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Ezekiel 13:1 The word of Yahweh came to me saying- See on Ez. 12:1.

Ezekiel 13:2 Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who prophesy, and say to those who prophesy out of their own heart, Hear the word of Yahweh- "Their own heart" is here parallel with "their own spirit" (:2). The spirit is the heart or mind. It is far too simplistic to claim that 'spirit = power'. See on :17.

Ezekiel 13:3 Thus says the Lord Yahweh, Woe to the foolish prophets, who follow their own spirit, though they have seen nothing!- See on :2. This is an alliteration, because the words for "foolish" and "prophet" are so similar: the nabiim are also the n’balim. This kind of device is often used in the Bible because the vast majority of people encountering God's word were illiterate, and therefore we find many such aids to memorization of the text.

Ezekiel 13:4 Israel, your prophets have been like foxes in the desert places- This would imply that the men intended and inspired to be prophets actually became false prophets (:6). Hence they are likened to foxes, characterized by deceit. Their false prophecy, when they knew God's true word, was therefore the more culpable and awful.

Ezekiel 13:5 You have not gone up into the gaps, neither built up the wall for the house of Israel, to stand in the battle in the day of Yahweh- By speaking the true prophetic word of God, the gaps in the weak wall of Israel could have been filled in. "The day of Yahweh" would have come, but the walls of Jerusalem would have been able "to stand" rather than being breached and then burnt by the Babylonians. The false prophets had wrongly taught that Jerusalem was as strong as an iron cauldron and would preserve its people from the fire of Babylonian judgment (see on Ez. 11:3,7). The idea of filling in the gaps can be taken as a metaphor for intercession. Thus Moses "stood before Him in the breach" (Ps. 106:23) and caused God to alter His plan to totally destroy all Israel. Such language of utter desolation and destruction is likewise found in the earlier parts of Ezekiel, but it seems Ezekiel's own intercession changed some outcomes. But other prophets ought to have done this; instead they became false prophets and didn't go up into the gaps.

Ezekiel 13:6 They have seen falsehood and lying divination, they who say, Yahweh says; but Yahweh has not sent them; and they have made men to hope that the word would be confirmed- Heb. as RVmg. "they hope to confirm their word". By deceiving others, they came to deceive themselves, and were really expecting a fulfilment. This is the trouble with any form of lying; the liar comes to believe it is true. The true "hope of Israel" was the restoration from captivity after repentance; but this was being changed into a false hope, a kind of prosperity gospel, the Kingdom right now, without the need for humility and repentance.

Ezekiel 13:7 Haven’t you seen a false vision, and haven’t you spoken a lying divination in that you say, Yahweh says; but I have not spoken?- The very form of the question seeks for an answer. The purpose of it was therefore to elicit repentance. and apparently the question was met by silence, leading to the following woe upon the false prophets. "False", AV "vain", is a word often associated with the "vanities" of the idols. Their messages were inspired by the idols they worshipped (Zech. 10:2). These "lying divinations" are specifically defined as the "untempered morter" with which the wall of Israel, its supposed defence, had been built (Ez. 22:28 s.w.).

Ezekiel 13:8 Therefore thus says the Lord Yahweh: Because you have spoken falsehood and seen lies, therefore, behold, I am against you, says the Lord Yahweh- This is yet another example of Ezekiel telling the captives the same message as Jeremiah was at the same time telling the Jews still in Judah; "I am against you" is the threat of Jer. 21:5. They had 'seen' lies in their minds; they 'saw' what they wanted to see. And in this sense the psychology of the false prophets is a warning to us all.

