Ezekiel 13:1-3 – And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, 2 Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel that prophesy, and say thou unto them that prophesy out of their own hearts, Hear ye the word of the Lord; 3 Thus saith the Lord God; Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!
One of the words for prophesy comes from the (Greek) word prophēteuō . Propheteuo means to be a prophet, stand in the office of a prophet and to speak forth by divine inspiration. Broken down further Pro means forth. and phemi means to speak.
Prophecy in the Hebrew is Naba. Naba means to pour forth, bubble up, speak or sing under the direction of a divine spirit.
True prophets were to be commanded or inspired by God to speak. Those who did not speak under the inspiration of the Spirit of God was a “false prophet.”
Therefore prophets were to speak forth, pour out or declare under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and commandment of God, the mind, will, purpose and secrets of God.
Eze 13:1-2 – And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, 2 Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel that prophesy. and say thou unto them that prophesy out of their own hearts,.
God sent the Prophet Ezekiel to deal with Israel’s lying false prophets. Thank God for true prophets who are not afraid to confront and deal with false prophets!! Ezekiel was commanded to charge the prophets to listen to God’s Word and not their own heart. Whom the Lord loves, He corrects. Is God directing you to correct someone? Are you open to correction? Do you have a spiritual parent?
Eze 13:2 – 2 Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel that prophesy. and say thou unto them that prophesy out of their own hearts,.
The prophets were no longer prophesying under the direction of the Holy Spirit, but speaking out of their own heart. The Hebrew word for heart is leb which means mind, thinking, emotions and will). The prophets were making prophecies up out of their heads, their imaginations and from their own vain thoughts. They came up with their own inspirations, invented their own visions and declared it as from God to the people..
3 Thus saith the Lord God; Woe unto the foolish prophets, Foolish in the Hebrew is nabal – senseless, stupidity, to fall away, disgrace, dishonor, to become withered or faded. It also meant spiritual and moral insensitivity, blaspheme, to be arrogant, atheistic, lack self-discipline and humility.
These false prophets had become atheistic in nature and were independent of God. They snubbed God, were arrogant and felt they no longer needed Him. The Word of God and standing in the counsel of God meant nothing to them.
Israel relied on and needed true prophets, Prophets, you are needed! Someone needs and is counting on you to be obedient to God! You need to be under the control of the Holy Spirit.
3 Thus saith the Lord God; Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!
Although true prophets were needed, these prophets however, were misguiding them and leading them into error. Declaring peace when the judgment of God was near.
These prophets were relying on their spirit. Spirit in the Hebrew is ruwach which means Holy Spirit, wind, breath, spirit, spirit of man, affections, emotions) They were following their own thinking, plans, wishes, desires, emotions and agenda. They did not care what was on God’s mind for His people. The prophets lost their fear of God, no longer preached righteousness, obedience to the Law of God, left their first love and left their first work of being spiritual watchmen and guards for Israel. They believed the perversions of their heart was God’s true revelation. The Children of Israel were deceived and believed they had true prophets, but their prophets were really false.
These prophets were “failed watchmen.” They did not want to follow the Spirit of God but to follow their own fleshy spirit. They were considered as foxes in the desert or “jackals among ruins.” (Eze 13:4). Foxes were known for their destructive power. Foxes are also subtle, they stalk their prey slowly and quietly and run to the desert to hide it and themselves.
Since these false prophets knew their lying prophecies/messages of “peace and hope” would not come to pass they ran to hide themselves to escape criticism, rebuke, disappointment, resentment, the anger of the people and supposedly the wrath of God.
They had only self-interest and did not care the people and the land of Judah would be “ruined” and brought to destruction.
They failed to warn the people of the severe times ahead or for the challenging times in which they lived. Because of Judah’s sin they would undergo the judgment of God and go into exile unless the people repented and turned back to God..
In conclusion, these prophets were true failed watchman. The basic premise of the prophet’s foolishness was they no longer feared God and were fallen prophets. Backslidden prophets rely on their own heart and fail to seek God’s revelation. These prophets wanted to be led by their own spirit and not controlled by God’s Spirit.
They were not preaching about the righteousness of God and exhorting Israel to stay in covenant with God, but condoned immorality and were insensitive to the voice of God. These false prophet knew how to speak just enough “God talk” to make Israel think they were hearing the “Word of the Lord.” Israel did not discern they were being lulled into a false sense of security and about to suffer destruction.
What is this saying about prophets today? Are prophets warning people of impending danger and the judgment of God ahead? Are prophets giving divine guidance for the challenging times we are facing today?
Leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts about these questions?
Written By: Pam King Finklea
The Expositor’s Bible Commentary (NIV), 1986, Vol 6
Adam’s Clarke’s Commentary on the Holy Bible, Ralph Earle
Liberty Bible Commentary, 1983, Jerry Falwell
Nelson’s Compact Bible Dictionary, Ronald Youngblood, 2004
blueletterbible.org, accessed April 7, 2020