Ezekiel is the prophet of the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians.
As the crisis gets closer, the urgency of his prophecy becomes more intense.
The Lord has been giving (ch21) final warnings of the coming judgement of Jerusalem, and in the next chapter, therefore, he follows up with final
explanations of the coming judgement.
“Will you judge, will you judge the bloody city? Then declare to her all her abominable deeds (ch22 v2). Ezekiel is going to apply to Jerusalem the
kind of prophecy which was once directed against the “bloody city” of Ninevah (Nahum ch3).
This is a city which “sheds blood”, and “blood” becomes the dominant motif of the chapter.
“You have become guilty by the blood you have shed, and defiled by the idols which you have made”.
This is particularly true of the “princes of Israel”, not just the kings but the whole ruling class. “Everyone according to his power has been
bent on shedding blood”.
There is a long list of the different modes of injustice.
“Father and mother are treated with contempt in you;
The sojourner suffers extortion in your midst;
The fatherless and the widow are wronged in you.
You have despised my holy things and profaned my sabbaths.
There are men in you who slander to shed blood, and men in you who eat [idolatrous feasts] upon the mountains…
In you men take bribes to shed blood; you take interest and increase and make gain of your neighbours by extortion.”
Then there are the offences of lewdness;
“In you men uncover their father’s nakedness [by adultery with their wives];
In you they humble women who are unclean in their impurity.
One commits abomination with his neighbour’s wife, another lewdly defiles his daughter-in-law, another in you defiles his sister, his father’s
All these offences may be summarised in one charge; “You have forgotten me, says the Lord God” (v12). They have abandoned the covenant.
For these reasons the Lord will react in judgement; “I strike my hands together at the dishonest gain which you have made, and at the blood which
has been in the midst of you”.
After his judgement, he will have made them an object of mockery to the surrounding nations. He will scatter them among the nations, as a way to
“consume your filthiness out of you”.
“And you shall know that I am the Lord”.
Another word from the Lord uses the image of metal contaminated with impurities (vv17-22).
“The house of Israel has become dross to me”- bronze, tin, iron and lead have got mixed with what should have been pure silver.
The only way to solve the problem of impurities in metal is to melt the whole thing down and start all over again. That is what the Lord is going to
do. He is going to collect them all into Jerusalem, make that city his furnace, and melt them down in the heat of his wrath.
But he need not have bothered melting down the dross, if his only intention had been to throw the whole mass away.
The natural inference, left unspoken here, is that he will complete the process by starting a fresh work with the purified metal.
Another declaration describes the characters of the people of the land (vv23-31).
Their princes [NESIIM] are like roaring lions tearing their prey, destroying lives to get dishonest gain. They have taken treasure and precious things
and made many widows.
Their priests have done violence to the law and profaned the holy things. They do not teach or practice the difference between holy things (reserved
for God) and common, or between the clean and the unclean. They take the lead themselves in profaning the sabbaths.
Their princes [SARIM] are like wolves, shedding blood and destroying lives like the ruling princes. This probably refers to the whole administrative
Their prophets have “daubed with whitewash”. They have covered up the guilt of the dominant classes, seeing false visions and divining lies for
But the ordinary people of the land are just as bad. They “have oppressed the poor and needy and have extorted from the sojourner without
In short, “You are a land that is not cleansed”.
The Lord would have held back his judgement, if he had found a single man whose righteousness would “build up the wall and stand in the breach for
the land” (a very timely siege-warfare metaphor). But not one was found.
Therefore he has poured out (or is about to pour out) his indignation upon them.
He has consumed them in the fire of his wrath.
edit on 4-5-2018 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)