Evildoers (Mt 7:22-7:23)

“On that day,

Many will say to me.

‘Lord!

Lord!

Did we not prophesy

In your name?

Did we not cast out demons

In your name?

Did we not do many marvelous works

In your name?’

Then I will declare

To them.

‘I never knew you!

Go away from me!

You evildoers!’”

 

πολλοὶ ἐροῦσίν μοι ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ Κύριε, οὐ τῷ σῷ ὀνόματι ἐπροφητεύσαμεν, καὶ τῷ σῷ ὀνόματι δαιμόνια ἐξεβάλομεν, καὶ τῷ σῷ ὀνόματι δυνάμεις πολλὰς ἐποιήσαμεν;

καὶ τότε ὁμολογήσω αὐτοῖς ὅτι Οὐδέποτε ἔγνων ὑμᾶς· ἀποχωρεῖτε ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ οἱ ἐργαζόμενοι τὴν ἀνομίαν

 

This verse is somewhat similar to Luke, chapter 13:26-27.  Matthew has Jesus say that on that day (ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ), the judgment day, many would say to him (πολλοὶ ἐροῦσίν μοι), Lord! Lord (Κύριε Κύριε)!  Did we not prophesize in your name (οὐ τῷ σῷ ὀνόματι ἐπροφητεύσαμεν)?  Did we not cast out demons in your name (καὶ τῷ σῷ ὀνόματι δαιμόνια ἐξεβάλομεν)?  Did we not do many great marvelous works in your name (καὶ τῷ σῷ ὀνόματι δυνάμεις πολλὰς ἐποιήσαμεν)?  Then Jesus was going to declare to them (καὶ τότε ὁμολογήσω αὐτοῖς) that he never knew them (καὶ τότε ὁμολογήσω αὐτοῖς), because they were evildoers.  Just as David had told the evildoers to depart in Psalm 6:13, Jesus wanted these evildoers (οἱ ἐργαζόμενοι τὴν ἀνομίαν) to leave him alone (ἀποχωρεῖτε ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ).  Who are these evil doers?  They seem like disciples of Jesus, since they prophesized, cast out demons, and did marvelous works in the name of Jesus.  What evil had they done to make them unworthy on the final judgment day?  This text is not clear.

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Against Gog (Ezek 39:1-39:2)

“You!

Son of man!

Prophesy against Gog!

Say!

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘I am against you!

O Gog!

Chief prince

Of Meshech

With Tubal!

I will turn you around!

I will drive you forward!

I will bring you up

From the remotest parts

Of the north!

I will lead you

Against the mountains

Of Israel!’”

As if one chapter were not enough, Ezekiel has another chapter about Gog.   Yahweh God, as usual, came to the prophet Ezekiel, the son of man. This time, he wanted Ezekiel to prophesy against Gog, who is now called the prince of Meshech and Tubal and not from Magog. Like in the last chapter, Gog was clearly an enemy of Yahweh. Yet Yahweh used him for his own purposes. Yahweh was going to turn Gog around and drive him forward from the remotest parts of the northern area. In fact, Yahweh was going to lead Gog against the mountains of Israel. The only possible historical basis for this Gog, might be the supposedly chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, two 7th century BCE kingdoms in Asia Minor of Turkey.

The jealous God (Ezek 36:5-36:7)

“Therefore,

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘I am speaking

In my hot jealousy

Against the rest

Of the nations.

I am speaking

Against all Edom.

They took my land

As their possession

With wholehearted joy,

With utter contempt.

They wanted

To plunder it

Because of its pasture.

Therefore,

Prophesy

Concerning the land

Of Israel.

Say to the mountains,

To the hills,

To the water streams,

To the valleys!’

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘I am speaking

In my jealous wrath!

You have suffered

The insults

Of the nations.’

Therefore,

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘I swear

That the nations

That are all around you

Shall themselves

Suffer insults.’”

Yahweh God, via Ezekiel, was speaking in his hot jealousy against all the other countries. However, there was an explicit remark about all of Edom, since they had taken possession and plundered the land of Israel with great joy and utter contempt, because of its good pastures. Thus, Ezekiel was to prophesy about the land of Israel, including its mountains, hills, water streams, and valleys. Yahweh God was full of his jealous wrath. Israel had suffered the insults of these other countries. Now Yahweh said that all these other countries around Israel would suffer these insults themselves.

The desolate mountains of Israel (Ezek 36:2-36:3)

“Thus says Yahweh God!

The enemy

Has said of you.

‘Aha!

The ancient heights

Have become

Our possession.’

Therefore,

Prophesy!

Say!

‘Thus says Yahweh God!

They made you desolate!

Indeed,

They crushed you

From all sides.

Thus,

You became

The possession

Of the rest

Of the nations.

You became

An object

Of gossip.

You became

An object

Of slander

Among the people.’”

Yahweh God, via Ezekiel, reminded the Israelites that their enemies had laughed at them because their ancient high mountains had become their own possessions. Thus, Ezekiel was to prophesy about these mountains, since they were truly desolate and crushed from all sides. They had become the possession of various countries. They had become an object of gossip and slander to all the people.

Against the shepherds of Israel (Ezek 34:1-34:2)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man! 

Prophesy

Against the shepherds

Of Israel!

Prophesy!

Say to them!

Say to the shepherds!

Thus says Yahweh God!

Ah!

Shepherds of Israel!

You have been feeding

Yourselves!

Should not shepherds

Feed the sheep?’”

As usual, Yahweh told Ezekiel, the son of man, to prophesy. However, this time it is not against a country, but against the shepherds or leaders of Israel. The idea of the leader as shepherd was an ancient Middle Eastern concept that the early Christians also used with Jesus Christ as the good shepherd. These Israelite shepherds or leaders were not feeding their sheep. Instead, they were only feeding themselves.

Against Sidon (Ezek 28:20-28:23)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me!

‘Son of man!

Set your face

Toward Sidon!

Prophesy against it!

Say!

Thus says Yahweh God!

I am against you!

O Sidon!

I will gain glory

In your midst.

They shall know

That I am Yahweh,

When I execute

My judgments

In it.

I will manifest

My holiness

In it.

I will send

Pestilence

Into it.

I will send

Bloodshed

Into its streets.

The dead shall fall

In its midst,

By the sword

That is against it

On every side.

Then they will know

That I am Yahweh.’”

Yahweh once again came to Ezekiel, the son of man. Ezekiel was to turn towards Sidon, often mentioned together with Tyre, but less important than Tyre. Sidon itself, now part of Lebanon, was a seacoast town about 25 miles north of Tyre, supposedly named after the son of Canaan, the grandson of Noah. Ezekiel was to prophesy against Sidon. Yahweh was going to be glorified in Sidon. They would learn that Yahweh was able to execute judgments and manifest his holiness there. Yahweh was going to send pestilence and bloodshed to its streets. The dead would fall by the sword all around them. Finally, they would know that Yahweh was God.

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.