The seven-month search and burial (Ezek 39:12-39:16)

“‘The house of Israel

Shall spend

Seven months

Burying them,

In order to cleanse

The land.

All the people

Of the land

Shall bury them.

It will bring them honor

On the day

That I show my glory.’

Says Yahweh God.

‘They will set apart men

To pass through

The land continually.

They will bury

Any invaders who remain

On the face of the land.

It will then be cleansed.

They will make their search.

For seven months.

As the searchers

Pass through the land,

Anyone who sees

A human bone

Shall set up

A sign by it,

Until the buriers

Have buried it

In the Valley of Hamon-gog.

A city Hamonah

Is there also.

Thus,

They shall cleanse

The land.”

The house of Israel was to spend 7 months burying the men with Gog, so that they could cleanse the land of Israel and its people. These grave diggers would gain honor on the day when Yahweh was going to show his glory. These body searchers would be set apart to pass through the land continually. They would bury any remains they found. Anyone who saw a human bone was to set up a sign by it, until these buriers buried them in the Valley of Hamon-gog or the city Hamonah, next to it. Thus, the land would be cleansed by removing these dead bodies in 7 months.

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The mourning (Ezek 21:12-21:13)

“‘Cry!

Wail!

Son of man!

It is against

My people!

It is against

All Israel’s princes!

They are thrown

To the sword,

Together with my people.

Ah!

Strike the thigh!

Consider!

What!

If you despise the rod,

Will it not happen?’

Says Yahweh God.”

Yahweh wanted Ezekiel, the son of man, to mourn, cry, and wail. The sword was going to come against the people of Yahweh, all of Israel’s princes. They were all going to be thrown to the sword. Ezekiel was to strike his thigh as a sign of mourning. They had despised the rod. Now see what was going to happen.

The statutes and Sabbath (Ezek 20:11-20:12)

“I gave them

My statutes.

I showed them

My ordinances.

By their observance,

Everyone shall live.

Moreover

I gave them

My Sabbath,

As a sign

Between me

And them.

Thus they might know

That I,

Yahweh,

Sanctify them.”

Yahweh, in the first person singular, gave them his statutes and ordinances. He wanted them to observe them. If they did, everyone would live. He also gave them the Sabbath as a sign between him and them. Thus they would know that he, Yahweh, was going to sanctify them.

Do not take the idols to heart! (Ezek 14:7-14:8)

“Any one of the house of Israel,

Or of the aliens

Who reside in Israel,

Who separate themselves

From me,

By taking their idols

Into their hearts,

Place their iniquity

As a stumbling block

Before them.

Yet they come

To a prophet

To inquire of me

By him.

I,

Yahweh,

Will answer them

Myself.

I will set my face

Against them.

I will make them

A sign,

A byword.

I will cut them off

From the midst

Of my people.

You shall know

That I am Yahweh.”

Yahweh repeated himself. He left no doubt about his feelings. Anyone from the house of Israel, or those foreigners living in Israel who followed the Israelite law, who separated themselves from Yahweh, would receive a direct response from Yahweh. Their iniquity or wickedness of putting idols before Yahweh would be a stumbling block in their relationship. Why had they come to see the prophet? Yahweh would speak directly with them. They would become a sign and a byword, as they would be separated from the Israelite community. They would be cast out and shunned, because they would be cut off from the other Israelites. They should soon realize that Yahweh was God, and no one else.

Ezekiel’s actions were a sign of captivity (Ezek 12:8-12:11)

“In the morning

The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

Has not the house of Israel,

The rebellious house,

Said to you?

‘What are you doing?’

Say to them.

‘Thus says Yahweh God!

This oracle concerns

The prince in Jerusalem

With all the house of Israel

In it.’

Say!

‘I am a sign for you.

As I have done,

So shall it be done

To them.

They shall go

Into exile.

They shall go

Into captivity.’”

The next morning, the word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man. Yahweh wanted to know if the rebellious house of Israel had asked him what he was doing. When they did ask, he was to tell them that this oracle concerned the prince in Jerusalem with all the house of Israel. Ezekiel was to tell them that his actions were a sign of things to come. What he had done, all of them would do the same. They were going to go into exile and captivity.

Ezekiel builds a model of Jerusalem unde siege (Ezek 4:1-4:3)

“You!

O son of man!

Take a brick!

Set it before you!

Portray a city on it,

Jerusalem!

Put the siege works

Against it!

Build a siege wall

Against it!

Cast up a ramp

Against it!

Set camps also

Against it!

Plant battering rams

Against it all around!

Then take an iron plate!

Place it

As an iron wall

Between you

And the city!

Set your face

Toward it!

Let it be

In a state of siege!

Press the siege

Against it!

This is a sign

For the house of Israel.”

Here we have the one of the many symbolic actions by Ezekiel. A voice, either Yahweh or his Spirit, told Ezekiel to be an expert model Lego builder of the siege of Jerusalem. Ezekiel, the son of man, was to take a brick and portray the city of Jerusalem. He was to put the siege works with a siege wall against this city. He was to put a ramp and camps against this city with battering rams all around it. Then he was to take an iron plate and make an iron wall between himself and the city, looking at it. Thus there was a state of siege, a sign for the house of Israel. Ezekiel was part of the exiles from 598 BCE before the taking of Jerusalem and the second captivity in 587 BCE.

Yahweh’s charge to Baruch (Jer 32:13-32:15)

“In their presence,

I charged Baruch,

Saying.

‘Thus says Yahweh of hosts!

The God of Israel!

Take these deeds!

Put both this sealed deed

Of purchase

With this open deed,

In an earthenware jar.

Thus they may last for a long time.’

Thus says Yahweh of hosts!

The God of Israel.

‘Houses,

Fields,

As well as vineyards

Shall again be bought

In this land.’”

Jeremiah than had an oracle of Yahweh for Baruch in the presence of all the people there. The Lord of hosts and God of Israel wanted Baruch to put both these field sale documents, the sealed one and the open one, into a pottery jar. So that both these documents would last a long time and not be lost. Since Baruch was like the secretary for Jeremiah, this seemed like a reasonable request. Then Yahweh said that this was like a sign of things to come when people would again buy houses, fields, and vineyards in this land. In other words, there was hope for things to come.