No delays (Ezek 12:26-12:28)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

The house of Israel

Is saying.

‘The vision

That he sees

Is for many years

Ahead.

He prophesies

For distant times.’

Therefore say to them.

‘Thus says Yahweh God!

None of my words

Will be delayed

Any longer.

But the word

That I speak

Will be fulfilled.’

Says Yahweh God.”

Once again, the word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man. The house of Israel had this saying that the visions that the prophets saw was for many years in the future. However, Yahweh said that none of his words would be delayed any longer. Whatever Yahweh said, it would be fulfilled right away, no doubt about that.

The visions will happen (Ezek 12:23-12:25)

“‘But say to them!

The days are near!

The fulfillment

Of every vision

Is near!

There shall no longer be

Any false vision

Or flattering divination

Within the house of Israel.

But I,

Yahweh,

Will speak

The word

That I speak!

It will be fulfilled.

It will no longer

Be delayed.

But in your days,

O rebellious house!

I will speak

The word.

I will

Fulfill it.’

Says Yahweh God.”

Yahweh told Ezekiel the days of fulfillment of every vision was near. There would be no more false visions or flattering remarks within the house of Israel. Yahweh was going to speak a word that was going to come to pass. Nothing would be delayed for this rebellious house. Yahweh would speak and it would happen. Yahweh was clear.

Ezekiel’s actions were a sign of captivity (Ezek 12:8-12:11)

“In the morning

The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

Has not the house of Israel,

The rebellious house,

Said to you?

‘What are you doing?’

Say to them.

‘Thus says Yahweh God!

This oracle concerns

The prince in Jerusalem

With all the house of Israel

In it.’

Say!

‘I am a sign for you.

As I have done,

So shall it be done

To them.

They shall go

Into exile.

They shall go

Into captivity.’”

The next morning, the word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man. Yahweh wanted to know if the rebellious house of Israel had asked him what he was doing. When they did ask, he was to tell them that this oracle concerned the prince in Jerusalem with all the house of Israel. Ezekiel was to tell them that his actions were a sign of things to come. What he had done, all of them would do the same. They were going to go into exile and captivity.

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.

Ezekiel was to speak out against killing (Ezek 11:5-11:6)

“The Spirit of Yahweh

Fell upon me.

He said to me.

‘Say!

Thus says Yahweh!

This is what you think!

O house of Israel!

I know the things

That come

Into your mind.

You have killed many

In this city.

You have filled

Its streets

With the slain.’”

The Holy Spirit of Yahweh fell upon Ezekiel. He told Ezekiel to speak out to the house of Israel. Yahweh told him to say that he knew that they had killed many people in the city of Jerusalem, so much so that their streets were full of dead bodies.

The idol worship service of the seventy Jerusalem elders (Ezek 8:10-8:11)

“So I went in.

I looked.

There portrayed

On the wall,

All around,

Were all kinds

Of creeping things,

Loathsome animals,

With all the idols

Of the house of Israel.

Before them

Stood seventy

Of the elders

Of the house

Of Israel,

With Jaazaniah,

The son of Shaphan,

Standing among them.

Each had his censer

In his hand.

The fragrant cloud

Of incense

Was ascending.”

Ezekiel went into the worship service room on the other side of the wall. He saw various inscriptions or pictures all around the walls that included creeping things, despicable animals, and all kinds of idols from the house of Israel. This must have indicated some kind of Egyptian or Babylonian idol gods, perhaps the god Osiris. However, this might be a mishmash of various idol gods. Even more shocking was to see the 70 Jerusalem elders of Israel, including Jaazaniah, the son of Shaphan, standing there with lit censers in their hands as the fragrant smell of incense ascended in the air. This was a shocking sight to see.

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.

Ezekiel builds a model of Jerusalem unde siege (Ezek 4:1-4:3)

“You!

O son of man!

Take a brick!

Set it before you!

Portray a city on it,

Jerusalem!

Put the siege works

Against it!

Build a siege wall

Against it!

Cast up a ramp

Against it!

Set camps also

Against it!

Plant battering rams

Against it all around!

Then take an iron plate!

Place it

As an iron wall

Between you

And the city!

Set your face

Toward it!

Let it be

In a state of siege!

Press the siege

Against it!

This is a sign

For the house of Israel.”

Here we have the one of the many symbolic actions by Ezekiel. A voice, either Yahweh or his Spirit, told Ezekiel to be an expert model Lego builder of the siege of Jerusalem. Ezekiel, the son of man, was to take a brick and portray the city of Jerusalem. He was to put the siege works with a siege wall against this city. He was to put a ramp and camps against this city with battering rams all around it. Then he was to take an iron plate and make an iron wall between himself and the city, looking at it. Thus there was a state of siege, a sign for the house of Israel. Ezekiel was part of the exiles from 598 BCE before the taking of Jerusalem and the second captivity in 587 BCE.

The sentinel or the watchman (Ezek 3:16-3:17)

“At the end

Of seven days,

The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

I have made you

A sentinel

For the house

Of Israel.

Whenever you hear

A word

From my mouth,

You shall give them

A warning

From me.’”

At the end of a week of stunned silence, the word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel. Yahweh said to him that he, the son of man, was going to be watchman or sentinel for the house of Israel. Whenever Yahweh would tell Ezekiel, he would, in turn, warn the house of Israel about the words of Yahweh.

The written scroll (Ezek 2:8-2:10)

“‘But you!

Son of man!

Hear

What I say to you!

Do not be rebellious

Like that rebellious house!

Open your mouth!

Eat what I give you!’

When I looked,

A hand

Was stretched out

To me.

A written scroll

Was in it.

He spread it

Before me.

It had writing

On the front

As well as on the back.

Written on it

Were words

Of lamentation,

Of mourning,

Of woe.”

The voice of Yahweh continued to speak to Ezekiel as the son of man. He was to listen to what Yahweh had to say to him. He was not to be rebellious like the rebellious house of Israel. He was to open his mouth and eat what Yahweh was going to give to him. Then when Ezekiel looked up, he saw a hand stretched out to him with a written scroll in it. This hand spread the scroll out before him. Ezekiel saw that there was writing on the front and the back of this scroll. Ezekiel even read it. He saw that it had words of lamentation, of mourning, and of woe.