Bible Commentary for Ezekiel 24 thru Ezekiel 40
Ezekiel Chapter 24
In the ninth year of the exile, on the tenth day of the tenth month, Jehovah told Ezekiel to record this date for posterity because it was the day that King Nebuchadnezzar began the siege of Jerusalem. This is also the ninth year of the reign of King Zedekiah. (Jeremiah 39:1; 52:4)) Ezekiel is to recite a parable to the house of Israel concerning the fate of Jerusalem. Jehovah told him to put on the cooking pot, put water in it, then put the choice parts of the meat, the shoulder and leg, in it and boil them. There should be plenty of wood beneath the pot so that the bones would be well cooked.
Jehovah explains that the pot is encrusted with deposits that cannot be removed and represents Jerusalem a city of bloodshed. The pot is to emptied piece by piece without any favoritism being shown and everything that was left in it will be taken away into captivity. Jerusalem had shed much blood in her midst and she did not try to cover it over by pouring it on the ground but allowed it to be exposed upon bare rocks where it cried out to Jehovah to avenge it. (Genesis 4:10; Leviticus 17:13, 14) Jehovah would now take revenge upon her by allowing her blood to be poured out on bare rocks, remaining uncovered.
Jehovah will pile the wood high under the pot, that is, Jerusalem, and the fire will be lit. He will cook the meat mixed with spices until it is well done and the bones are charred. After the meat is removed from the pot, the empty pot is returned to the fire and heated until the copper of the pot glows, the impurities melt and the deposits are burned away. By these means Jerusalem will finally be cleansed of her impurities. Jehovah had in previous times tried to cleanse her but she refused it. (Daniel 1:1, 2; 2 Kings 24:8-17) Jehovah has spoken and it is high time for Him to act. He will show no pity nor will he turn back his judgments. All will be judged according their conduct and their actions.
Jehovah tells Ezekiel that He was going to deal him a blow, his wife was going to die and he was not to mourn openly but he may quietly sorrow for her. He was not to engage in the normal mourning procedures. He spoke to the people that morning and in the evening of that same day, his wife died and Ezekiel did as Jehovah had told him to do. The people then asked Ezekiel how were they involved in this drama.
Jehovah told Ezekiel to tell them that He was about to desecrate His sanctuary, their place of delight. The ones that had been left behind in Jerusalem were going to die by the sword and they would do just as he had done, that is, they would not mourn in the normal manner for these ones. Such widespread devastation would affect everyone already in exile because they would all have relatives or friends that were left in Judah. When Jerusalem fell it would be such a shock that they would remain silent in their mourning. They will now know that Jehovah is the Sovereign LORD. At this time, a fugitive would come to tell Ezekiel the news of the fall of Jerusalem and Jehovah would open Ezekiel’s mouth so that he would no longer be silent and would speak to the fugitive.
Ezekiel Chapter 25
Ezekiel gives Jehovah’s judgment messages against Ammon, Moab, Edom and Philistia. The Ammonites rejoiced when Judah was desecrated and the people went into exile. Jehovah would repay them by sending against them the people of the East, possibly nomadic desert tribes, or the Babylonian armies, who would take possession of her land. Her country would become pasture for sheep and camels. Because of the maliciousness with which they gloated over Judah’s misfortune, Jehovah would destroy her as a nation and give her as plunder to the nations and she would never be reestablished as a nation of people. (Ezekiel 35:2, 3) They would then know that Jehovah is God.
Moab was contemptuous of Judah saying that she was no different than any other nation because she had been taken into captivity thus she did not recognize Jehovah as being any different than the gods of any other nation. Therefore Jehovah would expose her to attack from the north by destroying the cities that guarded that area. She would also be overrun and would become a possession of the people from the east and no one would remember her as a nation ever again. She would then recognize that Jehovah is the Sovereign Ruler.
