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Bible Commentaries

Utley's You Can Understand the Bible

Ezekiel 25

Ezekiel 25:0

PARAGRAPH DIVISIONS OF MODERN TRANSLATIONS

NASBNKJVNRSVTEVNJB
Judgment On Gentile Nations, AmmonProclamation Against AmmonOracles Against the Nations(Ezekiel 25:1-32)Prophecy Against AmmonAgainst Ammonites
Oracles Against Ammon
Ezekiel 25:1-7Ezekiel 25:1-7Ezekiel 25:1-7Ezekiel 25:1-5Ezekiel 25:1-3a
Ezekiel 25:3-5
Ezekiel 25:6-7Ezekiel 25:6-7
MoabProclamation Against MoabOracles Against MoabProphecy Against MoabAgainst Moab
Ezekiel 25:8-11Ezekiel 25:8-11Ezekiel 25:8-11Ezekiel 25:8-11Ezekiel 25:8-11
EdomProclamation Against EdomOracles Against EdomProphecy Against EdomAgainst Edom
Ezekiel 25:12-14Ezekiel 25:12-14Ezekiel 25:12-14Ezekiel 25:12-14Ezekiel 25:12-14
PhilistiaProclamation Against PhilistiaOracles Against PhilistiaProphecy Against PhilistiaAgainst Philistines
Ezekiel 25:15-17Ezekiel 25:15-17Ezekiel 25:15-17Ezekiel 25:15-17Ezekiel 25:15-17

READING CYCLE THREE (see “Guide to Good Bible Reading”)

FOLLOWING THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR'S INTENT AT PARAGRAPH LEVEL

This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects (reading cycle #3). Compare your subject divisions with the four modern translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.

CONTEXTUAL INSIGHTS TO CHAPTERS 25-32

A. There is a subject unity (judgment on these nations) to these chapters, but not a genre uniformity. Also note the different dates.

1. 9th year, 10 month, 10th day, Ezekiel 24:1; Ezekiel 24:1 (may cover chapter 25)

2. 11th year, 1st month , 1st day , Ezekiel 26:1

3. 10 year, 10th month, 12th day, Ezekiel 29:1

4. 27th year, 1st month, 1st day, Ezekiel 29:17

5. 11th year, 1st month, 7th day, Ezekiel 30:20

6. 11th year, 3rd month, 1st day, Ezekiel 31:1

7. 12th year, 12th month, 1st day, Ezekiel 32:1

8. 12th year, 12th month, 15th day, Ezekiel 32:17

This clearly demonstrates that the literary unit (Ezek. 25-32) was an edited collection. By whom and when is uncertain.

B. The oracles against the nations (see D.) are characteristic of Hebrew Prophetic Literature.

1. Isaiah 13-21, 23, 24

2. Jeremiah 46-51

3. Ezekiel 25-32, 35, 38-39

4. Amos 1-2

5. Joel 3:1-16

6. Zephaniah 2:1-5

C. Nations to Be Judged by YHWH

Isaiah 13-21, 23, 24Jeremiah 46-51Ezekiel 25-32, 35, 38-39Amos 1-2
Babylon Philistia Moab Syria Ethiopia Egypt Edom Arabia Phoenicia the nations Egypt Philistia MoabEdom Syria Hazor Elam Babylon AmmonMoab EdomPhilistia PhoeniciaEgyptBabylon AssyriaElamMeshechTubal(Turkey)SyriaPhilistia PhoeniciaAmmonMoabJudahIsrael

D. The nations listed in Ezekiel 25:0 tried to get Judah to rebel against Babylon (cf. Jeremiah 27:0), but in the end, they benefitted, even participated in, Judah's fall (cf. 2 Kings 24:1-2).

E. It is surprising that Babylon is not mentioned in the list of condemned nations. This is because Babylon was YHWH's instrument of judgment on Judah, as Assyria was for Israel (cf. Isaiah 10:5). She will surely be judged, but for now she is YHWH's instrument (as Cyrus will be, cf. Isaiah 44:28; Isaiah 45:1) to destroy Babylon.

F. Theological Issues

1. The judgment oracles on surrounding nations and world powers of the Ancient Near East accentuate the power, glory, and uniqueness of Israel's God (i.e., monotheism).

