Ezekiel 6:1-7

 

 

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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:
 

Ezekiel 6 The CAUSE of coming judgment IDOLATRY
Ezekiel 7 The CHARACTER of coming judgment SEVERE

 

Ezekiel 4 & 5 Prophecies Through Symbols
Ezekiel 6 & 7 Prophecies Through Sermons
Ezekiel 8 - 11 Prophecies Through Visions

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 house of Israel will not be willing to listen to you, since they are not willing to listen to Me. Surely the whole house of Israel is stubborn and obstinate." (Ezek 3:7)

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.

 

Ezekiel 6:2 "Son of man, set your face toward the mountains of Israel, and prophesy against them  (NASB: Lockman)

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

defiled (His) sanctuary with all (their) detestable idols and with all your abominations" and He passed the horrible sentence that He would "withdraw, and (His) eye (would) have no pity and (He would) not spare." (5:11)

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)

(Click for all 15 uses of "mountains of Israel" in Ezekiel)

Matthew Henry writes that although in exile in Babylon, Ezekiel could not

see so far off as the land of Israel, the mountains of that land would be first and furthest seen; towards them therefore he must look, and look boldly and steadfastly, as the judge looks at the prisoner, and directs his speech to him, when he passes sentence upon him....The prophets might as soon gain attention from the mountains as from that rebellious and gainsaying people, to whom they all day long stretched out their hands in vain...That which is threatened in this prophecy is the utter destruction of the idols and the idolaters, and both by the sword of war. God Himself is commander-in-chief of this expedition against the mountains of Israel..(for) the sword of the Chaldeans (Babylonians) is at God’s command, goes where He sends it, comes where He brings it, and lights as He directs it...God sometimes ruins idolatries even by the hands of idolaters, for such the Chaldeans themselves were... It is just with God to make that a desolation which we make an idol of; for he is a jealous God and will not bear a rival. If men do not, as they ought, destroy idolatry, God will, first or last, find out a way to do it. When Josiah had destroyed the high places, altars, and images, with the sword of justice, they set them up again; but God will now destroy them with the sword of war, and let us see who dares re-establish them."

THUS SAYS THE LORD GOD TO THE MOUNTAINS, THE HILLS, THE RAVINES AND THE VALLEYS: (Jer 3:6 3:23)

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

long ago I broke your yoke and tore off your bonds; but you said, 'I will not serve!' for on every high hill and under every green tree you have lain down as a harlot." (Jer2:20)

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)

Listen, you mountains, to the indictment of the LORD, and you enduring foundations of the earth, because the LORD has a case against His people; even with Israel He will dispute." (Mic 6:2)

BEHOLD, I MYSELF AM GOING TO BRING A SWORD ON YOU, AND I WILL DESTROY YOUR HIGH PLACES: (Lev 26:30; Isa 27:9)

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

Now Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of his father David, EXCEPT he sacrificed and burned incense on the high places. And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the great high place; (the tabernacle was there so this was not inappropriate but note the preceding verse = "high places" plural!) Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar." (1Ki 3:3 3:4)

This weak point of Solomon's for "high places" was exploited (and exploded) in 1Kings 11 for

King Solomon loved many foreign women...from the nations concerning which the LORD had said to the sons of Israel, "You shall not associate with them, neither shall they associate with you, for they will surely turn your heart away after their gods." Solomon held fast to these in love...and his wives turned his heart away...after other gods and his heart was not wholly devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been for Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians and after Milcom the detestable idol of the Ammonites and Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and did not follow the LORD fully, as David his father had done. Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable idol of Moab (associated with sacrifice of children as a burnt offering!), on the mountain which is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the detestable idol of the sons of Ammon (also associated with sacrifice of children). (1Ki 11:7) Thus also he did for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods. Now the LORD was angry with Solomon because his heart was turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice, and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods; but he did not observe what the LORD had commanded." (1Kings 11:1-10).

