Then came certain of the elders of Israel unto me, and sat before me.
Elders — Men of note, that were in office and power among the Jews, who were come from Jerusalem.
 Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumblingblock of their iniquity before their face: should I be enquired of at all by them?
Set up — Are resolved idolaters.
The stumbling block — Their idols which were both the object of their sin, and occasion of their ruin.
 Therefore speak unto them, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Every man of the house of Israel that setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to the prophet; I the LORD will answer him that cometh according to the multitude of his idols;
According — According to his desert, I will give answer, but in just judgment.
 That I may take the house of Israel in their own heart, because they are all estranged from me through their idols.
Take — That I may lay open what is in their heart, and discover their hypocrisy, and impiety.
Through their idols — It is always through some idol or other, that the hearts of men are estranged from God: some creature has gained that place in the heart, which belongs to none but God.
 For every one of the house of Israel, or of the stranger that sojourneth in Israel, which separateth himself from me, and setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to a prophet to enquire of him concerning me; I the LORD will answer him by myself:
The stranger — Every proselyte.
I the Lord — He shall find by the answer, 'twas not the prophet, but God that answered: so dreadful, searching, and astonishing shall my answer be.
 And I will set my face against that man, and will make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of my people; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
A sign — Of divine vengeance.
 And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the LORD have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel.
The prophet — The false prophet, who speaks all serene, and quiet, in hope of reward.
Have deceived — Permitted him to err, or justly left him in his blindness.
 Son of man, when the land sinneth against me by trespassing grievously, then will I stretch out mine hand upon it, and will break the staff of the bread thereof, and will send famine upon it, and will cut off man and beast from it:
When — At what time soever.
 Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord GOD.
Noah — Who 'tis probable prevailed with God to spare the world for some years, and saved his near relations when the flood came.
Daniel — Who prevailed for the life of the wise men of Chaldea.
Job — Who daily offered sacrifice for his children, and at last reconciled God to those that had offended.
 Or if I bring a sword upon that land, and say, Sword, go through the land; so that I cut off man and beast from it:
That land — What land soever it be.
 Or if I send a pestilence into that land, and pour out my fury upon it in blood, to cut off from it man and beast:
In blood — In death and destruction, not by the sword.
 For thus saith the Lord GOD; How much more when I send my four sore judgments upon Jerusalem, the sword, and the famine, and the noisome beast, and the pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast?
How much more — If they could not be able to keep off one of the four, how much less would they be able to keep off all four, when I commission them all to go at once.
 Yet, behold, therein shall be left a remnant that shall be brought forth, both sons and daughters: behold, they shall come forth unto you, and ye shall see their way and their doings: and ye shall be comforted concerning the evil that I have brought upon Jerusalem, even concerning all that I have brought upon it.
Their way — Their sin and their punishment.
Comforted — In this proof of the truth of God.
 And they shall comfort you, when ye see their ways and their doings: and ye shall know that I have not done without cause all that I have done in it, saith the Lord GOD.
Comfort you — That is, you will be comforted, when you compare their case with your own: when they tell you how righteous God was, in bringing these judgments upon them. This will reconcile you to the justice of God, in thus punishing his own people, and to the goodness of God, who now appeared to have had kind intentions in all.