Atlanta Bible Students

The Book of Ezekiel

Chapter 20
Go To Verse 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49

[1] And it came to pass in the seventh year, in the fifth month, the tenth day of the month, that certain of the elders of Israel came to inquire of the LORD, and sat before me. [2] Then came the word of the LORD unto me, saying, [3] Son of man, speak unto the elders of Israel, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Are ye come to inquire of me? As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will not be inquired of by you. [4] Wilt thou judge them, son of man, wilt thou judge them? cause them to know the abominations of their fathers: [5] And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; In the day when I chose Israel, and lifted up mine hand unto the seed of the house of Jacob, and made myself known unto them in the land of Egypt, when I lifted up mine hand unto them, saying, I am the LORD your God; [6] In the day that I lifted up mine hand unto them, to bring them forth of the land of Egypt into a land that I had espied for them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands: [7] Then said I unto them, Cast ye away every man the abominations of his eyes, and defile not yourselves with the idols of Egypt: I am the LORD your God. [8] But they rebelled against me, and would not hearken unto me: they did not every man cast away the abominations of their eyes, neither did they forsake the idols of Egypt: then I said, I will pour out my fury upon them, to accomplish my anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt. [9] But I wrought for my name's sake, that it should not be polluted before the heathen, among whom they were, in whose sight I made myself known unto them, in bringing them forth out of the land of Egypt.

Verse 1  Expanded Bible Comments

And it came to pass in the seventh year, in the fifth month, the tenth day of the month, that certain of the elders of Israel came to inquire of the LORD, and sat before me.
QuestionSuggested Answer
What is "the seventh year?" The seventh year of what? Here it seems we may only reason. Most likely it would be the seventh year of Ezekiel's exhile from Jerusalem which took place when Zedekiah was made king, 11 years prior to the 70 years desolation of the land. The "seventh year" would mean that six years had passed and now it was the fifth month (AV) and tenth day of the month. The 70 years began in 607 BC (606 BC if you count the year zero). 11 years prior would be 618 (or 617). The seventh year would be 611 (or 610) BC, on the 10th of AV. Another way would be to say this is 4 years before the fall of Jerusalem.
Why the 10th day of the 5th month? The fifth month is the month of AV. The temple was burned on the 9th day. This would be pointing to the day AFTER.
As a quick note: According to 2 Kings 25:8-9, the temple in Jerusalem was burned on the 7th day of the 5th month. According to Jer. 52:12-13, the temple was burned on the 10th day of the 5th month.

2 Kings says the 7th day, while Jeremiah says the 10th day. Why the difference?
Both accounts say that "Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard" (servant of king Nebuchadnezzar) burnt:
  • the house of the LORD
  • the king's house
  • all the houses of Jerusalem
  • all the houses of the great men.
In other words there were four things which took place. The likely answer to the difference between the 7th day and the 10th day is that the 2 Kings account is describing when these 4 things began to take place while the Jeremiah account is describing when these 4 things were completed.
Who are "certain of the elders of the house of Israel?" The first thing we notice is that it is not ALL the elders but "certain of the elders."
What do these "elders of Israel" do? They come (supposedly) "to inquire of the LORD."

Verses 2-3  Expanded Bible Comments

Then came the word of the LORD unto me, saying, [3] Son of man, speak unto the elders of Israel, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Are ye come to inquire of me? As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will not be inquired of by you.
QuestionSuggested Answer
"Then came..." When exactly is "Then?" 4 years prior to the fall of Jerusalem.
To whom does "the word of the LORD" come? "Me," i.e., the prophet Ezekiel.
What was the "son of man" instructed to do? To ask the elders of Israel who were among the captives if they were really desirous of seeking instruction from God.
What was the response from God which the "son of man" was to relay to them? "I will not be inquired of by you."

Verse 4  Expanded Bible Comments

Wilt thou judge them, son of man, wilt thou judge them? cause them to know the abominations of their fathers:
Most translations do not include the second "them." It should therefor read:
"Wilt thou judge them, son of man, wilt thou judge? cause them to know the abominations of their fathers:"
QuestionSuggested Answer
"Wilt thou judge them, son of man?" What is the Lord asking here, and of whom is He asking it?
Strong's H8199
שָׁפַט
shâphaṭ
shaw-fat'
A primitive root; to judge, that is, pronounce sentence (for or against); by implication to vindicate or punish; by extension to govern; passively to litigate (literally or figuratively): - + avenge, X that condemn, contend, defend, execute (judgment), (be a) judge (-ment), X needs, plead, reason, rule.
The thought of this Hebrew word (H8199) is to pronounce sentence, i.e., to vindicate or to punish.
The next phrase is: "Wilt thou judge?" Is this different than the first question. If so, how? He was not to judge "them," but he was to judge the matter, the actions.
What is the the "son of man" to do next? "Cause them to know the abominations of their fathers."

