Ezekiel 24

The Boiling Pot

The word of the Lord came to me in the ninth year, in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month
The date of this oracle was January 15, 588 b.c.
“Son of man, write down the name of this day, this very day. The king of Babylon has laid siege
Heb “lean on, put pressure on.”
to Jerusalem this very day.
Recite a proverb to this rebellious house
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).
and say to them, ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says:

“‘Set on the pot, set it on,
pour water in it too;
add the pieces of meat to it,
every good piece,
the thigh and the shoulder;
fill it with choice bones.
Take the choice bone of the flock,
heap up bones under it;
boil rapidly,
and boil its bones in it.
“‘Therefore this is what the sovereign Lord says:
Woe to the city of bloodshed,
the pot whose rot
Or “rust.”
is in it,
whose rot has not been removed
Heb “has not gone out.”
from it!
Empty it piece by piece.
No lot has fallen on it.
Here “lot” may refer to the decision made by casting lots; it is not chosen at all.

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.
To arouse anger, to take vengeance,
I have placed her blood on an exposed rock so that it cannot be covered up.
“‘Therefore this is what the sovereign Lord says:
Woe to the city of bloodshed!
I will also make the pile high.
10  Pile up the bones, kindle the fire;
cook the meat well, mix in the spices,
let the bones be charred.
11  Set the empty pot on the coals,
Heb “set it upon its coals, empty.”

until it becomes hot and its copper glows,
until its uncleanness melts within it and its rot
Or “rust” (so also in v. 12).
is consumed.
12  It has tried my patience;
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.

yet its thick rot is not removed
Heb “does not go out.”
from it.
Subject its rot to the fire!
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.

13  You mix uncleanness with obscene conduct.
Heb “in your uncleanness (is) obscene conduct.”

I tried to cleanse you,
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.
but you are not clean.
You will not be cleansed from your uncleanness
The Hebrew text adds the word “again.”

until I have exhausted my anger on you.
14  “‘I the Lord have spoken; judgment
Heb “it”; the referent has been specified in the translation for clarity.
is coming and I will act! I will not relent, or show pity, or be sorry!
Or perhaps, “change my mind.”
I will judge you
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.”
according to your conduct
Heb “ways.”
and your deeds, declares the sovereign Lord.’”

Ezekiel’s Wife Dies

15  The word of Lord came to me: 16 “Son of man, realize that I am about to take the delight of your eyes away from you with a jolt,
Heb “a strike.”
but you must not mourn or weep or shed tears.
17 Groan in silence for the dead,
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.
but do not perform mourning rites.
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.
Bind on your turban
The turban would normally be removed for mourning (Josh 7:6; 1 Sam 4:12).
and put your sandals on your feet. Do not cover your lip
Mourning rites included covering the lower part of the face. See Lev 13:45.
and do not eat food brought by others.”
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).

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

20  So I said to them: “The word of the Lord came to me: 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,
Heb “the pride of your strength” means “your strong pride.”
the object in which your eyes delight,
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.
and your life’s passion.
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.”
Your very own sons and daughters whom you have left behind will die
Heb “fall.”
by the sword.
22 Then you will do as I have done: You will not cover your lip or eat food brought by others.
See v. 17.
23 Your turbans will be on your heads and your sandals on your feet; you will not mourn or weep, but you will rot
The same verb appears in 4:17 and 33:10.
for your iniquities
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.
and groan among yourselves.
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.’

25  “And you, son of man, this is what will happen on the day I take
Heb “(Will) it not (be) in the day I take?”
from them their stronghold – their beautiful source of joy, the object in which their eyes delight, and the main concern of their lives,
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.
as well as their sons and daughters:
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.
26 On that day a fugitive will come to you to report the news.
Heb “to make the ears hear.”
27 On that day you will be able to speak again;
Heb “your mouth will open.”
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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