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.

Jerusalem’s renowned beauty (Ezek 16:13-16:14)

“‘Your clothing was

Of fine linen.

Your clothing was

Rich fabrics.

Your clothing was

Embroidered cloth.

You had choice flour.

You had honey.

You had oil.

You grew

Exceedingly beautiful.

You were fit

To be a queen.

Your fame spread

Among the nations

On account

Of your beauty.

It was perfect

Because of my splendor

That I had bestowed

On you.’

Says Yahweh God.”

Yahweh made sure that young Jerusalem had wonderful clothing to wear, such as fine linens, rich fabrics, and embroidered clothes. She also had fine foods to eat. She had choice flour, honey, and oil. Thus she grew exceedingly beautiful. She was fit to be a queen. Her fame spread far and wide because of her perfect beauty. Why was she so beautiful? Well, Yahweh gave her his perfect splendor. So ends the story of the young maiden Jerusalem growing up to become very beautiful.

Gifts of jewelry (Ezek 16:11-16:13)

“I adorned you

With ornaments.

I put bracelets

On your arms.

I put a chain

On your neck.

I put a ring

On your nose,

I put earrings

In your ears.

I put a beautiful crown

Upon your head.

You were adorned

With gold.

You were adorned

With silver.”

Yahweh gave young Jerusalem all kinds of jewelry. He gave her bracelets for her arms. He put a chain on her neck. He also put a ring in her nose. See, rings in the nose are ornamental. He also put earrings in her ears with a beautiful crown on her head. She was all adorned with gold and silver. This young girl had all this fine jewelry to wear.

Taking care of Jerusalem (Ezek 16:9-16:10)

“Then I bathed you

With water.

I washed off

The blood from you.

I anointed you

With oil.

I clothed you also

With embroidered cloth.

I gave you sandals

Of fine leather.

I bound you

In fine linen.

I covered you

With a rich fabric.”

Yahweh continued to take care of this young girl Jerusalem. He gave her a bath. He washed off her blood. He anointed her with fine oil. He clothed her with hand crafted clothes. He gave her leather sandals for her feet. He gave her linen and rich fabric clothes to wear. She seemed to get only the best available items and care.

These false gods and robbers (Bar 6:57-6:58)

“Gods made of wood,

Overlaid

With silver

Or gold,

Are unable

To save themselves

From thieves

Or robbers.

Anyone,

Who can,

Will strip them

Of their gold

Or silver.

They will strip them

Of the robes

They wear.

They will go off

With this booty.

These gods

Will not be able

To help themselves.”

This author says that these wooden gods, overlaid with silver or gold, are unable to save themselves from thieves or robbers. Anyone can strip away their gold or silver. Anyone can take the robes that these gods wear. These robbers can vandalize and take things from these gods, because they are not able to help themselves.

These gods have no feeling (Bar 6:24-6:26)

“As for the gold

That these idol gods wear

For beauty,

It will not shine

Unless someone

Wipes off the tarnish.

Even when

They were being cast,

They had no feeling.

They are bought

Without regard to cost.

But there is no breath

In them.

Having no feet,

They are carried

On the shoulders of others.

They reveal

To all humans

Their worthlessness.”

This author’s diatribe against the false idols continues with an accusation that these idols have no feelings. They wear gold for beauty, but it will not shine unless someone else wipes off its tarnish. As these idols were cast in an iron furnace, they had no feelings while this was going on. However, money is not a problem with creating these idols. Even so, these expensive idol images have no breath and no feet. They have to be carried on the shoulders of others. Thus they reveal to everyone that they are worthless.

The threat of Yahweh (Jer 27:8-27:8)

“‘But if any nation or kingdom

Will not serve this king,

Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon,

I will punish that nation or kingdom.

If they will not put their necks

Under the yoke

Of the king of Babylon,

I will punish that nation

With the sword,

With famine,

With pestilence,

Until I have completed

Its destruction

By his hand.’

Says Yahweh.”

In this oracle of Yahweh, via Jeremiah, if any country would not serve King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon (605-562 BCE), Yahweh was going to punish them. If they were not willing to wear the yoke of the Babylonian king, Yahweh would punish them either by the sword, famine, or pestilence. This punishment would exist as long as it took for the Babylonian king to destroy them. This was a clear mandate of Yahweh in favor of the good King Nebuchadnezzar. Those who rebelled against him would be punished.