Verse 5  Expanded Bible Comments

And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; In the day when I chose Israel, and lifted up mine hand unto the seed of the house of Jacob, and made myself known unto them in the land of Egypt, when I lifted up mine hand unto them, saying, I am the LORD your God;
QuestionSuggested Answer
"In the day when I chose Israel." When was that? They were chosen when God made His promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
"And lifted up my hand to the seed of the house of Jacob." What does that mean? This would have been when they were in Egypt and God delivered them.
Where was "the seed of Jacob" when the Lord made himself known to them? "In the land of Egypt."
In this verse, is there a difference between "Israel" and "Jacob?" If so, what? While in this case it appears God is dealing with the natural seed of Jacob, yet in most prophetic references, if both "Jacob" and "Israel" are mentioned, "Jacob" refers to natural Israel and "Israel" refers to spiritual Israel.
Is the answer to the last question literal, or symbolic? Yes.
What was it that God told them and what is the import of that? "I am the LORD your God." Amos 3:1-3

Verse 6  Expanded Bible Comments

In the day that I lifted up mine hand unto them, to bring them forth of the land of Egypt into a land that I had espied for them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands:
QuestionSuggested Answer
"In that day.." What is usually indicated prophetically by this phrase? While this usually indicates the Lord's Day, i.e., the Millennial Age, it does not always. It may have this indication but it clearly does indicate the day of their deliverance from Egypt at the time of Moses.
When did the Lord lift up his hand to bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt? At the time of the Exodus.
How (by what means) did the Lord bring them out of Egypt? By the ten plagues. The first 3 upon both the Egyptians and the Israelites and the 7 last upon Egypt only.
Does this give us a clue as to the time period of this prophecy? Yes. It is the time for deliverance of the saints from bondage to the world. It is the time for the pouring out of the 7 last plagues.
"Into a land that I had espied for them." "Espied" is translated:
  • been searching out
  • prepared
  • already chosen
  • provided
  • giving to you
  • had searched out
  • chosen for you
  • had explored
  • sought out
Is this verse speaking of Natural or Spiritual Israel? Yes.

Verse 7  Expanded Bible Comments

Then said I unto them, Cast ye away every man the abominations of his eyes, and defile not yourselves with the idols of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
QuestionSuggested Answer
What would be "the abomination of his eyes" which is to be cast away? Israel wanted to have a visual God, thus they made a golden calf.
What are "the idols of Egypt" and what does it mean to be defiled with them?

Verse 8  Expanded Bible Comments

But they rebelled against me, and would not hearken unto me: they did not every man cast away the abominations of their eyes, neither did they forsake the idols of Egypt: then I said, I will pour out my fury upon them, to accomplish my anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt.
QuestionSuggested Answer
Who is "they" that rebelled?
What did "they" fail to do?
What was the Lord's response?
To whom does this apply?

Verse 9  Expanded Bible Comments

But I wrought for my name's sake, that it should not be polluted before the heathen, among whom they were, in whose sight I made myself known unto them, in bringing them forth out of the land of Egypt.
But I did this for my name's sake, that it should not be polluted before the Gentiles, among whom they were, in whose sight I made myself known unto them, in bringing them forth out of the land of Egypt.
QuestionSuggested Answer
How could it have been that the name of the LORD would be "polluted before the Gentiles?"
"In whose sight I made myself known unto them" Is "them" referring to the the Jews or to the Gentiles?
How did he "make himself known unto them?"

[10] Wherefore I caused them to go forth out of the land of Egypt, and brought them into the wilderness. [11] And I gave them my statutes, and showed them my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them. [12] Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD that sanctify them. [13] But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness: they walked not in my statutes, and they despised my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; and my sabbaths they greatly polluted: then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them in the wilderness, to consume them. [14] But I wrought for my name's sake, that it should not be polluted before the heathen, in whose sight I brought them out. [15] Yet also I lifted up my hand unto them in the wilderness, that I would not bring them into the land which I had given them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands; [16] Because they despised my judgments, and walked not in my statutes, but polluted my sabbaths: for their heart went after their idols. [17] Nevertheless mine eye spared them from destroying them, neither did I make an end of them in the wilderness.

Verse 10  Expanded Bible Comments

Wherefore I caused them to go forth out of the land of Egypt, and brought them into the wilderness.
QuestionSuggested Answer
What is the difference between "Therefore" and "Wherefore?" "Unlike programming languages, in which the way that logical operations like AND, OR, and NOT occurring in the same sentence are ordered and applied is governed by strict laws of precedence and supplemented by overriding parentheses at need, human language in general and the English language in specific enjoys no such rigorous set of rules recognized by all speakers and writers, wherefore it is necessary to rewrite all such complex and potentially confusing sentences into simple, more direct forms whose singular and wholly unambiguous interpretation is immediately obvious to all who regard them, a clarification whose merits any lawyer you meet will gladly expound upon at such great length that by the end of his exposition, you will have completely forgotten the point of your original question that you had first posed him." english.stackexchange.com
Why did the LORD bring the children of Israel out from Egypt and into the wilderness?