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

"the high places which were before (east of) Jerusalem, which were on the right of (south of) the mount of destruction (of corruption ~ the Mt of Olives!) which Solomon the king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Sidonians, and for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Milcom (Molech) the abomination of the sons of Ammon." (2Ki 23:13)

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

against the altar by the word of the LORD, and said, "O altar, altar, thus says the LORD, 'Behold, a son shall be born to the house of David, Josiah by name; and on you he shall sacrifice the priests of the high places who burn incense on you, and human bones shall be burned on you.'" (1Ki 13:2)

Over 300 years later Josiah fulfilled this prophecy to the letter, coming to

the altar that was at Bethel and the high place which Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel sin, had made, even that altar and the high place he broke down. Then he demolished its stones, ground them to dust, and burned the Asherah. Now when Josiah turned, he saw the graves that were there on the mountain, and he sent and took the bones from the graves and burned them on the altar and defiled it according to the word of the LORD which the man of God proclaimed, who proclaimed these things." (2Ki 23:15-16)

Whose life are you emulating...King Solomon or King Josiah?

Do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace. (see notes Romans 6:12; 6:13; 6:14) (What does Sin desire to do even in believers? Don't miss it. Read the passage again).

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...

Sin...
Will take you farther than you ever meant to stray
Keep you longer than you ever meant to stay &
Cost you more than you ever thought you'd have to pay!

 

Ezekiel 6:4 "So your altars will become desolate and your incense altars will be smashed; and I will make your slain fall in front of your idols.  (NASB: Lockman)

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,

SO YOUR ALTARS WILL BECOME DESOLATE AND YOUR INCENSE ALTARS WILL BE SMASHED: (2 Chr14:5; 34:4; Jer 43:13) (Naves Topic on Altar, ISBE Article on Altar)

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

"tear down their altars (of the Canaanites) and smash their sacred pillars, and hew down their Asherim, and burn their graven images with fire (Dt 7:5), "destroy all their molten images and demolish all their high places" (Nu 33:52), "and...obliterate their name from that place." (Dt 12:3)

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.

SPIRITUAL IDOLATRY

Idolatry is spiritual whoredom and is the breach of the marriage-covenant with Jehovah God (for Israel) and with the Lord Jesus Christ (bridegroom of the Church). Idolatry is the setting of the affections upon whatever is a rival with our affection for our Lord, and it implies and often entails the indulgence of a base lust, which deceives and defiles the soul, and is a great wrong to God in His honor.

"Little children, guard yourselves from idols."

As God declared in Jeremiah

My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, to hew for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water." (Jer 2:13)

As discussed further below Paul explains how such tragedy could occur to God's chosen people who had all the "religious" advantages, declaring that

even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, that their bodies might be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen." (Ro 1:21-25)

Idols (gilluwl) Regarding the meaning of this Hebrew word, the NIV Study Bible has an interesting note commenting that

"The Hebrew for this word (gilluwl) is a derisive term (lit. "dung pellets"), used especially by Ezekiel (38 times, as opposed to only 9 times elsewhere in the OT)."  The Wycliffe Bible commentary adds that gilluwl  is derived from galal, “to roll,” and was "a term of derision, which referred to the objects worshiped as “blocks” or “clods. (Pfeiffer, C F: Wycliffe Bible Commentary. 1981. Moody or Logos)

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).

IDOLATRY

Easton's Dictionary defines "Idolatry" as "Image-worship or divine honour paid to any created object. Paul describes the origin of idolatry in Ro1:21-25: men forsook God, and sank into ignorance and moral corruption (1:28). The forms of idolatry are,
 

  • Fetishism or the worship of trees, rivers, hills, stones, etc.

  • Nature worship, the worship of the sun, moon, and stars, as the supposed powers of nature.

  • Hero worship, the worship of deceased ancestors, or of heroes.

    In Scripture, idolatry is regarded as of heathen origin, and as being imported among the Hebrews through contact with heathen nations. The first allusion to idolatry is in the account of Rachel stealing her father's teraphim (Ge31:19), which were the relics of the worship of other gods by Laban's progenitors "on the other side of the river in old time" (Josh24:2). During their long residence in Egypt the Hebrews fell into idolatry, and it was long before they were delivered from it (Josh24:14; Ezek 20:7). Many a token of God's displeasure fell upon them because of this sin.

