The future sign of Ezekiel (Ezek 24:25-24:27)

“You!

Son of man!

On the day

When I take

From them

Their stronghold,

Their joy,

Their glory,

The delight of their eyes,

Their heart’s affection,

Someone will come

To you.

I will take their sons.

I will take their daughters.

On that day,

One who has escaped

Will come

To you

To report

To you

The news.

On that day,

Your mouth

Shall be opened

To the one

Who has escaped.

You shall speak.

You will no longer

Be silent.

So you shall be a sign

To them.

They shall know

That I am Yahweh.”

Yahweh spoke directly to Ezekiel, the son of man. On a future day, Yahweh was going to bring down Jerusalem. The Israelites would lose their stronghold, their joy, their glory, the delight of their eyes, and their heart’s affection. They would also lose their sons and daughters. Someone, who had escaped from Jerusalem, would come to Ezekiel on that day with the report of the news about the fall of Jerusalem. On that day, Ezekiel would open his mouth to speak. He would not be silent anymore. Thus the actions of Ezekiel would a sign, so that everyone would know that Yahweh was in charge.

You are your mother’s daughter (Ezek 16:44-16:45)

“See!

Everyone

Who uses proverbs

Will use this proverb

About you.

‘Like mother,

Like daughter.’

You are the daughter

Of your mother.

She loathed

Her husband.

She loathed

Her children.

You are the sister

Of your sisters.

They loathed

Their husbands,

They loathed

Their children.

Your mother was

A Hittite.

Your father was

An Amorite.”

Everyone who used proverbs would say of Jerusalem that she was ‘like mother, like daughter.’ It was and still is common to say that a daughter was like her mother. Thus Jerusalem was like her mother who disliked her husband and her children. On top of that, she was like her sisters, who also despised their husbands and their children. After all, her mother was a Hittite, while her father was an Amorite, both distinct Canaanites tribes, not Israelites.

Abominable images (Ezek 7:20-7:21)

“They had

Beautiful ornaments.

They took such pride

In them.

They made

Their abominable images.

They made

Their detestable things.

Therefore I will make of it

An unclean thing

To them.

I will hand it over

To strangers

As booty.

I will give it

To the wicked

Of the earth

As plunder.

They shall profane it.”

These Israelites had made beautiful ornaments into idols. They took such great pride in these abominable and detestable images that they had made. Yahweh was now going to make them into unclean things. He was going to hand them over to strangers as booty. He was going to give them to the wicked ones of the earth as plunder. Then they could profane these false idol god images.

The coming battles in Israel (Ezek 7:14-7:15)

“They have blown

The horn.

They have made

Everything ready.

But no one goes

To battle.

My wrath is

Upon all their multitude.

The sword is

Outside.

Pestilence is within.

Famine is within.

Those in the field

Die by the sword.

Those in the city

Have famine

With pestilence

Devour them.”

This picks up on a theme of the last chapter about how people die, repeating the three ways to die. The Israelites blew the horn to get ready for the battle, but no one showed up. Thus Yahweh’s wrath was on everybody. Those outside the city in the fields would die by the sword. However, those in the city would die from a pestilence or a famine that would devour them.

Some will remain (Ezek 6:8-6:10)

“But I will spare some.

Some of you

Shall escape

The sword.

Among the nations,

They will be scattered

Through the countries.

Those of you

Who escaped

Shall remember me

Among the nations

Where they are carried captive.

They will remember

How I was crushed

By their wanton hearts

That turned away

From me.

They will remember

That their wanton eyes

Turned after their idols.

Then they will be loathsome

In their own sight

For the evils

That they have committed,

For all their abominations.

They shall know

That I am Yahweh.

I did not threaten

In vain

To bring this disaster

Upon them.”

Yahweh was going to spare some of these Israelites from his sword of death. They would escape scattered among the various nations and countries. Those that escaped would remember Yahweh in their captivity countries. They would remember how Yahweh had crushed their reckless hearts and eyes that turned away from Yahweh to their idols. They would become despicable in their own eyes. They would realize that they had committed evils and abominations. They would then know that Yahweh had not threatened in vain about this disaster that came upon them.

Go to the hard headed house of Israel (Ezek 3:4-3:9)

“Yahweh said to me.

‘Son of man!

Go to the house of Israel!

Speak my very words to them!

You are not sent

To a people

Of obscure speech

With a difficult language,

But to the house of Israel.

You are not sent to people

Of obscure speech

With a difficult language,

Whose words

You cannot understand.

If I sent you to them,

They would listen to you.

But the house of Israel

Will not listen to you.

They are not willing

To listen to me.

Because all the house of Israel

Have a hard forehead.

They have a stubborn heart.

I have made your face hard

Against their faces.

I have made your forehead hard

Against their foreheads.

Like the hardest stone,

Harder than flint,

I have made your forehead.

Do not fear them!

Do not be dismayed

At their looks.

They are a rebellious house.’”

Yahweh told Ezekiel, the son of man, to go to the house of Israel. He was to speak Yahweh’s words to them. Yahweh was not sending him to people who had an obscure and difficult language, like the Babylonians, who would not understand what he was saying. However, they might listen to what he had to say. Instead he was being sent to the Israelites, whose language they both shared. These Israelites would not even listen to Yahweh, because they had a hard forehead and a stubborn heart. Yahweh was going to make Ezekiel’s face hard against their faces. He was going to make Ezekiel’s forehead hard against their foreheads. His face and forehead would be like the hardest stone, harder than flint. Therefore, Ezekiel should not fear them. He should not be dismayed at their looks, because they were a rebellious house.

Patience (Bar 4:23-4:26)

“I sent you out

With sorrow,

With weeping.

But God will give you

Back to me

With joy,

With gladness forever.

As the neighbors of Zion

Have now seen

Your capture,

So they soon will see

Your salvation

By God.

This will come

To you

With great glory,

With the splendor

Of the Everlasting One.

My children,

Endure with patience

The wrath

That has come upon you

From God.

Your enemy

Has overtaken you.

But you will soon see

Their destruction.

You will tread

Upon their necks.

My pampered children

Have traveled rough roads.

They were taken away

Like a flock

Carried off

By the enemy.”

The personification of Jerusalem continued as this city advised her exiles to have patience. She had sent them out of town with sorrow and weeping. However, God was going to bring them back to Jerusalem with eternal joy and gladness. Zion’s neighbors had seen them captured. They would soon see these Israelites safely coming back with the glorious splendor of the Everlasting One, not Yahweh. Jerusalem wanted her pampered children to endure patiently the wrath of God that had come via their enemies. They would soon tread on the necks of their enemies since they would be destroyed. Even though they had traveled rough roads and were taken away like a flock of sheep, they needed patience.