Take off the crown (Ezek 21:25-21:27)

“As for you!

Vile!

Wicked prince

Of Israel!

Your day has come!

The time

Of final punishment!

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘Remove the turban!

Take off the crown!

Things shall not remain

As they are!

Exalt

That which is low!

Abase

That which is high!

A ruin!

A ruin!

A ruin!

I will make it!

Such has never occurred!

Until he comes

Whose right it is.

To him

I will give it.’”

Yahweh then turned to the wicked vile prince of Jerusalem. The day had come for the time of his final punishment. The king of Judah was going to remove his turban and take off his crown. Things were about to change. The lowly would be exalted, while the high people would be put to shame. Everything would be ruined. It would be like it never was or will be again until the right one comes along.

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The useless Pharaoh cannot help (Ezek 17:17-17:18)

“Pharaoh,

With his mighty army,

With his great company,

Will not help him

In war.

When ramps are cast up

With siege walls built

To cut off many lives,

It is difficult.

Because he despised

The oath.

He broke the covenant.

Because he gave

His hand.

Yet he did

All these things.

He shall not escape.”

If the King of Judah, King Zedekiah, was expecting big things from the Egyptian Pharaoh, he was going to be disappointed. Even Pharaoh with his mighty army and great company would not be able to help him in a war, where there were so many ramps and siege walls. The king of Judah had despised his oath and broken his covenant with the King of Babylon. He had given his hand. Yet he did all these things. Thus he was not going to escape.

The second eagle was Egypt (Ezek 17:15-17:16)

“But the new king

Rebelled against him.

He sent ambassadors

To Egypt.

He hoped

That they might

Give him

Horses

With a large army.

Will he succeed?

Can one escape

Who does such things?

Can he break the covenant?

Can he yet escape?

As I live,

Says Yahweh God!

‘Surely in the place

Where the king resides,

Who made him king,

Whose oath he despised,

Whose covenant

With him

He broke,

He shall die

In Babylon.’”

The explanation of the riddle of the eagles continued with the assertion that the second eagle was Egypt. This new king, King Zedekiah, rebelled against the king of Babylon. King Zedekiah sent ambassadors to Egypt in order to get horses and a large army. Would he succeed? What happens to people who do things like this? Would he be able to break the covenant and escape? Yahweh had a different idea. The king of Judah had broken his agreement with the king of Babylon, the same one who put him on the throne. The result was that the king of Judah would die in Babylon.

Prostitution with the Egyptians (Ezek 16:26-16:26)

“You also played

The whore

With the Egyptians,

Your lustful neighbors.

You multiplied

Your prostitution

To provoke me

To anger.”

Yahweh said that Jerusalem played the whore with her lustful neighbors, the Egyptians. He felt that she multiplied her prostitute ways in order to provoke Yahweh to anger.  This was an indication about the intention of the king of Judah to form a foreign alliance with Egypt against the Babylonians.

King Zedekiah questioned Jeremiah secretly (Jer 37:17-37:19)

“Then King Zedekiah sent

For Jeremiah.

He received him.

The king questioned him

Secretly

In his house.

He said.

‘Is there any word

From Yahweh?’

Jeremiah said.

‘There is.’

Then he said.

‘You shall be handed over

To the king of Babylon.’

Jeremiah also said

To King Zedekiah.

‘What wrong have

I done to you,

Or your servants,

Or this people,

That you have put me

In prison?

Where are your prophets

Who prophesied to you?

Saying.

‘The king of Babylon

Will not come

Against you,

Against this land.’”

King Zedekiah wanted to meet secretly with Jeremiah. So he sent for him and received him in his house, but not openly. He wanted to know if he had heard anything from Yahweh. Jeremiah responded that Yahweh had said something about him. He said that the king of Judah was going to be handed over to the Babylonian king. Then Jeremiah wanted to know why he was arrested. What had he done wrong? Jeremiah wanted to know where were the prophets now who had prophesied to him that the king of Babylon would not attack him. Thus this was a very frank discussion.

The king reacts (Jer 36:24-36:26)

“Yet neither the king,

Nor any of his servants,

Who heard

All these words,

Was afraid.

They did not tear

Their garments.

Even when Elnathan,

Delaiah,

With Gemariah

Urged the king

Not to burn the scroll,

He would not listen to them.

The king commanded

Jerahmeel,

The king’s son,

With Seraiah,

The son of Azriel,

To arrest

The secretary Baruch

With the prophet Jeremiah.

But Yahweh hid them.”

Neither the king of Judah, King Jehoiakim, nor his servants, was alarmed by the words of the scroll. They did not tear their garments as a sign of sorrow or repentance. Instead, the king burned the scroll in its various pieces as mentioned above, despite the protests of some of his senior officials like Elnathan, Delaiah, and Gemariah, who had demanded the first reading, earlier in this chapter. They did not want the king to burn the scroll, but he would not listen to them. Instead, he sent his son Jerahmeel with his friend Seraiah, someone in the royal service, to arrest Baruch and Jeremiah. However, Yahweh hid them, but it is not clear where or how.

The death of the false prophets (Jer 29:21-29:23)

“Thus says Yahweh of hosts,

The God of Israel,

Concerning Ahab,

The son of Kolaiah,

As well as Zedekiah,

The son of Maaseiah.

‘They were prophesying a lie

To you in my name.

I am going to deliver them

Into the hand

Of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.

He shall kill them

Before your eyes.

On account of them,

This curse shall be used

By all the exiles from Judah

In Babylon.

‘Yahweh makes you

Like Zedekiah,

Like Ahab,

Whom the king of Babylon

Roasted in the fire.’

Because they have

Perpetuated outrage

In Israel.

They have committed adultery

With their neighbors’ wives.

They have spoken in my name

Lying words

That I did not command them.

I am the one who knows.

I bear witness.

Says Yahweh.’”

Yahweh talked about two prophets whom King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon roasted in a fire. These two prophets were Ahab, the son of Kolaiah, and Zedekiah, the son of Maaseiah. There was a king of northern Israel in the 9th century (874-853 BCE) named King Ahab with his wife Jezebel, who had confrontations with the prophet Elijah, as found in 1 Kings, chapters 16-22. However, this Ahab is only mentioned here. Zedekiah has the same name as the current king of Judah. His father Maaseiah was also the father of the priest Zephaniah, mentioned in chapter 21. This Zedekiah is not mentioned elsewhere either. These two prophets were prophesying lies that Yahweh had not commanded, so that they deserved to be killed by the king of Babylon. We do not know exactly what lies they were telling, but they also were adulterers. They may have tried to rebel against the king. Thus their names would be a curse.