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Ezekiel 7

 

PARAGRAPH DIVISIONS OF MODERN TRANSLATIONS

NASB NKJV NRSV TEV NJB
Punishment for Wickedness Foretold Judgment On Israel Is Near Oracles On the Approaching Judgment The End Is Near for Israel The End Is Near
7:1-4 7:1-4
(1-2a)
7:1-4 7:1-4 7:1-4
  (2b-4)      
7:5-9 7:5-9
(5b-8)
7:5-9 7:5-7 7:5-7
      7:8-9 7:8-9
  (9)      
7:10-13 7:10-15
(10-12a)
7:10-13 7:10-11 7:10-14
  (12b-13)   7:12-14  
7:14-19 (14-15) 7:14-20 Punishment for Israel's Sins The Sins of Israel
      7:15-20 7:15-20
  7:16-19
(16-18)
     
The Temple Profaned (19)      
7:20-22 7:20-22      
    7:21-27 7:21-22 7:21-22
7:23-27 7:23-27
(23-26)
  7:23-27 7:23-27
  (27)      

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.

 

WORD AND PHRASE STUDY

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT:7:1-4
 1Moreover, the word of the Lord came to me saying, 2"And you, son of man, thus says the Lord God to the land of Israel, 'An end! The end is coming on the four corners of the land. 3Now the end is upon you, and I will send My anger against you; I will judge you according to your ways and bring all your abominations upon you. 4For My eye will have no pity on you, nor will I spare you, but I will bring your ways upon you, and your abominations will be among you; then you will know that I am the Lord!'"

7:1 "the word of the Lord came to me saying" See note at 6:1.

7:2 "son of man" See note at 2:1.

▣ "the land (adamah, BDB 9) of Israel" This is parallel to "the four corners of the land" (erets, BDB 75, v. 2), "the mountain of Israel," in 6:2, and "the wilderness of Diblah/Riblah" of 6:14.

This phrase (BDB 9, 975) is found only in Ezekiel (17 times, cf. NIDOTTE, vol. 1, p. 271). It seems to have the theological emphasis of the Promised Land given by YHWH to His covenant people (cf. Deut. 7:13; 11:9,21; 28:11; 30:20). This special gift they are about to lose! As God took the Canaanites out of the land because of their evil (cf. Gen. 15:16), so too, if Israel takes on their ways (i.e., idolatry), He will remove them from the land.

▣ "an end" The time of judgment has come! This word (BDB 893) is used in v. 2 (twice), v. 3, v. 6 (twice). It is also used in the sense of "climax" in 21:25,29; 29:13; 35:5. God is in control of time and history. His patience and longsuffering are often misunderstood and abused, but there is a limit!

▣ "the four corners of the land" The word "four" is often associated with the whole earth (i.e., four directions of the compass, four winds, four corners, cf. Isa. 11:12). Here it is a play on "end." The end of time is coming to the very ends (corners) of the Promised Land.

7:3-4 Verses 3-4 are repeated exactly in vv. 8-9. They form a refrain. In many ways this chapter is a lament (cf. The Prophecy of Ezekiel, by Feinberg, p. 44).

7:3 "I shall judge you according to your ways" This truth is repeated in v. 8; 18:30; 24:19; 33:20; 36:19; 39:24. Another way to put this recurrent truth is "we reap what we sow" (cf. Job 34:11; Ps. 28:4; 62:12; Pro. 24:12; Eccl. 12:14; Jer. 17:10; 32:19; Matt. 16:27; 25:31-46; Rom. 2:6; 14:12; I Cor. 3:8; II Cor. 5:10; Gal. 6:7-10; II Tim. 4:14; I Pet. 1:17; Rev. 2:23; 20:12; 22:12).

▣ "abominations" This term (BDB 1072) is used in vv. 3, 4, 9, 20. It is used forty-three times in Ezekiel, mostly in chapters 7,8,16. See Special Topic at 5:11.

7:4 "For My eye will have no pity on you" See note at 5:11. This is repeated in v. 9; 8:18; 9:5,10; 24:14. It is a shocking reversal of YHWH's normal character (cf. Exod. 34:6) and acts!

