God warns that the prophets of Jerusalem have built a wall from untempered mortar.
Ezekiel Chapter 13
Lessons from the text
The Hunting Women God accused the prophetesses of Jerusalem of hunting the souls of the Jews. By telling lies, these women were hunting souls. To understand the grievousness of this sin, consider the original role of a woman which is to be a help meet to man (Gen. 2:19-23). Man’s original purpose was to dress and tend the earth (Gen. 2:15). The woman, then, was to help the man fulfill his purpose by tending the earth along side him.
If a husband and wife are outside working in a garden and the woman notices that the man is about to till using a tiller whose wheel has fallen off, is it not right for the woman to warn the man that the tiller is broken? If the man is oblivious to the problem, a caring helper will gently point out the problem so that the man may address it. Even so, a caring husband will gently point out a problem to his wife so that she may address it. In this manner, the two help each other to work.
God described Israel as wearing clothing that was worn through at the elbow. A caring wife would point out the problem and, assuming she knew mending, attend to the problem by mending the hole. However, the prophetesses of Jerusalem did no such action. Instead, they took the problem as an opportunity to lead the people astray. These women did not point out or try to fix the problem; they taught the people to ignore the problem by resting their elbows on pillows. This is the exact opposite course of action that they should have performed. This analogy plays out like follows. The Jews fell into sin. This was the holes in their garments. The women noticed the sin. Rather than try to warn the people of the danger, they told the people that there was peace between God and them, this was the pillow. They told the people that they were not in sin because God had given them peace. The women recognized the hurt and turmoil in the people from sin and chose to accommodate the sin rather and rebuke it. Therefore, they were ensnaring souls, lying, hurting the righteous, and helping the wicked. It was the same as if the wife working in the garden were to tell her husband that he was doing a wonderful job plowing, even as he was tearing up the garden with a broken tiller. So, next time you are in the situation of being made aware of someone’s problems, remember the Jewish prophetesses and try to help with, not take advantage of, the problem.
Verse by Verse Commentary
1-10 God gives a message to all the false prophets in Jerusalem. These prophets speak out of their own desires and speak what the people want to hear, peace. In response, God will harshly judge these prophets. Not only have they spoken lies but also they have caused others to err because of their words. This warrants severe judgment. Compare with Jeremiah 14:13-15, 23:13-21, 27:14-15, and 29:8-9.
11-16 Untempered mortar is mortar that has not been well-mixed; for mortar (concrete) to set, it must be mixed with just the right amount of water. If it is not mixed correctly, then as it hardens it will not be strong. For example, if there is too much water it is too soft, and if it is too dry it does not have the ability to bond. In both cases, whatever is built from the untempered mortar will crumble all on its own. Even so, the false prophets have taken the word of God and incorrectly spoken it, therefore whatever they build will crumble. Those who have dabbed the wall are those who go in to smooth the wall with the mortar to finish the building. These are the princes and priests who support the false prophets’ message.
17-18 Even the female prophets have spoken lies to the Jews. Instead of repairing the torn clothing, they have instead made pillows around the holes. The image is one of softening the blow and giving rest instead of addressing the actual problem. This sin is two-fold; the women are failing to perform their duties to mend the holes, and they are making the people unaware of their problems. The women hunt the souls of men by pulling them into their false sense of security.
19 The women are more concerned about filling their bellies than the eternal destination of their people. Their lies hurt those who do not deserve to die (the righteous) and help those who deserve death (the wicked). 20-23 The women who have ingratiated themselves to men will find all their connections and providers taken from them. Instead of caring for the Jews, these prophetesses have viewed the people as means for their own comforts; they have left the natural concern for people’s souls for the unnatural perception that people are merely a means by which to make themselves profitable. In response, God will take away their prey, their pool of potential profit, and make them shamefully aware of their sin.
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