Surrounded on every side (Lk 19:43-19:43)

“Indeed,

The days

Will come upon you,

When your enemies

Will set up ramparts

Around you.

They will hem you in

On every side.”

 

ὅτι ἥξουσιν ἡμέραι ἐπὶ σὲ καὶ παρεμβαλοῦσιν οἱ ἐχθροί σου χάρακά σοι καὶ περικυκλώσουσίν σε καὶ συνέξουσίν σε πάντοθεν,

 

Luke indicated that Jesus remarked that bad days were coming to Jerusalem (ὅτι ἥξουσιν ἡμέραι ἐπὶ σὲ).  Jesus said that it would come to them when their enemies would put up a barricade against them (καὶ παρεμβαλοῦσιν οἱ ἐχθροί σου χάρακά σοι).  They would surround them (καὶ περικυκλώσουσίν σε) so that they would be hemmed in on every side (καὶ συνέξουσίν σε πάντοθεν).  This is the only Greek biblical use of the word περικυκλώσουσίν that means to hem them in on every side, encircle, surround, or encompass.  Jesus was using the words and images of the ancient Israelite prophets against Jerusalem.  Isaiah, chapter 29:1-3, called Jerusalem Ariel, a symbolic name for Jerusalem and its altar.  Isaiah, warned Jerusalem about what was going to happen to it.  Yahweh was going to encamp against it and set up siege works against it.  They would be able to speak only from below the earth and the dust.  Their voices would be reduced to a whisper, like a ghost in the middle of this dust pile.  Jeremiah, chapter 6:6-8, warned Jerusalem that its enemies were going to cut down trees in order to make a ramp siege against Jerusalem, because this city needed to be punished.  There was nothing but oppression and wickedness within her.  Jerusalem was a place of violence and destruction with sickness and wounded people all around.  Yahweh was going to turn away in disgust against Jerusalem. Thus, it would become a desolate uninhabited land, if it did not heed his warning.  Ezekiel, chapter 4:1-3, also condemned Jerusalem with Ezekiel’s symbolic action.  A voice told Ezekiel to be an expert model Lego builder of the siege of Jerusalem.  Ezekiel, the son of man, was to take a brick and portray the city of Jerusalem.  He was to put the siege works with a siege wall against this city.  He was to put a ramp and camps against this city with battering rams all around it.  Then he was to take an iron plate and make an iron wall between himself and the city, looking at it.  Thus, there was a state of siege, a sign for the house of Israel.  Ezekiel was part of the exiles from 598 BCE before the taking of Jerusalem and the second captivity in 587 BCE.  Of course, here this was allusion to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE by the Roman soldiers putting down a revolution in Judea.  Luke would have known about this at the time of his writing.  Have you ever seen a city destroyed?

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The holy city is in disgrace (Dan 9:15-9:16)

“Now!

O Lord!

Our God!

You brought

Your people

Out of the land

Of Egypt

With a mighty hand.

You have made

Your name

Renowned

Even to this day.

We have sinned.

We have done wickedly.

O Lord!

In view of your righteous acts,

Let your anger,

Let your wrath,

We pray,

Turn away

From your city Jerusalem,

Your holy mountain.

Because of our sins,

Because of the iniquities

Of our ancestors,

Jerusalem

With your people

Have become a disgrace

Among all our neighbors.”

Daniel continued with this prayer to God, reminding him how he had brought them out of Egypt with a mighty hand. His name was renowned. However, they had sinned and done wicked things. Thus, God, the Lord, had a righteous anger and wrath. Daniel wanted God to turn away from the holy mountain, the city of Jerusalem, because it had become a disgrace to all its neighbors. Their sins and the iniquities of their ancestors have brought disgrace to Jerusalem and its people.

The conversion of the wicked ones (Ezek 33:14-33:16)

“Again,

Although I say

To the wicked!

‘You shall surely die!’

Yet if they turn

From their sin,

If they do

What is lawful,

What is right,

They shall surely live.

