Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Eat this book, and go speak to the children of Israel. By this eating of the book, was signified the diligent attention and affection with which we are to receive and embrace the word of God; and to let it as it were, sink into our interior by devout meditation. (Challoner) — The revelation came from God, ver. 10. (Worthington)
Ver. 2. Book, in spirit; (Calmet) or in reality, he chewed the volume. (Haydock)
Ver. 3. Mouth. I readily accepted the commission, but soon found the difficulties to which it would expose me, ver. 12., Jeremias xv. 16., and Apocalypse x. 10.
Ver. 6. Unknown. Hebrew, “heavy.” (Calmet) — Protestants, “hard.” (Haydock) — It is not above thy strength, Deuteronomy xxx. 12. — To thee. He insinuates that the Gentiles would obey the apostles. (St. Jerome) — But the time was not yet come. (Calmet) — From this text and Matthew xi. 21., it appears that “the same grace” is accepted by some and rejected by others, as “more grace is added to the former, which was sufficient before, and by this….is made effectual” through God’s mercy, Romans ix. (Worthington) — Those who reject the first grace, can blame only themselves, if they receive no more. The same grace falling on a heat better prepared by God, like seed on good soil, is more fruitful.
Ver. 7. Hard. Literally, “rubbed” like a stone, or brass; attrita. (Haydock) — God’s ambassadors (Ephesians vi. 20.; Calmet) must do their utmost. (Haydock) — The success must not puff them up, nor the failure too much depressed them, as all regards God, (Matthew x. 40.) who will know how to make things conduce to his own glory. They must only bewail the blindness of sinners. (Calmet) — The care of them, and not the cure, will be required at their hands, ver. 19. (Haydock)
Ver. 8. Harder. If they will not blush, thou shalt not be ashamed to lay their disorders before their eyes, though they be such as ought not to be mentioned, as becomes saints. (Haydock) See chap. xvi., and xxii. (Calmet)
Ver. 12. Spirit; wind (Hugo) or angel, took me through the air; (Prado.) or, I went willingly. (St. Jerome) — Commotion, like an earthquake, (Hebrew; Septuagint) occasioned by the motion of the chariot, or the voice of the cherubim, ver. 13.
Ver. 14. Spirit, resolved to rebuke (Calmet) sinners. Septuagint, “the spirit of the Lord also lifted me….and I went aloft (like a meteor; meteoros) by the impulse of my spirit; for the hand of the Lord upon me was strong; and I went loft, to the captivity, and passed through them….conversing in the midst of them.” (Haydock)
Ver. 15. The heap of new corn. It was the name of a place; in Hebrew, Telabib, (Challoner) as the Chaldean leaves it (Menochius) with the three Greek interpreters. (Calmet) — Tel means “a heap,” and abib “new corn.” (Haydock) — There was no new wheat in the fourth month, but rather in May or June, chap. i. 1. Ptolemy places Thelda near the Chaboras. — Mourning; or Protestants, “astonished,” like Job’s friends, for people dead in sin. (Haydock) — Many suppose that he never spoke. Yet this is not certain, (ver. 11.; Calmet) though probable from ver. 16. (Haydock)
Ver. 17. Watchman: the usual title of those placed over others, chap. xxxiii. 2., and Isaias xxi. 6. Let none perish through thy neglect. (Calmet) — “He (the pastor) kills the man whom he delivers up to death by silence.” (St. Gregory, hom. xi. 9.)
Ver. 20. Iniquity, for want of thy instruction; (Haydock) or, if thou neglect to reclaim him, (Calmet) and he perish, or owe his conversion to another, when duty requires thee to take care of him, thou shalt answer for the possible bad consequences. Thy sin is great, whatever become of him. But if he be damned, though he must blame himself chiefly, yet the blood of his soul shall cry for vengeance more than Abel’s. (Haydock) — Before him, taking away my grace in punishment of his revolt. (Worthington) — If thou neglect to attempt reclaiming him, thou shalt perish with him; (St. Gregory) or if he be exposed to trial, and thou abandon him, (Vatable) or if thou neglect to husband well the precious moments, when I open his eyes, and fill him with apprehensions of his dangerous state, I will require, &c. (Origin; St. Jerome) — Remembered. Ingratitude causes the fruits of virtue to decay, and former crimes to revive, in some sense. (St. Thomas, [Summa Theologiae] iii. p. q. 88. a. 1.) (Matthew v. 26.) (Calmet)
Ver. 21. Warn. It is the duty of a pastor to warn the just as well as sinners. (Worthington) — It will not suffice to do this publicly: sometimes we must go from house to house, like St. Paul, and compel those who are in the hedges to enter the marriage feast, by the most persuasive arguments. (Haydock)
Ver. 25. Bands. It is uncertain whether by his order, or they supposed he was deranged, as our Saviour’s brethren meant to treat him, Mark iii. 21. The Chaldean explains it figuratively of God’s order, attaching the prophet to his service. (Calmet) — But real chains would more forcibly shew the future captivity of Juda (Haydock) which the prophet declared both by words and actions. (Calmet)
Ver. 26. House. “When there is a multitude of sins, (or sinners; peccatorum) the offenders are unworthy of being corrected by the Lord.” (St. Jerome) — The prophet’s silence might suffice to admonish them. (Calmet) — He heard the Lord’s commands to chap. xi. 24., before he spoke to the people. (Menochius)
Ver. 27. Forbeareth. Septuagint, “disbelieveth, let him disbelieve.” So we read, He that is unjust, let him be unjust still; (Apocalypse xxii. 11.) which denotes the most desperate condition. (Haydock) — Aquila (2 edition) has, “he who abandons, shall be abandoned.” (St. Jerome) — The man who makes good use of grace shall receive more; but he who despises the offers of God, shall be justly deprived of them in his greatest need. (Calmet)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
The prophet eats the book, and receives further instructions: the office of a watchman.
