The punishment of Edom (Ezek 25:13-25:14)

“Therefore,

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘I will stretch out

My hand

Against Edom.

I will cut off from it

Humans,

As well as animals.

I will make it desolate.

From Teman

Even to Dedan,

They shall fall

By the sword.

I will lay my vengeance

Upon Edom

By the hand

Of my people

Israel.

They shall act

In Edom

According to my anger.

They shall act

According to my wrath.

They shall know

My vengeance.’

Says Yahweh God.”

Unlike Moab and Ammon, Yahweh was going to destroy Edom with the Israelites, and not with the people from the East. Yahweh was going to stretch out his hand against Edom, so that it would be cut off from all humans and animals. He was going to make it a desolate place from Teman to Dedan. Teman was perhaps a tribal group in northern Edom, since Teman was the name of the grandson of Esau. Dedan was a tribe involved in commerce in the south of Edom. They would all fall by the sword or they would end up in captivity. However, this vengeance was to come at the hands of Yahweh’s people, Israel. They would carry out the anger and wrath of Yahweh. Thus the Edomites would know the vengeance of Yahweh God.

Against Moab (Ezek 25:8-25:8)

“Thus says Yahweh God!

‘Moab said.

‘The house of Judah is

Like all the other nations.’”

Instead of a very long diatribe against Moab, as in Jeremiah, chapter 48, and Isaiah, chapters 15 and 16, Ezekiel has only a few short comments. Moab was the country directly east of the Dead Sea on the other side of the Jordan River. The Moabites, like the Ammonites, had been involved in many quarrels and battles with the Israelites, since they had a strange biblical relationship. The Moabite kingdom lasted from around the 13th century BCE to around the 4th century BCE, where today it is also the country of Jordan, like Ammon. The Moabites were the descendants of Lot’s incest with his oldest daughter as in Genesis, chapter 19. In the Book of Ruth, chapter 4, the Moabites were friendly, as Ruth, a Moabite, had a son named Obed, who turned out to be the grandfather of King David via his son Jesse.   For a while, Moab was part of the Kingdom of Israel, until they revolted. Here the complaint against Moab was that they said that Judah was like the other countries and not unique.

The gathering around holiness (Ezek 20:41-20:42)

“‘As a pleasing odor,

I will accept you.

When I bring you out

From the people,

I will gather you

Out of the countries

Where you have been

Scattered.

I will manifest

My holiness

Among you

In the sight

Of the nations.

You shall know

That I am Yahweh,

When I bring you

Into the land of Israel,

The country

That I swore

To give

To your ancestors.”

Yahweh was going to accept the Israelites as a pleasing odor, when he was going to gather his people from the various scattered nations and countries. Yahweh was going to manifest his holiness among them in the sight of the other nations. They would all know that it was Yahweh that brought them into the land of Israel. This is the same country that he had sworn to give to their ancestors.

 

The gathering (Ezek 20:34-20:35)

“I will bring you out

From the people.

I will gather you

Out of the countries,

Where you are scattered.

I will bring you

With a mighty hand,

With an outstretched arm,

With wrath poured out.

I will bring you

Into the wilderness

Of the people.

There I will enter

Into judgment

With you

Face to face.”

The kingship of Yahweh, as just mentioned, included a mighty hand, an outstretched hand, and anger poured out. Yahweh was going to gather the Israelites from wherever they had been scattered. He was going to bring them into a new wilderness of all the people. There he was going to enter into personal judgment with them face to face.

Yahweh’s reaction (Ezek 20:8-20:10)

“Then I thought

That I would pour out

My wrath

Upon them.

I would spend

My anger

Against them

In the midst

Of the land

Of Egypt.

But I acted

For the sake

Of my name.

It should not be

Profaned

In the sight

Of the nations

Among whom

They lived,

In whose sight

I have made

Myself known

To them.

I will bring them

Out of the land

Of Egypt.

So I led them

Out of the land

Of Egypt.

I brought them

Into the wilderness.”

Yahweh wanted to pour out his wrath on them right there and then in the land of Egypt, because he was angry with them. However, he acted for the sake of his name. He did not want to profane his name in the sight of other nations among whom the Israelites had lived. He did not want to embarrass his name among those who had heard that Yahweh was bringing them out of the land of Egypt. So he ended up leading them out of the land of Egypt into the wilderness.

Ezekiel is to judge the elders (Ezek 20:4-20:5)

“Will you judge them?

Son of man!

Will you judge them?

Then let them know

The abominations

Of their ancestors.

Say to them!

‘Thus says Yahweh God!

On the day

When I chose Israel,

I swore to the offspring

Of the house of Jacob.

I made myself known

To them

In the land of Egypt.

I swore to them.

Saying.

‘I am Yahweh

Your God!’”

Yahweh wanted to know if Ezekiel, the son of man, would be willing to judge the Israelites. He was to let them know about the abominations of their ancestors. He was to tell them that Yahweh, their God, had chosen Israel. On that day, he swore to the offspring of the house of Jacob. He himself had personally let them know this in the land of Egypt. There he swore to them that he was Yahweh, their God.

The dying Israelites (Bar 3:1-3:4)

“O Lord Almighty!

God of Israel!

The soul in anguish

Cries out to you!

The wearied spirit

Cries out to you!

Hear!

O Lord!

Have mercy!

We have sinned

Before you!

You are enthroned forever!

We are perishing forever!

O Lord Almighty!

God of Israel!

Hear now

The prayer

Of the people

Of Israel,

The children

Of those who sinned

Before you.

They did not heed

The voice

Of the Lord

Their God.

Thus calamities

Have clung to us.”

Baruch addressed God as the Lord Almighty, not simply Yahweh, the Lord, God of Israel. The anguished soul and the weary spirit cried out to God. Baruch wanted God to hear their cries and have mercy on them because they had sinned. The Lord Almighty was enthroned forever, while the Israelites were perishing forever because of their finitude. God should listen to the prayer of his people, the children of those who sinned. Their ancestors had not listened to the voice of God, so that their calamities have clung to them as fellow sinners who are the sons and daughters of sinners.