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5:1"As for you,
use it as a
razor on your
divide the hair.
Literal: And thou, son
of man, take to thee a sharp weapon, the barber's razor thou dost take to
thee, and thou hast caused it to pass over thy head, and over thy beard, and
thou hast taken to thee weighing scales, and apportioned them.
English of Greek Septuagint:
And thou, son of man, take thee a sword sharper than a barber's razor; thou
shalt procure it for thyself, and shalt bring it upon thine head, and upon
thy beard: and thou shalt take a pair of scales, and shalt separate the
one, you are to take a sharp sword and use it as a barber’s razor,a applying
it all over the hair of your head and beard. Then take scales to weigh it,
and divide it up.
AS FOR YOU, SON OF MAN, TAKE A SHARP SWORD. TAKE AND USE IT AS A BARBER'S
RAZOR ON YOUR HEAD AND BEARD:
4:1–3 Ezekiel had portrayed the role of God the divine punisher (4:3 "set
your face toward it so that it is under siege, and besiege" Jerusalem)
and we see him do so again, by being the one who does the shaving. On the
other hand, by being the one shaved, Ezekiel portrays the people in the city
as he represented them earlier (4:9–12, 14–17).
(chereb) is the common word for this ancient weapon of war and is
used 79 times (Click
for all 79)
by Ezekiel (out of a total of 413 OT uses) to describe the mode of
destruction of various lands: Jerusalem (6:11),
and Gog (38:21).
it...on your head and beard"
Ordinarily the Jews allowed their hair to
grow long, and was only cut at intervals (cf Absalom annual haircut in 2Sa
14:26). Nazarites (Ezekiel was not a Nazarite) however were
completely forbidden to use
Jdg 13:5). On the other hand when a Levite
was were consecrated he was shaved all over with a razor (Nu
Ps 52:2). But these references would have
no parallel in the present use. There are other Scriptural allusions to
shaving that would help understand the significance of this sign. For
example, shaving one's head was often a sign of mourning (Deut
Priests (Ezekiel was a priest) were not to "make any baldness on their
heads, nor shave off the edges of their beards, nor make any cuts in their
One of the qualifications of the priests in the future millennial temple was
to "not shave their heads, yet they shall not let their locks grow long;
they shall only trim the hair of their heads." (Ezek
44:20) . Shaving one's head was also considered an act of
humiliation as suggested by
Ezek 7:18 (referring to the fall of Jerusalem) "And
they will gird themselves with sackcloth, and shuddering will overwhelm
them; and shame will be on all faces, and baldness on all their heads."
beard was held in high respect and greatly valued in the East and the
possessor considered it as his greatest ornament, often swore by it; and, in
matters of great importance, pledged it and nothing can be more secure than
such a pledge for its owner will redeem it at the hazard of his life. The
beard was never cut off but in mourning, or as a sign of slavery. In
Leviticus God said "You shall not round off the side-growth of your
heads, nor harm the edges of your
It was customary to shave the Ottoman princes, as a mark of their subjection
to the reigning emperor. The beard was a mark of authority and liberty among
Muslims and among ancient Arabs, it was more infamous for anyone to appear
with his beard cut off, than to be publicly whipped or branded; and many
would prefer death to such a punishment. Scripture records that it was
a great embarrassment and insult when Hanun, king of the Ammonites, cut off
the half of the beards of the Israelites whom David had sent to him (2Sa
10:4). Thus you can begin to get a picture of the
significance of Ezekiel's acts before the on looking exiles.
The “razor” was the symbol of the
devastation wrought by an invading army (Isa
7:20), Isaiah prophesying to the northern kingdom declared that "In
that day the Lord will shave with a razor, hired from regions beyond the
Euphrates (that is, with the king of Assyria), the head and the hair of the
legs; and it will also remove the beard."
Leviticus had forbidden its use for the head
and beard of the priests (Leviticus 19:27;21:5). Once again Ezekiel is
commanded to do a forbidden thing as a symbolic act. He is, for the
moment, the representative of the people of Jerusalem, and there is to be,
as of old, a great destruction of that people as “by a razor that is hired.”
