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word of the
came to me
the messages from Ezekiel 12 through Ezekiel 19 are occurring over about a
one year period, all being given about 5 years before the fall of Jerusalem.
Although the message of defeat and destruction of Jerusalem should have been
obvious by now, the people were still not ready to believe Ezekiel's
prophecy. In fact, based on the subject discussed in this section, it seems
that they still harbored the thought that God would preserve Jerusalem
because of a "righteous remnant". They might have thought of Abraham's
18) that God deliver Sodom if a sufficient number of righteous
people were found there. Perhaps the Lord would do the same now for
Jerusalem. They were self deceived. Yes God would honor the presence of any
righteous persons, but their presence would not save Jerusalem.
Keil and Delitzsch make an interesting
"The threat contained in the preceding word of God, that if
the idolaters did not repent, God would not answer them in any other way
than with an exterminating judgment, left the possibility still open, that
He would avert the destruction of Judah and Jerusalem for the sake of the
righteous therein, as He had promised the patriarch Abraham that He would do
in the case of Sodom and Gomorrah (Ge18:23)."
sins against Me by
unfaithfulness, and I
stretch out My
famine against it and
off from it both
Job were in its
midst, by their own
Human being, sometimes the people of a country will sin against me by not
being loyal. When that happens, I will use my power against them. I will cut
off their supply of food. I will send them a time of hunger. I will destroy
both their people and animals. Three great men like Noah, Daniel and Job
might be in that country. But their goodness could save only
themselves, says the Lord God.
a country sins (Ezek 9:9; Ezra
9:6; Isaiah 24:20; La 1:8,20) - Beloved, while God is directly addressing
this warning to Judah, the phraseology widens the scope of the warning - "if
a country", not just Judah, sins against God, she will eventually incur the
God (eg, cp Ge 15:16). For some reason, many in "Christian" America
think we are immune to God's immutable laws of justice. And yet surely circa
2009 we can see the fraying of the fabric of our society, with portrayals
(even celebrations) of sin in the movies, television and media that are not
just "off color" but are grossly repulsive and constitute an abomination and
an abhorrence to God's eyes. Let all who are God's people entreat our Father
earnestly and urgently to send a Spirit empowered, Word centered, Christ
exalting revival before there is no remedy (2Chr 36:15, 16)!
Jerusalem sinned greatly, therefore
she has become an unclean thing. All who honored her despise her because
they have seen her nakedness; even she herself groans and turns away." (Lam
The argument is presented four times
in parallel, slightly different terms, like four heavy hammer blows that
crash down on a precious object and smash it to oblivion. God is very
definite, and He means what He says. Judgment is unavoidable.
treacherously committing treachery) The Hebrew word for "unfaithfulness"
(ma'al) is a violation of trust, an act of treachery or a
breaking of faith, which presumes a prior relationship. As alluded to earlier, Israel is
described as the "wife" of God (even as Jesus is the husband of the
church, His bride) and had acted as an "unfaithful" spouse. God referring to
Israel accuses "her" of breaking
"My covenant...although I was a husband
to them." (Jer31:32)
In 1 Chronicles the writer records that
Judah was carried away into
exile to Babylon for their unfaithfulness." (1Chr9:1)
In 2 Chronicles
all the officials of the priests and the people were
very unfaithful following all the abominations of the nations; and they
defiled the house of the Lord which He had sanctified in Jerusalem"
Daniel in his powerful prayer in Daniel 9 confessed
"we have sinned,
committed iniquity, acted wickedly, and rebelled, even turning aside from
Thy commandments and ordinances...nor have we obeyed the voice of the LORD
our God, to walk in His teachings which He set before us through His
servants the prophets. Indeed all Israel has transgressed Thy law and turned
aside, not obeying Thy voice; so the curse has been poured out on us, along
with the oath which is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, for
we have sinned against Him." (Da 9:5,10, 11, 12)
The fourfold judgment of Jerusalem in
this section is a reiteration of the judgment foretold in Ezekiel 5 where
I will send on you famine and wild beasts,
and they will bereave you of children; plague and bloodshed also will
pass through you, and I will bring the sword on you. I, the Lord,
have spoken. (Ezek5:17)
(break, crush, smash) its supply of bread (Ezek
4:16; 5:16; Lev 26:26; Is 3:1; Jer 15:2,3; La 4:9,10)
The first of four punishments that parallel those seen with the breaking of
the fourth seal of the scroll and the unleashing of the "ashen" horse
he who sat on it had the name Death; and Hades was following with him. And
authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with
sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the
wild beasts of the earth." (Rev6:8)
God had warned Israel in
I break your staff of bread, ten women will bake your bread in one oven, and
they will bring back your bread in rationed amounts, so that you will eat
and not be satisfied." (Lev 26:26)
Through His prophet God had
behold, the Lord GOD of hosts is going to remove from Jerusalem and Judah
Both supply and support, the whole supply of bread And the whole supply of
water." (Isa 3:1-note)
One might ask "How severe was the
In Lamentations Jeremiah
Better are those slain
with the sword than those slain with hunger; for they pine away, being
stricken for lack of the fruits of the field. The hands of compassionate
women boiled their own children. They became food for them because of the
destruction of the daughter of my people." (La 4:9, 10)
off...man and beast" (Ezek
14:17,19,21; 25:13; Ge 6:7; Jer32:43; 36:29)
Jeremiah echoes this prophecy
Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, My anger and My
wrath will be poured out on this place, on man and on beast and on the trees
of the field and on the fruit of the ground; and it will burn and not be
quenched." (Jer 7:20)
Now God emphasizes the certainty of
the national and individual judgment on Judah and Jerusalem by noting three
striking instances of men of high integrity who were delivered from the ruin
which fell upon others.
