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! 1
21:11 “‘He gave it to be polished,
to be grasped in the hand –
the sword is sharpened, it is polished –
giving it into the hand of the executioner.
21:12 Cry out and moan, son of man,
for it is wielded against my people;
against all the princes of Israel.
They are delivered up to the sword, along with my people.
Therefore, strike your thigh. 2
21:14 “And you, son of man, prophesy,
and clap your hands together.
Let the sword strike twice, even three times!
It is a sword for slaughter,
a sword for the great slaughter surrounding them.
21:15 So hearts melt with fear and many stumble.
At all their gates I have stationed the sword for slaughter.
Ah! It is made to flash, it is drawn for slaughter!
“‘A sword, a sword drawn for slaughter,
polished to consume, 5 to flash like lightning –
1 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).
3 tn Heb “For testing (will come) and what if also a scepter, it despises, will not be?” 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 in the previous verses. The text is very difficult and any rendering is uncertain.
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.