Ezekiel 12

The Exile Symbolized

1 The word of the LORD came to me:
2 “Son of man, you are living among a rebellious people. They have eyes to see but do not see and ears to hear but do not hear, for they are a rebellious people.
3 “Therefore, son of man, pack your belongings for exile and in the daytime, as they watch, set out and go from where you are to another place. Perhaps they will understand, though they are a rebellious people.
4 During the daytime, while they watch, bring out your belongings packed for exile. Then in the evening, while they are watching, go out like those who go into exile.
5 While they watch, dig through the wall and take your belongings out through it.
6 Put them on your shoulder as they are watching and carry them out at dusk. Cover your face so that you cannot see the land, for I have made you a sign to the Israelites.”
7 So I did as I was commanded. During the day I brought out my things packed for exile. Then in the evening I dug through the wall with my hands. I took my belongings out at dusk, carrying them on my shoulders while they watched.
8 In the morning the word of the LORD came to me:
9 “Son of man, did not the Israelites, that rebellious people, ask you, ‘What are you doing?’
10 “Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: This prophecy concerns the prince in Jerusalem and all the Israelites who are there.’
11 Say to them, ‘I am a sign to you.’ “As I have done, so it will be done to them. They will go into exile as captives.
12 “The prince among them will put his things on his shoulder at dusk and leave, and a hole will be dug in the wall for him to go through. He will cover his face so that he cannot see the land.
13 I will spread my net for him, and he will be caught in my snare; I will bring him to Babylonia, the land of the Chaldeans, but he will not see it, and there he will die.
14 I will scatter to the winds all those around him—his staff and all his troops—and I will pursue them with drawn sword.
15 “They will know that I am the LORD, when I disperse them among the nations and scatter them through the countries.
16 But I will spare a few of them from the sword, famine and plague, so that in the nations where they go they may acknowledge all their detestable practices. Then they will know that I am the LORD.”
17 The word of the LORD came to me:
18 “Son of man, tremble as you eat your food, and shudder in fear as you drink your water.
19 Say to the people of the land: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says about those living in Jerusalem and in the land of Israel: They will eat their food in anxiety and drink their water in despair, for their land will be stripped of everything in it because of the violence of all who live there.
20 The inhabited towns will be laid waste and the land will be desolate. Then you will know that I am the LORD.’ ”

There Will Be No Delay

21 The word of the LORD came to me:
22 “Son of man, what is this proverb you have in the land of Israel: ‘The days go by and every vision comes to nothing’?
23 Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am going to put an end to this proverb, and they will no longer quote it in Israel.’ Say to them, ‘The days are near when every vision will be fulfilled.
24 For there will be no more false visions or flattering divinations among the people of Israel.
25 But I the LORD will speak what I will, and it shall be fulfilled without delay. For in your days, you rebellious people, I will fulfill whatever I say, declares the Sovereign LORD.’ ”
26 The word of the LORD came to me:
27 “Son of man, the Israelites are saying, ‘The vision he sees is for many years from now, and he prophesies about the distant future.’
28 “Therefore say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: None of my words will be delayed any longer; whatever I say will be fulfilled, declares the Sovereign LORD.’ ”

Ezekiel 12 Commentary

Chapter 12

The approaching captivity. (1-16) An emblem of the consternation of the Jews. (17-20) Answers to the objections of scoffers. (21-28)

Verses 1-16 By the preparation for removal, and his breaking through the wall of his house at evening, as one desirous to escape from the enemy, the prophet signified the conduct and fate of Zedekiah. When God has delivered us, we must glorify him and edify others, by acknowledging our sins. Those who by afflictions are brought to this, are made to know that God is the Lord, and may help to bring others to know him.

Verses 17-20 The prophet must eat and drink in care and fear, with trembling, that he might express the condition of those in Jerusalem during the siege. When ministers speak of the ruin coming upon sinners, they must speak as those that know the terrors of the Lord. Afflictions are happy ones, however grievous to flesh and blood, that improve us in the knowledge of God.

Verses 21-28 From that forbearance of God, which should have led them to repent, the Jews hardened themselves in sin. It will not serve for an excuse in speaking evil, to plead that it is a common saying. There is but a step between us and an awful eternity; therefore it concerns us to get ready for a future state. No one will be able to put from himself the evil day, unless by seeking peace with the Lord.