Verse 11  Expanded Bible Comments

And I gave them my statutes, and showed them my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them.
QuestionSuggested Answer
What are "my statutes?"
Strong's H2708
חֻקָּה
chûqqâh
khook-kaw'
Feminine of H2706, and meaning substantially the same: - appointed, custom, manner, ordinance, site, statute.
Strong's H2706
חֹק
chôq
khoke
From H2710; an enactment; hence an appointment (of time, space, quantity, labor or usage): - appointed, bound, commandment, convenient, custom, decree (-d), due, law, measure, X necessary, ordinance (-nary), portion, set time, statute, task.
What are "my judgments?"
Strong's H4941
מִשְׁפָּט
mishpâṭ
mish-pawt'
From H8199; properly a verdict (favorable or unfavorable) pronounced judicially, especially a sentence or formal decree (human or (particularly) divine law, individual or collectively), including the act, the place, the suit, the crime, and the penalty; abstractly justice, including a particular right, or privilege (statutory or customary), or even a style: - + adversary, ceremony, charge, X crime, custom, desert, determination, discretion, disposing, due, fashion, form, to be judged, judgment, just (-ice, -ly), (manner of) law (-ful), manner, measure, (due) order, ordinance, right, sentence, usest, X worthy, + wrong.
What is the effect of following the LORD's statutes and judgments? "If a man do, he shall live in them."

Verse 12  Expanded Bible Comments

Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD that sanctify them.
QuestionSuggested Answer
What constitute "my sabbaths?" The entire sabbath system, including resting on the 7th day, the 50th day, the land resting the 7th year and the 50th (jubilee) year.
How were the LORD's sabbaths a sign between God and Israel? This helped to set them apart from other nations.
In what way did the sabbaths help Israel to know "that I am the LORD?" By designating one set day a week for rest and worship of their creator, who rested on the seventh day. This helped them to focus on their meditations on all the blessings the LORD had given. At each point in the sabbath system their minds were directed to the worship of the LORD.
How did the LORD use the sabbaths to "sanctify them?" This special system of worship was designed to keep them separate from the corrupting influence of the other nations.

Verse 13  Expanded Bible Comments

But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness: they walked not in my statutes, and they despised my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; and my sabbaths they greatly polluted: then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them in the wilderness, to consume them.
QuestionSuggested Answer
How did Israel show their appreciation of being delivered from slavery in Egypt? "The house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness."
What four things did "the house of Israel" do wrong? 1. "They rebelled against me."
2. "They walked not in my statutes."
3. "They despised my judgments."
4. "They greatly polluted my sabbaths."
How did the house of Israel rebel against the LORD? By not appreciating what He had done for them in freeing them from slavery in Egypt. Instead they said "Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger." Exo. 16:3
What is meant by "they walked not in my statutes?" Statutes = ordinances, laws.
In what way did they "despise my judgments?" Judgments = verdict or sentence. Isa. 26:9
How did they "greatly pollute my sabbaths?" Even though "the Sabbath was made for man," they did not honor sabbath day. Apparently the idea of setting one day each week to remember their creator proved too much for them.
How did God respond to Israel's provocation? "I would pour out my fury upon them in the wilderness, to consume them."

Last week's discussion took us to Exo. 32:7-14 where God said to Moses "Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation." In vs 14 we are told "And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people." – The same Hebrew word (Strong's H5162) is used in Gen. 6:6-7.

Verse 14  Expanded Bible Comments

But I wrought for my name's sake, that it should not be polluted before the heathen, in whose sight I brought them out.
(ESV) But I acted for the sake of my name that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations, in whose sight I had brought them out.
QuestionSuggested Answer
What kept the LORD from following through on His thought "to consume them?" It would have made it appear that He was unable to care for His people whom He had just delivered. It would look bad to the heathen nations.

Verse 15  Expanded Bible Comments

Yet also I lifted up my hand unto them in the wilderness, that I would not bring them into the land which I had given them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands;
QuestionSuggested Answer
How did the LORD describe the land of promise? "The land .. flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands."
Though the LORD did indeed deliver them from Egyptian bondage by bringing them into the wilderness, what part of His promise did He delay? God did not bring them into the promised land when they first arrived.

Verse 16  Expanded Bible Comments

Because they despised my judgments, and walked not in my statutes, but polluted my sabbaths: for their heart went after their idols.
QuestionSuggested Answer
Why not bring the children of Israel right away into the promised land? See verse 13.
"Their heart went after their idols." When did this happen? Exo. 32:1-10.
What specifically took place that prevented God from destroying Israel? Exo. 32:11-14.

Verse 17  Expanded Bible Comments

Nevertheless mine eye spared them from destroying them, neither did I make an end of them in the wilderness.
QuestionSuggested Answer
Why did the LORD spare the nation of Israel in the wilderness, even after they had rebelled against Him? Because Moses (typical of Christ) intervened on their behalf. Exo. 32:11-14.

[18] But I said unto their children in the wilderness, Walk ye not in the statutes of your fathers, neither observe their judgments, nor defile yourselves with their idols: [19] I am the LORD your God; walk in my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them; [20] And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the LORD your God. [21] Notwithstanding the children rebelled against me: they walked not in my statutes, neither kept my judgments to do them, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; they polluted my sabbaths: then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them, to accomplish my anger against them in the wilderness. [22] Nevertheless I withdrew mine hand, and wrought for my name's sake, that it should not be polluted in the sight of the heathen, in whose sight I brought them forth. [23] I lifted up mine hand unto them also in the wilderness, that I would scatter them among the heathen, and disperse them through the countries; [24] Because they had not executed my judgments, but had despised my statutes, and had polluted my sabbaths, and their eyes were after their fathers' idols. [25] Wherefore I gave them also statutes that were not good, and judgments whereby they should not live; [26] And I polluted them in their own gifts, in that they caused to pass through the fire all that openeth the womb, that I might make them desolate, to the end that they might know that I am the LORD.

