Reading Plan 
Daily Bible Reading (daily) September 7
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Ezekiel 12:1--14:23

Context
Previewing the Exile

12:1 The word of the Lord came to me: 12:2 “Son of man, you are living in the midst of a rebellious house. 1  They have eyes to see, but do not see, and ears to hear, but do not hear, 2  because they are a rebellious house.

12:3 “Therefore, son of man, pack up your belongings as if for exile. During the day, while they are watching, pretend to go into exile. Go from where you live to another place. Perhaps they will understand, 3  although they are a rebellious house. 12:4 Bring out your belongings packed for exile during the day while they are watching. And go out at evening, while they are watching, as if for exile. 12:5 While they are watching, dig a hole in the wall and carry your belongings out through it. 12:6 While they are watching, raise your baggage onto your shoulder and carry it out in the dark. 4  You must cover your face so that you cannot see the ground 5  because I have made you an object lesson 6  to the house of Israel.”

12:7 So I did just as I was commanded. I carried out my belongings packed for exile during the day, and at evening I dug myself a hole through the wall with my hands. I went out in the darkness, carrying my baggage 7  on my shoulder while they watched.

12:8 The word of the Lord came to me in the morning: 12:9 “Son of man, has not the house of Israel, that rebellious house, said to you, ‘What are you doing?’ 12:10 Say to them, ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: The prince will raise this burden in Jerusalem, 8  and all the house of Israel within it.’ 9  12:11 Say, ‘I am an object lesson for you. Just as I have done, it will be done to them; they will go into exile and captivity.’

12:12 “The prince 10  who is among them will raise his belongings 11  onto his shoulder in darkness, and will go out. He 12  will dig a hole in the wall to leave through. He will cover his face so that he cannot see the land with his eyes. 12:13 But I will throw my net over him, and he will be caught in my snare. I will bring him to Babylon, the land of the Chaldeans 13  (but he will not see it), 14  and there he will die. 15  12:14 All his retinue – his attendants and his troops – I will scatter to every wind; I will unleash a sword behind them.

12:15 “Then they will know that I am the Lord when I disperse them among the nations and scatter them among foreign countries. 12:16 But I will let a small number of them survive the sword, famine, and pestilence, so that they can confess all their abominable practices to the nations where they go. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”

12:17 The word of the Lord came to me: 12:18 “Son of man, eat your bread with trembling, 16  and drink your water with anxious shaking. 12:19 Then say to the people of the land, ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says about the inhabitants of Jerusalem and of the land of Israel: They will eat their bread with anxiety and drink their water in fright, for their land will be stripped bare of all it contains because of the violence of all who live in it. 12:20 The inhabited towns will be left in ruins and the land will be devastated. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

12:21 The word of the Lord came to me: 12:22 “Son of man, what is this proverb you have in the land of Israel, ‘The days pass slowly, and every vision fails’? 12:23 Therefore tell them, ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: I hereby end this proverb; they will not recite it in Israel any longer.’ But say to them, ‘The days are at hand when every vision will be fulfilled. 17  12:24 For there will no longer be any false visions or flattering omens amidst the house of Israel. 12:25 For I, the Lord, will speak. Whatever word I speak will be accomplished. It will not be delayed any longer. Indeed in your days, O rebellious house, I will speak the word and accomplish it, declares the sovereign Lord.’”

12:26 The word of the Lord came to me: 12:27 “Take note, son of man, the house of Israel is saying, ‘The vision that he sees is for distant days; he is prophesying about the far future.’ 12:28 Therefore say to them, ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: None of my words will be delayed any longer! The word I speak will come to pass, declares the sovereign Lord.’”

