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.
QuestionAnswer
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.
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.
QuestionAnswer
"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:"
QuestionAnswer
"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;
QuestionAnswer
"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:
QuestionAnswer
"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.
QuestionAnswer
What would be "the abomination of his eyes" which is to be cast away?
Begin Here December 10, 2019
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.
QuestionAnswer
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.
QuestionAnswer
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.
QuestionAnswer
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.
QuestionAnswer
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.
QuestionAnswer
What constitute "my sabbaths?"
How were the LORD's sabbaths a sign between God and Israel?

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.
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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.
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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;
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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.
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Verse 17  Expanded Bible Comments

Nevertheless mine eye spared them from destroying them, neither did I make an end of them in the wilderness.
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[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:
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Verse 19  Expanded Bible Comments

I am the LORD your God; walk in my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them;
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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;
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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.
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Verse 25  Expanded Bible Comments

Wherefore I gave them also statutes that were not good, and judgments whereby they should not live;
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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.
QuestionAnswer

[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.

Verse 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.
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Verse 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.
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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.
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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?
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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.
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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.
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[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:
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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.
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Verse 35  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.
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Verse 36  Expanded Bible Comments

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.
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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:
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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.
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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.
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[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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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This appears to be 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?

Verse 45  Expanded Bible Comments

Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
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Verse 46  Expanded Bible Comments

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;
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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.
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Verse 48  Expanded Bible Comments

And all flesh shall see that I the LORD have kindled it: it shall not be quenched.
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Verse 49  Expanded Bible Comments

Then said I, Ah Lord GOD! they say of me, Doth he not speak parables?
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Chapter 19   Chapter 21