|Introduction to the Commentary on Ezekiel
|“II. Oracles Against Foreign Nations. Ezekiel 25:1-32:32.
“The oracles announcing punishment on Israel’s hostile neighbors (Ezekiel 25-32) constitute a transition between the prophecies of judgment on Judah and Jerusalem (Ezekiel 1-24), and the predictions of her restoration (Ezekiel 33-39; 40-48). Oracles against foreign nations are grouped together in other prophets also: Isaiah 13-23; Jeremiah 46-51; Amos 1; 2; Zephaniah 2:4-15.
“Before the ideal state can be realized, enemies must be destroyed and Israel made secure in her land (Ezekiel 28:24, 26; 34:28, 29). Seven nations, possibly a symbol of completeness, are destined for retribution. Five of them had formed an alliance against Chaldea (Jeremiah 27:1-3). Babylon, the anti-”Yehuveh “power of the Old Testament, is not included in the denunciations, perhaps because that nation was the instrument of” Yehuveh’s “justice (Ezekiel 29:17 ff.), although Ezekiel knew the character of the Chaldeans (Ezekiel 7:21, 22, 24; 28:6; 30:11, 12; 31:12).
Yehuveh “was to mete out chastisement upon Israel’s surrounding foes because of their demeanor toward Israel (Ezekiel 25:3, 8, 12, 15; 26:2; 29:6) and because of their ungodly pride and self-deification (Ezekiel 28; 29:3). Here, as in the foreign oracles of the other prophets, is exhibited the international outlook of Hebrew prophecy, with its stress on the universal sovereignty of” Yehuveh “and the moral responsibility of all mankind. ’A nation’s rank among the peoples depends upon the contribution which it makes to God’s purpose for mankind and upon its homage to His universal rule.’ (Cook, G. A. Ezekiel: International Critical Commentary. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1937. P. 282).
“The nations which fall under the prophet’s scrutiny are Ammon [northern Jordan], Moab [central Jordan], Edom [southern Jordan], Philistia [most Palestinians] (Ezekiel 25:1-7, 8-11, 12-14, 15-17), Tyre [Europe] (three oracles: Ezekiel 26; 27; 28:1-19), Sidon [Lebanon] (Ezekiel 28:20-26), and Egypt [including the nation of Egypt and most of the Arab nations, descended of Ishmael, son of an Egyptian princess] (seven oracles: Ezekiel 29:1-16,17-21; 30:1-19,20-26; 31; 32:1-16,17-32). The first four oracles are short and prosaic (Ezekiel 25), while the pronouncements against Tyre (Ezekiel 26-28) and Egypt (Ezekiel 29-32) are long, magnificient poems, full of color and fire, well illustrating Ezekiel’s varied style. The dates attached to some of the oracles locate this section between 587/586 B.C. (seven months before the fall of Jerusalem, Ezekiel 29:1) and 571/570 B.C. (16 years after its fall, Ezekiel 29:17).”
These dates reflect Wycliffe’s historical perspective. There are, of course, dates indicated by these texts which are relevent to our times. Compare the current events of Ezekiel 29:1 and Ezekiel 29:17.
“III. Prophecies of Israel’s Restoration. Ezekiel 33:1-39:29.
“The fall of Jerusalem marks a turning point in the ministry of Ezekiel. The hitherto minatory oracles against Judah (Ezekiel 1-24) and her pagan foes (Ezekiel 25-32) now give way to the hortatory messages of a pastor to his shattered people (Ezekiel 33-39). After the collapse of the state (Ezekiel 33:21) and the complete prostration of people’s minds under their calamities (Ezekiel 33:10), the prophet declared that” Yehuveh “had not made a full end to Israel (contrast Ezekiel 35). A new era was ahead for her. In moving words, Ezekiel here speaks of the purification, restoration, and peace of Israel (Ezekiel 34; 36:16ff.; 37).
Originally Written: 16 August 2006
Latest Update: 23 December 2007
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