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.

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.

The captivity of the Ammonites (Ezek 25:3-25:4)

“Say to the Ammonites!

Hear

The word of Yahweh God!

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘You said.

‘Aha!’

Over my sanctuary

When it was profaned.

You said.

‘Aha!’

Over the land of Israel

When it was made desolate.

You said.

‘Aha!’

Over the house of Judah

When it went into exile.

Therefore

I am handing you over

To the people of the East

For a possession.

They shall set

Their encampments

Among you.

They shall pitch

Their tents

In your midst.

They shall eat

Your fruit.

They shall drink

Your milk.’”

Yahweh wanted Ezekiel to tell the Ammonites to listen to the word of Yahweh, their God. However, they had their own gods. Apparently the Ammonites had profaned the sanctuary in Jerusalem. They had laughed when the northern kingdom of Israel was destroyed. They had even laughed at the exile of the people from Judah. Their punishment would be that they would be handed over to the people of the East, who would set up encampments and tents in their territory. These invaders would even eat their fruit and drink their milk. This probably was an allusion to the Assyrians, whom the Ammonites were dependent upon.

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 marker at the fork in the road (Ezek 21:18-21:20)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me again.

‘Son of man!

Mark out two roads

For the sword

Of the king

Of Babylon

To come!                                           

Both of them

Shall issue

From the same land.

Make a signpost!

Make it for a fork

In the road

Leading to a city.

Mark out the road

For the sword

To come

To Rabbah

Of the Ammonites

Or to Judah,

To the fortified Jerusalem.”

Once again, the word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man. He had to put a maker at a fork in the road. There would be two roads for the sword of the king of Babylon to take. Both roads came from the same place, Babylon. However, at this fork in the road, one led to the city of Rabbah, the home of the Ammonites. The other road led to a fortified Jerusalem in Judah.

Oracle about the fire against the south (Ezek 20:45-20:48)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

Set your face

Toward the south!

Preach

Against the south!

Prophesy

Against the forest land

In the Negeb!

Say to the forest

Of the Negeb!

Hear the word of Yahweh!

Thus says Yahweh God!

I will kindle

A fire in you.

It shall devour

Every green tree

In you.

It shall devour

Every dry tree.

The blazing flame

Shall not be quenched.

All faces,

From south to north,

Shall be scorched by it.

All flesh

Shall see

That I,

Yahweh,

Have kindled it.

It shall not be quenched.’”

As usual, the word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man. He was to set his face to the south. He was to preach and prophesy against the south, the forest land in the Negeb, the dry like wilderness south of Judah, perhaps the kingdom of Edom. He was to tell them to listen to the word of Yahweh. Yahweh was going to kindle a fire that would devour every green tree and every dry tree. This blazing flame would not be quenched. Everyone’s face would be scorched by it. Everyone would know that Yahweh set this unquenchable fire. This section is the first part of the next chapter in the Jerusalem Bible.

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.