▣ "then you will know that I am the Lord" See note at 6:7. A slightly different form is in v. 9. This chapter is like a tapestry of themes woven together to form recurrent patterns of truth.

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT:7:5-9
 5"Thus says the Lord God, 'A disaster, unique disaster, behold it is coming! 6'An end is coming; the end has come! It has awakened against you; behold, it has come! 7Your doom has come to you, O inhabitant of the land. The time has come, the day is near—tumult rather than joyful shouting on the mountains. 8Now I will shortly pour out My wrath on you and spend My anger against you; judge you according to your ways and bring on you all your abominations. 9My eye will show no pity nor will I spare. I will repay you according to your ways, while your abominations are in your midst; then you will know that I, the Lord, do the smiting.'"

7:5

NASB, NJB"a unique disaster"
NKJV"a singular disaster"
NRSV"disaster after disaster"
TEV"one disaster after another"
REB"disasters are coming, one after another"

The word "unique" is literally the Hebrew word "one" (BDB 29). Translating it "unique" shows that there is theological significance to the phrase "one God" (i.e., a unique, one-of-a-kind God). Monotheism is the stark uniqueness of the OT in its Ancient Near Eastern setting!

7:6 "It has awakened" The end is personified. It awakens to the activity of judgment (cf. "the sword" of Zech. 13:7).

The verb (BDB 884, KB 1098, Hiphil perfect) is also used in Hab. 2:19 in sarcasm of lifeless idols. However, YHWH is not a lifeless idol; He acts!

Notice the repetition of immediate and appointed time (BDB 773) markers in vv. 6-12.

1. the end is coming, v. 6

2. the end has come, v. 6

3. it has come, v. 6

4. your doom has come to you, v. 7

5. the time has come, v. 7

6. the day is near, v. 7

7. I will shortly pour out My wrath on you, v. 8

8. Behold the day! Behold, it is coming, v. 10

9. the time has come, v. 12

10. the day has arrived, v. 12

The verb "come" (BDB 97, KB 112, Qal perfect) is used eight times in these verses! This theme of immediacy is repeated in 12:23-25,28. Number 6 becomes a key eschatological phrase in Amos 5:18-20; Joel; and Zephaniah.

7:7

NASB, NKJV,
NRSV, NJB,
REB"doom"
TEV"the end"
KJV"the morning"

The term (BDB 862) is also used in v. 10. It usually means "crown" or "diadem" (cf. Isa. 28:5). Its meaning in Ezekiel 7:7,10 is uncertain. The NKJV takes it from an Aramaic root "morning." Most English translations take it from an Arabic root, "doom" or "fate."

▣ "tumult" This (BDB 223) refers to the panic (originally a divinely given military technique used against Israel's enemies, cf. Exod. 15:16; 23:27; Deut. 7:23, but also a warning to Israel that if she was disobedient to the covenant, it would happen to her military, cf. Deut. 28:20) caused by YHWH's coming in judgment (cf. Zech. 14:13). The judgment referred to is the Babylonian invasion.

This is not what YHWH desired. He wanted "joyful shouting on the mountains," but His covenant people forced Him to act in judgment because of their idolatry!

NASB"joyful shouting"
NKJV, REB"rejoicing"
NRSV"reveling"
TEV"celebrations"
NJB"joy"

This term (BDB 212) is found only here in the OT. Many assume it is from the root, "loud noise" (BDB 212), possibly "thunder," which in this context would refer to the sounds of the harvest festivals (cf. Isa. 16:9c; Jer. 48:33).

7:8 "I will pour out My wrath on you" This verb (BDB 1049, KB 1629, Qal imperfect) is used several times in Ezekiel (cf. 9:8; 14:19; 20:8,13,21; 22:31; 30:15; 36:18). It could have several origins.

1. In 5:2 it is a metaphor, "pour out" (BDB 937, KB 1237, Hiphil imperfect), translated "unsheathe a sword." It may refer to the military conquest of the Babylonian military.

2. The concept also has a sacrificial connotation of

a. "pour out" a libation (i.e., Gen. 35:14)

b. "pour out" the life blood at the base of the altar of sacrifice (cf. Exod. 29:12; Lev. 8:15; 9:9)

3. "pour out" (same root), used of idolatry in Ezek. 16:15; 23:8

4. the opposite of "pouring out" the Spirit in Joel 2:28-29

That which was meant to be a metaphor of worship and blessing has become a metaphor of judgment and destruction!

