|Ezekiel 8:10 So I entered and looked, and behold, every form of creeping things and beasts and detestable things, with all the idols of the house of Israel, were carved on the wall all around.|
|Young's Literal: And I go in, and look, and lo, every form of creeping thing, and detestable beast—and all the Idols of the house of Israel—graved on the wall, all round about
GWT: So I went in and looked. I saw that the walls were covered with drawings of every kind of crawling creature, every kind of disgusting animal, and all the idols in the nation of Israel.
WBC: I went through, and there before my eyes was every kind of horrible object of worship and all the idols of the community of Israel, engraved all over the wall.
NLT: So I went in and saw the walls engraved with all kinds of snakes, lizards, and hideous creatures. I also saw the various idols worshiped by the people of Israel.
Message: I entered and looked. I couldn’t believe my eyes: Painted all over the walls were pictures of reptiles and animals and monsters—the whole pantheon of Egyptian gods and goddesses—being worshiped by Israel.
SO I ENTERED AND LOOKED, AND BEHOLD, EVERY FORM OF CREEPING THINGS AND BEASTS AND DETESTABLE THINGS, WITH ALL THE IDOLS OF THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL, WERE CARVED ON THE WALL ALL AROUND: (Ex 20:4; Lev11:10, 11, 12,29, 30, 31,42, 43, 44; Dt 4:18; 14:3,7,8; Isa 57:6, 7, 8, 9, 10; Jer 2:26,27; 3:9; 16:18; Ro1:23)
Related Resource: Greek Word Studies on…
Every form of creeping things… detestable things with all the idols The second commandment clearly stated "You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth" (Ex 20:4)
Related Resource: Idolatry and Immorality - the relationship and the antidote
In Deuteronomy again they were told not to make an image which had "the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water below the earth." (Dt 4:18)
In Leviticus God had commanded Israel
Do not render yourselves detestable through any of the swarming things that swarm; and you shall not make yourselves unclean with them so that you become unclean. For I am the LORD your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy; for I am holy. And you shall not make yourselves unclean with any of the swarming things that swarm on the earth." (Lev11:43, 44)
God has always desired a holy, set apart people, useful to Him for every good work. Israel situated in the center of the pagan nations had become so defiled that she was now deemed worthless for any good work. All believers need to remember Paul's warning when tempted to point fingers at Israel and say "How could they do such a thing?" -- Paul warned
"Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall." (1Cor10:12)
"On the wall around" The nature of this abominable "spiritual graffiti" is not further identified. What is important is that God saw it and it was disgusting to Him. "Detestable" (Hebrew = sheqets) is translated in the Septuagint by the Greek word "bdelugma" which refers to something which causes revulsion or extreme disgust (loathsome). Jesus used bdelugma to characterize the antichrist as the "abomination (bdelugma) of desolation" (Mt 24:15) The etymology of this noun is graphically instructive for it is derived from bdelusso which means to emit a foul odor or turn away thru loathing or disgust, abhor. Bdelusso in turn is derived from bdeo meaning to stink. The practices of these 70 elders was essentially a "stench in the nostrils" of God!
|Ezekiel 8:11 Standing in front of them were seventy elders of the house of Israel, with Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan standing among (in the midst or middle, in the center) them, each man with his censer in his hand and the fragrance of the cloud of incense rising.|
|Young's Literal: and seventy men of the elders of the house of Israel—and Jaazaniah son of Shaphan standing in their midst—are standing before them, and each his censer in his hand, and the abundance of the cloud of perfume is going up.
GWT: In front of these drawings stood 70 of Israel's leaders. Jaazaniah, son of Shaphan, was standing with the leaders. Each of them was holding an incense burner in his hand, and a cloud of incense went up.
WBC: Seventy of the elders of the community of Israel were standing in front of the engravings—among them was standing Jaazaniah son of Shaphan —each holding a censer in his hand, and incense fumesb were wafting up.
NLT: Seventy leaders of Israel were standing there with Jaazaniah son of Shaphan in the middle. Each of them held an incense burner, so there was a thick cloud of incense above their heads.