False Prophets Denounced

13:1 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 13:2 “Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who are now prophesying. Say to the prophets who prophesy from their imagination: 18  ‘Hear the word of the Lord! 13:3 This is what the sovereign Lord says: Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit but have seen nothing! 13:4 Your prophets have become like jackals among the ruins, O Israel. 13:5 You have not gone up in the breaks in the wall, nor repaired a wall for the house of Israel that it would stand strong in the battle on the day of the Lord. 13:6 They see delusion and their omens are a lie. 19  They say, “the Lord declares,” though the Lord has not sent them; 20  yet they expect their word to be confirmed. 21  13:7 Have you not seen a false vision and announced a lying omen when you say, “the Lord declares,” although I myself never spoke?

13:8 “‘Therefore, this is what the sovereign Lord says: Because you have spoken false words and forecast delusion, look, 22  I am against you, 23  declares the sovereign Lord. 13:9 My hand will be against the prophets who see delusion and announce lying omens. They will not be included in the council 24  of my people, nor be written in the registry 25  of the house of Israel, nor enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the sovereign Lord.

13:10 “‘This is because they have led my people astray saying, “All is well,” 26  when things are not well. When anyone builds a wall without mortar, 27  they coat it with whitewash. 13:11 Tell the ones who coat it with whitewash that it will fall. When there is a deluge of rain, hailstones 28  will fall and a violent wind will break out. 29  13:12 When the wall has collapsed, people will ask you, “Where is the whitewash you coated it with?”

13:13 “‘Therefore this is what the sovereign Lord says: In my rage I will make a violent wind break out. In my anger there will be a deluge of rain and hailstones in destructive fury. 13:14 I will break down the wall you coated with whitewash and knock it to the ground so that its foundation is exposed. When it falls you will be destroyed beneath it, 30  and you will know that I am the Lord. 13:15 I will vent my rage against the wall, and against those who coated it with whitewash. Then I will say to you, “The wall is no more and those who whitewashed it are no more – 13:16 those prophets of Israel who would prophesy about Jerusalem 31  and would see visions of peace for it, when there was no peace,” declares the sovereign Lord.’

13:17 “As for you, son of man, turn toward 32  the daughters of your people who are prophesying from their imagination. 33  Prophesy against them 13:18 and say ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: Woe to those who sew bands 34  on all their wrists 35  and make headbands 36  for heads of every size to entrap people’s lives! 37  Will you entrap my people’s lives, yet preserve your own lives? 13:19 You have profaned me among my people for handfuls of barley and scraps of bread. You have put to death people 38  who should not die and kept alive those who should not live by your lies to my people, who listen to lies!

13:20 “‘Therefore, this is what the sovereign Lord says: Take note 39  that I am against your wristbands with which you entrap people’s lives 40  like birds. I will tear them from your arms and will release the people’s lives, which you hunt like birds. 13:21 I will tear off your headbands and rescue my people from your power; 41  they will no longer be prey in your hands. Then you will know that I am the Lord. 13:22 This is because you have disheartened the righteous person with lies (although I have not grieved him), and because you have encouraged the wicked person not to turn from his evil conduct and preserve his life. 13:23 Therefore you will no longer see false visions and practice divination. I will rescue my people from your power, and you 42  will know that I am the Lord.’”

Well-Deserved Judgment

14:1 Then some men from Israel’s elders came to me and sat down in front of me. 14:2 The word of the Lord came to me: 14:3 “Son of man, these men have erected their idols in their hearts and placed the obstacle leading to their iniquity 43  right before their faces. Should I really allow them to seek 44  me? 14:4 Therefore speak to them and say to them, ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: When any one from the house of Israel erects his idols in his heart and sets the obstacle leading to his iniquity before his face, and then consults a prophet, I the Lord am determined to answer him personally according to the enormity of his idolatry. 45  14:5 I will do this in order to capture the hearts of the house of Israel, who have alienated themselves from me on account of all their idols.’

14:6 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: Return! Turn from your idols, and turn your faces away from your abominations. 14:7 For when anyone from the house of Israel, or the foreigner who lives in Israel, separates himself from me and erects his idols in his heart and sets the obstacle leading to his iniquity before his face, and then consults a prophet to seek something from me, I the Lord am determined to answer him personally. 14:8 I will set my face against that person and will make him an object lesson and a byword 46  and will cut him off from among my people. Then you will know that I am the Lord.

