Ezekiel 13

 

וַיְהִי דְבַר־יְהוָה אֵלַי לֵאמֹר׃   13:1

Ezek. 13:1   And the word of the Lord occurred to me saying,

According to the next verse, the vision continues.

בֶּן־אָדָם הִנָּבֵא אֶל־נְבִיאֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל הַנִּבָּאִים וְאָמַרְתָּ לִנְבִיאֵי מִלִּבָּם שִׁמְעוּ דְּבַר־יְהוָה׃   13:2

Ezek. 13:2   “Human, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who are prophesying, and you shall say concerning the prophesies from their heart, ‘Hear the word of the Lord!’

כֹּה אָמַר אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה הֹוי עַל־הַנְּבִיאִים הַנְּבָלִים אֲשֶׁר הֹלְכִים אַחַר רוּחָם וּלְבִלְתִּי רָאוּ׃   13:3

Ezek. 13:3   ‘Thus says the Master, the Lord:  Woe to the foolish prophets who are going after their own spirit and do not see!’

כְּשֻׁעָלִים בָּחֳרָבֹות נְבִיאֶיךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל הָיוּ׃   13:4

Ezek. 13:4   ‘Your prophets, Israel, are like foxes among ruins.’

לֹא עֲלִיתֶם בַּפְּרָצֹות וַתִּגְדְּרוּ גָדֵר עַל־בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל לַעֲמֹד בַּמִּלְחָמָה בְּיֹום יְהוָה׃   13:5

Ezek. 13:5   ‘You have not ascended into the breaches, or closed off the wall on behalf of the house of Israel to stand in the battle in the day of the Lord.’

This verse seems a bit cryptic.  Efforts to explain it fall short, as far as I am concerned.  It sounds to me as if the God Figure is criticizing the men of Israel because they are not soldiers in the battle, but that makes no sense.  He as much as told them not to resist, as that would virtually guarantee their demise (See Jere. 21:9).  It’s possible the Lord is taunting them, and making fun of their false sense of security.

חָזוּ שָׁוְא וְקֶסֶם כָּזָב הָאֹמְרִים נְאֻם־יְהוָה וַיהוָה לֹא שְׁלָחָם וְיִחֲלוּ לְקַיֵּם דָּבָר׃   13:6

Ezek. 13:6   ‘They perceive falsehood and deceiving divination saying, ‘The Lord declares,’ but the Lord has not sent them, yet they await the word to be confirmed.’

הֲלֹוא מַחֲזֵה־שָׁוְא חֲזִיתֶם וּמִקְסַם כָּזָב אֲמַרְתֶּם וְאֹמְרִים נְאֻם־יְהוָה וַאֲנִי לֹא דִבַּרְתִּי׃   13:7

Ezek. 13:7   ‘Do you not perceive false vision and speak deceiving divination, saying, ‘The Lord declares,’ but I have not declared?’

לָכֵן כֹּה אָמַר אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה יַעַן דַּבֶּרְכֶם שָׁוְא וַחֲזִיתֶם כָּזָב לָכֵן הִנְנִי אֲלֵיכֶם נְאֻם אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה׃   13:8

Ezek. 13:8   ‘Therefore thus says the Lord:   Because of your speaking vanity and you would prophesy falsehood, for this, behold, I am against you, declares the Master, the Lord.’

וְהָיְתָה יָדִי אֶל־הַנְּבִיאִים הַחֹזִים שָׁוְא וְהַקֹּסְמִים כָּזָב בְּסֹוד עַמִּי לֹא־יִהְיוּ וּבִכְתָב בֵּית־יִשְׂרָאֵל לֹא   13:9 יִכָּתֵבוּ וְאֶל־אַדְמַת יִשְׂרָאֵל לֹא יָבֹאוּ וִידַעְתֶּם כִּי אֲנִי אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה׃

Ezek. 13:9   ‘So My ‘hand’ shall be against the prophets prophesying falsehood and divining deception.  They shall not be In the assembly of My people, and they shall not be recorded in the roll of the house of Israel, and they shall not come to the soil of Israel, that you may know that I am the Master, the Lord.’

יַעַן וּבְיַעַן הִטְעוּ אֶת־עַמִּי לֵאמֹר שָׁלֹום וְאֵין שָׁלֹום וְהוּא בֹּנֶה חַיִץ וְהִנָּם טָחִים אֹתֹו תָּפֵל׃   13:10

Ezek. 13:10   ‘Just because they have led My people astray, promising peace, when there is no peace, that it is building up a partition, and behold, they are spreading whitewash over it,

אֱמֹר אֶל־טָחֵי תָפֵל וְיִפֹּל הָיָה גֶּשֶׁם שֹׁוטֵף וְאַתֵּנָה אַבְנֵי אֶלְגָּבִישׁ תִּפֹּלְנָה וְרוּחַ סְעָרֹות תְּבַקֵּעַ׃   13:11

Ezek. 13:11   say to the daubers of whitewash that it falls; there is an engulfing downpour, and hailstones shall fall, and the breath of whirlwinds shall break forth.’”

וְהִנֵּה נָפַל הַקִּיר הֲלֹוא יֵאָמֵר אֲלֵיכֶם אַיֵּה הַטִּיחַ אֲשֶׁר טַחְתֶּם׃   13:12

Ezek. 13:12   So behold, the wall has fallen; will He not say to you, “Where is the coating that you daubed?”