Message: In the middle of the room were seventy of the leaders of Israel, with Jaazaniah son of Shaphan standing in the middle. Each held his censer with the incense rising in a fragrant cloud.
|AND STANDING IN FRONT OF THEM WERE SEVENTY ELDERS OF THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL (Ex 24:1,9; Nu 11:16,25; Jer 5:5; 19:1; Daniel 9:8)
What a sad contrast of these seventy (ungodly) elders who represented Israel with the seventy (godly) elders described in (Ex 24:1, 9) who ate the covenant meal before God inaugurating the covenant relationship.
Moses records that God spoke to him saying "Come up to the LORD, you and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu and seventy of the elders of Israel, and you shall worship at a distance… Then Moses went up with Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel."
WITH JAAZANIAH THE SON OF SHAPHAN STANDING AMONG THEM (2Ki22:3,8,12,14; 25:22; 2Chr34:20; Jer26:24; 29:3; 36:10)
"Jaazaniah" was the "black sheep" of Shaphan's four sons (he may have ha7d more). How did the others "turn out"? Should Jaazaniah have known better? What had his father found in 2Ki22?
EACH MAN WITH HIS CENSER IN HIS HAND, AND THE FRAGRANCE OF THE CLOUD OF INCENSE RISING. (Nu 16:17,35; 2Chr26:16,19; Jer7:9) (Torrey's Topic "Incense")
The cloud of incense played a prominent role in screening the high priest on the Day of Atonement (Lev 16:13) Moses recording that the High Priest "shall put the incense on the fire before the LORD, that the cloud of incense may cover the mercy seat that is on the ark of the testimony, lest he die." Here it has become part of a detestable pagan ritual! When one gets away from the Truth, it is incredible how far he will go.
Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary has a nice summary on "Incense" which it defines as
Ezekiel 8:12 Then He said to me, "Son of man, do you see what the elders of the house of Israel are committing in the dark, each man in the room of his carved images? For they say, 'The LORD does not see us; the LORD has forsaken the land.' "
|Young's Literal: And He saith unto me, ‘Hast thou seen, son of man, that which elders of the house of Israel are doing in darkness, each in the inner chambers of his imagery, for they are saying, Jehovah is not seeing us, Jehovah hath forsaken the land?’
GWT: God asked me, "Son of man, do you see what the leaders of the nation of Israel are doing in secret? Each of them is in the room where his god is, and each one of them is thinking, 'The LORD doesn't see me. The LORD has abandoned this land.'"
WBC: Then he told me, “Just look, human one, at what the elders of the community of Israel are doing in the dark, each at the recess of his image! They justify it with the sentiments that Yahweh cannot see, Yahweh has left the country.”
NLT: Then the LORD said to me, "Son of man, have you seen what the leaders of Israel are doing with their idols in dark rooms? They are saying, 'The LORD doesn't see us; he has deserted our land!'"
Message: He said, “Son of man, do you see what the elders are doing here in the dark, each one before his favorite god-picture? They tell themselves, ‘God doesn’t see us. God has forsaken the country.’ ”
|THEN HE SAID TO ME, "SON OF MAN, DO YOU SEE WHAT THE ELDERS OF THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL ARE COMMITTING IN THE DARK, EACH MAN IN THE ROOM OF HIS CARVED IMAGES? (Ezek 8:6,15,17) (Ezek 8:11; 14:1; 20:1; Ephesians 5:12) (Ezek 8:7,8; Job 24:13, 14, 15, 16, 17; John 3:19,20)
"Each man in the room of his carved images" suggest that each elder had his own "favorite god".
FOR THEY SAY, 'THE LORD DOES NOT SEE US; THE LORD HAS FORSAKEN THE LAND: (Ezek 9:9; Job 22:12,13; Psalms 73:11; 94:7, 8, 9, 10; Isaiah 29:15)
What they were really saying in their darkened hearts was that God couldn't see what they were doing in the secret places (even the secret places of their hearts). They were seeking to elders rationalize and justify their sin. When you forget God is omniscient and holy, it becomes "easy" to rationalize your sin. The elders felt that what they did in their darkened chambers would escape God’s notice. They even went so far to say He had abandoned them. Why would they do that? The most obvious reason is because there had already been 2 successful Babylonian invasion of Jerusalem. Their feeling that God had forsaken them reminds one of the saying "When you don't feel close to God, guess who moved!"
|Young's Literal: And He saith unto me, ‘Again thou dost turn, thou dost see great abominations that they are doing.’
GWT: Then he said to me, "You will see even more disgusting things that they are doing."
WBC: He also told me, “You have yet to observe rites even more shocking, in which people are engaging.”
