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.

The wicked turn away from evil ways (Ezek 18:27-18:28)

“Again,

When the wicked

Turn away

From the wickedness

That they have committed,

They shall live.

They do what is lawful.

They do what is right.

They shall save their lives.

Because they considered

Their transgressions,

They turned away

From all the transgressions

That they had committed.

They shall surely live.

They shall not die.”

The opposite is also true. When the wicked turn away from their evil ways, they will live and not die. If they do what is lawful and what is right, they would save their lives. They had considered the transgressions that they had committed, but then they turned away from them. Thus they will live and not die.

The righteous turn away (Ezek 18:26-18:26)

“When the righteous

Turn away

From their righteousness,

They commit iniquity.

They shall die.

For the iniquity

That they have committed

They shall die.”

Yahweh was upset that the righteous turned away from their righteousness. They committed iniquities so that they would die. In case there was any doubt, Yahweh, via Ezekiel, repeated this death threat twice.

The righteous become wicked (Ezek 18:24-18:24)

“But when the righteous

Turn away

From their righteousness,

Shall they live?

If they commit iniquity,

If they do

The same abominable things

That the wicked do,

Shall they live?

None of the righteous deeds

That they had done

Shall be remembered.

For the treachery

That they are guilty of,

As well as the sin

That they have committed,

They shall die.”

What happens if the righteous turn away from their righteousness, will they live? If they commit iniquity and do abominable things like the wicked do, will they live? None of their righteous deeds would be remembered. The guilty treacherous sins that they committed will bring them death.

The conversion of the wicked ones (Ezek 18:21-18:23)

“But if the wicked ones

Turn away

From all the sins

That they have committed,

They shall surely live.

If they keep

All my statutes,

They shall not die.

If they do

What is lawful,

What is right,

They shall surely live.

They shall not die.

None of the transgressions

That they have committed

Shall be remembered

Against them.

They shall live

Because of the righteousness

That they have done.

‘Have I any pleasure

In the death

Of the wicked?

I would rather

That they should turn

From their ways.

Then they would live.’

Says Yahweh God.”

What happens if wicked people turn away from all the sins that they have committed? They would live, if they kept all the statutes of Yahweh. If they did what was lawful and right, they would not die. None of their former transgressions would be remembered against them. They would live because of their righteousness. Yahweh did not take any pleasure in the death of the wicked ones. He would rather that they should turn from their evil ways, so that they would be able to live.

The king of Judah broke Yahweh’s oath (Ezek 17:19-17:21)

“Therefore thus says

Yahweh God!

‘As I live,

I will surely return

Upon his head

My oath

That he despised.

He broke

My covenant.

I will spread

My net

Over him.

He shall be caught

In my snare.

I will bring him

To Babylon.

I will enter

Into judgment

With him there

For the treason

That he has committed

Against me.

The entire pick

Of his troops

Shall fall

By the sword.

The survivors

Shall be scattered

To every wind.

You shall know

That I,

Yahweh,

Have spoken.’”

It is interesting to note that the covenant and oath that King Zedekiah had sworn to the King of Babylon was interpreted by Yahweh as an oath and alliance with Yahweh, himself. Yahweh was going to return the oath on the king’s head because he had despised this oath. He had broken Yahweh’s covenant when he broke his agreement with the king of Babylon. Yahweh was going to spread his net over him, so that he was going to be caught in his snare. Yahweh was going to bring the king to Babylon to enter judgment on him there for the treason that he had committed against Yahweh. All the king’s best troops would fall by the sword in battle. The survivors would be scattered to every wind. They would know that it was Yahweh who had delivered this judgment.

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.

Jerusalem did not remember (Ezek 16:43-16:43)

“‘You have not remembered

The days of your youth.

But you have enraged me

With all these things.

Therefore,

I have returned

Your deeds

Upon your head.’

Says Yahweh God.

‘Have you not

Committed lewdness

Beyond all

Your abominations?’”

Jerusalem did not remember the days of her youth when Yahweh was kind and compassionate towards her. Instead Jerusalem enraged Yahweh with her wicked actions. Thus Yahweh has returned these deeds back on her. Jerusalem has committed many lewd deeds, beyond all her abominations. Yahweh is portrayed as ungrateful man because his lover Jerusalem has left him for other lovers.

Yahweh’s judgment of Jerusalem (Ezek 16:38-16:39)

“I will judge you

As a woman

Who commits adultery.

I will judge you

As one who sheds blood.

I will bring

Blood upon you

In wrath,

In jealousy.

I will deliver you

Into their hands.

They shall throw down

Your platform.

They shall break down

Your lofty places.

They shall strip you

Of your clothes.

They will take

Your beautiful objects.

They will leave you naked.

They will leave you bare.”

Yahweh was going to pass judgment on Jerusalem. He was going to treat Jerusalem like a woman who had committed adultery. He was going to judge her as one who had shed blood. Yahweh was going to bring his wrath and jealousy upon her. He was going to hand her over to her former lovers. They would throw down her platforms and break up her lofty places that were at the street corners and in the public squares. They would strip her of her clothes and take her beautiful jewels. Finally, they would leave her naked and bare.

The warnings against these abominations (Ezek 8:17-8:18)

“Then Yahweh said to me.

‘Have you seen this?

O son of man!

Is it not bad enough

That the house of Judah

Commits the abominations

Done here?

Must they fill the land

With violence?

Must they provoke

My anger further?

See!

They put the branch

To their nose.

Therefore I will act

In wrath!

My eye will not spare!

I will not have pity!

Although they cry

In my hearing

With a loud voice,

I will not listen to them.’”

Then Yahweh warned Ezekiel again. Had he seen enough? The house of Judah committed all these abominations. On top of that, they filled the land with violence. They had provoked the anger of Yahweh. They even put branches in their noses as some kind of worship activity. Yahweh was going to act against them in his anger. He was not going to spare them or show any pity. Even if they cried very loudly, Yahweh was not going to listen to them. Their actions spoke louder than their words.