Against the Ammonites (Ezek 25:1-25:2)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

Set your face

Toward the Ammonites,

Prophesy against them.’”

Now there are a series of oracles against the various countries around Israel and Judah. As usual, the word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man. He was to set his face against the Ammonites and prophesy against them. Who are the Ammonites? In the biblical sense, they are the descendants of Ammon, the son of Lot from the incest incident with his daughter in Genesis, chapter 19. They seem to have been east of the Jordan and north of Moab, but south of Assyria. The country of Ammon existed from about the 10th century to the 4th century BCE in what would have been the Gad territory as outlined in Joshua, chapter 13. Today it is part of the country of Jordan. Jeremiah, chapter 49, had also spoken out against them. They along with the Moabites were the constant enemies of Judah and Israel. At some point, they became part of the Assyrian empire and eventually ceased to exist. They certainly were related to Canaan and spoke a Semitic language.

The sword towards the Ammonites (Ezek 21:28-21:28)

“‘You!

Son of man!

Prophesy!

Say!

Thus says Yahweh God

Concerning the Ammonites!

Concerning their reproach!

Say!

‘A sword!

A sword!

Drawn for slaughter!

Polished

To consume!

Polished

To flash

Like lightning!’”

Yahweh turned to Ezekiel, the son of man. He was to prophesy concerning the Ammonites and what was to happen to them. There would be a polished sword drawn for slaughter in order to consume them. This would be a flashing sword like lightning. The Ammonites would not get away free.

Oracle against Jerusalem (Ezek 21:1-21:2)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

Set your face

Toward Jerusalem!

Preach

Against the sanctuaries!

Prophesy

Against the land of Israel!’”

Once again, in the first person, Ezekiel explained that the word of Yahweh came to him, the son of man. He was to set his face against Jerusalem. He was to preach against their sanctuaries. He was to prophesy against the land of Israel. These verses are verses 7 and on in the Jerusalem Bible, so that the verses for this chapter will be different in the two Bibles. I will follow the New Oxford Bible verse numbers.

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.

Against the Israelite mountain high places (Ezek 6:1-6:3)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

Set your face

Toward the mountains

Of Israel!

Prophesy against them!

Say!

You mountains of Israel!

Hear the word of Yahweh God!

Thus says Yahweh God

To the mountains,

To the hills,

To the ravines,

To the valleys.

I!

I myself!

Will bring a sword

Upon you.

I will destroy

Your high places.’”

The oracles or words of Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man, personally. He was to prophesy against the mountains of Israel. Yahweh gave him the words to say to the mountains. However, there was an extension from just the mountains to include the hills, the ravines, and even the valleys. Yahweh himself was going to bring a sword, in order to destroy all the high places, where the worship or cultic practices for the various false gods, particularly Baal, took place.

Ezekiel lies on his right side for Judah (Ezek 4:6-4:8)

“When you have

Completed these things,

You shall lie down

A second time,

But on your right side.

You shall bear

The punishment

Of the house of Judah.

I assign you

Forty days,

One day for each year.

You shall set your face

Toward the siege of Jerusalem.

With your arm bared,

You shall prophesy

Against the city.

See!

I am putting cords

On you.

Thus you cannot turn

From one side

To the other,

Until you have completed

The days of your siege.”

When Ezekiel had finished the 390 days laying on his left side for the punishment of Israel, he was ordered to lie down a second time, but this time on his right side. He was going to bear a punishment for the house of Judah. However, this was only for 40 days, representing the famous 40 years in the wilderness from Egypt to the Promise Land. However, during this time, he was to face toward the siege of Jerusalem. In fact, he was to bear his arm and prophesy against the city of Jerusalem. To make sure that Ezekiel would do this and not move, Ezekiel had cords put on him, so that he could not switch sides. I am not sure how this worked. He was to do this until he had completed the two assignments for a total of 430 days.

Beware of false prophets (Jer 29:8-29:9)

“Thus says Yahweh of hosts!

The God of Israel!

‘Do not let the prophets

Who are among you

Deceive you!

Do not let the diviners

Who are among you

Deceive you!

Do not listen

To the dreams

That they dream!

It is a lie

That they are prophesying

To you

In my name.

I did not send them.’

Says Yahweh.”

This Jeremiah letter has another classic Yahweh oracle title, as Yahweh of hosts and the God of Israel are invoked as the source of this warning. They should not be deceived by the prophets and the diviners among them. They should not listen to their dreams, since they are a lie. They prophesy lies in the name of Yahweh, since he did not send these false prophets.