King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Ezekiel 33

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)

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Ezekiel’s duty as a watchman

1 Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

2 Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman:

3 If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people;

4 Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head.

5 He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul.

6 But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand.

7 So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me.

8 When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.

9 Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.

He is to vindicate the Divine government

10 Therefore, O thou son of man, speak unto the house of Israel; Thus ye speak, saying, If our transgressions and our sins be upon us, and we pine away in them, how should we then live?

11 Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

12 Therefore, thou son of man, say unto the children of thy 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 thereby in the day that he turneth from his wickedness; neither shall the righteous be able to live for his righteousness in the day that he sinneth.

13 When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it.

14 Again, when I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right;

15 If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die.

16 None of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him: he hath done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live.

17 Yet the children of thy people say, The way of the Lord is not equal: but as for them, their way is not equal.

18 When the righteous turneth from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, he shall even die thereby.

19 But if the wicked turn from his wickedness, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall live thereby.

20 Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. O ye house of Israel, I will judge you every one after his ways.

The desolation of Judea

21 And it came to pass in the twelfth year of our captivity, in the tenth month, in the fifth day of the month, that one that had escaped out of Jerusalem came unto me, saying, The city is smitten.

22 Now the hand of the LORD was upon me in the evening, afore he that was escaped came; and had opened my mouth, until he came to me in the morning; and my mouth was opened, and I was no more dumb.

23 Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

24 Son of man, they that 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 us for inheritance.

25 Wherefore say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Ye eat with the blood, and lift up your eyes toward your idols, and shed blood: and shall ye possess the land?

26 Ye stand upon your sword, ye work abomination, and ye defile every one his neighbour’s wife: and shall ye possess the land?

27 Say thou thus unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; As I live, surely they that are in the wastes shall fall by the sword, and him that is in the open field will I give to the beasts to be devoured, and they that be in the forts and in the caves shall die of 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, that none shall pass through.

29 Then shall they know that I am the LORD, when I have laid the land most desolate because of all their abominations which they have committed.

Judgments on the mockers of the prophets

30 Also, thou son of man, the children of thy people still are talking against thee by the walls and in the doors of the houses, and speak one to another, every one to his brother, saying, Come, I pray you, and hear what is the word that cometh forth from the LORD.

31 And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness.

32 And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not.

33 And when this cometh to pass, (lo, it will come,) then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 2. Take. Before (C. iii. 17.) God made the choice, (C.) as he does here, v. 7. He confirms the authority of those who are appointed to govern. — Meanest. Lit. “last,” (H.) which seems to denote such as are chosen without regard to their dignity or obscurity in life. Gen. xlvii. 2. and 3 K. xii. 31. C. — Pastors are not excused from admonishing the people for fear of danger or despair of reclaiming them, as each one is bound to do his duty. S. Jer. W.

Ver. 6. Iniquity, not regarding the admonitions of his pastor; (C. iii. 18. C.) or rather of conscience, when the guide proves faithless and silent, as in this instance. H. — The people were persuaded that none suffered except for some fault. v. 10. Jer. xxxi. 30. Dan. xiii. 52. Gen. xliv. 16. The author of the Book of Job takes great pains to remove this mistake. God sometimes sends crosses for a trial, (C.) and to increase the merit of his servants; though it be very true, (H.) “no one is miserable except he deserve it.” S. Aug.

Ver. 8. Surely die a temporal, (Theod.) or rather an eternal death. S. Jer.

Ver. 10. Live? They suppose their case to be desperate, as their fathers had sinned. C. xviii. The prophet shews that none are punished except for their own faults, (C.) and that “each one has free-will to be saved or to be lost.” S. Jer.

Ver. 11. Desire. The sinner’s damnation is not an object of God’s pleasure. C. xviii. 23. C. — He has an antecedent will to save all. He knocks at the door of our heart, (Apoc. iii. 20.) and if man do what depends on him, nothing will be wanting on the part of God. S. Tho. i. 2. q. 109. and 112. W.

Ver. 12. Hurt him. God effaces all past crimes: yet a relapse makes them as it were revive, and is pardoned with more difficulty. Mat. xviii. 35. Some read, “In what day the converted sinner groans, he shall be saved,” as if they had taken in part of Is. xxx. 15.

Ver. 17. Equitable; as we are much more inclined to vice than to virtue. This argumentation is inconclusive, as God owes nothing to man; and what good the latter does, is an effect of His grace. The propensity to evil is no excuse, as man is still free. He is judged according to the dispositions in which he is found at the hour of death; yet we must not infer, that those who have spent their lives in sinning will be no worse treated than the person who dies guilty of a single crime.

Ver. 21. Twelfth. Rom. Sept. “tenth.” Syr. “eleventh year,…in the twelfth month;” which Theodoret thinks more probable, as the city was taken in the ninth of the fourth month of that year. Yet even so, it is strange that the news should not arrive before. Some think (C.) that the messenger came also to announce what happened after the death of Godolias. Sanct. — Captivity. Here it is evident that the prophet dates from that event. C. i. &c. H. — As he prophesied on the very day when the city was besieged, (C. xxiv. 2.) so (v. 26.) he foretold that one should come three years after to inform him of the capture. W. — Then the people would believe him, (ib. v. 27. C.) and he would open his mouth boldly. v. 22. H.

Ver. 24. Places. He has answered those who despaired. v. 10. Now he turns to the presumptuous, who expected to be treated like Abraham, though they did not imitate his virtues. C. — They perhaps entertained these sentiments before the death of Godolias, thinking to establish themselves in the land. Afterwards the prophet Jeremias could not prevail on them to remain, though God promised them security.

Ver. 25. To them. Grabe marks to v. 27. Thus saith, &c. as wanting in the Sept. though not in the Alex. copy. S. Jerom reckons eight verses or lines omitted. H. — The Comp. and Theodoret read them with some variations. — The blood. It must be carefully extracted. Gen. ix. 4. Lev. vii. 26. — Uncleannesses; idols, in which you trust.

Ver. 26. Swords, thinking to live thereby, (Gen. xxvii. 40.) and to be secure. But I will disarm you. The pestilence shall find out those in the rocks. v. 27.

Ver. 30. Walls, the resort of idle people. C.

Ver. 31. In to a religious meeting. Chal. Perhaps they came on the sabbath to his house. Yet they made a just and song of his instructions. C. — They heard them with pleasure, but did not reform their lives. H.

Ver. 33. Coming. The desolation of Jerusalem, (H.) and what I have foretold, hath already taken place; or, the news will presently arrive: as it did the following morning. v. 21. C.