Edom became guilty before Jehovah because she took revenge on Judah because of their long history of animosity. Psalms 137:7 says of her: “Remember, O LORD, what the Edomites did on the day Jerusalem fell. ‘Tear it down,’ they cried, ‘tear it down to its foundations.’” (See also Obadiah 10-14) Because of this Jehovah would devote the whole land to destruction laying waste to men as well as animals. He would use Nebuchadnezzar to accomplish this as He had foretold through Jeremiah the prophet. (Jeremiah 27:3-7) He would also take vengeance on her by means of His people, Israel, who would deal with her in accordance with His anger. The people of Edom would come to recognize that this judgment was from Jehovah. Edom would, in the future, become a possession of Israel. (Obadiah 18; Isaiah 11:14)
Philistia and Israel had been enemies since Israel conquered the Promised Land. Israel was not able to drive them out of their land and so there was hostility between the two nations since that time. In Amos 1:6-8, Jehovah outlines the four sins that they had committed for which He would bring His wrath against them. He would punish them by cutting them off from their land. When He executes His vengeance upon them they will know that He is Jehovah.
Ezekiel Chapter 26
In the eleventh year of Ezekiel’s exile, Jehovah’s words against Tyre were given to him. During this year the city of Jerusalem was still under siege by Nebuchadnezzar. Tyre rejoiced when Judah was being brought to ruin, as she believed that she would profit by her fall. Tyre was always in constant search of ways to gain even more wealth. Jehovah told her that she too would be brought down by many nations who would break down her walls and her towers and scrape her rubble into the sea leaving her as a bare rock. She would become plunder for the nations and her settlements on the mainland would fall to the sword.
Babylon would be the first nation that Jehovah would bring against her. Nebuchadnezzar would set up siege works against her and build ramps up to her walls so that he could use his battering rams to break down her walls and towers. His many horses will trample the streets of Tyre; her people will fall by the sword and all her sacred pillars will come down. Verse 12 switches to the plural pronoun ‘they’ indicating that Jehovah is speaking of nations other than Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar besieged Tyre for thirteen years and He did not receive the wealth of Tyre as the people fled to their island city taking their wealth with them. (Ezekiel 29:17, 18) Several hundred years later, Alexander the Great, besieged the island city of Tyre by scraping the rubble from the coastal city and using it to make a causeway to the island city making it possible for him to conquer it. Tyre would become a place for fishermen to spread their nets for drying; she is never to be rebuilt.
All of her allies living in the coastal regions will be in fear when Tyre falls. The princes will take off their official garments and sit on the ground mourning for her and they will take up a lament for her. She who had been a formidable power on the seas and all of her men were famous as skilled sailors and were feared by all. But now her fall has caused all the people of the coastlands to become terrified at her collapse. Jehovah would bring the ocean depths over her city and she would be like those who go down to the pit and never return to the land of the living. She would disappear as a nation.
Ezekiel Chapter 27
Ezekiel composes a lament for Tyre at Jehovah’s direction. Tyre had shown herself to be full of pride and had bragged of all that she had attained. Her pride would bring her down. She is described as a magnificent ship built with pine and cedar trees from Lebanon, her oars were made of oaks from Bashan and her decks were of cypress wood from Cyprus and inlaid with ivory. Her sails were made of fine linen from Egypt and her awnings were of blue and purple from Elishah. She attracted men from various nations to sail her ships as well as her own skilled seamen. Her army was manned by men from Persia, Lydia and Put. Men from Arvad, Helech and Gammad guarded her walls and towers. She was able to attract these various men because of her wealth and riches and the presence of these foreigners enhanced her significance. Nations from all around traded with her including Israel.
The ships of Tarshish, large sea-going vessels, carried all her ware as she sails into the high seas. But the east wind will break her into pieces and all of her cargo and her sailors will sink into the sea. Those who waited in their ships to trade with her will flee to the shores and stand there stunned and in shock at her demise. The will weep bitterly, sprinkle dust on their heads, put on sackcloth and mourn for her. They also will take up a lament for her. They would lament how quickly she had fallen, she, who had supplied all the nations with her wares and had enriched many kings, has herself been shattered by the sea and all of her wares have gone down with her. All of the nations that had been enriched by her are now appalled at her and have turned against her because of the fear that they would suffer the same fate as she.
Ezekiel Chapter 28
Ezekiel is now commanded to speak Jehovah’s words to the king of Tyre. This prophecy is bifurcated; that is, it applies to two different individuals. Verses 1-10 can be clearly applied to the king of Tyre. He is censured for his pride in that he thinks of himself as a god with the wisdom of one, but he is reminded that he is only a man and he is not as wise as he thinks. Does his wisdom rival that of Daniel who was used by Jehovah to reveal hidden secrets? He certainly showed that he is wise when it came to making and amassing wealth for himself through his understanding of trading with other nations. But he had allowed his wealth to cause his heart to become proud. Therefore Jehovah would bring foreigners against him who would draw their swords against him and destroy his wealth and grandeur. He would not be able to then say that he was a god before his foes but would die an ignoble death.
