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The Judgment Is Total
“The word of the LORD” comes to Ezekiel (Eze 7:1). He, “son of man”, is to speak the word on behalf of “the Lord GOD” and is directed to “the land of Israel” (Eze 7:2). The judgment is not confined to the mountains and hills, the center of the land, which the previous chapter deals with. The end is coming “on the four corners of the land”, that is, over the whole land, to every corner of it (cf. Isa 11:12).
The word “end” is mentioned three times in Eze 7:2-3, giving it emphasis. It is also mentioned twice more in Eze 7:6 (cf. Amos 8:2). The end for the land has come because the LORD is sending His anger against it (Eze 7:3). That is a terrifying message. It must be brought to the people.
The LORD must let His judgment come on the evil ways the land has gone. His judgments will be in accordance with that. He will also repay them for all their abominations. The iniquity is so great and their taunting of the LORD so grievous, that He will not spare the land and will have no pity (Eze 7:4).
When He deals with the land in that way, they will know that He is the LORD. This refrain is also found in Eze 7:9 and Eze 7:27, by which this chapter can be divided into three parts. All the suffering that the LORD will bring upon His land is for the purpose of bringing the guilty people to recognition of His right and majesty.
The Judgment Is Near
The Lord GOD (Adonai Yahweh) lets Ezekiel – and through him the people – know that the time of His patience is over (Eze 7:5). His patience with them has run out. One disaster will follow another in rapid succession and it is coming! These disasters announce the end (Eze 7:6). “The end” is presented as a person awakening, moving and taking action.
When the end comes, it means the downfall of the “inhabitant of the land” (Eze 7:7). Then “the day” has come when confusion will prevail and joy will be silenced. For those who think that day will bring them joy, it is a disillusionment, for that day brings judgment, terror and dismay (Amos 5:16-20). “The day” is the day of the LORD, the day when He will judge openly and no longer hide Himself.
“Shortly” that will happen, then the LORD will pour out His wrath on the land (Eze 7:8). He will no longer withhold His anger, but execute it and judge the land in accordance with the sinful ways it has gone. His anger is completely justified. He will repay the land for all its abominations.
When He brings His judgments on the land, He will show no pity and spare nothing (Eze 7:9). When He brings disaster upon disaster upon the land, the Israelites will know that He, the LORD, does the smiting (Eze 7:4; 27).
The actions of the LORD are presented in short sentences in the preceding verses. Eze 7:5-9 are largely a repetition of Eze 7:1-4. It is a double testimony and they are, as it were, exclamations made in great emotion. They are to impress upon the people the horrors of the coming judgments which are approaching with great speed and inescapably.
The Doom Has Gone Forth
The announcement of the day of the LORD resounds again (Eze 7:10). The many repetitions of the announcement of judgment place great and serious emphasis on its immutability. “Behold, it is coming”, is also said several times (Eze 7:5; 6; 10). The warning sounds over and over again. It should be an incentive for us to warn those around us of the judgment that is coming, for “the Judge is standing right at the door” (Jam 5:9b).
The “doom has gone forth” because the king of Babylon is about to move into the land. “The rod has budded” means that God’s discipline – symbolized by the rod – is about to assert itself in the coming of the armies of Babylon. “The arrogance has blossomed” means that Babylon will act in the arrogance of its heart.
Instead of acknowledging the rod of God’s discipline and bowing to it, violence has risen like a rod (Eze 7:11). The wickedness of God’s people has caused the rod to rise. They rely on violence to maintain themselves. Their rod is a rod of wickedness. Therefore, the judgment that God brings on them through the king of Babylon will leave nothing of them. All their wealth, all their eminence, all their boastfulness will disappear.
Once again the warning is repeated that the time of judgment has come and the day of judgment has approached (Eze 7:12). In such a time of threat, people do want to sell their stuff, because it will be of no use to them. It is possible that Paul was thinking of this section when he wrote to the Corinthians that the time is short and that they should view buying and using resources in that light (1Cor 7:29-31).
Buyers like to take advantage of the misery of others to get a lot of property at extremely low prices. They are warned not to rejoice in this. Enrichment at the expense of the misery of others is repaid by God. They too will not escape the judgment that strikes the whole crowd. The seller should also not worry about the loss of his possessions. He would do better to worry about his soul (Lk 12:13-21).
The seller will never see his possessions again, even if both he and the buyer were still alive (Eze 7:13). The vision of the judgment of exile “regarding all their multitude will not be averted”, for it is certain. Both the seller and the buyer have lived in iniquity. They will not be able to maintain their life, but perish.
