The captivity of the Ammonites (Ezek 25:3-25:4)

“Say to the Ammonites!

Hear

The word of Yahweh God!

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘You said.

‘Aha!’

Over my sanctuary

When it was profaned.

You said.

‘Aha!’

Over the land of Israel

When it was made desolate.

You said.

‘Aha!’

Over the house of Judah

When it went into exile.

Therefore

I am handing you over

To the people of the East

For a possession.

They shall set

Their encampments

Among you.

They shall pitch

Their tents

In your midst.

They shall eat

Your fruit.

They shall drink

Your milk.’”

Yahweh wanted Ezekiel to tell the Ammonites to listen to the word of Yahweh, their God. However, they had their own gods. Apparently the Ammonites had profaned the sanctuary in Jerusalem. They had laughed when the northern kingdom of Israel was destroyed. They had even laughed at the exile of the people from Judah. Their punishment would be that they would be handed over to the people of the East, who would set up encampments and tents in their territory. These invaders would even eat their fruit and drink their milk. This probably was an allusion to the Assyrians, whom the Ammonites were dependent upon.

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 fall of the sanctuary and death (Ezek 24:20-24:21)

“Then I said to them.

‘The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

Say to the house of Israel!

Thus says Yahweh God!

I will profane

My sanctuary!

The pride of your power!

The delight of your eyes!

Your heart’s desire!

Your sons,

Whom you have left behind

Shall fall

By the sword.

Your daughters,

Whom you have left behind,

Shall fall

By the sword.’”

Ezekiel then told them what Yahweh had said to him, as the word of Yahweh came to him. He told the house of Israel that Yahweh was going to profane his own sanctuary. This Temple had been the pride of their power, the delight of their eyes, and their heart’s desire. However, it would be gone. Their sons and daughters, who had been left behind, would die by the sword. This was not a happy oracle.

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.

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.

Yahweh will not consult with the elders (Ezek 20:2-20:3)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

Speak to the elders

Of Israel!

Say to them!

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘Why are you coming?

Are you coming

To consult with me?

As I live!

I will not be consulted

By you.’

Says Yahweh God.”

As usual, the word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man. Yahweh told him what to tell the elders of Israel. Yahweh wanted to know why they were coming to consult with him. Yahweh clearly maintained that he did not want to consult with them.