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Deeper Commentary

Ezekiel 7:1 Moreover the word of Yahweh came to me, saying- See on Ez. 6:1.

Ezekiel 7:2 You, son of man, thus says the Lord Yahweh to the land of Israel, An end: the end has come-
The language of "the end... an end" sounds as if this was intended to be the actual end of Judah. But it wasn't; the judgments threatened didn't work out in the totality they were described. More survived than envisaged in the judgment prophecies. And it was not the final end. This could be simply because God in His grace remembered mercy, and did not punish Judah as their iniquities deserved at this time, as Ezra notes (Ezra 9:13). But it could also be that Ezekiel's prophetic ministry did in fact persuade a tiny minority to repent, and because of that, the judgments were ameliorated and the total end of Judah didn't happen. The situation is analogous to how God had threatened to totally destroy Israel and make a new nation from Moses; but He was open to persuasion by the intercession of one faithful man, and this didn't in fact happen.

On the four corners of the land- "Corners" is the same word translated "wings", which throughout Ezekiel usually refers to or alludes to the wings of the cherubim. The land had been under the protection of the cherubim wings, and even in judgment, they would be the channel through which that judgment was brought.

Ezekiel 7:3 Now is the end on you, and I will send My anger on you, and will judge you according to your ways; and I will bring on you all your abominations-
"Abominations" is a reference to their idols, and is put by metonymy for 'sin with your abominations'. The thing sinned with, the channel of the sin, is thus out for the sinful actions of people. This suggests that God views sinners as their idol. Those who create idols are like unto them (Ps. 115:8). It's a question of identity. If our deepest heart and passion is upon anything other than God, then the object of that passion becomes 'us'. We identify with that which we worship, and all human beings have this tendency to focus upon something to worship. In this lies the challenge of the fact there is only one God; from that it psychologically follows that we serve Him with our whole strength and heart. Therefore believing there is only one God and rejecting a Trinity is not of itself a 'belief in one God'; for true belief will mean a total service of Him with all the heart and mind. And we can hold true theology whilst not doing this.

Ezekiel 7:4 My eye shall not spare you, neither will I have pity; but I will bring your ways on you, and your abominations shall be in the midst of you-
See on 2 Kings 17:23. The wonder of God's grace was that His eye did spare and He did pity at the restoration (Ez. 36:21; Joel 2:18; Mal. 3:17 s.w.), just as His eye had spared them in the desert (Ez. 20:17). This reveals the emotion of God, His pity even for the spiritually weak, and how this triumphs over His judgment.

You shall know that I am Yahweh- See on Ez. 6:9.

Ezekiel 7:5 Thus says the Lord Yahweh: An evil, a one-time evil; behold, it comes-
As noted on :2, this sounds as if the projected evil would never be repeated. But the time of Jacob's direst trouble is to be only in the last days (Dan. 12:1,2). This means that the threatened 'final evil' didn't come, either because God's mercy overwhelmed His wrath; or because of at least some intercession or repentance which meant it was delayed. But the essence of the prophetic word shall be fulfilled in the last days, when the final evil shall come upon Israel.

Ezekiel 7:6 An end has come, the end has come; it awakes against you; behold, it comes-
The continual expression of the idea that 'It is starting to come, it's nearly here...' ["it awakes against you"] is reflective of the 'gap' there is with God. He pronounces certain judgment, as He did upon Nineveh, but in the gap between the statement and its execution, His mind can be changed by repentance. Hence the urgency of 'it is really and truly about to come'; for this implies the window of repentance was still just about open.

Ezekiel 7:7 Your doom has come to you, inhabitant of the land. The time has come, the day is near, a day of tumult, and not of mere echoing on the mountains-
So many times the threats of judgment had not been carried out, perhaps because God was simply gracious, or because of His sensitivity to human intercession and the repentance of a remnant. But this had created the impression that the mountains were merely echoing with threats and the threats were not the real thing, mere echoes. The previous prophecy in Ez. 6 had specifically concerned the mountains of Israel. But judgment was real and would really come.

Ezekiel 7:8 Now will I shortly-
See on Ez. 5:13. "Shortly" presents the same idea as noted on :6; the judgment was about to come, and so the window of opportunity to repent was only just about still open.