Jehovah again spoke a lament against the king of Tyre. These words, found in verses 11-15, are difficult to apply to a man but can be applied to Satan to whom they aptly fit. Jehovah says that he was the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty and was in the Garden of Eden. His beauty is described as being like that of the nine precious stones here mentioned that are mounted in settings of gold. Jehovah had ordained him to be a guardian cherub, those who guarded His holiness most closely. (Genesis 3:24; Exodus 25:17-22; Psalms 18:10; Revelation 4:7, 8) He was among the inner circle of angels in heaven who have access to Jehovah until he turned to wickedness.
Verses16 through 19 can be applied to the king of Tyre. The king encouraged trading with other nations to such a degree that it left the city open to all of the violence that comes with commercialism and this caused him to sin. His claim to being a god was shown to be a falsehood. He became corrupt in this thinking and he was disgraced before other kings. He would be reduced to a state of nothingness in the sight of others and he would come to a horrible end.
Ezekiel now prophesied against Sidon, the sister-city of Tyre. Jehovah would gain glory in her when He inflicts punishment on her. He would send a plague upon her and a sword would kill her people and their blood would flow in the streets. They would then know that Jehovah is God.
All of Israel’s neighbors will have been dealt with by the time that Jehovah brings Israel back to their land. They would have no malicious neighbors who would be like briers and thorns to her. They will have been punished and will no longer harass her so that she will be able to live in safety and her people would carry on their daily lives in peace.
Ezekiel Chapter 29
In the tenth year of the exile, Jehovah’s word came to Ezekiel. He was to prophesy against Pharaoh, king of Egypt. Jehovah says that He is against him, this monster lying among the streams of the Nile. Because Pharaoh believed that he was a god and therefore creator of the Nile, Jehovah would pull him out of the Nile, his place of protection, and leave him in the desert to die along with all those who cleave to him. There he would be food for the beast of the earth and the birds of the air. The Egyptians would then know that He is Jehovah.
Israel had appealed to Pharaoh for help when the Babylonians came against them but they had proved to be a disappointment for them. Jehovah would bring a sword against Egypt that would leave her desolate without man or animal. All the Egyptians would be scattered among the nations and no one would pass through her or live in her for forty years. At the end of the forty years, the Egyptians would be gathered from the nations and would return to their land. Jehovah would not allow them to ever exalt themselves above any nation because He would leave them weak and vulnerable. Israel would never again put her confidence in Egypt but she would be constantly reminded of the sin she committed by turning to Egypt instead of her God, Jehovah.
In the twenty-seventh year of the exile, Jehovah told Ezekiel that since Nebuchadnezzar had not received any wages for his army in his thirteen-year siege of Tyre, He would give him the wealth of Egypt as his reward because he had acted for Jehovah against Tyre. This statement is out of chronological order and was probably put here to show who Jehovah would use to carry out His judgment message against Egypt. It is believed that Nebuchadnezzar defeated Egypt about twenty years after Jerusalem fell.
On the day that Jehovah would punish Egypt, He would raise up a horn of strength for Israel; that is, they would receive encouragement and be strengthened as Jehovah continues to punish their enemies. He would also enable Ezekiel to be the one who would help them to understand how these matters related to them.
Ezekiel Chapter 30
Ezekiel prophesies a lament for the king of Egypt. Jehovah’s day is near, His time of doom for the nations, Egypt and her allies. A sword will come against Egypt and her men would be slain and her wealth carried away. Her allies would also become fearful as they see her bow before Nebuchadnezzar. From her southern border to the northern border, her people would fall by the sword. The land would become as desolated as the other lands around her. When she falls and her allies are crushed, they will all know who Jehovah is. Jehovah will send messengers to Egypt’s allies to warn them of her coming doom.
The Babylonians are described here as the most ruthless of nations and they will have no pity on Egypt. When they draw their swords against her, her slain will fill the land. The Nile streams will dry up and the land will become a waste. Her idols will be destroyed and all of her princes will be gone. Every major city will feel the brunt of this devastation, as they will all go into captivity.
