2. Then came the word of the Lord saying,
2. Et fuit sermo Iehovae ad me dicendo,
3. Son of man, speak unto the elders of Israel, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God, Are you come to inquire of me? As I live, says the Lord God, I will not be inquired of by you.
3. Fili hominis, loquere ad seniores Israel, et dic illis, Sic dicit Dominator Iehovah, An ad quaerendum me,1 venistis? Vivo ego si quaerar a vobis, dicit Dominator Iehovah.
Here the Prophet is ordered to blame those elders, although they pretended to rare piety in inquiring of him: God says that they did not come with a right disposition. Many translate otherwise -- if I shall be found, or be en-treated by you, or if I shall answer: thus they take the word, srd, deresh, in a double sense: in the first clause, for to seek or interrogate; but when it is added, as I live, etc., they do not take the word by "to be sought" or "interrogated," but by "to answer" or "be entreated." But this seems far-fetched and in Ezekiel 14:3, a phrase not unlike this was explained; and hence we may gather, that God rather inveighs against the people's hypocrisy than rejects them, and refuses to answer. There the Prophet said that the elders came to consult him, as if they had been his best disciples; but as Ezekiel might be deceived by that deceptive picture, God meets him, and says, Do you think that they come to inquire of me? They are fixed upon their idols; for their heart is towards them, and they raise their eyes to their own abominations: As I live, if they seek me, says he; that is, it is easy to convict them of bad faith, when they come suppliantly to inquire of thee. For if they truly and heartily sought me, they would renounce their idols, and would no longer partake of their abominations; but they do not repent, but remain obstinate in their wickedness. It is certain, therefore, that they are by no means sincere: there is no reason why you should delay them, or trouble yourself about them, since their conduct is mere dissimulation. So, therefore, in this passage God pronounced by his Prophet, are you come to seek me? that is, to consult me. I will not be inquired of by you, says he: the reason is, because, as we saw in the Ezekiel 14th, they always remained the same, since therefore they were at the greatest distance from God, and remained wrapped up in their own abominations, their seeking God was only fallacious. The conclusion is, that God rejected them, because, though they pretended a holy zeal, they were still perverse in their disposition; hence God refuses to discharge the office of a master towards them since they did not come to learn: this is one point. He then says, if I shall be inquired of by you. And because their hypocrisy was stained by various colors, God swears that their disposition was perverse, and that they did not come with pious and holy affections, and were neither docile nor obedient, nor desirous of making progress, and hence were unworthy of having him for a teacher. Now let us go on.