“Thus says Yahweh God!
‘The house of Judah is
Like all the other nations.’”
Instead of a very long diatribe against Moab, as in Jeremiah, chapter 48, and Isaiah, chapters 15 and 16, Ezekiel has only a few short comments. Moab was the country directly east of the Dead Sea on the other side of the Jordan River. The Moabites, like the Ammonites, had been involved in many quarrels and battles with the Israelites, since they had a strange biblical relationship. The Moabite kingdom lasted from around the 13th century BCE to around the 4th century BCE, where today it is also the country of Jordan, like Ammon. The Moabites were the descendants of Lot’s incest with his oldest daughter as in Genesis, chapter 19. In the Book of Ruth, chapter 4, the Moabites were friendly, as Ruth, a Moabite, had a son named Obed, who turned out to be the grandfather of King David via his son Jesse. For a while, Moab was part of the Kingdom of Israel, until they revolted. Here the complaint against Moab was that they said that Judah was like the other countries and not unique.
“The word of Yahweh
Came to me.
‘Son of man!
Thus says Yahweh God
Were in the land
Of the Canaanites.
Your father was
Your mother was
Once again, Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man. This time, it was about the origins and symbolic history of Jerusalem. The context was a berating of Jerusalem and her abominations. Unlike most stories of Israel that talk about Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob or the Egyptian experience under Moses, this history of Jerusalem starts with the Canaanites. This has led many to believe that there may be some validity to this history. Of course, this is specifically aimed at the inhabitants of Jerusalem. They were Canaanites whose mother was a Hittite with their father an Amorite. The Amorites were an ancient Syrian tribe with a Semitic language that also lived in Canaan from about 1700 BCE. From a biblical perspective based on Genesis, chapter 10, they were the descendants of Canaan and Ham. Amorite and Canaanite were interchangeable. They were definitely there before the Moses-Joshua experience. The Hittites were another Canaanite group that seemed to be friendly in many of the Genesis stories.
Thus says Yahweh of hosts!
The God of Israel!
‘Woe for Nebo!
It is laid waste!
Kiriathaim is put
It is taken!
The fortress is put
It is broken down.
The renown of Moab
Is no more.
They planned evil
Let us cut her off
From being a nation!’
Shall be brought
The sword shall
Strangely enough, this is a very long chapter on Moab, the country directly east of the Dead Sea on the other side of the Jordan River. Isaiah also had 2 chapters on Moab, chapters 15 and 16. The Moabites and Israelites had been involved in many quarrels and battles, since they had a strange biblical relationship. The Moabite kingdom lasted from around the 13th century BCE to around the 4th century BCE, where today it is the country of Jordan. The Moabites were the descendants of Lot’s incest with his oldest daughter in Genesis, chapter 19. Thus the Moabites had an on again, off again, relationship with the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah. In the Book of Ruth, chapter 4, the Moabites were friendly, as Ruth, a Moabite, had a son named Obed, who turned out to be the grandfather of King David via his son Jesse. For a while, Moab was part of the Kingdom of Israel, until they revolted. Mount Nebo, the place where Moses died, had been laid waste. The powerful fortress and famous Kiriathaim was put to shame. It is not clear whether this is the same city as Kir, mentioned in Isaiah, chapter 15. Heshbon was a city in Ammon, north of Moab, where the madmen were looking to plan evil against the Moabites. In the Septuagint Greek translation, this is chapter 31, not chapter 48 as here.
“Go to the house
Of the Rechabites!
Speak with them!
To the house of Yahweh,
Into one of the chambers!
Then offer them wine
This short chapter is all about the Rechabites. They get their name from Rechab, who was mentioned in 1 Chronicles, chapter 2, listed under the descendants of Hur. They seem to be descendants of Hammath, a northern city, or Hemath, a Kenite, who was also called Hobab. The Rechabites were not descendants of Jacob, but Kenites, a people originally settled in that part of Arabia called the land of Midian. They may have been the descendants of Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses, who was a Kenite. Thus these Rechabites were not true Israelites, but were friendly to the Israelites. They were generally nomads in the desert, living in tents. The most prominent Rechabite may have been Jehonadab or Jonadab, the son of Rechab, in 2 Kings, chapter 10, where he joined with King Jehu of Israel (841-814 BCE) in helping wipe out the family of King Ahab of Israel (874-853 BCE). Yahweh told Jeremiah to go to their house, talk to them, and bring them back to the Temple in Jerusalem. There he was to find a chamber in the Temple and offer these Rechabites some wine. This seems like a simple task.
“An oracle concerning Moab.”
The kingdom of Moab was east of the Dead Sea, in what is today the country of Jordan. The Moabites and Israelites had been involved in many quarrels and battles since they had a strange biblical relationship. The Moabites were the descendents of Lot’s incest with his daughter in Genesis, chapter 19. Thus the Moabites had an on again, off again, relationships with the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah. In the Book of Ruth, chapter 4, the Moabites are friendly, as Ruth, a Moabite, had a son named Obed, who turned out to be the grandfather of King David via his son Jesse. For a while, Moab was part of the Kingdom of Israel, until they revolted.
“The voice of Yahweh breaks the cedars.
Yahweh breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon to skip like a calf.
He makes Sirion like a young wild ox.
The voice of Yahweh flashes forth flames of fire.
The voice of Yahweh shakes the wilderness.
Yahweh shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.”
The thunderous voice of Yahweh broke open the great cedars of Lebanon that had been part of the wood that made up the Temple in Jerusalem. Lebanon and its mountain area north of Israel had been friendly to David. However, Yahweh had control of them like a young calf. He also had Sirion acting like a young wild ox or a buffalo. Sirion was a Phoenician name for Mount Hermon. They also knew that the thunder usually accompanied lightning which set off flash fires. The thunderous storm even caused the earth to vibrate so that the wilderness land even shook. The wilderness of Kadesh, which was in the northern Syrian area where some battles had taken place, was also vulnerable to the thunderous voice of Yahweh.
“For your name’s sake!
Pardon my guilt!
For it is great!
Who are they that fear Yahweh?
He will teach them the way that they should choose.
They will abide in prosperity.
Their children shall possess the land.
The friendship of Yahweh is
For those who fear him.
He makes his covenant known to them.”
The psalmist, David, wanted to be pardoned for his great guilt. Anyone that feared Yahweh could be taught the way to follow him. Those who follow Yahweh will be blessed with prosperity and land. Yahweh was friendly to those who feared him. He made a covenant with them.
“Those who withhold kindness from a friend
Reject the fear of the Almighty Shaddai.
My companions are as treacherous as a flood.
My companions are like streams of water that pass away.
They are like dark spots on ice.
They are like murky spots on melting snow.
In time of heat they disappear.
When it is hot,
They vanish from their place.
The caravans turn aside from their course.
They go up into the waste.
The caravans of Tema look.
The travelers of Sheba hope.
They are disappointed
Because they were confident.
They come there
But they are confused.”
Job then turned on his 3 companions. He said that they were not so friendly. However, they did come to spend some time with him. He, however, called them treacherous. He compared them to a flood of water, an uncontrolled stream of water. He also compared them to a flash flood. In other words, they were like quick and destructive flows of water. He also compared them to dark ice and murky snow in that when it got hot, they would disappear. Then he compared them to caravans from Tema, an Arab tribe descendent from Ishmael, and Sheba that got lost in the desert. Both these caravans in ancient times were very confident but in the end they were confused. Job was comparing his 3 friends to these lost confusing caravans. They were not helping him with their torrent of confusing words.