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The duty of a


spiritual watchman.

A. M. 3417.
B. C. 587.

B. C. 587.

7 * So thou, O son of man, I have 10 I Therefore, O thou son of man, A. M. 3417.

set thee a watchman unto the house speak unto the house of Israel ; Thus of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at ye speak, saying, If our transgressions and our my mouth, and warn thein from me.

sins be upon us, and we spine away in them, 8 When I say unto the wicked, 0 wicked | how should we then live? man, thou shalt surely die;. if thou dost not 11 Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord speak to warn the wicked from his way, that God, 'I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way blood will I require at thy hand.

and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; 9 Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his for a why will ye die, O house of Israel? way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his 12 Therefore, thou son of man, say unto the way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast children of thy people, The 'righteousness of delivered thy soul.

the righteous shall not deliver him in the day

Lk Chap.

Chapter iii. 17.- Chapter xxiv. 23. — So lsa. xlix. 14;

Chap. xxxvii. 11.

i 2 Sam. xiv. 14; Chap. xviii. 23, 32; 2 Peter iii. 9.

xviii. 31. Chap. ill. 20; xvii. 24, 26, 27.

Egypt, or other nations, and also proves, by a con- merly committed, and in consequence of the present spicuous example, the truth of that maxim with fault of not watching, a great fault in every one that which he had concluded his late address to the cap- is guilty of it in time of war. But his blood will I tive Jews, That God will judge every one after his require at the watchman's hands—The guilt of that ways, both Jews and heathen.Obs. on Books, ii. | blood will I charge upon the watchman, and punish 196.

him for it, for he sinned in not giving the necessary When I bring the sword upon a landWhen an warning. enemy approaches to any land, which never happens Verses 7–9. So thou, O son of man—The Lord without my appointment or permission; if the people here applies the preceding account of the watchof the land take a man of their coastOr, from among man's office to the prophet, and shows that his duty them, to which sense the word 77372, here used, is is illustrated thereby. As if he had said, If a watchtranslated, Gen. xlvii. 2; and set him for their watch-man, appointed by his fellow-citizens, is so highly man-Such watchmen were placed upon the turrets guilty, if he do not give warning to the city, and of their city-walls, or upon high mountains near, to shall receive such punishment from my hands; what give notice of the enemy's approach: see the margin. must not thou expect, who art appointed by me to If when he seeth the sword come upon the landIf, give warning to thy countrymen of the terrible evils when he spies the enemy marching against it, he blow | which their sins will bring upon them, if thou nethe trumpet, sound the alarnı; and warn the people— glect to do it? God has never left his people withThe sound of the trumpet is a warning, yet it is out sufficient means of instruction, but has vouchsometimes necessary to add a warning by word of safed it to them more or less in every age, from the mouth, and tell the people brought together by beginning of the world to this day. He has, from the trumpet what he sees. Whosoever hearcth, fc., time to time, and at all times, set watchmen over and taketh not warning-Considers not, minds not them, raised up good and holy men to instruct, adwhat he hears, nor will be made sensible of the dan- monish, warn, and reprove. "I have even sent unto ger, so as to provide for resisting or fleeing from the you all my servants the prophets daily, rising up sword; if the sword come and take him away-De- early and sending them, but you have not hearkened stroy him; his blood shall be upon his own head— | unto me, nor inclined your ear," Jer. vii. 25. When His destruction is owing to himself. He heard the || I say unto the wicked, &c.—See notes on chap. iii. sound of the trumpet-He heard as well as others || 18, 19. who escaped, and he might have delivered himself Verses 10, 11. If our transgressions be upon us, as they did who took warning. His blood shall be || &c.-If the unpardoned guilt of our sins lie upon us, upon him—The guilt and blame of his death cannot || and we be punished for them in the wasting of our be charged on any but himself. But he that taketh country, the burning of our city, the abolishing the warning shall sare his soul-Shall save his life from public worship of God, &c.; and we pine away in the danger that threatens it. In like manner, he that them-Experience their bitter consequences in fatakes warning by the prophet's admonition shall pre- || mine and disease, and in a variety of other calamiserve himself from the judgments threatened against | ties; how shall ite lire?-How then can the prosinners. But if the watchman see the sword come, | mises of life belong to us? How can such assurances and blow not the trumpel-If he neglect his charge, | be true as were given us chap. xviii. 17-32? What which is to give the alarm ; and the people be not || ground can we have to hope for a recovery of our warned—But are surprised by the enemy; if the former condition ? Or, how canst thou promise the sword take any person from among them-Cut any continuance or restoration of any mercy to us ? How one offunexpectedly; he is taken away in his iniquity can it be better with us than it is? If thy threaten--Punished and cut off by the Lord for his sins for- |lings be true, it will be worse with las, and not better;

