|Ezekiel 6:1 And the word of the LORD came to me saying, (NASB: Lockman)|
|GWT: The LORD spoke his word to me. He said,
NKJV: Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying:
WBC: I received the following communication from Yahweh:
Young's Literal: And there is a word of Jehovah unto me, saying:
AND THE WORD OF THE LORD CAME TO ME SAYING:
The word of the LORD - This phrase occurs 49x in Ezekiel (click here)
When is this occurring? While one cannot state with absolute certainty it is most likely following the 430 days on his sides in chapter 4, which would place this prophecy somewhere around 592BC or still about 6+ years prior to the fall of Jerusalem.
Where? In exile in Babylon
To Whom? the exiles are "not be willing to listen to" to Ezekiel's message "since they are not willing to listen to" God because "the whole house of Israel is stubborn and obstinate" (3:7)
Charles Ryrie (The Ryrie Study Bible: New American Standard Translation: 1995. Moody Publishers) entitles this section in summary fashion as:
You may be wondering "Why is Ezekiel speaking all of these prophecies to the exiles"?
After all, they have already suffered some of the judgment Ezekiel is predicting for those who remained in Jerusalem. Furthermore, God had informed the prophet that
The answer at least in part is that the purpose of Ezekiel's ministry is to keep before the generation born in exile the national sins which had brought Israel so low and to sustain the faith of the exiles by predictions of national restoration and the execution of justice upon their Gentile oppressors, and finally to remind them of the future national glory for Israel under the Davidic monarchy.
|GWT: "Son of man, look toward the mountains of Israel, and prophesy against them.
NKJV: Son of man, set your face toward the mountains of Israel, and prophesy against them,
WBC: Human one, look in the direction of the mountains of Israel and issue a prophecy againsta them.
Young's Literal: Son of man, set thy face unto mountains of Israel, and prophesy concerning them:
SON OF MAN, SET YOUR FACE TOWARD THE MOUNTAINS OF ISRAEL AND PROPHESY AGAINST THEM: ("mountains of Israel" 15X in Ezekiel Josh11:21; Mic6:1 6:2) (Torrey's Topic provides an excellent "crash course" in a Scriptural analysis of idolatry)
Set your face toward as in Ezekiel's first prophetic message in the form of actions or symbols in which he was instructed to
set your face toward (the model of Jerusalem inscribed on the brick tile) so that it is under siege, and besiege it" (4:3) and later to "set your face toward the siege of Jerusalem with your arm bared, and prophesy against it." (4:7)
Set your face an instruction given only to Ezekiel, is found 10 times in this book (click here to view uses). The mountains of Israel had been holy mountains, but now that they had become defiled polluted by the idolatrous high places, God set his face against them and therefore Ezekiel must do likewise.
Mountains of Israel (Click for all 15 uses in Ezekiel) a phrase used only in Ezekiel in the Scriptures. Israel here refers to Judea not the ten tribes, who had long before been carried captive. As the mountains received this message of condemnation here, they would receive a message of blessing later (36:1–15, especially v 4) that would apply to all Israel. The mountains were especially centers of idolatrous worship, representing Israel’s apostasy and perversion of the good and holy things of God (cf. 6:13; 18:6, 11; 22:9)
In the previous chapter God had condemned Israel because they had
Now He says that they are not restricting their abominations to the sanctuary which would be justification enough to condemn them, but also of committing abominations throughout the land on the mountains and the hills and in the ravines and the valleys worshipping creation (nature) rather than the Creator.
They were guilty not only of defiling the “sanctuary” in Jerusalem with “detestable things” (5:11, 15; cf. ch. 8; 2 K 21:7) but also of committing abominations throughout the land on the mountains and the hills and in the ravines and the valleys. Here they worshiped the forces of nature rather than the Creator. The punishment will fit the crime. The slain idolators will be found strewn among the ruins of the cities and the incense altars.