(Ge 6:8; 7:1; 8:20,21)
was a righteous man and blameless among those of his generation. Peter
records that although "Noah, a preacher of righteousness" (2Peter
no one heeded his warning and the world was not spared because of Noah's
presence. Neither would Jerusalem be spared by his presence, his preaching
or his petitioning!
Moses records that although God was
sorry that He had made mankind because of their continual evil,
found favor in the eyes of the Lord. These are the records of the
generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blames in his time. Noah
walked with God." (Ge 6:8, 9)
God later tells Noah to
Enter the ark, you and all
your household; for you alone I have seen to be righteous before Me in this
time." (Ge 7:1)
Why was Noah righteous? Was it by his
works? God acceptable righteousness only come by faith and so we see
"by faith Noah, being warned by God about
things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his
household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the
righteousness which is according to faith." (Heb11:7-note)
McGee quips that
If Noah were in
the city of Jerusalem, the Lord says, they would not listen to him. Just
imagine what a warning Noah would have been to those people! But the people
in Noah’s day did not listen to him, and the people of Jerusalem would not
have listened to him had he been there. (Listen to his Mp3 -
(Ezek 28:3; Da 9:21; 10:11)
This is a crucial contemporaneous witness to the historicity of Daniel.
It is notable that Daniel, a fellow captive with Ezekiel (preceding him by
about 8 years) and probably in the range of only 30-35 at this time, and yet
appears to be as well known for his righteousness as were Noah and Job.
He was given wisdom by God (Da 2:20, 21, 22, 23) and had a respected place
of leadership among the exiles (Da 2:45, 46, 47, 48, 49).
Some scholars have identified “Daniel”
with “Dani’el” of the Ugaritic legend discovered in the Ras Shamra Tablets
but the Bible Knowledge Commentary has an interesting discussion on the
"identity" of Daniel noting that
"there is some question on the identity
of Daniel. Ezekiel’s spelling of the name differs slightly from the
statesman-prophet who wrote the Book of Daniel. Many scholars feel that
Ezekiel was referring to the mythical Dan’el in Ugaritic texts who, as a
righteous ruler and judge, could not protect his sons from the wrath of the
goddess Anat. But this identification should probably be rejected. The
minor difference in spelling could be explained by the common practice of
multiple spellings of a given name (cf. ”Azariah“=”Uzziah, “2Kings 15:1;
2Chr 26:1; ”Jehoram“=”Joram,“ 2Kings 3:1; 8:16). The Prophet Daniel, well
known in Babylon, would have been familiar to Ezekiel and his audience.
There is no indication in the Old Testament that the mythical character
Dan’el was known to the Jews or accepted as a model of righteousness. It was
Ezekiel’s purpose (Ezek. 14:1-11) to lambast idolatry. Would he use an
idolatrous myth as a model of righteousness? By contrast, the biblical
Daniel is the perfect example of a man who refused to compromise his
beliefs." (Walvoord, J.
F., Zuck, R. B, et al: The Bible knowledge commentary: Wheaton, IL:
Others have pointed out that the "mythical" character had a
record (a participant in drunkenness, cursing, and murder) that was far from
righteous which would also refute this liberal interpretation.
