Ezekiel 34

1 The word of the Lord came to me:
2 Mortal, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel: prophesy, and say to them—to the shepherds: Thus says the Lord God: Ah, you shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep?
3 You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fatlings; but you do not feed the sheep.
4 You have not strengthened the weak, you have not healed the sick, you have not bound up the injured, you have not brought back the strayed, you have not sought the lost, but with force and harshness you have ruled them.
5 So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd; and scattered, they became food for all the wild animals.
6 My sheep were scattered, they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill; my sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with no one to search or seek for them.
7 Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord:
8 As I live, says the Lord God, because my sheep have become a prey, and my sheep have become food for all the wild animals, since there was no shepherd; and because my shepherds have not searched for my sheep, but the shepherds have fed themselves, and have not fed my sheep;
9 therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord:
10 Thus says the Lord God, I am against the shepherds; and I will demand my sheep at their hand, and put a stop to their feeding the sheep; no longer shall the shepherds feed themselves. I will rescue my sheep from their mouths, so that they may not be food for them.
11 For thus says the Lord God: I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out.
12 As shepherds seek out their flocks when they are among their scattered sheep, so I will seek out my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places to which they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness.
13 I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the watercourses, and in all the inhabited parts of the land.
14 I will feed them with good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel shall be their pasture; there they shall lie down in good grazing land, and they shall feed on rich pasture on the mountains of Israel.
15 I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down, says the Lord God.
16 I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with justice.
17 As for you, my flock, thus says the Lord God: I shall judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and goats:
18 Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture, but you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pasture? When you drink of clear water, must you foul the rest with your feet?
19 And must my sheep eat what you have trodden with your feet, and drink what you have fouled with your feet?
20 Therefore, thus says the Lord God to them: I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep.
21 Because you pushed with flank and shoulder, and butted at all the weak animals with your horns until you scattered them far and wide,
22 I will save my flock, and they shall no longer be ravaged; and I will judge between sheep and sheep.
23 I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd.
24 And I, the Lord, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them; I, the Lord, have spoken.
25 I will make with them a covenant of peace and banish wild animals from the land, so that they may live in the wild and sleep in the woods securely.
26 I will make them and the region around my hill a blessing; and I will send down the showers in their season; they shall be showers of blessing.
27 The trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield its increase. They shall be secure on their soil; and they shall know that I am the Lord, when I break the bars of their yoke, and save them from the hands of those who enslaved them.
28 They shall no more be plunder for the nations, nor shall the animals of the land devour them; they shall live in safety, and no one shall make them afraid.
29 I will provide for them a splendid vegetation so that they shall no more be consumed with hunger in the land, and no longer suffer the insults of the nations.
30 They shall know that I, the Lord their God, am with them, and that they, the house of Israel, are my people, says the Lord God.
31 You are my sheep, the sheep of my pasture and I am your God, says the Lord God.

Ezekiel 34 Commentary

Chapter 34

The rulers reproved. (1-6) The people are to be restored to their own land. (7-16) The kingdom of Christ. (17-31)

Verses 1-6 The people became as sheep without a shepherd, were given up as a prey to their enemies, and the land was utterly desolated. No rank or office can exempt from the reproofs of God's word, men who neglect their duty, and abuse the trust reposed in them.

Verses 7-16 The Lord declared that he intended mercy towards the scattered flock. Doubtless this, in the first place, had reference to the restoration of the Jews. It also represented the good Shepherd's tender care of the souls of his people. He finds them in their days of darkness and ignorance, and brings them to his fold. He comes to their relief in times of persecution and temptation. He leads them in the ways of righteousness, and causes them to rest on his love and faithfulness. The proud and self-sufficient, are enemies of the true gospel and of believers; against such we must guard. He has rest for disquieted saints, and terror for presumptuous sinners.

Verses 17-31 The whole nation seemed to be the Lord's flock, yet they were very different characters; but he knew how to distinguish between them. By good pastures and deep waters, are meant the pure word of God and the dispensing of justice. The latter verses, ( 23-31 ) , prophesy of Christ, and of the most glorious times of his church on earth. Under Him, as the good Shepherd, the church would be a blessing to all around. Christ, though excellent in himself, was as a tender plant out of a dry ground. Being the Tree of life, bearing all the fruits of salvation, he yields spiritual food to the souls of his people. Our constant desire and prayer should be, that there may be showers of blessings in every place where the truth of Christ is preached; and that all who profess the gospel may be filled with fruits of righteousness.

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Gk OL: Heb [pasture, you are people]

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO EZEKIEL 34

In the former chapter the prophet prophesies against the people of the Jews, both those of the captivity, and those who were not; and here against the shepherds of Israel. This he is bid to do, Eze 34:1,2, whose cruelty to the flock, negligence and unfaithfulness are exposed, Eze 34:3-6, for which reasons they are threatened to be deprived of their office, Eze 34:7-10, and the Lord promises to take the care of the flock upon himself, to seek out his sheep, and feed them, and do every kind office to them, Eze 34:11-16 and then the strong of the flock, that oppressed the weak, are threatened with punishment, Eze 34:17-22 and the promise of the Messiah, as the shepherd of the flock, is made, under whom all prosperity and happiness might be expected, Eze 34:23-31.

Ezekiel 34 Commentaries

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.