Ezekiel 13 - Outline of Ezekiel (Book Notes menu page)
The last few verses of the previous chapter (12:21-28) introduced the subject of this chapter. In ch.12, the LORD declared that what He had spoken, He would accomplish, without delay (ie., the judgment upon Jerusalem)... and in so doing, He would silence the false prophets. In this chapter, He declares the doom of those who, while claiming to speak for Him, actually speak empty and ruinous lies.
2. The futility of false optimism, ch.12-19
  1. Two Signs and Two Proverbs, 12:1-28
      -- The captivity of Judah is certain and soon.
  2. Prophecies against false prophets and prophetesses, 13:1-23
    a. False prophets to be judged.- Woe to the foolish prophets. (v.1-9)
1. And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
2 Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel that prophesy,
and say thou unto them that prophesy out of their own hearts,
Hear ye the word of the LORD;
3 Thus saith the Lord GOD;
Woe unto the foolish prophets,
that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!
4 O Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes in the deserts.
5 Ye have not gone up into the gaps, neither made up the hedge
for the house of Israel to stand in the battle in the day of the LORD.
6 They have seen vanity and lying divination, saying, The LORD saith:
and the LORD hath not sent them:
and they have made [others] to hope that they would confirm the word.
7 Have ye not seen a vain vision, and have ye not spoken a lying divination,
whereas ye say, The LORD saith [it]; albeit I have not spoken?
...prophesy against the prophets of Israel that prophesy...
The words 'prophesy' {HB=naba'} and prophet {HB=nabi'} are rooted in a word which means 'to be called' {HB=nabu}. These words are used in reference to both true and false prophets and their messages.
     True prophets were called by God to speak His Word which He revealed and commanded to be spoken (eg., v.1; Jer 1:4-9). Moved by the Holy Spirit and by the truth of God's Word within them, they often delivered unpopular messages in the face of opposition (eg., Jer 20:8,9; 1Cor 9:16). A true prophet always 'tells forth' God's Word. Sometimes (but not always), that Word 'fore tells' future events.
     False prophets claim to speak for God, but the words they speak are not from Him. Jer 14:14
  1. the Source of a false prophet's message:
    • self-deception (v.3) -
      from the foolish imaginations of sin darkened hearts, Jer 7:23,24; 23:16-17,26
    • lying divination {ie., witchcraft, shamanism} (v.6a) -
      The LORD had forbidden His people from engaging in the practices of spiritism, which were common among the surrounding gentile nations. Such practices ignore God's Word and open the mind to 'doctrines of demons.' Deu 18:10-12; 1Tim 4:1,2
  2. the Effect of a false prophet's message -
    • opportunistic self-service (v.4) -
      Foxes {ie., burrowing animals} care nothing for the health of the vineyard or garden. They take what they can get, without regard for the damage they cause. eg., Song 2:15
    • breached security of God's vineyard (v.5) -
      Their false teachings, in contradiction to God's Word, broke down the hedge of protection around God's people (Isa 5:1-7). If only they had spoken God's Word, the gaps in the hedge might have been repaired (Jer 23:21,22).
    • popular confirmation of 'positive' message of false hope (v.6b) -
      The word 'confirm' {HB=qum} means 'to strengthen' or 'to make stand.' Popular opinion often empowers misguided movements. A false prophet's words will fail, no matter how many people stand behind them. (cp. Isa 7:7, where HB=qum is translated 'stand')
         The primary 'power of positive thinking' is its ability to gain a following. People will flock to the preacher who makes them feel good. But truth is often contrary to popular opinion (Jer 5:31; 2Tim 4:2-4).
         Today, many reject God's 'Good News' of salvation through faith in Christ, because the natural man is offended to hear that he is not good enough and has no hope apart from the death and resurrection of the Savior (1Cor 1:18,23). The popular way is deadly, for it distracts from the way of life (Mat 7:13-15; Joh 14:6).
...have ye not seen a vain {ie., empty, deceitful} vision...
...whereas ye say, The LORD saith...; Albeit I have not spoken?
This word for 'seen' implies 'seen for yourself.' They saw what they wanted to see.
The visions, of the false prophets, being devoid of benefit for their hearers, would bring their ruin. Lam 2:14
Anyone, who claims to speak for God, bears a terrible weight of responsibility and accountability.
One dare not speak, unless sure of the LORD's commission and message. Rom 10:13-15
8 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD;
Because ye have spoken vanity, and seen lies,
therefore, behold, I [am] against you, saith the Lord GOD.
9 And mine hand shall be upon the prophets
that see vanity, and that divine lies:
they shall not be in the assembly of my people,
neither shall they be written in the writing of the house of Israel,
neither shall they enter into the land of Israel;
and ye shall know that I [am] the Lord GOD.
The Lord GOD {the Sovereign, ever-living One} pronounces sentence upon the false prophets.