Verse 18  Expanded Bible Comments

But I said unto their children in the wilderness, Walk ye not in the statutes of your fathers, neither observe their judgments, nor defile yourselves with their idols:
QuestionSuggested Answer
What were "the statutes of your fathers?" We primarily think of the 10 commandments. Exo. 20:2-17
What were "their judgments?"
What were "their idols?"

Verse 19  Expanded Bible Comments

I am the LORD your God; walk in my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them;
QuestionSuggested Answer
What are "my statutes?"
Strong's H2708
חֻקָּה
chûqqâh
khook-kaw'
Feminine of H2706, and meaning substantially the same: - appointed, custom, manner, ordinance, site, statute.
Strong's H2706
חֹק
chôq
khoke
From H2710; an enactment; hence an appointment (of time, space, quantity, labor or usage): - appointed, bound, commandment, convenient, custom, decree (-d), due, law, measure, X necessary, ordinance (-nary), portion, set time, statute, task.
What are "my judgments?"
Strong's H4941
מִשְׁפָּט
mishpâṭ
mish-pawt'
From H8199; properly a verdict (favorable or unfavorable) pronounced judicially, especially a sentence or formal decree (human or (particularly) divine law, individual or collectively), including the act, the place, the suit, the crime, and the penalty; abstractly justice, including a particular right, or privilege (statutory or customary), or even a style: - + adversary, ceremony, charge, X crime, custom, desert, determination, discretion, disposing, due, fashion, form, to be judged, judgment, just (-ice, -ly), (manner of) law (-ful), manner, measure, (due) order, ordinance, right, sentence, usest, X worthy, + wrong.
Why did the LORD add "and do them?" Because the result would be "If a man do, he shall live in them."

Verse 20  Expanded Bible Comments

And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the LORD your God.
QuestionSuggested Answer
What did it mean to "hallow my sabbaths?" To honor and respect them. Exo. 20:8-11
How were the sabbaths "a sign between" God and Israel? No other nation had such a system.
In what way did the sabbaths help Israel to know "that I am the LORD?" By designating one set day a week for rest and worship of their creator, who rested on the seventh day. This helped them to focus on their meditations on all the blessings the LORD had given. At each point in the sabbath system their minds were directed to the worship of the LORD.

Verse 21  Expanded Bible Comments

Notwithstanding the children rebelled against me: they walked not in my statutes, neither kept my judgments to do them, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; they polluted my sabbaths: then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them, to accomplish my anger against them in the wilderness.
QuestionSuggested Answer
How did the children of Israel respond to the LORD's goodness? 1. "They rebelled against me."
2. "They walked not in my statutes."
3. "neither kept my judgments to do them."
4. "They polluted my sabbaths."
How did the house of Israel rebel against the LORD? By not appreciating what He had done for them in freeing them from slavery in Egypt. Instead they said "Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger." Exo. 16:3
What is meant by "they walked not in my statues?" Statutes = ordinances, laws.
In what way did they "despise my judgments?" Judgments = verdict or sentence.
Manna vs. quail. Not accepting Lord's promise re: entering Promised Land. Exo. 23:27-30.
How did they "pollute my sabbaths?" Even though "the Sabbath was made for man," they did not honor sabbath day. Apparently the idea of setting one day each week to remember their creator proved too much for them.
How did God respond to Israel's provocation? "I would pour out my fury upon them, to accomplish my anger against them in the wilderness." Heb. 10:30:31

Verse 22  Expanded Bible Comments

Nevertheless I withdrew mine hand, and wrought for my name's sake, that it should not be polluted in the sight of the heathen, in whose sight I brought them forth.
QuestionSuggested Answer
"I withdrew mind hand.." – From what? From pouring "out my fury upon them."
"And wrought for my name's sake.." – What does that mean? BBE – "I was acting for the honour of my name."
ESV – "But I withheld my hand and acted for the sake of my name."
GNB – "But I did not, since that would have brought dishonor to my name."
ISV – "But I withdrew my decision so my reputation wouldn't be tarnished."
How could God's name "be polluted in the sight of the heathen, in whose sight I brought them forth?"

Verse 23  Expanded Bible Comments

I lifted up mine hand unto them also in the wilderness, that I would scatter them among the heathen, and disperse them through the countries;
QuestionSuggested Answer
God brought the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage. In what way did he "lift up mine hand unto them also in the wilderness?"
Did He "scatter them among the heathen, and disperse them through the countries" during their wilderness journeys?

Verse 24  Expanded Bible Comments

Because they had not executed my judgments, but had despised my statutes, and had polluted my sabbaths, and their eyes were after their fathers' idols.
QuestionSuggested Answer
What were the 4 reasons given by the LORD as to why He threatened to do these things? 1. "Because they had not executed my judgments."
2. "Had despised my statutes."
3. "Had polluted my sabbaths."
4. "Their eyes were after their father's idols."
(1) What does it mean to "execute my judgments?"
(2) How does that differ from "despised my statutes?"
(3) How had they "polluted my sabbaths?"
(4) What is meant by "their eyes were after their father's idols?"

