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 reaction of Yahweh to the rebellious children (Ezek 20:21-20:24)

“Then I thought

I would pour out

My wrath upon them.

I would spend

My anger

Against them

In the wilderness.

But I withheld

My hand.

I acted for the sake

Of my name.

Thus it should not be

Profaned

In the sight

Of the nations,

In whose sight

I had brought them out.

Moreover,

I swore to them

In the wilderness

That I would scatter them

Among the nations.

I would disperse them

Through the countries.

Because they had not

Executed

My ordinances.

They had rejected

My statutes.

They had profaned

My Sabbath.

Their eyes

Were set

On their ancestor’s idols.”

Yahweh’s reaction was pretty much the same as in the former rebellions. Yahweh immediately thought about destroying them in his anger. However, as earlier, he changed his mind for the sake of his name that he did not want profaned in the sight of all the other countries that had seen him bring them out of Egypt. Thus he swore to them in the wilderness that he would scatter them among the nations, instead of refusing to take them out of Egypt or refusing to take them to the Promise Land. This was a prediction of the exile that was due to their failure to keep his statutes, ordinances, and the Sabbath. They also still yearned for their ancestor’s idols.

For the sake of his name (Ezek 20:13-20:14)

“Then I thought

I would pour out

My wrath

Upon them

In the wilderness,

To make an end

Of them.

But I acted

For the sake

Of my name.

Thus it should not be

Profaned

In the sight

Of the nations.

In whose sight

I had brought them out.”

Once again, Yahweh was angry, like he had been in Egypt. This time he thought about putting an end to these Israelites in the wilderness. However, once again, he thought about his name. He did not want to profane the name of Yahweh in the sight of other countries. These other countries had seen him take the people of the house of Israel out of Egypt. Thus for the sake of his name, he spared them.

The shameful sinful behavior (Bar 2:3-2:5)

“Some of us

Ate the flesh

Of their sons.

Others

Ate the flesh

Of their daughters.

He made us subject

To all the kingdoms

Around us.

We were

An object of scorn.

We were a desolation among

All the surrounding people,

Where the Lord

Has scattered us.

We were brought down.

We were not raised up.

Because our nation

Sinned

Against the Lord,

Our God,

In not heeding

His voice.”

Once again, there is allusion to the cannibalism of people, eating their sons and daughters as food because of the famine in Jerusalem, as was mentioned in Lamentations, chapters 2 and 4, as well as Jeremiah, chapter 19. They were no longer a nation, because now they obeyed all the other countries around them. They had become an object of scorn and a desolation among all the people and the countries where they were scattered into. They were brought down, not raised up. They had sinned as a nation. Thus they were punished as a nation. They had not listened to the voice of God, their Lord.

The exile of Judah (Lam 1:3-1:3)

Gimel

“Judah has gone

Into exile

With suffering,

With hard servitude.

She lives now

Among the nations.

But she finds

No resting place.

Her pursuers have all

Overtaken her

In the midst

Of her distress.”

Judah was the territory that included Jerusalem. The Judeans were sent into exile with suffering and servitude also. They now live among other countries. Thus they have no resting place, since her enemies have overtaken them even while they were still in distress. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Gimel. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.

The questions for the Judeans (Jer 44:7-44:8)

“Now thus says Yahweh!

The God of hosts!

The God of Israel!

‘Why are you doing

Such great harm

To yourselves?

Why are you cutting

Yourself off from

Men,

Women,

Infants,

As well as children

From the midst of Judah?

Why are you

Leaving yourself no remnant?

Why do you provoke me

To anger

With the works of your hands?

Why are you making offerings

To other gods

In the land of Egypt

Where you have come to settle?

Will you be cut off?

Will you become

An object of cursing?

Will you become a ridicule

Among all the nations

Of the earth?’”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, has a series of questions for these immigrant Judeans. Why were they harming themselves? Why were they cutting themselves off from the other Judeans, the men, women, children, and infants? If they continued in this way, there would be no remnant left. Why were they provoking Yahweh to anger with their own hands? Why were they already making offerings to other gods in Egypt, where they wanted to settle? Are they going to become an object of cursing and ridicule among all the other countries of the world? These are good questions for the new Judean immigrants to Egypt.

The past and future Exodus (Jer 16:14-16:15)

“Says Yahweh.

‘Therefore the days are surely coming,

When it shall no longer be said.

‘As Yahweh lives!

He brought the people of Israel

Up out of the land of Egypt.’

But they will say.

‘As Yahweh lives!

He brought the people of Israel

Up out of the north area,

Out of all the lands

Where he had driven them.’

I will bring them back

To their own land

That I gave to their ancestors.”

Instead of people talking about the Exodus from Egypt to the Promised Land as they had, now they will talk about returning to the Promised Land after the Exile. Thus this passage assumes that the Exile will happen and come to an end. It is the living God, Yahweh, who brought them out of Egypt, so too, he will bring them back from the northern area and the other countries where they would have been driven into. They will once again have the Promised Land of their ancestors. In other words, there will be new Exodus.