The wicked uncleanness in Jerusalem (Ezek 22:10-22:12)

“In you,

They uncover

Their fathers’ nakedness.

In you,

They violate women

In their menstrual period.

One commits abomination

With his neighbor’s wife.

Another lewdly defiles

His daughter-in-law.

Another in you,

Defiles his sister,

His father’s daughter.

In you,

They take bribes

To shed blood.

You take both

Advance interest

With accrued increase.

You make gain

Of your neighbors

By extortion.

You have forgotten me.’

Says Yahweh God.”

There was a lot of violence and lewd brutal sexual behavior in Jerusalem. They uncovered their fathers’ nakedness. They violated women in their menstrual period. They performed some sort of abomination with their neighbor’s wife. They defiled their daughters-in-law. They even defiled their sisters, the daughter’s of their father. Besides all this lewd behavior, they took bribes to kill other people. They also took both advance and accrued interest. They exploited their neighbors with extortion. Perhaps, most grievous of all was that they had forgotten Yahweh, their God.

The new Passover slaughter (Ezek 9:5-9:7)

“To the other executioners

Yahweh said

In my hearing.

‘Pass through the city

After him!

Kill!

Your eye shall not spare!

You shall show no pity!

Cut down old men!

Cut down young men!

Cut down young women!

Cut down little children!

Cut down women!

But touch no one

Who has the mark!

Begin at my sanctuary!’

So they began

With the elders

Who were in front

Of the house.

Then he said

To them.

‘Defile the house!

Fill the courts

With the slain!

Go forth!’

So they went out.

They killed

In the city.”

Yahweh then told the other executioners so that Ezekiel could hear what he was saying. They were to pass through the city after the man with the writing case had marked off those who were to be saved. They were to kill all the others that were not marked with the taw. They were to spare no one. They were not to show any pity. They were to kill the old men, the young men, the young women, the little children, and the other older women. However, those with the mark were not to be touched. These executioners would begin at the sanctuary itself. Thus the first ones killed were the elders around the Temple. The holy house of Yahweh was defiled as the courts were filled with dead bodies. Yahweh told these killers to get going. Thus they went out and killed all the unmarked people in the city.

 

The three separate disasters for the people of Jerusalem (Ezek 5:11-5:12)

“Says Yahweh God!

‘Surely as I live,

Because you have defiled

My sanctuary

With all your detestable things,

With all your abominations,

Therefore I will cut you down.

My eye will not spare.

I will have no pity.

One third of you

Shall die

Of pestilence,

Or be consumed

By famine among you.

One third of you

Shall fall

By the sword

Around you.

One third of you,

I will scatter

To every wind.

I will unsheathe

The sword

After them.”

The God Yahweh was mad at the people of Jerusalem. They had defiled his sanctuary. They had brought in all those detestable abominations into the Temple. Thus Yahweh was not going to spare them, but cut them down. He was not going to show any pity. Using language similar to Jeremiah, there were three main options for dying. However, Ezekiel was more precise. One third of them would die from pestilence or famine. Another third would fall by the sword. The final third would be scattered to the winds in every direction. Yahweh was going to let his sword loose on them.

The dialog about defilement (Ezek 4:14-4:15)

“Then I said.

‘Yahweh God!

I have never

Defiled myself.

From my youth

Up until now,

I have never eaten

What died of itself

Or was torn by animals.

Carrion decaying flesh

Has never

Come into my mouth.’

Then he said to me.

‘See!

I will let you have

Cow’s dung

Instead of human dung.

You can prepare

Your bread on that.’”

Ezekiel was upset about eating unclean bread. He complained to Yahweh that he had never defiled himself from his youth on. He had never eaten anything that died of itself or any torn up animals. This meant that he ate only slaughtered animals. He had never touched decaying or the carrion flesh of dead animals. We might call it road kill animals. Yahweh responded that he would let him cook his barley cakes on animal dung, which was not considered unclean. Human excrement, however, was considered unclean. This was an indication of the obsession of later Israelites about touching and eating clean and unclean animals.

Introduction to this wisdom poem (Bar 3:9-3:14)

“Hear the commandments of life!

O Israel!

Give ear!

Learn wisdom!

Why is it?

O Israel!

Why is it

That you are

In the land

Of your enemies?

Why are you growing old

In a foreign country?

Why are you defiled

With the dead?

Why are you counted

Among those in Hades?

You have forsaken

The fountain of wisdom.

If you had walked

In the way of God,

You would be living

In peace forever.

Learn

Where there is wisdom!

Learn

Where there is strength!

Learn

Where there is understanding!

Thus you may

At the same time

Discern!

Where is there length of days?

Where is there life?

Where is there light for the eyes?

Where is there peace?”