THEN TAKE SCALES FOR WEIGHING AND DIVIDE THE
refers to a set of scales (depicted below), which was an implement for
weighing which consisted of two balance pans with a standardized weight in
one pan and the object to be weighed in the other. The
of each aspect of God's judgment. Using a similar figure, Daniel explaining
the meaning of the handwriting on the wall to the Babylonian king Belshazzar
interpreted "'TEKEL" as
meaning "you have been weighed on the
scales and found deficient." (Da5:27)
In this "sign" Ezekiel
himself portrays the role of the Jewish nation and his hair specifically
symbolizes the people. The
sword (note the use of a
of a razor emphasizes the effect)
portrays the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem at the end of the18 month
siege. The cutting of the hair, speaks of the calamities and disgrace coming
upon them and as explained by God in verse 12.
third you shall
burn in the
fire at the
center of the
city, when the
days of the
completed. Then you shall
strike it with the
around the city, and
third you shall
scatter to the
wind; and I will
Literal: A third part
with fire thou dost burn in the midst of the city, at the fulness of the
days of the siege; and thou hast taken the third part, thou dost smite with
a weapon round about it; and the third part thou dost scatter to the wind,
and a weapon I draw out after them.
English of Greek Septuagint:
A fourth part thou shalt burn in the fire in the midst of the city, at the
fulfillment of the days of the siege: and thou shalt take a fourth part, and
burn it up in the midst of it: and a fourth part thou shalt cut with a sword
round about it: and a fourth part thou shalt scatter to the wind; and I will
draw out a sword after them.
A third part
you are to burn in flames inside the city, when the period of representing
the siege is over; another third you are to cut up with your sword all round
the city; and the remaining third you are to disperse to the wind. I will
chase after them with drawn sword.
ONE THIRD YOU SHALL BURN IN THE FIRE AT THE CENTER OF THE CITY, WHEN THE
DAYS OF THE SIEGE ARE COMPLETED:
THEN YOU SHALL TAKE ONE THIRD AND STRIKE IT
WITH THE SWORD ALL AROUND THE CITY, AND ONE THIRD YOU SHALL SCATTER TO THE
WIND; AND I WILL UNSHEATHE A SWORD BEHIND THEM:
This symbolic act could represent
defilement, for a priest could "not make any baldness on their heads, nor
shave off the edges of their beards, nor make any cuts in their flesh."
Shaving all hair was also a forbidden pagan rite in honor of the dead —in this case, the death of the sinful nation.
The hair itself symbolized the
inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the way in which Jeremiah disposed of it
represented their fates.
Matthew Henry says referring to stubborn, rebellious Israel "Those will
be ruined that will not be reformed."
"Take also a
number from them and
bind them in the
edges of your robes
Literal: And thou hast
taken thence a few in number -- and hast bound them in thy skirts;
English of Greek Septuagint:
And thou shalt take thence a few in number, and shalt wrap them in the fold
of thy garment.
Then take a
small amount of it and wrap it in your skirt,
TAKE ALSO A FEW IN NUMBER FROM THEM AND BIND THEM IN THE EDGES
OF YOUR ROBES
some of them and
throw them into the
burn them in the
fire; from it a
Literal: and of them
thou dost take again, and hast cast them unto the midst of the fire, and
hast burned them in the fire -- out of it cometh forth a fire unto all the
house of Israel.
English of Greek Septuagint:
And thou shalt take of these again, and cast them into the midst of the
fire, and burn them up with fire: from thence shall come forth fire; and
thou shalt say to the whole house of Israel,
but some of
this you are to take again and throw into the fire and burn it up. Out of it
fire will come to the whole community of Israel.
TAKE AGAIN SOME OF THEM AND THROW THEM INTO THE FIRE
AND BURN THEM IN THE FIRE:
25 But it came
about in the seventh month, that Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, the son of
Elishama, of the royal family, came with ten men and struck Gedaliah down so
that he died along with the Jews and the Chaldeans who were with him at
FROM IT A FIRE WILL SPREAD TO ALL THE HOUSE OF
Jerusalem; I have
set her at the
center of the
Literal: Thus said the
Lord Jehovah: this is Jerusalem, In the midst of the nations I have set her,
And round about her are the lands.
English of Greek Septuagint:
Thus saith the Lord; This is Jerusalem: I have set her and the countries
round about her in the midst of the nations.
Yahweh’s message is as follows: This refers to Jerusalem, which I have put
at the center of the other nations, with other countries surrounding it.
