According to the duty of a watchman in warning the people, 1-6, Ezekiel is admonished of his duty, 7-9. God shows the justice of his ways toward the penitent and toward revolters, 10-16. He maintains his justice, 17-20. Upon the news of the taking of Jerusalem he prophesies the desolation of the land, 21-29. God's judgment upon the mockers of the prophets, 30-33.
1 Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 "Son of man, speak to the children of your people, and say to them, 'When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their borders and set him for their watchman, 3 If when he sees the sword come upon the land, he shall blow the trumpet and warn the people. 4 Then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, if the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. 5 He heard the sound of the trumpet and did not take warning. His blood shall be upon him. But he who takes warning shall deliver his soul. 6 But if the watchman sees the sword come and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, if the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at the watchman's hand.'
7 "So you, O son of man, I have set you a watchman to the house of Israel; therefore, you shall hear the word at my mouth and warn them from me. 8 When I say to the wicked, 'O wicked man, you shall surely die,' if you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. 9 Nevertheless, if you warn the wicked of his way to turn from it, if he does not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity, but you have delivered your soul.
10 "Therefore, O son of man, speak to the house of Israel, 'In this manner you speak, saying, "If our transgressions and our sins are upon us and we pine away in them, how should we then live?"' 11 Say to them, 'As I live,' says the Lord GOD, 'I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked should turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways. For why will you die, O house of Israel?' 12 Therefore, son of man, say to the children of your people, 'The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression. As for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall by it in the day that he turns from his wickedness, neither shall the righteous be able to live for his righteousness in the day that he sins.' 13 When I say to the righteous that he shall surely live, if he trusts to his own righteousness and commits iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered, but for his iniquity that he has committed, he shall die for it. 14 Again, when I say to the wicked, 'You shall surely die,' if he turns from his sin and does that which is lawful and right, 15 If the wicked restores the pledge, gives back that which he had robbed, and walks in the statutes of life without committing iniquity, he shall surely live and not die. 16 None of his sins that he has committed shall be mentioned to him. He has done that which is lawful and right. He shall surely live.
17 "Yet the children of your people say, 'The way of the Lord is not equal.' But as for them, their way is not equal. 18 When the righteous turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, for that he shall even die. 19 But if the wicked turns from his wickedness and does that which is lawful and right, for that he shall live. 20 Yet you say, 'The way of the Lord is not equal.' O house of Israel, I will judge each of you after his ways."
21 And it came to pass in the twelfth year of our captivity, in the tenth month, on the fifth day of the month, that someone who had escaped out of Jerusalem came to me, saying, "The city is smitten." 22 Now the hand of the LORD was upon me in the evening before he who had escaped came, and he had opened my mouth before he came to me in the morning. And my mouth was opened and I was no longer mute.
23 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 24 "Son of man, those who inhabit those wastes of the land of Israel speak, saying, 'Abraham was one, and he inherited the land, but we are many. The land is given to us for inheritance.' 25 Therefore, say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "You eat with the blood, lift up your eyes toward your idols, and shed blood. And shall you possess the land? 26 You stand upon your sword, you work abomination, and each of you defiles his neighbor's wife. And shall you possess the land?"' 27 Say thus to them: 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "As I live, surely those who are in the wastes shall fall by the sword, and him who is in the open field I will give to the beasts to be devoured, and those who are in the forts and in the caves shall die by the pestilence. 28 For I will lay the land most desolate, and the pomp of her strength shall cease, and the mountains of Israel shall be desolate, so that no one shall pass through. 29 Then they shall know that I am the LORD when I have laid the land most desolate because of all their abominations which they have committed."'
30 "Also, son of man, the children of your people are still talking about you by the walls and in the doors of the houses and speak to one another, each to his brother, saying, 'Come, I pray you, and hear what the word is that comes forth from the LORD.' 31 And they come to you as the people come, and they sit before you as my people, and they hear your words, but they will not do them. For with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goes after their covetousness. 32 And behold, you are to them as a very lovely song of one who has a pleasant voice and can play well on an instrument, for they hear your words, but they do not perform them. 33 And when this comes to pass (behold, it will come), they shall know that a prophet has been among them."
Matthew Henry Commentary - Ezekiel, Chapter 33[➚]
John Gill's Chapter Summary:
This chapter treats of the prophet's duty and the people's sins; contains a vindication of the justice of God; a threatening of destruction to those who remained in the land after the taking of the city; and a detection of the hypocrisy of the prophet's hearers. The duty of a watchman in general is declared (Ezekiel 33:1-6); an application of this to the prophet (Ezekiel 33:7); the sum of whose business is to warn the wicked man of his wickedness; and the consequence of doing, or not doing it, is expressed (Ezekiel 33:8-9); an objection of the people and the prophet's answer to it (Ezekiel 33:10-11); who is bid to acquaint them, that a righteous man trusting to his righteousness, and sinning, should not live; and that a sinner repenting of his sins should not die (Ezekiel 33:12-16); the people's charge of inequality in the ways of God is retorted upon them, and removed from the Lord, and proved against them (Ezekiel 33:17-20); then follows a prophecy, delivered out after the news was brought of the taking of the city, threatening with ruin those who remained in the land, confident of safety, and that for their sins, which are particularly enumerated (Ezekiel 33:21-29); and the chapter is closed with a discovery of the hypocrisy of those that attended the prophet's ministry (Ezekiel 33:30-33).