Ezekiel 6:3 and say, 'Mountains of Israel, listen to the word of the Lord GOD! Thus says the Lord GOD to the mountains, the hills, the ravines and the valleys: "Behold, I Myself am going to bring a sword on you, and I will destroy your high places. (NASB: Lockman)
GWT: Say this, 'You mountains of Israel, listen to the word of the Almighty LORD! This is what the Almighty LORD says to the mountains and hills and to the ravines and valleys: I am going to attack you with a sword and destroy your worship sites.
NKJV: "and say, 'O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord GOD!' Thus says the Lord GOD to the mountains, to the hills, to the ravines, and to the valleys: "Indeed I, even I, will bring a sword against you, and I will destroy your high places.
WBC: Mountains of Israel, you are to say, listen to the declaration of Yahweh. Here is a message from the Lordb Yahweh to the mountains and hills, to the ravines and valleys. I am going to order a sword to invade you, and I will destroy your local shrines.
Young's Literal: And thou hast said: Mountains of Israel, Hear ye a word of the Lord Jehovah: Thus said the Lord Jehovah To the mountains, and to the hills, To the streams, and to the valleys, Lo, I, I am bringing in against you a sword, And I have destroyed your high places.
|AND SAY, 'MOUNTAINS OF ISRAEL, LISTEN TO THE WORD OF THE LORD GOD!: (36:1-4,8; Jer 22:29)
Matthew Henry writes that although in exile in Babylon, Ezekiel could not
The same words are used in Ezek 36:4 to describe the devastation of Israel’s pagan shrines.
God accuses Judah of harlotry on the hills declaring
The prophet Micah speaks to the mountains in another context calling on them to serve as judges while the Lord (the Prosecutor) states His case against Israel (the defendant)
High places (Heb = bamah which is used literally in Ezek 20:29 Study the uses of bamah in 1 Kings, 2 Kings Jeremiah Ezekiel) were associated with at least six activities--the burning of incense (Jer 48:35), sacrificing (2Ki 16:4), the eating of sacrificial meals, praying, prostitution, and child sacrifice (Jer 7:31 Jer 19:5 Jer 32:35)!
The high places consisted of several basic elements: an altar for offering sacrifices usually built of stone or mud brick, a wooden pole to represent the female goddess of fertility called Asherah, at least one stone pillar called a maššebâ to represent the male deity Baal and a smaller incense altar with a tent for use in eating sacrificial meals, practicing sacred prostitution (1Ki 14:23; 2Ki 21:3), and storage of cultic vessels.
The sad refrain which is repeated over and over in 2 Kings is only the high places were not taken away (click for all 7 occurrences of this phrase in OT) so that these sites of spiritual harlotry and spiritual adultery continued to be a snare for Israel all her days until God says as here in Ezekiel that "enough is enough". If Israel and Judah would not destroy the high places, the high places would destroy them and God Himself would destroy the high places!
During the period of the Judges the Israelites adopted the Canaanite custom of offering sacrifices at high places. These were on hilltops and other elevations. The pagan Canaanites felt that the closer they got to heaven the more likely was the possibility that their prayers and offerings would reach their gods. Offering sacrifices at places other than the tabernacle was prohibited in the Law (Lev 17:3 17:4). Nevertheless this practice was commonly observed in Israel at this time, even by Solomon. Even Solomon fell prey to these evil places for Scripture records that
This weak point of Solomon's for "high places" was exploited (and exploded) in 1Kings 11 for
Then some 300 years later (ca 621BC) godly King Josiah's reform (which obviously was only transient as shown by resurgence of high places within less than 30 years) after reading the book of the Law included the defilement of
During the reign of Jeroboam, the wicked king of the northern kingdom of Israel, was offering incense at the altar in Bethel and God sent His man from Judah to denounce the idolatrous altar, predicting that a king named Josiah would arise in Judah and would burn the idolatrous priests on the altar. The man of God cried out
Over 300 years later Josiah fulfilled this prophecy to the letter, coming to
Whose life are you emulating...King Solomon or King Josiah?
