Matthew Henry's Commentary
Ezekiel was one of the priests; he was carried captive to Chaldea with Jehoiachin. All his prophecies appear to have been delivered in that country, at some place north of Babylon. Their chief object appears to have been to comfort his brethren in captivity. He is directed to warn of the dreadful calamities coming upon Judea, particularly upon the false prophets, and the neighbouring nations. Also to announce the future restoration of Israel and Judah from their several dispersions, and their happy state in their latter days, under the Messiah. Much of Christ will be found in this book, especially in the conclusion.
Chapter 1 Introduction:
Ezekiel's vision of God, and of the angelic host. (1-14) The conduct of Divine Providence. (15-25) A revelation of the Son of man upon his heavenly throne. (26-28)
Chapter 2 Introduction:
The prophet is directed what he is to do. (1-5) And encouraged to be resolute, faithful, and devoted. (6-10)
Chapter 3 Introduction:
The preparation of the prophet for his work. (1-11) His office, as that of a watchman. (12-2) The restraining and restoring his speech. (22-27)
Chapter 4 Introduction:
The siege of Jerusalem. (1-8) The famine the inhabitants would suffer. (9-17)
Chapter 5 Introduction:
A type of hair, showing the judgments about to come upon the Jews. (1-4) These awful judgments are declared. (5-17)
Chapter 6 Introduction:
The Divine judgments for idolatry. (1-7) A remnant shall be saved. (8-10) The calamities are to be lamented. (11-14)
Chapter 7 Introduction:
The desolation of the land. (1-15) The distress of the few who should escape. (16-22) The captivity. (23-27)
Chapter 8 Introduction:
The idolatries committed by the Jewish rulers. (1-6) The superstitions to which the Jews were then devoted, the Egyptian. (7-12) The Phoenician. (13,14) The Persian. (15,16) The heinousness of their sin. (17,18)
Chapter 9 Introduction:
A vision denoting the destruction of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the departure of the symbol of the Divine presence.
Chapter 10 Introduction:
A vision of the burning of the city. (1-7) The Divine glory departing from the temple. (8-22)
Chapter 11 Introduction:
Divine judgments against the wicked at Jerusalem. (1-13) Divine favour towards those in captivity. (14-21) The Divine presence forsakes the city. (22-25)
Chapter 12 Introduction:
The approaching captivity. (1-16) An emblem of the consternation of the Jews. (17-20) Answers to the objections of scoffers. (21-28)
Chapter 13 Introduction:
Heavy judgments against lying prophets. (1-9) The insufficiency of their work. (10-16) Woes against false prophetesses. (17-23)
Chapter 14 Introduction:
Threatenings against hypocrites. (1-11) God's purpose to punish the guilty Jews, but a few should be saved. (12-23)
Chapter 15 Introduction:
Jerusalem like an unfruitful vine. - If a vine be fruitful, it is valuable. But if not fruitful, it is worthless and useless, it is cast into the fire. Thus man is capable of yielding a precious fruit, in living to God; this is the sole end of his existence; and if he fails in this, he is of no use but to be destroyed. What blindness then attaches to those who live in the total neglect of God and of true religion! This similitude is applied to Jerusalem. Let us beware of an unfruitful profession. Let us come to Christ, and seek to abide in him, and to have his words abide in us.
Chapter 16 Introduction:
A parable showing the first low estate of the Jewish nation, its prosperity, idolatries, and punishment.
