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.

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 rebellion (Ezek 20:8-20:8)

“But they rebelled

Against me.

They would not listen

To me.

Not one of them

Cast away

The detestable things

That their eyes feasted on.

They did not forsake

The idols of Egypt.”

Yahweh said that they rebelled against him. They would not listen to him. They kept their good looking detestable things instead of getting rid of them. They even kept their Egyptian idols instead of giving them up. They kept to their wicked evil ways.

All the lovers in one place (Ezek 16:35-16:37)

“Therefore!

O whore!

Hear the word of Yahweh!

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘Your lust

Was poured out.

Your nakedness

Was uncovered

In your prostitution activities

With your lovers.

All your idols

Were laid bare.

The blood

Of your children

That you gave them

Was poured out.

Therefore,

I will gather

All your lovers,

With whom

You took pleasure.

I will gather

All those you loved.

I will gather

All those you hated.

I will gather them

Against you

From all around.

I will uncover

Your nakedness

To them.

Thus they may see

All your nakedness.’”

Yahweh clearly called Jerusalem a whore who was going to listen to his word. Jerusalem’s lust was apparent in her nakedness. She had revealed herself with her prostitution activities with all her lovers. Her idols were laid bare. The blood of her children was poured out. Yahweh was going to gather all her lovers with whom she had pleasure. He would gather the ones that she loved and as well as those she hated from all over. Then when they were all gathered together, Yahweh was going to embarrass her by uncovering her nakedness. Thus everyone could see the naked Jerusalem.

The warnings against these abominations (Ezek 8:17-8:18)

“Then Yahweh said to me.

‘Have you seen this?

O son of man!

Is it not bad enough

That the house of Judah

Commits the abominations

Done here?

Must they fill the land

With violence?

Must they provoke

My anger further?

See!

They put the branch

To their nose.

Therefore I will act

In wrath!

My eye will not spare!

I will not have pity!

Although they cry

In my hearing

With a loud voice,

I will not listen to them.’”

Then Yahweh warned Ezekiel again. Had he seen enough? The house of Judah committed all these abominations. On top of that, they filled the land with violence. They had provoked the anger of Yahweh. They even put branches in their noses as some kind of worship activity. Yahweh was going to act against them in his anger. He was not going to spare them or show any pity. Even if they cried very loudly, Yahweh was not going to listen to them. Their actions spoke louder than their words.

 

The Spirit of Yahweh and speechless Ezekiel (Ezek 3:24-3:27)

“But the Spirit

Entered into me.

He set me on my feet.

He spoke with me.

He said to me.

‘Go!

Shut yourself

Inside your house!

As for you,

Son of man,

Cords will be placed

On you.

You shall be bound

With them.

Thus you cannot go out

Among the people.

I will make your tongue

Cling to the roof

Of your mouth.

Thus you shall be

Speechless.

You will be unable

To reprove them.

They are a rebellious house.

But when I speak

With you,

I will open your mouth.

You shall say to them,

‘Thus says Yahweh God!

Let those who will hear,

Hear!

Let those who refuse to hear,

Refuse!

They are a rebellious house.’”

This is one of the few times that the Spirit of Yahweh or the Holy Spirit actually speaks to someone. This Holy Spirit entered into Ezekiel. He put him on his feet and spoke to him. He told Ezekiel, the son of man, to lock himself inside of his house. It is not clear where this house came from. Cords were going to be placed binding up Ezekiel, so that he could not go among the people. Then this Spirit was going to make Ezekiel’s tongue stick to the roof of his mouth, so that he would be speechless and unable to reprove this rebellious house. When Ezekiel would be allowed to speak later, he was to say the famous saying, ‘Thus says Yahweh God!’ Anyone who wanted to hear could hear. Or they could refuse to hear. After all, he was going to speak to this rebellious house who might not want to listen.

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.