The explanation of the two sticks (Ezek 37:18-37:19)

“Your people will

Say to you.

‘Will you not show us

What you mean by these?’

Say to them!

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘I am about to take

The stick of Joseph,

That is

In the hand of Ephraim,

With the tribes of Israel

Associated with it.

I will put

The stick of Judah

Upon it.

I will make them

One stick.

Thus,

They may be

One

In my hand.’”

Of course, there was a simple explanation to this action of Ezekiel. When the people would ask Ezekiel what all this meant, he was to explain to them that the sick of Joseph that included Ephraim was the northern tribes associated with him. This stick was to be put on the stick of Judah. Thus, instead of two sticks, there would only be one stick in the hand of Ezekiel. The north was going to be once again connected to the south, Judah.

 

The two sticks (Ezek 37:15-37:17)

The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

Take a stick!

Write on it!

‘For Judah,

With the Israelites

Associated with him.’

Then take another stick!

Write on it!

‘For Joseph,

The stick of Ephraim,

With all

The house of Israel

Associated with it.’

Join them together

Into one stick.

Thus,

They may become

One

In your hand.’”

As usual, the word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man. Yahweh wanted Ezekiel to take two sticks and join them together. Ezekiel was to write on the first stick Judah and everyone associated with him. This was an obvious reference to Judah and the collapsed kingdom of the south. The second stick was a reference to the Israelite kingdom of the north that fell in 721 BCE, a couple of centuries earlier. However, the written title on the second stick was Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, one of Joseph’s sons. All those associated with the northern kingdom were included with the house of Israel. Ezekiel was then to take these two sticks and put them together in his hand, so that they would become one stick. This was an obvious reference that Yahweh wanted the people of both the old northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah to come together, just like what had happened in Ezekiel’s hand.

Against Mount Seir (Ezek 35:1-35:2)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

Son of man!

Set your face

Against Mount Seir!

Prophesy

Against it!’”

Once again, there was an oracle of Yahweh to Ezekiel, the son of man. This time, Ezekiel was to face and prophesize against Mount Seir. Where and what was Mount Seir? Mount Seir was between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba, on the southeastern border of Judah with Edom. In fact, this is a diatribe against the country of Edom. Quite often, Mount Seir was another name for Edom. Mount Seir was named after Seir, the Horite, in Genesis, chapter 14. The children of Esau, the twin brother of Jacob, defeated the Horites, to take possession of this land.

The scattered sheep (Ezek 34:5-34:6)

“The sheep

Were scattered,

Because there was

No shepherd.

Thus,

They became food

For all the wild animals.

My sheep

Were scattered.

They wandered

Over all the mountains.

They wandered

On every high hill.

My sheep

Were scattered

Over all the face

Of the earth.

There was no one

To search

For them.

There was no one

To seek

For them.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, said that his sheep were scattered, because there was no shepherd to lead them. Thus, these sheep became food for all the wild animals, perhaps an allusion to the attacks of the Assyrians and the Babylonians. The sheep of Israel and Judah were scattered, so that they wandered into the mountains and the high hills, perhaps an allusion to the high places of idol worship. His sheep were scattered all over all the face of the earth, perhaps an allusion to the captivity. Finally, there was no leader or shepherd to go out to search and look for them. They were the lost sheep of Israel.

Edom in the pit (Ezek 32:29-32:29)

“Edom is there.

Its kings,

All its princes,

With all their might,

Are laid

With those

Who were killed

By the sword.

They lie

With the uncircumcised.

They lie

With those

Who go down

To the pit.”

The people of Edom, the southern neighbor of Judah, with its kings and princes are also in the pit. Despite all their might, they were laying there with the uncircumcised and those killed by the sword.

Judah (Ezek 27:17-27:17)

“Judah,

With the land of Israel,

Traded with you.

They exchanged

For your merchandise

Wheat from Minnith,

Olives,

Honey,

Oil,

Balm.”

Judah and northern Israel traded with Tyre also. Apparently the wheat from Minnith on the east side of the Jordan River was extra special. They also traded olives, honey, oil, and balm.

Against Edom (Ezek 25:12-25:12)

“Thus says Yahweh God!

‘Edom acted revengefully

Against the house of Judah.

They have grievously offended

In taking vengeance

Upon them.’”

Edom was south of the Dead Sea, south of Moab and south of Judah. Its biblical origin was the place where Esau, the twin brother of Jacob, went to live in Genesis, chapter 36. This section is similar to Jeremiah, chapter 49, and Isaiah, chapter 34, on Edom. Apparently, when King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon attacked Jerusalem, the Edomites from south of Judah helped the Babylonians in their plundering of Jerusalem and Judah.