21:4 Because I will cut off from you both the righteous and the wicked, my sword will go out from its sheath against everyone 1 from the south 2 to the north. 21:5 Then everyone will know that I am the Lord, who drew my sword from its sheath – it will not be sheathed again!’
21:9 “Son of man, prophesy and say: ‘This is what the Lord says:
“‘A sword, a sword is sharpened,
and also polished.
21:10 It is sharpened for slaughter,
it is polished to flash like lightning!
“‘Should we rejoice in the scepter of my son? No! The sword despises every tree! 3
“‘A sword, a sword drawn for slaughter,
polished to consume, 5 to flash like lightning –
1 tn Heb “all flesh” (also in the following verse).
2 tn Heb “Negev.” The Negev is the south country.
3 tn Heb “Or shall we rejoice, scepter of my son, it despises every tree.” The translation understands the subject of the verb “despises,” which is a feminine form in the Hebrew text, to be the sword (which is a feminine noun) mentioned just before this. Alternatively, the line may be understood as “let us not rejoice, O tribe of my son; it despises every tree.” The same word in Hebrew may be either “rod,” “scepter,” or “tribe.” The word sometimes translated as “or” or taken as an interrogative particle may be a negative particle. See D. I. Block, Ezekiel (NICOT), 1:672, n. 79.
sn The people of Judah should not place false hope in their king, symbolized by his royal scepter, for God’s judgment (symbolized by fire and then a sword) would destroy every tree (see 20:47), symbolizing the righteous and wicked (see 21:3-4).
4 tn Heb “their reproach.”
5 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.