Verse 25  Expanded Bible Comments

Wherefore I gave them also statutes that were not good, and judgments whereby they should not live;
QuestionSuggested Answer
How is it possible that God could give the children of Israel "statutes that were not good?"
What were the "judgments whereby they should not live?"

Verse 26  Expanded Bible Comments

And I polluted them in their own gifts, in that they caused to pass through the fire all that openeth the womb, that I might make them desolate, to the end that they might know that I am the LORD.
QuestionSuggested Answer
What is meant by "I polluted them in their own gifts?" God permitted them to do this evil which resulted in their pollution.
What did they do with their children? It would appear that this has reference to their first-born children. They offered them as burnt sacrifices to Molech.
Why would this act cause God to "make them desolate?" Numbers 8:17
How would this result in "that they might know that I am the LORD?" Consider the example of Elijah and the priests of Baal. 1 Kings 18:20-40.

[27] Therefore, son of man, speak unto the house of Israel, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Yet in this your fathers have blasphemed me, in that they have committed a trespass against me. [28] For when I had brought them into the land, for the which I lifted up mine hand to give it to them, then they saw every high hill, and all the thick trees, and they offered there their sacrifices, and there they presented the provocation of their offering: there also they made their sweet savour, and poured out there their drink offerings. [29] Then I said unto them, What is the high place whereunto ye go? And the name thereof is called Bamah unto this day. [30] Wherefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Are ye polluted after the manner of your fathers? and commit ye whoredom after their abominations? [31] For when ye offer your gifts, when ye make your sons to pass through the fire, ye pollute yourselves with all your idols, even unto this day: and shall I be inquired of by you, O house of Israel? As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will not be inquired of by you. [32] And that which cometh into your mind shall not be at all, that ye say, We will be as the heathen, as the families of the countries, to serve wood and stone.

Verses 27  Expanded Bible Comments

Therefore, son of man, speak unto the house of Israel, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Yet in this your fathers have blasphemed me, in that they have committed a trespass against me.
QuestionSuggested Answer
Why does verse 27 begin with "Therefore?"
To whom is GOD speaking? "Son of man."
Who is God's message to be delivered to? "The house of Israel."
How important is it that the receivers of this message should pay attention to the message? "Thus saith the Lord GOD." Heb. 10:31
Who constitutes "your fathers?"
In what way have "your fathers blasphemed" God? "They have committed a trespass against me."
Follow-up question: What "trespass?" (See vs. 28)

Verses 28  Expanded Bible Comments

For when I had brought them into the land, for the which I lifted up mine hand to give it to them, then they saw every high hill, and all the thick trees, and they offered there their sacrifices, and there they presented the provocation of their offering: there also they made their sweet savour, and poured out there their drink offerings.
QuestionSuggested Answer
What specific period of time is the Lord speaking of here, and how do we know? "When I had brought them into the land.. which I lifted up mine hand to give it to them." This seems to indicate that they have not only entered, but (under the Lord's direction) conquered the land.
When was it that "they saw every high hill, and all the thick trees?" After the Lord had delivered the land to them.
What is wrong with them seeing "every high hill, and all the thick trees?" Their history of what they did appears to begin under the reigh of the evil Rehoboam (son of Solomon). 1 Kings 14:23. See also 2 Kings 17:9-10; Jer. 2:20
What did they do wrong there? "They offered there their sacrifices." Compare with Deut. 12:1-6 (esp. vss. 5-6)
What was "the provocation of their offering?" Rejection of the LORD and worship of false gods, and causing the children of Israel to do the same. Deut. 32:16-19. See also 1 Kings 21:22.

Verse 29  Expanded Bible Comments

Then I said unto them, What is the high place whereunto ye go? And the name thereof is called Bamah unto this day.
QuestionSuggested Answer
Who is "I?" GOD.
Who is "them?" Nominal fleshly Israel during the Jewish age. Symbolically, the nominal Spiritual Israel during the Gospel age.
What is the high place whereunto ye go? A "high place" was where people went to worship their gods. For the heathen, of course, this meant their false gods. Many of Israel, who lost their faith, also worshipped at these places.
What is "Bamah?" This is the only occurrence in the Bible of this word. However, by combining the references from Professor Strong, we may determine this to have the meaning of "the heights of Baal," or a place for the worship of Baal.
Strong's H1117
בָּמָה
bâmâh
baw-maw'
The same as H1116; Bamah, a place in Palestine: - Bamah. See also H1120.
Strong's H1116
בָּמָה
bâmâh
baw-maw'
From an unused root (meaning to be high); an elevation: - height, high place, wave.
Strong's H1120
בָּמוֹת בַּעַל בָּמוֹת
bâmôth bâmôth baal
baw-moth', baw-moth' bah'-al
Plural of H1116; heights; the second form is a more complete form of the first form; from the same and H1168; heights of Baal; Bamoth or Bamoth Baal, a place East of the Jordan: - Bamoth, Bamoth-baal.

