While Ezekiel was prophesying against the wicked princes of the people, one of them fell down dead. This is dramatic and causes Ezekiel to plead again for the remnant of Israel. It also raises some questions. For the most part, we have assumed these prophetic visions are like dreams while the prophet is awake. Everything happens in their mind’s eye, and the Lord shows him things that are yet to happen, or symbolic imagery as a metaphor for the message He wishes to convey to the people. So then, is the death of Pelatiah also a vision, or did these twenty-five men really get a visitation from the prophet Ezekiel at the gate to the temple and one of them died while he was speaking? The name Pelatiah means “Yahweh provides escape”, so it is a terrible omen that he dies while the prophet speaks of the judgements that are going to happen to his compatriots. Ultimately, while the question of the mechanics of this vision are interesting, they are not actually important. God did what He said He would do to the wicked people of Jerusalem, and His message was delivered to its intended recipients: the exiles in Chaldea.
This time, when Ezekiel asks about the remnant, the Lord answers with hope and assurance. The people left in Jerusalem had boasted to the exiles that they were the possessors of the Promised Land, but the Lord would restore the exiles to the land in due time. Though they were scattered among many nations, He has protected them there and He will bring them back together again. Their hearts will be renewed with a softness for the Lord, energizing them to follow His commands and remove the “detestable things” and “abominations” (v. 18) that are in the land.
With the message complete, the Lord on His throne departs from the city and travels to the mountain east of the city. (The Mount of Olives, maybe?) Ezekiel in his turn is transported back to where he had been when the vision started. He then tells the exiles all the things he had seen and heard from the Lord.
You punish the wicked and spare the righteous, according to Your justice and mercy.