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FRAMEWORKS: Ezekiel 22: Judgment on Jerusalem's sins


[Preliminary Comment: Three separate words come, the first requiring Ezekiel to make very clear the sin of Jerusalem because its end is very near. He lists all the ways the people, starting from the king, have utterly disobeyed and broken the Law of Moses, and for this the Lord promises He will now deal with them. A second word declares He will so purge them that all the unrighteous ones and unrighteousness will be skimmed off just like the dross of a smelting process. In a third word, the Lord goes through a careful list of charges against each of the people groups in Jerusalem and in the land, and as there is no one who can stand up to defend the city, [i.e. they have no defence against these charges] their judgment is certain.]



v.1-4 Jerusalem is condemned for her idolatry


v.1   The word of the Lord came to me:

v.2  ‘Son of man, will you judge her? Will you judge this city of bloodshed? Then confront her with all her detestable practices

v.3  and say: “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: you city that brings on herself doom by [i] shedding blood in her midst and [ii] defiles herself by making idols,

v.4  you have become guilty because of [i] the blood you have shed and have become defiled [ii] by the idols you have made. You have brought your days to a close, and the end of your years has come.


[Notes: The next prophecy focuses on the sins of Jerusalem. They have brought an end to the city by their violence and injustice and their idolatry, repeated in v.3 & 4.]



v.4,5 Consequences


Therefore I will make you an object of scorn to the nations and a laughing-stock to all the countries.

v.5  Those who are near and those who are far away will mock you, you infamous city, full of turmoil.


[Notes: Because of this God will bring such a judgment on them that the rest of the world, who so often envied them, will now simply mock them.]



v.6-12 A list of the ways they have broken God's laws


v.6  ‘“See how each of the princes of Israel who are in you [i] uses his power to shed blood.

v.7  In you they have [ii] treated father and mother with contempt; in you they have [iii] oppressed the foreigner and ill-treated the fatherless and the widow.

v.8  You have [iv] despised my holy things and [v] desecrated my Sabbaths.

v.9  In you are [vi] slanderers who are bent on shedding blood; in you are [vii] those who eat at the mountain shrines and commit lewd acts.

v.10  In you are those [viii] who dishonour their father's bed; in you are those [ix] who violate women during their period, when they are ceremonially unclean.

v.11  In you [x] one man commits a detestable offence with his neighbour's wife, another [xi] shamefully defiles his daughter-in-law, and another [xii] violates his sister, his own father's daughter.

v.12  In you are [xiii] people who accept bribes to shed blood; you [xiv] take interest and make a profit from the poor. You [xv] extort unjust gain from your neighbours. And you [xvi] have forgotten me, declares the Sovereign Lord.


[Notes: In fifteen ways He denounces their activities; there is no question of their guilt. They have rejected the Law of Moses and utterly disobeyed it.]



v.13-16 The Lord pledges He will deal with them


v.13  ‘“I will surely strike my hands together at the unjust gain you have made and at the blood you have shed in your midst.

v.14  Will your courage endure or your hands be strong in the day I deal with you? I the Lord have spoken, and I will do it.

v.15  I will disperse you among the nations and scatter you through the countries; and I will put an end to your uncleanness.

v.16  When you have been defiled in the eyes of the nations, you will know that I am the Lord.”'


[Notes: The outcome can be nothing less than the Lord's promise to bring judgment on them that will result in them being scattered among the nations, and when that happens they will know it was God. They have been warned!]



v.17-22 A further word comes – they will be like dross from the smelting process


v.17  Then the word of the Lord came to me:

v.18  ‘Son of man, the people of Israel have become dross to me; all of them are the copper, tin, iron and lead left inside a furnace. They are but the dross of silver.

v.19  Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “Because you have all become dross, I will gather you into Jerusalem.

v.20  As silver, copper, iron, lead and tin are gathered into a furnace to be melted with a fiery blast, so will I gather you in my anger and my wrath and put you inside the city and melt you.

v.21  I will gather you and I will blow on you with my fiery wrath, and you will be melted inside her.

v.22  As silver is melted in a furnace, so you will be melted inside her, and you will know that I the Lord have poured out my wrath on you.”'


[Notes: The Lord brings yet another word through Ezekiel. It will be like the Lord carries out a purifying process and all these unrighteous ones will be like the dross, the impurities to be skimmed off the surface and cast away.]



v.23-29 The Lord's ‘charge-sheet' against the various people groups


v.23   Again the word of the Lord came to me:

v. 24  ‘Son of man, say to the land, “You are a land that has not been cleansed or rained on in the day of wrath.”

v.25  There is a conspiracy of [A] her princes within her like [i] a roaring lion tearing its prey; they [ii] devour people, [iii] take treasures and precious things and [iv] make many widows within her.

v.26 [B] Her priests [i] do violence to my law and [ii] profane my holy things; they [iii] do not distinguish between the holy and the common; they [iv] teach that there is no difference between the unclean and the clean; and they [v] shut their eyes to the keeping of my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them.

v.27 [C] Her officials within her are [i] like wolves tearing their prey; they [ii] shed blood and kill people to [iii] make unjust gain.

v.28 [D] Her prophets [i] whitewash these deeds for them [ii] by false visions and [iii] lying divinations. They say, “This is what the Sovereign Lord says”– when the Lord has not spoken.

v.29 [E] The people of the land [i] practise extortion and [ii] commit robbery; they [iii] oppress the poor and needy and [iv] ill-treat the foreigner, [v] denying them justice.


[Notes: So yet another word comes and this time the Lord lists the various people groups who have sinned and identifies each of their sins. In a court of law, this long list of charges would clearly declare the guilt of this people.]



v.30,31 There was no one to stand against all this, so the Lord will act


v.30  ‘I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so that I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.

v.31  So I will pour out my wrath on them and consume them with my fiery anger, bringing down on their own heads all they have done, declares the Sovereign Lord.'


[Notes: The Lord looks around but there was no one who could stand up to defend the city and so their judgment is certain.]



Continue to Chapter 23