Verse 30  Expanded Bible Comments

Wherefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Are ye polluted after the manner of your fathers? and commit ye whoredom after their abominations?
QuestionSuggested Answer
Why does this verse begin with "Wherefore?" It is indicating cause and effect. The cause is that the children of Israel were involved with the worship of Baal. The remainder of the verse is the effect of this Baal worship.
"Thus saith the Lord GOD" It is not a wise thing to anger the maker of all things.
What does it mean to be "polluted after the manner of your fathers?" Psa. 106:38
How did they "commit whoredom after their abominations?" Jer. 32:35

Verse 31  Expanded Bible Comments

For when ye offer your gifts, when ye make your sons to pass through the fire, ye pollute yourselves with all your idols, even unto this day: and shall I be inquired of by you, O house of Israel? As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will not be inquired of by you.
QuestionSuggested Answer
What were their "gifts?" "Ye make your sons to pass through the fire," i.e., their first-born children. Please see vs. 26.
What did this do to them? "Ye pollute yourselves with all your idols." The word "pollute" is usually translated as "defiled
Will the LORD listen to the inquiry's of such? "As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will not be inquired of by you."

Verse 32  Expanded Bible Comments

And that which cometh into your mind shall not be at all, that ye say, We will be as the heathen, as the families of the countries, to serve wood and stone.
(CEV) They may think they can be like other nations and get away with worshiping idols made of wood and stone. But that will never happen!
What was it that natural Israel thought they would do? To be like the other nations, "worshipping idols made of wood and stone."
Is this what happened? Some did, but as a people the Lord kept them separate by their worship and practices.

[33] As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out, will I rule over you: [34] And I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out. [35] And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I enter into judgment with you face to face. [36] Like as I entered into judgment with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I enter into judgment with you, saith the Lord GOD. [37] And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant: [38] And I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me: I will bring them forth out of the country where they sojourn, and they shall not enter into the land of Israel: and ye shall know that I am the LORD. [39] As for you, O house of Israel, thus saith the Lord GOD; Go ye, serve ye every one his idols, and hereafter also, if ye will not hearken unto me: but pollute ye my holy name no more with your gifts, and with your idols.

Verse 33  Expanded Bible Comments

As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out, will I rule over you:
QuestionSuggested Answer
In this verse, who is "you?" Primarily nominal fleshly Israel.
What is indicated by "with a mighty hand, and a stretched out arm?" God is going to use His great power to accomplish this. Exo. 9:15-16
What is indicated by "with fury poured out?" The CEV says "You will feel my fierce anger." Rev. 15:1 The 7 last plagues are God's wrath, anger, fury being poured out.
When does "will I rule over you" apply? We suggest it applies in 1878 when "the time to favor Zion" had come. It was then that Jesus began His Kingdom rule over Israel, and especially in 1914 when He dashed the nations of Christendom to pieces "like a potters vessel."

Verse 34  Expanded Bible Comments

And I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out.
QuestionSuggested Answer
Who is it that brings Israel "out from the people?" God.
What is the difference between "I will bring you out from the people" and I "will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered?"
Is there a difference between gathering (1) "with a mighty hand" and (2) "with a stretched out arm?" (1) "Mighty hand" seems to refer to God's power, His ability to accomplish what he says He will do.
(2) "A stretched out arm" would seem to indicate God's loving arms, i.e., this is a favorable thing for Israel.
What is indicated by "and with fury poured out?" Google Dictionary for "fury"
1. Wild or violent anger.
2. Violence or energy displayed in natural phenomena or in someone's actions.

God's fury or His full anger or wrath is referred to in Rev. 15:1.

Verses 35-36  Expanded Bible Comments

And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I enter into judgment with you face to face. [36] Like as I entered into judgment with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I enter into judgment with you, saith the Lord GOD.
QuestionSuggested Answer
What is "the wilderness of the people?" Wilderness = "the symbolic wilderness - or condition of isolation" B256
What is indicated by "there will I enter into judgment with you?" In the KJV the word "plead" is used incorrectly. The Hebrew word is defined below.
Strong's H8199
שָׁפַט
shâphaṭ
shaw-fat'
A primitive root; to judge, that is, pronounce sentence (for or against); by implication to vindicate or punish; by extension to govern; passively to litigate (literally or figuratively): - + avenge, X that condemn, contend, defend, execute (judgment), (be a) judge (-ment), X needs, plead, reason, rule.
Isa. 26:9
What is indicated by the LORD saying that this judgment will be "face to face?" God's met with Israel "face to face" when they entered into the Law Covenant. Deut. 5:2-5 followed by the 10 Commandments in vss 6-21.
What will be the manner of judgment God will have with Israel? It will, once again, be based upon a covenant.
What was the result of Israel's judgment while they were in the wilderness? Due to their disobedienct, they were prevented from entering the land of promise.
Was the judgment of God while Israel was in the wilderness different than His judgment with them at other times? While the principles were the same, the result was just, based upon their actions.

Verse 37  Expanded Bible Comments

And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant:
QuestionSuggested Answer
What is pictured by the LORD causing Israel "to pass under the rod?" Prov. 22:15; 23:13-14; Isa. 11:4 – The result of this correcting rod is found in vss 6-9.
"I will bring you into the bond of the covenant." – What covenant? The New (Law) Covenant, having been obtained with "better sacrifices," and administrated by a better mediator.

