The elders visit Ezekiel (Ezek 20:1-20:1)

“In the seventh year,

In the fifth month,

On the tenth day

Of the month,

Certain elders

Of Israel

Came to consult

Yahweh.

They sat down

Before me.”

Once again, with a very specific date mentioned, the 7th year of the rule of King Zedekiah, in the 5th month, the 10th day of the month, certain elders came to Ezekiel to talk to him about Yahweh. This would make it August, 591 BCE. They came and sat down in front of Ezekiel, who continued to use the first person singular.

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The transplanted vine (Ezek 19:12-19:14)

“But the vine

Was plucked up

In fury.

It was cast down

To the ground.

The east wind

Dried it up.

Its fruit

Was stripped off.

Its strong stem

Was withered.

The fire

Consumed it.

Now it was transplanted

Into the wilderness,

Into a dry,

Thirsty land.

The fire has gone out

From its stem.

It has consumed

Its branches.

It has consumed

Its fruit.

Thus there remains

In it

No strong stem.

There is no scepter

For ruling.

This is a lamentation.

It is used

As a lamentation.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel continued this allegory. The good mother vine was plucked up in anger. It was cast down to the ground. The east wind dried it up. Its fruit was stripped off. The strong stem was withered. Fire consumed it. Then they transplanted it into the wilderness, the desert, a dry thirsty land. A fire consumed its stem, branches, and fruit. There no longer was a strong stem for a ruling scepter. This is a reference that Judah no longer had a ruler. Thus this was a useful lamentation.

The fruitful vine (Ezek 19:10-19:11)

“Your mother was

Like a vine

In a vineyard,

Transplanted

By the water.

She was fruitful.

She was full of branches

From abundant water.

Her strongest stem

Became

A ruler’s scepter.

It towered aloft

Among the thick boughs.

It stood out

In its height

With the mass

Of its branches.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel has another allegory about a vine. This vine was like their mother, large and fruitful. The reference here is to Judah as the mother of the people. This vine had been taken from a normal vineyard and planted near a large water supply. It had long stems so that one became a ruler’s scepter. It was tall with thick branches as it stood out because of its height and massive branches.

The second young lion was captured (Ezek 19:7-19:9)

“The second young lion

Ravaged

Their strongholds.

He laid waste

To their towns.

The land

Was appalled.

All who were in it

Were appalled

At the sound

Of his roaring.

The nations

Set upon him

From the provinces

All around.

They spread

Their net

Over him.

He was caught

In their pit.

With hooks,

They put him

In a cage.

They brought him

To the king of Babylon.

They brought him

Into custody.

Thus his voice

Would be heard

No more

On the mountains

Of Israel.”

This second young lion ravaged the strongholds and towns around there. The land and everybody in it were appalled at the sound of his roaring. Thus various countries from around the area set upon him. They spread out their nets over him. They caught him in a pit. They hooked him and put him into a cage. They brought him to the king of Babylon. He was now in custody so that his voice would no longer be heard on the mountains of Israel. This sounds a lot like a reference to King Zedekiah (598-587).

The second young lion (Ezek 19:5-19:6)

“When the lioness saw

That she was thwarted,

That her hope was lost,

She took another

Of her lion cubs.

She made him

A young lion.

He prowled

Among the lions.

He became a young lion.

He learned

To catch prey.

He devoured people.”

With the capture of the first young lion, this lioness tried to develop a second young lion. She had given up hope, but then she found another one of her young lion cubs. She made him into another young lion so that he prowled among the other young lions. He then learned to catch prey and devour humans. Perhaps this lioness is a reference to Hamutal, the wife of King Josiah (640-609 BCE), whose two sons became kings, King Jehoiakim (609-598 BCE) and King Zedekiah (598-587 BCE).

The allegory of the young lion (Ezek 19:1-19:4)

“As for you!

Raise up

A lamentation

For the princes of Israel!

Say!

‘What a lioness

Was your mother

Among lions!

She lay down

Among young lions,

Rearing her cubs.

She raised up

One of her cubs.

He became

A young lion.

He learned

To catch prey.

He devoured humans.

The nations sounded

An alarm

Against him.

He was caught

In their pit.

They brought him

With hooks

To the land of Egypt.”

Now Ezekiel has an allegorical poetic lamentation for the officials and princes of Israel. There was a lioness mother who took care of her cubs. Apparently this is an allusion to Judah, the lioness. One of them became a young lion who learned how to catch prey. In fact, he devoured some humans. Other countries got upset. They then caught him in a pit. They hooked him and brought him to Egypt. Who is this young lion that was brought to Egypt? This may be a reference to King Jehoahaz (609 BCE) who was captured, after the death of his father, King Josiah (640-609 BCE).

Repent (Ezek 18:30-18:32)

“Repent!

Turn

From all your transgressions!

Otherwise iniquity

Will be your ruin!

Cast away

From you

All the transgressions

That you have committed

Against me!

Get yourselves

A new heart!

Get yourselves

A new spirit!

Why will you die?

O house of Israel!

I have no pleasure

In the death

Of anyone.

Turn then !

Live!’

Says Yahweh God.”

Yahweh had a simple solution. They were to repent and turn away from all their transgressions. Otherwise their iniquity would be their ruin. They had to cast away all the transgressions that they had committed against Yahweh. They needed a new heart and a new spirit. Why would they want to die? Yahweh told the house of Israel that he took no pleasure in killing people. They simply had to turn away from their evil ways. Then they would live.