    Smith's Dictionary summarizes Israel's history regarding idolatry, which began in earnest when "In the wilderness they clamored for some visible shape in which they might worship the God who had brought them out of Egypt. (Ex32:1) ... until Aaron made the calf, the embodiment of Apis and emblem of the productive power of nature. During the lives of Joshua and the elders who outlived him they kept true to their allegiance; but the generation following who knew not Jehovah nor the works he had done for Israel, swerved from the plain path of their fathers and were caught in the toils of the foreigner. (Jdg 2:1) From this time forth their history becomes little more than a chronicle of the inevitable sequence of offence and punishment. (Jdg2:12,14) By turns each conquering nation strove to establish the worship of its national God. In later times the practice of secret idolatry was carried to greater lengths. Images were set up on the corn-floors, in the wine-vats, and behind the doors of private houses, (Isa 57:8; Hos 9:1,2) and to check this tendency the statute (LAW) in (Deut 27:15) was originally promulgated. Under Samuel’s administration idolatry was publicly renounced, (1Sa7:3-6) but in the reign of Solomon all this was forgotten, even Solomon’s own heart being turned after other gods. (1 Ki11:14) (the result being division of the kingdom in 931BC) Rehoboam perpetuated the worst features of Solomon’s idolatry and (1 Ki14:22-24) erected golden calves at Beth-el and at Dan, and by this crafty state’ policy severed forever the kingdoms of Judah and Israel. (1 Ki12:26-33) The successors of Jeroboam followed in his steps, till Ahab. The conquest of the (northern) ten tribes by Shalmaneser (the Assyrian in 722BC) was for them the last scene of the drama of abominations which had been enacted uninterruptedly for upwards of 250 years. Under Hezekiah a great reform was inaugurated, that was not confined to Judah and Benjamin, but spread throughout Ephraim and Manasseh. (2 Chr 31:1) and to all external appearances idolatry was extirpated. But the reform extended little below the surface. (Isa 29:13) With the death of Josiah ended the last effort to revive among the people a purer ritual. If not a purer faith. The lamp of David, which had long shed but a struggling ray, flickered for a while and then went out in the darkness of Babylonian Captivity. Though the conquests of Alexander caused Greek influence to be felt, yet after the captivity better condition of things prevailed, and the Jews never again fell into idolatry. The erection of synagogues had been assigned as a reason for the comparative purity of the Jewish worship after the captivity, while another cause has been discovered in the hatred for images acquired by the Jews in their intercourse with the Persians.

    Objects of idolatry--
    The sun and moon were early selected as outward symbols of all-pervading power, and the worship of the heavenly bodies was not only the most ancient but the most prevalent system of idolatry. Taking its rise in the plains of Chaldea, it spread through Egypt, Greece, Scythia, and even Mexico and Ceylon. (Deut 4:19; 17:3; Job 31:20-28) In the later times of the monarchy, the planets or the zodiacal signs received, next to the sun and moon, their share of popular adoration. (2 Ki 23:5) Beast-worship, as exemplified in the calves of Jeroboam, has already been alluded to but of pure hero-worship among the Semitic races we find no trace.

    Mountains and high places were chosen spots for offering sacrifice and incense to idols, (1 Ki 11:7; 14:23) and the retirement of gardens and the thick shade of woods offered great attractions to their worshippers. (2 Ki16:4; Is1:29; Ho4:13)

    The host of heaven was worshipped on the house-top. (2 Ki23:12; Jer19:3; 32:29; Zeph1:5)

    The modern objects of idolatry are less gross than the ancient, but are none the less idols. Whatever of wealth or honor or pleasure is loved and sought before God and righteousness becomes an object of idolatry. In the New Testament the term idolatry is used to designate covetousness (Mt 6:24; Lu16:13; Col 3:5; Eph 5:5).