 Pour out My wrath on you and accomplish My anger against you, and will judge you according to your ways; and I will bring on you all your abominations- These are the very words used about God's intention to utterly destroy Israel at the time of Ex. 32:10,12. But thanks to the intercession of Moses, this didn't happen. Moses later uses the term in reflecting how God's anger had been accomplished upon Israel, but not in the form of totally destroying them as He had first planned (Ps. 90:7). The implication of course was that a Moses-like figure could arise in intercession, God had been open to change the outworking of His anger, and so by implication He was likewise open at Ezekiel's time. And it seems He did relent, because as noted on Ez. 5:12, God did not totally destroy Jerusalem's population to the extent He had threatened. And yet just as Moses perceived that His anger was still accomplished, although without the total destruction of Israel, so Jeremiah uses this phrase in reflecting how in fact God's anger was accomplished in the Babylonian destruction (Lam. 4:11). Ezekiel himself will later note this too (Ez. 20:8,21).

Ezekiel 7:9 My eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity. I will bring on you according to your ways; and your abominations shall be in the midst of you; and you shall know that I, Yahweh, do strike-
See on :4. They would realize that it was God who was striking them, that He was working through the Babylonians, and their suffering was not simply due to the  local geopolitics of a neighbouring empire attacking a smaller neighbouring state. But did they "know" this? "You shall know..." could be command more than prediction (see on Ez. 6:9). "Strike" is the word used of God's destruction of the eretz promised to Abraham at the flood (Gen. 8:21). This was the scale of total destruction envisaged, although in reality, God's grace was such that there was not absolutely total destruction. The amelioration of the judgments was maybe just because of God's grace; or His response to intercession and repentance from a minority. See on Zeph. 1:2,3.

Ezekiel 7:10 Behold, the day, behold, it comes: your doom is gone forth-
See on :6. The pronouncement of doom had gone forth from the court of heaven, but in the gap between the statement and its realization, there was still the possibility for repentance. We too live in that same gap.

The rod has blossomed, pride has budded- The message may simply be that above all their many sins, Juda were to be punished because their pride had come to full fruition- in judgment. But "the rod" may refer to Babylon, as rods represent nations and leaders (2 Kings 18:21), and Assyria is described in just the same way, as the rod for Judah's correction (Is. 10:5). The budding rod is a parody of Aaron's budding rod. But the buds were those of pride, which God saw as Babylon's lead characteristic. We might have characterized Babylon in other ways, perhaps alluding to their idolatry. But typical of the prophets, God through Ezekiel focuses upon pride as the worst and fundamental characteristic of Babylon. The rod of Babylon's pride was prepared to execute the final judgment.

Ezekiel 7:11 Violence has risen up into a rod of wickedness-
The Hebrew words for "violence" and "wickedness" are often used by the prophets about Israel, translated things like 'unjust gain'. The rod has been defined in :10 as that of the Babylonian invaders. But Israel's oppression of each other had grown up into a rod of wickedness. Here we have the metaphor of 'making a rod for your own back'. Their sins grew into a rod of punishment, the rod of the proud Babylonians, whose pride had grown parallel with the violence of the Jews against each other.

 None of them shall remain, neither of their multitude, nor of their wealth. There shall be nothing of value among them- As noted on Zeph. 1:2,3, it was God's intention to destroy Judah as He did the eretz at the time of the flood. None would remain. But in fact many did. The amelioration of the judgments was maybe just because of God's grace; or His response to intercession and repentance from a minority. The destruction of the people is paralleled with the destruction of their wealth; because like many today, they identified with their wealth. It was their self-identity. Their wealth is mentioned in the context of their oppression of each other for "unjust gain" (NEV "violence") in the preceding sentence. See on :19.

Ezekiel 7:12 The time has come, the day draws near: don’t let the buyer rejoice, nor the seller mourn; for wrath is upon all its multitude-
The situation would be so desperate that people would sell anything they had for very low sums. But the end for them all was so near that the purchaser would have no time to rejoice over his good deal, nor the seller to lament how cheaply they had sold.

Ezekiel 7:13 For the seller shall not return to that which is sold, even if they be still alive-
The idea as explained on :12 is that the seller would be taken into captivity; the buyer, the manipulative wealthy spoken of in :11, would be killed and so the purchased things would be left for the former owner to just come and take back. But the impoverished seller would not be able to, because they would be taken into captivity.


The vision is touching the whole multitude of it, none shall return- AV "the multitude therefore which shall not return". The majority are pictured as dying; only a minority would return. Remember that Ezekiel is speaking to the captives in Babylon. They were to see themselves as the minority who had survived by grace. They were therefore to repent. But at this time they had placed Ezekiel under house arrest and refused to accept his appeals.

Neither shall any strengthen himself in the iniquity of his life- The context is of their materialism (:11,12) and the loss of the things they bought and sold. This materialism was the sin of their soul, and they would be unable to continue [NEV "strengthen"] that addictive way of life.

