Ezekiel 33: Renewal
of Ezekiel's call & why Jerusalem has fallen
Comment: This chapter neatly falls into two Parts:
ONE: v.1-20: Principles of Responsibility and Repentance laid
TWO: v.21-33: Jerusalem's
the first Part, after giving warnings about responsibilities to
warn and to heed warnings, the Lord reiterates what He has said
in chapter 18 about the principles of repentance and individual
responsibility and guilt.
second Part opens with the news of Jerusalem falling but this
sets the people there questioning how such a thing could happen.
Ezekiel has to continue telling them it is because of their sin,
but the Lord warns Ezekiel that they may hear his words but they
still don't take them to heart.]
ONE: v.1-20: Principles of Responsibility and Repentance laid
Failure to respond to the Watchman's warning
word of the Lord came to me:
of man, speak to your people and say to them: “When I bring the
sword against a land, and the people of the land choose one of
their men and make him their watchman,
he sees the sword coming against the land and blows the trumpet
to warn the people,
if anyone hears the trumpet but does not heed the warning and
the sword comes and takes their life, their blood will be on their
they heard the sound of the trumpet but did not heed the warning,
their blood will be on their own head. If they had heeded the
warning, they would have saved themselves.
Lord explains the need to respond to the Watchman's warning.]
Failure of the Watchman
if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet
to warn the people and the sword comes and takes someone's life,
that person's life will be taken because of their sin, but I will
hold the watchman accountable for their blood.”
of man, I have made you a watchman for the people
of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from
I say to the wicked, “You wicked person, you will surely die,”
and you do not speak out to dissuade them from their ways, that
wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable
for their blood.
if you do warn the wicked person to turn from their ways and they
do not do so, they will die for their sin, though you yourself
will be saved.
Lord warns the Watchman of his responsibilities]
The Lord shares His heart again [see chap.18]
of man, say to the Israelites, “This is what you are saying: ‘Our
offences and sins weigh us down, and we are wasting away because
of them. How then can we live?'”
to them, “As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I
take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they
turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil
ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?”
Lord reiterates He never wants death to come.]
Present righteousness [and repentance] is what counts [see earlier
son of man, say to your people, “If someone who is righteous disobeys,
that person's former righteousness will count for nothing. And
if someone who is wicked repents, that person's former wickedness
will not bring condemnation. The righteous person who sins will
not be allowed to live even though they were formerly righteous.”
I tell a righteous person that they will surely live, but then
they trust in their righteousness and do evil, none of the righteous
things that person has done will be remembered; they will die
for the evil they have done.
if I say to a wicked person, “You will surely die,” but they then
turn away from their sin and do what is just and right –
they give back what they took in pledge for a loan, return what
they have stolen, follow the decrees that give life, and do no
evil – that person will surely live; they will not die.
of the sins that person has committed will be remembered against
them. They have done what is just and right; they will surely
Lord reiterates the principles of repentance spelled out in chapter
To the people's foolish complaints, principles of repentance reiterated
your people say, “The way of the Lord is not just.” But it is
their way that is not just.
a righteous person turns from their righteousness and does evil,
they will die for it.
if a wicked person turns away from their wickedness and does what
is just and right, they will live by doing so.
you Israelites say, “The way of the Lord is not just.” But I will
judge each of you according to your own ways.'
Lord continues to explain it to counter the grumbling that has
been going on.]
TWO: v.21-33: Jerusalem's fall explained
News comes of the fall of Jerusalem [picking up from end of Ch.24]
In the twelfth year of our exile, in
the tenth month on the fifth day, a man who had escaped
from Jerusalem came to me and said, ‘The city has fallen!'
the evening before the man arrived, the hand of the Lord was on
me, and he opened my mouth before the man came to me in the morning.
So my mouth was opened and I was no longer silent.
news arrives of Jerusalem's fall the day after the Lord has released
Ezekiel from silence.]
The people cannot understand the apparent loss of the ‘Promised'
Then the word
of the Lord came to me:
of man, the people living in those ruins in the land of Israel
are saying, “Abraham was only one man, yet he possessed the land.
But we are many; surely the land has been given to us as our possession.”
the news, the people start questioning – wasn't the Land given
to Abraham and so isn't it still supposed to be ours?]
Their unrighteousness the cause of this
say to them, “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: since you
eat meat with the blood still in it and look to your idols and
shed blood, should you then possess the land?
rely on your sword, you do detestable things, and each of you
defiles his neighbour's wife. Should you then possess the land?”
is to point out it has been their ongoing sin that has brought
Ongoing unrighteousness means death for all
this to them: “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: as surely
as I live, those who are left in the ruins will fall by the sword,
those out in the country I will give to the wild animals to be
devoured, and those in strongholds and caves will die of a plague.
will make the land a desolate waste, and her proud strength will
come to an end, and the mountains of Israel will become desolate
so that no one will cross them.
they will know that I am the Lord, when I have made the land a
desolate waste because of all the detestable things they have
should be absolutely clear about this: death will come to all
the unrepentant unrighteous who brought this on themselves. In
reality survivors were those who submitted to Nebuchadnezzar and
were carried into exile – plus a few poor people [and maybe a
faithful remnant] who were left with Jeremiah.]
The final word is to Ezekiel – these people here still don't repent
As for you, son of man, your people are talking together
about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, saying
to each other, “Come and hear the message that has come from the
people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to
hear your words, but they do not put them into practice. Their
mouths speak of love, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain.
to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with
a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear
your words but do not put them into practice.
all this comes true – and it surely will – then they
will know that a prophet has been among them.'
the people there in exile hear Ezekiel's words and don't take
them to heart and repent.]
to Chapter 34