Ezekiel 14:7 MEANING

Ezekiel 14:7
(7) Or of the stranger.--Under the Mosaic legislation, "the stranger" living among the Israelites was bound to observe a certain outward deference to the law of the land, just as a foreigner in any country now is bound to respect in certain things the law of the country in which he lives. Israel being a theocracy, its fundamental law against idol-worship could not be violated with impunity by those who sought the protection of its government (Leviticus 17:10; Leviticus 20:1-2, &c.). In this case, however, outward idolatry is not alleged, as the accusations of this verse and Ezekiel 14:4 refer only to the secret idolatry of the heart; and the point insisted upon is not so much the idol-worship in itself, as the hypocrisy of attempting to join with this the enquiring of the Lord. God declares that He will answer such hypocrisy, in whomsoever it may be found, not by the prophet through whom the enquiry is made, but by Himself interposing to punish the enquirer, and to make him an example to deter others from a like course.

Verse 7. - The stranger that sojourneth among you. It is noticeable that Ezekiel uses here and elsewhere (Ezekiel 47:22, 23) the familiar phrase of the books which most influenced his teaching (Leviticus 16-25; Numbers 9, 15; Deuteronomy passim). It is probable that some such proselytes were found among the exiles of Tel Abib. I the Lord will answer him by myself, etc. This, as has been seen, was probably the right reading in ver. 4. What it means is that, instead of a spoken answer by the mouth of the prophet, there should be an answer in the discipline of life, in the immediate utterance through the conscience, which was the voice of God. The inquirer who came with unconfessed and unrepented hankerings after the worship of other gods deserved and would receive no other answer.

14:1-11 No outward form or reformation can be acceptable to God, so long as any idol possesses the heart; yet how many prefer their own devices and their own righteousness, to the way of salvation! Men's corruptions are idols in their hearts, and are of their own setting up; God will let them take their course. Sin renders the sinner odious in the eyes of the pure and holy God; and in his own eyes also, whenever conscience is awakened. Let us seek to be cleansed from the guilt and pollution of sins, in that fountain which the Lord has opened.For everyone of the house of Israel,.... King and subjects, princes and people, high and low, rich and poor, of every rank, sex, and age:

or of the stranger that sojourneth in Israel; the proselytes; whether of righteousness, such as were circumcised, and embraced the Jewish religion; or of the gate, who were only inhabitants with them; one as another were obliged to worship the God of Israel, and abstain from idolatry; there was but one law to the Israelite and to the stranger, respecting this matter:

which separateth himself from me; from the worship of God, and so from communion with him; turns his back on him, and becomes an apostate from him, by joining himself with idols:

and setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumbling block of his iniquity before his face; these things are repeated, partly to observe the heinousness of the sin they were guilty of; and partly to show the stupidity of this people, which required things to be said over and over, before they could take them in, and be convinced of their evil:

and cometh to a prophet to inquire of him concerning me; this explains what such persons would come to a prophet for, Ezekiel 14:4; and exposes their hypocrisy:

I the Lord will answer him by myself; not by the prophet to whom he comes, but by himself: or, "in my word", as the Targum; yet not by words, but by blows; not in mercy, but in wrath; and in such manner, that it shall appear to come from the Lord, and to be according to truth and justice.

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