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.

The adultery of the two sisters with their idols (Ezek 23:37-23:39)

“They have committed

Adultery.

Blood is

On their hands.

With their idols,

They have committed

Adultery.

They have even offered up

To them

For food

The children

Whom they had borne

To me.

Moreover

This they have done

To me.

They have defiled

My sanctuary

On the same day.

They have profaned

My Sabbath.

When they had slaughtered

Their children

For their idols,

On the same day,

They came

Into my sanctuary

To profane it.

This is what they did

In my house.”

Yahweh explains to Ezekiel about the adulterous behavior of these two sisters, particularly Jerusalem. They had turned to idol images instead of Yahweh. Thus they have committed adultery. Blood was on their hands because of their idol worship. They had even offered up Israelite children for food for these idols. Not only did they sacrifice their own children, but on the same day they defiled the sanctuary of the Temple and profaned the Sabbath. They had slaughtered their own children for their idols. What kind of adulterous behavior was this?

The wicked priests (Ezek 22:26-22:26)

“The Jerusalem priests

Have done violence

To my teaching.

They have profaned

My holy things.

They have made

No distinction

Between the holy

With the common.

Neither have they

Taught the difference

Between the unclean

With the clean.

They have disregarded

My Sabbath.

Thus I am profaned

Among them.”

Even the priests in Jerusalem were doing violence to the teaching of Yahweh. They had profaned his holy things, since they were not making any distinction between the holy things and the common things. They did not distinguish between the clean and the unclean items. They disregarded the Sabbath practices. Thus they profaned Yahweh among themselves.

The bad people in Jerusalem (Ezek 22:6-25:9)

“The princes of Israel

In you,

Everyone

According to his power,

Has been bent

On shedding blood.

Fathers are treated

With contempt.

Mothers are treated

With contempt

In you.

The alien,

Residing within you,

Suffers extortion.

The orphans

Are wronged

In you.

The widows

Are wronged

In you.

You have despised

My holy things.

You have profaned

My Sabbath.

There are men

In you

Who slander

To shed blood.

There are men

In you

Who eat

Upon the mountains.

Men commit lewdness

In your midst.”

A lot of bad things were happening in Jerusalem. The princes of Israel had been shedding blood. Parents, both mothers and fathers, were treated with contempt. The alien residents suffered extortion. The orphans and the widows were wronged. The people of Jerusalem have despised Yahweh’s holy things and profaned his Sabbath. They slander and shed blood. They eat on the mountains. They commit lewd actions in their midst.

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.

The rebellion (Ezek 20:21-20:21)

“But the children

Rebelled

Against me.

They did not follow

My statutes.

They were not careful

To observe

My ordinances.

By their observance,

Everyone shall live.

They profaned

My Sabbath.”

This is the 3rd mention of a rebellion in this chapter. This time, even the children of those wandering in the desert rebelled. It seemed to be a major theme of Ezekiel in his history of the Israelites. In each case there was a rebellion. First there were those in Egypt, then those in the wilderness, and now the children of those in the wilderness. They failed to follow the statutes of Yahweh. They failed to observe his ordinances that gave life. Finally, they profaned his Sabbath.

No promise land (Ezek 20:15-20:16)

“Moreover

I swore to them

In the wilderness

That I would not

Bring them

Into the land

That I had given them.

That is a land flowing

With milk and honey,

The most glorious of all lands.

Because they rejected

My ordinances.

They did observe

My statutes.

They profaned

My Sabbath.

Their heart went

After their idols.”

Yahweh swore to them in the wilderness that he was not going to bring them into the land that he had given them, that land flowing with milk and honey, the most glorious of all lands. They had rejected his ordinances. They did not observe his statutes. They profaned the Sabbath. Their hearts went after their former idols. Things did not look good for these wilderness wanderers.

They still rebelled (Ezek 20:13-20:13)

“But the house of Israel

Rebelled

Against me

In the wilderness.

They did not observe

My statutes.

But they rejected

My ordinances.

By their observance,

Everyone shall live.

They rejected

My Sabbath.

They greatly

Profaned it.”

The house of Israel rebelled in the wilderness also. They did not observe Yahweh’s statutes and ordinances. Instead, they rejected these living ordinances and the Sabbath observance. Thus they profaned it.

The reversal of freedom (Jer 34:15-34:16)

“You yourselves recently repented.

You did what was right

In my sight

By proclaiming liberty,

To one another.

You made a covenant

Before me

In the house

That is called by my name.

But then you turned around.

You profaned my name.

Each of you took back

Your male slaves,

Your female slaves,

Whom you had set free

According to their desire.

You brought them again

Into subjection

To be your slaves.”

Yahweh seems upset that the people of Jerusalem have gone back on their agreement to free their Hebrew slaves. Originally, they had repented. They did what was right in the eyes of God. They had proclaimed by a covenant in the Temple of Yahweh that the Hebrew slaves in Jerusalem would be set free. However, then they changed their minds. They profaned the name of Yahweh and the Temple by breaking their commitment to free their slaves. They took back both their male and female slaves into subjection again. This is odd since the slaves had no place to go. There was never any mention of non-Hebrew slaves.

Protect the name of Yahweh (Isa 48:9-48:11)

“For my name’s sake,

I defer my anger.

For the sake of my praise

I restrain it for you.

Thus I may not cut you off.

See!

I have refined you,

But not like silver.

I have tested you

In the furnace of adversity.

For my own sake!

For my own sake!

I do it.

Why should my name be profaned?

I will not give my glory to another.”

Second Isaiah has Yahweh protect his name. Yahweh was deferring his anger. He was going to restrain himself. He was not going to cut off the Israelites for the sake of his own praise. He has refined them, not like silver in a fire, but in the furnace of life’s adversities. For his own sake, he did not want his name profaned or glory given to anyone else. Yahweh wanted his name brand protected.