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.

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The fall of Edom (Jer 49:21-49:22)

“At the sound of their fall,

The earth shall tremble.

The sound of their cry

Shall be heard

At the Red Sea.

Look!

He shall mount up.

He shall swoop down

Like an eagle.

He shall spread his wings

Against Bozrah.

The heart of the warriors

Of Edom,

On that day,

Shall be

Like the heart

Of a woman in labor.”

The fall of the Edomites would be so loud that the earth would tremble like an earthquake. The sounds of the cries from Edom could be heard as far away as the Red Sea in Egypt. As in the preceding chapter about Moab, the king of Babylon would swoop down like a spread eagle upon the major capital city of Bozrah. Then, just like in the preceding chapter again, the Edomite warriors, like the Moabite warriors, would become like women in labor. However, there is no mention of a restoration of Edom, like earlier for Moab and Ammon.

The exclusion of foreigners (Neh 13:1-13:3)

“On that day they read from the book of Moses in the hearing of the people. It was found written that no Ammonite or Moabite should ever enter the assembly of God. They had not met the Israelites with bread and water, but hired Balaam to curse against them. Yet our God turned the curse into a blessing. When the people heard the law, they separated from Israel all those of foreign descent.”

They then read from the book of Moses. This passage comes from Deuteronomy, chapter 23, almost word for word. The Ammonites and Moabites could not be part of the assembly of Yahweh. Yahweh wanted the Israelites to be very harsh with these people because they refused food and water when the Israelites were about to enter the Promise Land in their Exodus from Egypt. In fact, the Moabite king tried to hire a prophet Balaam to curse them. Numbers, chapters 21-25, has more information about these groups. Although this admonition was only against the Ammonite and Moabites, the people at the time of Nehemiah decided to be more universal against all foreigners. They separated themselves from all people of foreign descent. It must be remembered that some of these Jewish people were born in Persia. However, the blood line of the father determined who was a Jew in Jerusalem and Judah. Perhaps this passage should have been earlier in this work.