12:1-2 – The key to the following prophecies in Ezekiel is found in these two verses. “They have eyes to see but do not see and ears to hear but do not hear, for they are a rebellious people” (see Isaiah 6:9; 43:8; Jeremiah 5:12; and the same thing stated concerning idols in Psalm 115:57). According to this passage, why can’t Israel see or hear?
12:3-7 – A living sermon “as they watch” – pack an exile bag in the daylight, dig a hole in the wall in the evening, and carry out the belongings with covered face at dawn. What does it all mean? Did they understand what Ezekiel was doing? What might an exile’s bag contain? How is Ezekiel a “sign to the house of Israel”? How does this relate to verse 2? Note that Ezekiel did exactly as he was commanded.
12:8-14 – In the morning Ezekiel is to explain the living sermon of the previous day. Who is the “prince in Jerusalem”? Zedekiah (2 Kings 24:18-25:7; 2 Chronicles 36:11-14; Jeremiah 52:1-11) is the “prince” as a semi-derogatory title (rather than “king”). He was the last king of Judah and was rebellious against the LORD and Nebuchadnezzar. He fled Jerusalem when it fell to the Babylonians, but was captured and given a trial where he was punished by slaughtering his sons in front of him and then gouging out his eyes. There is a possible slight allusion to the blinding of Zedekiah by the references to not seeing the land again. The “prince” (as ruler of the people) is also indicative of the people of Judah left in Jerusalem. Who carried out the judgment of the “prince”?
12:15-16 – “They will know that I am the LORD” once the LORD scattered and dispersed Israel among the nations and preserved the remnant for Himself.
12:17-20 – Why did Ezekiel have to eat with trembling and drink with shuddering? What does this signify? Why would Israel eat and drink in fear? Note that violence against others leads to a final violent judgment of the perpetrators.
12:21-28 – Three issues concerning prophecy: 1) All prophecy should not be rejected, 2) it must not be falsely given, and 3) it must be done with the certainty that it is the word of the LORD. The way of removing false prophecy from Israel was to remove the false prophets themselves from Israel. “Flattering (or slippery) divinations” were manipulative and not simply an attempt to discern the will of the LORD (see Block NICOT 390 and 390fn31-32). Is the LORD slow in keeping his promises? (see 2 Peter 3:3-10)
13:1-9 – What does it mean for the LORD to say there were some who “prophecy out of their own imagination”? Does this still go on today? How is this contrasted with the word of the LORD? In what ways are false prophets “like jackals among ruins” (cf. Nehemiah 4:3; Lamentations 5:18)? They don’t repair the breaks in the walls or defend against the enemy, but instead they live only for themselves and prey on the weak and use the breaks for their own advantage. Is “divination” always wrong? What would be the difference between divining the will of God and lying divination? Is there a difference? Does using the LORD’s name give absolute assurance that what we say or pray will be done? What does it mean to not belong to the council of God’s people or not be “listed in the records of the house of Israel”? “The records of the house of Israel” seems to refer to the official records of those who would survive to return to Israel (Ezra 2:62; Nehemiah 7:64; see also the books which the LORD keeps in Exodus 32:32-33; Psalm 69:28; Isaiah 4:3; Daniel 12:1; Luke 10:20; Revelation 3:5; 20:12; 21:27). Ezekiel was sent to Israel so they would “know that a prophet had bee among them” (Eze.2:5). Where the LORD declares that His “hand will be against them” there is an allusion to inspiration in order to subtly express that “those who never felt the reality of the divine hand in inspiration will now feel it in judgment” (Duguid NIVAC 173fn11).
13:10-16 – What does it mean to be white-washed flimsy walls? The flimsy wall will be exposed and destroyed and the white-wash shown to have been worse than worthless since it was used to simply cover up what should have been repaired as if everything was alright. How is this related to those who were prophesying “peace”? (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:3)
13:17-23 – Who are “the daughters of your people”? They were false prophetesses who used magic to control and manipulate. Magic charms were worn on their wrists and (magic?) veils on their heads (or around their necks). These seem to refer to something like a phylactery that functioned as a talisman or charm. Why did they practice their magic? What does the LORD accuse them of doing? They “disheartened the righteous” and “encouraged the wicked”. The false prophet/esses had ensnared the LORD’s people, but the LORD would deliver “his people” and ensure and destroy the false prophet/esses.