Ezekiel 13:9 My hand shall be against the prophets who see false visions, and who preach lies. They shall not be in the council of My people, neither shall they be written in the writing of the house of Israel- We learn in Ezra 2:63 and Neh. 7:65 that it wasn’t possible for the priests to eat of the holy things [signifying God’s acceptance of His people], because there was no record of their genealogy. Their names were not written in the “register” in fulfilment of Ez. 13:9: “neither shall they be written in the writing [s.w. ‘register’, Ezra 2:62] of the house of Israel”. Only if a priest stood up with urim and thummim could they eat of the holy things. These were two engraven stones carried in a pouch in the breastplate which flashed out Divine decisions (see H.A. Whittaker, Samuel, Saul And David for an excellent study of this). Zechariah 3:9 prophesies that Joshua the High Priest would have the engraven stone with seven eyes- the urim and thummim. It would thereby have been possible for a priesthood who had lost their genealogy record during the sacking of the first temple to eat the holy things, and thus fulfil Ez. 42:13, which says that then the priests would eat the holy things. In a restoration context, Is. 66:21 had prophesied that Yahweh would regather Judah, “And I will also take of them for priests and for Levites, saith the LORD”. This implies, surely, that He would accept some as Levites who could not otherwise prove they were. Zech. 6:11,13 speaks of Joshua being crowned with the High Priestly mitre and ‘bearing the glory’, i.e. carrying the urim and thummim in the breastplate. But all this was conditional on Joshua’s obedience: “This shall come to pass, if ye will diligently obey” (6:15). Because Joshua failed, he didn’t have urim and thummim, therefore no decision could be given about who was an acceptable priest, and therefore the ‘Kingdom’ prophecy of Ez. 42:13 was left unfulfilled. So much depended upon that man. And likewise, the eternal destiny of many others depends on us. Isaiah’s prophecies of the restoration feature “the servant”- who was a symbol of both the people and a Messianic individual. His success was bound up with theirs. Thus Isa 65:9: “And I will bring forth a seed [singular] out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor [singular] of my mountains: and mine elect [plural] shall inherit it, and my servants [plural] shall dwell there”. His obedience would enable the peoples’ establishment as the Kingdom.

Neither shall they enter into the land of Israel; and you shall know that I am the Lord Yahweh- Ezekiel told the captives during the early stages of their captivity that the false prophets and "rebels" amongst them would receive the condemnation and judgment of not returning to the land (Ez. 13:9; 20:38). And yet when the command came to return to the land, most of the people chose to remain in Babylon- and therefore they chose their own condemnation. They were a "rebellious house" (Ez. 2:3). For they were aware from Ezekiel's words that not returning to the land was God's condemnation. Those who will not be in the Kingdom will be those who chose not to be there- all who truly love the Lord's appearing will be accepted. The fact Ezekiel tells the false prophets amongst the captives that they would not return to the land of Israel implies that they could have done, and that that generation could have returned. This meant that the 70 years captivity period was open to negotiation; it could have been reduced, if the first groups of exiles had repented.

When Moses asked to be removed from God's book or register, he was apparently not heard. But in reality, he was not allowed to "enter into the land of Israel". That was punishment for his personal sin, but whenever his sin and punishment is mentioned, he says that it was for Israel's sake. And so the punishment of not entering the land was not solely a punishment for his personal sin; it was used as a way of Moses bearing their condemnation, in line with his request to have his name blotted out from God's register. And here we have this thought confirmed- because not entering the land is paralleled with not being written in God's book / register.

Ezekiel 13:10 Because, even because they have seduced My people, saying, Peace; and there is no peace; and when one builds up a wall, behold, they plaster it with whitewash- "Peace" is usually 'peace with God'. But the idea may also be that they were predicting a peace agreement with Babylon. The false prophecies of peace at this time (Jer. 6:14; 23:17) are paralleled with idols speaking peace through the false prophets (Zech. 10:2). This is another indication that there was idolatry amongst the exiles, as predicted in Dt. 28:64. Israel's rejection of idolatry after the exile didn't come for a few generations. See on :18. The whitewash plaster was the false prophecy of peace (Ez. 22:28).

Ezekiel 13:11 Tell those who plaster it with whitewash, that it shall fall: there shall be an overflowing storm; and on you great hailstones, shall fall; and a stormy wind shall tear it- The physical wall of Jerusalem was so flimsy that a man could dig through it with his bare hands (Ez. 12:7), and this reflected how weak was the wall which the false prophets were symbolically building. The language of the storm causing the fall of the wall is that of the Lord's second coming (Mt. 7:24,25). These prophecies had a limited application in what happened to Jerusalem at the hands of the Babylonians. But the full extent of what was envisaged didn't fully happen. The final fulfilment is rescheduled and reapplied to the Lord's second coming.

Ezekiel 13:12 Behold, when the wall has fallen, shall it not be said to you, Where is the plaster with which you have plastered it?- The wall would fall when Zedekiah himself dug through it to escape the siege. Later, the walls were breached by the Babylonians; and then the "plaster" of the false prophecies was apparent for what it was. The same word is used of the plastering of a leprous house (Lev. 14:42,48); and the temple and house of Israel was indeed leprous, but there was no real plaster applied by the priests. Instead the leprous state was covered up, in a bodge job.