THUS SAYS THE LORD GOD, 'THIS IS JERUSALEM:
When the time (God's time) was right, God opened Ezekiel's mouth to speak
and he spoke exactly as directed in
Ezek 3:27 where God said "I will open
your mouth and you will say to them 'Thus says the Lord God."
I HAVE SET HER AT THE CENTER OF
THE NATIONS, WITH LANDS AROUND HER:
of the nations" Modern
computer studies have shown that Jerusalem is, indeed, very near the
geographical center of all the earth's land areas and, therefore, the "center
of the nations". Later Ezekiel (Ezek
38:14) refers to those who
live at Jerusalem as those "who live at the
(navel) of the world." Why does God make this geographical point? God had
called Israel to be a light to the nations and placed her strategically in
their midst to facilitate the fulfillment of her calling. Yet she rebelled
and rejected her "yoke" of responsibility.
In Deuteronomy God had instructed Israel
to "Faithfully obey these laws. This will show the people of the world
your wisdom and insight. When they hear about all these laws, they will say,
"What wise and insightful people there are in this great nation!" (New
Living Translation) (Dt4:6)
Believers are given a similar charge by Jesus who reminds us that our
purpose is to be "the salt of the earth but if the salt has become
tasteless, how will it be made salty again? It is good for nothing anymore,
except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. You are the light of
the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp,
and put it under the peck-measure, but on the lampstand; and it gives light
to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way
that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven."
Are you redeeming the time, letting your light shine? Or have you lost your
savor like Israel and in danger of being thrown out and trampled under foot
by men? As
MacDonald says "We
as Christians have even higher privileges than the Jews. May the Lord give
us grace not to misuse them and thus bring about our own temporal judgment
and loss of eternal rewards! "
Later in Ezekiel, God reminds
Jerusalem of the advantages she received and how her "fame went forth
among the nations on account of your beauty, for it was perfect because of
My splendor which I bestowed on you," declares the Lord GOD." (Ezek
Matthew Henry notes that "Jerusalem
was not situated in a remote obscure corner of the world, far from
neighbors, but in the midst of kingdoms that were populous, polite, and
civilized, famed for learning, arts, and sciences, and which then made the
greatest figure in the world...Jerusalem
was designed to have a good influence upon the nations and countries round
about, was set in the midst of them as a candle upon a candlestick,
to spread the light of divine revelation, which she was blessed with,
to all the dark corners of the neighboring nations, that from them it might
diffuse itself further, even to the ends of the earth.
was set in the midst of the nations, to be as the heart in the body, to
invigorate this dead world with a divine life as well as to enlighten this
dark world with a divine light, to be an example of every thing that was
good." Specifically in regard
to God's statutes and judgments Israel was to "observe them carefully,
for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the (surrounding
Gentile, pagan, idolatrous, lost) nations, who will hear about all these
decrees and say, "Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding
4:6) Henry goes on to
observe that "had they preserved this reputation and made a right use of
it, what a blessing would
Jerusalem have been to all
the nations about! ...Note, When places and persons are made great, it is
with design that they may do good and that those about them may be the
better for them, that their light may shine before men."
Are others "better off" for having been in your presence this week?
Peter wrote that "judgment (would) begin with the household of God" (1Pe4:17)
and here we see God beginning with the center of revealed religion,
Jerusalem site of His temple, the pride and glory of the Jews.
Richards notes that "Ezekiel’s dramatic and strange actions had been the
talk of the community. But the prophet had to explain their meaning. There
is a school of Christian thought which assumes that if a believer lives a
good life, his acts are sufficient witness to the world. Without words any
act of witness is liable to be misunderstood." (The Bible
reader's companion. Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books)
5:6 'But she has
surround her; for they have
ordinances and have not
walked in My
Literal: And she
changeth My judgments into wickedness more than the nations, And My statutes
more than the lands that are round about her, For against My judgments they
have kicked, And My statutes -- they have not walked in them.
English of Greek Septuagint:
And thou shalt declare mine ordinances to the lawless one from out of the
nations; and my statutes to the sinful one of the countries round about her:
because they have rejected mine ordinances, and have not walked in my
But it has
wickedly rebelled against my standards more than the other nations, and
against my rulings more than the countries around it, in that they have
rejected my standards and failed to follow my rules.
