Saturday, November 12, 2016

Reading Through Ezekiel #3

EzekielWe continue the journey through the strange book of Ezekiel accompanied by Ezekiel The College Press NIV Commentary, by Brandon Fredenburg. In this section, Ezekiel publishes prophecies of judgments against the nations surrounding Jerusalem, demonstrating God’s sovereignty over those nations. I am posting quotes from the book on my Facebook page on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday (NT is Mon-Wed-Fri) and we can discuss comments and questions about the passage there. As usual, quotes from the commentary are in blue below…

Chapter 25 begins a section (25-32) of judgment on the Gentile nations. Ezekiel begins with judgments of the smaller nations adjacent to Israel. He moves around Jerusalem starting in the East, with Ammon, Moab, Edom and Philistia with an extended prophecy against Tyre. Because these nations assisted or approved of Nebuchadnezzar's destruction of Jerusalem, they would experience destruction from the same source. God would give their lands to others and ultimately to Israel. This would be a great encouragement to the exiles that God was still in control and would maintain His covenant with them.

Yahweh’s vengeance is extended on behalf of his people and, here, without any intervening agent. Yahweh himself will do it without human instrumentality. Such a notion subtly points to Yahweh’s gracious, unilateral action in preparing the land for his own people. Ezekiel 25, 234

A high view of Scripture compels us to respect what Scripture says on its own terms, especially when what it says, and does not say, is perplexing and affords no completely satisfying solution.
Ezekiel 26.7-14, 241

Chapter 27 pictures Tyre, with its multinational trade, as an overloaded merchant ship filled with goods which sinks in a storm in the sea. Tyre's pride and self-sufficiency are wiped out in one night by God. Chapter 28 prophecies against both the human king of Tyre (Ethbaal III) and the spiritual king behind Tyre who both arrogantly exceeded their authority and tried to take the place of God. For that they would be removed. The section ends with a promise of removal of the oppressing nations in the region and of a full restoration of God's people to their land and covenant blessings.

Tyre’s primary export was arrogance and self-sufficiency; all those who also traded in these commodities had reason to fear for their safety. Ezekiel 27, 247

In the ancient Near East, kings were considered to participate in the patron deity’s supernatural radiance and awe. Ezekiel’s comment deflates the king of Tyre’s view of himself, it also suggests the Babylonian overthrow of the Tyrian patron deity, Melkart. Ezekiel 28.6-10, 250

It was never Yahweh’s purpose for punishment to be the last word among his people. Instead, woven into the fabric of the Mosaic covenant itself is Yahweh’s determination to bring his people back to himself after he implements the full range of covenant curses. Ezekiel 28.25-26, 256

Chapters 29-32 contain 7 oracles against the nation of Egypt. Egypt was a historic oppressor of Israel and Jerusalem, who had tempted them into alliance against Babylon. Ezekiel is making sure that the exiles understand that Egypt is an unreliable ally. Egypt is also condemned for its oppression, its arrogance, its idolatry and its defiance of God. God will reduce this powerful nation down to irrelevancy on the world stage.

In the struggle for sovereignty, Yahweh will always win. Ezekiel 29, 259

Yahweh wanted the other nations of the world to learn the lesson of mighty Assyria’s downfall: if it can happen to the most powerful, it can happen to anyone. This is the lesson Egypt failed to learn and for which Assyria’s punishment would be her own. Ezekiel 31, 272

Against arrogance, Yahweh has the last word. And that last word is shameful humiliation. Ezekiel 32, 272

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