14:9 “‘As for the prophet, if he is made a fool by being deceived into speaking a prophetic word – I, the Lord, have made a fool of 47  that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand against him and destroy him from among my people Israel. 14:10 They will bear their punishment; 48  the punishment of the one who sought an oracle will be the same as the punishment of the prophet who gave it 49  14:11 so that the house of Israel will no longer go astray from me, nor continue to defile themselves by all their sins. They will be my people and I will be their God, 50  declares the sovereign Lord.’”

14:12 The word of the Lord came to me: 14:13 “Son of man, suppose a country sins against me by being unfaithful, and I stretch out my hand against it, cut off its bread supply, 51  cause famine to come on it, and kill both people and animals. 14:14 Even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, 52  and Job, were in it, they would save only their own lives by their righteousness, declares the sovereign Lord.

14:15 “Suppose I were to send wild animals through the land and kill its children, leaving it desolate, without travelers due to the wild animals. 14:16 Even if these three men were in it, as surely as I live, declares the sovereign Lord, they could not save their own sons or daughters; they would save only their own lives, and the land would become desolate.

14:17 “Or suppose I were to bring a sword against that land and say, ‘Let a sword pass through the land,’ and I were to kill both people and animals. 14:18 Even if these three men were in it, as surely as I live, declares the sovereign Lord, they could not save their own sons or daughters – they would save only their own lives.

14:19 “Or suppose I were to send a plague into that land, and pour out my rage on it with bloodshed, killing both people and animals. 14:20 Even if Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, as surely as I live, declares the sovereign Lord, they could not save their own son or daughter; they would save only their own lives by their righteousness.

14:21 “For this is what the sovereign Lord says: How much worse will it be when I send my four terrible judgments – sword, famine, wild animals, and plague – to Jerusalem 53  to kill both people and animals! 14:22 Yet some survivors will be left in it, sons and daughters who will be brought out. They will come out to you, and when you see their behavior and their deeds, you will be consoled about the catastrophe I have brought on Jerusalem – for everything I brought on it. 14:23 They will console you when you see their behavior and their deeds, because you will know that it was not without reason that I have done everything which I have done in it, declares the sovereign Lord.”

1 sn The book of Ezekiel frequently refers to the Israelites as a rebellious house (Ezek 2:5, 6, 8; 3:9, 26-27; 12:2-3, 9, 25; 17:12; 24:3).

2 sn This verse is very similar to Isa 6:9-10.

3 tn Heb “see.” This plays on the uses of “see” in v. 2. They will see his actions with their eyes and perhaps they will “see” with their mind, that is, understand or grasp the point.

4 tn Apart from this context the Hebrew term occurs only in Gen 15:17 in reference to the darkness after sunset. It may mean twilight.

5 tn Or “land” (ASV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV).

6 sn See also Ezek 12:11, 24:24, 27.

7 tn The words “my baggage” are not in the Hebrew text, but are implied from the context.

8 tc The nearly incoherent Hebrew reads “The prince is this burden (prophetic oracle?) in Jerusalem.” The Targum, which may only be trying to make sense of a very difficult text, says “Concerning the prince is this oracle,” assuming the addition of a preposition. This would be the only case where Ezekiel uses this term for a prophetic oracle. The LXX reads the word for “burden” as a synonym for leader, as both words are built on the same root (נָשִׂיא, nasi’), but the verse is still incoherent because it is only a phrase with no verb. The current translation assumes that the verb יִשָּׂא (yisa’) from the root נָשִׂיא has dropped out due to homoioteleuton. If indeed the verb has dropped out (the syntax of the verbless clause being the problem), then context clearly suggests that it be a form of נָשִׂיא (see vv. 7 and 12). Placing the verb between the subject and object would result in three consecutive words based on the root נָשִׂיא and an environment conducive to an omission in copying: הַנָּשִׂיא יִשָּׁא הַמַּשָּׂא הַזֶּה (hannasiyishahammasahazzeh, “the Prince will raise this burden”).

sn The prince in Jerusalem refers to King Zedekiah.

map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

9 tc The MT reads “within them.” Possibly a scribe copied this form from the following verse “among them,” but only “within it” makes sense in this context.

