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Ezekiel 19:4-8

Context

19:4 The nations heard about him; he was trapped in their pit.

They brought him with hooks to the land of Egypt. 1 

19:5 “‘When she realized that she waited in vain, her hope was lost.

She took another of her cubs 2  and made him a young lion.

19:6 He walked about among the lions; he became a young lion.

He learned to tear prey; he devoured people.

19:7 He broke down 3  their strongholds 4  and devastated their cities.

The land and everything in it was frightened at the sound of his roaring.

19:8 The nations – the surrounding regions – attacked him.

They threw their net over him; he was caught in their pit.

1 sn The description applies to king Jehoahaz (2 Kgs 23:31-34; Jer 22:10-12).

2 sn The identity of this second lion is unclear; the referent is probably Jehoiakim or Zedekiah. If the lioness is Hamutal, then Zedekiah is the lion described here.

3 tc The Hebrew text reads “knew,” but is apparently the result of a ר-ד (dalet-resh) confusion. For a defense of the emendation, see L. C. Allen, Ezekiel (WBC), 1:284. However, Allen retains the reading “widows” as the object of the verb, which he understands in the sense of “do harm to,” and translates the line: “He did harm to women by making them widows” (p. 282). The line also appears to be lacking a beat for the meter of the poem.

4 tc The Hebrew text reads “widows” instead of “strongholds,” apparently due to a confusion of ר (resh) and ל (lamed). L. C. Allen (Ezekiel [WBC], 1:284) favors the traditional text, understanding “widows” in the sense of “women made widows.” D. I. Block, (Ezekiel [NICOT], 1:602) also defends the Hebrew text, arguing that the image is that of a dominant male lion who takes over the pride and by copulating with the females lays claim to his predecessor’s “widows.”



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