Ezekiel 13:13 Therefore thus says the Lord Yahweh: I will even tear it with a stormy wind in My wrath; and there shall be an overflowing storm in My anger, and great hailstones in wrath to consume it- "Tear" is the same word used for the 'breaking up' of the city by the Babylonians (2 Kings 25:4). The stormy wind connects with the rushing sound of the cherubim in the opening vision; the Angel cherubim were going to move the Babylon army from Babylon to Jerusalem just as easily as they could move the captives both to and from Babylon, back to Zion. "Stormy wind" is s.w. "whirlwind" in Ez. 1:4; "overflowing storm" is s.w. "the day of rain" in Ez. 1:28. If they chose to like Ezekiel identify with God's massive system of movement and operation. See on Ez. 26:10. The same words are used of the storm and hailstones [literally, 'hail of God'] to be cast upon Gog; what is done to Israel shall be done to her invaders (Ez. 38:22).

Ezekiel 13:14 So will I break down the wall that you have plastered with whitewash- "Whitewash" of "untempered morter" (AV) is the word used of the "foolish things" seen by the false prophets at that time (Lam. 2:14). The whitewash represented the false prophecies, as in Ez. 22:28.


And bring it down to the ground, so that its foundation shall be uncovered- The word "foundation" is often used of the foundation or bottom of the altar. This was presumably removed to the foundation, so that in Jer. 41:5 those who remained in the land could only come there to offer grain offerings and not animal sacrifice. It was the Edomite mercenaries who urged this destruction to the foundation (Ps. 137:7 s.w.).

And it shall fall, and you shall be consumed in its midst: and you shall know that I am Yahweh- In reality, Zedekiah with his own hands dug through the very weak wall of Jerusalem; see on Ez. 12:7. That was how weak it was. God broke down the wall through the Babylonians, but in reality, the Jewish leadership broke it through with their own hands. And the wall rebuilt by Nehemiah and the Jews, which apparently fixed up every breach in it, was likewise overturned by Antiochus. But the wall of Babylon was to be broken down in the same way (Jer. 50:15 s.w.); what was done to Israel would be done to her invaders.

Ezekiel 13:15 Thus will I accomplish My anger on the wall, and on those who have plastered it with whitewash; and I will tell you, The wall is no more, neither those who plastered it- The cessation, accomplishment or resting of God's wrath is mentioned several times in Ezekiel, and nowhere else in this way (Ez. 5:13; 6:12; 7:8; 13:15; 16:42; 20:8; 21:17; 22:20; 24:13). The idea is not that God was so angry that He had to express that anger and only calmed down once He had as it were lashed out. He does have real wrath; the huge love He has cannot exist in a dimensionless vacuum, it of itself implies He also has wrath. Ez. 5:13 continues: "I will cause My wrath toward them to rest, and I shall be comforted", and the Hebrew there for "comforted" is literally 'to sigh', to be sorry, even to repent / change. Having expressed His legitimate anger, God knew that He would then be sorry and would then embark upon a process of restoration- by grace. For the objects of His wrath didn't deserve any restoration. "To rest" is the word translated "to place" in Ez. 37:14: "I shall place you in your own land" at the restoration from captivity. His wrath had to be expressed, and yet it was part of His wider purpose toward restoring His people and Kingdom. We would be quite wrong, therefore, to read these words as meaning that God was furiously angry and needed to lash out and get it all expressed so that He could as it were calm down again. His judgments are always ultimately constructive, and therefore "the wrath of God is the love of God". His wrath is therefore described in Ez. 5:15 as the rebuke of His fury / wrath; it was intended to rebuke, to achieve instruction, that they should 'know Yahweh'. The tragedy was that the captives for the most part refused to perceive it this way and respond.

Ezekiel 13:16 Namely, the prophets of Israel who prophesy concerning Jerusalem, and who see visions of peace for her when there is no peace, says the Lord Yahweh- There were false prophets both in Judah as the Babylonians approached, and also amongst those of them already in exile (Jer. 6:14; 8:11; Ez. 13:16). They were assuring the sinful people that in fact they were at peace with God, and that contrary to the prophetic message of desolation at the hand of the Babylonians, they would instead have "peace". This is described in Jeremiah as "lightly" healing the great wound or illness of Judah. That wound is described ambiguously; it was a wound or breach in themselves caused by God's smiting of them in the earlier Babylonian incursions (Jer. 14:19), but also caused by them to God Almighty. "Lightly" carries with it the idea of not serious, light hearted, superficial, trifling. And we must likewise beware of this kind of religion that is pedaled in the name of Christianity; not facing our personal issues, and using a few Bible words from here and there to superficially cover over the most fundamental issues of our eternal destiny. And this was and is so attractive. But sin and its consequences are far deeper than any superficial, light hearted covering. It requires nothing less than the blood and word of the Lord Jesus.

