The Spirit and the people at the River Chebar (Ezek 3:14-3:15)

“The Spirit

Lifted me up.

He took me away.

I went in bitterness

In the heat

Of my spirit.

The hand

Of Yahweh

Was strong upon me.

I came

To the exiles

At Tel-abib.

They lived

By the river Chebar.

I sat there

Among them,

Stunned,

For seven days.”

Ezekiel continued his first person recounting of what happened to him after he saw this colorful vision. The same Spirit of Yahweh or the Holy Spirit lifted up Ezekiel and took him away. Ezekiel went in bitterness of spirit, because the hand of Yahweh was strongly on him. Thus he went to the exiles at Tel-abib, by the river Chebar, near Nippur, not far from the Chebar canal. There Ezekiel sat among these exiles for about a week stunned, in a state of shock.

Idol worshipers (Isa 2:6-2:8)

“You have forsaken

The ways of your people!

O house of Jacob!

You are full of diviners

From the east.

You are full of soothsayers

Like the Philistines.

They clasp hands with foreigners.

Their land is filled with silver.

Their land is filled with gold.

There is no end

To their treasures.

Their land is filled with horses.

There is no end to their chariots.

Their land is filled with idols.

They bow down

To the work of their hands.

They bow down

To what their own fingers have made.”

Isaiah speaks out strongly against idol worship that must have been common among the house of Jacob in eight century BCE. The Israelites have forsaken the ways of their people since they had a lot of eastern diviners, like priestly prophets who foretold the future in the name of some god, roughly the equivalent of a Yahweh prophet among the non-Israelites. There were also the fortune tellers or soothsayers from Philistine, from along the shore of the Mediterranean Sea. There must have been some kind of magic handshake with foreigners that was also forbidden. Why were they doing this? Their land was full of silver, gold, many treasures, horses, and chariots. What else did they want? Despite all this, they still bowed down in worship to the idol gods that they had made with their own hands and fingers. Why were they worshiping these false idol statutes that they themselves had made?