1 And it came to pass in the seventh year, in the fifth month, on the tenth day of the month, that some of the elders of Israel came to inquire of the LORD, and sat before me. 2 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 3 "Son of man, speak to the elders of Israel, and say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Have you come to inquire of me? As I live," says the Lord GOD, "I will not be inquired of by you."' 4 Will you judge them, son of man, will you judge them? Cause them to know the abominations of their fathers, 5 And say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "In the day when I chose Israel and lifted up my hand to the seed of the house of Jacob and made myself known to them in the land of Egypt, when I lifted up my hand to them, saying, 'I am the LORD your God,' 6 In the day that I lifted up my hand to them, to bring them forth from 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 I said to them, 'Every one of you cast away the abominations of his eyes, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.' 8 But they rebelled against me and would not listen to me. They did not each cast away the abominations of their eyes, neither did they forsake the idols of Egypt. Then I said I would 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, so that it should not be profaned before the heathen, among whom they were, in whose sight I made myself known to them in bringing them forth from the land of Egypt. 10 Therefore, I caused them to go forth from 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 does, he shall even live in them. 12 Moreover, I also gave them my sabbaths to be a sign between me and them, so that they might know that I am the LORD who sanctifies them. 13 But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness. They did not walk in my statutes and they despised my judgments, which if a man does, he shall even live in them, and they greatly profaned my sabbaths. Then I said that I would pour out my fury upon them in the wilderness to consume them. 14 But I wrought for my name's sake, so that it should not be profaned before the heathen, in whose sight I brought them out. 15 Yet I also lifted up my hand to them in the wilderness, so 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 did not walk in my statutes, but profaned my sabbaths, for their heart went after their idols. 17 Nevertheless, my eye spared them from destroying them, neither did I make an end of them in the wilderness.
18 "But I said to their children in the wilderness, 'Do not walk 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, keep my judgments, and do them, 20 And hallow my sabbaths, and they shall be a sign between me and you, so that you may know that I am the LORD your God.' 21 But the children rebelled against me. They did not walk in my statutes, or keep my judgments to do them, which if a man does, he shall even live in them. They profaned my sabbaths. Then I said that I would pour out my fury upon them to accomplish my anger against them in the wilderness. 22 Nevertheless, I withdrew my hand and wrought for my name's sake, so that it should not be profaned in the sight of the heathen, in whose sight I brought them forth. 23 I lifted up my hand to them also in the wilderness, so 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 profaned my sabbaths, and their eyes were after their fathers' idols. 25 Therefore, I also gave them statutes that were not good and judgments by which they should not live. 26 And I polluted them in their own gifts, in that they caused all the first-born to pass through the fire, so that I might make them desolate, to the end that they might know that I am the LORD."'
27 "Therefore, son of man, speak to the house of Israel, and say to them, 'Thus says 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 which I lifted up my hand to give it to them, they saw every high hill and all the thick trees, and they offered their sacrifices there and they presented the provocation of their offering there. They also made their sweet savor there and poured out their drink-offerings there. 29 Then I said to them, 'What is the high place to which you go?' And its name is called Bamah to this day."' 30 Therefore, say to the house of Israel, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Are you polluted after the manner of your fathers? And do you commit lewd deeds after their abominations? 31 For when you offer your gifts, when you make your sons to pass through the fire, you pollute yourselves with all your idols, even to this day. And shall I be inquired of by you, O house of Israel? As I live," says the Lord GOD, "I will not be inquired of by you. 32 And that which comes into your mind shall not be at all, when you say, 'We will be as the heathen, as the families of the countries, to serve wood and stone.'
33 "As I live," says the Lord GOD, "surely with a mighty hand, with an out-stretched arm, and with fury poured out, I will rule over you. 34 And I will bring you out from the people and will gather you out of the countries in which you are scattered, with a mighty hand, with an out-stretched arm, and with fury poured out. 35 And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there I will plead with you face to face. 36 As I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will plead with you," says 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 those who 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 you shall know that I am the LORD.
39 "As for you, O house of Israel," thus says the Lord GOD: "Go, each of you serve his idols, and hereafter also, if you will not listen to me. But profane my holy name no longer with your gifts and with your idols. 40 For on my holy mountain, on the mountain of the height of Israel," says the Lord GOD, "there all the house of Israel, all of them in the land, shall serve me. There I will accept them, and there I will require your offerings and the first fruits of your oblations, with all your holy things. 41 I will accept you with your sweet savor when I bring you out from the people and gather you out of the countries in which you have been scattered. And I will be sanctified in you before the heathen. 42 And you shall know that I am the LORD when I bring you into the land of Israel, into the country for which I lifted up my hand to give it to your fathers. 43 And there you shall remember your ways and all your doings in which you have been defiled. And you shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for all your evils that you have committed. 44 And you shall know that I am the LORD when I have wrought with you for my name's sake and not according to your wicked ways, nor according to your corrupt doings, O house of Israel," says the Lord GOD.'"
45 Moreover, the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 46 "Son of man, set your face toward the south. Prophesy 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 says the Lord GOD: "Behold, I will kindle a fire in you, and it shall devour every green tree in you, 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 I said, "Ah, Lord GOD! They say of me, 'Does he not speak parables?'"
John Gill's Chapter Summary:
The prophecy in this chapter is occasioned by some of the elders of Israel coming to inquire of the Lord, then the prophet is bid to tell them that he would not be inquired of by them. The reason of which were their abominations he is ordered to make known to them (Ezekiel 20:1-4); and then proceeds the narration of them; first of what their fathers committed in Egypt; of God's goodness to them and their ingratitude; how that though he promised and swore that he would bring them from there, when he charged them to abstain from the idolatry of that people where they were, nevertheless they did not, for which he threatened them with his wrath to consume them; yet such was his goodness as to spare them and bring them out of that land (Ezekiel 20:5-9); being brought out of Egypt into the wilderness, the Lord gave them statutes and ordinances to observe, particularly sabbaths, as a sign between him and them, but these they despised and broke; therefore the Lord threatened to consume them in the wilderness and not bring them into the land of Canaan; yet such was his kindness and mercy to them, that he did not make an utter end of them in the wilderness (Ezekiel 20:10-17); and whereas he exhorted their posterity not to imitate their parents, but to walk in his statutes and judgments and observe his sabbaths, yet they would not; which drew out his resentment against them, and he threatened to scatter them among the Heathens; but, for his name's sake, so that they might not be polluted among the heathen, he spared them and did not cut them off, only gave them up to do things very pernicious to them (Ezekiel 20:18-26); and even when they were brought into the land of Canaan, they were guilty of blasphemy against God and of idolatry on every high hill they saw (Ezekiel 20:27-29); but whereas it might be objected, "What is all this to the present generation?" it is observed that they imitated their fathers and were guilty of the same idolatries, and therefore the Lord would not be inquired of by them (Ezekiel 20:30-31); and threatens to rule them with fury and plead with them, as he had pleaded with their fathers in the wilderness (Ezekiel 20:32-36); nevertheless he suggests that there would be a remnant among them, when he should have purged the rebels and transgressors from them, that he would deal graciously with in a covenant way; who should serve him in his holy mountain where he would require and accept their sacrifices, in whom he would be sanctified; and who should know him and loathe themselves when made sensible of the distinguishing favors bestowed upon them (Ezekiel 20:37-44); and the chapter is closed with a prophecy dropped against Jerusalem, denouncing utter destruction on it (Ezekiel 20:45-49).