7:9 "I, the Lord, do the smiting" Normally in the Ancient Near East the defeat of one nation by another was viewed as the superiority of one national deity above another. YHWH wants it clearly understood that He uses Babylon (i.e., Marduk) for His purposes. Israel's defeat is due to their covenant infidelity and idolatries, not His impotence!

John Taylor has a great statement about this phrase in Ezekiel, Tyndale OT Commentary:

"To hearers and readers who were used to names of God like ‘Jehovah-jereh' and ‘Jehovah-nissi' (Gen. 22:14; Ex. 17:15), it must have come home with tremendous force to have Him described as ‘Jehovah-makkeh'! The Lord who had provided and protected was about to strike" (p. 93).

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT:7:10-13
 10"'Behold, the day! Behold, it is coming! Your doom has gone forth; the rod has budded, arrogance has blossomed. 11'Violence has grown into a rod of wickedness. None of them shall remain, none of their people, none of their wealth, nor anything eminent among them. 12The time has come, the day has arrived. Let not the buyer rejoice nor the seller mourn; for wrath is against all their multitude. 13Indeed, the seller will not regain what he sold as long as they both live; for the vision regarding all their multitude will not be averted, nor will any of them maintain his life by his iniquity.'"

7:10-11 Notice the imagery of spring (i.e., budding, Israel's evil has burst into flower).

1. "The rod has budded" (note this is where "doom" of v. 7 can be understood as "diadem")

2. "Arrogance has blossomed"

3. Violence has grown into a rod of wickedness

Israel thought her unique position as YHWH's covenant people would protect her, even without obedience and faith! But this false sense of assurance (i.e., #2, arrogance) was about to be clearly rejected! I fear evangelicalism has this same false sense of security. Conservative theology must issue in Christlikeness, not self-righteousness and judgmentalism. Justification must issue in sanctification. An initial profession must issue in daily obedience and perseverance (cf. Luke 6:46; Eph. 2:8-10; James 2:14-26). The covenantal method of being accepted by God has changed from a human-performance basis (OT) to a God-performance basis (NT), but the goal of a righteous people for the purpose of fellowship with God has not. It is affected by Genesis 3. Now God wants a righteous people to help those who do not yet know Him to come to Him. The goal has always been Christlikeness! Be careful not to confuse the changing method and the unchanging goal! Also be careful of a proof-texted assurance connected solely to an initial prayer or rite!

7:11

NASB"nor anything eminent"
NKJV"nor shall there be wailing for them"
NRSV"no pre-eminence amoung them"
TEV"or their glory"
NJB--------
REB"nothing but turmoil in them"

The meaning of "eminent" (BDB 627) is uncertain. The form is found only here. BDB lists "eminence" and "distinction." Feinberg suggests "lamentation" or "wailing" (p. 45, i.e., no one left alive to bury or mourn the dead, cf. 6:4-5).

7:12 "Let not the buyer rejoice nor the seller mourn" These verbs are translated as jussives.

1. "rejoice" BDB 970, KB 1333, Qal imperfect

2. "mourn" BDB 5, KB 6, Hithpael imperfect

Verses 12-13 are a literary way of prophesying that all segments of society (i.e., rich and poor) will be judged by YHWH.

▣ "multitude" This root (BDB 242) basically means "a great noise" (cf. 7:11,12,13,14) and can refer to

1. tumult and confusion (cf. I Sam. 14:19; II Sam. 18:29; Ps. 65:7; Isa. 17:12)

2. a large crowd (cf. 7:11-14; 29:19; 30:11,15; 31:2,18; 32:12[twice],16,18,20,24,25,26,31,32; Isa. 13:4)

3. abundance of wealth (cf. I Chr. 29:16; Ps. 37:16; Eccl. 5:10; Isa. 60:5)

In this context it refers to all of Israel (there is no distinction between righteous and wicked). They all are wicked"!