NLT: Then he added, "Come, and I will show you greater sins than these!"
Message: Then he said, “You’re going to see worse yet.”
|AND HE SAID TO ME, "YET YOU WILL SEE STILL GREATER ABOMINATIONS WHICH THEY ARE COMMITTING: (Ezek 8:6,15; Jer 9:3, 2Ti3:13)|
|Young's Literal: And He bringeth me in unto the opening of the gate of the house of Jehovah that is at the north, and lo, there the women are sitting weeping for Tammuz.
GWT: He brought me to the entrance of the north gate of the Lord's temple. Women were sitting there and crying for the god Tammuz.
WBC: Then he brought me to the entrance of the north gateway leading to Yahweh’s temple, where I found women sitting, bewailing Tammuz.
NLT: He brought me to the north gate of the Lord's Temple, and some women were sitting there, weeping for the god Tammuz.
Message: He took me to the entrance at the north gate of the Temple of God. I saw women sitting there, weeping for Tammuz, the Babylonian fertility god.
|THEN HE BROUGHT ME TO THE ENTRANCE OF THE GATE OF THE LORD'S HOUSE WHICH WAS TOWARD THE NORTH; AND BEHOLD, WOMEN WERE SITTING THERE WEEPING FOR TAMMUZ.: (Ezek 44:4; 46:9)
Ezekiel's reference to "Tammuz" is not to be confused with the calendar designation of the fourth Hebrew month. In the post-exilic Hebrew calendar, "Tammuz" corresponds to June-July. Before the Babylonian Exile, individual months in the Hebrew calendar were usually designated by numbers (although some of the months did have names) and that after the Exile the months received specific names, the first month for example being Nisan (March/April) and the fourth month being Tammuz. Ezekiel's reference is not to the month Tammuz but to a so-called god referred to in Babylonian mythology as "Tammuz", dying and being reborn year after year, a picture representing the yearly cycle of the seasons and the crops.
Entries below from Unger's Bible Dictionary and John Macarthur's Commentary on First Corinthians provide additional details regarding Tammuz, but keep in mind that most of the information is from extra-biblical sources, so it must be read with appropriate discretion.
Unger's entry records that
Easton's Bible Dictionary adds that "In the Chaldean calendar there was a month set apart in honour of this god, the month of June to July, the beginning of the summer solstice. At this festival, which lasted six days, the worshippers, with loud lamentations, bewailed the funeral of the god… "
|Young's Literal: And He saith unto me, ‘Hast thou seen, son of man? again thou dost turn, thou dost see greater abominations than these.’
GWT: He asked me, "Son of man, do you see this? You will see even more disgusting things than these."
WBC:Just look at that!” he told me. “But you have yet to observe rites even more shocking than seen hitherto.
NLT: Have you seen this?" he asked. "But I will show you even greater sins than these!"
Message: He said, “Have you gotten an eyeful, son of man? You’re going to see worse yet.”
|15 AND HE SAID TO ME, "DO YOU SEE THIS, SON OF MAN? YET YOU WILL SEE STILL GREATER ABOMINATIONS THAN THESE: (Ezek 8:6,12; 2Timothy 3:13)|
Ezekiel 8:16 Then He brought me into the inner court of the LORD'S house. And behold, at the entrance to the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about twenty-five * men with their backs to the temple of the LORD and their faces toward the east; and they were prostrating themselves eastward toward the sun.
|Young's Literal: And He bringeth me in unto the inner court of the house of Jehovah, and lo, at the opening of the temple of Jehovah, between the porch and the altar, about twenty-five men, their backs toward the temple of Jehovah, and their faces eastward, and they are bowing themselves eastward to the sun.
GWT:Then he brought me into the inner courtyard of the Lord's temple. There at the entrance to the Lord's temple, between the entrance and the altar, were about 25 men who had their backs turned to the Lord's temple. They were facing east and worshiping the rising sun.
WBC: He brought me into the inner court of Yahweh’s temple, and by the entrance to the nave, between the porch and the altar, I found about twenty-five men with their backs to Yahweh’s nave and their faces turned to the east, kowtowing in worship to the sun.
NLT: Then he brought me into the inner courtyard of the Lord's Temple. At the entrance, between the foyer and the bronze altar, about twenty-five men were standing with their backs to the Lord's Temple. They were facing eastward, worshiping the sun!
