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!
21:16 Cut sharply on the right!
Swing to 4 the left,
wherever your edge 5 is appointed to strike.
21:17 I too will clap my hands together,
I will exhaust my rage;
I the Lord have spoken.”
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 “Put to.”
5 tn Heb “face.”