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Ezekiel 9

The Execution of Idolaters

9:1 Then he shouted in my ears, “Approach, 1  you who are to visit destruction on the city, each with his destructive weapon in his hand!” 9:2 Next, I noticed 2  six men 3  coming from the direction of the upper gate 4  which faces north, each with his war club in his hand. Among them was a man dressed in linen with a writing kit 5  at his side. They came and stood beside the bronze altar.

9:3 Then the glory of the God of Israel went up from the cherub where it had rested to the threshold of the temple. 6  He called to the man dressed in linen who had the writing kit at his side. 9:4 The Lord said to him, “Go through the city of Jerusalem 7  and put a mark 8  on the foreheads of the people who moan and groan over all the abominations practiced in it.”

9:5 While I listened, he said to the others, 9  “Go through the city after him and strike people down; do no let your eye pity nor spare 10  anyone! 9:6 Old men, young men, young women, little children, and women – wipe them out! But do not touch anyone who has the mark. Begin at my sanctuary!” So they began with the elders who were at the front of the temple.

9:7 He said to them, “Defile the temple and fill the courtyards with corpses. Go!” So they went out and struck people down throughout the city. 9:8 While they were striking them down, I was left alone, and I threw myself face down and cried out, “Ah, sovereign Lord! Will you destroy the entire remnant of Israel when you pour out your fury on Jerusalem?”

9:9 He said to me, “The sin of the house of Israel and Judah is extremely great; the land is full of murder, and the city is full of corruption, 11  for they say, ‘The Lord has abandoned the land, and the Lord does not see!’ 12  9:10 But as for me, my eye will not pity them nor will I spare 13  them; I hereby repay them for what they have done.” 14 

9:11 Next I noticed the man dressed in linen with the writing kit at his side bringing back word: “I have done just as you commanded me.”

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1 tc Heb “they approached.” Reading the imperative assumes the same consonantal text but different vowels.

2 tn The word הִנֵּה (hinneh, traditionally “behold”) indicates becoming aware of something and has been translated here as a verb.

3 sn The six men plus the scribe would equal seven, which was believed by the Babylonians to be the number of planetary deities.

4 sn The upper gate was built by Jotham (2 Kgs 15:35).

5 tn Or “a scribe’s inkhorn.” The Hebrew term occurs in the OT only in Ezek 9 and is believed to be an Egyptian loanword.

6 tn Heb “house.”

7 tn Heb “through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem.”

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

8 tn The word translated “mark” is in Hebrew the letter ת (tav). Outside this context the only other occurrence of the word is in Job 31:35. In ancient Hebrew script this letter was written like the letter X.

sn For a similar concept in the Bible, see Rev 7:2-4; 13:16; 14:9, 11; 20:4; 22:4.

9 tn Heb “to these he said in my ears.”

10 tn The meaning of the Hebrew term is primarily emotional: “to pity,” which in context implies an action, as in being moved by pity in order to spare them from the horror of their punishment.

11 tn Or “lawlessness” (NAB); “perversity” (NRSV). The Hebrew word occurs only here in the OT, and its meaning is uncertain. The similar phrase in 7:23 has a common word for “violence.”

12 sn The saying is virtually identical to that of the elders in Ezek 8:12.

13 tn The meaning of the Hebrew term is primarily emotional: “to pity,” which in context implies an action, as in being moved by pity in order to spare them from the horror of their punishment.

14 tn Heb “their way on their head I have placed.” The same expression occurs in 1 Kgs 8:32; Ezek 11:21; 16:43; 22:31.

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