Ezekiel 2:8 Commentary - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
8. be not rebellious ] In addition to the positive command, “hear what I say unto thee,” the prophet is warned not to refuse and be rebellious like the house of Israel. There was need for this double peremptoriness of the command. The instinctive act of men before any great undertaking of the kind set before the prophet is to shrink from it. Jonah fled that he might escape from the task laid on him; Moses and Jeremiah both entreated that they might be relieved of it. The work was both arduous and painful: painful because it was against his own people that the prophet had to speak; and arduous because leading to opposition and persecution. There is no easy situation in God’s service. Had the prophet refused the great commission he would have rebelled like Israel. And no doubt Israel’s rebellion was also from an arduous and painful commission, whether we regard its task to have been to walk before God as his people, or to be the prophet of Jehovah to the nations, being entrusted as Ezekiel was with his word. In both Israel may be said to all appearance to have failed. Yet not wholly: the Servant of the Lord, the true Israel of God, existing all throughout the history of the outward Israel, could say, “the Lord opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, nor turned away back” (Isa 50:5).
The command to hear and not be rebellious is hardly to be confined to the act of eating the Book, but refers rather to the whole ministry of the prophet, although, considering that the Book was a symbol of all God’s words to him, and his eating it a symbol of his receiving them, the sense in either case is the same (cf. Eze 2:10).
The passage suggests: (1) the divine source of that which the prophet was to say and has said “eat that I give thee” ( Eze 2:8), “a hand stretched out and in it a book” ( Eze 2:9), “he made me eat that roll of a book” (Eze 3:2). (2) The definiteness of it: it was a roll of a book (Eze 2:9), although its contents were large, the roll being written both in front of the page and on the back. This was unusual, rolls being generally written only on one side. The idea is reproduced, Rev 5:1. (3) The nature of the contents “lamentation and mourning and woe” (Eze 2:10). The prophet was made well aware of the nature of the contents as well as of their extent, “he spread the roll before me” (Eze 2:10). (4) The prophet made the Book his own, he “did eat it,” and it “filled” him (Eze 3:3). And having eaten it it was in his mouth as honey for sweetness. The sweetness was not due to this, that, though the Book contained bitter things at the first, at the end it was filled with promises which were sweet, for there was written thereon lamentation and woe; it was due rather to this that the things written were from God, whose bitter word is sweet. “Thy words were found and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart, for I am called by thy name (am thine and thy servant) Jehovah, God of hosts,” Jer 15:16. Cf. Psa 19:10; Rev 10:8-11.
The prophet’s idea of what we call his inspiration is perhaps more precise and stringent than that of Isaiah. In the inaugural vision of the latter prophet (ch. 6), “there flew one of the seraphim having a live coal in his hand, … and he laid it on my mouth and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips and thine iniquity is taken away.” Immediately on this an impulse seized the prophet to enter upon the service of God: I said, Here am I, send me. The forgiveness of sin and moral purity, carrying with it sympathy with the great King and the ministering spirits around him, and elevating the man into that exalted sphere of life, seemed enough to Isaiah to constitute him a prophet. There was in him a strength and power of character which needed only the removal of the moral hindrance to set them free. But both Jeremiah and Ezekiel were weaker men. Ezekiel as is usual with him makes Jeremiah his model, and he can hardly be said to go beyond that prophet: “The Lord said unto me, whatsoever I command thee that shalt thou speak. Then the Lord put forth his hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said unto me, Behold I have put my words in thy mouth,” Jer 1:7-9. Both the later prophets represent themselves as receiving not merely the “word” but the “words” of Jehovah.
8 3:3. The prophet’s inspiration
Being commanded to speak God’s words to the people, the prophet is next assured by a symbol, a book given him to eat, that God’s words shall be given him.
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The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges is a biblical commentary set published in parts by Cambridge University Press from 1882 onwards. Anglican bishop John Perowne was the general editor. The first section published was written by theologian Thomas Kelly Cheyne and covered the Book of Micah.
Perowne exercised limited editorial control over the writers of individual commentaries: his aim was "to leave each contributor to the unfettered exercise of his own judgment".