Metropolitan United Methodist Church, Indian Head, MD
No person left behind
September 6, 2020

No person left behind

September 6, 2020

Ez 33:7-11

“Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to the wicked, ‘You wicked person, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade them from their ways, that wicked person will die for[a] their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. But if you do warn the wicked person to turn from their ways and they do not do so, they will die for their sin, though you yourself will be saved.

10 “Son of man, say to the Israelites, ‘This is what you are saying: “Our offenses and sins weigh us down, and we are wasting away because of[b] them. How then can we live?”’ 11 Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?’

Background

33:2–6. The watchman’s duty. The illustration is drawn from what was common practice in time of war. The man deputed by his city to act as its watchman and to give warning of the approach of an enemy force had a heavy responsibility. He was to sound the alarm, so that the inhabitants of the city who were farming the lands around the city could retreat within the walls and prepare for battle. If any man disregarded the warning, he was virtually signing his death warrant, but no blame would attach to the watchman. If, however, the watchman failed in his duty to warn, he would be held responsible for the deaths of any who were caught unawares. The trumpet (Heb. šôpār; 3ff.) was a long horn, curving upwards at the end, which was used extensively in Israel for both military and religious occasions (cf. Josh. 6:4; 2 Sam. 2:28; Ps. 81:3; Joel 2:15; Amos 3:6). It is still used in Jewish synagogues, especially at the New Year. The phrase, his blood I will require (6), reflects the concept of blood-guiltiness, which is common to much Old Testament thought, whereby the shedding of a man’s blood by another, whether done deliberately, accidentally or by some failure in responsibility, involves the blood-shedder in a state of guilt and the kinsman of the deceased in a duty to avenge his death.

33:7–9. The prophet’s duty. The danger which the prophet has to warn his people about is the threat of judgment by the word of the Lord (7). When this speaks in condemnation of the wicked man, the prophet must pass on the message or be held responsible. The exposition of the prophet’s duties is briefer than in 3:16–21, where there is specific reference to warning the righteous man as well as the wicked, but the principle remains the same in both passages.[1]

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Point 1 

Notes from Point 1

Point 2 

Notes from Point 2

Point 3

Notes from Point 3

Summary

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  1. John B. Taylor, Ezekiel: An Introduction and Commentary, vol. 22, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1969), 209–210.

 

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