Notes on the Bible, by Albert Barnes, , at sacred-texts.com
This prophecy Eze 14:1-11 is a reproof of those who consult the false prophets. Some of the chief exiles come to Ezekiel as to one who has authority; but he, endowed with the genuine prophetic spirit, sees deep into their hearts, and finds the idols of self-will and unsubmissiveness set up therein. The prophet warns them that God will not be inquired of in such a spirit as this.
Elders of Israel - Some of the fellow-exiles of Ezekiel, among whom he ministered.
Omit "that cometh."
According to the multitiude of his idols - i. e., I will give him an answer as delusive as the idols which he serves. Compare Micaiah's answer to Ahab Kg1 22:15.
That I may take ... - i. e., that I may take them, as in a snare, deceived by their own heart.
The stranger - They who sojourned among Israel, though they were not of Israel, were bound to abstain from idol-worship Lev 17:10; Lev 20:2.
By myself - Or, as in Eze 14:4, "according to" Myself. He who comes to inquire with a heart full of idolatry shall have his answer,
(1) "according to the multitude of his idols" - in delusion,
(2) "according to the holiness of God" - in punishment.
The inquiry was hypocritical and unreal - but God will answer not by the mouth, but by the hand, not by word but by deed, not by speech but by a scourge.
Will make him - Or, I will make him amazed Eze 32:10; or, astonished, so as to be a sign and a proverb.
I the Lord hare deceived that prophet - A deep truth lies beneath these words, namely, that evil as well as good is under God's direction. He turns it as He will, employing it to test the sincerity of men, and thus making it ultimately contribute to the purification of His people, to the confirmation of the righteous, to the increase of their glory and felicity. The case of the false prophets who deceived Ahab 1 Kings 22 is a striking representation of this principle. The Lord sends forth an evil spirit to persuade Ahab to his ruin. Toward the close of the kingdom of Judah false prophets were especially rife. The thoughts of men's hearts were revealed, the good separated from the bad, and the remnant of the people purged from the sins by which of late years the whole nation had been defiled.
"God," it has been said, "punishes sins by means of sins," but the end is the re-establishment of righteousness.
Jer. 14; 15 is a remarkable parallel to this prophecy. Here, as elsewhere, Ezekiel is commissioned to deliver to the exiles the same message which Jeremiah conveys to the inhabitants of Judaea. The answer discovers the nature of the questions which had been expressed or implied.
(1) Can God cast out a people who are holy unto Himself?
(2) Is it just to punish them with utter desolation?
The prophet answers:
(1) That when a people is so corrupt as to call down national judgment, individual piety shall save none but the individuals themselves.
(2) The corrupt condition of the people shall be made so manifest, that none will question the justice of God in dealing thus severely with them.
Or, "When a land" - the case is first put in a general form, and then ism brought with increased force home to Jerusalem - "sinneth against me by trespassing grievously," and I stretch out "mine hand upon it," and break the staff of bread "thereof," and send famine "upon it and" cut off "man and beast: though these three men" etc.
Noah, Daniel, and Job - Three striking instances of men who, for their integrity, were delivered from the ruin which fell upon others. Some have thought it strange that Daniel, a contemporary, and still young, should have been classed with the two ancient worthies. But the account of him Dan. 2 shows, that by this time Daniel was a very remarkable man (compare Eze 28:3), and the introduction of the name of a contemporary gives force and life to the illustration. There is in the order in which the names occur a kind of climax. Noah did not rescue the guilty world, but did carry forth with him his wife, sons, and sons' wives. Daniel raised only a few, but he did raise three of his countrymen with him to honor. To Job was spared neither son nor daughter.
Eze 14:22, Eze 14:23
Ye shall be comforted ... - By a truer estimate of the dispensations of the Almighty. This visitation will be recognized as inevitable and just.