Now we have an introduction to a poem about wisdom. Israel was to hear about the commandments of life. They were to listen to learn about wisdom. Why were they growing old in the land of their enemies? Why were they defiled like dead people in Hades. Why were they forgotten, when they could have had wisdom if they had walked in the ways of God. They could be living in everlasting peace. They had to learn where wisdom, strength, and understanding were. Thus they could have a peaceful long life, with light for their eyes.

The blind wandering leaders (Lam 4:14-4:14)

Nun

“Blindly,

These leaders

Wandered

Through the streets,

So defiled

With blood

That no one

Was able

To touch

Their garments.”

These leaders wandered blindly through the streets defiled with the blood of the righteous. Thus no one was able to touch their garments. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Nun in this acrostic poem.

False worship (Jer 32:34-32:35)

“They set up

Their abominations

In the house

That bears my name.

They defiled it.

They built

The high places of Baal

In the valley

Of the son of Hinnom,

To offer up

Their sons

As well as their daughters

To Molech.

I did not command them,

It did not enter my mind

That they should do

This abomination,

Causing Judah to sin.”

The major fault of the Israelites and Judeans was their false worship. First, they defiled the Temple, the house of Yahweh, by placing these false idols in the Temple itself. Then they also built the high altars for the false god Baal. Finally, they were offering up their sons and daughters to Molech in Hinnom valley, outside Jerusalem, that later became known as Gehenna or hell. Molech was a Canaanite god that demanded child sacrifices, who was specifically mentioned in Leviticus, chapter 20. Once again, Yahweh, as in chapter 19, said that he had not commanded or had it even entered his mind to ask for child sacrifices. Clearly, this worship of false gods and sacrificing children was against the will of Yahweh.

Jerusalem shall be like Topheth (Jer 19:11-19:13)

“‘In Topheth,

They shall bury

Until there is no more room

To bury people.’

Says Yahweh.

‘Thus will I do to this place,

As well as to its inhabitants.

I will make this city

Like Topheth.

The houses of Jerusalem

Shall be defiled.

The houses of the kings of Judah

Shall be defiled

Like the place of Topheth.

All the houses

Upon whose roofs

Offerings have been made

To the whole host of heaven

Shall be defiled.

Where libations have been poured out

To other gods,

They shall be defiled

Like the place of Topheth.’”

Yahweh says that they will bury people in Topheth until there is no more room there. Then Jerusalem would be like Topheth, mentioned in chapter 7 and earlier in this chapter, a place in Jerusalem where the ancient Canaanites had worshipped and sacrificed children in the valley of Hinnom. Thus this Topheth would not exist any longer, because it would become known just for dead bodies. Now both the house of Judah and Jerusalem would be defiled like Topheth, because there would be so many unclean dead people all around. Further, those places that had roof top offerings and libations to the various heavenly bodies or gods would also be defiled like Topheth.

Cut your hair off (Jer 7:29-7:30)

“Cut off your hair!

Throw it away!

Raise a lamentation

On the bare heights!

Yahweh has rejected

The generation

That provoked his wrath.

Yahweh has forsaken

The generation

That provoked his wrath.

The people of Judah

Have done evil in my sight.’

Says Yahweh.

‘They have set their abominations

In the house

That is called by my name.

They defile it.’”

Yahweh wanted Jeremiah to go into mourning by cutting off his hair. He should get rid of his hair and lament from the heights because Yahweh, in his wrath, has rejected and forsaken this generation. The people of Judah, in specific, have done evil in the sight of Yahweh. They have placed abominations of false idol gods in his house. Thus they have defiled the Temple.

The ingratitude of their ancestors (Jer 2:5-2:8)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘What wrong did your ancestors

Find in me?

They went far from me.

They went after worthless things.

They became worthless themselves.

They did not say.

‘Where is Yahweh?

He brought us up

From the land of Egypt.

He led us in the wilderness.

He led us in a land of deserts.

He led us in a land of pits.

He led us in a land of drought.

He led us in a land of deep darkness.

He led us in a land that no one passes through.

He led us in a land where no man dwells.’

I brought you into a plentiful land.

I brought you to eat its fruits.

I brought you to eat its good things.

But when you entered,

You defiled my land.

You made my heritage an abomination.

The priests did not say.

‘Where is Yahweh?’

Those who handle the law

Did not know me.

The rulers transgressed against me.

The prophets prophesied by Baal.

They went after things that do not profit.”

Jeremiah has Yahweh complain about their ancestors. Why did they go far from Yahweh, going after worthless things, so that they themselves became worthless? They seem to have forgotten that Yahweh led them out of Egypt through the desert wilderness with its pits, drought, and darkness. Very few people were able to make it through the lifeless wilderness. He brought them into a wonderful plentiful land that had many fruits to eat. However, as soon as they entered the land, they defiled it and made his heritage an abomination. The priests did not know Yahweh and follow his laws. The rulers transgressed the laws of Yahweh. The prophets used prophecies by the pagan gods of Baal. They all went after unprofitable and unproductive things.