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Judgments On The Surrounding Nations
In 1 Peter 4:17 we read, “For the time is come for judgment to begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” This suggests a principle in God’s ways of dealing with His people and with the world. We see this exemplified in the present chapter. Judgment had its inception in the sanctuary of the Lord. His rod of chastisement was stretched over the city and the people called by His name. Against these, the Chaldean conqueror was to execute His vengeance because of the grave departure of Israel and Judah from the path of obedience to Jehovah. But if thus His judgment was being executed upon His own house and His own people, then the nations surrounding, whose wickedness in some respects even surpassed that of the professed people of God, need not hope to escape. Therefore the prophet was commanded to declare that the Lord’s wrath was about to fall upon these contiguous peoples.
In verses 1 to 7 we have the judgment of Ammon.
“And the word of Jehovah came unto me, saying, Son of man, set thy face toward the children of Ammon, and prophesy against them: and say unto the children of Ammon, Hear the word of the Lord Jehovah: Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Because thou saidst, Aha, against My sanctuary, when it was profaned; and against the land of Israel, when it was made desolate; and against the house of Judah, when they went into captivity: therefore, behold, I will deliver thee to the children of the east for a possession, and they shall set their encampments in thee, and make their dwellings in thee; they shall eat thy fruit, and they shall drink thy milk. And I will make Kabbah a stable for camels, and the children of Amnion a couching-place for flocks: and ye shall know that I am Jehovah. For thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Because thou hast clapped thy hands, and stamped with the feet, and rejoiced with all the despite of thy soul against the land of Israel; therefore, behold, I have stretched out My hand upon thee, and will deliver thee for a spoil to the nations; and I will cut thee off from the peoples, and I will cause thee to perish out of the countries: I will destroy thee; and thou shalt know that I am Jehovah”-vers. 1-7.
It will be remembered that the Ammonites were descended from Ammon, who was one of the illegitimate sons of Lot, the result of his incestuous relation with his own daughter, who had plied him with liquor until he fell into a drunken stupor and knew not what he was doing. The Ammonites, therefore, were in a certain sense related to the people of Israel; though that relationship was a most disgraceful one. They evidently realized that they were looked upon by Israel with a measure of contempt, because we find them from early days numbered among the enemies of God’s people.
Ezekiel was commanded to set his face against these children of Ammon and prophesy against them. They had, in their supercilious pride, sneered at the sanctuary of Jehovah, and delighted in its profanation; they rejoiced when it was made desolate, and gloried in seeing the people of God go into captivity. God is never an unconcerned witness of such conduct as this on the part of the enemies of His people. He may see fit to deal with them in chastisement because of their failures, but He will not tolerate ridicule on the part of their enemies. And so in this instance He was about to deliver the Ammonites also to the children of the East for a possession: that is, they, too, were to be overrun by the Chaldeans and their armies completely defeated. Many of their people would be carried into captivity, and their great cities would become desolate; even Rabbah, which from ancient times had been recognized as their capital, would be but a stable for camels, a couching-place for flocks. Thus by bitter experience the Ammonites would be made to realize God’s indignation. Because of the way they had rejoiced when they saw His judgments falling on the land of Israel, they, too, would be delivered for a spoil to the nations and would be cut off from the peoples: that is, they would cease to be recognized as an independent dominion. Ammon was to be utterly destroyed because of the indignation of the Lord.
“Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Because that Moab and Seir do say, Behold, the house of Judah is like unto all the nations; therefore, behold, I will open the side of Moab from the cities, from his cities which are on his frontiers, the glory of the country, Beth-jeshimoth, Baal-meon, and Kiriathaim, unto the children of the east, to go against the children of Ammon; and I will give them for a possession, that the children of Ammon may not be remembered among the nations: and I will execute judgments upon Moab; and they shall know that I am Jehovah”-vers. 8-11.
In this section the prophet’s attention is directed to Moab and Seir. The Moabites bore the same relationship to the people of Israel that the Ammonites did, Moab himself being the child of Lot’s other daughter by her own father. The pride of Moab is referred to in other scriptures: they gloried in their fortress habitations on the heights across the Jordan, and east of the Dead Sea; they fancied that their dwellings were impregnable, but they were soon to learn by bitter experience that they were powerless to stand against the armies of Nebuchadnezzar. Idolatry of the most cruel character nourished in Moab, and led the way in the sacrificing of sons and daughters to the vile gods, such as Moloch and others that were supposed to demand such offerings in order that they might turn away their wrath from the people and give rain and blessing to the land.
Now in the hour of their extremity they would find that these false gods were powerless to defend them, and would learn that He whom they had despised was indeed Jehovah the Everlasting One.
“Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Because that Edom hath dealt against the house of Judah by taking vengeance, and hath greatly offended, and revenged himself upon them; therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah, I will stretch out My hand upon Edom, and -will cut off man and beast from it; and I will make it desolate from Teman; even unto Dedan shall they fall by the sword. And I will lay My vengeance upon Edom by the hand of My people Israel; and they shall do in Edom according to Mine anger and according to My wrath; and they shall know My vengeance, saith the Lord Jehovah”-vers. 12-14.
Edom, too, was related to Israel but in a far different way to the two nations we have just been considering. We read in Genesis 36:43, “He is Esau, the father of the Edomites.” That is, Edom was descended from Jacob’s twin brother, and his name is practically the same as that of the first man, Adam. He represents in a very definite way the man of the flesh. He was a man of considerable nobility of character and, in some respects, more to be admired than his scheming brother, Jacob, who nevertheless valued the covenant of the Lord in a way that Esau did not. God had given to Esau the land adjoining Moab and south of the Dead Sea. Here were built great fortress cities, some of which are in existence today, and are the wonder and admiration of travelers who go to visit them. The rock city of Petra, marvelous in its architecture cut out of the mountains, is a perpetual memorial to the truth of the Word of God which declared that Edom would be utterly destroyed even though its cities would remain. Edom hated Israel, and she arrayed herself against those whom she should have befriended. Therefore, God’s judgment was to fall upon Edom also, and He would do in her cities according to His anger and His wrath; thus they should know His vengeance and learn the folly of defying His omnipotent power.
“Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Because the Philistines have dealt by revenge, and have taken vengeance with despite of soul to destroy with perpetual enmity; therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Behold, I will stretch out My hand upon the Philistines, and I will cut off the Cherethites, and destroy the remnant of the sea coast. And I will execute great vengeance upon them with wrathful rebukes; and they shall know that I am Jehovah, when I shall lay My vengeance upon them”-vers. 15-17.
The Philistines were Israel’s enemies from of old. They had an Egyptian origin and were descended from Caphtor. They entered Palestine from the south and, typically, would speak of men of the world intruding into the inheritance of the people of God: that is, they represented natural men with no spiritual discernment, yet taking authority over those to whom God had revealed Himself. Such Philistines abound today: unsaved men professing to be ministers of God and exercising authority over His people while actually they have never been born into His kingdom.
The Philistines had dwelt in the land for many centuries, and even in Israel’s most palmy days they were never able to destroy these crafty foes; though they did at times subdue them. Now the hour had struck when God was about to deal with them because they had taken vengeance with despite of soul, endeavoring to destroy His people with perpetual enmity. Because of this they themselves were to be destroyed. They must know the awfulness of Jehovah’s vengeance falling upon them; thus they, too, should know that they had to do with Jehovah the God of Israel whom they had defied.
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Ironside, H. A. "Commentary on Ezekiel 25". Ironside's Notes on Selected Books. https://studylight.org/
the Second Week of Advent