In the eleventh year of the exile, sometime before or after Jehovah gave Ezekiel the prophecy recorded in chapter 26, Jehovah told Ezekiel that He had broken the arm of Pharaoh. He was referring to the events that were recorded at Jeremiah 37:5, 7 where Pharaoh and his army had come to help Judah and Nebuchadnezzar had withdrawn from his siege of Jerusalem to fight with them. Jehovah assured Zedekiah that the Babylonian army would defeat the Egyptians and would return to Jerusalem, capture the city and burn it down. Jehovah tells Ezekiel that he would, at a future day, break both arms of Pharaoh and the sword would fall from his hand. His country would be totally destroyed and the Egyptians would be scattered among other countries. He himself would strengthen the Babylonians against the Egyptians. The Egyptians would know beyond a doubt that Jehovah is God.
Ezekiel Chapter 31
Jehovah’s word came to Ezekiel again to prophesy against Pharaoh king of Egypt and all his hordes. Egypt was a very majestic nation but Jehovah told him about another majestic nation that He had dealt with, Assyria. He describes Assyria as a stately cedar tree of Lebanon that towered above the entire forest. It had thick foliage and long branches and it was watered by deep springs. All the birds of the air nested in it and the beasts gave birth under its branches. It provided shade for every nation. There were no trees equal to it, not even the trees in the Garden of Eden, and it was the envy of all the other trees.
But because of its beauty and its height, it became proud and Jehovah handed it over to the most ruthless of nations, Babylon, who cut it down. All who had sought protection under its branches left there to find other lodgings. No other nation of that day would ever reach the heights that Assyria had grown to. On the day that Jehovah brought Assyria down, all the nations trembled at the sound of her fall. They were all fearful because if such a great and mighty tree could fall, how would they ever be able to stand. When she went into the pit where all of the other mighty trees had gone, they were all consoled and comforted to see her join them.
Egypt, though majestic and splendid, would also be brought down to the pit with all the other trees of Eden and would lie among those who were also killed by the sword.
Ezekiel Chapter 32
In the twelfth month of the exile Ezekiel was told to compose a lament for Pharaoh, king of Egypt. He would tell him that he was like a thrashing crocodile that was muddying his streams with all of his political intrigues. Jehovah would cast a net over him and bring him out of the water. He would be thrown into an open field where his flesh would be eaten by the birds and the beast of the ground. The carnage would be so great that it would fill the valleys and spread to the mountains. On the day that he is killed, the heavenly bodies will not give their light; there will be darkness all over the land. (Exodus 10:21-29)
The hearts of people from everywhere will be troubled when they learn that Egypt has been destroyed. The kings of many nations will be horrified and tremble at the thought that they might be next in line for destruction. Jehovah will bring the king of Babylon against Egypt and he will shatter her pride and overthrow her many supporters. All of her cattle will be killed and will no longer muddy the waters of the Nile River with their hooves. The waters of the Nile will then flow undisturbed and quietly. When Jehovah makes Egypt a desolated waste and strikes down all that live there, they will then know that He is Jehovah.
Jehovah tells Ezekiel to wail over Egypt because she too must go down into the pit along with the other nations who are already there. Egypt is not more favored than these nations so she too must fall by the sword and lay beside the uncircumcised that were killed by the sword. Assyria, Elam, Meshech and Tubal, Edom, the Sidonians and the Phoenician nations are there because they had spread terror in the land of the living. Egypt must also be brought to lie there. She must bear her shame for all that she has done.
Ezekiel Chapter 33
Jehovah tells Ezekiel that he is the watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever Jehovah sends a sword against a land and the people choose a man to be their watchman to warn them of impending danger and he blows the trumpet when he sees danger coming, those who do not act on the warning will die, their blood will be on their own head. But if the watchman sees danger approaching and does not warn the people and someone dies from the sword, he will have died in his own sin, but the watchman will be held accountable for his blood.
Ezekiel is the watchman for the house of Israel and he must hear Jehovah’s words and then warn Israel. When Jehovah tells the wicked man that he will die and Ezekiel does nothing to turn him from his wicked ways, this man will die because of his wickedness, but Ezekiel will be held accountable for his blood. But if he warns him and he does not turn from his bad ways, he will die but Ezekiel will have saved himself.