Cross References 35

  • 1. Psalms 78:40; S Jeremiah 42:21
  • 2. S Isaiah 6:10; Ezekiel 2:6-8; S Matthew 13:15; Mark 4:12; Mark 8:18
  • 3. S Jeremiah 36:3
  • 4. Jeremiah 26:3
  • 5. ver 11; S Ezekiel 3:27; 2 Timothy 2:25-26
  • 6. ver 12; 2 Kings 25:4; S Jeremiah 39:4
  • 7. Jeremiah 52:7; Amos 4:3
  • 8. ver 12; S Isaiah 8:18; S Isaiah 20:3; Ezekiel 4:3; Ezekiel 24:24
  • 9. Ezekiel 24:18; Ezekiel 37:10
  • 10. Ezekiel 17:12; Ezekiel 20:49; Ezekiel 24:19
  • 11. Isaiah 8:18; Zechariah 3:8
  • 12. S 2 Kings 25:7; S Jeremiah 15:2; Jeremiah 52:15
  • 13. S Jeremiah 39:4
  • 14. Jeremiah 52:7
  • 15. Ezekiel 17:20; Ezekiel 19:8; Ezekiel 32:3; Hosea 7:12
  • 16. S Isaiah 24:17-18
  • 17. Ezekiel 1:3
  • 18. S Jeremiah 39:7
  • 19. S Jeremiah 24:8; S Jeremiah 52:11; S Lamentations 4:20; Ezekiel 17:16
  • 20. S 2 Kings 25:5; S Jeremiah 21:7; S Ezekiel 5:10,12; Ezekiel 17:21
  • 21. S Leviticus 26:33
  • 22. S Jeremiah 22:8-9; Ezekiel 6:8-10; Ezekiel 14:22; Ezekiel 36:20
  • 23. Lamentations 5:9; Ezekiel 4:16
  • 24. Jeremiah 10:22; S Ezekiel 6:6-14; Micah 7:13; Zechariah 7:14
  • 25. S Ezekiel 4:16; Ezekiel 23:33
  • 26. Isaiah 7:23-24; S Jeremiah 4:7; S Jeremiah 25:9
  • 27. S Psalms 49:4
  • 28. S Isaiah 5:19; Ezekiel 11:3; Amos 6:3; 2 Peter 3:4
  • 29. S Ezekiel 7:7
  • 30. S Psalms 37:13; Ezekiel 18:3; Joel 2:1; Zephaniah 1:14
  • 31. Jeremiah 14:14; Ezekiel 13:23; Micah 3:6; Zechariah 13:2-4
  • 32. Habakkuk 2:3
  • 33. S Numbers 11:23; Ezekiel 13:6
  • 34. Numbers 14:28-34; S Isaiah 14:24; S Isaiah 55:11; Jeremiah 16:9; Habakkuk 1:5
  • 35. S Ezekiel 11:3; Daniel 10:14; Matthew 24:48-50; 2 Peter 3:4

Chapter Summary


In this chapter, under the sign of the prophet's removing household goods, is represented the removal of the king of Judah and his people from their own land into captivity; and under another sign, of the prophet's eating and drinking with quaking, and trembling, and carefulness, is set forth, either the famine that should be during the siege of Jerusalem, or the desolations following the taking of it; and the chapter is concluded with a reproof of the Jews flattering themselves that these prophecies respected times a great way off, and therefore hoped they would never be accomplished. The preface to the first sign is in Eze 12:1,2; which describes the people of the Jews as rebellious, and given up to judicial blindness and hardness; and suggests the cause of all their calamities: the order to prepare goods for removing, to show to the people; for digging a wall; carrying the stuff out in their sight, on his shoulders, at twilight; and covering his face when he did it, is in Eze 12:3-6; the execution of this order, which is declared in part for the whole, is in Eze 12:7; then follows the explication of this sign, Eze 12:8-11; and the application of it, first to King Zedekiah, in whom should be fulfilled several of the particulars mentioned, Eze 12:12,13; and to the people about him, and his army that should be scattered and fall by the sword, Eze 12:14; the end of which should be, that the Lord should be known, his power, truth, and righteousness, by a few that should escape the famine, pestilence, and sword, Eze 12:15,16. The second sign, with the explication and application of it, is in Eze 12:17-20; and the chapter is closed with a reproof of the Jews; the proverbial expression they used, and which the Lord resented, is cited Eze 12:21,22; and the prophet is bid to assure them that it should cease, or there should be no room for it; and also every vain vision and flattering divination, Eze 12:23,24; and that the word of the Lord should not be prolonged, but should quickly and certainly be accomplished; and that their hopes of the contrary were in vain, Eze 12:25-28.

Ezekiel 12 Commentaries

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