7:13 This is a difficult verse to translate as the variety in the ancient versions shows. Some think that vv. 12-13 refer to the selling of property in relation to "the Year of Jubilee" (cf. Lev. 25:13-16).

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT:7:14-22
 14"'They have blown the trumpet and made everything ready, but no one is going to the battle, for My wrath is against all their multitude. 15The sword is outside and the plague and the famine are within. He who is in the field will die by the sword; famine and the plague will also consume those in the city. 16Even when their survivors escape, they will be on the mountains like doves of the valleys, all of them mourning, each over his own iniquity. 17All hands will hang limp and all knees will become like water. 18They will gird themselves with sackcloth and shuddering will overwhelm them; and shame will be on all faces and baldness on all their heads. 19They will fling their silver into the streets and their gold will become an abhorrent thing; their silver and their gold will not be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the Lord. They cannot satisfy their appetite nor can they fill their stomachs, for their iniquity has become an occasion of stumbling. 20They transformed the beauty of His ornaments into pride, and they made the images of their abominations and their detestable things with it; therefore I will make it an abhorrent thing to them. 21I will give it into the hands of the foreigners as plunder and to the wicked of the earth as spoil, and they will profane it. 22I will also turn My face from them, and they will profane My secret place; then robbers will enter and profane it.'"

7:14 "They have blown the trumpet" Military preparations will fail because of the fear of the soldiers (cf. v. 17).

SPECIAL TOPIC: HORNS USED BY ISRAEL

7:15 Here are the three main enemies that YHWH arrayed against His people:

1. the sword - the Babylonian army

2. the plague - sickness within the walled cities

3. famine  - no food within the walled cities

These three are the recurrent threat of divine judgment (cf. Lev. 26:25-26; II Chr. 20:9; Jer. 14:12; 21:7,9; 24:10; 27:8,13; 29:17,18; 32:24,36; 34:17; 38:2; 42:17,22; 44:13; Ezek. 5:12; 6:11,12; 7:15; 12:16).

7:16 Even those few who escape to the mountains will be helpless and sorrowful (i.e., like doves, cf. Isa. 38:14; 59:11). Most who try to escape by fleeing the walled cities into the supposed safety of the countryside will also die (cf. 7:15; 33:27). There is no safety!

7:17 All resistance will be ineffective because of the paralyzing fear striking the cities' defenders (cf. 21:7; 22:14; Isa. 13:7).

▣ "knees will become like water" This is literally, "knees shall run with water" (NASB margin). It possibly refers to fear causing urination.

7:18 This is a series of mourning rites.

1. gird with sackcloth (cf. 27:31; Isa. 22:12; Amos 8:10)

2. pull out or shave (cf. 5:1) their hair (cf. 27:31; 29:18; Amos 8:10)

 

SPECIAL TOPIC: GRIEVING RITES

▣ "shame will be on all faces" This was a common idiom (cf. Jer. 51:51; Obad. v. 10; Micah 7:10).

7:19-22 These verses describe Israel's gods.

1. money and commerce

2. gold and silver idols

3. YHWH's temple and its wealth have become a boast of pride, not sanctity and faith

Babylon will take Israel's collected wealth, individually and corporately.

7:19 "abhorrent thing" This term (BDB 622, cf. v. 20) is used of unclean or impure things or acts.

1. menstrual period, cf. 18:6; 22:10; 36:17; Lev. 12:2; 15:19,20,24,25

2. having sex with a brother's wife, Lev. 20:21

3. contact with a corpse (note 6:4-5), Num. 19:9,13,20,21; 31:23

4. idolatry, cf. 7:19,20; Ezra 9:11; Lam. 1:17

 

▣ "their silver and gold shall not be able to deliver them" This has two possible meanings.

1. Babylon will not take ransom to spare them (cf. Zeph. 1:18)

2. their personal idols of gold and silver cannot deliver them; they are thrown out into the streets

Neither can their wealth buy them food because of the siege!

▣ "an occasion of stumbling" The original meaning of the verb for "faith" was a stable stance. The opposite was slipping in the miry clay or stumbling in the way. Therefore, "stumbling" (BDB 506) is the contrasting concept from faith.

This phrase is literally "for the stumbling block of their iniquity" and is used only in Ezekiel, but often (cf. 14:3,4,7; 18:30; 44:12). The prophet must have coined the phrase. Wealth is not always a blessing!