The people finally admitted that it is their sins that have caused them to be in their present situation and they feared that they would not be forgiven for them. Jehovah tells them that He takes no pleasure in the death of anyone. He would rather that they repent and turn from their bad ways and continue living. In fact, He implores them to do just that. He further tells them that if a righteous person turns to doing wickedness, his previous righteous acts will not save him from death and if a wicked person turns from his wickedness and does what is good, he will continue living.
Further, if Jehovah tells a righteous person that he will live because of his righteousness and he begins to trust in his own righteousness, he will turn from doing good to doing what is bad. He will die because of the wickedness he committed and his righteousness will not be remembered. On the other hand, a wicked man who turns back and does what is right, that is, he returns what he stole, restores what he took in pledge on a loan and follows Jehovah’s decrees, then his wickedness will not be remembered and he will continue living. When the people heard these words, they concluded that Jehovah’s ways were not adjusted right. But Jehovah would judge according to His righteous way and each person would be accountable for his own actions.
In the twelfth year of the exile, in the tenth month, five months after Jerusalem fell; an escapee came to Ezekiel to tell him that the Babylonians had captured Jerusalem. On the previous evening, Jehovah had opened Ezekiel’s mouth so that he was no longer mute. (Ezekiel 24:26, 27)
After the Babylonians left the city, some of the people that had not been taken were living in the ruins of the city and they were saying that the land has been left to them to settle in. But Jehovah’s word to them was that since they continued to break His covenant, they would not possess the land. They would fall by the sword, by wild animals and by the plague. The land would become a desolated waste just as He had decreed it would be. Then Israel would come to know that Jehovah is their God and He had made the land desolate because of all the detestable things they had done in it.
Jehovah turned Ezekiel’s attention to those in exile with him, who would come and sit before him to listen to him. Yet Jehovah said that they were not putting into practice any of his counsel, as they were greedy for unjust gain. Listening to Ezekiel was for them like listening to someone who was entertaining them. But when Ezekiel’s words came true, they would know that there had been a prophet among them.
Ezekiel Chapter 34
Ezekiel is told to prophesy against the shepherds or rulers of Israel. They were lax in carrying out their obligation to the people whom Jehovah has put in their care. Their main concern was for themselves, gaining wealth at the expense of the people. They did not tend to the sheep when they were sick or injured. They treated the sheep harshly so that they were scattered like sheep without a shepherd and became prey for the wild animals. They wondered about over the earth and the shepherds did not go in search of them to bring them back to the fold. They therefore proved themselves to be false shepherds.
Jehovah would hold them accountable for the way they treated His flock. He would remove them as shepherds so that they could no longer take advantage of them. Jehovah Himself would become their shepherd and he would search for all those who were scattered. He would bring them from all of the nations where they had been taken back to their own land and would pasture them in good grazing land. He would tend to the injured, strengthen the weak and shepherd them with justice. Those who had taken advantage of the weaker sheep would be destroyed.
Those sheep that were in positions of power would be judged as any other sheep would be because they had abused their position by taking the best of everything for themselves and had left the flock with dirty water to drink and undesirable vegetation to eat. Jehovah would judge between a fat sheep and a lean sheep. The fat sheep are those who followed closely the leading of the false shepherds and who themselves were responsible for driving the weak sheep from the fold by pushing them with shoulders and flanks and butting them with their horns. Jehovah will save them and put over them a shepherd of His choice, David, who would take care of them. He would make a covenant of peace with them and rid the land of all foreign nations who brutalized them. He would send his blessings so that the land would produce bountifully.
When Jehovah breaks the yoke from their necks and rescues them from those who have enslaved them, they will finally know Jehovah. They will live in their land in safety and their land will be famous for the crops that it produces so that they will never suffer from famine. Jehovah will be with them and will be their God and they will be His people.
Ezekiel Chapter 35
Ezekiel utters another prophecy against Edom called in this writing Mount Seir, the geographical location of the nation. Jehovah is against Mount Seir and he will make it a desolate waste, all of her towns being turned into ruins. They will then know Jehovah. Edom had harbored an ancient hostility against the descendants of his twin brother, Jacob, which could have stemmed from the fact that Esau, the older of the two, thought that he should have inherited the land of Canaan. (Genesis 27:41) When the Babylonians came against Jerusalem, Edom helped them by turning escapees over to them to be killed by the sword. Jehovah would now give Edom over to bloodshed that would pursue him. His mountain, hills and valleys would be filled with the bodies of those killed by the sword. Edom would become desolated forever; her towns would never be inhabited again.
