Ezekiel’s Commission
1 He said to me, “Son of man,#sn The phrase son of man occurs ninety-three times in the book of Ezekiel. It simply means “human one,” and distinguishes the prophet from the nonhuman beings that are present in the world of his vision. stand on your feet and I will speak with you.” 2 As he spoke to me,#tc The phrase “as he spoke to me” is absent from the LXX. a wind#tn Or “spirit.” NIV has “the Spirit,” but the absence of the article in the Hebrew text makes this unlikely. Elsewhere in Ezekiel the Lord’s Spirit is referred to as “the Spirit of the Lord” (11:5; 37:1), “the Spirit of God” (11:24), or “my (that is, the Lord’s) Spirit” (36:27; 37:14; 39:29). Some identify the “spirit” of 2:2 as the spirit that energized the living beings, however, that “spirit” is called “the spirit” (1:12, 20) or “the spirit of the living beings” (1:20-21; 10:17). Still others see the term as referring to an impersonal “spirit” of strength or courage, that is, the term may also be understood as a disposition or attitude. The Hebrew word often refers to a wind in Ezekiel (1:4; 5:10, 12; 12:4; 13:11, 13; 17:10, 21; 19:12; 27:26; 37:9). In 37:5-10 a “breath” originates in the “four winds” and is associated with the Lord’s life-giving breath (see v. 14). This breath enters into the dry bones and gives them life. In a similar fashion the breath of 2:2 (see also 3:24) energizes paralyzed Ezekiel. Breath and wind are related. On the one hand it is a more normal picture to think of breath rather than wind entering someone, but since wind represents an external force it seems more likely for wind rather than breath to stand someone up (unless we should understand it as a disposition). It may be that one should envision the breath of the speaker moving like a wind to revive Ezekiel, helping him to regain his breath and invigorating him to stand. A wind also transports the prophet from one place to another (3:12, 14; 8:3; 11:1, 24; 43:5). came into me and stood me on my feet, and I heard the one speaking to me.
3 He said to me, “Son of man, I am sending you to the house#tc The Hebrew reads “sons of,” while the LXX reads “house,” implying the more common phrase in Ezekiel. Either could be abbreviated with the first letter ב (bet). In preparation for the characterization “house of rebellion,” in vv. 5, 6, and 8, “house” is preferred (L. C. Allen, Ezekiel [WBC], 1:10 and W. Zimmerli, Ezekiel [Hermeneia], 2:564-65). of Israel, to rebellious nations#tc Heb “to the rebellious nations.” The phrase “to the rebellious nations” is omitted in the LXX. Elsewhere in Ezekiel the singular word “nation” is used for Israel (36:13-15; 37:22). Here “nations” may have the meaning of “tribes” or refer to the two nations of Israel and Judah. who have rebelled against me; both they and their fathers have revolted#tc This word is omitted from the LXX. tn The Hebrew term used here is the strongest word available for expressing a covenant violation. The word is used in the diplomatic arena to express a treaty violation (2 Kgs 1:1; 3:5, 7). against me to this very day. 4 The people#tn Heb “sons.” The word choice may reflect treaty idiom, where the relationship between an overlord and his subjects can be described as that of father and son. to whom I am sending you are obstinate and hard-hearted,#tc Heb “stern of face and hard of heart.” The phrases “stern of face” and “hard of heart” are lacking in the LXX. and you must say to them, ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says.’#tn The phrase “thus says [the Lord]” occurs 129 times in Ezekiel; the announcement is identical to the way messengers often introduced their messages (Gen 32:5; 45:9; Exod 5:10; Num 20:14; Judg 11:15). 5 And as for them,#tn Heb “they”; the phrase “And as for them” has been used in the translation for clarity. whether they listen#tn The Hebrew word implies obedience rather than mere hearing or paying attention. or not – for they are a rebellious#tn This Hebrew adjective is also used to describe the Israelites in Num 17:25 and Isa 30:9. house#sn The book of Ezekiel frequently refers to the Israelites as a rebellious house (Ezek 2:5, 6, 8; 3:9, 26-27; 12:2-3, 9, 25; 17:12; 24:3). – they will know that a prophet has been among them. 6 But you, son of man, do not fear them, and do not fear their words – even though briers#tn The Hebrew term occurs only here in the OT. and thorns#tn The Hebrew term is found elsewhere in the OT only in Ezek 28:24.sn Here thorns may be a figure for hostility (Ezek 28:24; Mic 7:4). surround you and you live among scorpions – do not fear their words and do not be terrified of the looks they give you,#tn Heb “of their faces.” for they are a rebellious house! 7 You must speak my words to them whether they listen or not, for they are rebellious. 8 As for you, son of man, listen to what I am saying to you: Do not rebel like that rebellious house! Open your mouth and eat what I am giving you.”
9 Then I looked and realized a hand was stretched out to me, and in it was a written scroll. 10 He unrolled it before me, and it had writing on the front#tn Heb “on the face.” and back;#sn Written on the front and back. While it was common for papyrus scrolls to have writing on both sides the same was not true for leather scrolls. written on it were laments, mourning, and woe.
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