Response to Judgment
In a desperate attempt to avert judgment in the form of the oncoming enemy, they have blown the trumpet to mobilize the warriors (Eze 7:14). But no one has the courage to go to war, even though they are ready for it. They are paralyzed. That is because of the wrath of the LORD against them. Death is everywhere (Eze 7:15). Outside the city, in the fields, the violence of war makes its victims. In the city, death and destruction reign through plague and famine.
Some will manage to escape and think they have a safe haven in the mountains (Eze 7:16). They are like defenseless doves, whose natural abode is the valleys, but have fled from there for fear of the enemy to seek refuge in the mountains, where they feel alone and not at home. There they will each mourn over his own iniquity. They may be able to escape the violence of war around them, but the deep-seated fear of the enemy and ultimately of the LORD will torment them and make them restless day and night. They will realize that through their own sins they have brought this suffering upon themselves.
They will be without strength, while water – here a euphemism, i.e. mild expression, for urine – runs down their knees (Eze 7:17). They are utterly demoralized and powerless to resist. Their appearance is the epitome of mourning, shuddering, shame and baldness (Eze 7:18). Any attractiveness has disappeared and been replaced by signs of mourning and misery.
The silver and gold on which they cling so much and of which they have made idols, they will cast away as unclean (Eze 7:19; cf. Isa 2:20). They will see how useless those things are in saving them from the wrath of the LORD (Pro 11:4; Zep 1:18). All this filthy lucre does not satiate the soul or fill the stomach. Gold and silver do not appease God’s wrath (cf. Psa 49:7-9; Pro 10:2). Their silver and gold led them to iniquity, as wealth so often does with people today.
Instead of honoring God in “the beauty of His ornaments”, which is the temple, and thereby showing Him that He is outstanding to them, they have made His temple an idol temple and defiled it (Eze 7:20). Therefore, He now hands it over into the hands of the enemy who will further profane it. He has made His temple an object of uncleanness for them. God does not tolerate outward worship accompanied by idolatry, for that is an attack on the very essence of worship. All worship belongs exclusively to God. God does not tolerate an object of worship outside of Himself (Mt 4:9-10).
He will deliver them “as plunder” into the hands of the foreigners and “as spoil” to the wicked of the earth, that is, the Babylonians (Eze 7:21). These will enter God’s ornaments, His temple. Their unholy acts will profane the temple and thereby bring profanity upon them. He will turn His face away from them, meaning He will no longer look upon them in favor (Eze 7:22). He will surrender His temple, “My secret place”, which they boast of so much (Jer 7:4), to the Babylonians. These will violently invade it and profane it.
Ezekiel is to perform another symbolic act. He is to make a chain to indicate with it that the remnant of God’s people will be taken away into exile (Eze 7:23; Jer 39:7; Jer 40:1). God can no longer maintain them in His land, for they have made it full of blood by killing innocents. The city of Jerusalem is full of violence of one against the other. The rights of the other are not taken into account.
God will send “the worst of the nations”, that is, Babylon and the nations it subdued, to Israel (Eze 7:24). These will take possession of their homes and thus deprive them of all security. The pride of the strong ones, that is the princes, the leaders, will cease. They will have nothing left to boast of. Those who sanctify them, their false priests, will have no more influence. They will lose their special status of holiness.
Anguish will overtake them and rule over them (Eze 7:25). Desperately they will search for peace, but there will be none. External disasters will follow one another in rapid succession (Eze 7:26). In addition to what they are experiencing, they will hear rumors of even more calamity, which will drive them inwardly to despair (cf. Eze 21:7; Jer 51:46; Mt 24:6). Rumors are beyond your control.
The three sources of knowledge to know what to do will fail. The prophet no longer receives a vision or revelation, the priest no longer teaches from the law, and the elders no longer have wisdom to give counsel. No one has an answer to the calamity that befalls them because the connection to heaven has been severed (cf. Mic 3:7). The silence of the grave prevails.
The highest authority, the king (Zedekiah), mourns (Eze 7:27). The prince (high government official) is in despair. They are powerless and unable to provide a solution. As a result, the common people are paralyzed with terror and unable to do anything.
God deals with His people according to their own way. They reap the fruits of their sinful walk of life. He judges them according to their own regulations according to which they have arranged and lived their lives. There is no arbitrariness in His dealings. Everything He brings upon them, they have brought upon themselves. Through everything that happens to them because of the LORD, they will know that He is the LORD (Eze 7:4; 9). They have to deal with Him, not with Nebuchadnezzar.
With the next chapter a new section begins, which we can derive from the mention of a new date and that the hand of the LORD falls on Ezekiel (Eze 8:1).
Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
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de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Ezekiel 7". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 15 / Ordinary 20