1 Moreover the spirit lifted me up, and brought me unto the east gate of the LORD's house, which looketh eastward: and behold at the door of the gate five and twenty men; among whom I saw Jaazaniah the son of Azur, and Pelatiah the son of Benaiah, princes of the people.
2 Then said he unto me, Son of man, these are the men that devise mischief, and give wicked counsel in this city:
3 Which say, It is not near; let us build houses: this city is the caldron, and we be the flesh.
4 Therefore prophesy against them, prophesy, O son of man.
5 And the Spirit of the LORD fell upon me, and said unto me, Speak; Thus saith the LORD; Thus have ye said, O house of Israel: for I know the things that come into your mind, every one of them.
6 Ye have multiplied your slain in this city, and ye have filled the streets thereof with the slain.
7 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Your slain whom ye have laid in the midst of it, they are the flesh, and this city is the caldron: but I will bring you forth out of the midst of it.
8 Ye have feared the sword; and I will bring a sword upon you, saith the Lord GOD.
9 And I will bring you out of the midst thereof, and deliver you into the hands of strangers, and will execute judgments among you.
10 Ye shall fall by the sword; I will judge you in the border of Israel; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
11 This city shall not be your caldron, neither shall ye be the flesh in the midst thereof; but I will judge you in the border of Israel:
12 And ye shall know that I am the LORD: for ye have not walked in my statutes, neither executed my judgments, but have done after the manners of the heathen that are round about you.
13 And it came to pass, when I prophesied, that Pelatiah the son of Benaiah died. Then fell I down upon my face, and cried with a loud voice, and said, Ah Lord GOD! wilt thou make a full end of the remnant of Israel?
14 Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
15 Son of man, thy brethren, even thy brethren, the men of thy kindred, and all the house of Israel wholly, are they unto whom the inhabitants of Jerusalem have said, Get you far from the LORD: unto us is this land given in possession.
16 Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Although I have cast them far off among the heathen, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet will I be to them as a little sanctuary in the countries where they shall come.
17 Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will even gather you from the people, and assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.
18 And they shall come thither, and they shall take away all the detestable things thereof and all the abominations thereof from thence.
19 And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:
20 That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.
21 But as for them whose heart walketh after the heart of their detestable things and their abominations, I will recompense their way upon their own heads, saith the Lord GOD.
22 Then did the cherubims lift up their wings, and the wheels beside them; and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above.
23 And the glory of the LORD went up from the midst of the city, and stood upon the mountain which is on the east side of the city.
24 Afterwards the spirit took me up, and brought me in a vision by the Spirit of God into Chaldea, to them of the captivity. So the vision that I had seen went up from me.
25 Then I spake unto them of the captivity all the things that the LORD had shewed me.
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Chapter 11 of the Book of Ezekiel, in the King James Version (KJV) of the Holy Bible, is a rich and profound text. It contains numerous themes and subthemes, each one contributing to the overall message and meaning of the chapter. This essay will attempt to delve into the depths of this chapter, to elucidate its themes, and to draw out its meaning for both its original audience and for readers today.
The chapter begins with a vision of Ezekiel being transported by the Spirit of the Lord to the east gate of the Lord's house, where he sees twenty-five men. Among these men are Jaazaniah and Pelatiah, two princes of the people. The Lord tells Ezekiel that these men are devising iniquity and giving wicked counsel in the city, saying, "It is not near; let us build houses: this city is the caldron, and we be the flesh" (Ezekiel 11:3, KJV).
This statement, "this city is the caldron, and we be the flesh", is a significant theme in this chapter. It is a metaphor that the leaders of Jerusalem are using to justify their actions. They are essentially saying that just as meat is safe inside a cooking pot, so they are safe within the city of Jerusalem, despite the looming threat of Babylonian invasion. They believe that they can continue to live in sin without facing the consequences.
However, God has a different message for them. He tells Ezekiel to prophesy against them and to rebuke their false sense of security. God declares that He will bring a sword upon them and that they will be brought out of the city. They will not be the flesh in the safety of the caldron, but rather, they will be the flesh in the midst of the fire, facing the full heat of God's judgment. This is a powerful indictment against the leaders' sinful complacency and their mistaken belief that they can evade God's justice.
The next major theme in chapter 11 is God's judgment and His promise of restoration. After God has pronounced His judgment upon the leaders of Jerusalem, the Spirit of the Lord lifts Ezekiel up and brings him to the exiles in Babylon. Here, God gives Ezekiel a new message for the exiles. He tells them that although He has scattered them among the nations, He will one day gather them back together and bring them back to the land of Israel. He promises to give them a new heart and a new spirit, to remove their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. He promises to be their God, and they will be His people.
This theme of restoration is a powerful one. Despite the harshness of God's judgment, there is still hope for the people of Israel. God's plan is not only to punish but also to restore. He wants to transform their hearts, to turn them away from their sin and back to Him. This theme of transformation is a central message of the Bible and is particularly prominent in the book of Ezekiel.
In the midst of Ezekiel's prophecy, one of the twenty-five men, Pelatiah, falls down dead. This sudden death serves as a stark reminder of the reality and severity of God's judgment. The death of Pelatiah underscores the seriousness of the message that Ezekiel is delivering. It is a warning to the leaders of Jerusalem and to all who would dismiss God's word and continue in their sin.
Finally, chapter 11 highlights the role of Ezekiel as a prophet. As a prophet, Ezekiel is called to speak God's words to the people. He is to deliver God's messages of judgment and restoration, to rebuke the sinful leaders, and to offer hope to the exiles. Throughout the chapter, Ezekiel faithfully carries out this role, even in the face of opposition and disbelief. His courage and faithfulness are a model for all who are called to speak God's truth.
In conclusion, chapter 11 of the book of Ezekiel is a rich and complex text. Its themes of judgment, restoration, and the role of the prophet provide a powerful message for its original audience and for readers today. It reminds us of the dangers of complacency and sin, the hope of God's promise of restoration, and the importance of speaking and listening to God's truth. Ultimately, it points us to the heart of the biblical message: the call to turn away from sin, to embrace God's transforming love, and to live in faithfulness to Him.