Ezekiel has a vision of the Lords judgement on those remaining in Jerusalem but first, those that have a heart for the Lord are marked so they will be spared. The rest, those described as, in Ezekiel 11:2 “men who devise mischief, and who are offering bad counsel in this city” and the ones who are saying they can take the land now because in Ezekiel 11:15 “the inhabitants of Jerusalem, ‘They are far from Yahweh, therefore to us this land was given as a possession'”, these will all be destroyed by “the punishers” in Ezekiel 9:1. And after this time of cleansing, come the promise in Ezekiel 11:16–17 “Though I have removed them … yet I was a sanctuary to them (in these other lands) for a little while … And I will assemble you from the peoples … and I will give the land of Israel to you”.
Place A Mark on the Foreheads
We read in Ezekiel 8:18 the Lord saying “so I will act in rage” and now in Ezekiel 9:1 “They have come near, the punishers”. They are described in Ezekiel 9:2 as “Six men coming” but “The executioners … are clearly to be understood as angels, though they are described as men (2)”.1
These are “those whom God has appointed to watch over the city, the city-guard (2 Kings 11:18),—not earthly, but heavenly watchmen,—who are now to inflict punishment upon the ungodly, as the authorities appointed by God”.2
There is also in Ezekiel 9:2 “one man was in the midst of them, dressed in linen, and the writing case of the scribe was at his side”. So, the six “Together with the man clothed in linen (a heavenly scribe), the group numbers seven, the perfect number. This is the crew God sends against the idolaters in the city of Jerusalem”.3
This one man has a special role, “In the Old Testament it is the priest who is clothed in linen (Exod. 28:39, 42). And only a priest had the prerogative to handle the holy fire of God”.3
And we recognize his role because “His clothing marked his office as distinct from that of the six officers of vengeance … Salvation is peculiarly assigned to Him, and so He bears the “inkhorn” in order to “mark” His elect (Ez 9:4; compare Ex 12:7; Rev 7:3; 9:4; 20:4), and to write their names in His book of life (Rev 13:8)”.4
These, in Ezekiel 9:2 “came and stood beside the bronze altar”. This is the place where people came to offer the sacrifice to atone for their sin. There was no approach to God except through this altar. But here, the people have not come for atonement. Now, judgement is sent out in Ezekiel 9:4 “through the midst of the city”.
In many places, the Lord talks about judgement against the nation, but he is also a just judge of every person and in Ezekiel 9:4 the Lord says “you must place a mark on the foreheads of the men who are groaning and lamenting about all of the detestable things that are being done”. Every person that has a heart for God’s righteousness is marked so that in Ezekiel 9:10 the reading would be, “Heb “their way on their head I have placed.” The same expression occurs in 1 Kgs 8:32; Ezek 11:21; 16:43; 22:31”.5
Fill the Hollow of Your Hands With Coals of Fire
After the judgement against the people, there is a second action, a cleansing by fire in Ezekiel 10:2 “fill the hollow of your hands with coals of fire from among the cherubim, and toss them on the city.”
The Glory of Yahweh (the Lord) Went Out
The place of meeting the Lord was to have been the mercy seat above the ark of the covenant. Here, we see a departure where the glory of the Lord, in Ezekiel 10:18 “went out from the threshold of the temple, and it stood above the cherubim” and then in Ezekiel 10:19 “the cherubim lifted up their wings, and they rose from the earth before my eyes … and the glory of the God of Israel was over them”.
You Will Know That I Am Yahweh (the Lord)
Ezekiel is still experiencing a vision and the Lord is showing him more about the twenty-five men in the city of Jerusalem at the Eastern gate in Ezekiel 11:1 “the commanders of the people”. These are “The same as the twenty-five (that is, twenty-four heads of courses, and the high priest) sun-worshippers seen in Ez 8:16”.6
It is simple enough for us to understand “mischief” and “bad counsel” in
Ezekiel 11:2 “And he said to me, “Son of man, these are the men who devise mischief, and who are offering bad counsel in this city”
but these two statements in Ezekiel 11:3 are lost in translation:
– “the building of houses is not near” is to say the captivity won’t last, which is directly contrary to Jeremiah’s letter to the captives, among whom Ezekiel lived (Je 29:5). “Build ye houses, and dwell in them,” that is, do not fancy, as many persuade you, that your sojourn in Babylon is to be short; it will be for seventy years (Je 25:11, 12; 29:10);6
– “the city is the pot, and we are the flesh” is “sneering at Je 1:13, when he compared the city to a caldron with its mouth towards the north … (and these men say of the city) its fortifications will secure us from the flame of war outside; the city must stand for our sakes, just as the pot exists for the safety of the flesh in it”.6
But the Lord says in
Ezekiel 11:11 “It (the city) will not be as a pot to you, and so you would be in the midst of it as flesh, for at the border of Israel I will judge you”.
Those who are left behind will be removed and destroyed. And in confirmation of this vision, one of the men that was called out in Ezekiel 11:1 “Pelatiah”, it says in in Ezekiel 11:13 “as I was prophesying, Pelatiahu the son of Benaiahu died!”
I Will Assemble You, I Will Give the Land of Israel to You
Finally, in Ezekiel 11:14 “And the word of Yahweh (the Lord) came to me saying” and we hear that the people left behind in the land have been saying in Ezekiel 11:15 “the inhabitants of Jerusalem, ‘They are far from Yahweh, therefore to us this land was given as a possession'”. These are saying, we have a windfall at their expense. They are saying the land is ours to possess. But the Lord says no to them and promises restoration to the exiles in
Ezekiel 11:16–17 “Though I have removed them … yet I was a sanctuary to them for a little while … And I will assemble you from the peoples, and I will gather you … and I will give the land of Israel to you.
And at their return, everything will be different. In Ezekiel 11:18 “they will remove all of its vile idols and all of its detestable things” and in Ezekiel 11:19 “I will give to them one heart, and a new spirit … I will give to them a heart of flesh” and in
Ezekiel 11:20 “so that they may walk in my statutes, and they will keep my regulations, and they will do them, and they will be to me a people, and I myself will be to them as God”.
- Ezekiel 9:1–11 Place A Mark on the Foreheads
- Ezekiel 11:1–13 You Will Know That I Am Yahweh (the Lord)
- Ezekiel 11:14–25 I Will Assemble You, I Will Give the Land of Israel to You
- Ezekiel 9:1-11
- Ezekiel 10:1-22
- Ezekiel 11:1-25
- 1. Taylor, J. B. (1969). Ezekiel: an Introduction and commentary (Vol. 22, pp. 102–103). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- 2. Keil, C. F., & Delitzsch, F. (1996). Commentary on the Old Testament (Vol. 9, p. 74). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson.
- 3. Hamilton, V. P. (1995). Ezekiel. In Evangelical Commentary on the Bible (Vol. 3, p. 568). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
- 4. Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 576). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
- 5. Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Eze 9:10). Biblical Studies Press.
- 6. Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 578). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.