Message: Finally, he took me to the inside court of the Temple of God. There between the porch and the altar were about twenty-five men. Their backs were to God’s Temple. They were facing east, bowing in worship to the sun.
|THEN HE BROUGHT ME INTO THE INNER COURT OF THE LORD'S HOUSE (Ezek 10:3; 40:28; 43:5; 45:19).
AND BEHOLD, AT THE ENTRANCE TO THE TEMPLE OF THE LORD, BETWEEN THE PORCH AND THE ALTAR (2Ki16:14; 2Chr7:7; Joel 2:17)
WERE ABOUT TWENTY-FIVE MEN WITH THEIR BACKS TO THE TEMPLE OF THE LORD AND THEIR FACES TOWARD THE EAST (Ezek 23:35; 1Ki 8:29; 2Chr29:6; Jer2:27; 32:33);
In Jeremiah God describes the leaders which would doubtless include the "25" writing that "As the thief is shamed when he is discovered, so the house of Israel is shamed. They, their kings, their princes, and their priests, and their prophets, who say to a tree, 'You are my father,' and to a stone, 'You gave me birth.' For they have turned their back to Me, and not their face; but in the time of their trouble they will say, 'Arise and save us" (Jer2:26-27) but in verse (below) God says He "will not listen to them."
AND THEY WERE PROSTRATING THEMSELVES EASTWARD TOWARD THE SUN: (Dt4:19; 17:3; 2Ki23:5,11; Job 31:26, 27, 28; Jer44:17; Acts 7:42,43)
(For orientation see schematic diagram of Solomon's Temple from The Bible knowledge commentary, Vol 1, Page 500)
"Prostrating themselves eastward toward the sun". Look at the diagram below, noting that the Temple faced toward the East (and the Eastern Gate). The "porch" would be somewhere between the two "pillars" in the diagram. Now picture these men bowing down to worship, their faces toward the created Sun and their backs against the Most Holy Place, the Ark of the Covenant and the Creator of all things! God said this was the "greatest abomination" of the four abominations listed in this chapter. It is difficult for me to imagine how they could have become so calloused, so deceived, so depraved… and yet the lesson for all of us is that exposure to great Biblical teaching, wonderful worship, etc, is no guarantee that we will "be holy as He is holy." As I write these notes I'm looking at huge waves crashing against the beach and am reminded of the story of that illustrates how easy it is to drift away. A woman was bathing in the Gulf of Mexico. She was enjoying the comfort of relaxing on an inflated cushion that kept her afloat. When she realized that she had been swept about a half mile out from the beach, she began to scream, but no one heard her. A coast guard craft found her five miles from the place where she first entered the water. She did not see her danger until she was beyond her own strength and ability. Unfortunately when Israel cried out with a loud voice, God refused to listen.
This action by the elders expressed gross contempt for the God of Israel and implied that they had disowned Him and directly violated God’s command in (Deut. 4:19) to "beware, lest you lift up your eyes to heaven and see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, and be drawn away and worship (Hebrew - shachah, translated by Gk proskuneo - see note below) them and serve them, those which the LORD your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven."
Joel records what actions should have been transpiring in this exact location, writing "Let the priests, the Lord’s ministers,weep between the porch and the altar (the same 2 Hebrew words are used in both descriptions, so this is the same location where the 25 elders were committing gross idolatrous worship) and let them say, “Spare Thy people, O Lord, and do not make Thine inheritance a reproach, a byword among the nations. Why should they among the peoples say, ‘Where is their God?’” (Joel 2:17) This is the location where Zechariah was murdered (Matt 23:35).
"Prostrating" is the Hebrew verb (shachah - bow down reflexively to royalty) is translated in the Septuagint (LXX) with the Greek verb proskuneo [see word study] , (pros = toward + kuneo = kiss, adore) literally means to kiss toward someone, throw a kiss in token of respect or homage and so to prostrate oneself in homage. The verb is in the present tense indicating continuous action and thus this was their habitual practice. The the ancient Oriental (especially Persian), the mode of salutation between persons of equal ranks was to kiss each other on the lips when the difference of rank was slight, but when one was much inferior, he fell upon his knees touched his forehead to the ground or prostrated himself, throwing kisses at the same time toward the superior. It is this latter mode of salutation that Greek writers express with the verb proskuneo. The Septuagint translation of Gen 19:1 uses proskuneo when "two angels came to Sodom in the evening as Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground."
