Ezekiel 3:12-21

12 Then the Spirit lifted me up, and I heard behind me a loud rumbling sound as the glory of the LORD rose from the place where it was standing.[a]
13 It was the sound of the wings of the living creatures brushing against each other and the sound of the wheels beside them, a loud rumbling sound.
14 The Spirit then lifted me up and took me away, and I went in bitterness and in the anger of my spirit, with the strong hand of the LORD on me.
15 I came to the exiles who lived at Tel Aviv near the Kebar River. And there, where they were living, I sat among them for seven days—deeply distressed.

Ezekiel’s Task as Watchman

16 At the end of seven days the word of the LORD came to me:
17 “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.
18 When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for[b] their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood.
19 But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.
20 “Again, when a righteous person turns from their righteousness and does evil, and I put a stumbling block before them, they will die. Since you did not warn them, they will die for their sin. The righteous things that person did will not be remembered, and I will hold you accountable for their blood.
21 But if you do warn the righteous person not to sin and they do not sin, they will surely live because they took warning, and you will have saved yourself.”

Ezekiel 3:12-21 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO EZEKIEL 3

This chapter contains a further account of the prophet's call and mission; of his preparation of him for is work; of, the persons to whom he was sent; of what happened to him upon this; of the nature of his office, and the work of it; and of what followed upon the renewal of his call. His further preparation for prophesying is in Eze 3:1-3; where he is bid to eat the roll showed him, which he did, and found it in his mouth as honey for sweetness; and then he receives fresh orders to go to the people of Israel, and prophesy to them, Eze 3:4; and, that he might not be discouraged, an account is given beforehand of the people to whom he was sent; of their language, behaviour, and disposition; by which he could not expect success, Eze 3:5-7; and, for his further encouragement, strength, boldness, resolution, firmness, and presence of mind, are promised him, Eze 3:8,9; also a revelation of mere things to him; all which he should hear, receive, and speak, whether the people would attend to them or not; which ought to be no discouragement to him, since it was not regarded by the Lord, Eze 3:10,11; then follows an account of his being lifted up by the Spirit from the earth, when he heard a voice, which is described by the manner and matter of it; and a noise, both of the living creature's wings, and of the wheels he had seen in a former vision, Eze 3:12,13; and next of his being carried away by the same Spirit; and of the condition he was in, in his own spirit, as he went; and of the strength he received from the Lord; and of the place to which he, was carried; and his state and circumstances, and time of continuance there, Eze 3:14,15; where, after a time mentioned, he has a fresh call to his office, under the character of a watchman, whose business was to hear Christ's words, and warn the house of Israel from him; and who are distinguished into wicked and righteous; and whom the prophet was to warn at his own peril, Eze 3:16-21; and the chapter is concluded with a narration of various events which befell the prophet; he is bid by the Lord to go into the plain, which he did, and there saw the glory of the Lord, as he had before seen it at the river Chebar; which so affected him, that he fell upon his face, Eze 3:22,23; the spirit entered into him, let him on his feet, and spake with him; ordered him what he should do himself, that he should shut himself up in his house, Eze 3:24; informed him what the people would do to him; bind him with bands, that he should not come forth, Eze 3:25; and what Christ would do to him; strike him dumb in judgment to the people, that he might not be a reprover of them, Eze 3:26; but he is told that, when the Lord spoke to him; his mouth should be opened, and he should declare what was said to him, Eze 3:27.

Ezekiel 3:12-21 In-Context

10 And he said to me, “Son of man, listen carefully and take to heart all the words I speak to you.
11 Go now to your people in exile and speak to them. Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says,’ whether they listen or fail to listen.”
12 Then the Spirit lifted me up, and I heard behind me a loud rumbling sound as the glory of the LORD rose from the place where it was standing.
13 It was the sound of the wings of the living creatures brushing against each other and the sound of the wheels beside them, a loud rumbling sound.
14 The Spirit then lifted me up and took me away, and I went in bitterness and in the anger of my spirit, with the strong hand of the LORD on me.
15 I came to the exiles who lived at Tel Aviv near the Kebar River. And there, where they were living, I sat among them for seven days—deeply distressed.
16 At the end of seven days the word of the LORD came to me:
17 “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.
18 When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood.
19 But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.
20 “Again, when a righteous person turns from their righteousness and does evil, and I put a stumbling block before them, they will die. Since you did not warn them, they will die for their sin. The righteous things that person did will not be remembered, and I will hold you accountable for their blood.
21 But if you do warn the righteous person not to sin and they do not sin, they will surely live because they took warning, and you will have saved yourself.”
22 The hand of the LORD was on me there, and he said to me, “Get up and go out to the plain, and there I will speak to you.”
23 So I got up and went out to the plain. And the glory of the LORD was standing there, like the glory I had seen by the Kebar River, and I fell facedown.

Cross References 21

  • 1. ver 14; Ezekiel 8:3; Ezekiel 43:5; Acts 8:39
  • 2. Ezekiel 1:15
  • 3. Ezekiel 1:24; Ezekiel 10:5,16-17
  • 4. S 1 Kings 18:12
  • 5. S ver 12
  • 6. ver 22; S Isaiah 8:11; Ezekiel 37:1
  • 7. S Psalms 137:1
  • 8. S Genesis 50:10; Job 2:13
  • 9. Jeremiah 42:7
  • 10. S Isaiah 52:8; Jeremiah 6:17; Ezekiel 33:7-9
  • 11. S Isaiah 58:1; Jeremiah 1:17; Ezekiel 11:4; Habakkuk 2:1
  • 12. S Genesis 2:17; John 8:21,24
  • 13. ver 20; Ezekiel 33:6
  • 14. S Psalms 7:12
  • 15. S Genesis 6:5
  • 16. S Jeremiah 42:16
  • 17. S 2 Kings 17:13; Ezekiel 14:14,20; Acts 18:6; Acts 20:26; 1 Timothy 4:14-16
  • 18. S Jeremiah 34:16
  • 19. S Leviticus 26:37; S Isaiah 8:14; S Ezekiel 7:19
  • 20. ver 18; Psalms 125:5; Ezekiel 18:24; Ezekiel 33:12,18
  • 21. Acts 20:31

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Probable reading of the original Hebrew text; Masoretic Text "sound—may the glory of the " Lord"be praised from his place"
  • [b]. Or "in" ; also in verses 19 and 20
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