The future sign of Ezekiel (Ezek 24:25-24:27)

“You!

Son of man!

On the day

When I take

From them

Their stronghold,

Their joy,

Their glory,

The delight of their eyes,

Their heart’s affection,

Someone will come

To you.

I will take their sons.

I will take their daughters.

On that day,

One who has escaped

Will come

To you

To report

To you

The news.

On that day,

Your mouth

Shall be opened

To the one

Who has escaped.

You shall speak.

You will no longer

Be silent.

So you shall be a sign

To them.

They shall know

That I am Yahweh.”

Yahweh spoke directly to Ezekiel, the son of man. On a future day, Yahweh was going to bring down Jerusalem. The Israelites would lose their stronghold, their joy, their glory, the delight of their eyes, and their heart’s affection. They would also lose their sons and daughters. Someone, who had escaped from Jerusalem, would come to Ezekiel on that day with the report of the news about the fall of Jerusalem. On that day, Ezekiel would open his mouth to speak. He would not be silent anymore. Thus the actions of Ezekiel would a sign, so that everyone would know that Yahweh was in charge.

The fall of the sanctuary and death (Ezek 24:20-24:21)

“Then I said to them.

‘The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

Say to the house of Israel!

Thus says Yahweh God!

I will profane

My sanctuary!

The pride of your power!

The delight of your eyes!

Your heart’s desire!

Your sons,

Whom you have left behind

Shall fall

By the sword.

Your daughters,

Whom you have left behind,

Shall fall

By the sword.’”

Ezekiel then told them what Yahweh had said to him, as the word of Yahweh came to him. He told the house of Israel that Yahweh was going to profane his own sanctuary. This Temple had been the pride of their power, the delight of their eyes, and their heart’s desire. However, it would be gone. Their sons and daughters, who had been left behind, would die by the sword. This was not a happy oracle.

The assembly stoning and death (Ezek 23:46-23:49)

“Thus says Yahweh God.

‘Bring up an assembly

Against them!

Make them

An object of terror!

Make them

An object of plunder!

The assembly

Shall stone them!

They shall cut them down

With their swords!

They shall kill their sons!

They shall kill their daughters!

They shall burn up

Their houses!

Thus will I put an end

To lewdness

In the land!

Thus all women

May take warning!

Do not commit lewdness

As you have done!

They shall repay you

For your lewdness.

You shall bear

The penalty

For your sinful idolatry!

You shall know

That I am Yahweh God!’”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, was clear that the punishment for this lewd behavior was death. They were to gather an assembly against these wanton women, who were an object of terror and plunder. The assembly was to stone them and cut them down with swords. They were to kill their sons and daughters, as well as burn up their houses. Yahweh was going to put an end to all this lewdness in the land of Israel. This was a very severe punishment. All the women were put on warning. In other words, there was a jump from the bad behavior of the feminine cities of Samaria and Jerusalem to all the Israelite women. They were not to commit lewd acts. If they did, they would be repaid for their bad behavior. They would bear the penalty for their sinful idolatry. Everyone should know that Yahweh was God.

The attack of the angry lovers (Ezek 23:25-23:26)

“I will direct

My indignation

Against you.

Thus they may deal

With you

In fury.

They shall cut off

Your nose.

They shall cut off

Your ears.

Your survivors

Shall fall

By the sword.

They shall seize

Your sons.

They shall seize

Your daughters.

Your survivors

Shall be devoured

By fire.

They shall also strip you

Of your clothes.

They will take away

Your fine jewels.”

Yahweh was going to let his indignation against Jerusalem be dealt out by the angry former lovers of Jerusalem. They would deal with her in all their anger. They would cut off her nose and ears. Anyone that survived would be killed by the sword. They were going to seize her sons and daughters. Anyone who survived all this would be devoured by fire. Finally, they would strip Jerusalem of all her clothes and fine jewels. These angry former lovers would carry out Yahweh’s will.

The Assyrian conquerors (Ezek 23:8-23:10)

“She did not give up
Her prostitution activities.
She had practiced them
Since her days
In Egypt.
In her youth,
Men had lain
With her.
They had fondled
Her virgin bosom.
They had poured out
Their lust
Upon her.
Therefore I delivered her
Into the hands
Of her lovers,
Into the hands
Of the Assyrians.
She had lusted
After them.
These Assyrians
Uncovered her nakedness.
They seized her sons.
They seized her daughters.
They killed her
With the sword.
Judgment was executed
Upon her.
She became a byword
Among women.”
Yahweh, via Ezekiel, told the story of Samaria, Oholah. She had practiced prostitution since her youth, when she had played the whore with Egypt. She slept and had sex with the Egyptians. She let them fondle her virgin breasts, so that they poured out their lust on her. Thus Yahweh decided to deliver Oholah into the hand of her Assyrian lovers, since she had lusted after them. Thus Assyria uncovered her nakedness. Then they seized her sons and daughters. Finally, they killed her with the sword, as judgment was executed upon her. She became a byword among women. This is obviously an allusion to the end of the northern kingdom of Israel at Samaria in 724, when the Assyrian King Shalmaneser V conquered and took over northern Israel. Thus the kingdom of Israel at Samaria came to an end.

Oholah (Samaria) and Oholibah (Jerusalem) (Ezek 23:4-23:4)

“The word of Yahweh
Came to me.
‘Son of man!
There were two women.
They were
The daughters
Of one mother.
They played the whore
In Egypt.
They played the whore
In their youth.
Their breasts
Were caressed there.
Their virgin bosoms
Were fondled.’”
Once again, the word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man. This oracle was about two women, the daughters of the same mother. Both of them played the whore in Egypt when they were young. In particular, their young virgin breasts or bosoms were fondled and caressed. Ezekiel and Yahweh loved the theme of the whoring woman to get a point across. Here there was a particular emphasis on the breasts of these two young women.

Remember the covenant (Ezek 16:61-16:63)

“‘Then you will remember

Your ways.

You will be ashamed

When I take

Your sisters,

Both your elder

As well as your younger.

I will give them

To you

As daughters,

But not on account

Of my covenant

With you.

I will establish

My covenant

With you.

You shall know

That I am Yahweh.

Thus you may remember.

Thus you may be confounded.

Never open

Your mouth again

Because of your shame!

I will forgive you

All that you have done.’

Says Yahweh God.”

Yahweh told Jerusalem that she would remember her wicked ways. She should be ashamed. Yahweh was going to give her younger and older sister, Samaria and Sodom, as daughters to her, but not because of a covenant. Yahweh was going to establish his covenant with Jerusalem. She would know that he was Yahweh. She would remember that and be confounded. Jerusalem was never again to open her mouth because of her shame. Yahweh was going to forgive her for all that she had done.