The two sticks (Ezek 37:15-37:17)

The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

Take a stick!

Write on it!

‘For Judah,

With the Israelites

Associated with him.’

Then take another stick!

Write on it!

‘For Joseph,

The stick of Ephraim,

With all

The house of Israel

Associated with it.’

Join them together

Into one stick.

Thus,

They may become

One

In your hand.’”

As usual, the word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man. Yahweh wanted Ezekiel to take two sticks and join them together. Ezekiel was to write on the first stick Judah and everyone associated with him. This was an obvious reference to Judah and the collapsed kingdom of the south. The second stick was a reference to the Israelite kingdom of the north that fell in 721 BCE, a couple of centuries earlier. However, the written title on the second stick was Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, one of Joseph’s sons. All those associated with the northern kingdom were included with the house of Israel. Ezekiel was then to take these two sticks and put them together in his hand, so that they would become one stick. This was an obvious reference that Yahweh wanted the people of both the old northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah to come together, just like what had happened in Ezekiel’s hand.

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The restoration in Israel (Ezek 36:9-36:12)

“See now,

I am for you.

I will turn to you.

You shall be tilled.

You shall be sown.

I will multiply

Your population,

The whole house

Of Israel,

All of it.

The towns

Shall be inhabited.

The waste places

Rebuilt.

I will multiply

Human beings,

As well as animals

Among you.

They shall increase.

They shall be fruitful.

I will cause you

To be inhabited,

As in your former times.

I will do more good

To you

Than ever before.

Then you will know

That I am Yahweh.

I will lead people

Upon you,

My people Israel.

They shall possess you.

You shall be

Their inheritance.

No longer shall you

Bereave their children.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, told the mountains of Israel that he was for them. He was going to turn their land into a place that was tilled and sown with crops. He was going to multiply the population of the whole house of Israel. The towns would be inhabited and the ruined places rebuilt. Humans and animals would multiply, as the land would be occupied again. Yahweh was going to do more good than ever before. They would know that he was Yahweh, their God. There would be new leaders in this inherited land, so that they would no longer mourn for their lost children. His land and his people would be reunited again.

They have become worthless dross metals (Ezek 22:17-22:18)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

The house of Israel

Has become

Worthless dross

To me.

All of them,

Silver,

Bronze,

Tin,

Iron,

Lead,

Are worthless dross.

In the smelter,

They have become

Worthless dross.’”

Yahweh once again came to Ezekiel, the son of man. This time he proclaimed that the house of Israel had become worthless dross, the left over elements after smelting in a furnace. Thus silver, bronze, tine, iron, and lead were all worthless, as if they were the remains of a refining process in a smelting furnace.

Remember your evil ways (Ezek 20:43-20:44)

“‘There you shall remember

Your ways.

There you shall remember

All the deeds

By which

You have polluted yourselves.

You shall loathe yourselves

For all the evils

That you have committed.

You shall know

That I am Yahweh,

When I deal

With you

For my name’s sake.

I will deal with you

Not according

To your evil ways,

Not according

To your corrupt doings.

O house of Israel!’

Says Yahweh God.”

Yahweh told the house of Israel that they should remember their evil ways and wicked deeds. They had polluted themselves. Now they should loathe themselves for all the evils that they had committed. They should know that it was Yahweh that they were dealing with. Because of the name of Yahweh, Yahweh was going to deal with them, but not according to their evil ways or their corrupt activities.

The house of Israel idol worshippers (Ezek 20:39-20:39)

“As for you!

O house of Israel!

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘Go serve your idols!

Every one of you!

Now and hereafter!

If you will not listen

To me.

But you shall not

Profane

My holy name

With your gifts,

With your idols.”

Yahweh was clear in his admonition to the house of Israel. If they wanted to serve their idols, they were free to go ahead and do so. However, if they did that, they were not listening to Yahweh. They were profaning his holy name. Yahweh was not going to receive their gifts or their idols because they were a profanation to Yahweh.

The defilement of the people (Ezek 20:30-20:31)

“Therefore say

To the house of Israel!

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘Will you defile yourselves

After the manner

Of your ancestors?

Will you go astray

After their detestable things?

When you offer

Your gifts,

You defile yourselves.

When you make

Your children

Pass through the fire,

You defile yourselves

With all your idols

To this day.

Shall I be consulted

By you?

O house of Israel!

As I live,

I will not be consulted

By you.’ Says Yahweh God.”

Yahweh wanted Ezekiel to say to the house of Israel that they should not defile themselves like their ancestors. They should not go astray after their detestable idols. When they offered gifts to these idols, they defiled themselves. When they made their children pass through fire, they also defiled themselves with all their idols. They had been doing this even until the time of Ezekiel. Yahweh wanted to know if he should be consulted by those from the wicked house of Israel. Yahweh was clear. He did not want to be consulted by those who had defiled themselves.

The wicked ancestors (Ezek 20:27-20:27)

“Therefore,

Son of man!

Speak to

The house of Israel!

Say to them!

‘Thus says Yahweh God!

In this again,

Your ancestors

Blasphemed me.

They dealt treacherously

With me.’”

Yahweh once again told Ezekiel to speak to the house of Israel. He wanted Ezekiel to tell them that their ancestors had blasphemed him. They had treated him treacherously. Their ancestors were not good people.