Against the Philistines (Ezek 25:15-25:15)

“Thus says Yahweh God!

‘With unending hostilities,

The Philistines

Acted in vengeance

With malice of heart.

They took revenge

In destruction.’”

The Philistines were often mentioned in the biblical literature, especially as the enemies of King David. They were perhaps originally from the island of Crete. They were the five main Philistine coastal cities mentioned from the time of Joshua, chapter 13, Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron, Gath, and Ashdod, all on the Mediterranean coast line of present day Israel. Thus the mention of unending hostilities with the Philistines did not seem out of place. Jeremiah, chapter 47, had also spoken against them. These Philistines acted with vengeance and malice, as they brought revenge on the Israelites with their destruction.

The destruction of the Ammonites (Ezek 25:6-25:7)

“Thus says Yahweh God.

‘You have clapped

Your hands.

You have stamped

Your feet.

You have rejoiced

With all the malice

Within you

Against the land of Israel.

Therefore,

I have stretched out

My hand

Against you.

I will hand you over

As plunder

To the nations.

I will cut you off

From the people.

I will make you

Perish

Out of the countries.

I will destroy you.

Then you will know

That I am Yahweh.’”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, said that the Ammonites had maliciously clapped their hands and stamped their feet in rejoicing over the bad situation of Israel. Thus Yahweh was going to stretch out his hand against these Ammonites. He was going to make them plunder for the various nations, since they would be cut you off from all the other countries. They were going to perish because Yahweh was going to destroy them. Thus they would finally realize that Yahweh was God. Unlike Jeremiah, there was no mention of a future restoration for Ammon.

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.

The holy mountain (Ezek 20:40-20:40)

“Says Yahweh God.

‘On my holy mountain,

The mountain height

Of Israel,

There all the house of Israel,

All of them,

Shall serve me

In the land.

There I will accept them.

There I will require

Your contributions,

The choicest of your gifts,

With all your sacred things.’”

It was very clear that Yahweh wanted all the people of Israel to worship him on the holy high mountain and no place else. This holy mountain was the only place where they could serve him. Yahweh would accept their contributions only there. In fact, he required their choicest gifts and sacred items. Yahweh was precise. He was against all the other high places in Israel and Judah. The holy sacred mountain was the only place for sacrifices.

The purge (Ezek 20:36-20:38)

“‘As I entered

Into judgment

With your ancestors

In the wilderness

Of the land of Egypt,

So I will enter

Into judgment

With you.’

Says Yahweh God.

‘I will make you pass

Under the staff.

I will bring you

Within the bond

Of the covenant.

I will purge out

The rebels

Among you.

I will purge out

Those who transgress

Against me.

I will bring them out

Of the land

Where they reside,

As aliens.

But they shall not

Enter

The land of Israel.

Then you will know

That I am Yahweh.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, said that he had judged their ancestors in the Egyptian wilderness. Now, he was going to judge them. They would have to pass under the staff of the shepherd who counted sheep. He was going to bring them under the covenant again. He was going to purge out the rebels among them, anyone who had transgressed against him. He was going to go to all the countries where they had lived as aliens. Although he was going to take them out of these countries, they were not guaranteed a place in Israel. They had to know that he was Yahweh.

Ezekiel is to judge the elders (Ezek 20:4-20:5)

“Will you judge them?

Son of man!

Will you judge them?

Then let them know

The abominations

Of their ancestors.

Say to them!

‘Thus says Yahweh God!

On the day

When I chose Israel,

I swore to the offspring

Of the house of Jacob.

I made myself known

To them

In the land of Egypt.

I swore to them.

Saying.

‘I am Yahweh

Your God!’”

Yahweh wanted to know if Ezekiel, the son of man, would be willing to judge the Israelites. He was to let them know about the abominations of their ancestors. He was to tell them that Yahweh, their God, had chosen Israel. On that day, he swore to the offspring of the house of Jacob. He himself had personally let them know this in the land of Egypt. There he swore to them that he was Yahweh, their God.

The allegory of the young lion (Ezek 19:1-19:4)

“As for you!

Raise up

A lamentation

For the princes of Israel!

Say!

‘What a lioness

Was your mother

Among lions!

She lay down

Among young lions,

Rearing her cubs.

She raised up

One of her cubs.

He became

A young lion.

He learned

To catch prey.

He devoured humans.

The nations sounded

An alarm

Against him.

He was caught

In their pit.

They brought him

With hooks

To the land of Egypt.”

Now Ezekiel has an allegorical poetic lamentation for the officials and princes of Israel. There was a lioness mother who took care of her cubs. Apparently this is an allusion to Judah, the lioness. One of them became a young lion who learned how to catch prey. In fact, he devoured some humans. Other countries got upset. They then caught him in a pit. They hooked him and brought him to Egypt. Who is this young lion that was brought to Egypt? This may be a reference to King Jehoahaz (609 BCE) who was captured, after the death of his father, King Josiah (640-609 BCE).