Ezekiel 33

Renewal of Ezekiel’s Call as Watchman

1 The word of the LORD came to me:
2 “Son of man, speak to your people and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword against a land, and the people of the land choose one of their men and make him their watchman,
3 and he sees the sword coming against the land and blows the trumpet to warn the people,
4 then if anyone hears the trumpet but does not heed the warning and the sword comes and takes their life, their blood will be on their own head.
5 Since they heard the sound of the trumpet but did not heed the warning, their blood will be on their own head. If they had heeded the warning, they would have saved themselves.
6 But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes someone’s life, that person’s life will be taken because of their sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for their blood.’
7 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me.
8 When I say to the wicked, ‘You wicked person, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade them from their ways, that wicked person will die for[a] their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood.
9 But if you do warn the wicked person to turn from their ways and they do not do so, they will die for their sin, though you yourself will be saved.
10 “Son of man, say to the Israelites, ‘This is what you are saying: “Our offenses and sins weigh us down, and we are wasting away because of[b] them. How then can we live?” ’
11 Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?’
12 “Therefore, son of man, say to your people, ‘If someone who is righteous disobeys, that person’s former righteousness will count for nothing. And if someone who is wicked repents, that person’s former wickedness will not bring condemnation. The righteous person who sins will not be allowed to live even though they were formerly righteous.’
13 If I tell a righteous person that they will surely live, but then they trust in their righteousness and do evil, none of the righteous things that person has done will be remembered; they will die for the evil they have done.
14 And if I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ but they then turn away from their sin and do what is just and right—
15 if they give back what they took in pledge for a loan, return what they have stolen, follow the decrees that give life, and do no evil—that person will surely live; they will not die.
16 None of the sins that person has committed will be remembered against them. They have done what is just and right; they will surely live.
17 “Yet your people say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ But it is their way that is not just.
18 If a righteous person turns from their righteousness and does evil, they will die for it.
19 And if a wicked person turns away from their wickedness and does what is just and right, they will live by doing so.
20 Yet you Israelites say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ But I will judge each of you according to your own ways.”

Jerusalem’s Fall Explained

21 In the twelfth year of our exile, in the tenth month on the fifth day, a man who had escaped from Jerusalem came to me and said, “The city has fallen!”
22 Now the evening before the man arrived, the hand of the LORD was on me, and he opened my mouth before the man came to me in the morning. So my mouth was opened and I was no longer silent.
23 Then the word of the LORD came to me:
24 “Son of man, the people living in those ruins in the land of Israel are saying, ‘Abraham was only one man, yet he possessed the land. But we are many; surely the land has been given to us as our possession.’
25 Therefore say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Since you eat meat with the blood still in it and look to your idols and shed blood, should you then possess the land?
26 You rely on your sword, you do detestable things, and each of you defiles his neighbor’s wife. Should you then possess the land?’
27 “Say this to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: As surely as I live, those who are left in the ruins will fall by the sword, those out in the country I will give to the wild animals to be devoured, and those in strongholds and caves will die of a plague.
28 I will make the land a desolate waste, and her proud strength will come to an end, and the mountains of Israel will become desolate so that no one will cross them.
29 Then they will know that I am the LORD, when I have made the land a desolate waste because of all the detestable things they have done.’
30 “As for you, son of man, your people are talking together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, saying to each other, ‘Come and hear the message that has come from the LORD.’
31 My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to hear your words, but they do not put them into practice. Their mouths speak of love, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain.
32 Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice.
33 “When all this comes true—and it surely will—then they will know that a prophet has been among them.”

Ezekiel 33 Commentary

Chapter 33

Ezekiel's duty as a watchman. (1-9) He is to vindicate the Divine government. (10-20) The desolation of Judea. (21-29) Judgments on the mockers of the prophets. (30-33)

Verses 1-9 The prophet is a watchman to the house of Israel. His business is to warn sinners of their misery and danger. He must warn the wicked to turn from their way, that they may live. If souls perish through his neglect of duty, he brings guilt upon himself. See what those have to answer for, who make excuses for sin, flatter sinners, and encourage them to believe they shall have peace, though they go on. How much wiser are men in their temporal than in their spiritual concerns! They set watchmen to guard their houses, and sentinels to warn of the enemies' approach, but where the everlasting happiness or misery of the soul is at stake, they are offended if ministers obey their Master's command, and give a faithful warning; they would rather perish, listening to smooth things.

Verses 10-20 Those who despaired of finding mercy with God, are answered with a solemn declaration of God's readiness to show mercy. The ruin of the city and state was determined, but that did not relate to the final state of persons. God says to the righteous, that he shall surely live. But many who have made profession, have been ruined by proud confidence in themselves. Man trusts to his own righteousness, and presuming on his own sufficiency, he is brought to commit iniquity. If those who have lived a wicked life repent and forsake their wicked ways, they shall be saved. Many such amazing and blessed changes have been wrought by the power of Divine grace. When there is a settled separation between a man and sin, there shall no longer be a separation between him and God.

Verses 21-29 Those are unteachable indeed, who do not learn their dependence upon God, when all creature-comforts fail. Many claim an interest in the peculiar blessings to true believers, while their conduct proves them enemies of God. They call this groundless presumption strong faith, when God's testimony declares them entitled to his threatenings, and nothing else.