  • ...I am against you...- cp. Jer 23:28-32
  • ...mine hand shall be upon the prophets that see vanity...-
    ie., His hand would move against them in judgment (Eze 14:9,10).
  • ...they shall not be in the assembly of my people...-
    The word 'assembly' {HB=sod} refers to secret or intimate counsel. They would not participate in the hidden things which God has prepared for His own. 1Cor 2:9; Isa 64:4
  • ...nor written in the writing of the house of Israel...- This probably has dual application:
    • They would not be included among the people of Israel, in the promised future restoration. Psa 69:28; Dan 12:1
    • They would not be included in the resurrection of the righteous unto eternal life. Heb 12:23; Rev 20:15
  • ...neither shall they enter into the land of Israel...-
    Whether they died in the siege, or were taken into captivity, they would never return to the land.
    They would be excluded from the future Kingdom of the Messiah. Eze 20:38; Rev 21:27
...and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
Only in judgment, will the false prophets, know Him whose Word they contradicted. Mat 7:21-23
b. False security to be destroyed.- Wall of untempered mortar will fall. (v.10-16)
10. Because, even because they have seduced my people,
saying, Peace; and [there was] no peace;
and one built up a wall, and, lo, others daubed it with untempered [morter]:
11 Say unto them which daub [it] with untempered [morter], that it shall fall:
there shall be an overflowing shower; and ye, O great hailstones, shall fall;
and a stormy wind shall rend [it].
12 Lo, when the wall is fallen, shall it not be said unto you,
Where [is] the daubing wherewith ye have daubed [it]?
The LORD would judge the false prophets for 'seducing' His people {ie., drawing them into error}.
Comforted by the false assurances of 'peace' {HB=shalom, well being, wholeness, health} the nation had sunk ever deeper into sin. eg., Jer 23:13-15; cp. 1Tim 4:1,2; 2Tim 3:13
...one built up a wall... others daubed {ie., smeared, smoothed, overlayed} it with untempered morter {old spelling of 'mortar'}...
One false prophet proclaimed peace and security, and others confirmed his words (by covering the cracks in the false message with more deceptive words). But their smooth words had no strength, for they were not from the LORD. The LORD's hedge of protection had been broken down (v.5). The flimsy wall, of false confidence, would not stand. Yet, the nation had no fear of judgment, as they hid behind a wall of reassuring lies.
...it (ie., the 'wall'} shall fall... there shall be an overflowing shower... great hailstones... stormy wind...
The false sense of security would not withstand the storm of judgment. Psa 11:6; Mat 7:24-27
Then, the smooth false assurances would be seen for what they were.
13 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD;
I will even rend [it] with a stormy wind in my fury;
and there shall be an overflowing shower in mine anger,
and great hailstones in [my] fury to consume [it].
14 So will I break down the wall that ye have daubed with untempered [morter],
and bring it down to the ground,
so that the foundation thereof shall be discovered, and it shall fall,
and ye shall be consumed in the midst thereof:
and ye shall know that I [am] the LORD.
15 Thus will I accomplish my wrath upon the wall,
and upon them that have daubed it with untempered [morter],
and will say unto you, The wall [is] no [more], neither they that daubed it;
16 [To wit], the prophets of Israel which prophesy concerning Jerusalem,
and which see visions of peace for her, and [there is] no peace, saith the Lord GOD.
...I will rend {ie., tear} it with a stormy wind in my fury... to consume it.
...I will break down the wall... and ye shall be consumed in the midst thereof...
The false prophets, their false assurances of peace, and those who hid behind their empty promises, would perish, together, under the LORD's judgment. The fraudulence of their words would be revealed, as having neither substance nor foundation in the truth.
...and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
They would also realize the truth which He had repeatedly spoken through His prophets:
"There is no peace... to the wicked." Isa 48:22; 57:21; Jer 6:14; 8:11
c. False spirituality to be torn away.- Woe to the prophetesses and their 'pillows'. (v.17-23)
17. Likewise, thou son of man,
set thy face against the daughters of thy people,
which prophesy out of their own heart;
and prophesy thou against them,
18 And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD;
Woe to the [women] that sew pillows to all armholes,
and make kerchiefs upon the head of every stature to hunt souls!
Will ye hunt the souls of my people,
and will ye save the souls alive [that come] unto you?
19 And will ye pollute me among my people
for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread,
to slay the souls that should not die,
and to save the souls alive that should not live,
by your lying to my people that hear [your] lies?
Just as the Scriptures speak of both true and false prophets, they also mention their female counterparts.
There were good prophetesses in both OT and NT times (Ex 15:20; Judg 4:4,5; 2Kin 22:14; Acts 21:8,9).
Likewise, false prophetesses are mentioned in both testaments (eg., here, and Rev 2:20).
...which prophesy out of their own heart... (cp. v.2,3) -
Like the false prophets, the false prophetesses...
  • willfully ignored God's Word, in favor of their own emotions and imaginations.
  • would experience "Woe" under God's judgment (v.18).