2. They show that YHWH has a larger purpose for a repentant Israel (they are given no chance to repent). Ezekiel's prophesies of a restored, glorified temple was a way of asserting a future hope and purpose for Israel (i.e., the Messiah). The first temple became corrupt (cf. Ezek. 8-10) and YHWH left, but a future temple is promised (Ezek. 40-48).

3. The messages of doom on the pagan nations were Ezekiel's first message of hope for God's exiled people after the exiles heard of Jerusalem's demise (cf. Ezekiel 24:25-27).

4. The book of Jonah is also a condemnation of a foreign oppressor nation (i.e., Assyria). Yet, it functioned theologically as YHWH's willingness to accept the repentance of the pagan nations (i.e., Isaiah 19:23, Isaiah 19:24-25). The reality of Genesis 12:3 is being fulfilled!

Verses 1-7

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Ezekiel 25:1-7 1And the word of the LORD came to me saying, 2”Son of man, set your face toward the sons of Ammon and prophesy against them, 3and say to the sons of Ammon, 'Hear the word of the Lord God! Thus says the Lord GOD, “Because you said, '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 exile, 4therefore, behold, I am going to give you to the sons of the east for a possession, and they will set their encampments among you and make their dwellings among you; they will eat your fruit and drink your milk. 5I will make Rabbah a pasture for camels and the sons of Ammon a resting place for flocks. Thus you will know that I am the Lord.” 6For thus says the Lord GOD, “Because you have clapped your hands and stamped your feet and rejoiced with all the scorn of your soul against the land of Israel, 7therefore, behold, I have stretched out My hand against you and I will give you for spoil to the nations. And I will cut you off from the peoples and make you perish from the lands; I will destroy you. Thus you will know that I am the LORD.”

Ezekiel 25:1 This is the characteristic literary marker that a new oracle is beginning. It is surprising that a date does not appear here, as it does in Ezekiel 25:1 and 24:1. This causes the interpreter to ask if chapters 24-25 form a literary unit. From content it seems that these chapters form a unit of pronouncements regarding YHWH's coming judgment on the surrounding nations.

Ezekiel 25:2 “set your face toward” This IMPERATIVE (BDB 967, KB 1321, Qal IMPERATIVE) is a standard idiom (cf. Ezekiel 15:7; Leviticus 20:5; Leviticus 26:17; Jeremiah 21:10; Jeremiah 44:11; Amos 9:4). See note at Ezekiel 6:2; also note Ezekiel 13:17; Ezekiel 20:46; Ezekiel 21:2; Ezekiel 25:2; Ezekiel 28:21; Ezekiel 29:2; Ezekiel 35:2; Ezekiel 38:2.

“Ammon” All three trans-Jordan nations were relatives of Israel, Edom through Esau (cf. Genesis 36:1) and Ammon and Moab through Lot (cf. Genesis 19:37-38).

Ammon was located south of the Jabbok River and another boundary somewhere north of the Arnon River.

“prophesy” This is a second IMPERATIVE (BDB 612, KB 659, Niphal IMPERATIVE, cf. Ezekiel 4:7; Ezekiel 6:2; Ezekiel 11:4; Ezekiel 13:2, Ezekiel 13:17; Ezekiel 21:2, Ezekiel 21:7; Ezekiel 25:2; Ezekiel 28:21; Ezekiel 29:2; Ezekiel 34:2; Ezekiel 35:2; Ezekiel 36:6; Ezekiel 38:2; Ezekiel 39:1). After the fall of Jerusalem, Ezekiel now proclaims YHWH's judgment on the surrounding nations who supported or maybe were directly involved in Jerusalem's demise (cf. Jeremiah 49:1-6; Amos 1:13-15; Zephaniah 2:8-9).

Herodutus specifically mentions Nebuchadnezzar's devastation of the trans-jordan area in 582 B.C. Josephus mentions that it occurred five years after the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C.

