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Bible Commentaries

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Ezekiel 7

 

 

Verse 1

The Lord"s word came to Ezekiel again (cf. Ezekiel 6:1). This verse serves as a heading for the oracles that make up the rest of the chapter.


Verses 2-4

Yahweh announced that He was bringing an end on the whole land of Israel and that it was coming soon. This judgment would come because the Lord was angry with His people for their abominable sins. He would not restrain His punishment but would bring the consequences of their sins on them. They would go into a land where the abominations they had lusted after would make them sick. Then they would know that Yahweh was the true God (cf. Ezekiel 7:9; Ezekiel 7:27; Ezekiel 6:7; Ezekiel 6:10; Ezekiel 6:13-14). The recurrence of several identical words emphasizes the certainty of this coming judgment as well as its extent and basis.

"The fact that the message needed so much reiteration can only be understood against the background of popular belief in the inviolability of Jerusalem. Its destruction was inconceivable to the Israelite mind. As long as God was God, God"s Temple and God"s city would stand. This had been the message of Isaiah when kings of Judah had feared for the city"s safety and were toying with the idea of turning to heathen armies for assistance. But now the situation was different. Isaiah"s confidence could no longer be justified after150 years of increasing apostasy. The people were living in the past, but God was judging the present. His verdict was that the end was imminent." [Note: Taylor, p92.]


Verses 5-9

The Lord again revealed that a unique disaster was coming. It would be an end for the Israelites, and it was near. Their doom would soon arrive as a tumult on the mountains, not as a joyful sound. The Lord was about to judge His people for all their abominations. He would show no pity. They would then know that He was the Lord. This oracle stresses the horror and surprise of the coming judgment as well as the person judging. The last phrase is a new name for God: Yahweh makkeh, "the Lord who strikes."

"To hearers and readers who were used to names of God like "Jehovah-jireh" and "Jehovah-nissi" ( Genesis 22:14; Exodus 17:15), it must have come home with tremendous force to have Him described as "Jehovah-makkeh". The Lord who had provided and protected was about to strike." [Note: Ibid, p93.]


Verses 10-13

The Lord announced that the day of Israel"s doom was coming. Judgment was about to break forth as buds on a branch (cf. Numbers 17:8; Jeremiah 1:11-12). The people"s violence had grown from a small shoot into a stout branch of wickedness. Nebuchadnezzar would prove to be the rod of God"s judgment. No eminent individuals and nothing of much value would remain. The time of judgment was so near that both buyers and sellers should refrain from their usual pursuits.

"The buyer who normally rejoiced over a good business deal should not be happy because he would not be able to possess the land he had purchased. And one forced to sell his land should not grieve because he would have lost it anyway." [Note: Dyer, " Ezekiel ," p1241.]

It would be impossible for sellers to regain (by redemption or in a sabbatical or jubilee year) what they sold because everything would be swept away before a change could be made (cf. 1 Corinthians 7:29-31). Even iniquity would not change the prospect of coming judgment.

"Hardening oneself in sin would not accomplish immunity from punishment." [Note: Feinberg, p46.]

This pericope may be one or two oracles ( Ezekiel 7:10-13). The first two verses stress the imminence, comprehensiveness, and readiness of the judgment, and the last two its permanence and suddenness.

"It is amazing how easily messages of judgment are forgotten. These messages constantly must be reinforced." [Note: Cooper, p112.]

The last half of this chapter emphasizes the Judeans" reactions to the coming judgment.


Verses 14-18

The Israelites had prepared to fight the Babylonians, but they would not be successful because the Lord Himself would fight against His people. The sword would devour those outside Jerusalem, and plague and famine would consume those within. Even the few survivors who escaped would mourn their desperate condition. Everyone would lose heart, and traditional signs of mourning would be everywhere. Ancient Near Easterners wore rough camel"s hair clothing (sackcloth) to make themselves miserable and so keep thoughts of selfish enjoyment aside.

"The prophet is hereby [ Ezekiel 7:17] referring to the loss of bladder control that occurs in a moment of extreme crisis [when he says, literally, "All knees will run with water"]." [Note: Block, The Book . . ., p261.]


Verses 19-22

Valuables and food would mean very little then because all that would concern the people would be remaining alive. Money cannot buy food when food is not there. The people had become proud over the glorious splendor of Jerusalem and the temple and, as the height of arrogance, had used some of the temple treasures to make idols. Therefore the Lord would make the temple an abhorrent thing to them and would turn it over to their enemies who would profane it (cf. Daniel 5:3-4).

"Since Israel had already profaned the temple of God, He saw no further purpose in keeping it from the desecration of the enemy." [Note: Feinberg, p47.]

The Lord would turn away from His people then.


Verses 23-27

It was time to make the chain that would bind the Israelites and carry them off to captivity because Judah and Jerusalem had become places of violent crime. Some interpreters believed God commanded Ezekiel to make a literal chain and that this was another symbolic act. [Note: Ibid.] The Lord would bring the worst of nations against His people, and they would take over the Judahites" homes (cf. Leviticus 26:31-32; Deuteronomy 28:49-57). The pride of the powerful Judahites would end, and their enemies would profane their holy places. They would not be able to escape anguish, and things would go from bad to worse for them. No one would be able to obtain guidance from the Lord-the prophets by receiving Revelation , the priests by studying the law, or the elders by appealing to history. Everyone from king to common citizen would shake with terror. The Lord would punish His people in keeping with how they had sinned, and they would know that He was the Lord.

"This is a frightening chapter. It consists of a group of poetic oracles intended to convince Ezekiel"s fellow hostages in the Babylonian heartland that their hopes of returning soon to their homes and families in far-off Judah would not materialize." [Note: Allen, p112.]

 


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Bibliography Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Ezekiel 7:4". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/ezekiel-7.html. 2012.

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