Ezekiel 7:14 They have blown the trumpet, and have made all ready, but none goes to the battle; for My wrath is on all its multitude-
The men of Judah blew the trumpet to call their soldiers, but Ezekiel and Jeremiah were blowing God's trumpet of repentance (Jer. 6:1; Ez. 33:3,6). There was a total mismatch between God and His people. Again it is emphasized that God's wrath was upon "all", but in fact a larger group than here envisaged survived; by God's way of remembering mercy in wrath, and His extreme sensitivity to the repentance and intercession of a minority.

Ezekiel 7:15 The sword is outside, and the pestilence and the famine within. He who is in the field shall die with the sword; and he who is in the city, famine and pestilence shall devour him-
As I have continually noted, the death by famine, sword and plague did not destroy as many as here envisaged. I suggested why on :14. But another factor to be considered is that in Jer. 34:8-10 we read that there was some repentance amongst the Jerusalem Jews; at the beginning of the Sabbath year on 29 September 588 BC they released their slaves and stopped abusing them. In response to this, the siege was lifted by God- for the Babylonians temporarily lifted the siege due to the approach of the Egyptian army. Between that October and 29 April 587 BC they were concerned with fighting the Egyptians until they defeated them (Jer. 34:22; Ez. 30:20,21). In that time, many Jews took their slaves back (Jer. 34:11-22; 37:15,16). So from May 587 BC the siege resumed until the walls were breached, Zedekiah was captured and the city sacked on 29 July 587 BC (2 Kings 25:2-4; Jer. 39:2; 52:7; Ez. 33:21). Perhaps it was in response to this repentance, even though many didn't follow through with it, that God rescheduled and ameliorated His plans of total destruction. Perhaps some did permanently release their slaves and stop abusing others, and God took notice of this.

Ezekiel 7:16 But those of the ones who escape shall escape, and shall be on the mountains like doves of the valleys, all of them moaning, every one in his iniquity-
The idea was that the remnant who were saved by grace would flee to the mountains, the place of their previous apostasy (Ez. 6:2), and repent. They fled, and yet most didn't repent. They "shall / should" do this  may be command rather than prediction, and again a reflection of God's intense hope, the hope of unrequited love.

Ezekiel 7:17 All hands shall be feeble, and all knees shall be weak as water-
This again is Ezekiel repeating the message Jeremiah was preaching to the Jews in Judah (Jer. 6:24). There would be a psychological paralysis- evidence that God can work directly on the mind of people, positively [through the "holy spirit"] and negatively [an "evil spirit from the Lord"].

Ezekiel 7:18 They shall also clothe themselves with sackcloth, and horror shall cover them; and shame shall be on all faces, and baldness on all their heads-
The mourning was intended to be for their sins; their "shame" was to be for their sins. This was the Divine intention of the invasion; the remnant would repent. But this didn't really happen. We too can have repentance set up for us by God, but still not make it.

Ezekiel 7:19 They shall throw their silver in the streets, and their gold shall be as an unclean thing; their silver and their gold shall not be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of Yahweh. They shall not satisfy their souls, neither fill their stomachs; because it has been the stumbling block of their iniquity-
We noted on :11-13 that the materialism of the Jews was a major reason for their sins. Their unjust abuse of each other noted there was to the end that they might accumulate more wealth. This love of wealth was their stumbling block, that which made them fall headlong into sin. We would perhaps rather have focused upon their worship of idols within the holy place of the temple. But the prophets always look to the essence. Even their idolatry was perhaps rooted in this desire for wealth, believing some kind of primitive prosperity Gospel, whereby worship of the gods would bring them wealth. This endless pursuit of wealth would not "satisfy". Their subconscious assumption was that of many today- that wealth can buy anything, even salvation from the day of God's wrath. In one form or another, that is the same underlying assumption made by many religions and Christian groups, from Catholicism to Pentecostalism. But in that day of final judgment they like Judas would throw down their silver and gold in the streets, realizing it could not save them.

Ezekiel 7:20 As for the beauty of His ornament, He set it in majesty; but they made the images of their abominations and their detestable things therein; therefore have I made it to them as an unclean thing-
Ezekiel will later be shown awful idolatry and images being used within the temple. "Therein" therefore refers to the temple, the crowning ornament of beauty set in majesty. Just as their wealth was to be declared "unclean" (:19), so the temple would be. I suggested on :19 that the connection is in the fact that they thought that by worshipping those abominable images in Yahweh's temple, they would get wealth. For many of the idol cults, Baal especially, were fertility cults, promising good harvests and wealth in return for worship. God would desecrate the temple, making it unclean; but this, as with all His judgments, was only a confirmation of what they themselves had done.