Verses 30-33 Unworthy and corrupt motives often lead men to the places where the word of God is faithfully preached. Many come to find somewhat to oppose: far more come of curiosity or mere habit. Men may have their hearts changed. But whether men hear or forbear, they will know by the event that a servant of God has been among them. All who will not know the worth of mercies by the improvement of them, will justly be made to know their worth by the want of them.

Cross References 56

  • 1. S Leviticus 26:25; S Jeremiah 12:12
  • 2. S 1 Samuel 14:16; Isaiah 21:6-9; S Jeremiah 51:12; Ezekiel 3:11
  • 3. S Exodus 20:18; S Numbers 10:7; Hosea 5:8; Hosea 8:1
  • 4. 2 Chronicles 25:16
  • 5. S Leviticus 20:9; S Jeremiah 6:17; Ezekiel 18:13; Zechariah 1:4; Acts 18:6
  • 6. S Leviticus 20:9
  • 7. S Exodus 9:21
  • 8. Isaiah 56:10-11; S Ezekiel 3:18
  • 9. S Isaiah 52:8
  • 10. Jeremiah 1:17; Jeremiah 26:2; Ezekiel 3:17
  • 11. ver 14
  • 12. S Isaiah 3:11; S Ezekiel 18:4
  • 13. S Psalms 7:12
  • 14. Ezekiel 3:17-19
  • 15. S Leviticus 26:16; Ezekiel 24:23
  • 16. S Leviticus 26:39; S Ezekiel 4:17
  • 17. S Lamentations 3:33; Ezekiel 18:32; 2 Peter 3:9
  • 18. S 2 Chronicles 30:9; S Isaiah 19:22; S Jeremiah 3:12
  • 19. Jeremiah 44:7-8; S Ezekiel 18:23; Hosea 11:8; Joel 2:12; S 1 Timothy 2:4
  • 20. ver 2
  • 21. 2 Chronicles 7:14; S Ezekiel 3:20; S Ezekiel 18:21
  • 22. Ezekiel 18:24; Hebrews 10:38; 2 Peter 2:20-21
  • 23. S Jeremiah 22:3; Ezekiel 18:27
  • 24. S Exodus 22:26
  • 25. Exodus 22:1-4; S Leviticus 6:2-5
  • 26. Isaiah 55:7; Jeremiah 18:7-8; Ezekiel 20:11; S Luke 19:8
  • 27. S Jeremiah 50:20
  • 28. S Isaiah 43:25; Ezekiel 18:22
  • 29. Jeremiah 18:10
  • 30. S Ezekiel 3:20; Ezekiel 18:26
  • 31. S ver 14-15
  • 32. S Job 34:11
  • 33. Ezekiel 24:26
  • 34. S 2 Kings 25:4,10; Jeremiah 39:1-2; Jeremiah 52:4-7; S Ezekiel 32:1
  • 35. S Ezekiel 1:3
  • 36. Ezekiel 29:21; Luke 1:64
  • 37. Ezekiel 3:26-27; S Ezekiel 24:27
  • 38. Ezekiel 36:4
  • 39. S Deuteronomy 1:10
  • 40. Isaiah 51:2; Jeremiah 40:7; Ezekiel 11:15; Luke 3:8; Acts 7:5
  • 41. Jeremiah 7:21
  • 42. S Genesis 9:4; Deuteronomy 12:16
  • 43. Jeremiah 7:9-10; S Ezekiel 22:6,27
  • 44. Jeremiah 41:7
  • 45. Ezekiel 22:11
  • 46. 1 Samuel 13:6; Isaiah 2:19; S Jeremiah 42:22; S Ezekiel 7:15; S Ezekiel 14:21; Ezekiel 39:4
  • 47. S Isaiah 41:15
  • 48. S Genesis 6:7; Jeremiah 9:10
  • 49. S Leviticus 26:34
  • 50. S Jeremiah 18:16; S Jeremiah 44:22; Ezekiel 36:4; Micah 7:13
  • 51. S Ezekiel 8:1
  • 52. Psalms 119:36
  • 53. Psalms 78:36-37; S Isaiah 29:13; S Isaiah 33:15; S Jeremiah 3:10; S Jeremiah 6:17; S Ezekiel 22:27; Matthew 13:22; 1 John 3:18
  • 54. S 1 Kings 4:32
  • 55. Mark 6:20
  • 56. S 1 Samuel 3:20; S Jeremiah 28:9; S Ezekiel 2:5

Footnotes 2

Chapter Summary


This chapter treats of the prophet's duty, and the people's sins; contains a vindication of the justice of God; a threatening of destruction to those who remained in the land after the taking of the city; and a detection of the hypocrisy of the prophet's hearers. The duty of a watchman in general is declared, Eze 33:1-6, an application of this to the prophet, Eze 33:7: the sum of whose business is to warn the wicked man of his wickedness; and the consequence of doing, or not doing it, is expressed, Eze 33:8,9, an objection of the people, and the prophet's answer to it, Eze 33:10,11, who is bid to acquaint them, that a righteous man trusting to his righteousness, and sinning, should not live; and that a sinner repenting of his sins should not die, Eze 33:12-16, the people's charge of inequality in the ways of God is retorted upon them, and removed from the Lord, and proved against them, Eze 33:17-20, then follows a prophecy, delivered out after the news was brought of the taking of the city, threatening with ruin those that remained in the land, confident of safety, and that for their sins, which are particularly enumerated, Eze 33:21-29, and the chapter is closed with a discovery of the hypocrisy of those that attended the prophet's ministry, Eze 33:30-33.

Ezekiel 33 Commentaries

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