3:1 And he said to me, “Son of man, eat what is before you, eat this scroll; then go and speak to the house of Israel.”
3:2 So I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat.
3:3 Then he said to me, “Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.” So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.
3:4 He then said to me: “Son of man, go now to the house of Israel [Northern Kingdom no longer existed at this time; Ezekiel used this term to designate the people of the Southern Kingdom of Judah] and speak my words to them.
3:5 You are not being sent to [Ezekiel’s audience would not be those of another nation…] a people of obscure speech [literally “deep of lip”] and difficult language [literally “heavy of tongue;” in such a case the speaker might need a translator], but to the house of Israel [no communication barrier because they spoke the same language; however, a common language did not guarantee acceptance of God’s message]—
3:6 not to many peoples of obscure speech and difficult language [non-Israelites], whose words you cannot understand. Surely if I had sent you to them, they would have listened to you.
3:7 But the house of Israel is not willing to listen to you [the bearer of God’s truth] because they are not willing to listen to me [the source of the message of truth], for the whole house of Israel is hardened and obstinate [these words emphasize the scope of Israel’s rejection of God].
3:8 But I [God provides the strength to accomplish difficult tasks] will make you [“Divine work can only be accomplished in dependence upon divine strength.” (Watchman Nee)] as unyielding and hardened as they are [the stubborn people would meet their match in the equally stubborn Ezekiel].
3:9 I will make your forehead like the hardest stone [God promised to make Ezekiel strong], harder than flint. Do not be afraid of them or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious house.”
3:10 And he said to me, “Son of man, listen [Ezekiel needed to stay in tune with God] carefully and take to heart [Ezekiel needed to listen to God and internalize His truth] all the words I speak to you.
3:11 Go now to your countrymen in exile [the exiles carried to Babylon in 605 BC and 597 BC by Nebuchadnezzar; Jeremiah was proclaiming God’s message to those who remained in Jerusalem and Judah] and speak to them. Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says [we have a responsibility to share God’s Word with others],’ whether they listen or fail to listen [the listener is responsible for what he does with what he hears].”
3:12 Then the Spirit lifted me up, and I heard behind me a loud rumbling sound—May the glory of the LORD be praised in his dwelling place!—
3:13 the sound of the wings of the living creatures brushing against each other and the sound of the wheels beside them, a loud rumbling sound.
3:14 The Spirit then lifted me up and took me away, and I went in bitterness and in the anger of my spirit, with the strong hand of the LORD upon me.
3:15 I came to the exiles who lived at Tel Abib near the Kebar River. And there, where they were living, I sat among them for seven days—overwhelmed.
3:16 At the end of seven days the word of the LORD came to me:
3:17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me.
3:18 When I say to a wicked man, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood.
3:19 But if you do warn the wicked man and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his evil ways, he will die for his sin; but you will have saved yourself.
3:20 “Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and does evil, and I put a stumbling block before him, he will die. Since you did not warn him, he will die for his sin. The righteous things he did will not be remembered, and I will hold you accountable for his blood.
3:21 But if you do warn the righteous man not to sin and he does not sin, he will surely live because he took warning, and you will have saved yourself.”
3:22 The hand of the LORD was upon me there, and he said to me, “Get up and go out to the plain, and there I will speak to you.”
3:23 So I got up and went out to the plain. And the glory of the LORD was standing there, like the glory I had seen by the Kebar River, and I fell facedown.
3:24 [Ezekiel was to embrace a vow of silence, only speaking to proclaim God’s message (3:24-27)] Then the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet. He spoke to me and said: “Go, shut yourself inside your house.
3:25 And you, son of man, they will tie with ropes; you will be bound so that you cannot go out among the people.
3:26 I will make your tongue stick to the roof of your mouth so that you will be silent and unable to rebuke them, though they are a rebellious house.
3:27 But when I speak to you, I will open your mouth and you shall say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says.’ Whoever will listen let him listen, and whoever will refuse let him refuse; for they are a rebellious house.