God's dealings with


the righteous and wicked.

B. C. 587.

B. C. 587.

A. M. 3417. of his transgression : as for the wick- || shall be mentioned unto him: he hath A. M. 3417.

edness of the wicked, mhe shall not done that which is lawful and right; fall thereby in the day that he turneth from he shall surely live. his wickedness; neither shall the righteous be 17 1 Yet the children of thy people say, able to live for his righteousness in the day The way of the LORD is not equal : but as for that he sinneth.

them, their way is not equal. 13 When I shall say to the righteous, that 18 When the righteous turneth from his he shall surely live; "if he trust to his own righteousness, and committeth iniquity, he shall righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his even die thereby. righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but 19 But if the wicked turn from his wickedfor his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall || ness, and do that which is lawful and right, he die for it.

shall live thereby. 14 Again, when I say unto the wicked,

20 Yet ye say,

* The

of the Lord is not Thou shalt surely die ; if he turn from his sin, || equal. O ye house of Israel, I will judge you and do 3 that which is lawful and right; every one after his ways,

15 If the wicked P restore the pledge, 9 give || 21 And it came to pass in the twelfth year again that he had robbed, walk in "the statutes of our captivity, in the tenth month, in the of life, without committing iniquity; he shall fifth day of the month, 2 that one that had surely live, he shall not die.

escaped out of Jerusalem came unto me, say16 None of his sins that he hath committed ing, « The city is smitten.

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m 2 Chron. vii. 14. - Chap. iii. 20; xviii. 24. - Chap. Leviticus xviii. 5; Chapter xx. 11, 13, 21. Chap. xviii. ii. 18, 19; xviii. 27. -3 Heb. judgment and justice. -P Chap. || 22. - Verse 20 ; Chap. xviii, 25, 29.- _u Chap. xviii, 26, 27. xviii. 7. -9 Exod. xxii. 1, 4; Lev. vi. 2, 4, 5; Num. v. 6, 7; * Verse 17; Chap: xviii. 25, 29.-Chap. i. 2.

-2 Chapter Luke xix. 8.

xxiv. 26.-a2 Kings xxv. 4.

and if they be not true, how can we trust thy pro- || pal, and give it to him to whom it appertaineth ; see mises of recovery? These are supposed to be the the note there. To the same purpose is that received words of impious persons, who, pretending to de- rule among the Christian casuists, taken from St. spair of God's mercies, take encouragement from Augustin, Epistle liv., Non dimittitur peccatum, nisi thence to continue in their sins. Say, As I live, I restituatur ablatum. The sin is not forgiven, unhave no pleasure in the death of the wickedFor an | less what is taken away be restored. Lord Clarenelucidation of this and the following verses to the don's observations on this subject are peculiarly ex20th, compare chap. xviii.; and see the notes there. cellent: “Robbery and violence would be too gainful

