The sign of Ezekiel (Ezek 24:22-24:24)

“You shall do

As I have done!

You shall not cover

Your upper lip!

You shall not eat

The bread

Of mourners!

Your turbans shall be

On your heads!

Your sandals shall be

On your feet!

You shall not mourn!

You shall not weep!

But you shall pine away

In your iniquities.

You shall groan

To one another.

‘Thus Ezekiel

Shall be a sign

To you.

You shall do

Just as he has done.

When this comes,

Then you will know

That I am Yahweh God.’”

When this catastrophe would hit them, they should do as Ezekiel had done. They were not to cover up their upper lip. They were not to eat the mourner’s bread. However, they should continue to wear their turban hats and their foot sandals. They were not to mourn or weep. They could pine away privately, because of their iniquities. They could also groan to one another privately. Thus Yahweh had placed Ezekiel and his behavior as a sign for them. They were to do just as Ezekiel had done when his wife died. Then they would all know that Yahweh, their God, was in charge. In other words, the death of their loved ones would be a numbing experience, without any outward grief.

The wrath of Yahweh (Ezek 22:31-22:31)

“‘Therefore

I have poured out

My indignation

Upon them.

I have consumed them

With the fire

Of my wrath.

I have returned

Their conduct

Upon their heads.’

Says Yahweh God.”

The result was that Yahweh, their God, poured out his wrath and indignation on their heads.  He consumed them with a fire from his anger.  There was no appeasing Yahweh.

The scattering (Ezek 22:14-22:16)

“Can your courage

Endure?

Can your hands

Remain strong,

In the days

When I shall deal

With you?

I,

Yahweh,

Have spoken.

I will do it.

I will scatter you

Among the nations.

I will disperse you

Throughout the countries.

I will purge

Your filthiness

Out of you.

I shall be profaned

Through you                         

In the sight

Of the nations.

You shall know

That I am Yahweh.”

Yahweh was going to scatter the people of Jerusalem into many other countries. He wanted to know if they had enough courage to endure this. Were their hands strong enough? He was going to deal with them. Yahweh was clear about what he was going to do. He was going to scatter and disperse them among the various nations and countries. He was going to purge the filthiness out of Jerusalem. Yahweh would be embarrassed that this scattering would take place in the sight of these other nations. They would all know that he was Yahweh, their God.

The wicked uncleanness in Jerusalem (Ezek 22:10-22:12)

“In you,

They uncover

Their fathers’ nakedness.

In you,

They violate women

In their menstrual period.

One commits abomination

With his neighbor’s wife.

Another lewdly defiles

His daughter-in-law.

Another in you,

Defiles his sister,

His father’s daughter.

In you,

They take bribes

To shed blood.

You take both

Advance interest

With accrued increase.

You make gain

Of your neighbors

By extortion.

You have forgotten me.’

Says Yahweh God.”

There was a lot of violence and lewd brutal sexual behavior in Jerusalem. They uncovered their fathers’ nakedness. They violated women in their menstrual period. They performed some sort of abomination with their neighbor’s wife. They defiled their daughters-in-law. They even defiled their sisters, the daughter’s of their father. Besides all this lewd behavior, they took bribes to kill other people. They also took both advance and accrued interest. They exploited their neighbors with extortion. Perhaps, most grievous of all was that they had forgotten Yahweh, their God.

The promise of the glorious land (Ezek 20:6-20:7)

“On that day

I swore to them

That I would bring them

Out of the land

Of Egypt

Into a land

That I had searched out

For them.

This is a land flowing

With milk,

As well as honey.

This is the most glorious

Of all lands.

I said to them.

‘Cast away

The detestable things

Your eyes feast on!

Everyone of you!

Do not defile yourselves

With the idols of Egypt!

I am Yahweh

Your God!’”

Yahweh reminded Ezekiel that he had sworn to bring them out of the land of Egypt into a land that he had searched out for them. This new most glorious of all lands would be flowing with milk and honey. Yahweh, however, told them to cast away the detestable things that their eyes had feasted upon. They were not to defile themselves with the various Egyptian idols. After all, he was Yahweh, their God.

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.