BUT SHE HAS REBELLED AGAINST MY ORDINANCES MORE WICKEDLY THAN THE NATIONS
AND AGAINST MY STATUTES MORE THAN THE LANDS WHICH SURROUND HER:
HAVE REJECTED MY ORDINANCES AND HAVE NOT WALKED IN MY STATUTES:
Zec7:1)"she has spurned my ordinances
and has not lived by my statutes." (NAB)
6 and 7 represent God’s accusation against His Jerusalem's (who represented
the people therein) rebellion against His holy "ordinances"
and conformed to the standards of pagan nations. Their rebellion was not a
result of unwitting failure, but a sin against God's clear revelation in the
'Because you have
surround you and have not
walked in My
ordinances of the
thus said the Lord Jehovah: Because of your multiplying above the nations
that are around you, In My statutes ye have not walked, And My judgments ye
have not done, According to the judgments of the nations That are round
about you ye have not done.
English of Greek Septuagint:
Therefore thus saith the Lord, Because your occasion for sin has been taken
from the nations round about you, and ye have not walked in my statutes, nor
kept mine ordinances, nay, ye have not even done according to the ordinances
of the nations round about you; therefore thus saith the Lord;
is the message of the Lord Yahweh: Inasmuch as you have been more insolent
than the nations around you, failing to follow my rules or put my standards
into practice or even to meet the standards of the nations around you,
"So this is what
the Almighty LORD says: <People of Jerusalem,> you have caused more trouble
than the nations around you. You haven't lived by my laws or obeyed my
rules. You haven't even lived up to the standards of the nations around you.
THEREFORE, THUS SAYS THE LORD GOD, 'BECAUSE YOU HAVE MORE TURMOIL THAN THE
NATIONS WHICH SURROUND YOU AND HAVE NOT WALKED IN MY STATUTES, NOR OBSERVED
"You caused more confusion than the nations around you" (ICB), "ye
have been turbulent more than the nations that are round about you"
(Darby) "For this cause the Lord has said: Because you have been more
uncontrolled than the nations round about you, and have not been guided by
my rules or kept my orders" (BBE), "Because you have surpassed the
Gentiles that are round about you," (DRA)
NOR OBSERVED THE ORDINANCES OF THE NATIONS WHICH SURROUND YOU:
"You have not even conformed to the standards of the nations around you"
"and have not even acted according to the rules of
the nations that are all around you" (ESV) "since you do not respect
even the observances of the surrounding nations," (NJB)
kept the orders of the nations round about you" (BBE)
observed the ordinances of the nations which surround you"
God's point is that not only had they failed to fulfill their calling to be
a light to the other nations, they had even "outsinned" the
reminds us that "The
judgments of God are always relative to light and privilege granted. Since
Ezekiel’s people were unique in their disobedience, they were to be
outstanding in their punishment."
MacDonald draws a pithy application from
the fact that in spite of Israel's greater privileges, she acted even more
wickedly than the surrounding nations: "We as Christians have even higher
privileges than the Jews. May the Lord give us grace not to misuse them and
thus bring about our own temporal judgment and loss of eternal rewards!"
even I, am
against you, and I will
among you in the
sight of the
thus said the Lord Jehovah: Lo, I am against thee, even I, And I have done
in thy midst judgments, Before the eyes of the nations.
English of Greek Septuagint:
Behold, I am against thee, and I will execute judgement in the midst of thee
in the sight of the nations.
Lord Yahweh’s message is as follows: I for my part am your adversary; I will
carry out acts of judgment inside you in full view of the nations.
THEREFORE, THUS SAYS THE LORD GOD, 'BEHOLD, I, EVEN I, AM AGAINST YOU:
is frightful verse - the Almighty taking an oath swearing His unwavering
attitude of justice against Judah.
short but powerful phrase "against
is found 27x (click
for all uses) in Ezekiel with God usually the subject and Judah
most often being the recipient but in several instances referring to the
Leviticus God through His prophet Moses had warned Israel "if you do not
obey Me and do not carry out all these commandments, if, instead, you reject
My statutes, and if your soul abhors My ordinances so as not to carry out
all My commandments, and so break My covenant...I
will set My face against you
so that you shall be struck down before your enemies; and those who hate you
shall rule over you, and you shall flee when no one is pursuing you."(Lev26:14ff)
Levitcus 26 where God continues this
dreadful litany of warnings over the succeeding 26 verses.