1 And *he said to me: Son of man, eat all that thou shalt find: eat this book, and go speak to the children of Israel.
2 And I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat that book:
3 And he said to me: Son of man, thy belly shall eat, and thy bowels shall be filled with this book, which I give thee. *And I did eat it: and it was sweet as honey in my mouth.
4 And he said to me: Son of man, go to the house of Israel, and thou shalt speak my words to them.
5 For thou art not sent to a people of a profound speech, and of an unknown tongue, but to the house of Israel:
6 Nor to many nations of a strange speech, and of an unknown tongue, whose words thou canst not understand: and if thou wert sent to them, they would hearken to thee.
7 But the house of Israel will not hearken to thee: because they will not hearken to me: for all the house of Israel are of a hard forehead, and an obstinate heart.
8 Behold I have made thy face stronger than their faces, and thy forehead harder than their foreheads.
9 I have made thy face like an adamant and like flint: fear them not, neither be thou dismayed at their presence: for they are a provoking house.
10 And he said to me: Son of man, receive in thy heart, and hear with thy ears, all the words that I speak to thee:
11 And go get thee in to them of the captivity, to the children of thy people, and thou shalt speak to them, and shalt say to them: Thus saith the Lord: If so be they will hear, and will forbear.
12 And the spirit took me up, and I heard behind me the voice of a great commotion, saying: Blessed be the glory of the Lord, from his place.
13 And the noise of the wings of the living creatures striking one against another, and the noise of the wheels following the living creatures, and the noise of a great commotion.
14 The spirit also lifted me, and took me up: and I went away in bitterness, in the indignation of my spirit: for the hand of the Lord was with me, strengthening me.
15 And I came to them of the captivity, to the heap of new corn, to them that dwelt by the river Chobar, and I sat where they sat: and I remained there seven days mourning in the midst of them.
16 And at the end of seven days the word of the Lord came to me, saying:
17 *Son of man, I have made thee a watchman to the house of Israel: and thou shalt hear the word out of my mouth, and shalt tell it them from me.
18 If, when I say to the wicked, Thou shalt surely die: thou declare it not to him, nor speak to him, that he may be converted from his wicked way, and live: the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but I will require his blood at thy hand.
19 But if thou give warning to the wicked, and he be not converted from his wickedness, and from his evil way: he indeed shall die in his iniquity, but thou hast delivered thy soul.
20 Moreover, if the just man shall turn away from his justice, and shall commit iniquity: I will lay a stumbling-block before him, he shall die, because thou hast not given him warning: he shall die in his sin, and his justices, which he hath done, shall not be remembered: but I will require his blood at thy hand.
21 But if thou warn the just man, that the just may not sin, and he doth not sin: living he shall live, because thou hast warned him, and thou hast delivered thy soul.
22 And the hand of the Lord was upon me, and he said to me: Rise, and go forth into the plain, and there I will speak to thee.
23 And I rose up, and went forth into the plain: and behold the glory of the Lord stood there, like the glory which *I saw by the river Chobar: and I fell upon my face.
24 And the spirit entered into me, and set me upon my feet: and he spoke to me, and said to me: Go in, and shut thyself up in the midst of thy house.
25 And thou, O son of man, behold they shall put bands upon thee, and they shall bind thee with them: and thou shalt not go forth from the midst of them.
26 And I will make thy tongue stick fast to the roof of thy mouth, and thou shalt be dumb, and not as a man that reproveth: because they are a provoking house.
27 But when I shall speak to thee, I will open thy mouth, and thou shalt say to them: Thus saith the Lord God: He that heareth, let him hear: and he that forbeareth, let him forbear: for they are a provoking house.
1: Year of the World 3409.
3: Apocalypse x. 9. and 10.
17: Ezechiel xxxiii. 7.
23: Ezechiel i. 3.