Edom had planned to take possession of the land of the Israel and Judah even though they knew that Jehovah had promised on oath to give to Jacob’s descendants. Jehovah would deal with them in harmony with the hatred they showed for Israel and Judah. They boasted against Jehovah and spoke against him unrelentingly, rejoicing at the downfall of Judah. Therefore when everyone else was rejoicing, Jehovah would make Edom a desolate waste. They would then recognize Jehovah as the only Sovereign.
Ezekiel Chapter 36
Ezekiel is told to prophesy to the mountains of Israel so that they would hear the words of Jehovah to them. The nations had ravaged Israel and had sought to take possession of her land. They had hounded her and she became the object of their malicious talk and slander. Jehovah had spoken against these nations because they had with glee and malice of heart made His land their own so that they might plunder it. But these nations would suffer at His hands for their offensive talk. But the mountains of Israel would be blessed. Jehovah would bring His people back to their land and it would produce plentifully for them. He would multiply their numbers and all of their towns would be rebuilt. They would prosper more than they had done previously.
Israel had been the object of much talk as she had been guilty of devouring her men and depriving her nation of its children. After her discipline, she would no longer do these unspeakable acts nor would she hear the taunts of nations heaping scorn upon her because of them.
Jehovah again spoke to Ezekiel and said to him that when Israel was living in their land they had defiled it by their bad conduct that He describes as being like the uncleanness of a woman’s monthly cycle. He poured out his anger upon them because they had shed innocent blood and defiled the land with their idols. So He scattered them throughout the nations where His holy name was being profaned because the people of these nations knew why Israel had been thrown off their land. Ezekiel was to tell them that it was not for their sakes that He was going to restore them but for the sake of His holy name. Once He brought honor to Himself through them, the nations will know that He is Jehovah.
He would take them from the nations and bring them back to their own land and He would clean them up from all of their impurities and idolatry. He would give them a new heart and a new spirit, removing their heart of stone and replacing it with a heart of flesh. He would give them His spirit and they would be motivated to follow his laws and decrees. He would also make the land produce and they would never suffer the disgrace of famine again. When they see Jehovah’s mercy displayed among them they would then be ashamed for all of the detestable things that they had done and would feel a loathing for themselves. Jehovah also reminds them that He was not doing this for their sake, but for the sake of His own name.
On the day that Jehovah cleansed them from their sins, He would also resettle their towns and their ruins would be rebuilt. The once desolated land will be cultivated and those who saw it as a desolate waste will now say that it was like the Garden of Eden. The nations that were left would know that it was Jehovah who had accomplished all of this. He would also increase their population such that they will be compared to the number of the flocks that are brought to Jerusalem to be offered at her feasts. All of the ruined cities will be filled with many people.
Ezekiel Chapter 37
Jehovah took Ezekiel and showed him a valley that was filled with a great many dry bones and He asked him if these bones would ever live again. Ezekiel knew that Jehovah was the only one that knew the answer to that question. Jehovah told him to prophesy to those bones to listen to His word. He will attach tendons to the bones, cause flesh to come upon them and cover this with skin. He would give them breath so that they would come to life. They would then know that He was Jehovah. As Ezekiel prophesied to the bones, he saw them come together, bone to bone, then tendons, flesh and skin came upon them but they were not yet alive. So Jehovah told him to prophesy to the breath to come from the four winds and breathe into the bones so that they would come to life. Ezekiel did as he was told and breath came into the bones and they stood upon their feet. (Genesis 2:7)
Jehovah told Ezekiel that these bones represented the house of Israel, the ten-tribe kingdom, who because of captivity said that their bones were dried up and they had no hope. Ezekiel was to tell them Jehovah would release them and bring them back to the land of Israel. He would put His spirit in them and they would live. When they were settled in their land, they would recognize that Jehovah had spoken it and had also accomplished what he had spoken.
Ezekiel was then told to take a stick and write upon it, “the stick of Judah and those associated with him.” He was to take another stick and write upon it, “the stick of Ephraim and all the house of Israel.” He was to take both sticks and join them together so that they would become one. When his countrymen asked him what did he mean by doing this, he would tell them that Jehovah had said that He would take the Israelites from all the nations where they were living and bring them back to their own land. He would make one nation of them and they would have one king over them. They would never again be divided into two kingdoms.