Jeremiah in answer to King Zedekiah's inquiry, God says that He is bringing
the king of Babylon into the heart of Jerusalem explaining that "I Myself
with an outstretched
hand and a mighty arm, even in anger and wrath and great indignation."
21:13) In his lamentation
WILL EXECUTE JUDGMENTS AMONG YOU IN THE SIGHT OF THE NATIONS:
is a key phrase in Ezekiel where it is used 10 times (out of only 14 total
OT uses) (click
here for all 10) and three of the uses are in chapter 5. Note
also that in this chapter, "I will" occurs 13 times in 9 verses,
leaving little doubt about God's personal, active involvement in the
exercise of these judgments.
the sight of the nations"
("in front of the nations" = GWT), "Before the eyes of the nations"
(YLT), "in your midst in the sight of the nations" (NKJV), "and
the nations will watch" (ICB)
conclusion of the building of the first Temple, God appeared to King Solomon
and warned him that "if you or your sons shall indeed turn away from
following Me, and shall not keep My commandments and My statutes which I
have set before you and shall go and serve other gods and worship them, then
I will cut off Israel from the land which I have given them, and the house
which I have consecrated for My name, I will cast out of My sight. So
Israel will become a proverb and a byword among all peoples. And this
house will become a heap of ruins; everyone who passes by will be
astonished and hiss and say, 'Why has the LORD done thus to this land and to
this house?' And they will say, 'Because they forsook the LORD their God,
who brought their fathers out of the land of Egypt, and adopted other gods
and worshiped them and served them, therefore the LORD has brought all this
adversity on them.'" (1 Ki9:6-9)
And so as the New Living Translation phrases this section "I will
punish you publicly while all the nations watch". Jeremiah adds that
will pass by this city; and
will say to one another, 'Why has the LORD done thus to this great city?'
Then they will answer, 'Because they forsook the covenant of the LORD their
God and bowed down to other gods and served them.'"
abominations, I will
do among you
what I have not
done, and the
which I will
Literal: And I have
done in thee that which I have not done, And that which I do not its like
again, Because of all thine abominations.
English of Greek Septuagint:
And I will do in thee things which I have not done, and the like of which I
will not do again, for all thine abominations.
I will do in
you what I have never done before and will not do again, because of all your
AND BECAUSE OF ALL YOUR ABOMINATIONS, I WILL DO AMONG YOU WHAT I HAVE NOT
DONE, AND THE LIKE OF WHICH I WILL NEVER DO AGAIN:
here for discussion of abominations &
41/118 OT uses in Ezekiel,
See also verse 11 below)
will do among you what I have not done before"
Daniel speaking of
the 70 year Babylonian exile records that God "has confirmed His words
which He had spoken against us and against our rulers who ruled us, to bring
on us great calamity; for under the whole heaven there has not been done
anything like what was done to Jerusalem." (Da 9:12)
like of which I will never do again"
prophecy was partially fulfilled in the Babylonian siege and sacking of
Jerusalem in 586BC, and then again in the destruction of Jerusalem and the
Temple in 70AD and will be completely fulfilled in the last three and one
half years of the seven year period often referred to as the "tribulation"
as predicted by Jesus Who said that "then there will be a great
tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the
world until now, nor ever shall." (Mt24:21)
among you, and
fathers; for I will
judgments on you and
fathers do eat sons in thy midst, And sons eat their fathers, And I have
done in thee judgments, And have scattered all thy remnant to every wind.
English of Greek Septuagint:
Therefore the fathers shall eat their children in the midst of thee, and
children shall eat their fathers; and I will execute judgments in thee, and
I will scatter all that are left of thee to every wind.
so parents will
eat children inside you, and children will eat their parents. I will carry
out acts of judgment in you and disperse all those of you who are left to
FATHERS WILL EAT THEIR SONS AMONG YOU, AND SONS WILL EAT THEIR FATHERS:
God had warned Israel that
if they did not obey Him they would be force to "eat the flesh of your
sons and the flesh of your daughters you shall eat." (Lev26:29 cf
"Then you shall eat the offspring of your own body, the flesh of your
sons and of your daughters whom the LORD your God has given you, during the
siege and the distress by which your enemy shall oppress you.")