10 sn The prince is a reference to Zedekiah.

11 tn The words “his belongings” are not in the Hebrew text but are implied.

12 tc The MT reads “they”; the LXX and Syriac read “he.”

13 tn Or “Babylonians” (NCV, NLT).

sn The Chaldeans were a group of people in the country south of Babylon from which Nebuchadnezzar came. The Chaldean dynasty his father established became the name by which the Babylonians are regularly referred to in the book of Jeremiah, while Jeremiah’s contemporary, Ezekiel, uses both terms.

14 sn He will not see it. This prediction was fulfilled in 2 Kgs 25:7 and Jer 52:11, which recount how Zedekiah was blinded before being deported to Babylon.

15 sn There he will die. This was fulfilled when King Zedekiah died in exile (Jer 52:11).

16 tn The Hebrew term normally refers to an earthquake (see 1 Kgs 19:11; Amos 1:1).

17 tn Heb “the days draw near and the word of every vision (draws near).”

18 tn Heb “from their mind.”

sn Who prophesy from their imagination. Note the testimony of Moses in Num 16:28, which contains a similar expression.

19 sn The same description of a false prophet is found in Micah 2:11.

20 sn The Lord has not sent them. A similar concept is found in Jer 14:14; 23:21.

21 tn Or “confirmed”; NIV “to be fulfilled”; TEV “to come true.”

22 tn The word h!nn@h indicates becoming aware of something and has been translated here as a verb.

23 tn Or “I challenge you.” The phrase “I am against you” may be a formula for challenging someone to combat or a duel. See D. I. Block, Ezekiel (NICOT), 1:201-2, and P. Humbert, “Die Herausforderungsformel ‘h!nn#n' ?l?K>,’” ZAW 45 (1933): 101-8.

24 tn The Hebrew term may refer to the secret council of the Lord (Jer 23:18; Job 15:8), but here it more likely refers to a human council comprised of civic leaders (Gen 49:6; Jer 6:11; 15:17 Ps 64:3; 111:1).

25 tn The reference here is probably to a civil list (as in Ezra 2:16; Neh 7:64) rather than to a “book of life” (Exod 32:32; Isa 4:3; Ps 69:29; Dan 12:1). This registry may have been established at the making of David’s census (2 Sam 24:2, 9).

26 tn Or “peace.”

27 tn The Hebrew word only occurs here in the Bible. According to L. C. Allen (Ezekiel [WBC], 1:202-3) it is also used in the Mishnah of a wall of rough stones without mortar. This fits the context here comparing the false prophetic messages to a nice coat of whitewash on a structurally unstable wall.

28 tn Heb “and you, O hailstones.”

29 sn A violent wind will break out. God’s judgments are frequently described in storm imagery (Pss 18:7-15; 77:17-18; 83:15; Isa 28:17; 30:30; Jer 23:19; 30:23).

30 tn Or “within it,” referring to the city of Jerusalem.

31 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

32 tn Heb “set your face against.”

33 tn Heb “from their heart.”

34 sn The wristbands mentioned here probably represented magic bands or charms. See D. I. Block, Ezekiel (NICOT), 1:413.

35 tn Heb “joints of the hands.” This may include the elbow and shoulder joints.

36 tn The Hebrew term occurs in the Bible only here and in v. 21. It has also been understood as a veil or type of head covering. D. I. Block (Ezekiel [NICOT], 1:414) suggests that given the context of magical devices, the expected parallel to the magical arm bands, and the meaning of this Hebrew root (סָפַח [safakh, “to attach” or “join”]), it may refer to headbands or necklaces on which magical amulets were worn.

37 tn Heb “human lives” or “souls” (three times in v. 18 and twice in v. 19).