7:20

NASB"His ornaments"
NKJV"his ornaments"
NRSV"their beautiful ornaments"
TEV"once they were proud of their beautiful jewels"
NJB"they used to pride themselves on the beauty of their jewelry"
REB"their beautiful jewelry"

The context (i.e., vv. 20-22) seems to imply the temple's treasures, but it must be noted "His" is not in the text and the ornaments may refer to (1) personal jewelry (BDB 725, cf. Exod. 33:4-6) of v. 19 or (2) their idols (i.e., BDB 1055, "detestable things"). If so, then "the secret place" of v. 22 refers to Jerusalem (cf. NIDOTTE, vol. 2, p. 1074, while in vol. 3, p. 686, a different word study author asserts it is the temple), not the temple (note v. 24).

7:21 "foreigners" This verb, "be a stranger," BDB 266, KB 267, Qal perfect, is used of invading enemies (cf. 7:21; 11:9; 16:32; 28:7,10; 30:12; 31:12).

They are characterized as "the wicked of the earth." Babylon followed the military practices of the Assyrians. Both were merciless, vicious people. In v. 24 they are called "the worst of the nations."

7:22 "I will also turn my face from them" The "face" of God was an idiom for His personal presence and care for His covenant people (cf. 39:23-24,29; Isa. 59:2). Israel's protection, peace, and prosperity depended on Him. When He left, hope left!

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT:7:23-27
 23"'Make the chain, for the land is full of bloody crimes and the city is full of violence. 24Therefore, I will bring the worst of the nations, and they will possess their houses. I will also make the pride of the strong ones cease, and their holy places will be profaned. 25When anguish comes, they will seek peace, but there will be none. 26Disaster will come upon disaster and rumor will be added to rumor; then they will seek a vision from a prophet, but the law will be lost from the priest and counsel from the elders. 27The king will mourn, the prince will be clothed with horror, and the hands of the people of the land will tremble. According to their conduct I will deal with them, and by their judgments I will judge them. And they will know that I am the Lord.'"

7:23 "Make a chain" The verb (BDB 793, KB 889) is a Qal imperative. The term "chain" (BDB 958) can be understood in two ways.

1. sarcasm related to decorating idols with gold or silver chains (cf. Isa. 40:19)

2. related to fetters to drag the people into exile (cf. Jer. 27:2)

 

The violent foreigners came because of the violence of Israel.

1. The land is full of bloody crimes

2. The city is full of violence.

We reap what we sow (cf. vv. 3,8).

7:24 "the worst of the nations" This refers to the mercenary armies of Babylon (cf. 21:31; 28:7; Jer. 6:22-23).

7:25 "anguish" This term (BDB 891) appears only here as a noun. The verb appears only in Isa. 38:12, where it is translated "rolled up," but may refer to a cloth being "cut off" from the loom (cf. NIDOTTE, vol. 3, p. 953).

Many of the prophets (i.e., false) of Israel relied on YHWH's earlier promises to Israel, forgetting they were conditional promises/covenants. The benefits of the covenant are only available to the faithful, obedient follower. The consequences of disobedience are severe (cf. Leviticus 26; Deuteronomy 27-28). These false proclaimers, in YHWH's name, preached a covenant protection and peace, but there was "no peace" (cf. 13:10,16; Isa. 48:22; 57:21).

7:26-27 The leaders of the people (cf. Jer.18:18; Micah 3:11) will be totally helpless.

1. religious leaders

a. prophets

b. priests

2. civil leaders

a. elders

b. king

c. princes

d. military (i.e., "the hands of the people of the land will tremble," cf. vv. 14,17)

They are the very ones who have caused and allowed the covenant disobedience to start and continue!

▣ "people of the land" This phrase changes meaning in the OT.

1. Originally it referred to free citizens of Israel (i.e., Lev. 4:27).

2. Here (22:29; 45:22) it may refer to a group of leaders involved in civil government at a federal level, similar to the elders at a local level (cf. II Kgs. 16:15).

3. Later it becomes a way of referring to the poorest people of Israel (cf. II Kgs. 24:14).