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Ezekiel 14:2

Context
14:2 The word of the Lord came to me:

Ezekiel 14:9

Context

14:9 “‘As for the prophet, if he is made a fool by being deceived into speaking a prophetic word – I, the Lord, have made a fool of 1  that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand against him and destroy him from among my people Israel.

1 tn The translation is uncertain due to difficulty both in determining the meaning of the verb’s stem and its conjugation in this context. In the Qal stem the basic meaning of the verbal root פָּתַה (patah) is “to be gullible, foolish.” The doubling stems (the Pual and Piel used in this verse) typically give such stative verbs a factitive sense, hence either “make gullible” (i.e., “entice”) or “make into a fool” (i.e., “to show to be a fool”). The latter represents the probable meaning of the term in Jer 20:7, 10 and is followed here (see L. C. Allen, Ezekiel [WBC], 1:193; R. Mosis “Ez 14, 1-11 - ein Ruf zur Umkehr,” BZ 19 [1975]: 166-69 and ThWAT 4:829-31). In this view, if a prophet speaks when not prompted by God, he will be shown to be a fool, but this does not reflect negatively on the Lord because it is God who shows him to be a fool. Secondly, the verb is in the perfect conjugation and may be translated “I have made a fool of him” or “I have enticed him,” or to show determination (see IBHS 439-41 §27.2f and g), or in certain syntactical constructions as future. Any of these may be plausible if the doubling stems used are understood in the sense of “making a fool of.” But if understood as “to make gullible,” more factors come into play. As the Hebrew verbal form is a perfect, it is often translated as present perfect: “I have enticed.” In this case the Lord states that he himself enticed the prophet to cooperate with the idolaters. Such enticement to sin would seem to be a violation of God’s moral character, but sometimes he does use such deception and enticement to sin as a form of punishment against those who have blatantly violated his moral will (see, e.g., 2 Sam 24). If one follows this line of interpretation in Ezek 14:9, one would have to assume that the prophet had already turned from God in his heart. However, the context gives no indication of this. Therefore, it is better to take the perfect as indicating certitude and to translate it with the future tense: “I will entice.” In this case the Lord announces that he will judge the prophet appropriately. If a prophet allows himself to be influenced by idolaters, then the Lord will use deception as a form of punishment against that deceived prophet. A comparison with the preceding oracles also favors this view. In 14:4 the perfect of certitude is used for emphasis (see “I will answer”), though in v. 7 a participle is employed. For a fuller discussion of this text, see R. B. Chisholm, Jr., “Does God Deceive?” BSac 155 (1998): 23-25.



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