Things Are No Longer the Same

For many years, life in Jerusalem has been in the hands of the king. And at his side, the prophets inquiring of the Lord. And the Priests in their ministry and teaching of the people. But now the Lord says in Ezekiel 21:26 “Remove the turban and lift off the crown; things are no longer the same”. All authority as they knew it was being revoked. A sword was released in the land and the people were scattered to the nations. But here, the prophet speaks the decrees. He names their sin and not just the sin of the king or the sin of the people, but the sin of those in power who were charged with authority over the people. The prophets take wealth, the priests do not teach, the officials make dishonest gain. And in in Ezekiel 22:29 “They severely oppress the people of the land”. 

Things Are No Longer the Same

Ezekiel 21:24–32
The Lord has declared a sword across the land and says in Ezekiel 21:24 “Because you have brought to remembrance your guilt by the uncovering of your transgressions, so that your sins in all of your deeds appear”. This refers to the pledge given to Nebuchadnezzar that was broken, and this now brings to light all of the transgressions of this king who is now described in

Ezekiel 21:25 “And as for you, profane one, wicked prince of Israel, whose day has come with the time of the punishment of the end”

Now, his position as king is taken as the Lord says in Ezekiel 21:26 “Remove the turban and lift off the crown”. But this doesn’t just affect the King, it goes on to say, “things are no longer the same. Exalt the low and bring low the high”. the false profits in the kings court have been saying things will be restored, but the Lord says, no, “things are no longer the same”. And in

Ezekiel 21:27 “A ruin, a ruin, a ruin I will make it! Also this has not ever happened; it will remain until the coming of the one to whom the judgment belongs and I have given it to him”.

Then the Lord decrees the sword also for the Ammonites. But for them, there is not a “coming of the one” as there is for Judah. For the Ammonites it says, in Ezekiel 21:32 “You will not be remembered”. 

Will You Judge the Bloody City?

Ezekiel 22:1–10
Someone must bring the decrees of the Lord. He is the judge, but the words of the judgement must be spoken. So, the Lord asks in Ezekiel 22:1 “Will you judge the bloody city?” and then declares the requirement for fulfilling the job, “Then you must make known to her all of her detestable things!”

This is a hard position, and “As in 20:4 and 23:36, the phrase wilt thou judge (or ‘are you prepared to judge?’, JB) means much more than simply acting as arbiter. It involves the prophet in the job which today is done partly by the prosecutor, and partly by the judge when he passes sentence on a man already pronounced guilty by a jury. So Ezekiel’s ‘judging’ consists of showing to the guilty city of Jerusalem both the extent of her crimes and also the consequences that are about to be inflicted upon her. He is in a sense ‘justifying’ both the verdict and the punishment”.1

And the Lord lays out “the sins of Jerusalem … judicial murder, bribery, and false witness (6, 9, 12); dishonour done to parents (7); sacrifice to false gods (9); gross sins of the flesh (10, 11); oppression and extortion (7, 12). For all these sins Jehovah will ‘deal with’ the city.2

I Will Purge Your Uncleanness From You

Ezekiel 22:11–20
Their sins, not just the leaders, but also the people have a corrupt culture. And the Lord can only break this by dispersing them and says in

Ezekiel 22:15 “I will scatter you among the nations, and I will disperse you through the countries, and I will purge your uncleanness from you”.

They Do Not Distinguish Between Holy and Unholy

Ezekiel 22:21–31
In Ezekiel 22:25 “its prophets … devour people, and they take wealth and treasure; they make its widows numerous”. And in Ezekiel 22:26 “Its priests treat my law violently, and they profane my holy objects; they do not distinguish between a holy object and what is unholy, or between the clean and the unclean. They do not teach”. And in Ezekiel 22:27 “Its officials are like wolves tearing prey in its midst, to pour out blood, to destroy people, to make dishonest gain”. And he goes on in Ezekiel 22:29 “They severely oppress the people of the land, and they committed robbery, and they mistreated the needy and the poor, and they oppressed the alien without justice.

This is all contrary to what the Lord has asked, in fact in

Proverbs 21:3 “Doing righteousness and justice is more acceptable to Yahweh than sacrifice.

The Lord only wants them to “do righteousness and justice”. But the Lord does not devise some strange punishment, instead he simply gives them what they have been giving to others. The Lord says in Ezekiel 22:31 “With the fire of my wrath I destroyed them; I returned their way upon their head”.

There Were Two Women

Ezekiel 23:1–10

In Her Lust She Behaved More Corruptly

Ezekiel 23:11–21

I Will Put an End to Your Obscene Conduct

Ezekiel 23:22–30

Because You Threw Me Behind Your Back

Ezekiel 23:31–39

Study Verses

Today’s Reading

  • Ezekiel 21:24-32
  • Ezekiel 22:1-31
  • Ezekiel 23:1-39

References

  • 1. Taylor, J. B. (1969). Ezekiel: an Introduction and commentary (Vol. 22, p. 165). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  • 2. Barnes, W. E. (1942). Ezekiel. In C. Gore, H. L. Goudge, & A. Guillaume (Eds.), A New Commentary on Holy Scripture: Including the Apocrypha (Vol. 1, p. 534). New York: The Macmillan Company.