Verse 13. When I shall say to the righteous, that a trade, if a man might quit all scores by repentance, he shall surely live-When I make him a promise and detain all he hath gotten ; or is the father's reof life, peace, and every blessing which he stands in pentance might serve the turn, and the benefit of the need of; if he trust to his own righteousness-For- | transgression be transmitted as an inheritance to the merly performed, but now abandoned; or, if he rely son. If the pledge remained it must be restored; upon the good works he hath done, and think the the retaining it is committing a new iniquity, and worth of them will overbalance the guilt of his evil || forfeits any benefit of the promise. If he hath it not, deeds; which seems to have been the opinion of the nor is able to procure it, his hearty repentance is later Jews, who lay it down for a rule in their Mishna, enough without reparation : but to enjoy the spoil, Thul all Israel shall have a share in the world to and yet to profess repentance, is an affront to God come. All his righteousness shall not be remember- | Almighty, and a greater sin than the first act of vioed, &c.—He shall come again under the guilt of all || lence, when he did not pretend to think of God, and his past sins, and shall be exposed to condemnation so did not think of displeasing him. Whereas now and wrath : see notes on chap. xviii. 24–29. It is he pretends to reconcile himself to God, and moeks evidently signified here, that to trust in our own him with repentance, while he retains the fruit of righteousness, whether internal or external, whether | his wickedness. He who is truly penitent restores graces or virtues, past or present, or to entertain | what he hath left to the person who was deprived of high thoughts of our own attainments in religion, it, and pays the rest in devout sorrow for his tresand to put confidence therein, is one step toward a

pass.” fall, and generally issues in apostacy,

Verse 21. In the twelfth year of our captivity, Verse 15. If the wicked restore the pledge, give &c.—According to this reading, the news of the again that he had robbed-It is a necessary condi- | taking and burning of Jerusalem was brought to that tion of obtaining pardon, that men make restitution part of the Babylonish dominions where the Jewish of what they have unjustly gotten from others. The captives were placed in a year, five months, and law is express to this purpose, Lev. vi. 5, where the twenty-six days after the calamity happened: see offender is required to add a fifth part to the princi- || Jer. lii. 12. But eight MSS. having noy instead of The desolation of


Judea foretold

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B. C. 587.

22 Now the hand of the LORD || ' Abraham was one, and be inherited A. M. 3417.

B. C. 587. was upon me in the evening, afore the land : 6 but we are many; the he that was escaped came; and had opened land is given us for inheritance. my mouth, until he came to me in the morn- 25 Wherefore say unto them, Thus saith the ing; cand my mouth was opened, and I was Lord God; 1 Ye eat with the blood, and ' lift no more dumb.

up your eyes toward your idols, and shed 23 Then the word of the LORD came unto blood : and shall ye possess the land? me, saying,

26 Ye stand upon your sword, ye work abomi24 Son of man, they that inhabit those nation, and ye m defile every one his neighbour's * wastes of the land of Israel speak, saying, wife: and shall ye possess the land ?


Chapter i. 3.- Chapter xxiv. 27.----- Chapter xxxiv. 2. h Genesis ix. 4; Lev. ii. 17; vii. 26; xvii. 10; xix. 26 ; Deut. • Verse 27; Chapter xxxvi. 4.- - Isaiah li. 2; Acts vii. 5. xii. 16.— Chap. xviii. 6.-k Chapter xxii. 6, 9.- Chap 5 Mic. ii. 11; Matt. 111. 9; John viii. 39.

xviii, 6; xxii. 11.

nu, Bishop Newcome, and some others, think the vain manner of the Jews, who fondly presume that preferable reading is, the eleventh year. If this be | they have a right to all the promises made to Abraadopted, only about six months passed between the ham, without considering the vast difference between taking of Jerusalem and the communication of that them and Abraham, both in faith and practice. The event to Ezekiel. One that had escaped out of Je-appellation of one is given to Abraham in other parts rusalem came unto me-According to what God had of Scripture, because he was singled out from the rest foretold to him should be the case, as is mentioned of his family, to be the original, or head, of the Jewchap. xxiv. 26, and which was to be as a new com- ish nation.”—Lowth. mission unto him to speak unto the people; from Verses 25, 26. Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord doing which, by the command of God, he had | -Remove from them this destructive carnal conficeased for near three years before; the prophetic | dence, and show them what they do, and how far influence, or impulse, not coming upon him during they are from being Abraham's genuine seed. Ye that time.

