The north gate entrance (Ezek 44:4-44:4)

“Then Yahweh

Brought me

By way

Of the north gate

To the front

Of the temple.

I looked!

Behold!

The glory of Yahweh

Filled the temple

Of Yahweh!

I fell upon my face.”

Yahweh then brought Ezekiel to the north gate in front of the Temple. Ezekiel looked up. Then, lo and behold, the bright glory of Yahweh filled the whole Temple. Ezekiel did what he always did. He fell on his face with respect.

This vision stuns Ezekiel (Ezek 43:3-43:3)

“The vision

That I saw was

Like the vision

That I had seen

When he came

To destroy the city.

It was

Like the vision

That I had seen

By the river Chebar.

I fell upon my face.”

Ezekiel explicitly referred to his earlier visions of the glory of God. In chapter 8, he saw the abominations in the Temple. Later, he saw the fall of Jerusalem in chapter 24. He mentioned his vision of God’s glory at the River Chebar in Babylon that he described at the beginning of this book, in chapters 1-3. Once again, in the first person singular, Ezekiel noted that he fell on his face in reverence to the glory of God that stunned him, just as it had before.

 

The conclusion about Yahweh (Ezek 39:28-39:29)

“‘Then they shall know

That I am Yahweh,

Their God.

I sent them

Into exile

Among the nations.

I then gathered them

Into their own land.

I will leave

None of them

Behind.

I will never again

Hide my face

From them.

I will pour out

My Spirit

On the house of Israel.’

Says Yahweh God.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel summarized his main idea that the house of Israel would now know that Yahweh was their God. He had sent them into exile and now he would gather them back into their own land, with none left behind. Yahweh said that he would never again hide his face from his people. He was going to pour out his Spirit on the house of Israel.

Yahweh and his people (Ezek 39:22-39:24)

“The house of Israel

Shall know

That I am Yahweh,

Their God,

From that day forward.

The nations

Shall know

That the house of Israel

Went into captivity

For their iniquity.

They dealt

Treacherously

With me.

So,

I hid

My face

From them.

I gave them

Into the hand

Of their adversaries.

They all fell

By the sword.

I dealt with them

According to their uncleanness.

I dealt with them

According to their transgressions.

I hid my face

From them.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, said that the house of Israel would finally know that he was their God, from that day forward. The various countries knew that the house of Israel went into captivity, because of their iniquity in dealing treacherously with Yahweh. Thus, he hid his face from them. He gave them over to their adversaries, where they all died by the sword. Yahweh had dealt with them according to their uncleanness and their transgressions. He hid his face, until finally the Israelites recognized Yahweh as their God.

 

Against the Ammonites (Ezek 25:1-25:2)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

Set your face

Toward the Ammonites,

Prophesy against them.’”

Now there are a series of oracles against the various countries around Israel and Judah. As usual, the word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man. He was to set his face against the Ammonites and prophesy against them. Who are the Ammonites? In the biblical sense, they are the descendants of Ammon, the son of Lot from the incest incident with his daughter in Genesis, chapter 19. They seem to have been east of the Jordan and north of Moab, but south of Assyria. The country of Ammon existed from about the 10th century to the 4th century BCE in what would have been the Gad territory as outlined in Joshua, chapter 13. Today it is part of the country of Jordan. Jeremiah, chapter 49, had also spoken out against them. They along with the Moabites were the constant enemies of Judah and Israel. At some point, they became part of the Assyrian empire and eventually ceased to exist. They certainly were related to Canaan and spoke a Semitic language.

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.

Go into exile with your baggage (Ezek 12:4-12:6)

“You shall bring out

Your baggage,

By day,

In their sight,

As baggage for exile.

You shall go out yourself

At evening,

In their sight,

As those do

Who go into exile.

Dig through the wall

In their sight.

Carry the baggage

Through it.

In their sight

You shall lift

The baggage

On your shoulder.

You shall carry it out

In the dark.

You shall cover

Your face.

Thus you may not see

The land.

I have made you

A sign

For the house of Israel.”

There is a great emphasis on the baggage during this symbolic exilic story, since it assumes that Ezekiel was still in Jerusalem. Everything was to be done in plain sight of everyone. Thus the baggage was prepared during the day so that everyone could see him getting ready to leave. However, Ezekiel was to leave in the evening, but in plain sight. He was to dig a hole in the wall, reminiscent of what King Zedekiah had done. He was to carry his baggage on his shoulder in the dark through the hole in the wall. He had to cover his face, so that he could not see the land he was leaving. Thus his action would become a sign for the house of Israel to see.