What are the "high places" in your life that you have refused to destroy because you like the wisest man that ever lived, King Solomon, have made them an "exception clause" and you have underestimated the deceptive power of sin (see note Hebrews 3:13). Be assured that God reads the "fine print" and He desires that we be wholly holy as He is holy. Remember that...
GWT: Your altars will be destroyed, and your incense burners will be smashed. I will kill people in front of your idols.
NKJV: Then your altars shall be desolate, your incense altars shall be broken and I will cast down your slain men before your idols.
WBC: Your altars will be reduced to ruins, and your incense burners smashed. I will cause your slain to fall in front of your idols
Young's Literal: And desolated have been your altars, And broken your images, And I have caused your wounded to fall before your idols,
Your altars will become desolate - It is fascinating but tragic to note that when the Israelites entered the land of Canaan, they were given clear commands to
Altars (mizbe'ah from a word meaning "to slay") means literally the "place of slaughter or sacrifice," and refers to any structure of earth (Ex 20:24) or unwrought stone (Ex 20:25) on which sacrifices were offered.
Altars were generally erected in conspicuous places (Ge 22:9; 2Ki 23:12; 16:4; 23:8; Acts 14:13). In the tabernacle (Ex 27:1-8), and the temple, two altars were erected. The altar of burnt offering (Ex 30:28), also called the "brazen altar" (Ex39:39) and "the table of the Lord" (Mal 1:7). The second was the altar of incense (Ex 30:1-10), called also "the golden altar" (Ex 39:38; Nu 4:11) which stood in the holy place "before the veil that is by the ark of the testimony."
On this altar sweet spices were continually burned with fire taken from the brazen altar. The morning and the evening services were commenced by the high priest offering incense on this altar. The burning of the incense was a type of prayer (Ps 141:2; Rev 5:8; 8:3 8:4)
AND I WILL MAKE YOUR SLAIN FALL IN FRONT OF YOUR IDOLS: (5 13; Lev 26:30; 1 Ki 13:2; 2 Ki 23:14 2 Ki 23:16-20; 2 Chr 34:5; Jer 8:1 8:2) (Nave's Topic on Idolatry) (ISBE Article) (Torrey's Topic provides an excellent "crash course" in a Scriptural analysis of idolatry)
Slain fall in front of your idols - From 588 to 586 BC, the Babylonian army besieged Jerusalem. Judah's ally, Egypt, had been defeated, and Jeremiah's repeated warnings to the Jews had been rejected. As Babylon's stranglehold on Jerusalem tightened, people were starving, yet they continued to turn to idols for deliverance. So in this verse there is a bitter irony when God says that the very idols which you have bowed before to save you, will be the place where you shall be slain. God gives a clear indication that these empty, lifeless figures are impotent and devoid of saving power.
As God declared in Jeremiah
As discussed further below Paul explains how such tragedy could occur to God's chosen people who had all the "religious" advantages, declaring that
Idols (gilluwl) Regarding the meaning of this Hebrew word, the NIV Study Bible has an interesting note commenting that
The Hebrew word for "dung" is gelel, derived from galal and thus related to the word gilluwl. probably explaining the origin of the derisive term "dung pellets", a very apt name for worthless and empty idols. It is interesting that 36 of 48 uses of this derisive term for idols are by Ezekiel (Click for all 36).
|GWT: I will lay the dead bodies of the people of Israel in front of your idols, and I will scatter their bones around your altars.
NKJV: "And I will lay the corpses of the children of Israel before their idols, and I will scatter your bones all around your altars.
WBC: ...and scatter your bones round your altars.
Young's Literal: And put the carcases of the sons of Israel before their idols, And scattered your bones round about your altars.
