|@August 31, 2023||ESV (2016)||ESV Prophets Plan 2023|
- Judgment on Wicked Counselors
- Israel’s New Heart and Spirit
The chapter opens with the Spirit bringing Ezekiel to the east gate of the house of the LORD. Here he saw 25 men, which were possibly the same men worshiping the sun in Ezek. 8:16. The men had devised iniquity, giving wicked counsel that the city was a cauldron and they were the meat. They thought they were the choice morsels of meat who could build houses because they belonged to Jerusalem, whereas the exiles were like the entrails that were discarded as unfit to be in the pot.
However, in Ezek. 11:5-12, God paints a very different picture from what the people thought of themselves. God though Ezekiel tells the people that only those slaughtered would be left in Jerusalem, the rest would be taken out of the midst of it (Ezek. 11:7). The sword they had feared would be brought upon them (Ezek. 11:8). They will be taken into exile for acting in accordance to the idolatrous practices of other nations. Twice in this section, God tells them that “you shall know that I am the LORD.”, the recognition formula.
Ezek. 11:13 describes how Pelatiah died while Ezekiel was prophesying. Pelatiah was perhaps the leader of the 25 men and their evil counsel. It was when Pelatiah died that Ezekiel felt compelled to intercede to God for his people.
Ezek. 11:14-21 are of how God had given the people the land but had also threatened to remove them from it because of their disobedience (Deut. 28:36; Deut. 28:64-68). God would spare a remnant, but the remnant would not include the corrupt leadership (Ezek. 6:8; Ezek. 12:16). God remained with this remnant while they were in exile (Ezek. 11: 16) and will gather them from the scattered lands to give them the land of Israel (Ezek. 11:17). Upon their return, they will remove all false idols and God will unify their faith in Himself. He will “give them one heart, and a new spirit” within them, removing the “heart of stone” and “give them a heart of flesh”. Relationship will be restored and God declares that “they shall be my people, and I will be their God.” (Ezek. 11:20). However, those who continue in their idolatrous practices will have their deeds brought “upon their own heads” (Ezek. 11:21).
The final section (Ezek. 11:22-25) is of the cherubim and the glory of the Lord who “went up from the midst of the city and stood on the mountain that is on the east side of the city”. George Williams wonderfully describes this movement of the glory of the LORD:
It retired unwillingly. Its throne was the Most Holy Place, Ezek. 8:4; it then withdrew to the threshold, Ezek. 9:3; then, above the threshold, Ezek. 10:4; then it retired to the Eastern Gate, Ezek. 10:19; and, finally, to the mountain on the east side of the city, Ezek. 11:23. Thus did the God of Israel in lingering love forsake His city and temple, not to return till Ezek. 43:2 (still future).
The princes of Jerusalem felt safe despite the fire of God’s judgment. They thought they would not be cast into exile, but God dealt a harrowing blow to their self-confidence. However, even while they would fall by the sword, God still promised a remnant to return to Israel. These would be the few who remained faithful in the midst of trial. God would instill within them a new spirit and a new heart along with the promise that they would be His people and He would be their God.
To be given a heart of flesh—soft, malleable, workable, formable, changeable, shapable, usable—should be among our most fervent prayers. To give ourselves in full surrender to Him is the only manner of life worth living. This is no easy bid as our sin naturally lends to hardening, but this we must give to the Lord daily to be tenderized. And what faithfulness has our Lord to answer our petitions, not always as we ask but always as we need.
Scripture Journal Notes
Commentaries & Resources Used
- ESV Study Bible. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2008)
- Faithlife Study Bible (Lexham Press, 2016)
- Believer’s Bible Commentary (Thomas Nelson, 2016)
- CSB Study Bible Notes (Holman Bible Publishers, 2017)
- Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible (Guardian Press, 1976)
- The Bible: A Reader’s Guide (Sterling Publishing, 2011)
- The Infographic Bible (Zondervan, 2018)
- ESV Digital Scripture Journal (Crossway, 2019)