Ezekiel 15:7-8

7. And I will set my face against them; they shall go out from one fire, and another fire shall devour them: and you shall know that I am the Lord, when I set my face against them.

7. Et ponam faciem meam in ipsos: ex igni egredientur, et ignis vorabit1 eos: et scietis quod ego Iehovah, cum posuero faciem meam in ipsis.2

8. And I will make the land desolate, because they have committed a trespass, says the Lord God.

8. Et ponam terram in vastitatem, quia transgressi sunt transgressione3dicit Dominator Iehovah.


He confirms what had been said in the last verse, and at the same time explains it: as if the citizens of Jerusalem retained some form, because they were not reduced to dust; but the fire had burnt all round them, as if the flame was licking a bundle of twigs. While the royal seat remained to them, the name of a people remained, and hence an opportunity for their obstinacy. For they were not to be subdued, since they were not entirely consumed: and now another madness is added; for as soon as they had escaped from any misfortune, they thought themselves quite safe, -- "O now we shall rest," said they; if the enemy had departed from the city, or if new forces had not arrived against them, or if provisions failed the enemy's troops, they immediately regained their courage, and not only breathed again, but proudly laughed at God and his prophets, as if they were beyond all danger. For this reason he now says, I have set my face against them. To set, or, if any one prefers it, to establish one's face, is to persist constantly, so as not only to do anything on passing, but to remain there until we have accomplished our intention; so that those are not bad expounders of the Prophet who say, "I have set my face firmly:" they do not translate verbally, but according to God's meaning. For he often chastises a whole nation or city, and yet he does not set his face, that is, he does not stay there, but chastises them lightly, and but for a short time, as if passing in another direction. But he means something else here -- that he would set his face; that is, never desist until the people's name, as well as their city, was utterly abolished. For we have said that the prophets speak of the present state of the people when they threaten such destruction. I will set my face, therefore, against them: they shall escape from one fire, and another shall devour them. Here the Prophet strikes down that foolish opinion by which the Jews deceived themselves. For if they escaped from one danger, they thought it the last, and hence their security, and even obstinacy. But the Prophet says here, after they had escaped from one fire, that a new fire to consume them was lighted up: he means, that there were different means in God's hand by which he destroys and extinguishes a people: as he had previously said, that he was armed with pestilence and the sword, and famine and wild beasts; so now under the name of fire he comprehends various scourges. If, therefore, men have escaped the sword, a new attack shall inter them, since God will press them with famine, or urge them with pestilence, or in other ways: and then, they shall know, says he, that I am Jehovah, when I shall set my face against it. By these words he signifies that his glory could not otherwise remain safe, since impunity blinded the Jews -- nay, hardened them till they became like the brutes. If, therefore, God had spared them, his glory would have been as it were buried, and through so long a connivance he had been no longer acknowledged as God. There was a real necessity for so much rigor: since he would never show himself to be God otherwise than by destroying the impious who were so stupefied by their sins as long as he bore with them. At length he adds, I will lay the land waste since they have prevaricated by prevarication. Here, also, God expresses how terrible, yet just, was that judgment, because the Jews were no trifling offenders, but perfidiously departed from his worship, and from the whole teaching of the law, and were obstinate in their ingratitude. Since they were so abandoned, we gather that God was not too severe when he put forth his hand to destroy them utterly.


Grant. Almighty God, since you have not only deigned to separate us from the common herd of men, but also to renew your image in us: and while thy favors towards us are conspicuous you exhort us at the same time to glorify thy name: Grant that being mindful of our calling we may study to devote ourselves wholly to thee. and so to extol thee by peculiar and true and rightful praises, that we may be at length partakers of the glory to which you invite us, and which has been acquired for us by the blood of your only begotten Son. -- Amen.

Lecture Forty-Second

1 Or, "shall consume." -- Calvin.

2 Or, "against them. -- Calvin.

3 Or, "they have prevaricated with prevarication," as some translate; that is, have acted perfidiously, or have been shamefully perfidious. -- Calvin


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