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 abominations at the north altar gate (Ezek 8:5-8:6)

“Then God said to me.

‘Son of man!

Lift up your eyes now

In the direction

Of the north.’

So I lifted up

My eyes

Toward the north.

There north

Of the altar gate,

In the entrance,

Was this image

Of jealousy.

He said to me.

‘Son of man!

Do you see

What they are doing?

The house of Israel

Is committing here

Great abominations.

They drive me far

From my sanctuary.

Yet you will see

Still greater abominations.’”

God spoke directly to Ezekiel, the son of man. God wanted Ezekiel to look to the north, which he did. There at the entrance to the north gate altar was this image of jealousy. Then God asked Ezekiel to see what they were doing. They were committing great abominations that were driving God further from his sanctuary. They were profaning the Temple of Yahweh. However, God warned Ezekiel that he was going to see far worse and greater abominations.

Ezekiel is the son of man (Ezek 2:1-2:3)

“Yahweh said to me.

‘Son of man!

Stand up

On your feet!

I will speak with you!’

When he spoke

To me,

The Spirit entered

Into me.

He set me

On my feet.

I heard him

Speaking to me.

He said to me.

‘Son of man!

I am sending you

To the people

Of Israel,

To a nation

Of rebels.

They have rebelled

Against me.

Their ancestors

Have transgressed

Against me.

They

Have transgressed

Against me

To this very day.”

Yahweh spoke to Ezekiel with the title, the son of man, a mere mortal. He told him to stand up on his feet, because he wanted to speak with him. When Yahweh spoke to Ezekiel, the Spirit entered into Ezekiel. Yahweh set him on his feet. Then Ezekiel heard Yahweh speaking to him, as if he was not directly speaking to him. Yahweh told Ezekiel that he was sending him to the people of Israel, a nation of rebels that had rebelled against Yahweh. Both their ancestors and they themselves have transgressed against Yahweh even to this very day.

The enemies of Jerusalem (Bar 4:30-4:35)

“Take courage!

O Jerusalem!

The one who named you

Will comfort you.

Wretched will be

Those who mistreated you!

They rejoiced at your fall.

Wretched will be

The cities

That your children

Served as slaves!

Wretched will be

The city

That received your offspring!

She rejoiced

At your fall.

She was glad

For your ruin.

Now she will be grieved

At her own desolation.

I will take away her pride

In her great population.

Her insolence

Will be turned to grief.

Fire will come upon her

from the Everlasting One

For many days.

For a long time,

She will be inhabited

By demons.”

Now there is a turn, as this author speaks directly to Jerusalem instead of Jerusalem herself complaining. Jerusalem was encouraged to be courageous. She would be comforted. However, those who mistreated her and rejoiced at her fall will be miserable. The cities where the children of Jerusalem served as slaves would be miserable also. The city of Babylon, that received the children of Jerusalem, rejoiced and was glad at the downfall and ruin of Jerusalem. Now they will be grieved at their own desolation. The pride of those people and their insolence will be turned to grief. The Everlasting One, not Yahweh, will bring fire upon it for many days. For a long time it will be inhabited by demons.

The Egyptian retreat (Jer 37:6-37:7)

“Then the word of Yahweh

Came to the prophet Jeremiah.

‘Thus says Yahweh!

God of Israel!

This is what

The two of you

Shall say

To the king of Judah,

Who sent you to me,

To inquire of me.

‘Pharaoh’s army,

That set out

To help you,

Is going to return

To its own land,            

Egypt.’”

Now Yahweh has Jeremiah speak to Jehucal and Zephaniah directly. Jeremiah reminded them that this was an oracle from the God of Israel. They were to tell the king who had sent them that Pharaoh’s army was not going to help them, since the Egyptians were returning to their own land. The Egyptian aid was not going to materialize.

Baruch reads the scroll to the royal officials (Jer 36:14-36:16)

“Then all the officials

Sent Jehudi,

The son of Nethaniah,

The son of Shelemiah,

The son of Cushi,

To say to Baruch.

‘Bring the scroll

That you read

In the hearing

Of the people.

Come!’

So Baruch,

The son of Neriah,

Took the scroll

In his hand.

He came to them.

They said to him.

‘Sit down!

Read it to us!’

So Baruch read it to them.

When they heard

All the words,

They turned to one another

In alarm.

They said to Baruch.

‘We certainly must report

All these words

To the king.’”

These royal officials sent a man named Jehudi to get Baruch. Jehudi has three generations of ancestors listed, instead of the usual one or two. Jehudi may mean Jew. Perhaps his great grandfather was an Ethiopian or Cushite, so that his family may have converted to Judaism, giving him this name. Anyway, this man was sent to get Baruch to come before the royal officials with his scroll so that they could hear the exact words of this scroll for themselves. When Baruch came with his scroll, they asked him to sit down like a distinguished teacher. He then read the words of the scroll that he had written under the dictation of Jeremiah. These officials seemed alarmed. They told Baruch that they were going to report the words from the scroll to the king directly. There was nothing secret about this, since Baruch had publically proclaimed these words a little earlier.

King Zedekiah learns of his imminent defeat (Jer 34:2-34:3)

“Thus says Yahweh!

The God of Israel!

‘Go!

Speak to King Zedekiah

Of Judah!

Say to him!’

‘Thus says Yahweh!

I am going

To give this city

Into the hand

Of the king of Babylon.

He shall burn it

With fire.

You yourself

Shall not escape

From his hand.

But you shall surely

Be captured.

You shall be

Handed over to him.

You shall see

The king of Babylon

Eye to eye.

You shall speak

With him

Face to face.

You shall go

To Babylon.’”

Yahweh, the God of Israel, spoke directly to Jeremiah. Jeremiah was to go and tell King Zedekiah about the coming defeat of Jerusalem and his own personal fate. Yahweh told Jeremiah exactly what to say to the king. Yahweh was going to hand over the city of Jerusalem to the king of Babylon, who was then going to burn it down. As for King Zedekiah, he was not going to escape. He was going to be captured. Then he would be turned over to King Nebuchadnezzar. He would then see him eye to eye and speak to him face to face. He would be sent off to Babylon. This prophecy is much like the same prophecy that Jeremiah had given to King Zedekiah earlier in chapter 32.