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Ezekiel 21:23-28

Context
21:23 But those in Jerusalem 1  will view it as a false omen. They have sworn solemn oaths, 2  but the king of Babylon 3  will accuse them of violations 4  in order to seize them. 5 

21:24 “Therefore this is what the sovereign Lord says: ‘Because you have brought up 6  your own guilt by uncovering your transgressions and revealing your sins through all your actions, for this reason you will be taken by force. 7 

21:25 “‘As for you, profane and wicked prince of Israel, 8 

whose day has come, the time of final punishment,

21:26 this is what the sovereign Lord says:

Tear off the turban, 9 

take off the crown!

Things must change! 10 

Exalt the lowly,

bring down the proud! 11 

21:27 A total ruin I will make it! 12 

It will come to an end

when the one arrives to whom I have assigned judgment.’ 13 

21:28 “As for you, son of man, prophesy and say, ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says concerning the Ammonites and their coming humiliation; 14  say:

“‘A sword, a sword drawn for slaughter,

polished to consume, 15  to flash like lightning –

1 tn Heb “they”; the referent (the people in Jerusalem) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

2 sn When the people of Judah realized the Babylonians’ intentions, they would object on grounds that they had made a treaty with the Babylonian king (see 17:13).

3 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the king of Babylon) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

4 tn Or “iniquity.”

5 tn Heb “and he will remind of guilt for the purpose of being captured.” The king would counter their objections by pointing out that they had violated their treaty with him (see 17:18).

6 tn Heb “caused to be remembered.”

7 tn Heb “Because you have brought to remembrance your guilt when your transgressions are uncovered so that your sins are revealed in all your deeds – because you are remembered, by the hand you will be seized.”

8 tn This probably refers to King Zedekiah.

9 tn Elsewhere in the Bible the turban is worn by priests (Exod 28:4, 37, 39; 29:6; 39:28, 31; Lev 8:9; 16:4), but here a royal crown is in view.

10 tn Heb “This not this.”

11 tn Heb “the high one.”

12 tn Heb “A ruin, a ruin, a ruin I will make it.” The threefold repetition of the noun “ruin” is for emphasis and draws attention to the degree of ruin that would take place. See IBHS 233 §12.5a and GKC 431-32 §133.k. The pronominal suffix (translated “it”) on the verb “make” is feminine in Hebrew. The probable antecedent is the “turban/crown” (both nouns are feminine in form) mentioned in verse 26. The point is that the king’s royal splendor would be completely devastated as judgment overtook his realm and brought his reign to a violent end.

13 tn Heb “Also this, he was not, until the coming of the one to whom the judgment belongs and I have given it.” The Hebrew text, as it stands, is grammatically difficult. The pronoun “this” is feminine, while the following negated verb (“was not”) is masculine. Some emend the verb to a feminine form (see BHS). In this case the statement refers to the destiny of the king’s turban/crown (symbolizing his reign). See the previous note. The preposition translated “when” normally means “until,” but here it seems to refer to the period during which the preceding situation is realized, rather than its termination point. See L. C. Allen, Ezekiel (WBC), 2:19, 21. The second part of the statement, though awkward, probably refers to the arrival of the Babylonian king, to whom the Lord had assigned the task of judgment (see 23:24). Or the verse may read “A total ruin I will make, even this. It will not be until the one comes to whom is (the task of) judgment and I have assigned it.”

14 tn Heb “their reproach.”

15 tn Heb “to contain, endure.” Since the Hebrew text as it stands makes little, if any, sense, most emend the text to read either “to consume” or “for destruction.” For discussion of options see D. I. Block, Ezekiel (NICOT), 1:693.



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