cat with the blood-Which was expressly forbidden Verse 22. Now the hand of the Lord was upon me in the Jewish law, as appears from Lev. vii. 26, as in the evening--I felt a sensible impulse of the pro- | well as that more ancient law ordained to all man. phetic spirit: see chap. i. 3. And had opened my kind, Gen. ix. 4; and lift up your eyes toward mouth, until he came to me in the morning-Had so your idols-Offer up your prayers unto your fictiinfluenced my mind, that I found myself disposed tious gods; and shed bloodThat is, commit murand prepared to speak freely and with authority. ders; and shall ye possess the land ?-When you Not that he had been utterly dumb before: for he do not perform the conditions on which the land had probably "been able to converse with the Jews was given, namely, that of being a holy people, can concerning the predictions formerly delivered to you think that you shall continue to enjoy it? Ye them, and perhaps spake, or delivered in writing to stand upon your sword-You make your strength them, the prophecies which he uttered concerning the law of justice, and, confiding in that, you do other nations; but he had received no further reve- / whatsoever your inclinations lead you to, whether lation from God respecting their affairs: in this sense right or wrong; according to the character given of he had been dumb.”—Scott

. But now the Spirit ungodly men, Wisd. ii. 11, who say, “Let our moved him to speak, and continued so to do till the strength be the law of justice, for that which is feemessenger came, whose information concerning the ble is found to be nothing worth,” &c. Houbigant taking and burning of Jerusalem, which had been translates the clause, You stand in your high way, repeatedly and clearly foretold by the prophet, or the corners of your streets, and commit your would give an indisputable authority and credit to all abominations, considering the words as referring to his predictions, and prepare the people's minds to their public and open profession of idolatry. Dr. receive, with faith and a due regard, every future Spencer (De Legib. Hebrew, lib. ii. cap. 11) thinks message which he was commissioned to deliver to that the expression alludes to a custom of the heathem.

then, "who put the blood of their sacrifices into a Verse 24. They that inhabit those wastes of the vessel, or pit, in order to call up and consult evil land of Israel—'They that are left behind in the spirits, and then stood with their swords drawn, to land, that is now wasted with fire and sword: see keep the demons off from doing them any harm.” the margin. Speak, saying, Abraham was one, Ye defile every one his neighbour's wife-Ye uniand inherited the land-Had the privilege of dwell-versally commit adultery; and shall ye possess the ing and feeding his flocks in it; as if he had said, || land? -The question implies a peremptory denial

, “If Abraham, being only a single person, had the Thus the prophet shows how vain and ill-grounded whole country of Judea given him, there is much their expectations were of being continued in the greater reason to conclude, that God will preserve possession of Judea, since they did those things the possession of it to us, who are a numerous part which were contrary to the divine law, and which conof Abraham's posterity. These men speak after the sequently excluded them from any right to the land.

The desolation of


Judea foretold.

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B. C. 587.

B. C. 587.

27 Say thou thus unto them, Thus 30 | Also, thou son of man, the A. M. 3417

saith the Lord God; As I live, surely children of thy people still are talking they that are in the wastes, shall fall by the 6 against thee by the walls and in the doors of sword, and him that is in the open field, will I the houses, and speak one to another, every give to the beasts * to be devoured, and they that one to his brother, saying, Come, I pray you, be in the forts and Pin the caves, shall die of and hear what is the word that cometh forth the pestilence.

from the LORD. 28 . For I will lay the land 5 most desolate, 31 And they come unto thee? as the people and the "pomp of her strength shall cease; and cometh, and they * sit before thee as my peo* the mountains of Israel shall be desolate, that ple, and they hear thy words, but they will not pass through.

do them : for with their mouth they show 29 Then shall they know that I am the LORD, much love, but their heart goeth after their when I have laid the land most desolate, be- covetousness. cause of all their abominations which they have 32 And lo, thou art unto them as a very committed.

lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice,

none shall



Verse 24. Chapter xxxix. 4.- - Heb. to devour him. t Isa. xxix. 13. bu Chap. xiv. 1; xx. 1.- Heb. according p Judges vi. 2; 1 Sam. xiii. 6. - 9 Jer. xliv. 2, 6, 22; Chapter to the coming of the people.- Or, my people sit before thee. xxxvi. 34, 35.