(Job 1:5; 42:8,9) Scripture records that
There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was
Job, and that man was blameless, upright (conveys idea of "righteous"
and Greek word used to translate the Hebrew here actually is dikaios
= righteous) , fearing God, and turning away from evil." (Job1:1)
(Pr 11:4; 2Pe 2:9) The Hebrew word for deliver
(natsal) occurs 5 times (Ezek 14:14, 16, 18, 20) and all
except verse 20 is translated with the Greek verb sozo which
means to be saved, preserved from harm, rescued and is the NT word for
salvation of men from sin's penalty and power.
As Warren Wiersbe says
"Noah saved his family (Heb11:7), Daniel rescued his friends (Dan. 2), and
Job prayed for his three friends and delivered them (Job 42:7, 8, 9, 10);
but nobody’s intercession would save Jerusalem or anybody in it. A person’s
righteousness could save only himself or herself; it could not save another."
W: With the Word: Chapter-by-Chapter Bible Handbook. Nelson
MacArthur explaining why these
specific men were noted, writes that these heroes
exhibited power in
intercession on behalf of others (cf. Gen. 6:18; Job 42:7, 8, 9, 10; Dan.
1,2) at strategic points in redemptive history, and even they could not
deliver anyone but themselves if they were there praying earnestly. Even the
presence and prayers of the godly could not stop the coming judgment."(MacArthur,
J.: The MacArthur Study Bible Nashville: Word
repeatedly instructed Jeremiah to not pray for the people declaring
"As for you, do not pray for this people,
and do not lift up cry or prayer for them, and do not intercede with Me; for
I do not hear you." (Jer 7:16) "...do not pray for this people, nor lift up
a cry or prayer for them; for I will not listen when they call to Me because
of their disaster." (Jer 11:14) "Do not pray for the welfare of this people.
When they fast, I am not going to listen to their cry; and when they offer
burnt offering and grain offering, I am not going to accept them. Rather I
am going to make an end of them by the sword, famine and pestilence."
(Jer14:11, 12) "Even though Moses and Samuel were to stand before Me, My
heart would not be with this people; send them away from My presence and let
them go!" (Jer15:1)
Yahweh, is distinct from the more common Yahweh Elohim,
and occurs over 200 times in Ezekiel but only about 100 times in all the
rest of the Old Testament.
I were to cause
pass through the
land and they
depopulated it, and
because of the
men were in its
midst, as I
GOD, "they could not
alone would be
delivered, but the
country would be
visitation of "Wild
(Ezek 5:17;1Ki20:36; 2Ki17:25; Jer15:3) constituted the second judgment so
that the land "became
referring to land that is in a state of utter ruin, abandoned, deserted and
forsaken. In Leviticus God had clearly warned Israel that if they disobeyed,
"let loose among (them) the beasts of the field,
which (would bereave them) of (their) children and destroy (their) cattle and reduce (their) number so that (their) roads (would) lie deserted."
I live" represents a
solemn oath by God in which He pledges His very existence for the
fulfillment of the prophecy. God's personal oath emphasizes the certainty of
their peril and notably accompanies each of the last three devastations
(v16, 18, 20).
Cooper adds that
This oath formula
is found sixteen times in Ezekiel and only six times elsewhere (Ed note:
Click here for all 26 uses of "as I
live" in OT). It is a variation of the formula “as the Lord lives”
(forty-one times in the OT) and “as God lives” (2Sa2:27; Job 27:2), which
involves invoking God to watch over the oath to see that it is kept (cf.
1Sa20:23). It is connected to the concept of Yahweh as “the Living God,”
which means that he “acts effectually.” Unlike the pagan gods, who were
thought to die and rise or to sleep, the Lord is always watching and working on behalf of his people and
his word... There is nothing more certain than “as surely as I live.”"
(Ezekiel. The New American Commentary. Nashville: Broadman & Holman)
or their daughters"
Children would be victims of the judgment that would befall the land. This
is a perennial consequence of war and conquest. Children often suffer the
alone would be delivered"
(Ge18:23-33; 19:29; Job22:20; Ac27:24; Heb11:7)
if I should
sword on that
say, 'Let the
pass through the
beast from it,'
men were in its
midst, as I
GOD, "they could not
deliver either their
sons or their
daughters, but they
alone would be
(Ezek 5:12,17; 21:3,4,9-15; 29:8; 38:21,22; Jer25:9; 47:6) God had warned Israel in Leviticus of
the consequences of disobedience:
"I will also bring upon you a
which will execute vengeance for the covenant; and when you gather together
into your cities, I will send pestilence among you, so that you shall be
delivered into enemy hands." (Lev26:25)
off man and beast"
(Ezek 14:13; 25:13; Jer33:12; Ho4:3; Zeph1:3)
"Or if I should
pour out My
blood on it to
beast from it,
Job were in its
midst, as I
GOD, "they could not
daughter. They would
themselves by their
(Ezek 5:12; 38:22; Nu14:12; 16:46-50; Deut28:21,22,59-61; 2 Sa24:13,15;
1 Ki8:37; 2 Chr6:28; 7:13; 20:9; Psalms 91:3,6; Is37:36; Jer4:12; Jer21:6,9;
24:10; Am4:10; Mt24:7)
The historicity of "Noah,
Daniel and Job" has been
denied by Bible critics. Ezekiel, however, confirms both their historical
existence and their exemplary lives.