They would no longer defile themselves with the detestable things that they had done previously because Jehovah would cleanse them of their offenses against Him. They would be His people and he would be their God. David would be their king and their shepherd. They would be careful to keep His laws and decrees in the land that He had given to Jacob. They would live in this land forever and Jehovah would make an everlasting covenant of peace with them and he would add to their numbers. His sanctuary would be among them forever and they would become a holy people. The nations would know that Jehovah is the one who will accomplish this.
This prophecy is yet to be fulfilled, as it will have a modern day fulfillment upon modern-day Israel, Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Ezekiel Chapter 38
Jehovah told Ezekiel to prophesy against Gog of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. According to the footnote on verse 2 in the NIV we learn this: “In Genesis 10:2; 1 Ch 1:5 Magog is the name of one of the sons of Japheth, thus the name of a people. In Eze 39:6 it appears to refer to a people. But since the Hebrew prefix ‘ma’ can mean ‘place of,’ Magog may here simply mean ‘land of Gog.’ Israel had long experienced the hostility of the Hamites and other Semitic people; the future coalition here envisioned will include – and in fact be led by – peoples descended from Japheth.”
Ezekiel would tell Gog that Jehovah was against him and He would put hooks in his jaw and lead him out of his country with a fully armed army. Men from Persia, Cush and Put, Gomer and Bethtogarmah with their armies will join him. He is to prepare himself and his allied armies to be at Jehovah’s disposal. He will be summoned to invade a land that has been restored from ruin by a people who have been gathered from the nations. They will be living undisturbed and in safety. There would be so many of them that they would resemble a storm cloud advancing on the land.
At the time that Jehovah summons him, a thought will enter his head and he will come up with a plan to attack an unsuspecting people who are living quietly and who have no walls or gates. He will be expecting to get much plunder from these people because they have acquired much livestock and goods since they were re-gathered from the nations. Gog will certainly take notice of Israel living undisturbed and he will bring his army from the far north along with many other nations and will come against them. But it will really be Jehovah who is bringing him so that the nations will come to know Him when He shows Himself to be holy by using Gog in this manner.
Jehovah identifies Gog as the one that He had His prophets prophesy concerning, the one that He would bring against His people. But when he does come against them, Jehovah’s anger will be aroused and He will cause a great earthquake in the land of Israel that will cause all the people on the earth to tremble because of His presence. He will summon a sword against Gog so that his men will turn their swords against each other. (2 Chronicles 20:10-26) He will bring upon Gog and his horde torrents of rain, hailstones and burning sulfur. He will execute His judgments upon him with plague and bloodshed. Afterwards, Jehovah will have shown His greatness and His holiness before all of the nations and they will know that He is Jehovah.
Ezekiel Chapter 39
Ezekiel’s prophecy against Gog continues in this chapter. Jehovah will drag Gog from his country in the far north and bring him against the mountain of Israel. Then he will take his bow and arrows from him and cause him and his allies to fall on the mountain of Israel and they will become food for the carrion birds and the wild animals of the field. He will then bring destruction upon Magog and all the coastal regions and the islands and they will know that He is Jehovah. His own people will no longer profane His name because He will be holy among them. This day Jehovah assures Israel will come and that His word will come true.
When Jehovah destroys Gog and his hordes, Israel will burn their weapons as fuel for seven years and will not need to gather wood from the forests. They will plunder those who plundered them. Jehovah will give Gog a burial place in the land of Israel. It will be called ‘in the valley of those who travel east toward the Sea,’ that some scholars believe to be Abarim located in the land of Moab. It will take seven months for Israel to bury all the bodies in order to cleanse the land. After this period, some men will be assigned to go through the land in search of human bones that the animals have picked clean. When they find any, they will leave a marker for those who have the assignment to dig the graves. These will come along and collect the bones and take them to the valley for burial. Because the operation is so massive, a town will be built at the burial site.
Jehovah now invites every kind of bird and every kind of wild animal to a sacrifice on the mountain of Israel where they will eat their fill of the flesh of mighty men and drink the blood of princes along with the fat until they are glutted. (Revelation 19:17, 18) This situation is the opposite of the normal sacrifice where the animal was slaughtered and the flesh was eaten but the fat and the blood were reserved for Jehovah. Jehovah’s glory will be displayed among the nation when they see how he punishes those who fight against Him.
