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AND some of the ancients of Israel came to me, and sat before me. 2 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying: 3 Son of man, these men have placed their uncleannesses in their hearts, and have set up before their face the stumblingblock of their iniquity: and shall I answer when they inquire of me?

Ver. 3.  Uncleanness.  That is, their filthy idols, upon which they have set their hearts: and which are a stumbling-block to their souls.  Ch.

 

--- They came, it seems, to tempt the prophet, (C.) as God shewed him.  Thus worldlings consult Catholic priests; yet are resolved to join with heretics.  W.


4 Therefore speak to them, and say to them: Thus saith the Lord God: Man, man of the house of Israel that shall place his uncleannesses in his heart, and set up the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and shall come to the prophet inquiring of me by him: I the Lord will answer him according to the multitude of his uncleannesses:

Ver. 4.  According.  Heb. "in (C.) the multitude of his idols."  H.

 

--- I will still disclose the truth; (Chal.) or a false prophet is here spoken of, whom God will suffer to deceive those who wish to be deluded.  He will not have his own prophets speak an untruth.  See 3 K. xxii. 10.  Christ evaded the insidious questions of his enemies.  Mat. xxi. 23.  C.


5 That the house of Israel may be caught in their own heart, with which they have departed from me through all their idols.

Ver. 5.  The.  Sept. "he may ensnare the house," (H.) or "to bring" unto repentance.  Chal.  C.


6 Therefore say to the house of Israel: Thus saith the Lord God: Be converted, and depart from your idols, and turn away your faces from all your abominations.

Ver. 6.  Turn.  Such people must first be admonished to relinquish idols, heresy, &c. that they may come to God.  W.


7 For every man of the house of Israel, and every stranger among the proselytes in Israel, if he separate himself from me, and place his idols in his heart, and set the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and come to the prophet to inquire of me by him: I the Lord will answer him by myself.

Ver. 7.  By myself, or on my own account.  God does not encourage falsehood.  C.


8 And I will set my face against that man, and will make him an example, and a proverb, and will cut him off from the midst of my people: and you shall know that I am the Lord. 9 And when the prophet shall err, and speak a word: I the Lord have deceived that prophet: and I will stretch forth my hand upon him, and will cut him off from the midst of my people Israel.

Ver. 9.  Err.  He speaks of false prophets, answering out of their own heads, and according to their own corrupt inclinations.

 

--- Deceived, &c.  God Almighty deceives false prophets, partly by withdrawing his light from them; and abandoning them to their own corrupt inclinations, which push them on to prophesy such things as are agreeable to those that consult them: and partly by disappointing them, and causing all things to happen contrary to what they have said.  Ch.

 

--- God permits the deception, to punish both the impostor and his hearers.  W.

 

--- Thus was Balaam treated.  C.  Num. xxii.  H.

 

--- He could do nothing of himself.  S. Jer.  2 K. xxii. 22.  C.

 

--- Here also an interrogation might be used (H.) in Heb. "have I?" &c.  Feiffer dub. cent. 4. b. lviii.

 

--- I have manifested the deceit.  C. xiii. 18.



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10 And they shall bear their iniquity: according to the iniquity of him that inquireth, so shall the iniquity of the prophet be.

Ver. 10.  Be.  They shall be punished alike.  C.


11 That the house of Israel may go no more astray from me, nor be polluted with all their transgressions: but may be my people, and I may be their God, saith the Lord of hosts. 12 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying:
13 Son of man, when a land shall sin against me, so as to transgress grievously, I will stretch forth my hand upon it, and will break the staff of the bread thereof: and I will send famine upon it, and will destroy man and beast out of it.

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14 And if these three men, Noe, Daniel, and Job, shall be in it: they shall deliver their own souls by their justice, saith the Lord of hosts.

Ver. 14.  Job.  He and Noe were dead, yet undoubtedly  interceded for the people, or their names would not here be mentioned.  Jer. xv. 1.  W.

 

--- When God is resolved to treat all with rigour, he will save only the just.  They shall not be able to protect even their children.  But Jerusalem shall not experience such severity.  v. 21.  C.

 

--- Noe could not avert the deluge, nor Job the death of his children, neither could Daniel rescue his people from captivity.  S. Jer.

 

--- The first denotes pastors, the second fathers of families, and Daniel such as live continent.  S. Aug.

 

--- All three had been very merciful.  S. Chrys. hom. xliii. 1. in Gen.

 

---  Job is placed for holy laymen, and Daniel for people of religious orders.  S. Greg. Mor. i. 13.  W.

 

--- Hence perhaps Job is placed last, though cotemporary with Moses, as most people suppose.  He is not therefore a fabulous personage.  H.


15 And if I shall bring mischievous beasts also upon the land to waste it, and it be desolate, so that there is none that can pass because of the beasts: 16 If these three men shall be in it, as I live, saith the Lord, they shall deliver neither sons nor daughters: but they only shall be delivered, and the land shall be made desolate. 17 Or if I bring the sword upon that land, and say to the sword: Pass through the land: and I destroy man and beast out of it: 18 And these three men be in the midst thereof: as I live, saith the Lord God, they shall deliver neither sons nor daughters, but they themselves alone shall be delivered. 19 Or if I also send the pestilence upon that land, and pour out my indignation upon it in blood, to cut off from it man and beast:

Ver. 19.  Pestilence.  Sept. "death," as v. 12. (C.) denoting the plague.  C. v. 2.  H.


20 And Noe, and Daniel, and Job be in the midst thereof: as I live, saith the Lord God, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter: but they shall only deliver their own souls by their justice. 21 For thus saith the Lord: Although I shall send in upon Jerusalem my four grievous judgments, the sword, and the famine, and the mischievous beasts, and the pestilence, to destroy out of it man and beast,


22 Yet there shall be left in it some that shall be saved, who shall bring away their sons and daughters: behold they shall come among you, and you shall see their way, and their doings: and you shall be comforted concerning the evil that I have brought upon Jerusalem, in all things that I have brought upon it.

Ver. 22.  Left.  Pastors will always remain to instruct God's children.  W.

 

--- Doings.  Their words (C.) and conduct even in captivity, will evince that they have not been punished unjustly.  S. Jer.

 

--- From them you may judge what sort of men their fathers were; or, as they have been spared for their virtue, you may conclude that the rest would not have perished, if they had been innocent.  H.

 




23 And they shall comfort you, when you shall see their ways, and their doings: and you shall know that I have not done without cause all that I have done in it, saith the Lord God.
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