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Ezekiel 25

 

PARAGRAPH DIVISIONS OF MODERN TRANSLATIONS

NASB NKJV NRSV TEV NJB
Judgment On Gentile Nations, Ammon Proclamation Against Ammon Oracles Against the Nations
(25:1-32:32)
Prophecy Against Ammon Against Ammonites
    Oracles Against Ammon    
25:1-7 25:1-7 25:1-7 25:1-5 25:1-3a
        25:3b-5
      25:6-7 25:6-7
Moab Proclamation Against Moab Oracles Against Moab Prophecy Against Moab Against Moab
25:8-11 25:8-11 25:8-11 25:8-11 25:8-11
Edom Proclamation Against Edom Oracles Against Edom Prophecy Against Edom Against Edom
25:12-14 25:12-14 25:12-14 25:12-14 25:12-14
Philistia Proclamation Against Philistia Oracles Against Philistia Prophecy Against Philistia Against Philistines
25:15-17 25:15-17 25:15-17 25:15-17 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, 24:1 (may cover chapter 25)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This clearly demonstrates that the literary unit (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 2:1-3:5

 

C. Nations to Be Judged by YHWH

 

Isaiah 13-21, 23, 24 Jeremiah 46-51 Ezekiel 25-32, 35, 38-39 Amos 1-2
Babylon 
Philistia 
Moab    
Syria 
Ethiopia 
Egypt 
Edom 
Arabia 
Phoenicia 
the nations 
 
Egypt  
Philistia 
Moab
Edom 
Syria  
Hazor  
Elam 
Babylon 

 

Ammon
Moab 
Edom
Philistia 
Phoenicia
Egypt
Babylon 
Assyria
Elam
Meshech
Tubal
(Turkey)
Syria
Philistia 
Phoenicia
Ammon
Moab
Judah
Israel

 

D. The nations listed in chapter 25 tried to get Judah to rebel against Babylon (cf. Jeremiah 27), but in the end, they benefitted, even participated in, Judah's fall (cf. II Kgs. 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. Isa. 10:5). She will surely be judged, but for now she is YHWH's instrument (as Cyrus will be, cf. Isa. 44:28; 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. chapts. 8-10) and YHWH left, but a future temple is promised (chapts. 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. 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., Isa. 19:23,24-25). The reality of Gen. 12:3 is being fulfilled!

 

WORD AND PHRASE STUDY

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: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."

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 26:1 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.

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

▣ "Ammon" All three trans-Jordan nations were relatives of Israel, Edom through Esau (cf. Gen. 36:1) and Ammon and Moab through Lot (cf. Gen. 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. 4:7; 6:2; 11:4; 13:2,17; 21:2,7; 25:2; 28:21; 29:2; 34:2; 35:2; 36:6; 38:2; 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. Jer. 49:1-6; Amos 1:13-15; Zeph. 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.

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. Ps. 35:21,25; 40:15-16; Isa. 44:16; Ezek. 25:3; 26:2; 36:2), which is defined in v. 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. II Kgs. 24:1-2).

25:4 "I am going to give you" The verb (BDB 678, KB 733, Qal participle, in v. 10 Qal perfect) is used in 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. Gen. 15:12-21).

▣ "the sons of the east" This phrase occurs several times with several possible meanings.

1. warriors, v. 10; Jdgs. 6:3,33

2. wisemen, I Kgs. 4:30

3. future relatives (i.e., Syria), Gen. 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. 17:10; 19:12; note Isa. 27:8).

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

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

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. Isa. 27:10).

The term "resting place" (BDB 918) is found only here and in Zeph. 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.

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

25:7 "I have stretched out My hand against you" This is another idiom of judgment (cf. Exod. 7:5; 15:6,12; Isa. 5:25; 9:12,17,21; 10:4; 14:27; 23:11; Jer. 6:12; 15:6; 51:25; Ezek. 6:14; 14:13; 20:33,34; 25:7,13; 35:3; Zeph. 1:4; 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., Num. 31:32-40). This term is found several times in Ezekiel (cf. 25:7; 26:5; 29:19; 36:4; 38:12,13).

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. v. 10)

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

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: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."

25:8-11 This chapter addresses

1. Ammon, vv. 1-7

2. Moab, vv. 8-11

3. Edom, vv. 12-14

4. Philistia, vv. 15-17

 

▣ "Moab" This is another trans-Jordan country from Lot's incestuous children by his own daughters (cf. Genesis 19). There are several prophecies against Moab (cf. Num. 21:27-30; Isaiah 15-16; Jeremiah 48; Amos 2:1-3; Zeph. 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. Gen. 36:20-30), but they were defeated by Esau (cf. Deut. 2:12,22). Therefore, "Seir," "Mount Seir," became ways of referring to Edomites (cf. II Chr. 20:10; 25:11). Edom is located south of the Brook Zered and extends down the eastern side of the Arabah.

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., Gen. 12:1-3; Exod. 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.

25:9 "Beth-jeshimoth" This Moabite city was located on the eastern side of the Jordan in the ancient tribal allocation of Reuben (cf. Josh. 12:3; 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. Num. 32:28; Josh. 13:17; also note Jer. 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. Num. 32:37; Josh. 13:19), located on the tableland. It is also mentioned in God's judgment on Moab in Jer. 48:1.

25:10 "Ammon may not be remembered among the nations" The verb (BDB 269, KB 269, Niphal imperfect) is also used of Ammon in 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).

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: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.

25:12 Edom acted against the house of Judah (cf. Ps. 137:7; Lam. 4:21-22; Obad. vv. 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).

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. v. 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. Isa. 34:5-17; 63:1-6; Jer. 49:7-22; Ezek. 25:12-14; 35:1-15; Lam. 4:21-22; Amos 1:11-12; Mal. 1:2-4).

25:13 "Teman" This is the Hebrew word for "south," "south wind" (BDB 412). It originally designated a grandson of Esau (cf. Gen. 36:11). It came to refer to the northern part of the nation of Edom (cf. Obad. v. 9; Hab. 3:3) and a city (cf. Jer. 49:7,20; 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. Gen. 10:7; 25:3). The Arab inhabitants became identified with Edom (cf. Jer. 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.

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: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."'"

25:15 "Philistines" See Special Topic: Pre-Israelite Inhabitants of Palestine at 16:3. 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. 35:5)

Wow! What strong language!

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. II Sam. 8:18; 15:18; 20:7,23; I Kgs. 1:38,44; I Chr. 18:17; Zeph. 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 chapters 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 v. 16?

5. What is the significance of the phrase "they will know that I am the Lord," v. 17?