The accusations against his Jewish appointees (Dan 3:12-3:12)

“‘There are certain Jews

Whom you have appointed

Over the affairs

Of the province

Of Babylon,

Shadrach,

Meshach,

Abednego.

These pay no heed

To you.

O king!

They do not serve

Your gods.

They do not worship

The golden statue

That you have set up.’”

These Chaldeans were more specific. They accused the 3 companions of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who were in charge of the provinces of Babylon, of not listening to the king. They were not serving the gods of Babylon. They even did not worship the golden statue that the King had set up. Thus, these Babylonian officials, although Jewish, were not following the king’s orders.

The response of Daniel (Dan 2:14-2:16)

“Then Daniel responded

With prudence,

As well as discretion,

To Arioch,

The king’s chief executor.

Arioch had gone out

To execute

The wise men

Of Babylon.

Daniel asked Arioch,

The royal official.

‘Why is the decree

Of the king

So severe?’

Then Arioch explained

The matter

To Daniel.

Thus,

Daniel went in

To see the king.

He requested

That the king

Give him time.

He would tell the king

The interpretation.”

Daniel was less confrontational, since he was prudent and discrete. He met the king’s chief executor, Arioch, the royal official in charge of the execution of these wise men. Daniel wanted to know what was going on. Why was the king so severe to these wise men of Babylon? After Arioch explained the situation to Daniel, Daniel decided to go to see the king himself. He told the king that he needed more time, but that he would provide an interpretation for the king’s dream.

The Zadok Levitical priests (Ezek 44:15-44:16)

“‘But the Levitical priests,

The descendants of Zadok,

Who kept the charge

Of my sanctuary,

When the people of Israel

Went astray

From me,

Shall come near

To me

To minister

To me.

They shall attend me

To offer me

The fat

With the blood.’

Says Yahweh God.

‘They shall enter

My sanctuary.

They shall approach

My table.

They shall

Minister

To me.

They shall

Keep my charge.’”

It was a different story for the Zadok Levitical priests, as mentioned in the previous chapter. These Levitical priests from the family of Zadok came from a righteous priest, who was descended from Eleazar, the son of Aaron. This Zadok aided King David during the revolt of his son Absalom in 2 Samuel, chapters 13-22. Then this Zadok helped bring King Solomon to the throne in 1 Kings, chapters 1-2. After Solomon’s building of The First Temple in Jerusalem, this Zadok was the first High Priest to serve there in 1 Kings, chapter 4. Thus, the house of Zadok occupied the high priesthood throughout much of the Second Temple period. These Zadok Levitical priests had been loyal to Yahweh, when the other Levites went astray. They were the ones who could come near to Yahweh to minister to him. They would offer the fat and the blood. They would enter Yahweh’s sanctuary and approach his table. They would be in charge and directly minister to Yahweh.

The appointed Levitical ministerial tasks (Ezek 44:13-44:14)

“They shall not

Come near to me.

They shall not

Serve me

As a priest.

They shall not

Come near to

Any of my sacred offerings,

The things

That are most sacred.

But they shall

Bear their shame.

They shall

Bear the consequences

Of the abominations

That they have committed.

Yet I will appoint them

To keep charge

Of the temple,

To do all its chores.

They shall do

All that is to be done

In it.”

The idol worshiping Levites would be appointed to various menial tasks, so that they would be like Temple servants, rather than ministers. Yahweh, via Ezekiel, listed all the things that they could not do. They could not come near to Yahweh to serve him as a priest. They would not be allowed near any of the sacred holy offerings. They had to bear their shame. They had to suffer the consequences of their abominable actions. However, Yahweh was not going to destroy them. They were to be in charge of all the Temple chores, everything that had to be done around the Temple. They were to become second-class Levite priests or Temple servants.

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.

Chambers for the priests (Ezek 40:45-40:46)

“He said to me.

‘This chamber

That faces south is

For the priests

Who are in charge

Of the temple.

The chamber

That faces north

Is for the priests

Who are in charge

Of the altar.

These are the descendants

Of Zadok.

They alone,

Among the descendants

Of Levi,

May come near

To Yahweh,

To minister to him.’”

The bronze man told Ezekiel how these two chambers worked. The chamber that faced south was for the priests who were in charge of the Temple. The chamber facing north was for the priests who were in charge of the altar. Those in charge of the altar were descendants of Zadok. Who was he? Zadok was a descended from Eleazar, the son of Aaron. He helped both King David and King Solomon in 1 Kings, chapters 1-3. Because he was the first high priest for the Solomon Temple, his descendants had a higher rank than the rest of the Levi priests. Thus, these Zadok priests could come near to Yahweh to minister to him.

 

Edom takes over Judah and Israel (Ezek 35:10-35:10)

“You said.

‘These two nations,

These two countries,

Shall be mine.

We will take possession

Of them.’

They had forgotten

That Yahweh was there.”

Mount Seir or Edom said that the two captured countries of Israel in the north and Judah in the south would now be part of Edom. They were going to take possession of these two countries after the fall of Jerusalem in 587 BCE. What they had forgotten was that Yahweh was in charge.