Ezekiel 25:3 “Hear” This is the third opening IMPERATIVE (BDB 1633, KB 1570, Qal IMPERATIVE) in this section. One wonders if any of these nations ever heard these prophecies. They were addressed to them, but obviously they were directed toward the Israeli exiles. They demonstrate that

1. YHWH is a universal God

2. YHWH is no respecter of persons

3. YHWH will punish sin

4. YHWH's word does come to pass

5. YHWH's ultimate will will be accomplished

“Aha” This INTERJECTION expresses joy of the Ammonites (cf. Psalms 35:21, Psalms 35:25; Psalms 40:15-16; Isaiah 44:16; Ezekiel 25:3; Ezekiel 26:2; Ezekiel 36:2), which is defined in Ezekiel 25:6. They rejoiced over

1. the sanctuary being profaned

2. the land of Israel made desolate

3. the house of Judah sent into exile

They may have participated in this exile (cf. 2 Kings 24:1-2).

Ezekiel 25:4 “I am going to give you” The VERB (BDB 678, KB 733, Qal PARTICIPLE, in Ezekiel 25:10 Qal PERFECT) is used in Ezekiel 11:15 (Niphal PERFECT) of Canaan being given to God's covenant people, but because of their sin, the land will now be given to “the sons of the east.” This is similar to Canaan originally being taken away from the ten nations and given to Israel (cf. Genesis 15:12-21).

“the sons of the east” This phrase occurs several times with several possible meanings.

1. warriors, Ezekiel 25:10; Judges 6:3, Judges 6:33

2. wisemen, 1 Kings 4:30

3. future relatives (i.e., Syria), Genesis 29:1

4. nomadic Arabs from northern Arabia

Here it refers to Babylon, which is beyond Syria. Ezekiel has predicted that YHWH will judge His people with an “east wind” (cf. Ezekiel 17:10; Ezekiel 19:12; note Isaiah 27:8).

“they will eat your fruit and drink your milk” This phrase is similar to Deuteronomy 28:33, which describes Israel's fate if she does not keep YHWH's covenant (cf. Isaiah 1:7).

These terms are normally a prayer of thanksgiving (i.e., Psalms 120:2; Isaiah 3:10), but here it is a curse.

Ezekiel 25:5 “Rabbah” This is the capital of Ammon located on the Wadi Amman, which becomes the Jabbok River. This water source was the key to the city's continuity. It is the capital of the nation of Jordan today, Amman.

“a pasture for camel. . .a resting place for flocks” This is a way of predicting the nation's depopulation, only nomadic herdsmen will be there for short periods (cf. Isaiah 27:10).

The term “resting place” (BDB 918) is found only here and in Zephaniah 2:5 where it is used of wild beasts. This judged place was so dry that it could only be used for grazing at certain brief times of the year.

Ezekiel 25:6 The physical gestures of “clapping hands” and “stomping feet” can be understood as a way of expressing joy or approval (cf. Ezekiel 6:11; Nahum 3:19). In this context Ammon rejoiced at Judah's demise (and may have participated in it, cf. 2 Kings 24:1-2).

Ezekiel 25:7 “I have stretched out My hand against you” This is another idiom of judgment (cf. Exodus 7:5; Exodus 15:6, Exodus 15:12; Isaiah 5:25; Isaiah 9:12, Isaiah 9:17, Isaiah 9:21; Isaiah 10:4; Isaiah 14:27; Isaiah 23:11; Jeremiah 6:12; Jeremiah 15:6; Jeremiah 51:25; Ezekiel 6:14; Ezekiel 14:13; Ezekiel 20:33, Ezekiel 20:34; Ezekiel 25:7, Ezekiel 25:13; Ezekiel 35:3; Zephaniah 1:4; Zephaniah 2:13).

“I shall give you for spoil to the nations” Spoil (BDB 103) refers to the property of conquered nations, including even their own persons (i.e., Numbers 31:32-40). This term is found several times in Ezekiel (cf. Ezekiel 25:7; Ezekiel 26:5; Ezekiel 29:19; Ezekiel 36:4; Ezekiel 38:12, Ezekiel 38:13).

The MT has a word that is unknown. This has been emended by changing one consonant.

1. “spoil” בז (BDB 103)

2. from בג (BDB 93)

Notice the things YHWH says He will do to Ammon.

