Meshech and Tubal in the grave (Ezek 32:26-32:26)

“Meshech

With Tubal

Are there.

All their multitude

Is there.

Their graves are

All around them.

All of them were

Uncircumcised.

They had been killed

By the sword.

They had spread terror

In the land

Of the living.”

Ezekiel had mentioned both these obscure kingdoms in chapter 27 when he was talking about the trading partners of Tyre. Meshech were the Assyrians in the mountain country of present day Turkey. Tubal seemed to be some Assyrians who had settled in today’s southern Turkey. Like those preceding, these two groups of people were uncircumcised. They, too, had spread terror in the land of the living, but also died by the sword.

Assyria in the pit (Ezek 32:22-32:23)

“Assyria is there.

All its company is there.

Their graves are

All around it.

All of them killed,

Fallen by the sword.

Their graves are set

In the uttermost parts

Of the pit.

Its company

Is all around

Its grave.

All of them

Have been killed,

Fallen by the sword.

They had spread

Terror

In the land

Of the living.”

There apparently was a special place for the Assyrians in this pit or Sheol, the shadowy underworld of the afterlife. Somehow their graves were all around them, since they were all killed by the sword. Thus, their graves were set off in the uttermost parts of this pit. The Assyrian company armies were all around in graves also, since all of them had died by the sword. While they were living, they had spread terror. Now they were in the worst part of Sheol.

The sign of Ezekiel (Ezek 24:22-24:24)

“You shall do

As I have done!

You shall not cover

Your upper lip!

You shall not eat

The bread

Of mourners!

Your turbans shall be

On your heads!

Your sandals shall be

On your feet!

You shall not mourn!

You shall not weep!

But you shall pine away

In your iniquities.

You shall groan

To one another.

‘Thus Ezekiel

Shall be a sign

To you.

You shall do

Just as he has done.

When this comes,

Then you will know

That I am Yahweh God.’”

When this catastrophe would hit them, they should do as Ezekiel had done. They were not to cover up their upper lip. They were not to eat the mourner’s bread. However, they should continue to wear their turban hats and their foot sandals. They were not to mourn or weep. They could pine away privately, because of their iniquities. They could also groan to one another privately. Thus Yahweh had placed Ezekiel and his behavior as a sign for them. They were to do just as Ezekiel had done when his wife died. Then they would all know that Yahweh, their God, was in charge. In other words, the death of their loved ones would be a numbing experience, without any outward grief.

What is the meaning of Ezekiel’s reaction? (Ezek 24:18-24:19)

“So I spoke

To the people

In the morning.

At evening,

My wife died.

On the next morning,

I did

As I was commanded.

Then the people

Said to me.

‘Will you not tell us

What these things

Mean for us?

Why are you acting

This way?’”

Ezekiel then went in the morning to tell the people with him in Babylon what Yahweh had said to him. That very evening, his wife died. The next day, he did exactly what Yahweh had told him to do. He did not seem upset. However, the people were confused. They wanted to know what this non-mourning attitude meant. Why was he acting so strange, as if nothing had happened to him in his life? His young wife had died, yet he seemed unperturbed.

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.

Exile to Babylon (Ezek 12:12-12:13)

“The prince

Who is among them

Shall lift

His baggage

On his shoulder

In the dark.

He shall go out.

He shall dig

Through the wall.

He will carry his baggage

Through the hole.

He shall cover

His face.

Thus he may not see

The land

With his eyes.

I will spread

My net over him.

He shall be caught

In my snare.

I will bring him

To Babylon,

The land of the Chaldeans.

Yet he shall not see it.

He shall die there.”

This appears to be a description of what happened to King Zedekiah in 2 Kings, chapter 25, and Jeremiah, chapter 39. The prince or King Zedekiah of Judah left Jerusalem through the hole in the wall. He was captured, blinded, and then taken to Babylon, where he eventually died. This prince was going to take his baggage on his shoulder in the dark, as he dug through the hole in the wall. He covered his face so that he could not see the land. However, he was caught by the Babylonians who blinded him and sent him to Babylon where he died.

They have strayed from Yahweh (Ezek 11:14-11:15)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

Your kinsfolk,

Your own relatives,

Your fellow exiles,

The whole house of Israel,

All of them,

Are those of whom

The inhabitants of Jerusalem

Have said.

‘They have gone far

From Yahweh.

To us

This land is

Given for a possession.’”

As usual, the word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel. He reminded him that all his relatives, his household, his fellow exiles, and the whole house of Israel had strayed from Yahweh. However, there is an unusual twist as the people left in Jerusalem said that since these others had sinned, they would take possession of the land and the property of those who had died or were taken captive.