...that sew pillows to all armholes {or, 'hand joints'}...
...and make kerchiefs upon the head... of every stature to hunt souls...
Like the false prophets, these women practiced divination {ie., witchcraft, sorcery, shamanism, v.6}.
     This word for 'pillows' {HB=keceth} occurs only twice in the Bible (here, in v.18,20). It's root word {HB=kacah} means 'to cover', or, 'to conceal.' These objects were amulets or talismans, which were thought to convey spiritual power to the wearers. Usually such objects were inscribed with incantations. Perhaps they were covered to prevent others from reading secret magic formulas. Alternate translations of this phrase include: "...'magic bands' on all wrists" [NASB] and "...'magic charms' on all their wrists" [NIV]. In a way, 'pillows' is an appropriate word, when you realize that, like the promises of the false prophets, there was nothing to them but 'fluff' (ie., vanity, v.6,23).
     The word for 'kerchiefs' refers to a long flowing 'veil', but is rooted in a word which refers to a 'scab' or 'eruption in the flesh.' It may be that these women sought to increase their stature (in the eyes of their customers), by hiding behind their veils which added a layer of mystery to their persons. Their air of spirituality provided a thin covering for the fleshly corruption which was the source of their ungodly counsel.
...will ye hunt the souls of my people... will ye save the souls alive that come unto you?
The word for 'hunt' {HB=tsuwd} implies the desire to do harm to another. Nimrod was 'a mighty hunter' who drew men away from the LORD and into the false religion of Babel (Gen 10:9,10).
...will ye pollute {ie., profane, wound} me... for handfuls of barley...
...to slay {ie., destroy} the souls that should not die,
...and to save {ie., revive, make whole, cause to live} the souls that should not live?
Apparently, these women earned their living, as spiritist mediums. For a fee, they would curse or bless... to harm the righteous, and to procure 'life at its best' for their ungodly clients. eg., Jer 23:14,17; 2Pet 2:2-3,14
     In causing harm to God's people, they were also attacking and degrading Him (cp. Mat 25:40).
Their spells, like the words of false prophets, were empty 'lies' (v.8,9), and worthy of the same judgment.
20 Wherefore thus saith the Lord GOD;
Behold, I [am] against your pillows,
wherewith ye there hunt the souls to make [them] fly,
and I will tear them from your arms, and will let the souls go,
[even] the souls that ye hunt to make [them] fly.
21 Your kerchiefs also will I tear,
and deliver my people out of your hand,
and they shall be no more in your hand to be hunted;
and ye shall know that I [am] the LORD.
22 Because with lies ye have made the heart of the righteous sad,
whom I have not made sad;
and strengthened the hands of the wicked,
that he should not return from his wicked way, by promising him life:
23 Therefore ye shall see no more vanity, nor divine divinations:
for I will deliver my people out of your hand:
and ye shall know that I [am] the LORD.
...behold, I am against your pillows... I will tear them from your arms... your kerchiefs...
Just as the LORD would destroy the false prophets, and the false confidences which they had built up (v.8-9,15-16), so He would tear away the paraphernalia and lying promises of the false prophetesses.
...and I will let the souls go... the souls that ye hunt to make them fly.
The word 'fly' {HB=parach, to spread, to blossom, to flourish} could be used as a picture of a bird spreading its wings. The NASB renders this phrase "...those lives whom ye hunt as birds."
     However, in the OT, the word is used most frequently, in reference to the budding, or flourishing of plant life. Ezekiel applies this meaning, in illustrating human affairs (in Eze 7:10; 17:24). In this sense, the YLT renders both occurrences, in v.20, as: "...ye are hunting... the souls of the flourishing." (See this word, in Psa 92:13; Prov 11:28.) Those, who hunt God's people (v.18,19), are in futile conflict with the Lord's purposes for His own (eg., Joh 10:10).
...I will deliver my people out of your hand...
...because ye have made the heart of the righteous sad {ie., grieved}...
...and strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way...
The 'righteous' are those who believe God's Word, and who are therefore grieved, when it is forgotten and forsaken by their people (cp. Eze 9:4).
     Apostate teachers (male and female) contradict God's promise that the penalty for sin is death, with false assurances of life (Gen 3:4,5; Jer 23:17; 2Pet 2:18,19). The 'wicked' are strengthened in their wicked ways, when they become comfortably ensnared in the lies from the enemy of our souls, and therefore, see no reason to turn to the Lord of Life. Eze 33:11; Joh 3:19-21; 5:39,40; 2Cor 4:3,4
...therefore ye shall see no more vanity, nor divine divinations...
False prophets and prophetesses would be silenced and plunged into darkness. cp. Mic 3:5-7
...and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
This statement is emphasized, by its close repetition (in v.21,23).
In both verses, that knowledge would be realized, when God has...
(a.) silenced the false teachers, and (b.) delivered His righteous remnant from their enemies.

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