Chapter 17 Introduction:
A parable relative to the Jewish nation. (1-10) to which an explanation is added. (11-21) A direct promise of the Messiah. (22-24)
Chapter 18 Introduction:
God has no respect of persons. (1-20) The Divine providence is vindicated. (21-29) A gracious invitation to repentance. (30-32)
Chapter 19 Introduction:
A parable lamenting the ruin of Jehoahaz and Jehoiakim. (1-9) Another describing the desolation of the people. (10-14)
Chapter 20 Introduction:
The elders of Israel are reminded of the idolatry in Egypt. (1-9) In the wilderness. (10-26) In Canaan. (27-32) God promises to pardon and restore them. (33-44) Prophecy against Jerusalem. (45-49)
Chapter 21 Introduction:
The ruin of Judah under the emblem of a sharp sword. (1-17) The approach of the king of Babylon described. (18-27) The destruction of the Ammonites. (28-32)
Chapter 22 Introduction:
The sins of Jerusalem. (1-16) Israel is condemned as dross. (17-22) As the corruption is general, so shall be the punishment. (23-31)
Chapter 23 Introduction:
A history of the apostacy of God's people from him, and the aggravation thereof. - In this parable, Samaria and Israel bear the name Aholah, "her own tabernacle;" because the places of worship those kingdoms had, were of their own devising. Jerusalem and Judah bear the name of Aholibah, "my tabernacle is in her," because their temple was the place which God himself had chosen, to put his name there. The language and figures are according to those times. Will not such humbling representations of nature keep open perpetual repentance and sorrow in the soul, hiding pride from our eyes, and taking us from self-righteousness? Will it not also prompt the soul to look to God continually for grace, that by his Holy Spirit we may mortify the deeds of the body, and live in holy conversation and godliness?
Chapter 24 Introduction:
The fate of Jerusalem. (1-14) The extent of the sufferings of the Jews. (15-27)
Chapter 25 Introduction:
Judgments against the Ammonites. (1-7) Against the Moabites, Edomites, and Philistines. (8-17)
Chapter 26 Introduction:
A prophecy against Tyre.
Chapter 27 Introduction:
The merchandise of Tyre. (1-25) Its fall and ruin. (26-36)
Chapter 28 Introduction:
The sentence against the prince or king of Tyre. (1-19) The fall of Zidon. (20-23) The restoration of Israel. (24-26)
Chapter 29 Introduction:
The desolation of Egypt. (1-16) Also a promise of mercy to Israel. (17-21)
Chapter 30 Introduction:
A prophecy against Egypt. (1-19) Another. (20-26)
Chapter 31 Introduction:
The glory of Assyria. (1-9) Its fall, and the like for Egypt. (10-18)
Chapter 32 Introduction:
The fall of Egypt. (1-16) It is like that of other nations. (17-32)
Chapter 33 Introduction:
Ezekiel's duty as a watchman. (1-9) He is to vindicate the Divine government. (10-20) The desolation of Judea. (21-29) Judgments on the mockers of the prophets. (30-33)
Chapter 34 Introduction:
The rulers reproved. (1-6) The people are to be restored to their own land. (7-16) The kingdom of Christ. (17-31)
Chapter 35 Introduction:
A prophecy against Edom.
Chapter 36 Introduction:
The land shall be delivered from heathen oppressors. (1-15) The people are reminded of former sins, and promised deliverance. (16-24) Also holiness, and gospel blessings. (25-38)
Chapter 37 Introduction:
God restores dried bones to life. (1-14) The whole house of Israel is represented as enjoying the blessings of Christ's kingdom. (15-28)
Chapter 38 Introduction:
The army and malice of Gog. (1-13) God's judgments. (14-23)
Chapter 39 Introduction:
The destruction of Gog. (1-10) Its extent. (11-22) Israel again favoured. (23-29)
Chapter 40 Introduction:
The Vision of the Temple. - Here is a vision, beginning at ch. 40, and continued to the end of the book, ch. 48, which is justly looked upon to be one of the most difficult portions in all the book of God. When we despair to be satisfied as to any difficulty we meet with, let us bless God that our salvation does not depend upon it, but that things necessary are plain enough; and let us wait till God shall reveal even this unto us. This chapter describes two outward courts of the temple. Whether the personage here mentioned was the Son of God, or a created angel, is not clear. But Christ is both our Altar and our Sacrifice, to whom we must look with faith in all approaches to God; and he is Salvation in the midst of the earth, |Ps 74:12|, to be looked unto from all quarters.
Chapter 41 Introduction:
- After the prophet had observed the courts, he was brought to the temple. If we attend to instructions in the plainer parts of religion, and profit by them, we shall be led further into an acquaintance with the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.