1. stretched out His hand against them

2. gave them for spoil to the nations

3. cut them off from the peoples

4. made them perish from the lands

5. destroyed them (cf. Ezekiel 25:10)

Ammon will be no more! This is surprising in light of Jeremiah 49:6 (and Moab's restoration in Jeremiah 48:47). This may have an eschatological orientation.

Verses 8-11

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Ezekiel 25:8-11 8'Thus says the Lord GOD, “Because Moab and Seir say, 'Behold, the house of Judah is like all the nations,' 9therefore, behold, I am going to deprive the flank of Moab of its cities, of its cities which are on its frontiers, the glory of the land, Beth-jeshimoth, Baal-meon and Kiriathaim, 10and I will give it for a possession along with the sons of Ammon to the sons of the east, so that the sons of Ammon will not be remembered among the nations. 11Thus I will execute judgments on Moab, and they will know that I am the LORD.”

Ezekiel 25:8-11 This chapter addresses

1. Ammon, Ezekiel 25:1-7

2. Moab, Ezekiel 25:8-11

3. Edom, Ezekiel 25:12-14

4. Philistia, Ezekiel 25:15-17

“Moab” This is another trans-Jordan country from Lot's incestuous children by his own daughters (cf. Genesis 19:0). There are several prophecies against Moab (cf. Numbers 21:27-30; Isaiah 15-16; Jeremiah 48:0; Amos 2:1-3; Zephaniah 2:8-11). Moab's boundaries are from the Arnon River to the Brook Zered.

“Seir” This (BDB 973) refers to a mountain range running parallel to the Arabah (see The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, vol. 5, pp. 329-330). It was originally the homeland of Horite settlers (cf. Genesis 36:20-30), but they were defeated by Esau (cf. Deuteronomy 2:12, Deuteronomy 2:22). Therefore, “Seir,” “Mount Seir,” became ways of referring to Edomites (cf. 2 Chronicles 20:10; 2 Chronicles 25:11). Edom is located south of the Brook Zered and extends down the eastern side of the Arabah.

Ezekiel 25:8 “the house of Judah is like all the nations” This statement, in one sense, was surely true. Judah had taken up the Canaanite religion. In another sense the phrase depreciates Judah's unique relationship with YHWH (i.e., Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 19:4-5). These trans-jordan relative nations saw nothing different, unique, or respectable in Judah or her God.

It is also possible that Marduk (i.e., chief god of Babylon) was seen as being stronger than the gods of the nations which were conquered. It was Judah's military defeat that precipitated the accusations and slurs.

Ezekiel 25:9 “Beth-jeshimoth” This Moabite city was located on the eastern side of the Jordan in the ancient tribal allocation of Reuben (cf. Joshua 12:3; Joshua 13:20). The name means “place of the desert” (BDB 111).

“Baal-meon” This Moabite city was also located in the ancient tribal allocation of Reuben (cf. Numbers 32:28; Joshua 13:17; also note Jeremiah 48:23). Note it carries the name of the Canaanite male fertility deity.

“Kiriathaim” This is also a Moabite town in the tribal allocation of Reuben (cf. Numbers 32:37; Joshua 13:19), located on the tableland. It is also mentioned in God's judgment on Moab in Jeremiah 48:1.

Ezekiel 25:10 “Ammon may not be remembered among the nations” The VERB (BDB 269, KB 269, Niphal IMPERFECT) is also used of Ammon in Ezekiel 21:32. Ammon will exist no more as a nation. Israel will return to its land, but Ammon will not (the same is true of Edom).

Verses 12-14

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Ezekiel 25:12-14 12'Thus says the Lord GOD, “Because Edom has acted against the house of Judah by taking vengeance, and has incurred grievous guilt, and avenged themselves upon them,” 13therefore thus says the Lord GOD, “I will also stretch out My hand against Edom and cut off man and beast from it. And I will lay it waste; from Teman even to Dedan they will fall by the sword. 14I will lay My vengeance on Edom by the hand of My people Israel. Therefore, they will act in Edom according to My anger and according to My wrath; thus they will know My vengeance,” declares the Lord GOD.