—Heb. desolation and desolation. - Chapter * Chapter vii. 1.- Psalm lxxviii. 26, 37; Isaiah xxix. 13. vii. 24; xxiv. 21; xxx. 6, 7.- Chapter vi. 2, 3, 6.

. Heb. they make loves, or, jests.- Matt. xiii. 22.-10 Heb. of thee.

a song of loves.


Verse 27. Surely they that are in the wastes- the phrase may denote the beauty and glory of the They who continue to dwell among the desolations temple, which they looked upon as their chief of Jerusalem and Judea; shall fall by the sword-strength and protection ; none shall


throughThis they accordingly did, both through the civil | None shall choose even so much as to pass through dissensions among them, in the conspiracy formed the country, on account of its being infested with against Gedaliah, and likewise by the Chaldeans re- wild beasts through its desolateness, and because the venging his death. And him that is in the open field air of it shall be rendered unwholesome, by means will I give to the beastsHe shall be a prey to lions of the effluvia arising from dead and dying bodies, and other ravenous beasts, that will multiply in the and the pestilential diseases which rage in the counruined country. And they that be in the forts and try, and sweep away its inhabitants. Then shall cares-Out of the reach of men and bcasts; shall they know that I am the Lord–That I am their die of the pestilence-My hand shall reach them, Lord, their righteous governor, and just judge. and send among them those destructive disorders When I have laid the land most desolate, &c.which shall sweep them away. These three judg- When I have brought these destructive calamities ments here mentioned, the sword, destructive beasts, upon it, because of the sins and 'abominations of and the pestilence, together with famine, are often its inhabitants. Observe, reader, those are untractthreatened as the last and finishing strokes of divine able and unteachable indeed, that are not made vengeance upon the Jewish nation: see chap. v. 12, | to know their dependance upon God when all their 17, and vi. 12, and xiv. 21; Jer. xv. 3. By the forts creature comforts fail them, and they are made and caves here spoken of, are meant the strong holds | desolate. formed by nature in the rocks, or cut out in the Verses 30-32. The children of thy people-Those sides of the mountains. Many of them were so large of the captivity; still are talking against thee-Or that men might secure themselves, their families, rather, of thee, as the LXX. rightly render it; for and their goods in them. So David is said, 1 Sam. || with their mouths they showed much love, as it folxxiii. 14, to abide in strong holds, and remain in a lows in the next verse. By the walls and in the Inountain in the wilderness of Ziph. Such was the doors of their houses-Both in their public places of cave of Adullam, where David had his residence for concourse, and in their private meetings. And speak some time, and was there resorted to by his relations, one to another, saying, Come, &c.— These were such (1 Sam. xxii. 1,) and at another time by his principal as drew nigh to God with their mouths, but their officers, 2 Sam. xxiii. 15.

hearts were far from him, as Isaiah describes their Verses 28, 29. For I will lay the land most deso- || hypocrisy, chap. xxix. 13; and they come unto thee late- I will make the land destitute of inhabitants, as the people comethOr, as disciples flock to their by the destruction which shall be made of them by teachers: so the Chaldee paraphrase explains it. the sword, by.wild beasts, and the pestilence, and by They make a profession of great regard to piety and their being carried into captivity. And the pomp of virtue, and express a great esteem for thee, but at her strength shall cease--All that wealth and mag- the same time they indulge themselves in sin and nificence wherein they pleased themselves, as that wickedness. And lo! thou art unto them as a very which gave them strength and reputation in the eyes | lovely song, &c.— They come to hear thee for their of the world, are taken away: see chap. vii. 24. Or | entertainment, not for their edification, in the spirit

Judgments against the


shepherds of Israel.

B. C. 587.

A. M. 3417. and can play well on an instrument: 33 a And when this cometh to pass, A. M. 3417. B. C. 587.

for they hear thy words, but they do (lo, it will come,) then shall they them not.

know that a prophet hath been among them.