This was literally fulfilled at the siege of Jerusalem. Josephus gives a
dreadful detail respecting a woman named Mary, who, in the extremity of the
famine, during the siege, killed her sucking child, roasted, and had eaten
part of it, when discovered by the soldiers! (War VI, 15-32 [3-4]) The
horrors of ancient sieges are matched perhaps only by the modern siege of
Leningrad in World War II. There also cannibalism occurred. There are
biblical references to these horrors in the sieges of Samaria (2 Ki6:29)
Jeremiah records the post-mortem on the siege of Jerusalem writing that "The
hands of compassionate women boiled their own children. They became food for
them Because of the destruction of the daughter of my people." (Lam4:10)
Richards comments that "Again we sense
the horror of sin, not so much by the listing of evils, but by descriptions
of the punishments Judah would experience. As the desperate people of
Jerusalem turned to cannibalism, eating even members of their own families,
we sense a revulsion that captures something of God’s feelings about the
acts of sin which led to these terrible consequences. If you and I fail to
be horrified at sin itself, and draw back, God will horrify us with the
punishment our sins bring!" (Richards, L. O. The 365 day
devotional commentary. Wheaton: Victor Books)
I WILL EXECUTE JUDGMENTS ON YOU AND SCATTER ALL YOUR REMNANT TO EVERY WIND:
here for "execute judgment" in all 10 verses in Ezekiel;
all your remnant to every wind"
prophecy was partially fulfilled with the fall of Jerusalem in 586BC, Jesus
predicted that it would Jerusalem and its inhabitants would "fall by the
edge of the sword, and...be led captive into all the nations; and
Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of
the Gentiles be fulfilled." Many believe that the times
of the Gentiles began with the fall of Jerusalem in 586BC and these
"times of the Gentile" domination will last until the events in
Revelation 11 which indicate that "the nations (Gentiles)...will
tread under foot the holy city (Jerusalem) for forty-two months."
here refers to a physical remnant and not necessarily a spiritual remnant of
Jews who trust in Messiah for their salvation as alluded to in (Ezek6:8)
because you have
idols and with
abominations, therefore I will
withdraw, and My
pity and I will not
Literal: Therefore, I
live -- an affirmation of the Lord Jehovah: Because My sanctuary thou hast
defiled, With all thy detestable things, And with all thine abominations,
Mine eye pitieth not, and I also spare not. Do not even I also diminish?
English of Greek Septuagint:
Therefore, as I live, saith the Lord; surely, because thou hast defiled my
holy things with all thine abominations, I also will reject thee; mine eye
shall not spare, land I will have no mercy.
swear on my life, runs the Lord Yahweh’s oracle: because you have defiled my
sanctuary with all your detestable objects of worship and with all your
other shocking practices, I for my part will resort to shearing, with no
pitying glance or personal compassion.
SO AS I LIVE,'
DECLARES THE LORD GOD:
I live" expresses
a solemn oath in which God pledges His very existence as
assurance that the prophecy will be fulfilled. This same phrase (as I live)
is found 16 times in Ezekiel (click
God is swearing
an oath based upon Himself much like He did when Israel liberated from
Egyptian bondage tested and tried Him in the wilderness even though they had
seen His mighty acts. As a result God loathed this generation for 40 years
and described them as "a people who err in their heart and they do not
know My ways." Then He swore in His anger and said "Truly
they shall not enter into My rest." (Ps95)
There can be no oath greater than that which the LORD God Himself declares "for
when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one
greater, He swore by Himself." (Heb6:13)
'SURELY BECAUSE YOU HAVE DEFILED MY SANCTUARY WITH
ALL YOUR DETESTABLE IDOLS AND WITH ALL YOUR ABOMINATIONS:
(tame) refers to that which is unclean, polluted, profaned or
desecrated in a religious, ritual or moral sense. For example, birth,
menstruation, emissions from the body, leprosy, sexual relations, contact
with death could cause personal uncleanness but idolatry was
by far the most serious type of uncleanness for it was associated with not
just an external problem but an internal or heart problem. Tame
is used primarily in Leviticus describing things that were unclean,
but the next most frequent use is in the book of Ezekiel (Click
for the 28 uses).
