The four scourges (Ezek 14:21-14:21)

“Thus says Yahweh God.

‘How much more

When I send

Upon Jerusalem

My four deadly acts

Of judgment,

Sword,

Famine,

Wild animals,

Pestilence,

To cut off

Humans

With animals

From it!’”

Yahweh said that he was going to send his 4 scourges or deadly acts of judgment upon Jerusalem. Added to the traditional 3 ways of Yahweh’s violent actions of sword, famine, and pestilence was the idea of wild animals. Once again, humans and animals would be cut off from the city of Jerusalem. However, it would be worse than most places.

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A land sins (Ezek 14:12-14:13)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

When a land sins

Against me,

by acting faithlessly,

I stretch out

My hand

Against it.

I break

Its staff of bread.

I send famine upon it.

I cut off

From it

Human beings

With animals.’”

The word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man. Yahweh spoke about the sins of a faithless land. Yahweh would stretch out his hand against this country. He would break its bread supply. He would send a famine to that land. He would cut off all humans and animals from this country. This was the common view of the power of Yahweh.

 

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.

The coming battles in Israel (Ezek 7:14-7:15)

“They have blown

The horn.

They have made

Everything ready.

But no one goes

To battle.

My wrath is

Upon all their multitude.

The sword is

Outside.

Pestilence is within.

Famine is within.

Those in the field

Die by the sword.

Those in the city

Have famine

With pestilence

Devour them.”

This picks up on a theme of the last chapter about how people die, repeating the three ways to die. The Israelites blew the horn to get ready for the battle, but no one showed up. Thus Yahweh’s wrath was on everybody. Those outside the city in the fields would die by the sword. However, those in the city would die from a pestilence or a famine that would devour them.

The three kinds of deadly punishment (Ezek 6:11-6:12)

“Thus says Yahweh God!

‘Clap your hands!

Stamp your foot!

Say!

Sadly!

Because of all

The vile abominations

Of the house of Israel!

They shall fall

By the sword,

By famine,

By pestilence.

Those far off

Shall die of pestilence.

Those nearby

Shall fall by the sword.

Anyone who is left

Or spared

Shall die of famine.

Thus I will spend

My fury

Upon them.’”

Yahweh told Ezekiel to clap his hands and stamp his foot. He was to speak about all the vile abominations of the house of Israel. They were going to suffer death three ways. They would either first fall by the sword. If not killed by the sword, they might die from famine or pestilence. Those far away would die from the pestilence. Those nearby would be killed by the sword. Otherwise, they would die of hunger from the famine. There was no mention of those living in captivity here. Yahweh was determined to show his fury among these Israelites.

The famine in Jerusalem (Ezek 5:16-5:17)

“I will let loose

Against you

My deadly arrows

Of famine.

These are the arrows

For destruction.

I will let them loose

To destroy you.

I will bring more and more

Famine upon you.

I will break your staff

Of bread.

I will send famine.

I will send wild animals

Against you.

They will rob you

Of your children.

Pestilence

With bloodshed

Shall pass

Through you.

I will bring the sword

Upon you.

I!

Yahweh!

Have spoken!”

Yahweh said that he was going to let loose his deadly arrows against Jerusalem. He was going to hit them with the arrows of famine. This would destroy them. He was going to bring more and more famine to them. He was going to break their staff of bread, their basic staple food. He was going to send wild animals against them and their children. Pestilence and bloodshed would pass through them like a sword. There was no question, Yahweh had spoken.

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.