The nations will understand that Israel was exiled because of their sin and their unfaithfulness to Jehovah. So He handed them over to the their enemies and they fell by the sword. But Jehovah will restore them because he will have compassion on them and He will be zealous for His holy name. They will no longer remember their shame and the unfaithfulness they showed towards Jehovah when He gathers them back from the countries where he scattered them. He will show Himself to be a holy God when He acts in this merciful manner. He will bring them all back not leaving anyone behind. They will recognize and acknowledge Him as their God who hid His face from them but who now has restored them and poured out His spirit upon them.
Ezekiel Chapter 40
In the twenty-fifth year of the exile at the beginning of the year, which is the fourteenth year after Jerusalem fell, Jehovah transported Ezekiel to the land of Israel and set him down on a high mountain. On the south side of the mountain, he saw what looked like a city. He was taken to the city where he saw a man, whose appearance was like bronze, standing in the gateway with a linen cord and a measuring rod in his hand. The man told Ezekiel to pay close attention to what he would show him because he would have to tell the house of Israel what he saw.
The bronze man in this drama represents the modern-day Servant, Jehovah’s anointed one or messiah, who will be used by Jehovah to give His regulations and ordinances to His people.
The temple described here would represent a renovated or cleansed spiritual temple and it must be built to exact or precise measurements. The bronze man gives the measurements in cubits but Ezekiel chapter 43 verses 10 and 11 show that these measurements represented the detailed regulations that Israel needed to observe. They had to be reminded of Jehovah’s exacting requirements because they had gotten so far away from them.
Verses 10 and 11 reads as follows: “As for you, mortal, describe the temple to the house of Israel, and let them measure the pattern; and let them be ashamed of their iniquities. When they are ashamed of all that they have done, make known to them the plan of the temple, its arrangement, its exits and its entrances, and its whole form-all its ordinances and its entire plan and all its laws; and write it down in their sight, so that they may observe and follow the entire plan and all its ordinances." (NRSV) When Israel acknowledges her shameful ways, then she will be given Jehovah’s requirements that she must follow exactly.
The bronze man began by measuring the wall that surrounded the temple. Then he went to the gate facing east, the entrance gate to the outer court, and he measured everything in it; both thresholds of the gate, the six alcoves, the faces of the projecting walls between the alcoves, the gateway from the entrance to the far end of its portico. The projecting walls were decorated with palm trees. These trees will be seen again in various parts of the temple especially the holy and most holy. They represent a special group of people, the two hundred million worshippers, that Jehovah would bring to become a part of His temple.
The man then brought Ezekiel into the outer court where there were thirty rooms built upon a pavement that formed a border around the outer court. Then he measured the distance from the inside of the entrance gate facing east to the inner court. He measured the entrance gate facing north and the one facing south. Their measurements were the same as those of the east gate. Both the north and south gates had seven steps leading up to the outer court. He also measured the distance from the gates of the outer court to the corresponding gates going into the inner court.
Ezekiel was then brought to the inner court by way of the gate facing south. When he measured the three gates leading to the inner court, their dimensions were the same as the other gates. But these gates had windows in them and each had eight steps leading up to the inner court. The portico faced the outer court and its jambs were decorated with palm trees. There were rooms next to the portico on these gates where the burnt offerings were washed. Inside the portico near the steps were eight tables, four on each side, where the sacrifices were slaughtered. The utensils for slaughtering the burnt offerings were placed on four tables made of dressed stone. Double-pronged hooks were placed around the walls of the portico.
There were two rooms for the priest to use; one was located on the side of the south gate facing north and the other on the side of the north gate facing south. The room on the side of the north gate was for the priests who are in charge of the temple and the other is for the priests who are in charge of the altar. The sons of Zadok would occupy these two rooms, as they were the only priests who were allowed to minister before Jehovah. (1 Samuel 2:35; 1 Kings 2:35; Ezekiel 44:15, 16) After the bronze man measured the inner court, he brought Ezekiel to portico of the temple. He measured the jambs of the portico, the width of the entrance, its projecting walls and the portico itself.
NOTE: Translations used in this commentary are the New International Version (NIV), the New American Standard Bible (NASB) and the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV).
***©2005 by YORWW Congregation
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