Spreading The Word - Online

This is a sample of Spreading The Word - Online's Verse of the Day Plus.

Ezekiel 20:49   Then I said, "Ah, Lord GOD! They are saying of me, 'Is he not a maker of parables?'" (ESV)

Jonathan Allen Comment:
After a long rebuke, lasting the whole chapter from the time when certain of the elders of Israel came to inquire of the LORD, and sat before me (Ezekiel 20:1), or possible a series of distinct oracles, Ezekiel has reached the conclusion the L–rd has given him to say: that the fire of the L–rd will burn through the area of Israel known as the Negev, the southern lands (Be'er Sheva and southwards) to purge it of its sins and that the people will then know that He is the L–rd. Our text describes the response of the elders: they turn round and say "This is just a parable; just a story. It doesn't mean anything." Ezekiel and the word of the L–rd are rejected out of hand.

Hebrew Note:
The phrase translated by the ESV as "maker of parables" uses the same Hebrew root (mem-shin-lamed) twice in adjacent words. It could be more literally translated "riddler of riddles" or "spinner of spun words".

Daniel Block Scholar:
Daniel I. Block:   This verse offers the reader another glimpse into the mental state of the prophet as he pursues his prophetic activity. He expresses his frustration over the obtuseness of his audience first with an exclamatory Ah and then by lodging a formal complaint before YHVH concerning the reputation he is gaining among the exiles. Their description of Ezekiel as a "prattler of parables" reflects more than exasperation over the unintelligibility of his enigmas; it implies disdain for the prophet himself. Neither he nor his utterances are being taken seriously. But in their rejection of him, they are also rejecting the One on whose behalf he has been speaking, thereby casting their lot with the trees.

Futher Study Suggestions:
Jeremiah 20:7-11
— Consider how Jeremiah feels about his own situation and those around him
Mark 6:7-13
— What is the standard procedure for those who will not listen? What were the consequences of following the procedure?

Do you find yourself in a similar position to Ezekiel today? Are the things that you are sharing from the L–rd and from His word causing those around you, others in church, to reject you as simply being obsessed or a bit strange, so devaluing the truth of the Bible and what G–d wants to say in these days? Have you developed a bit of a reputation as something of a nut-case or (shock, horror) an extremist about some things? If so, then you are in good company: Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel to name but three, were all there before you.

What can you do about it? Check your facts, make sure your texts are rock solid and that you can't be accused of quoting out of context and press on. Pray for inspiration and boldness, call upon the Spirit to give you His words and proclaim the truth to all those who will hear and to those who won't.

Professor Daniel I. Block is the Gunther H. Knoedler Professor Emeritus of Old Testament at Wheaton College.

Text by Daniel I. Block is taken from Daniel I. Block, The Book of Ezekiel: Chapters 1-24, (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1997), 0-8028-2535-4 , page 665