38 tn Heb “human lives” or “souls.”

39 tn The word הִנֵּה (hinneh, traditionally “behold”) indicates becoming aware of something and has been translated here as a verb.

40 tn Heb “human lives” or “souls.”

41 tn Heb “from your hand(s).” This refers to their power over the people.

42 tn The Hebrew verb is feminine plural, indicating that it is the false prophetesses who are addressed here.

43 tn Heb “the stumbling block of their iniquity.” This phrase is unique to the prophet Ezekiel.

44 tn Or “I will not reveal myself to them.” The Hebrew word is used in a technical sense here of seeking an oracle from a prophet (2 Kgs 1:16; 3:11; 8:8).

45 tn Heb “in accordance with the multitude of his idols.”

46 tn Heb “proverbs.”

47 tn The translation is uncertain due to difficulty both in determining the meaning of the verb’s stem and its conjugation in this context. In the Qal stem the basic meaning of the verbal root פָּתַה (patah) is “to be gullible, foolish.” The doubling stems (the Pual and Piel used in this verse) typically give such stative verbs a factitive sense, hence either “make gullible” (i.e., “entice”) or “make into a fool” (i.e., “to show to be a fool”). The latter represents the probable meaning of the term in Jer 20:7, 10 and is followed here (see L. C. Allen, Ezekiel [WBC], 1:193; R. Mosis “Ez 14, 1-11 - ein Ruf zur Umkehr,” BZ 19 [1975]: 166-69 and ThWAT 4:829-31). In this view, if a prophet speaks when not prompted by God, he will be shown to be a fool, but this does not reflect negatively on the Lord because it is God who shows him to be a fool. Secondly, the verb is in the perfect conjugation and may be translated “I have made a fool of him” or “I have enticed him,” or to show determination (see IBHS 439-41 §27.2f and g), or in certain syntactical constructions as future. Any of these may be plausible if the doubling stems used are understood in the sense of “making a fool of.” But if understood as “to make gullible,” more factors come into play. As the Hebrew verbal form is a perfect, it is often translated as present perfect: “I have enticed.” In this case the Lord states that he himself enticed the prophet to cooperate with the idolaters. Such enticement to sin would seem to be a violation of God’s moral character, but sometimes he does use such deception and enticement to sin as a form of punishment against those who have blatantly violated his moral will (see, e.g., 2 Sam 24). If one follows this line of interpretation in Ezek 14:9, one would have to assume that the prophet had already turned from God in his heart. However, the context gives no indication of this. Therefore, it is better to take the perfect as indicating certitude and to translate it with the future tense: “I will entice.” In this case the Lord announces that he will judge the prophet appropriately. If a prophet allows himself to be influenced by idolaters, then the Lord will use deception as a form of punishment against that deceived prophet. A comparison with the preceding oracles also favors this view. In 14:4 the perfect of certitude is used for emphasis (see “I will answer”), though in v. 7 a participle is employed. For a fuller discussion of this text, see R. B. Chisholm, Jr., “Does God Deceive?” BSac 155 (1998): 23-25.

48 tn Or “They will bear responsibility for their iniquity.” The Hebrew term “iniquity” (three times in this verse) often refers by metonymy to the consequence of sin (see Gen 4:13).

49 tn Or “As is the guilt of the inquirer so is the guilt of the prophet.”

50 sn I will be their God. See Exod 6:7; Lev 26:12; Jer 7:23; 11:4.

51 tn Heb “break its staff of bread.”

52 sn Traditionally this has been understood as a reference to the biblical Daniel, though he was still quite young when Ezekiel prophesied. One wonders if he had developed a reputation as an intercessor by this point. For this reason some prefer to see a reference to a ruler named Danel, known in Canaanite legend for his justice and wisdom. In this case all three of the individuals named would be non-Israelites, however the Ugaritic Danel is not known to have qualities of faith in the Lord that would place him in the company of the other men. See D. I. Block, Ezekiel (NICOT), 1:447-50.

53 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.



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