Chapter 42 Introduction:
- In this chapter are described the priests' chambers, their use, and the dimensions of the holy mount on which the temple stood. These chambers were many. Jesus said, In my Father's house are many mansions: in his house on earth there are many; multitudes, by faith, are lodging in his sanctuary, and yet there is room. These chambers, though private, were near the temple. Our religious services in our chambers, must prepare for public devotions, and further us in improving them, as our opportunities are.
Chapter 43 Introduction:
- After Ezekiel had surveyed the temple of God, he had a vision of the glory of God. When Christ crucified, and the things freely given to us of God, through Him, are shown to us by the Holy Ghost, they make us ashamed for our sins. This frame of mind prepares us for fuller discoveries of the mysteries of redeeming love; and the whole of the Scriptures should be opened and applied, that men may see their sins, and repent of them. We are not now to offer any atoning sacrifices, for by one offering Christ has perfected for ever those that are sanctified, |Heb 10:14|; but the sprinkling of his blood is needful in all our approaches to God the Father. Our best services can be accepted only as sprinkled with the blood which cleanses from all sin.
Chapter 44 Introduction:
- This chapter contains ordinances relative to the true priests. The prince evidently means Christ, and the words in ver. |2|, may remind us that no other can enter heaven, the true sanctuary, as Christ did; namely, by virtue of his own excellency, and his personal holiness, righteousness, and strength. He who is the Brightness of Jehovah's glory entered by his own holiness; but that way is shut to the whole human race, and we all must enter as sinners, by faith in his blood, and by the power of his grace.
Chapter 45 Introduction:
- In the period here foretold, the worship and the ministers of God will be provided for; the princes will rule with justice, as holding their power under Christ; the people will live in peace, ease, and godliness. These things seem to be represented in language taken from the customs of the times in which the prophet wrote. Christ is our Passover that is sacrificed for us: we celebrate the memorial of that sacrifice, and feast upon it, triumphing in our deliverance out of the Egyptian slavery of sin, and our preservation from the destroying sword of Divine justice, in the Lord's supper, which is our passover feast; as the whole Christian life is, and must be, the feast of the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
Chapter 46 Introduction:
- The ordinances of worship for the prince and for the people, are here described, and the gifts the prince may bestow on his sons and servants. Our Lord has directed us to do many duties, but he has also left many things to our choice, that those who delight in his commandments may abound therein to his glory, without entangling their own consciences, or prescribing rules unfit for others; but we must never omit our daily worship, nor neglect to apply the sacrifice of the Lamb of God to our souls, for pardon, peace, and salvation.
Chapter 47 Introduction:
- These waters signify the gospel of Christ, which went forth from Jerusalem, and spread into the countries about; also the gifts and powers of the Holy Ghost which accompanied it, by virtue of which is spread far, and produced blessed effects. Christ is the Temple; and he is the Door; from him the living waters flow, out of his pierced side. They are increasing waters. Observe the progress of the gospel in the world, and the process of the work of grace in the heart; attend the motions of the blessed Spirit under Divine guidance. If we search into the things of God, we find some things plain and easy to be understood, as the waters that were but to the ankles; others more difficult, which require a deeper search, as the waters to the knees, or the loins; and some quite beyond our reach, which we cannot penetrate; but must, as St. Paul did, adore the depth,
Chapter 48 Introduction:
- Here is a description of the several portions of the land belonging to each tribe. In gospel times, behold all things are become new. Much is wrapped up in emblems and numbers. This method God has used to state mysterious truths in his word, not to be more clearly revealed till the proper time and season. But into the church of Christ, both in its state of warfare and triumph, there is free access by faith, from every side. Christ has opened the kingdom of heaven for all believers. Whoever will, may come, and take of the water of life, of the tree of life, freely. The Lord is there, in his church, to be nigh unto them in all they call upon him for. This is true of every real Christian; whatever soul has in it a living principle of grace, it may truly be said, The Lord is there. May we be found citizens of this holy city, and act agreeably to that character; and have the benefit of the Lord's presence with us, in life, in death, and for evermore.