Ezekiel 13


Against the false prophets and prophetesses

Against the false prophets. Ezekiel 13:1-16.

Their conduct. Ezekiel 13:1-7.

Their punishment. Ezekiel 13:8-16.

Against the false prophetesses. Ezekiel 13:17-23.

Their conduct. Ezekiel 13:17-19.

Their punishment. Ezekiel 13:20-23.


The condemnation of false prophets and false prophetesses. One of the primary reasons that people have so little confidence in God’s word, is that many false messages are being preached by those pretending to be men of God. Over the centuries there will be no end to such men.

Therefore, God calls Ezekiel to speak out against the false prophets and prophetesses, who are deceiving Judah into believing their captivity will soon end with a swift victory over Babylonia.

‘The word of the LORD came to me: ‘Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who are now prophesying. Say to those who prophesy out of their own imagination: ‘Hear the word of the LORD! This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing! Your prophets, Israel, are like jackals among ruins. You have not gone up to the breaches in the wall to repair it for the people of Israel so that it will stand firm in the battle on the day of the LORD. Their visions are false and their divinations a lie. Even though the LORD has not sent them, they say, ‘The LORD declares,’ and expect him to fulfil their words. Have you not seen false visions and uttered lying divinations when you say, ‘The LORD declares,’ though I have not spoken? ‘Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Because of your false words and lying visions, I am against you, declares the Sovereign LORD. My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and utter lying divinations. They will not belong to the council of my people or be listed in the records of Israel, nor will they enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Sovereign LORD. ‘Because they lead my people astray, saying, ‘Peace,’ when there is no peace, and because, when a flimsy wall is built, they cover it with whitewash, therefore tell those who cover it with whitewash that it is going to fall. Rain will come in torrents, and I will send hailstones hurtling down, and violent winds will burst forth. When the wall collapses, will people not ask you, ‘Where is the whitewash you covered it with?’ ‘Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: In my wrath I will unleash a violent wind, and in my anger hailstones and torrents of rain will fall with destructive fury. I will tear down the wall you have covered with whitewash and will level it to the ground so that its foundation will be laid bare. When it falls, you will be destroyed in it; and you will know that I am the LORD. So, I will pour out my wrath against the wall and against those who covered it with whitewash. I will say to you, ‘The wall is gone and so are those who whitewashed it, those prophets of Israel who prophesied to Jerusalem and saw visions of peace for her when there was no peace, declares the Sovereign LORD.’ Ezekiel 13:1-16

The deceit of false prophets

It is easy for us looking back to differentiate between the true prophet and the lying one. But for those living in that time, I don’t think it would have been quite so easy. We as usual can be wise after the event; they could not. This chapter serves to help the people in exile see that Ezekiel is not misleading them although some others may have tried.

The message of the false prophets is, ‘Peace’. The problem with the message is that there is to be no peace. The origin of what they say is clearly outlined for us.

It comes out of their own minds, Ezekiel 13:2.

They have never had a vision, Ezekiel 13:3. 1 Samuel 9:9.

They delude themselves with their lies, Ezekiel 13:6-7.

There is a clear impression given here that not only do they convince the people with their lies and false statements, but they believe that what they are saying is true. They are sincere men, of course, they are sincerely wrong.

God is clearly against these men, regardless of their sincerity. That isn’t enough if it is based on lies. Hananiah whom we have seen before is a good example of who is talked about in this chapter. Jeremiah 28.

An example is given of the type of thing in which these false prophets were involved:

A wall is built, seemingly by the leaders, by the political leaders. The prophets paint it with whitewash. But the wall falls; it disappears along with those who did the whitewashing. What’s happening here?

The leaders promote a scheme, ‘What we need to do is a rebel and get some help from Egypt’, Jeremiah 37:5-10.

These false prophets then back it to the kilt and give God’s blessing on it. With fine words and eloquent preaching, they support the political whims of the day. But God is going to destroy the wall and the whitewashers with it.

‘The uselessness of the whole activity of these prophets could not be more vividly described. The whitewashing of the wall may hide its defects but will not prevent its destruction; and when the wall of Jerusalem’s shaky prosperity tumbles down, those who did so little to build and so much to deceive shall be overwhelmed with confusion.’ The Book of Ezekiel, John Skinner.

They and their schemes are doomed.

‘Now, son of man, set your face against the daughters of your people who prophesy out of their own imagination. Prophesy against them and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to the women who sew magic charms on all their wrists and make veils of various lengths for their heads in order to ensnare people. Will you ensnare the lives of my people but preserve your own? You have profaned me among my people for a few handfuls of barley and scraps of bread. By lying to my people, who listen to lies, you have killed those who should not have died and have spared those who should not live. ‘Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against your magic charms with which you ensnare people like birds and I will tear them from your arms; I will set free the people that you ensnare like birds. I will tear off your veils and save my people from your hands, and they will no longer fall prey to your power. Then you will know that I am the LORD. Because you disheartened the righteous with your lies, when I had brought them no grief, and because you encouraged the wicked not to turn from their evil ways and so save their lives, therefore you will no longer see false visions or practice divination. I will save my people from your hands. And then you will know that I am the LORD.’ Ezekiel 13:17-23

The sin of the false prophetesses

There is no specific message from these ladies, but the thrust of what they say and do is the same, lies. These women would be described today as sorceresses. They are all dressed up to act the part, like the Gipsy fortune teller. They make veils for everyone, no matter what size you are they can give you one which will stop anything ever happening to you. This one will protect you from any Babylonian spear.

They are described as hunting for souls and keeping souls alive. The point is clear, that they seek out and foster people for their own gain. They will do anything, say anything, and promise anything in order to line their own pockets. The extreme of this is even to the point of getting rid of some righteous prophet who might just speak out too much against their lucrative business. Jeremiah 26:8 / Jeremiah 26:20-23.

The problem with these prophetesses and the prophets of course was that they were justifying the wicked and disheartening the righteous. That was the wrong way round for a prophet of God to act. These ladies would receive their just reward from God.

Go To Ezekiel 14