Ezekiel 25:12 Edom acted against the house of Judah (see Special Topic: Edom and Israel, cf. Psalms 137:7; Lamentations 4:21-22; Obadiah 1:10-14) by

1. taking vengeance (BDB 667, KB 721, Qal infinitive construct) plus the related NOUN, BDB 668). This action caused great guilt (Qal IMPERFECT VERB plus INFINITIVE ABSOLUTE of the same root, BDB 79, KB 95, which is a grammatical way to show intensity).

2. avenging themselves (BDB 667, KB 721, Niphal PERFECT).

Also they apparently took the opportunity of the collapse of the Judean state to annex part of her land (cf. R. K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament, p. 844).

Ezekiel 25:13-14 YHWH will respond in vengeance (BDB 668).

1. stretch out His hand against them

2. cut off man and beast

3. lay it waste

4. fall by the sword

This violation of Edom against Judah and her God (cf. Ezekiel 25:8) was taken very personally by YHWH.

1. My vengeance, twice

2. My people

3. My anger

4. My wrath

Note how many prophecies are against Edom (cf. Isaiah 34:5-17; Isaiah 63:1-6; Jeremiah 49:7-22; Ezekiel 25:12-14; Ezekiel 35:1-15; Lamentations 4:21-22; Amos 1:11-12; Malachi 1:2-4).

Ezekiel 25:13 “Teman” This is the Hebrew word for “south,” “south wind” (BDB 412). It originally designated a grandson of Esau (cf. Genesis 36:11). It came to refer to the northern part of the nation of Edom (cf. Obadiah 1:9; Habakkuk 3:3) and a city (cf. Jeremiah 49:7, Jeremiah 49:20; Amos 1:12).

In this context it represents a region because it is contrasted with Dedam to designate the whole nation (similar to “from Dan to Beersheba”).

“Dedan” This refers to a southern region in northwestern Arabia (cf. Genesis 10:7; Genesis 25:3). The Arab inhabitants became identified with Edom (cf. Jeremiah 49:8). As an area it extended down the eastern side of the Gulf of Aqaba.

The exact locations of Teman and Dedan are uncertain and whether they refer to a city or a region in this context is uncertain.

Verses 15-17

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Ezekiel 25:15-17 15'Thus says the Lord GOD, “Because the Philistines have acted in revenge and have taken vengeance with scorn of soul to destroy with everlasting enmity,” 16therefore thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I will stretch out My hand against the Philistines, even cut off the Cherethites and destroy the remnant of the seacoast. 17I will execute great vengeance on them with wrathful rebukes; and they will know that I am the LORD when I lay My vengeance on them.”'“

Ezekiel 25:15 “Philistines” See Special Topic: Pre-Israelite Inhabitants of Palestine. The name Palestine comes from the Philistines. They were enemies of the Israelites throughout their history.

“have acted” This verse describes Philistia's actions against God's people.

1. acted in revenge

2. took vengeance

3. displayed scorn of soul

4. destroyed with everlasting enmity (cf. Ezekiel 35:5)

Wow! What strong language!

Ezekiel 25:16 “Cherethites” This name is of uncertain origin (BDB 504). Two principles of hermeneutics can help here.

1. In context they are parallel to Philistines. They could be a synonymous name or a specific group who were assimilated. The Philistines were Aegean people. The Cherethites were possibly from Crete (because of [1] Amos 9:7; [2] the similarity of the root consonants; and [3] the LXX translation).

2. Parallel passages link them to the Philistines (i.e., Pelethites, cf. 2 Samuel 8:18; 2 Samuel 15:18; 2 Samuel 20:7, 2 Samuel 20:23; 1 Kings 1:38, 1 Kings 1:44; 1 Chronicles 18:17; Zephaniah 2:5).

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought-provoking, not definitive.

1. What is the theological significance of the literary unit of Ezek. 25-32?

2. Why does Ezekiel mention the small surrounding nations first?

3. Why is Babylon not included in the list of nations to be judged?

4. Who are the Cherethites of Ezekiel 25:16?

5. What is the significance of the phrase “they will know that I am the LORD,” Ezekiel 25:17?

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Bibliographical Information
Utley. Dr. Robert. "Commentary on Ezekiel 25". "Utley's You Can Understand the Bible". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ubc/ezekiel-25.html. 2021.