Ezekiel 2:10

And he spread it before me; and it was written within and without: and there was written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe.

And he spread it before me,.... Unrolled it, that what was written in it might he seen and read; that so, understanding it, he might deliver the contents of it to the people: thus the Gospel, and the mysteries of it, must be explained by Christ to his ministers; and their understandings must be opened before they will be capable of making them known to others: and

it was written within and without; on the back, of the vellum or parchment as well as inside; and such writings were called "opisthographa"; of this kind was the book John saw Revelation 5:1. It was usual only to write on the inside; but when they had a great deal to write, then they wrote on the backside also {d}; so that this roll being thus written denotes the largeness and abundance of the prophecies contained in this book; some respecting the Jews, and others the nations of the world. The Targum is,

"it was written before and behind, what was from the beginning, and what shall be in the end:''

and there were written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe; afflictions, chastisements, and punishments, that should be inflicted upon the Jews, and other nations of the world; which, when made known to them, and especially when inflicted on them, would occasion sorrow and distress among them. In the Talmud, "lamentations" are interpreted of the punishments of the righteous in this world; "mourning" of the gift of reward to the righteous in the world to come; and "woe" of the punishments of the wicked in the world to come {e}. The Targum is,

"if the house of Israel transgress the law, the people shall rule over them; but, if they keep the law, lamentation, and mourning, and sorrow, shall cease from them.''

{d} "----Aut summi plena tam margine libri Scriptus, et in tergo, nec dum finitus Orestes". Juvenal. Satyr. 1.
{e} T. Bab. Erubin, fol. 21. 1.