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in which many go to hear noted and eloquent preach- Verse 33. And when this cometh to pass, (lo, it ers. St. Austin tells us, that he himself was such an | will come)–Or, rather, lo, it is come; for so the auditor of St. Ambrose before he was converted, same phrase is translated chap. vi. 2, 6, 10, the verb Confess., l. v. c. 12; “I heard him diligently when || being in the present tense ; when they shall see thy he discoursed in the congregation, but not with that || prophecies concerning the destruction of Jerusalem application of mind which I ought to have done; actually fulfilled, and all the events predicted by thee but I came rather out of curiosity, to kiow whether exactly brought to pass ; then shall they know that his eloquence was answerable to the opinion which a prophet hath been among themThen shall they the world had of him. I was very attentive to his be convinced of the truth of thy mission, and of their style, and charmed with the sweetness of his de- own inexcusable crime in despising thy prophecies. livery, but had little value or concern for the subjects The words of this verse are evidently spoken by the he treated of."

Lord to his prophet.

CHAPTER XXXIV. In this chapter the shepherds of Israel, that is, their rulers, both in church and state, are called to an account, as having beer

very much accessory to the sin and ruin of Israel, by their neglect of the duties of their station. We have here, (1,) A high charge exhibited against them for their negligence, their unskilfulness, and unfaithfulness in the management of public affairs, 1-6, 8. (2) Their discharge from their trust, for their insufficiency and treachery, 7-10. (3) A gracious promise that God would take care of his flock, though they did not, and that it should not always suffer as it had done, by their maladministrations, 11-16. (4,) Another charge is exhibited against those of the flock that were fat and strong, for the injuries they did to those who were weak and feeble, 17-22. (5) Another promise that God would, in the fulness of lime, send the Messiah to be the great and good Shepherd of the sheep, who should redress all grievances, and sct every

thing to rights with the flock, 23–31. A. M. 3417. B. C. 587.

ND the word of the Lord came || Thus saith the Lord God unto the A. M. 3417. AN

B. C. 587. unto me, saying,

shepherds ; Wo be to the shepherds 2 Son of man, prophesy against the a shep- of Israel that do feed themselves ! should not herds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, the shepherds feed the flocks?

a Chap. xxxiii. 24.

b Jer. xxiii. 4; Zech. xi. 17.


tings, comprehends both civil and ecclesiastical Verse 1. The word of the Lord came unto me, l governors. See notes on Isa. lvi. 11; Jer. ii. 8. Other saying-It is probable that this prophecy immedi- | writers also use the same expression; princes being ately followed the preceding; and that at, or imme- | called shepherds of their people, as well as those diately after, the arrival of the news that Jerusalem who have the immediate care of their souls: see was conquered, the prophet was commissioned to Psa. Ixxviii. 71, 72. Thus Homer calls Agamemnon, speak of the tyranny and carelessness of the govern-loljevalawv, the shepherd of the people. And as the ors and teachers, and to point out their negligence threatenings here denounced extend to all sorts of as a principal cause of the incredulity and wicked- | governors, so the several sins of the princes, priests, ness of the people. Thus the transition appears to and prophets are reproved, chap. xxii. 25, &c. Wo be natural, and the connection close, between this to the shepherds of Israel that feed themselresprophecy and the foregoing one, as also between the That regard their own profit and advantage, not the beginning of this prophecy and its conclusion. For good of the people committed to their charge. The considering that, in parts at least, the people suffered beauty of the original, Onix D'VT177 2X ry, may for the faults of the shepherds, mercy now urged be expressed in Latin or Greek, though not in Engthe prophet to declare, from God, that he would lish:-pastoribus qui pascunt semet ipsos: TO! FOLjudge between them, save the flock, and set up one LEOLV OL TOLLALvovoiv Oavtous. Plato, in tlre first book of shepherd over them, who should feed them, even his his Commonwealth, describing the office of a magisservant David.

trate, saith, “He should look upon himself as susVerse 2. Prophesy against the shepherds of 1s- | taining the office of a shepherd, that makes it his rael-The word shepherd, in the prophetical wri- || chief business to take care of his flock; not as if he

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