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Ezekiel 24:15-27

Context
Ezekiel’s Wife Dies

24:15 The word of Lord came to me: 24:16 “Son of man, realize that I am about to take the delight of your eyes away from you with a jolt, 1  but you must not mourn or weep or shed tears. 24:17 Groan in silence for the dead, 2  but do not perform mourning rites. 3  Bind on your turban 4  and put your sandals on your feet. Do not cover your lip 5  and do not eat food brought by others.” 6 

24:18 So I spoke to the people in the morning, and my wife died in the evening. In the morning 7  I acted just as I was commanded. 24:19 Then the people said to me, “Will you not tell us what these things you are doing mean for us?”

24:20 So I said to them: “The word of the Lord came to me: 24:21 Say to the house of Israel, ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: Realize I am about to desecrate my sanctuary – the source of your confident pride, 8  the object in which your eyes delight, 9  and your life’s passion. 10  Your very own sons and daughters whom you have left behind will die 11  by the sword. 24:22 Then you will do as I have done: You will not cover your lip or eat food brought by others. 12  24:23 Your turbans will be on your heads and your sandals on your feet; you will not mourn or weep, but you will rot 13  for your iniquities 14  and groan among yourselves. 24:24 Ezekiel will be an object lesson for you; you will do all that he has done. When it happens, then you will know that I am the sovereign Lord.’

24:25 “And you, son of man, this is what will happen on the day I take 15  from them their stronghold – their beautiful source of joy, the object in which their eyes delight, and the main concern of their lives, 16  as well as their sons and daughters: 17  24:26 On that day a fugitive will come to you to report the news. 18  24:27 On that day you will be able to speak again; 19  you will talk with the fugitive and be silent no longer. You will be an object lesson for them, and they will know that I am the Lord.”

1 tn Heb “a strike.”

2 tn Or “Groan silently. As to the dead….” Cf. M. Greenberg’s suggestion that דֹּם מֵתִים (dom metim) be taken together and דֹּם be derived from ָדּמַם (damam, “to moan, murmur”). See M. Greenberg, Ezekiel (AB), 2:508.

3 tn Heb “(For) the dead mourning you shall not conduct.” In the Hebrew text the word translated “dead” is plural, indicating that mourning rites are in view. Such rites would involve outward demonstrations of one’s sorrow, including wailing and weeping.

4 sn The turban would normally be removed for mourning (Josh 7:6; 1 Sam 4:12).

5 sn Mourning rites included covering the lower part of the face. See Lev 13:45.

6 tn Heb “the bread of men.” The translation follows the suggestion accepted by M. Greenberg (Ezekiel [AB], 2:509) that this refers to a meal brought by comforters to the one mourning. Some repoint the consonantal text to read “the bread of despair” (see L. C. Allen, Ezekiel [WBC], 2:56), while others, with support from the Targum and Vulgate, emend the consonantal text to read “the bread of mourners” (see D. I. Block, Ezekiel [NICOT], 1:784).

7 tn This may refer to the following morning. For a discussion of various interpretive options in understanding the chronology reflected in verse 18, see D. I. Block, Ezekiel (NICOT), 1:790.

8 tn Heb “the pride of your strength” means “your strong pride.”

9 sn Heb “the delight of your eyes.” Just as Ezekiel was deprived of his beloved wife (v. 16, the “desire” of his “eyes”) so the Lord would be forced to remove the object of his devotion, the temple, which symbolized his close relationship to his covenant people.

10 tn Heb “the object of compassion of your soul.” The accentuation in the traditional Hebrew text indicates that the descriptive phrases (“the source of your confident pride, the object in which your eyes delight, and your life’s passion”) modify the preceding “my sanctuary.”

11 tn Heb “fall.”

12 tn See v. 17.

13 tn The same verb appears in 4:17 and 33:10.

14 tn Or “in your punishment.” The phrase “in/for [a person’s] iniquity/punishment” occurs fourteen times in Ezekiel: here; 3:18, 19; 4:17; 7:13, 16; 18:17, 18, 19, 20; 33:6, 8, 9; 39:23. The Hebrew word for “iniquity” may also mean the “punishment” for iniquity or “guilt” of iniquity.

15 tn Heb “(Will) it not (be) in the day I take?”

16 tn Heb “the uplifting of their soul.” According to BDB 672 s.v. מַשָּׂא 2, the term “uplifting” refers to “that to which they lift up their soul, their heart’s desire.” However, this text is the only one listed for this use. It seems more likely that the term has its well-attested nuance of “burden, load,” here and refers to that which weighs them down emotionally and is a constant source of concern or worry.

17 tn In the Hebrew text there is no conjunction before “their sons and daughters.” For this reason one might assume that the preceding descriptive phrases refer to the sons and daughters, but verse 21 suggests otherwise. The descriptive phrases appear to refer to the “stronghold,” which parallels “my sanctuary” in verse 21. The children constitute a separate category.

18 tn Heb “to make the ears hear.”

19 tn Heb “your mouth will open.”



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