When told to cook his bread over human dung Ezekiel himself had appealed to
God that he had "never been
2 Chronicles 36 summarizes
Judah's defilement of God's holy place and her stubborn disobedience
recording that "all the officials of the priests and the people were very
unfaithful following all the
of the nations; and they
of the LORD
which He had sanctified in Jerusalem. And the LORD, the God of their
fathers, sent word to them again and again by His messengers, because He had
compassion on His people and on His dwelling place but they continually
the messengers of God,
His words and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose
against His people,
until there was no remedy."
(shiqquwts; shiqquts [Click
for 8/28 OT uses in Ezekiel] from shaqats = to be filthy,
to loathe, pollute, abhor, make abominable, detest) is a strong word and by
using such an intense word God wanted His people to recognize the extreme
seriousness and wickedness of this sin, however attractive and popular it
might have been among the majority. God's own people need to view sin from
God's perspective. How are you viewing your sin? Do you view it as
or disgusting and filthy? Shiqquts is often used by itself to describe idols
(as in this verse of idols - there is no separate Hebrew word here for
"idols"). That which is
denotes that which is particularly offensive to the moral sense, the
religious feeling, or the natural inclination of the soul. For example
Solomon although filled with wisdom choose to go "after Milcom (whose
"worship" involved child sacrifice) the
of the Ammonites."
Ezekiel uses this same
Hebrew word (shiqquts) in a similar context in Chapter 7, where God
says that Judah has "transformed the beauty of His ornaments (Hebrew
is singular - ornament - not plural and the Temple treasures they were
making into pagan idols!) into pride, and they made the images of their
abominations and their
with it; therefore I will make it an abhorrent thing to them."
Keyword in Ezekiel - click for 41/118 OT in Ezekiel)
refers to an object which is loathsome and abhorrent. For more
detailed discussion of the
Hebrew word (tow'ebah)
on this website
Although many kings of Judah were guilty of the charges in Ezekiel 5:11,
Manasseh (who reigned almost one century prior to this Ezekiel's prophecy)
proved himself one of the worst of the worst, Scripture recording that "he
reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem...and he did evil in the sight of the
LORD, according to the abominations of the nations whom the LORD
dispossessed before the sons of Israel. For he rebuilt the high places
which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; and he erected altars for
Baal and made an Asherah, as Ahab king of Israel had done, and
worshiped all the host of heaven and served them. And he built altars
in the house of the LORD,
of which the LORD had said, "In Jerusalem I will put My name." For he built
altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the
house of the LORD.
And he made his son pass through the fire, practiced witchcraft
and used divination, and dealt with mediums and spiritists.
He did much evil in the sight of the LORD provoking Him to anger.
Then he set the carved image of Asherah
(fertility figures associated with "impure" acts of so called "worship")
that he had made, in the
house of which the LORD
said to David and to his son Solomon, "In this house and in Jerusalem, which
I have chosen from all the tribes of Israel, I will put My name forever.
"And I will not make the feet of Israel wander anymore from the land which I
gave their fathers, if only they will observe to do according to all that I
have commanded them, and according to all the law that My servant Moses
commanded them." But they did not listen, and Manasseh seduced them to do
evil more than the nations whom the LORD destroyed before the sons of
Israel." (2 Ki 21)
THEREFORE I WILL
ALSO WITHDRAW, AND MY EYE WILL HAVE NO PITY AND I WILL NOT SPARE:
Later in Ezekiel God explains that these actions will bring about a specific
effect declaring that 'My eye will have no
on you nor shall I spare
you, but I shall bring your ways upon you and your
will be among you;
you will know that I am the LORD!'
7:9 cf "pity"
& spare" in
Although again and again in Ezekiel God reminds the people He will not
them, Malachi breathes a ray of hope into this otherwise grave prognosis,
declaring that when God's purging is finished (ultimately at the end of the
the time of "Jacob's distress"
Israel "will be Mine," says the LORD of hosts, "on the day that I prepare
My own (treasured)
possession and I will
them as a man
his own son who serves him."
The godly remnant (Click
Ezek 6:8 discussion of "remnant") will belong to
Him and will be His special treasure. And so in the midst of judgment,
Jehovah will spare the god fearing (Messiah receiving
Jewish remnant for "Just as a father has compassion on his children, so
Jehovah has compassion on those who fear Him." (Ps103:13).