If the wicked ones restore

The pledge,

If they give back

What they have taken

By robbery,

They shall surely live.

If they walk

In the statutes of life,

If they commit no iniquity,

They shall surely live.

They shall not die.

None of the sins

That they have committed

Shall be remembered

Against them.

They have done

What is lawful.

They have done

What is right.

They shall surely live.”

This time, Yahweh turned to the wicked ones. They were going to die if they did not turn away from their sin. However, if they did what was lawful and right, they would surely live. If these wicked ones restored their debt pledges and gave back what they have stolen in their robberies, they would live. If they walked in the statutes of life, and did not commit any iniquity, they would live, not die. None of the sins that they had committed would be remembered against them. As long as they did what was lawful and right, they would surely live. There was hope for these wicked sinners.

Repent (Ezek 18:30-18:32)

“Repent!

Turn

From all your transgressions!

Otherwise iniquity

Will be your ruin!

Cast away

From you

All the transgressions

That you have committed

Against me!

Get yourselves

A new heart!

Get yourselves

A new spirit!

Why will you die?

O house of Israel!

I have no pleasure

In the death

Of anyone.

Turn then !

Live!’

Says Yahweh God.”

Yahweh had a simple solution. They were to repent and turn away from all their transgressions. Otherwise their iniquity would be their ruin. They had to cast away all the transgressions that they had committed against Yahweh. They needed a new heart and a new spirit. Why would they want to die? Yahweh told the house of Israel that he took no pleasure in killing people. They simply had to turn away from their evil ways. Then they would live.

The righteous become wicked (Ezek 18:24-18:24)

“But when the righteous

Turn away

From their righteousness,

Shall they live?

If they commit iniquity,

If they do

The same abominable things

That the wicked do,

Shall they live?

None of the righteous deeds

That they had done

Shall be remembered.

For the treachery

That they are guilty of,

As well as the sin

That they have committed,

They shall die.”

What happens if the righteous turn away from their righteousness, will they live? If they commit iniquity and do abominable things like the wicked do, will they live? None of their righteous deeds would be remembered. The guilty treacherous sins that they committed will bring them death.

The conversion of the wicked ones (Ezek 18:21-18:23)

“But if the wicked ones

Turn away

From all the sins

That they have committed,

They shall surely live.

If they keep

All my statutes,

They shall not die.

If they do

What is lawful,

What is right,

They shall surely live.

They shall not die.

None of the transgressions

That they have committed

Shall be remembered

Against them.

They shall live

Because of the righteousness

That they have done.

‘Have I any pleasure

In the death

Of the wicked?

I would rather

That they should turn

From their ways.

Then they would live.’

Says Yahweh God.”

What happens if wicked people turn away from all the sins that they have committed? They would live, if they kept all the statutes of Yahweh. If they did what was lawful and right, they would not die. None of their former transgressions would be remembered against them. They would live because of their righteousness. Yahweh did not take any pleasure in the death of the wicked ones. He would rather that they should turn from their evil ways, so that they would be able to live.

The end of the false prophetesses (Ezek 13:22-13:23)

“Because you have disheartened

The righteous falsely,

Although I have not

Disheartened them.

You have encouraged

The wicked

Not to turn from

Their wicked ways.

You have encouraged

The wicked

Not to save their lives.

Therefore you shall no longer

See false visions.

You shall no longer

Practice divination.

I will save my people

From your hand.

Then you will know

That I am Yahweh.”

Ezekiel concludes this little section on the false prophetesses with Yahweh condemning them. Strangely enough, it is not a death sentence. He merely chastised them for disheartening the righteous ones falsely. These prophetesses had not encouraged the wicked to turn away from their wicked ways. They made no attempt to save the lives of the wicked ones. Their punishment was rather simple. They would no longer have any visions or be allowed to practice divination. By the way, who would stop them? Yahweh would save his people from them. Once again, they would know that he was Yahweh, the God of Israel.