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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Ezekiel

(Return to Old Testament Contents)

 

FRAMEWORKS: Ezekiel 8: Idolatry in the Temple

 

Context:

Part 3: Revelations of Idolatry in Jerusalem

Ch.8 – Idolatry in the Temple

Ch.9 – Judgment on the Idolaters

Ch.10 – God's Glory Departs from the Temple

Ch.11 – God's Sure Judgment on Jerusalem

     

      

[Preliminary Comment: The narrative moves from the land of Babylonia to Jerusalem, although it is only in the Spirit, while Ezekiel remained in his home. In the vision he is shown four different sorts of pagan worship that was actually being carried out in the temple precincts in Jerusalem.]

 

v.1-3 Ezekiel is taken in the Spirit to Jerusalem where an idol is standing

v.4-6 The glory comes & he is shown this idol in the temple

v.7-9 He is told to dig into the wall of the temple

v.11-13 Inside he sees multiple expressions of pagan worship & the leaders

v.14,15 He is shown another pagan worship expression

v.16 Then he is shown sun worshippers

v.17,18 But it's not only idolatry, it's the violence that angers the Lord

 

 

v.1-3 Ezekiel is taken in the Spirit to Jerusalem where an idol is standing

 

v.1   In the sixth year, in the sixth month on the fifth day, while I was sitting in my house and the elders of Judah were sitting before me, the hand of the Sovereign LORD came on me there. 

v.2   I looked, and I saw a figure like that of a man. From what appeared to be his waist down he was like fire, and from there up his appearance was as bright as glowing metal. 

v.3   He stretched out what looked like a hand and took me by the hair of my head. The Spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven and in visions of God he took me to Jerusalem, to the entrance of the north gate of the inner court, where the idol that provokes to jealousy stood. 

 

[Notes: Assuming ‘the sixth year' runs on from 1:1,2 it is now fourteen months since the first vision and prophecies. Ezekiel is in his home with the exile elders. Suddenly he has a vision of a man picking him up and taking him to Jerusalem where in the inner court of the temple he sees an alien idol that would offend God.].

 

 

v.4-6 The glory comes & he is shown this idol in the temple

 

v.4  And there before me was the glory of the God of Israel, as in the vision I had seen in the plain. 

v.5  Then he said to me, “Son of man, look toward the north.” So I looked, and in the entrance north of the gate of the altar I saw this idol of jealousy. 

v.6  And he said to me, “Son of man, do you see what they are doing—the utterly detestable things the Israelites are doing here, things that will drive me far from my sanctuary? But you will see things that are even more detestable.” 

 

[Notes: The vision includes the glory of God's presence he had seen before. The altar gate was so named because animals were sacrificed on the north side of the altar. He was told to focus on the north entrance where, possibly just outside, was an idol, possibly of the goddess Asherah that seemed so common in the land.]

 

 

v.7-9 He is told to dig into the wall of the temple

    

v.7  Then he brought me to the entrance to the court. I looked, and I saw a hole in the wall. 

v.8  He said to me, “Son of man, now dig into the wall.” So I dug into the wall and saw a doorway there. 

v.9  And he said to me, “Go in and see the wicked and detestable things they are doing here.” 

 

[Notes: He is then shown a hole in the temple wall and told to dig through it.]

 

 

v.11-13 Inside he sees multiple expressions of pagan worship & the leaders

 

v.10   So I went in and looked, and I saw portrayed all over the walls all kinds of crawling things and unclean animals and all the idols of Israel. 

v.11  In front of them stood seventy elders of Israel, and Jaazaniah son of Shaphan was standing among them. Each had a censer in his hand, and a fragrant cloud of incense was rising. 

v.12  He said to me, “Son of man, have you seen what the elders of Israel are doing in the darkness, each at the shrine of his own idol? They say, ‘The LORD does not see us; the LORD has forsaken the land.' ” 

v.13 Again, he said, “You will see them doing things that are even more detestable.” 

 

[Notes: Entering the room on the other side he finds the walls are covered with all signs of pagan religion but in the room were seventy elders of Israel, each participating in some part of foreign worship, thinking that God could not see them hidden away.]

 

 

v.14,15 He is shown another pagan worship expression

 

v.14  Then he brought me to the entrance of the north gate of the house of the LORD, and I saw women sitting there, mourning the god Tammuz. 

v.15  He said to me, “Do you see this, son of man? You will see things that are even more detestable than this.” 

 

[Notes: Tammuz was a nature god who purportedly died and ruled in the underworld. Mourning was a part of worship of him and thus Ezekiel sees further pagan worship in another part of the temple precincts.]

 

 

v.16 Then he is shown sun worshippers

 

v.16  He then brought me into the inner court of the house of the LORD, and there at the entrance to the temple, between the portico and the altar, were about twenty-five men. With their backs toward the temple of the LORD and their faces toward the east, they were bowing down to the sun in the east. 

 

[Notes: Finally he is shown sun worship being carried out in the temple precincts.]

 

 

v.17,18 But it's not only idolatry, it's the violence that angers the Lord

 

v.17  He said to me, “Have you seen this, son of man? Is it a trivial matter for the people of Judah to do the detestable things they are doing here? Must they also fill the land with violence and continually arouse my anger? Look at them putting the branch to their nose! 

v.18  Therefore I will deal with them in anger; I will not look on them with pity or spare them. Although they shout in my ears, I will not listen to them.”

 

[Notes: The Lord expresses His anger, not only at the pagan worship that is going on but also the violence and no doubt associated injustice that is seen throughout the land.]

 

[Concluding Note: The focus of this chapter has been the idol worship that is being carried out in the very heart of Jerusalem, within the temple precincts:

•  an image set up, possibly of Asherah
•  animal worship
•  nature worship
•  sun worship

and all this by the supposed holy people of God in HIS house.]

   

    

Continue to Chapter 9