    Punishment of idolatry
    Idolatry to an Israelite was a state offence, (1 Sa 15:23) a political crime of the greatest character, high treason against the majesty of his king for Jehovah was the theocratic King of Israel, the civil Head of the commonwealth. The first and second commandments are directed against idolatry of every form. Individuals and communities were equally amenable to the rigorous code. The individual offender was devoted to destruction, (Ex22:20) his nearest relatives were not only bound to denounce him and deliver him up to punishment, (Deut 13:2-10) but their hands were to strike the first blow, when, on the evidence of two witnesses at least, he was stoned. (Deut 17:2-5) To attempt to seduce others to false worship was a crime of equal enormity. (Deut 13:6-10)

    No facts are more strongly declared in the Old Testament than that the extermination of the Canaanites was the punishment of their idolatry (Ex 34:15,16; Deut 7; 12:29-31; 20:17), and that the calamities of the Israelites were due to the same cause (Jer 2:17). "A city guilty of idolatry was looked upon as a cancer in the state; it was considered to be in rebellion, and treated according to the laws of war. Its inhabitants and all their cattle were put to death." On taking possession of the land, the Jews were commanded to destroy all traces of every kind of the existing idolatry of the Canaanites (Ex 23:24,32; 34:13; Deut 7:5,25; 12:1-3).

    Attractions of idolatry .
    Many have wondered why the Israelites were so easily led away from the true God, into the worship of idols. (1) Visible, outward signs, with shows, pageants, parades, have an attraction to the natural heart, which often fail to perceive the unseen spiritual realities. (2) But the greatest attraction seems to have been in licentious revelries and obscene orgies with which the worship of the Oriental idols was observed. This worship, appealing to every sensual passion, joined with the attractions of wealth and fashion and luxury, naturally was a great temptation to a simple, restrained, agricultural people, whose worship and law demands the greatest purity of heart and of life.--ED.)

  • R A Torrey adds that idolatry is changing the glory of God into an image Ro1:23; Acts17:29, exchanging the truth of God for a lie Ro1:25; Isa44:20, is a work of the flesh Gal5:19,20 and is incompatible with the service of God Ge35:2,3; Josh24:23; 1 Sa7:3; 1 Ki18:21; 2Co6:15,16

     

    Ezekiel 6:5 "I will also lay the dead bodies of the sons of Israel in front of their idols; and I will scatter your bones around your altars.  (NASB: Lockman)

    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

    When you cry out, let your collection of idols deliver you. But the wind will carry all of them up, and a breath will take them away. But he who takes refuge in Me shall inherit the land, and shall possess My holy mountain." (Isa 57:13)

    As New Testament believers how we all need to heed John's warning

    Little children, guard (aorist imperative) = Don't delay. Do this now. Do this every time you are tempted to "worship" an idol, whatever it might be that is stealing your affection and devotion from the Almighty, Holy God) yourselves from idols. (1Jn 5:21)

    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

    "Defile the temple and fill the courts with the slain. Go out!" Thus they went out and struck down the people in the city." (Ezek9:7)

    The slain as well as their bones would defile the altars.

    Matthew Henry adds

    Thus their idols should be polluted, and those places profaned by the dead bodies which they had had in veneration. If they will not defile the covering of their graven images, God will, (Isa 30:22). The throwing of the carcasses among them, as upon the dunghill, intimates that they were but dunghill-deities. Thus it was intimated that they were but dead things, unfit to be rivals with the living God; for the carcasses of dead men, that, like them, have eyes and see not, ears and hear not, were the fittest company for them. Thus the idols were upbraided (criticized severely & justifiably) with their inability to help their worshippers, and idolaters were upbraided with the folly of trusting in them; for (the implication of this verse is that the Jews) fell by the sword of the enemy when they were actually before their idols imploring their aid and putting themselves under their protection. (This is not without precedent in Scripture for we find that) Sennacherib was slain by his sons when he was worshipping in the house of his god....(Another reason) the slain men are cast before the idols (could be) to show that (the very reason that) they were slain was because they had worshipped those idols... (Therefore) let the survivors observe and take warning not to worship images...and know that God is the Lord, that the Lord He is God and He alone.

