Ezekiel 14:9 MEANING

Ezekiel 14:9
(9) And if the prophet be deceived.--The exact sense of the original is, "If a prophet be persuaded and speak a word, I the LORD have persuaded that prophet." The thought is thus in close connection with what precedes; in Ezekiel 14:3-4; Ezekiel 14:7, the Lord has refused to allow an answer through the prophet to the hypocritical enquirer; but if the prophet, by giving the desired answer, allows himself to become a partaker of the sin which God abhors, then God will treat him according to that general method of dealing with sin which is here described. He "persuades" the prophet in the same sense in which He hardened Pharaoh's heart, by making such persuasion the natural consequence of the immutable moral laws which He has ordained. Men are held back from sin only by God's own Holy Spirit drawing them towards Himself. When they set this aside by transgressing God's commands, the inevitable tendency--the tendency under the moral laws God has established--is to further sin. Hence the prophet who allowed himself to be persuaded, contrary to God's command, to answer the hypocritical enquirer at all, would inevitably be persuaded further to answer him according to his desires. God does not force men either to receive the truth or to act righteously. If, notwithstanding His remonstrances, their hearts are set upon wrong, He will even give them up and "send them strong delusion that they should believe a lie" (2 Thessalonians 2:11). We are too often told in Scripture of this method of the Divine dealing to leave any room for us to misunderstand the principle. The result is a terrible one, but it is quite in keeping with all we can observe of the Divine work in nature. The man that refuses the medicine, must sink under the disease. The principle is clearly exemplified in the case of Ahab (1 Kings 22:19-23), where the Lord is represented as sending a lying spirit into the mouths of the prophets, that they might counsel the king to the wrong course he was already determined to take. God is declared to do this because it was the result under His moral laws of the wicked and domineering spirit of the king who had driven away the true prophets and gathered around himself those who were willing to pervert their office and prophesy falsely to gratify his wishes. Of course this is not to suppose that God can ever be the author of sin and deceit; but He has ordained that sin shall punish itself, and when the heart rejects Him, He withdraws His Spirit from it and gives it up to its own delusions. Thus when Saul's heart became alienated from God, and "the Spirit of the Lord departed from" him, the evil spirit, which came instead, is said to be "from the LORD" (1 Samuel 16:14). This kind of judgment is necessarily more common in times of great and general declension from the right. Hence false prophets were especially abundant towards the close of the kingdom of Judah, and form a marked characteristic in the New Testament prophecies of "the last days." No more terrible judgment can be imagined than that of thus giving up the sinner to the consequences of his own sin.

Will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel.--This is not the word which is so often used in the penalties of the law, "will cut him off from my people." The latter refers only to excommunication, to exclusion from the privileges of the chosen people; but this means that the untrue prophet shall literally be destroyed, like Balaam (Numbers 31:8), among the enemies of God with whom he had cast in his lot.

Verse 9. - I the Lord have deceived that prophet, etc. The teaching of modern thought is to soften language like this into "I have permitted him to be deceived." The distinction was seldom, if ever, present to the mind of the Old Testament, or indeed of the New Testament, writers. It is Jehovah who sends the "lying spirit" in 1 Kings 22:20 -23. It is he who in the latter days shall send men "strong delusions" that they shall believe a lie (2 Thessalonians 2:11). In both cases it is implied that the delusion is a righteous punishment, is indeed the natural, because the divinely appointed, punishment of the sin. Populus vult decipi et decipiatur, but the very deception is a means for undeceiving them. At last their eyes shall be opened. The punishment of the false prophet and of those who trust him is at once retributive, and a discipline, and, if the discipline fails for them, at least a warning for others.

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.And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing,.... That is pleasing to men, and is not true, in hope of reward and applause, but it never comes to pass, and his expectations are not answered:

I the Lord have deceived that prophet; by sending a lying spirit to him, as to Ahab's prophets, 1 Kings 22:22; by giving him up to strong delusions, to believe a lie, and publish it, 2 Thessalonians 2:11; and to his own heart's lusts; being willing, for the sake of gain, to prophesy smooth things, though false to the people, promising them peace when there was none; and then by frustrating his predictions, and disappointing him of his ends and views. R. Saadiah interprets this, as Kimchi observes, of God revealing and making it manifest that he was deceived; but more is meant by it than this, or even a bare permission; for though God is not the author of sin, yet he wills it to be done for wise ends and purposes, and sometimes in a way of judgment, as a punishment for sin; and which was the case here; both with respect to the prophet that deceived, who as the fruit of his sin, his covetousness, was given up in just judgment to a reprobate mind; and the people that were deceived, who, rejecting the true prophets of the Lord, were willing to have smooth things prophesied to them:

and I will stretch out my hand upon them; his avenging hand; the stroke of his power, as the Targum; a heavy one, and that for giving heed to a lying spirit; for uttering falsehood, and that with a wicked design, to gain the applause of the people, or for filthy lucre's sake:

and I will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel; by some sore judgment or sudden death, and so be made a public example of.

Courtesy of Open Bible