out My wrath (Ezek 7:8; 36:18;
Rev16:3-6) is a key phrase in Ezekiel
occurring 6 times (Ezek 7:8; 14:19; 20:8, 13, 21; 30:15). The Hebrew word for
(chemah from the verb yaham = be hot) refers to
God's hot displeasure, which ultimately poured out on Jerusalem culminating
in defeat and exile of Judah to Babylon. This outpouring of God's wrath on
His chose people because of their sin is in a sense a foretaste of God's
future wrath which will be poured out in
Revelation 16 upon the city of Babylon (see
notes on Rev 16) this
outpouring being summarized in Rev16:19 "the great city was split into
three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. And Babylon the great was
remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath."
beginning at Rev 17:1) gives more details upon this pouring out of God's wrath
upon "Babylon the great".
The metaphor of pouring is
of a cup filled to the brim with God's
with no room for another drop, the handle being held by the sure hand of God
Who would pour it forth when He desired.
Jeremiah records that
The Lord has
accomplished (kalah = to cease or stop) His
He has poured out His fierce anger and He has kindled a fire in Zion which
has consumed its foundations." (La 4:11)
their righteousness (Ezek
18:20,22; Job 5:19-24; Ps33:18,19; Is3:10; Ho10:12; Zep2:3; Ac10:35;
1Jn2:29; 3:7,10) This allusion of the "potential
deterrent power" of the righteous was clearly a reference to (Ge18:22–33)
where Abraham sought to intercede on behalf of Sodom and God agreed to spare
the cities if ten righteous were found. Yet God would not spare Jerusalem
even if there were three of the most outstanding Biblical examples of
righteousness and integrity within this land.
In Jeremiah God tells his prophet in
to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and look now, and take note.
And seek in her open squares, if you can find a man, if there is one who
does justice, who seeks truth, then I will pardon her."
Jerusalem was too sinful to have even
one man who, by truth and justice, could qualify to be an advocate to secure
pardon for Judah!
The point of this section is that
Jerusalem had become so evil that Jehovah's judgment was certain and
imminent and unavoidable. The presence of godly people in society will not
alone deter deserved judgment. People must respond personally to God by
confession, repentance, and faith.
beast from it!
Now this is what the Sovereign LORD says: How terrible it will be when all
four of these fearsome punishments fall upon Jerusalem – war, famine,
beasts, and plague – destroying all her people and animals.
much more when I send My four severe judgments"
(Ezek 5:12,17; 6:11,12; 33:27; Jer15:2,3; Am4:6-12; Rev6:4-8) how much worse
it will be for
Israel. What an unthinkable tragedy when God’s own people, who should know
better, incur His righteous judgment, a judgment the righteousness of the
godly can not avert.
Richards makes an excellent point that
just as the Jews thought God would save their country because of a
"righteous remnant", there is a similar mindset in America which
"is just as erroneous. You’ve no
doubt heard, or thought, something like...God will spare the United States
because (a) We supply most of the world’s missionaries, (b) We have the
highest percent of churchgoers in the Western world, (c) We are a
“Christian” nation, (d) Democracy is closer to the divine ideal than any
other form of government, (e) Any other, similar reason (Ed note: because we support Israel). Ezekiel suggested that
such notions foster false hope. God deals with any nation as its deeds
require. The righteousness of the few will in no way preserve the wicked."
(Richards, L: The 365 day devotional commentary. Wheaton, Ill.: Victor
survivors will be
left in it who will
brought out, both
Behold, they are
forth to you and you
actions; then you
comforted for the
which I have
which I have
brought upon it.
Then they will
actions, for you will
know that I have not
did to it,"
And yet, behold, in it shall be left a remnant (an escaped portion), both
sons and daughters. They shall be carried forth to you [in Babylon], and
when you see their [ungodly] walk and their [wicked] doings, you will be
consoled for the evil that I have brought upon Jerusalem, even concerning
all that I have brought upon it. And they shall console you when you see
their evil ways and their rebellious actions. Then you shall know
(understand and realize) that I have not done without cause all that I have
done in Jerusalem, says the Lord God.