    How does this apply to New Testament believers? Paul answers that

    these things happened as examples for us, that we should not crave evil things, as they also craved. And do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, "THE PEOPLE SAT DOWN TO EAT AND DRINK, AND STOOD UP TO PLAY" (1Cor 10:6-7)

     

    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.

     IN ALL YOUR DWELLINGS, CITIES WILL BECOME WASTE: (Is 6:11; Jer 9:19; Zeph 3:) (5:14; Isa 24:1-12; 32:13 32:14;Jer 2:15; ; Mic 3:12; Zeph 1:2-6 1:18; 3:6)

    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

    I will make Jerusalem a heap of ruins, a haunt of jackals; and I will make the cities of Judah a desolation, without inhabitant." (Jer 9:11 cf 10:22 34:22)

    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

    Thy holy cities have become a wilderness, Zion has become a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation. Our holy and beautiful house, where our fathers praised Thee, has been burned by fire; and all our precious things have become a ruin. Wilt Thou restrain Thyself at these things, O LORD? Wilt Thou keep silent and afflict us beyond measure?" (Isa 64:10-12)

    AND THE HIGH PLACES WILL BE DESOLATE: (Lev 26:30; Jer 17:3; Ho 10:8)

    high places (click here) will be desolate - Because of Judah's wickedness and harlotry God decreed

    shall also give you into the hands of your lovers, and they will tear down your shrines, demolish your high places, strip you of your clothing, take away your jewels, and will leave you naked and bare." (Ezek 16:39)

    Matthew Henry writes

    "As all their high places shall be laid waste, so shall all their dwelling-places too, even all their cities. Those that profane God’s dwelling-place as they had done can expect no other than that he should abandon theirs, (Ezek 5:11). If any man defile the temple of God, him will God destroy, (1Cor 3:17)."

    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 --

    What profit is the idol when its maker has carved it, or an image, a teacher of falsehood? For its maker trusts in his own handiwork when he fashions speechless idols."(Hab 2:18)

    The psalmist declares that

    Those who make (idols) will become like them (read Ps 115 for what "them" are like), everyone who trusts in them." (Ps 115:8) (Spurgeon's comment)

    Isaiah prophesying against Judah and Jerusalem adds that

    the strong man will become tinder, his work also a spark. Thus they shall both burn together, and there will be none to quench them." (Isa 1:31)

    This unquenchable burning refers not just to the destruction by the Babylonian army but also the eternal judgment in the lake of fire.

     

    Ezekiel 6:7 "The slain will fall among you, and you will know that I am the LORD. (NASB: Lockman)

    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.

    THE SLAIN WILL FALL AMONG YOU AND YOU WILL KNOW THAT I AM THE LORD: (Jer14:18; 18:21; 25:33; La2:20 2:21; 4:9)  (Ex 7:5; 14:4 14:18; Da4:35-37; 6:26 6:27)

    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).

    "The Lord reveals Himself as the Ruler of history by announcing events beforehand." (New Geneva study Bible.  Nashville: Thomas Nelson)

    Several prayers appeal to God to answer in order that others will know that He is Jehovah. For example, the psalmist Asaph prays

    Let them (God's enemies) be ashamed and dismayed forever; and let them be humiliated and perish, that they may know that Thou alone, Whose Name is the LORD, art the Most High over all the earth." (Ps 83:17 18) (See Spurgeon's comments Verse 17 Verse 18)

    King Hezekiah confronted by Assyrian threats appealed to God

    Truly, O LORD, the kings of Assyria have devastated the nations and their lands and have cast their gods into the fire, for they were not gods but the work of men's hands, wood and stone. So they have destroyed them. And now, O LORD our God, I pray, deliver us from his hand that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that Thou alone, O LORD, art God." (2 Ki 19:17-19)

    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

    at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE SHOULD BOW, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (see notes Philippians 2:10; 2:11)


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