Verse 38  Expanded Bible Comments

And I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me: I will bring them forth out of the country where they sojourn, and they shall not enter into the land of Israel: and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
QuestionSuggested Answer
"I will purge out from among you.." Who is "you?" The "house of Israel."
In verse 38 God says He "will purge out from among you"
 1) "the rebels," and
 2) "them that transgress against me."
   What is the difference between 1 and 2?
(1) Rebel
Strong's H4775
מָרַד
mârad
maw-rad'
A primitive root; to rebel: - rebel (-lious).
(2) Transgress
Strong's H6586
פָּשַׁע
pâsha
paw-shah'
A primitive root (rather identical with H6585 through the idea of expansion); to break away (from just authority), that is, trespass, apostatize, quarrel: - offend, rebel, revolt, transgress (-ion, -or).
It seems clear that to "rebel" is a greater sin than to "transgress." 1 Sam. 15:23
To rebel is to mutiny.
"I will bring them forth.." Who is "them?" The rebels and the transgressors.
What is "the country where they sojourn?" The country outside of the land of Israel, i.e., the land of the Gentiles.
"They shall not enter into the land of Israel." Who is "they?" The rebels and the transgressors.
How does this result in "ye" knowing "that I am the LORD?" The house of Israel will percieve that the Lord has done all this. Many today (2020) are already perceiving that this is true. Eventually all will not only suspect this is true, but will actually come to the absolute knowledge of it.

Verse 39  Expanded Bible Comments

As for you, O house of Israel, thus saith the Lord GOD; Go ye, serve ye every one his idols, and hereafter also, if ye will not hearken unto me: but pollute ye my holy name no more with your gifts, and with your idols.
But as for you, O house of Israel, Thus saith my Lord Yahweh, Go, serve every man his own manufactured gods, Yet afterwards, surely Ye shall be ready to hearken unto me, – And my holy name, shall ye profane no more With your gifts, and With your manufactured gods. – Rotherham
As for you, O house of Israel, thus saith the Lord GOD: Go ye, serve every one his idols, even because ye will not hearken unto Me; but My holy name shall ye no more profane with your gifts, and with your idols. – JPS
QuestionSuggested Answer
Who is the being addressed in this verse? The "house of Israel."
Does this refer to the fleshly or to the spiritual house? Yes.
Who is speaking? "The Lord GOD."
Is God here really telling them to "serve ye every one his idols?" God is not forcing Israel to do His will, but is still allowing them to exercise their free moral agency. Since they have demonstrated in the past that they have shown a pattern of serving false gods, made with their own hands, God seems to be giving them permission to do so. He does not, however, say that this will produce a positive result.
We should also add that the Lord has placed a condition on this statement, i.e., "if ye will not hearken unto me."
The JPS seems easier to understand. God is here showing that He knows, based on their prior behavior, that Israel will indeed continue to serve their idols – as indicated by "even because ye will not hearken unto Me."
If they do serve "every one his idols," why does the LORD say "pollute ye my holy name no more..?" Again He is not giving His approval. He is reminding them that eventually He will no longer permit this. There are consequences to disobeying God.

[40] For in mine holy mountain, in the mountain of the height of Israel, saith the Lord GOD, there shall all the house of Israel, all of them in the land, serve me: there will I accept them, and there will I require your offerings, and the firstfruits of your oblations, with all your holy things. [41] I will accept you with your sweet savour, when I bring you out from the people, and gather you out of the countries wherein ye have been scattered; and I will be sanctified in you before the heathen. [42] And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I shall bring you into the land of Israel, into the country for the which I lifted up mine hand to give it to your fathers. [43] And there shall ye remember your ways, and all your doings, wherein ye have been defiled; and ye shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for all your evils that ye have committed. [44] And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have wrought with you for my name's sake, not according to your wicked ways, nor according to your corrupt doings, O ye house of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.

Verse 40  Expanded Bible Comments

For in mine holy mountain, in the mountain of the height of Israel, saith the Lord GOD, there shall all the house of Israel, all of them in the land, serve me: there will I accept them, and there will I require your offerings, and the firstfruits of your oblations, with all your holy things.
QuestionSuggested Answer
What is the difference between "In mine holy mountain" and "in the mountain of the height of Israel?" It appears to be two ways of saying the same thing. But it does seem to suggest that Gods kingdom (mountain) is manifest when Israel is lifted up high. (When the ancient worthies appear?)
"There shall all the house of Israel, all of them in the land, serve me." Does this mean that all Israel will be in the land and serve God? Or is this indicating that some of the house of Israel will not be in the land and will not serve Him? All the house of Israel who are in the land.
"There will I accept them.." Who is "them?" "There" would seem to indicate those accepting the New Covenant.
"There will I accept them.. There will I require your offerings.." What is the difference between "accept them" and "require your?" The word "require" (H1875) is most often translated by "search or inquire." This seems remeniscient of Psa. 139:1 where we ask the Lord to search us as for hidden treasure."
What are
 1. "your offerings?"
 2. "the firstfruits of your oblations?"
 3. "all your holy things?"
This appears to be indicating the progress of mankind as they get on and then walk up the highway of holiness. First they appreciate what God has done for them, indicated by "your offerings." Then they progress to giving of their firstfruits, the best. Finally they progress to giving not only their best, but to "all your holy things."