Ezekiel 8:17 He said to me, "Do you see this, son of man? Is it too light a thing for the house of Judah to commit the abominations which they have committed here, that they have filled the land with violence and provoked Me repeatedly? For behold, they are putting the twig to their nose.
|Young's Literal: And He saith unto me, ‘Hast thou seen, son of man? hath it been a light thing to the house of Judah to do the abomination that they have done here, that they have filled the land with violence, and turn back to provoke Me to anger? and lo, they are putting forth the branch unto their nose!
GWT: He asked me, "Son of man, do you see this? Isn't it bad enough that the people of Judah have done these disgusting things that you have seen here? Yet, they also fill the land with violence and continue to provoke me even more. Look how they insult me in the worst possible way.
WBC: “Just look at that, human one!” he told me. “It was evidently not enough for the Judean community, after engaging in such shocking rites as they have already engaged in here, to fill the country with violence. Now they have gone further in provoking me to anger: here they are putting branches to their noses.
NLT: "Have you seen this, son of man?" he asked. "Is it nothing to the people of Judah that they commit these terrible sins, leading the whole nation into violence, thumbing their noses at me, and rousing my fury against them?
Message: He said, “Have you seen enough, son of man? Isn’t it bad enough that Judah engages in these outrageous obscenities? They fill the country with violence and now provoke me even further with their obscene gestures.
|AND HE SAID TO ME, "DO YOU SEE THIS, SON OF MAN? IS IT TOO LIGHT A THING FOR THE HOUSE OF JUDAH TO COMMIT THE ABOMINATIONS WHICH THEY HAVE COMMITTED HERE, THAT THEY HAVE FILLED THE LAND WITH VIOLENCE AND PROVOKED ME REPEATEDLY? (Ezek 7:23; 9:9; 11:6; Genesis 6:13; 2Kings 21:16; 24:4; Jeremiah 6:7; 19:4; 20:8; Amos 3:10; 6:3; Micah 2:2; 6:12; Zephaniah 1:9)
FOR BEHOLD, THEY ARE PUTTING THE TWIG TO THEIR NOSE:
|Young's Literal: And I also deal in fury, Mine eye doth not pity, nor do I spare, and they have cried in Mine ears—a loud voice—and I do not hear them.’
GWT: So I will take action because I'm angry, and I won't have compassion for them or feel sorry for them. Even if they shout in my ears, I won't listen to them."
WBC: My reaction will be one of wrath. I will give no look of pity and show no compassion. However loudly they cry out for me to hear, I will not listen to them.”
NLT: Therefore, I will deal with them in fury. I will neither pity nor spare them. And though they scream for mercy, I will not listen."
Message: That’s it. They have an angry God on their hands! From now on, no mercy. They can shout all they want, but I’m not listening.”
|THEREFORE, I INDEED SHALL DEAL IN WRATH. MY EYE WILL HAVE NO PITY NOR SHALL I SPARE (Ezek 5:11, 12, 13; 7:4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9; 9:5,10; 16:42; 24:13; Nahum 1:2)
Therefore I will act in furious anger, my eye will not pity them nor will I spare them" (NET)
The Hebrew verb translated "deal" (NET = "I will act") reflecting what God will do to Judah is the same Hebrew verb translated "commit" describing the abominations Judah had committed in (Ezek 8:6, 9, 12, 13, 17)
AND THOUGH THEY CRY IN MY EARS WITH A LOUD VOICE, YET I SHALL NOT LISTEN TO THEM: (Judges 10:13,14; Proverbs 1:28; Isaiah 1:15; 59:2; Jeremiah 11:11; 14:12; Micah 3:4; Zechariah 7:13; Luke 13:25)
God says in essence that if His people chose to ignore Him, that He would "ignore" their cries in the day of distress. The Message is about as direct as a translation can get paraphrasing it bluntly as "That's it. They have an angry God on their hands! From now on, no mercy. They can shout all they want, but I’m not listening.”
"Yet I will not listen to them" was explained by God earlier when He told Ezekiel that the sons of Israel were a rebellious house, stubborn and obstinate and unwilling to listen to God. (cf Ezek 3:7)
Solomon gives an excellent "commentary" to help understand why God would not listen to them when destruction began to rain down on Jerusalem, writing of the naive, fools and scoffers that