Ezekiel 7:21 I will give it into the hands of the gentiles for a prey, and to the wicked of the earth for a spoil; and they shall profane it-
The Gentiles would "profane" the temple, but God would do so (:20). The tribal gods of the nations were thought to always be on the side of the tribe, fighting for them and ever protecting the sanctity of their own holy places. Yahweh was uniquely different; He could fight against His people and desecrate even His own holy place. This is the essence of the "problem of suffering"; that the one true God doesn't act as we all subconsciously expect a God to.

Ezekiel 7:22 My face will I turn also from them, and they shall profane My secret place; and robbers shall enter into it, and profane it-
As noted on :20,21, it was God who would do this, working with those blasphemous soldiers who actually profaned it, the Babylonian "robbers" who took His holy vessels into captivity. We note that only then, in the final desecration of the temple, would God turn away His face or presence from Israel. Right up until then, His face was still towards them, eager for their repentance. See on :6. Jeremiah had used the same word for "robbers" in lamenting that the Jews had turned the temple into a "den of robbers" (Jer. 7:11). Again, the judgment brought upon them was an appropriate extension of what they themselves had done, and not the Almighty lashing out in anger. Sin is its own condemnation.

Ezekiel 7:23 Make the chain; for the land is full of bloodshed, and the city is full of violence-
The chain spoke of their captivity in chains, but the word is only elsewhere used of the golden chains in Solomon's temple (1 Kings 6:21). Those chains of gold which they so coveted were as it were to become chains of captivity. This continues the theme of :11-13 and what is stated explicitly in :19- that their love of gold and wealth was the essential reason for their stumbling into sin and now into captivity. We would likely have thought the essential reason was their idolatry, but that idolatry was essentially fuelled by a desire for wealth, which they thought their idolatry would bring them. We note that the land and the city of Jerusalem are placed in parallel. The bloodshed of the invasion was related to the "violence" ['unjust gain'] they had done to each other. The prophets, like the Lord Jesus, saw to the essence. A lack of love towards our brethren is effectively violence and bloodshed, and this was to be reflected in the bloodshed they were to suffer from the Babylonians.

Ezekiel 7:24 Therefore I will bring the worst of the nations-
"Worst" is "evil"; the same words are used to lament how Israel had done worse evil than the Gentile nations (2 Kings 21:9). Again, the judgment brought was appropriate to what Israel themselves had done.

And they shall possess their houses. I will also make the pride of the strong to cease; and their holy places shall be profaned- Again the theme of materialism continues; the wealthy houses they had built on the backs of unjust gain would be destroyed, just as happened at the invasion; and the destruction of their personal houses would be reflected in the destruction of God's house.

Ezekiel 7:25 Destruction comes; and they shall seek peace, and there shall be none-
"Peace" often refers to peace with God. "Seeking peace" is a quotation from Ps. 34:14; now is the time to seek peace with God, and not all too late as the condemnation process begins. The logic is powerful. All those responsible to God shall come to desperately seek their peace with Him, either in this life, or all too late at judgment day. This theme of desperately searching for God all too late is continued in :26. But the idea may also be that all too late they would seek a peace treaty with the Babylonians which would not be accepted.

Ezekiel 7:26 Mischief shall come on mischief, and rumour shall be on rumour; and they shall seek a vision of the prophet; but the law shall perish from the priest, and counsel from the elders-
This is the scenario of :26; the condemned desperately seeking God's word and being unable to find it, like the rejected virgins of the parable rushing to buy oil and finding it all too late. The function of the priest was to teach God's law and His word as revealed to the prophets. But no word would be given, and the priests would perish. Ezekiel at this time was a prophet-priest under house arrest. Instead of receiving revelations of God's word, instead they would receive message after message of bad news concerning the Babylonian advance: "One disaster will follow another, and a steady stream of bad news will pour in" (GNB); "There shall be woe upon woe, and there shall be message upon message" (LXX).

Ezekiel 7:27 The king shall mourn, and the prince shall be clothed with desolation, and the hands of the people of the land shall be troubled-
Jeremiah had given Zedekiah a way of escape, but he feared his image. So he was to be stripped of his royal robes and clothed with shame. We note the parallel between the leadership and the ordinary "people of the land". The masses didn't suffer because of the failures of the leadership, and neither did the leadership suffer because of the sins of the masses. Quite apart from democracy, it is a simple fact of human sociology that a population get the leadership they essentially want. Because leadership seeks to please the masses. And so the prophets often make the point that the masses as well as the leadership were equally guilty.


I will do to them after their way, and according to their own judgments will I judge them- As so often noted, their judgments would be a continuation of their own actions. They were self condemned. See on :22; Ez. 8:6.

And they shall know that I am Yahweh- See on Ez. 9:13.