Past crimes (Hos 6:7-6:9)

“But like Adam,

They transgressed the covenant.

There they dealt faithlessly

With me.

Gilead is a city

Of evildoers,

Tracked with blood.

As robbers lie in wait

For someone,

So,

The priests

Are banded together.

They murder

On the way to Shechem.

They commit

A monstrous crime.”

Yahweh, via Hosea, compared the sin of Adam with the other later Israelites. They had broken the covenant. Perhaps the “there” mentioned here was the 40 years in the wilderness, when sometimes they were unfaithful to Yahweh. The city of Gilead, on the other side of the Jordan River, was a city of bloody evil people. Just as robbers wait for someone to come by to rob, so the priests have joined together to murder people on their way to the northern shrine at Shechem. They have committed all kinds of monstrous crimes. Perhaps, this northern Israelite Samaritan sanctuary was considered the great monstrosity. Notice the continual anti-clericalism of the prophets.

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The tribe of Reuben (Ezek 48:6-48:6)

“Adjoining the territory

Of Ephraim,

From the east side

To the west side,

Reuben was

One portion.”

Once again, in a very summary fashion of east to west, the territory of Reuben was next to Ephraim. However, in Joshua, chapter 13, Reuben was an east bank territory and had no land on the west side of the Jordan River. Somehow it would be south of Ephraim, maybe in the old Dan territory or the Benjamin territory. From this description, it is hard to tell.

Eat and drink well (Ezek 39:18-39:20)

“‘You shall eat

The flesh

Of the mighty!

You shall drink

The blood

Of the princes

Of the earth!

You shall eat

Rams,

Lambs,

Goats,

Bulls,

All of them fatlings

Of Bashan.

You shall eat fat

Until you are filled.

You shall drink blood

Until you are drunk.

I am preparing

This sacrificial feast

For you.

You shall be filled

At my table

With horses,

With charioteers,

With warriors,

With all kinds of soldiers.’

Says Yahweh God.”

What were they going to do at this great festival? Yahweh God said that they were going to eat the flesh of the mighty and drink the blood of the earthly princes in some symbolic way. However, they were also going to have some real food with rams, lambs, goats, and bulls from the great grazing land on the east side of the Jordan River in Bashan. They were going to eat until they were full and drink until they were drunk. Gluttony and drunkenness was not a problem since Yahweh was preparing this sacrificial feast for them. With them at the table would be horses, charioteers, warriors, and all kinds of soldiers. However, I don’t know why.

The burial of Gog and his troops (Ezek 39:11-39:11)

“On that day,

I will give to Gog

A place for burial

In Israel,

The Valley

Of the Travelers,

East of the sea.

It shall block

The path

Of travelers.

There,

Gog

With all his troops

Will be buried.

It will be called

The Valley of Hamon-gog.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, explained that Gog would be buried on the east side of the Jordan River in the Valley of the Travelers, which apparently was near Dibon, in Moab. This area had been part of the old Gad territory, apparently a well-traveled route. Many people would see it and have to walk around it. Gog was to be buried there with all his troops and people, so that it would become known as the Valley of Hamon-gog, that literally means Gog and his multitude.

The punishment of Moab (Ezek 25:9-25:11)

“Therefore,

I will lay open

The flank of Moab.

I will lay it open

From the towns

On its frontier,

The glory of the country,

Beth-jeshimoth,

Baal-meon,

Kiriathaim.

I will give it,

Along with the Ammonites,

To the people of the East

As a possession.

Thus Ammon

Shall be remembered

No more

Among the nations.

I will execute

Judgments

Upon Moab.

Then they will know

That I am Yahweh.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, said that the future of Moab was closely tied to Ammon. They would both suffer the same result, being captured by the people from the East. The flanks or boundaries of Moab would be laid open. Their border towns, their glorious cities would be captured, especially Beth-jeshimoth on the north, Baal-meon on the east, and Kiriathaim on the south. The western border was the Jordan River and the Dead Sea. No one would remember them, just like the Ammonites would not be remembered either. They would be wiped out, since Yahweh was going to execute his judgments on Moab. Thus, they too would finally realize that Yahweh was God.

Against Moab (Ezek 25:8-25:8)

“Thus says Yahweh God!

‘Moab said.

‘The house of Judah is

Like all the other nations.’”

Instead of a very long diatribe against Moab, as in Jeremiah, chapter 48, and Isaiah, chapters 15 and 16, Ezekiel has only a few short comments. Moab was the country directly east of the Dead Sea on the other side of the Jordan River. The Moabites, like the Ammonites, had been involved in many quarrels and battles with the Israelites, since they had a strange biblical relationship. The Moabite kingdom lasted from around the 13th century BCE to around the 4th century BCE, where today it is also the country of Jordan, like Ammon. The Moabites were the descendants of Lot’s incest with his oldest daughter as in Genesis, chapter 19. In the Book of Ruth, chapter 4, the Moabites were friendly, as Ruth, a Moabite, had a son named Obed, who turned out to be the grandfather of King David via his son Jesse.   For a while, Moab was part of the Kingdom of Israel, until they revolted. Here the complaint against Moab was that they said that Judah was like the other countries and not unique.

Powerful Yahweh (Jer 50:44-50:44)

“Like a lion

Coming up

From the thickets

Of the Jordan River

Against a perennial pasture,

I will suddenly

Chase them

Away from her.

I will appoint over her

Whomever I choose.

Who is like me?

Who can summon me?

Who is the shepherd

That can stand before me?”

Interesting enough, this section is almost word for word what Yahweh said against the Edomites in the preceding chapter. These Babylonians would be like lions that come out of the thickets on the Jordan River to find a beautiful pasture land. Suddenly, Yahweh would chase them away from this perennial green field. There is no one like Yahweh. Who could oppose him? The shepherds had no chance against Yahweh.