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Ezekiel 33:1-20

Ezekiel Israel’s Watchman

33:1 The word of the Lord came to me: 33:2 “Son of man, speak to your people, 1  and say to them, ‘Suppose I bring a sword against the land, and the people of the land take one man from their borders and make him their watchman. 33:3 He sees the sword coming against the land, blows the trumpet, 2  and warns the people, 3  33:4 but there is one who hears the sound of the trumpet yet does not heed the warning. Then the sword comes and sweeps him away. He will be responsible for his own death. 4  33:5 He heard the sound of the trumpet but did not heed the warning, so he is responsible for himself. 5  If he had heeded the warning, he would have saved his life. 33:6 But suppose the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people. Then the sword comes and takes one of their lives. He is swept away for his iniquity, 6  but I will hold the watchman accountable for that person’s death.’ 7 

33:7 “As for you, son of man, I have made you a watchman 8  for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you must warn them on my behalf. 33:8 When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you must certainly die,’ 9  and you do not warn 10  the wicked about his behavior, 11  the wicked man will die for his iniquity, but I will hold you accountable for his death. 12  33:9 But if you warn the wicked man to change his behavior, 13  and he refuses to change, 14  he will die for his iniquity, but you have saved your own life.

33:10 “And you, son of man, say to the house of Israel, ‘This is what you have said: “Our rebellious acts and our sins have caught up with us, 15  and we are wasting away because of them. How then can we live?”’ 33:11 Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but prefer that the wicked change his behavior 16  and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil deeds! 17  Why should you die, O house of Israel?’

33:12 “And you, son of man, say to your people, 18  ‘The righteousness of the righteous will not deliver him if he rebels. 19  As for the wicked, his wickedness will not make him stumble if he turns from it. 20  The righteous will not be able to live by his righteousness 21  if he sins.’ 22  33:13 Suppose I tell the righteous that he will certainly live, but he becomes confident in his righteousness and commits iniquity. None of his righteous deeds will be remembered; because of the iniquity he has committed he will die. 33:14 Suppose I say to the wicked, ‘You must certainly die,’ but he turns from his sin and does what is just and right. 33:15 He 23  returns what was taken in pledge, pays back what he has stolen, and follows the statutes that give life, 24  committing no iniquity. He will certainly live – he will not die. 33:16 None of the sins he has committed will be counted 25  against him. He has done what is just and right; he will certainly live.

33:17 “Yet your people 26  say, ‘The behavior 27  of the Lord is not right,’ 28  when it is their behavior that is not right. 33:18 When a righteous man turns from his godliness and commits iniquity, he will die for it. 33:19 When the wicked turns from his sin and does what is just and right, he will live because of it. 33:20 Yet you say, ‘The behavior of the Lord is not right.’ House of Israel, I will judge each of you according to his behavior.” 29 

1 tn Heb “sons of your people.”

2 tn Heb “shofar,” a ram’s horn rather than a brass instrument (so throughout the chapter).

3 tn Sounding the trumpet was a warning of imminent danger (Neh 4:18-20; Jer 4:19; Amos 3:6).

4 tn Heb “his blood will be on his own head.”

5 tn Heb “his blood will be on him.”

6 tn Or “in his punishment.” The phrase “in/for [a person’s] iniquity/punishment” occurs fourteen times in Ezekiel: here and in vv. 8 and 9; 3:18, 19; 4:17; 7:13, 16; 18: 17, 18, 19, 20; 24:23; 39:23. The Hebrew word for “iniquity” may also mean the “punishment” for iniquity or “guilt” of iniquity.

7 tn Heb “his blood from the hand of the watchman I will seek.”

8 sn Jeremiah (Jer 6:17) and Habakkuk (Hab 2:1) also served in the role of a watchman.

9 tn The same expression occurs in Gen 2:17.

10 tn Heb “and you do not speak to warn.”

11 tn Heb “way.”

12 tn Heb “and his blood from your hand I will seek.”

13 tn Heb “from his way to turn from it.”

14 tn Heb “and he does not turn from his way.”

15 tn Heb “(are) upon us.”

16 tn Heb “turn from his way.”

17 tn Heb “ways.” This same word is translated “behavior” earlier in the verse.

18 tn Heb “the sons of your people.”

19 tn Heb “in the day of his rebellion.” The statement envisions a godly person rejecting what is good and becoming sinful. See D. I. Block, Ezekiel (NICOT), 2:247-48.

20 tn Heb “and the wickedness of the wicked, he will not stumble in it in the day of his turning from his wickedness.”

21 tn Heb “by it.”

22 tn Heb “in the day of his sin.”

23 tn Heb “the wicked one.”

24 tn Heb “and in the statutes of life he walks.”

25 tn Heb “remembered.”

26 tn Heb “the sons of your people.”

27 tn Heb “way.”

28 tn The Hebrew verb translated “is (not) right” has the basic meaning of “to measure.” For a similar concept, see Ezek 18:25, 29.

29 tn Heb “ways.”

TIP #08: Use the Strong Number links to learn about the original Hebrew and Greek text. [ALL]
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