Ezekiel 13:17 You, son of man, set your face against the daughters of your people who prophesy out of their own heart; and prophesy against them- So often it is the state of the human heart which is presented as of paramount interest to God. There is in all of us the tendency to blur the crucial boundary between the word of God and that of men. Ezekiel was to prophecy as it were the words of God's heart, whereas these women prophesied from their own heart. The heart is the Spirit; it is in this sense that the true word of God is 'inspired', those words reflect the spirit of God, His very heart, rather than the mind / heart / spirit of men.

Ezekiel 13:18 And say, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: Woe to the women who sew magic wristbands for people and make magic scarves for everyone to wear on their heads, so that they can have power over other people's lives. You want to possess the power of life and death over My people and to use it for your own gain- The ornamentation sounds like the "divining garments" of Cassandra, and the "garlands" or "fillets" of the Pythian priestesses. As noted on :10, there was idolatry going on amongst the exiles. Israel's rejection of idolatry after the exile didn't come for a few generations. This pagan headgear was later absorbed into Jewish religion in the exile, becoming the phylacteries and tallith of later Judaism.

Ezekiel 13:19 You have profaned Me among My people in order to get handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread, to kill the people who should not die, and to save the people alive who should not live, by your lying to My people who listen to lies- These priestesses were paid in small amounts of bread and barley, appropriate to the poverty of the Jews at the time. It could be that they even practiced witchcraft to the extent of actually slaying the righteous. Or the idea may be that if the true word of prophecy had been preached, then the repentant would not have died. Instead, the false message of peace with God for sinners without repentance and reconciliation meant that those who otherwise would not have died, would die.

Ezekiel 13:20 Therefore thus says the Lord Yahweh: I hate the wristbands that you use in your attempt to control life and death. I will rip them off your arms and set free the people that you were controlling- The bands on the arms were associated with pagan worship (see on :10) and became the tallith of later Judaism (see on :18). "Set free" or AV "to make them fly" implies the false prophetesses had caught the other Jews as birds in the snare of a fowler. Once the people were freed from this trap, they could as it were fly, and return to the land. The language of setting free the people from the hand of these people is that of the deliverance from Egypt, after which the people could begin their journey to the promised land (Ex. 5:23; 18:10).

Ezekiel 13:21 I will rip off your scarves and let My people escape from your power once and for all; and you shall know that I am Yahweh- As in primitive societies today, these fortune tellers and false prophets had real psychological power over people, even over "the righteous" (:22). In illiterate societies, it's far easier to get this kind of power. "Once and for all" is another of many implications that the envisaged judgment and restoration of the Kingdom was to be final and unprecedented. But in fact this didn't happen, and the prophecies were reapplied and rescheduled to our last days. And so there were many periods after the exile when again, the Jews fell under the power of such false teachers and sorcerers (Acts 8:9; 19:14).

Ezekiel 13:22 Because with lies you have grieved the heart of the righteous, whom I have not made sad; and strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way, and be saved alive- This is the language of Ez. 3:21; 18:9,17; the false prophetesses were stopping the repentance of the people in exile, and thereby stopping the fulfilment of all the great potentials. There was clearly a group called "the righteous" with Ezekiel in captivity, who had been duped by the false prophetesses. These "righteous" were heart broken ["sad"] at the supposed words of prophecy coming from the false prophets. They ought to have had the wisdom to discern them as false prophets, but they aren't rebuked for that. Rather the false prophets are condemned for breaking the hearts of the righteous. Perhaps the breaking of their hearts was in causing them to spiritually stumble.

Ezekiel 13:23 Therefore you shall no more see false visions, nor practice fortune telling. I will deliver My people out of your hand; and you shall know that I am Yahweh- The condemnation of "fortune telling" was because with the Babylonians poised to attack, the false prophets and prophetesses were telling people what they wanted to hear- that actually the desolation predicted by God through Ezekiel wouldn't happen. These false prophets were to "know that I am Yahweh". This could mean that they recognized His truth all too late; or that the knowledge of God's Name was to be proclaimed through their destruction.