Verse 41  Expanded Bible Comments

I will accept you with your sweet savour, when I bring you out from the people, and gather you out of the countries wherein ye have been scattered; and I will be sanctified in you before the heathen.
QuestionSuggested Answer
What is significant about God accepting "you with your sweet savour?"
What is the difference between "bring you out from the people" and "gather you out from the countries wherein ye have been scattered?" People (H5971 – tribe). Countries (H776 – land.)
"I will be sanctified in you.." What does it mean for God to "be sanctified in you?"
Who are "the heathen?" The Gentiles.

Begin Here July 7, 2020

Verse 42  Expanded Bible Comments

And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I shall bring you into the land of Israel, into the country for the which I lifted up mine hand to give it to your fathers.
QuestionSuggested Answer
What is the difference between "the land of Israel" and "the country..?" In this case "land" is Strong's H127
Strong's H127
אֲדָמָה
'ădâmâh
ad-aw-maw'
From H119; soil (from its general redness): - country, earth, ground, husband [-man] (-ry), land.
And "country" is Strong's H776
Strong's H776
אֶרֶץ
'erets
eh'-rets
From an unused root probably meaning to be firm; the earth (at large, or partitively a land): - X common, country, earth, field, ground, land, X nations, way, + wilderness, world.
"Into the country for which I lifted up mine hand to give it to your fathers."
1. What country (land) is that and
2. does this refer to natural or to spiritual Israel?
1. Literally, the land of Canaan; the promised land.
2. Natural Israel, as indicated by His giving it "to your fathers."

Verse 43  Expanded Bible Comments

And there shall ye remember your ways, and all your doings, wherein ye have been defiled; and ye shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for all your evils that ye have committed.
QuestionSuggested Answer
Where is "there?" In the land of promise.
What is the difference between "your ways" and "your doings?" Ways
Strong's H1870
דֶּרֶךְ
derek
deh'-rek
From H1869; a road (as trodden); figuratively a course of life or mode of action, often adverbially: - along, away, because of, + by, conversation, custom, [east-] ward, journey, manner, passenger, through, toward, [high-] [path-] way [-side], whither [-soever].
Doings
Strong's H5949
עֲלִלָה עֲלִילָה
ălı̂ylâh ălilâh
al-ee-law', al-ee-law'
From H5953 in the sense of effecting; an exploit (of God), or a performance (of man, often in a bad sense); by implication an opportunity: - act (-ion), deed, doing, invention, occasion, work.
This leaves with the thought that "ways" refers to the manner of life, what are the motivations of life. – "Doings" refer to actual deeds (good or bad.)
What will be revealed by remembering their ways and doings? They will recognize that they were "defiled" by them.
How will this revealment be viewed by them? "Ye shall loathe yourselves."
A "reminder" question. When does this take place? "When I shall bring you into the land of Israel, into the country for the which I lifted up mine hand to give it to your fathers." vs. 42

Verse 44  Expanded Bible Comments

And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have wrought with you for my name's sake, not according to your wicked ways, nor according to your corrupt doings, O ye house of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.
QuestionSuggested Answer
Will the "house of Israel" suspect that God is who He says he is? "Ye shall know that I am the LORD."
What takes place which brings the house of Israel to this realization? "When I have wrought with you.." Wrought = work or worked. Zech. 14:3
Why does the LORD take this action? "For my name's sake."
Is this done because of the house of Israel having turned to righteousness? "NOT according to your wicked ways.."
Just how certain is it that this takes place? "Saith the Lord GOD."

Verse 45 appears to begin a new prophetic picture.

[45] Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, [46] Son of man, set thy face toward the south, and drop thy word toward the south, and prophesy against the forest of the south field; [47] And say to the forest of the south, Hear the word of the LORD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will kindle a fire in thee, and it shall devour every green tree in thee, and every dry tree: the flaming flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from the south to the north shall be burned therein. [48] And all flesh shall see that I the LORD have kindled it: it shall not be quenched. [49] Then said I, Ah Lord GOD! they say of me, Doth he not speak parables?

Verses 45-46  Expanded Bible Comments

Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, [46] Son of man, set thy face toward the south, and drop thy word toward the south, and prophesy against the forest of the south field;
QuestionSuggested Answer
To whom did "the word of the LORD" come? Literally to the prophet Ezekiel. Symbolically to the "Son of man," Pastor Russell.
What is pictured by "the south?"
What is meant by the "Son of man" being told to "seet thy face toward the south?"
Why is he told to "drop thy word toward the south?" Why not simply say "speak to the south?"
What is pictured by "the forest of the south field?" "The south" here is
Strong's H5045
נֶגֶב
negeb
neh'-gheb
From an unused root meaning to be parched; the south (from its drought); specifically the negeb or southern district of Judah, occasionally, Egypt (as south to Palestine): - south (country, side, -ward).
or the "Negev."

Verse 47  Expanded Bible Comments

And say to the forest of the south, Hear the word of the LORD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will kindle a fire in thee, and it shall devour every green tree in thee, and every dry tree: the flaming flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from the south to the north shall be burned therein.
QuestionSuggested Answer

Verse 48  Expanded Bible Comments

And all flesh shall see that I the LORD have kindled it: it shall not be quenched.
QuestionSuggested Answer

Verse 49  Expanded Bible Comments

Then said I, Ah Lord GOD! they say of me, Doth he not speak parables?
QuestionSuggested Answer