The second campaign against Egypt (Dan 11:29-11:31)

“At the time appointed,

He shall return.

He shall come

Into the south.

But this time,

It shall not be

As it was before.

The ships of Kittim

Shall come against him.

He shall lose heart.

He shall withdraw.

He shall be enraged.

He shall take action

Against the holy covenant.

He shall turn back.

He shall give heed

To those who forsake

The holy covenant.

Forces sent by him

Shall occupy the temple.

They shall profane

The temple.

They shall occupy

The fortress.

They shall abolish

The regular burnt offering.

They shall set up

The abominations

That make it desolate.”

The second time that King Antiochus IV attacked Egypt, he was not as successful as the first time. The ships of Kittim, or the ships of the Romans, came against him. Kittim was the name for Cyprus and thus applied to all western troops. Once again, on his way home, in 167 BCE, he attacked Jerusalem. This time, there was a clear explanation of what he did. He turned against the people of the covenant. He even helped those who had forsaken the covenant, taking sides in a dispute there as explained in 2 Maccabees, chapters 3 and 4. He occupied the Temple and the fortress citadel in Jerusalem. He even profaned the Temple by abolishing the regular burnt offerings. These invaders even set up abominations in the Temple to make it a desolation.

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This vision stuns Ezekiel (Ezek 43:3-43:3)

“The vision

That I saw was

Like the vision

That I had seen

When he came

To destroy the city.

It was

Like the vision

That I had seen

By the river Chebar.

I fell upon my face.”

Ezekiel explicitly referred to his earlier visions of the glory of God. In chapter 8, he saw the abominations in the Temple. Later, he saw the fall of Jerusalem in chapter 24. He mentioned his vision of God’s glory at the River Chebar in Babylon that he described at the beginning of this book, in chapters 1-3. Once again, in the first person singular, Ezekiel noted that he fell on his face in reverence to the glory of God that stunned him, just as it had before.

 

Israel will become a land of desolation (Ezek 33:27-33:29)

“Thus says Yahweh God!

‘Say this to them!

As I live!

Surely those who are

In the waste places

Shall fall

By the sword.

Those who are

In the open fields,

I will give

To the wild animals

To be devoured.

Those who are

In the strongholds,

In the caves,

Shall die

By pestilence.

I will make the land

A desolation.

I will make it

A waste.

Its proud might

Shall come to an end.

The mountains of Israel

Shall be so desolate

That no one

Will pass through.

Then they shall know

That I am Yahweh,

When I have made

The land

A desolation,

A waste,

Because of all

The abominations

That they have committed.’”

Yahweh God told Ezekiel to tell the Israelites that the land of Israel was going to become a wasteland. People would die by the sword. Wild animals would devour people in the open fields. People in the strongholds and caves would die from pestilence. The land would become desolate. The proud ones would come to an end. The mountains of Israel would be so desolate that no one would pass through them. Finally, they would know that Yahweh had made the land a desolation and a waste, because of all the abominations that they had committed.

The unrighteous son (Ezek 18:10-18:13)

“If he has a violent son,

A shedder of blood,

Who does

Any of these things,

Even though the father

Does none of them,

Shall he then live?

This violent son

Eats upon the mountains,

Defiles his neighbor’s wife,

Oppresses the poor,

Oppresses the needy,

Commits robbery,

Does not restore the pledge,

Lifts up his eyes

To the idols,

Commits abominations,

Takes advantage,

Accrues interest.

He shall not live.

He has done

All these abominable things.

He shall surely die.

His blood shall be

Upon himself.”

What happens if a righteous man has a violent son, who sheds blood? Even though the father does not do any of these things. This son eats upon the mountains, defiles his neighbor’s wife, and oppresses the poor and the needy. This violent son commits robbery, does not restore the pledge when the debt is paid. He lifts up his eyes to the idols, and commits all kinds of abominations. He takes advantage of others by accruing interest. Shall this son live? No, he shall die. His blood shall be upon himself, not his father.

Jerusalem as an object of reproach (Ezek 16:56-16:58)

“‘Was not

Your sister Sodom

A byword

In your mouth

In the day

Of your pride?

This was before

Your wickedness

Was uncovered.

Now you are

A mockery

To the daughters

Of Edom

With all her neighbors.

The daughters

Of the Philistines,

Those all around you,

Despise you.

You must bear

The penalty

Of your lewdness

With your abominations.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh said that Jerusalem had become an object of reproach. Her sister Sodom had been a byword for evil in her day of pride. Then the wickedness of Jerusalem was uncovered. Now Jerusalem was a mockery to those around her, especially the daughters of Edom and the daughters of the Philistines, as they despised her. Jerusalem was going to bear the penalty for all her lewdness and abominations.

Jerusalem is worse than her sister Samaria (Ezek 16:51-16:52)

“Samaria has not

Committed

Half your sins.

You have committed

More abominations

Than they.

You have made

Your sisters

Appear righteous

By all the abominations

That you have

Committed.

Bear your disgrace!

You also!

You have brought about

For your sisters

A more favorable judgment,

Because of your sins

In which you acted

More abominably

Than they.

They are more

In the right

Than you.

So be ashamed!

You also!

Bear your disgrace!

You have made

Your sisters

Appear righteous.”

Yahweh said that Samaria was not half as bad as Jerusalem, who had committed more sins and abominations than her sister Samaria. In fact, Jerusalem made her sisters look righteous, because she was so disgraceful. Her sisters would get a more favorable judgment because of her sins. She had acted more abominably than they had. Jerusalem should be ashamed of herself. She was so disgraceful that her sisters seemed righteous.

Yahweh will scatter the exiles (Ezek 12:14-12:16)

“I will scatter

To every wind

All who are around him,

His helpers,

All his troops.

I will unsheathe

The sword

Behind them.

They shall know

That I am Yahweh.

When I disperse them

Among the nations

I will scatter them

Through the countries.

But I will let

A few of them escape

From the sword,

From famine,

From pestilence.

Thus they may tell

Of all their abominations

Among the nations

Where they go.

Then they may know

That I am Yahweh.”

In this exile, not everyone will go to the same place. Yahweh indicated that he was going to scatter the helpers and the soldiers of the king to the wind. He certainly was going to make sure that some died by the sword. They should know that he was Yahweh. He was going to disperse them among the various nations and scatter them among different countries. He was going to let a few of them escape from the 3 ways of dying, the sword, famine, or pestilence. Those who survived would talk about all their abominations among the diverse nations, wherever they went. Thus everyone would know that Yahweh was the God of Israel.