The terrible actions of Edom (Ob 1:10-1:11)

“The slaughter

With the violence

Done to your brother Jacob

Means that shame

Shall cover you!

You shall be cut off forever!

On the day

That you stood aside,

On the day

That strangers

Carried off his wealth,

On the day

That foreigners

Entered his gates,

On the day

That they cast lots

For Jerusalem,

You too were

Like one of them.”

For all the violence and slaughter that was done to Edom’s brother Jacob, shame would come upon the Edomites.  They would be cut off forever.  In other words, these Edomites were as guilty as the strangers who attacked Jerusalem.  On that day of attack on the holy city, when the foreigners and strangers entered the gates of Jerusalem and took their wealth, the Edomites were like the attackers who were casting lots for Jerusalem.  They were just like these invaders in their complicity.  They did nothing to help the people of Jerusalem and Judah.

The lost crop (Hos 8:7-8:7)

“They sow the wind.

But they shall reap

The whirlwind.

The standing grain

Has no heads.

It shall yield

No meal.

If it were to yield

Anything,

Foreigners

Would devour it.”

The northern Israelites were in a unique position. They would sow with the wind, but it suddenly would become a whirlwind. The planted grain would never mature in the field, since there would be no heads of grain. Therefore, there would be no harvesting of the grain for meals. Even if it yielded any grain, foreigners, and not them, would devour it, because of the invasion of the Assyrians.

No uncircumcised foreigners in the sanctuary (Ezek 44:9-44:9)

“Therefore,

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘No foreigner

Shall enter my sanctuary!

No uncircumcised in heart

Shall enter my sanctuary!

No uncircumcised in flesh

Shall enter my sanctuary!

None of all the foreigners,

Who are among

The people of Israel,

Shall enter my sanctuary.’”

There was no doubt about what Yahweh wanted. No foreigners were to be allowed to enter into his sanctuary. No one uncircumcised in heart or flesh would be allowed into the sanctuary of Yahweh. This even included the foreigners who were living among the Israelites. Only the circumcised, but more precisely, only the Zadok Levitical priests were allowed into his sanctuary.

They did not protect the sanctuary (Ezek 44:6-44:8)

“Say to the rebellious house!

Say to the house of Israel!

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘O house of Israel!

Let there be an end

To all your abominations!

You admitted

Foreigners,

The uncircumcised in heart,

The uncircumcised in flesh,

To be in my sanctuary.

You profaned

My temple

When you offer to me

My food,

The fat,

With the blood.

You have broken

My covenant,

With all your abominations.

You have not kept charge

Of my sacred offerings!

But you have appointed

Foreigners

To act for you

In keeping my charge

In my sanctuary.’”

Yahweh told Ezekiel about the past failures of the rebellious house of Israel. They had failed to protect his sanctuary. Yahweh wanted an end to all their abominations. They had been letting uncircumcised foreigners into his sanctuary. They had profaned Yahweh’s Temple, since they offered fat food with blood. They had broken his covenant with all their abominations. They even appointed foreigners to be in charge of the sacred offerings in his sanctuary.

The pretend god of Tyre will die (Ezek 28:9-28:10)

“‘Will you still say

‘I am a god.’

In the presence

Of those who kill you?

You are but a mortal!

You are no god

In the hands of those

Who wound you!

You shall die

The death

Of the uncircumcised,

By the hand

Of foreigners!

I have spoken.’

Says Yahweh God!”

Yahweh wanted to know if the prince of Tyre would still say that he was a god in the presence of those trying to kill him. The prince of Tyre was a mere human mortal and not a god. Those trying to wound him did not see him as a god. He was going to die the death of the uncircumcised ones at the hand of foreigners. Yahweh God had clearly spoken via Ezekiel. Some Christians have interpreted this as the fall of Lucifer or the fallen angel, the devil.

Do not take the idols to heart! (Ezek 14:7-14:8)

“Any one of the house of Israel,

Or of the aliens

Who reside in Israel,

Who separate themselves

From me,

By taking their idols

Into their hearts,

Place their iniquity

As a stumbling block

Before them.

Yet they come

To a prophet

To inquire of me

By him.

I,

Yahweh,

Will answer them

Myself.

I will set my face

Against them.

I will make them

A sign,

A byword.

I will cut them off

From the midst

Of my people.

You shall know

That I am Yahweh.”

Yahweh repeated himself. He left no doubt about his feelings. Anyone from the house of Israel, or those foreigners living in Israel who followed the Israelite law, who separated themselves from Yahweh, would receive a direct response from Yahweh. Their iniquity or wickedness of putting idols before Yahweh would be a stumbling block in their relationship. Why had they come to see the prophet? Yahweh would speak directly with them. They would become a sign and a byword, as they would be separated from the Israelite community. They would be cast out and shunned, because they would be cut off from the other Israelites. They should soon realize that Yahweh was God, and no one else.

The worship of idols (Bar 6:4-6:7)

“Now in Babylon

You will see gods

Made of silver,

Or made of gold,

Or made of wood.

People carry them

On their shoulders.

This inspires fear

Among the heathens.

Take care!

Beware of becoming at all

Like the foreigners!

Do not let fear

Of these gods

Possess you,

When you see the multitude

Before and behind them

Worshiping them!

But say in your heart!

‘It is you!

O Lord!

Whom we must worship!’

My angel

Is with you!

He is watching

Over your lives.”

The author of this letter has a warning for the exiles while they are in Babylon. They will see gods made of silver, gold, and wood that will be carried on people’s shoulders to inspire fear. They should be careful to not become like these foreigners. They should not fear these gods. Even when they see the multitudes before and behind these gods in possessions or parades, they should not be intimidated. They were to remember in their hearts that they were to only worship the Lord. To help them out, an angel would be watching over their lives.