If anyone does survive and save his children, look at them when they come to
you. See how evil they are, and be convinced that the punishment I am
bringing on Jerusalem is justified
But some people will survive. Some of your sons and daughters will be
brought out. When they come out to you, you will see how they live.
Then you will be comforted after the disasters that I will bring on
Jerusalem, after every disaster that I will bring against it. You will be
comforted when you see how they live. Then you will know that
everything I have done was done for a reason," declares the Almighty LORD.
But some people will escape; some sons and daughters will be led out. They
will come out to you, and you will see what happens to people who live as
they did. Then you will be comforted after the disasters I have brought
against Jerusalem, after all the things I have brought against it. You will
be comforted when you see what happens to them for living as they did,
because you will know there was a good reason for what I did to Jerusalem,
says the Lord GOD."
Yet there will be survivors, and they will come here to join you as exiles
in Babylon. You will see with your own eyes how wicked they are, and then
you will feel better about what I have done to Jerusalem. When you meet them
and see their behavior, you will agree that these things are not being done
to Israel without cause, says the Sovereign LORD."
yet, lo, there hath been left in it an escape, who are brought forth, sons
and daughters, lo, they are coming forth unto you, and ye have seen their
way, and their doings, and have been comforted concerning the evil that I
have brought in against Jerusalem, all that which I have brought in against
it. And they have comforted you, for ye see their way and their doings, and
ye have known that not for nought have I done all that which I have done in
her -- an affirmation of the Lord Jehovah.'
will be left" (remnant)
For an in depth discussion of the Biblical concept of "the remnant"
will see" referring to
exiles with the implication that they are murmuring at the severity of
God's judgment about to be inflicted on Jerusalem. God Who does not ever
have to justify His actions, nevertheless condescends here to show the
reasonableness and inevitability of His severe judgment of Judah and
Why would the Jewish exiles in Babylon be
comforted when they saw the survivors who were
brought from Jerusalem after it fell in 586BC? Several commentaries interpret this passage as a reference to a
righteous remnant but the context more clearly points to a "wicked remnant",
whose evil deeds justified the actions of God's judgment on Jerusalem. The
captives would see their "conduct and actions" and understand. Both of these
words are used elsewhere in Ezekiel to refer to evil conduct and actions,
which further supports this interpretation. "Conduct"
(derek) figuratively refers to the road, path or journey one
chooses to walk down. The psalmist records
the LORD knows the way (derek) of the righteous, but the way (derek)
of the wicked will perish." (Ps1:6-see
The NLT paraphrases it (note that is an interpretative translation -
in this case I think it is excellent but it is always best to check a more
literal translation like NASB or ESV, both more literal than the more
popular NIV) this way
"You will see with your own eyes how wicked they
are, and then you will feel better about what I have done to
The Good News Bible says
"If anyone does survive and save his children, look at them when they
come to you. See how evil they are, and be convinced that the punishment I
am bringing on Jerusalem is justified."
In contrast to
this wicked "remnant", Ezekiel describes the "righteous
remnant", writing that
"you will remember your ways and all your deeds with which you have defiled
yourselves and you will loathe yourselves in your own sight for all the evil
things that you have done. " (Ezek 20:43)
Although this verse would refer to any of the exiles who sought God with all
their heart, the complete fulfillment awaits the end of the age and the
"time of Jacob's trouble" (Jer30:7) or what Jesus referred to as the "great
tribulation" (Mt24:15), at the triumphant return of the Deliverer (Ro11:26)
when this remnant will recognize that Jesus is their Messiah and their
"I have not done in vain"
(Ezek 8:6-18; 9:8,9; Ge18:22-33; Dt8:2; Pr26:2; Jer7:17-28; Jer22:8,9;
Da9:7,14; Ro2:5; Rev15:4; 16:6)
Nehemiah assessed God's judgment
of Jerusalem as righteous declaring that
Thou art just in all that has come upon
us for Thou hast dealt faithfully, but we have acted wickedly."
In Leviticus God says
they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their forefathers, in their
unfaithfulness which they committed against Me, and also in their acting
with hostility against Me--I also was acting with hostility against them, to
bring them into the land of their enemies-- or if their uncircumcised heart
becomes humbled so that they then make amends for their iniquity, then I
will remember My covenant with Jacob, and I will remember also My covenant
with Isaac, and My covenant with Abraham as well, and I will remember the
when a people is so corrupt as to call down national judgment, individual
piety shall save none but the individuals themselves"
adding that "The corrupt condition of the people shall be made so
manifest, that none will question the justice of God in dealing thus
severely with them.