The words of Yahweh in the Temple (Ezek 43:7-43:7)

“He said to me.

‘Son of man!

This is the place

Of my throne.

This is the place

Of the soles

Of my feet.

I will reside

Among the people

Of Israel

Forever!

The house of Israel

Shall no more

Defile

My holy name.

Neither they,

Nor their kings,

By their prostitution,

By the corpses

Of their kings,

At their death,

Defile

My holy name.’”

Yahweh spoke directly to Ezekiel using his normal appellation, son of man. However, rather than an amorphous glorified God, he refers to himself in anthropomorphic terms. Yahweh was going to sit on a throne, like a king. The soles of his feet would walk in this place. He was going to live among his people, not just for a short time but forever. However, there was a caveat. They were not to defile his holy name. Neither the people or their kings should tarnish his sacred name with their prostitution and dead bodies of kings in his Temple.

Against Gog (Ezek 38:1-38:2)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

Set your face

Toward Gog,

Of the land of Magog.

The chief prince

Of Meshech

With Tubal.

Prophesy against him!’”

This section represents an example of apocalyptic literature. The emphasis in this type of literature is on a future that would be better compared to the sufferings of the present time. This thinking predominated in Second Temple Judaism after the return from the exile. This Messianic hope prefigured a future victory of good over evil. The prophet Daniel and the Book of Revelation or the Apocalypse are better examples of this apocalyptic literature. As usual, the word of God came to Ezekiel, the son of man. However, this time he was to prophesize against Gog. Who is this Gog? This is the first mention of Gog in the biblical literature, who clearly was an enemy of Yahweh. There appears to be no historical basis for this Gog from Magog. According to Genesis, chapter 10, Magog was descended from Japheth, the son of Noah. Here Gog is a person and Magog is the land where he comes from. However, in later literature they were usually combined into ‘Gog and Magog,’ perhaps due to the Septuagint Greek translation. Magog might have been a code name for Babylon. There were also other legends about Gog and Magog in the later Greek and Roman times. Both are mentioned in later Jewish and Muslim writings. Meshech and Tubal were 7th century BCE kingdoms in Asia Minor or present day Turkey. Gog appears to be the chief prince of these two kingdoms also.

The future sign of Ezekiel (Ezek 24:25-24:27)

“You!

Son of man!

On the day

When I take

From them

Their stronghold,

Their joy,

Their glory,

The delight of their eyes,

Their heart’s affection,

Someone will come

To you.

I will take their sons.

I will take their daughters.

On that day,

One who has escaped

Will come

To you

To report

To you

The news.

On that day,

Your mouth

Shall be opened

To the one

Who has escaped.

You shall speak.

You will no longer

Be silent.

So you shall be a sign

To them.

They shall know

That I am Yahweh.”

Yahweh spoke directly to Ezekiel, the son of man. On a future day, Yahweh was going to bring down Jerusalem. The Israelites would lose their stronghold, their joy, their glory, the delight of their eyes, and their heart’s affection. They would also lose their sons and daughters. Someone, who had escaped from Jerusalem, would come to Ezekiel on that day with the report of the news about the fall of Jerusalem. On that day, Ezekiel would open his mouth to speak. He would not be silent anymore. Thus the actions of Ezekiel would a sign, so that everyone would know that Yahweh was in charge.

The marker at the fork in the road (Ezek 21:18-21:20)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me again.

‘Son of man!

Mark out two roads

For the sword

Of the king

Of Babylon

To come!                                           

Both of them

Shall issue

From the same land.

Make a signpost!

Make it for a fork

In the road

Leading to a city.

Mark out the road

For the sword

To come

To Rabbah

Of the Ammonites

Or to Judah,

To the fortified Jerusalem.”

Once again, the word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man. He had to put a maker at a fork in the road. There would be two roads for the sword of the king of Babylon to take. Both roads came from the same place, Babylon. However, at this fork in the road, one led to the city of Rabbah, the home of the Ammonites. The other road led to a fortified Jerusalem in Judah.

The wood of the vine (Ezek 15:1-15:3)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

How does the wood

Of the vine

Surpass

All other wood?

Is the vine branch

Among the trees

Of the forest?

Is the wood

Taken from it

To make anything?

Does one take a peg

From it

To hang

Any object?’”

The word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man, about an allegory or parable of the wood of the vine. Yahweh wanted to know how the wood of the vine surpassed all other kinds of wood. These vines were not grown in the forest like the other trees, but they were usually cultivated. What could you do with the wood from the vine? There were many uses, but apparently one of the most important uses was to make pegs to hang things on.

A land sins (Ezek 14:12-14:13)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

When a land sins

Against me,

by acting faithlessly,

I stretch out

My hand

Against it.

I break

Its staff of bread.

I send famine upon it.

I cut off

From it

Human beings

With animals.’”

The word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man. Yahweh spoke about the sins of a faithless land. Yahweh would stretch out his hand against this country. He would break its bread supply. He would send a famine to that land. He would cut off all humans and animals from this country. This was the common view of the power of Yahweh.

 

The abominations at the north altar gate (Ezek 8:5-8:6)

“Then God said to me.

‘Son of man!

Lift up your eyes now

In the direction

Of the north.’

So I lifted up

My eyes

Toward the north.

There north

Of the altar gate,

In the entrance,

Was this image

Of jealousy.

He said to me.

‘Son of man!

Do you see

What they are doing?

The house of Israel

Is committing here

Great abominations.

They drive me far

From my sanctuary.

Yet you will see

Still greater abominations.’”

God spoke directly to Ezekiel, the son of man. God wanted Ezekiel to look to the north, which he did. There at the entrance to the north gate altar was this image of jealousy. Then God asked Ezekiel to see what they were doing. They were committing great abominations that were driving God further from his sanctuary. They were profaning the Temple of Yahweh. However, God warned Ezekiel that he was going to see far worse and greater abominations.