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Ezekiel 24

The Boiling Pot

24:1 The word of the Lord came to me in the ninth year, in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month 1 : 24:2 “Son of man, write down the name of this day, this very day. The king of Babylon has laid siege 2  to Jerusalem 3  this very day. 24:3 Recite a proverb to this rebellious house 4  and say to them, ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says:

“‘Set on the pot, 5  set it on,

pour water in it too;

24:4 add the pieces of meat to it,

every good piece,

the thigh and the shoulder;

fill it with choice bones.

24:5 Take the choice bone of the flock,

heap up bones under it;

boil rapidly,

and boil its bones in it.

24:6 “‘Therefore this is what the sovereign Lord says:

Woe to the city of bloodshed,

the pot whose rot 6  is in it,

whose rot has not been removed 7  from it!

Empty it piece by piece.

No lot has fallen on it. 8 

24:7 For her blood was in it;

she poured it on an exposed rock;

she did not pour it on the ground to cover it up with dust.

24:8 To arouse anger, to take vengeance,

I have placed her blood on an exposed rock so that it cannot be covered up.

24:9 “‘Therefore this is what the sovereign Lord says:

Woe to the city of bloodshed!

I will also make the pile high.

24:10 Pile up the bones, kindle the fire;

cook the meat well, mix in the spices,

let the bones be charred.

24:11 Set the empty pot on the coals, 9 

until it becomes hot and its copper glows,

until its uncleanness melts within it and its rot 10  is consumed.

24:12 It has tried my patience; 11 

yet its thick rot is not removed 12  from it.

Subject its rot to the fire! 13 

24:13 You mix uncleanness with obscene conduct. 14 

I tried to cleanse you, 15  but you are not clean.

You will not be cleansed from your uncleanness 16 

until I have exhausted my anger on you.

24:14 “‘I the Lord have spoken; judgment 17  is coming and I will act! I will not relent, or show pity, or be sorry! 18  I will judge you 19  according to your conduct 20  and your deeds, declares the sovereign Lord.’”

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, 21  but you must not mourn or weep or shed tears. 24:17 Groan in silence for the dead, 22  but do not perform mourning rites. 23  Bind on your turban 24  and put your sandals on your feet. Do not cover your lip 25  and do not eat food brought by others.” 26 

24:18 So I spoke to the people in the morning, and my wife died in the evening. In the morning 27  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, 28  the object in which your eyes delight, 29  and your life’s passion. 30  Your very own sons and daughters whom you have left behind will die 31  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. 32  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 33  for your iniquities 34  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 35  from them their stronghold – their beautiful source of joy, the object in which their eyes delight, and the main concern of their lives, 36  as well as their sons and daughters: 37  24:26 On that day a fugitive will come to you to report the news. 38  24:27 On that day you will be able to speak again; 39  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.”

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1 tn The date of this oracle was January 15, 588 b.c.

2 tn Heb “lean on, put pressure on.”

3 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

4 sn The book of Ezekiel frequently refers to the Israelites as a rebellious house (Ezek 2:5, 6, 8; 3:9, 26-27; 12:2-3, 9, 25; 17:12; 24:3).

5 sn See Ezek 11:3-12.

6 tn Or “rust.”

7 tn Heb “has not gone out.”

8 tn Here “lot” may refer to the decision made by casting lots; it is not chosen at all.

9 tn Heb “set it upon its coals, empty.”

10 tn Or “rust” (so also in v. 12).

11 tn Heb “(with) toil she has wearied.” The meaning of the statement is unclear in the Hebrew text; some follow the LXX and delete it. The first word in the statement (rendered “toil” in the literal translation above) occurs only here in the OT, and the verb “she has wearied” lacks a stated object. Elsewhere the Hiphil of the verb refers to wearying someone or trying someone’s patience. The feminine subject is apparently the symbolic pot.

12 tn Heb “does not go out.”

13 tn Heb “in fire its rust.” The meaning of the expression is unclear. The translation understands the statement as a command to burn the rust away. See D. I. Block, Ezekiel (NICOT), 1:768.

14 tn Heb “in your uncleanness (is) obscene conduct.”

15 tn Heb “because I cleansed you.” In this context (see especially the very next statement), the statement must refer to divine intention and purpose. Despite God’s efforts to cleanse his people, they resisted him and remained morally impure.

16 tn The Hebrew text adds the word “again.”

17 tn Heb “it”; the referent has been specified in the translation for clarity.

18 tn Or perhaps, “change my mind.”

19 tc Some medieval Hebrew mss and the major ancient versions read a first person verb here. Most Hebrew mss read have an indefinite subject, “they will judge you,” which could be translated, “you will be judged.”

20 tn Heb “ways.”

21 tn Heb “a strike.”

22 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.

23 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.

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

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

26 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).

27 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.

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

29 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.

30 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.”

31 tn Heb “fall.”

32 tn See v. 17.

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

34 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.

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

36 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.

37 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.

38 tn Heb “to make the ears hear.”

39 tn Heb “your mouth will open.”

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