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Go to Bible: Ezekiel 3
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“the glory of Yahweh.” In this context, the “glory of Yahweh” is Yahweh in the midst of His glory. It is not as if the glory of Yahweh was in one place and Yahweh was in another. We have already seen how glorious Yahweh is, shining and glowing like fire and glowing metal, and surrounded by a brightness that has the colors of the rainbow (Ezek. 1:26-28).
“rose from its place.” The REV translation follows the textual change suggested in Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, that the Hebrew word brum (בְּרוּם) should be in the text instead of barukh (בָּרוּךְ). The NET text note says, “The letters mem (ם) and kaph (ך) were easily confused in the old script while ) בָּרוּךְ‘blessed be’( both implies a quotation which is out of place here and also does not fit the later phrase, ‘from its place,’ which requires a verb of motion.” The BBE, NET, NAB, NIV2011, and NRSV translations also adopt the emmendation.
It is important to pay attention to the fact that the glory of the Lord is moving in this initial section of Ezekiel, because due to sin it moves away from the Temple, and then in the prophecy of the Millennial Temple it moves back into the Temple again (Ezek. 43:4).(top)
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“the Spirit.” This is Yahweh, just as it is in Ezekiel 37:1. Some commentators take this use of ruach (“spirit; wind”) to refer to the wind caused by God’s chariot-throne moving, but there is no reason to believe that a wind from God’s chariot would take Ezekiel to a specific place and not just blow him around and even be potentially harmful (cp. Leslie Allen; Word Biblical Commentary).
“took me away.” That is, took Ezekiel away from where he was by the Chebar canal to the area of Tel Aviv where other exiles lived, as we learn from Ezekiel 3:15. Ezekiel was supposed to speak to them, but he sat overwhelmed for seven days until Yahweh spoke to him again.
“and I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit.” This is a rare look at the internal emotion of a prophet. But we could say that Ezekiel had good reason to be wresting with bitterness and anger. He was a captive priest in exile in Babylonia, far from the Temple in which he should have been serving, because of the sin and ungodliness of the priests, Levites, and leaders of the country. And those leaders had had plenty of warning about the consequences that their sin could bring upon them. They had been told by prophet after prophet, and they had the clear example of the destruction of the ten northern tribes and the country of Israel. Yet they remained obstinate and Ezekiel was in exile because of it, and was wresting with bitterness and anger.(top)
at Tel Aviv.” This is not the modern city of Tel Aviv in Israel, which was founded in 1909, but an area in the vicinity of the Chebar canal near Nippur in Babylonia.
“I sat there overwhelmed among them seven days.” God had called Ezekiel to speak to the children of Israel there in the captivity with them, but Ezekiel was so stunned by the revelation he received, and overwhelmed, and perhaps not knowing exactly where to start, that he sat for seven days without saying anything. God had told Ezekiel to speak (Ezek. 3:4, 11), but after seven days Ezekiel had said nothing. God’s patience with Ezekiel wore out and He gave Ezekiel another revelation (Ezek. 3:16), and this one was a stern warning that God made Ezekiel a watchman, and if he did not speak the message that God had for the children of Israel then God would hold Ezekiel accountable for their blood (Ezek. 3:16-19). We tend to think of prophets as ready and willing to speak the words of the Lord no matter what the cost, but that kind of spiritual maturity and warrior-mindedness took growing up in the things of God, it did not come right away. God had to get angry at Moses before he would stop making excuses instead of obeying God (Exod. 4:13-17).(top)
“at the end of seven days.” This is the second dated vision of Ezekiel, and it is seven days after Ezekiel’s first vision, so it occurred in the fifth year of Jehoiachin’s captivity, in the fourth month. This is likely the 24th of July 593 BC. But if Ezekiel is using inclusive counting, it is the 25th of July, 593 BC. To understand how this prophecy is “later” in Ezekiel’s life but “earlier” in our BC dating, we must keep in mind that Ezekiel lived before Christ, so “later” to him meant closer to 1 BC. Ezekiel’s first vision and commission had overwhelmed him, and he had been silent for seven days, thus God’s second revelation (see commentary on Ezek. 3:15).(top)
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“but his blood I will require at your hand.” Although this is a specific revelation to Ezekiel, it has general application to every believer. The unsaved and ignorant do not know that people who are not saved will be destroyed in the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:11-15), while people who are saved but live rebellious and disobedient lives will not have any rewards in the future Millennial Kingdom (1 Cor. 3:14-15; also, see commentary on 2 Cor. 10:5). It is the responsibility of people who are saved to do their best to warn the unsaved and disobedient about their upcoming fate and how to avoid it and have a wonderful everlasting future.
Jesus said to go preach the Gospel (Matt. 28:18-20) and called his disciples to be fishers for people (Mark 1:17). 2 Corinthians 5:20 says Christians are ambassadors for Christ. If believers warn unbelievers about the future but are ignored, the believers are not held accountable for the disobedience of others and in fact are rewarded for their evangelical efforts. If, on the other hand, believers stand idly by while unbelievers die in ignorance, God holds the believers accountable to some degree for not at least trying to save their fellow humans from everlasting death.
[For more on annihilation in the Lake of Fire, see Appendix 5, “Annihilation in the Lake of Fire.” For more on the future Millennial Kingdom, see Appendix 3, “Christ’s Future Kingdom on Earth”].(top)
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“A righteousness man.” In this context, “righteousness” is doing what is right to God and others (see commentary on Matt. 5:6).(top)
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“and he said to me.” The “he” in this verse is Yahweh, as is made clear in the context.
“broad valley.” The Hebrew word biqah (#01237 בִּקְעָה) refers to a broad valley or a plain. Apparently it was a broad valley, and it is mentioned again as “the valley” in Ezekiel 37:1, and when God showed it to Ezekiel then it was full of dry bones.
There were many times when God revealed Himself to Ezekiel and other prophets right where they were, but there are times when it is important to be alone, and this was one of them. Ezekiel’s commission was important for Israel and His prophecies important for the people then and for future generations, and God took Ezekiel alone into the valley and spoke clearly to him about his mission and ministry. For the other great event that took place in this valley between Ezekiel and God, see Ezekiel 37 and commentary on those verses.(top)
“The glory of Yahweh stood there.” In this case, what Ezekiel saw was the brilliant cloud that surrounds Yahweh, with Yahweh in the middle of the cloud, just like Ezekiel had seen in Ezekiel 1:27-28. The text could have just said “Yahweh” because Yahweh was personally present in the cloud of glory, but it says “the glory of Yahweh” because that is what Ezekiel saw.
The Tanakh version by the Jewish Publication Society clearly understands that the “glory of Yahweh” surrounds Yahweh and thus indicates His presence, because they translate Ezekiel 3:23 as: “I arose and went out to the valley, and there stood the Presence of the LORD, like the Presence that I had seen at the Chebar Canal….” [For more on the glory of God, see commentary on Ezekiel 1:28].
“and I fell on my face.” This is a very appropriate response to being in the presence of Yahweh.(top)
“and he spoke with me.” The “he” in this verse is Yahweh, as is made clear in the context.(top)
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