And how is it possible for God to spare those who do not deserve sparing?
Paul explains that "He who did not
His own Son, but delivered Him up for (on our behalf) us all, how
will He not also with Him freely give us all things?"
third of you will
plague or be
fall by the
around you, and
third I will
wind, and I will
Literal: Thy third
part -- by pestilence they die, And by famine are consumed in thy midst, And
the third part, by sword they fall round about thee, And the third part, to
every wind I scatter, And a sword I draw out after them.
English of Greek Septuagint:
A fourth part of thee shall be cut off by pestilence, and a fourth part of
thee shall be consumed in the midst of thee with famine: and as for another
fourth part of thee, I will scatter them to every wind; and a fourth part of
thee shall fall by sword round about thee, and I will draw out a sword after
A third of you
will die of plague or perish of famine inside you, another third will fall
to the sword around you, while the remaining third I will disperse to every
wind and chase after them with drawn sword.
ONE THIRD OF YOU WILL DIE BY PLAGUE OR BE CONSUMED BY FAMINE AMONG YOU:
God explains that in verse 2 ("One third you shall burn in the fire at
the center of the city, when the days of the siege are completed") the "one
third...in the fire" is those who "will die by plague or be consumed
by famine" and reiterates this verdict in
ONE THIRD WILL FALL BY THE SWORD AROUND YOU, : (6:8;
Jeremiah's prophecy echoes this prophecy, God declaring "I will scatter
them among the nations, whom neither they nor their fathers have known; and
I will send the sword after them until I have annihilated (but He
"will not execute a complete destruction" see
them." (Jer 9:16)
AND ONE THIRD I WILL SCATTER TO EVERY WIND
AND I WILL UNSHEATHE A SWORD BEHIND THEM:
This was in one sense fulfilled in
the destruction of those who retired to Egypt (Jeremiah recorded "that
the sword, which you are afraid of will overtake you there in the land of
44:27) but as often with prophetic
passages, there is another sense in which the "unsheathed sword" continued
to pursue them as has been remarkably
verified in the many pogroms and holocausts which the Jews have suffered
over the last two millennia, not just under Hitler but in various other countries into which they
were dispersed after the Roman siege and destruction of Herod's Temple in
Amos wrote that "though they go into
captivity before their enemies, from there I will command the sword that it
slay them, and I will set My eyes against them for evil and not for good."
Through His prophet Moses Jehovah had
warned Israel declaring to her "You, however, I will scatter among the
nations and will draw out a sword after you, as your land becomes desolate
and your cities become waste. Then the land will enjoy its sabbaths all the
days of the desolation, while you are in your enemies' land; then the land
will rest and enjoy its sabbaths." (Lev 26:33,
Up to this point, God had chastened the
people in their land, but He soon would remove them from
the land. In 722 B.C., the Assyrians took captive ("scattered") the Northern
Kingdom of Israel; and then in 586 B.C., the Babylonians would complete the
scattering as they captured Jerusalem and Judah. The seventy years of
Babylonian Captivity allowed the land to rest and “enjoy her sabbaths”
During 490 years Israel failed to give the land its sabbaths. That means the
land missed seventy sabbath years. The people of Israel thought they were
getting by with it, but finally God said it was enough. If they wouldn’t
give the land its sabbaths, God would and so He scattered them out of the
land for seventy years. How accurate are God's scales of just retribution!
The Lord would mercifully bring back a physical remnant of Jews to the land
after the Babylonian exile, but Judah never regained her former power or
glory. Except for short periods of freedom, such as under the Maccabees, the
Jews were destined to always be under the control ("a sword behind them")
of some foreign power. As noted above, the ultimate dispersion (scattering)
of the Jews among the nations was in 70AD and as Moses recorded "among
those nations you shall find no rest, and there shall be no resting place
for the sole of your foot; but there the LORD will give you a trembling
heart, failing of eyes, and despair of soul." (Dt 28:65)
God explains later that
this dispersion or scattering is not without purpose, declaring specifically
to King Zedekiah that "I shall scatter to every wind all who are around
him, his helpers and all his troops; and I shall draw out a sword after
them. So they will know that I am the LORD when I scatter them among
the nations, and spread them among the countries." (Ezek