
\\#Eze 20:27-29\\; but whereas it might be objected, what is all this to
the present generation? it is observed, that they imitated their
fathers, and were guilty of the same idolatries, and therefore the Lord
would not be inquired of by them, \\#Eze 20:30,31\\; and threatens to rule
them with fury, and plead with them, as he had pleaded with their
fathers in the wilderness, \\#Eze 20:32-36\\; nevertheless he suggests
that there would be a remnant among them, when he should have purged
the rebels and transgressors from them, that he would deal graciously
with in a covenant way; who should serve him in his holy mountain,
where he would require and accept their sacrifices, in whom he would be
sanctified; and who should know him, and loathe themselves, when made
sensible of the distinguishing favours bestowed upon them,
\\#Eze 20:37-44\\; and the chapter is closed with a prophecy dropped
against Jerusalem, denouncing utter destruction on it, \\#Eze 20:45-49\\.

reign, and of the captivity of Jeconiah; from whence the dates of
Ezekiel's visions and prophecies are taken, \\#Eze 1:2 8:1\\; two years,
one month, and five days, after Ezekiel began to prophesy, and eleven
months and five days after the preceding prophecy:

\\in the fifth [month], the tenth [day] of the month\\; the month Ab, which
answers to our July and August; on this day afterwards Jerusalem was
twice destroyed, first by the Chaldeans, and then by the Romans:

\\[that] certain of the elders of Israel came to inquire of the Lord\\; by
the prophet; these were either some of the elders that were carried
captive, who came to inquire how long they should continue in this
state; or what methods they should use to free themselves from it; or
what they should do while they were in it; whether it would be
advisable that they should conform to the customs of the Heathens among
whom they were; or what would be the case of those that were left in
Judea: or else these were sent by Zedekiah to pay the king of Babylon
his tax, or to negotiate some affair with him relating to the captives;
and who took this opportunity of consulting the Lord by the prophet
what methods should be taken to throw off the yoke, and to know what
was the mind of God in it; but these things are uncertain, as are also
the persons the inquirers; though the Jews say {e} they were Ananias,
Azarias, and Misael; which is not probable, since they were good men,
whereas these seem to be hypocritical persons:

\\and sat before me\\; with great seriousness and devotion seemingly,
waiting for an answer.

{e} Seder Olam Rabba apud Abarbinel in loc.

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