I WILL ALSO LAY THE DEAD BODIES OF THE SONS OF ISRAEL IN FRONT OF THEIR IDOLS:
I will lay dead bodies... - This would be equivalent of defiling the shrines by the presence of dead bodies (Ezek 9:7; Nu 19:16 19:18). Dead men in front of dead idols. The sentence fits the crime. In Isaiah God contrasted the way of death with the way of life declaring
As New Testament believers how we all need to heed John's warning
AND I WILL SCATTER YOUR BONES AROUND YOUR ALTARS:
Scatter your bones - These shrines would become desecrated by the scattering of bones of the dead around them. (cf 2Ki 23:15-16) Later God instructed His destroyers to
The slain as well as their bones would defile the altars.
Matthew Henry adds
How does this apply to New Testament believers? Paul answers that
Ezekiel 6:6 "In all your dwellings, cities will become waste and the high places will be desolate, that your altars may become waste and desolate, your idols may be broken and brought to an end, your incense altars may be cut down, and your works may be blotted out. (NASB: Lockman)
GWT: Wherever people live, the cities will be ruined, and the worship sites will be wrecked. Your altars will be ruined and demolished. Your idols will be smashed and completely destroyed. Your incense burners will be cut down, and everything you have done will be wiped out.
NKJV: "In all your dwelling places the cities shall be laid waste, and the high places shall be desolate, so that your altars may be laid waste and made desolate, your idols may be broken and made to cease, your incense altars may be cut down, and your works may be abolished.
WBC: Wherever you live, towns will be devastated and local shrines reduced to ruins, with the result that your altars will be devastated and ruined and your idols smashed and demolished, while your incense burners will be knocked down and your artifacts obliterated;
Young's Literal: In all your dwellings the cities are laid waste, And the high places are desolate, So that waste and desolate are your altars, And broken and ceased have your idols, And cut down have been your images, And blotted out have been your works.
All...will become waste (root idea of Hebrew word for waste is dried up and so made desolate, devastated, destitute, ravaged, ruined, deserted, in a destroyed and ruined state, implying the object or area destroyed is now abandoned from all help)
In Jeremiah God describes what a "waste" will look like, declaring
After the devastation of all the dwelling and cities of Israel, Isaiah foretells of a righteous remnant (see Ezek 6:9 discussion) who will cry out to God to rend the heavens and come down, reminding God that
high places (click here) will be desolate - Because of Judah's wickedness and harlotry God decreed
Matthew Henry writes
THAT YOUR ALTARS MAY BECOME WASTE AND DESOLATE YOUR IDOLS MAY BE BROKEN AND BROUGHT TO AN END, YOUR INCENSE ALTARS MAY BE CUT DOWN, AND YOUR WORKS MAY BE BLOTTED OUT: (30:13; Is 2:18 2:20; 27:9; Ho 10:2; Mic 1:7; 5:13; Zeph 1:3 1:4; Zech 13:2)
You works may be blotted out - Habakkuk asks a question each of us should contemplate --
The psalmist declares that
Isaiah prophesying against Judah and Jerusalem adds that
This unquenchable burning refers not just to the destruction by the Babylonian army but also the eternal judgment in the lake of fire.
GWT: People will be killed, and they will fall among you. Then you will know that I am the LORD.
NKJV: "The slain shall fall in your midst, and you shall know that I am the LORD.
WBC: and people will lie fallen,a slain among you. Then you wil*-l realize that I am Yahweh,
Young's Literal: And fallen hath the wounded in your midst, And ye have known that I am Jehovah.
Know that I am Jehovah - This phrase occurs four times in this chapter alone (v7, 10, 13, 14). Ezekiel makes frequent use of this “recognition formula” (click for all 63 uses in Ezekiel).
Several prayers appeal to God to answer in order that others will know that He is Jehovah. For example, the psalmist Asaph prays
King Hezekiah confronted by Assyrian threats appealed to God
The point of the repetition of this phrase in Ezekiel 6 (as well as in the entire book) was that God's people will know Him either through response to His loving attempts of salvation and fellowship or through His righteous and just judgment. God’s preference was then as now that men know Him by confession in life rather than after death, when