לָכֵן כֹּה אָמַר אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה וּבִקַּעְתִּי רוּחַ־סְעָרֹות בַּחֲמָתִי וְגֶשֶׁם שֹׁטֵף בְּאַפִּי יִהְיֶה וְאַבְנֵי אֶלְגָּבִישׁ   13:13     בְּחֵמָה לְכָלָה׃

Ezek. 13:13   Therefore thus says the Master, the Lord: “I will even rip open the breath of whirlwinds in My ‘rage,’ and there shall be an engulfing downpour in My ‘anger,’ and hailstones to consume in rage.”

וְהָרַסְתִּי אֶת־הַקִּיר אֲשֶׁר־טַחְתֶּם תָּפֵל וְהִגַּעְתִּיהוּ אֶל־הָאָרֶץ וְנִגְלָה יְסֹדֹו וְנָפְלָה וּכְלִיתֶם בְּתֹוכָהּ   13:14 וִידַעְתֶּם כִּי־אֲנִי יְהוָה׃

Ezek. 13:14   “So I will tear down the wall that you spread whitewash over, and I will strike it down to the ground that its foundation is uncovered and it falls, and you shall be consumed in its midst; then you may know that I am the Lord.”

וְכִלֵּיתִי אֶת־חֲמָתִי בַּקִּיר וּבַטָּחִים אֹתֹו תָּפֵל וְאֹמַר לָכֶם אֵין הַקִּיר וְאֵין הַטָּחִים אֹתֹו׃   13:15

Ezek. 13:15   “So will I exhaust My ‘rage’ on the wall and on those who spread whitewash over it, and I will say to you, ‘The wall is no more, and those who daubed it are no more,

The pronoun you in the middle of the verse is masculine plural. I believe the God Figure must be addressing the inhabitants of Jerusalem here.

נְבִיאֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל הַנִבְּאִים אֶל־יְרוּשָׁלִַם וְהַחֹזִים לָהּ חֲזֹון שָׁלֹם וְאֵין שָׁלֹם נְאֻם אֲדֹנָי יְהֹוִה׃   13:16

Ezek. 13:16   the prophets of Israel prophesying about Jerusalem and seeing a vision of peace for it when there is no peace, declares the Master, the Lord.”

וְאַתָּה בֶן־אָדָם שִׂים פָּנֶיךָ אֶל־בְּנֹות עַמְּךָ הַמִּתְנַבְּאֹות מִלִּבְּהֶן וְהִנָּבֵא עֲלֵיהֶן׃   13:17

Ezek. 13:17   “Now you, human, set your face toward the daughters of your people who are prophesying from their own minds, and prophesy against them,

From this verse on, some of the Hebrew is fraught with mystery, and the message seems to defy understanding.

וְאָמַרְתָּ כֹּה־אָמַר אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה הֹוי לִמְתַפְּרֹות כְּסָתֹות עַל כָּל־אַצִּילֵי יָדַי וְעֹשֹׂות הַמִּסְפָּחֹות   13:18                עַל־רֹאשׁ כָּל־קֹומָה לְצֹודֵד נְפָשֹׁות הַנְּפָשֹׁות תְּצֹודֵדְנָה לְעַמִּי וּנְפָשֹׁות לָכֶנָה תְחַיֶּינָה׃

Ezek. 13:18   and you shall say, ‘Thus says the Master, the Lord:  Woe to the seamstresses of cushions upon all the joints of My ‘hand’ and the makers of the veils for the head of any size, hunting souls!  Will you hunt My people's souls and save your own souls alive?’

Immediately we encounter a conundrum.  What is meant by the expression “cushions upon all the joints of My hand?”  Incidentally, other translators offer something like “cushions upon all elbows,” a mistranslation that ignores at least one of the seemingly unintelligible Hebrew words in the verse.  It doesn’t help that the word appears no where else in the bible except here and in v. 13:20 below.  I suspect that the last part of the verse, the question, might offer a clue as to the context.  But it doesn’t help to understand the expression, or even much of the rest of the verse.  I must assume that the expression meant something to Ezekiel and the Jews of the era, but that meaning is now lost.  However, don’t despair; I have more to say about this below after v. 13:20.  Meanwhile, the context for this verse and the next must be the famine in Jerusalem during the ongoing siege, when toward the end cannibalism was a means of survival.

וַתְּחַלֶּלְנָה אֹתִי אֶל־עַמִּי בְּשַׁעֲלֵי שְׂעֹרִים וּבִפְתֹותֵי לֶחֶם לְהָמִית נְפָשֹׁות אֲשֶׁר לֹא־תְמוּתֶנָה וּלְחַיֹּות   13:19 נְפָשֹׁות אֲשֶׁר לֹא־תִחְיֶינָה בְּכַזֶּבְכֶם לְעַמִּי שֹׁמְעֵי כָזָב׃

Ezek. 13:19   ‘But you have profaned Me to My people because of handfuls of barley and because of morsels of bread, slaying souls who should not die, and preserving souls alive who should not live, with your lying to My people, hearers of lies.’

לָכֵן כֹּה־אָמַר אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה הִנְנִי אֶל־כִּסְּתֹותֵיכֶנָה אֲשֶׁר אַתֵּנָה מְצֹדְדֹות שָׁם אֶת־הַנְּפָשֹׁות לְפֹרְחֹות   13:20 וְקָרַעְתִּי אֹתָם מֵעַל זְרֹועֹתֵיכֶם וְשִׁלַּחְתִּי אֶת־הַנְּפָשֹׁות אֲשֶׁר אַתֶּם מְצֹדְדֹות אֶת־נְפָשִׁים לְפֹרְחֹת׃

Ezek. 13:20   ‘For this thus says the Master, the Lord:  Behold, I am against your cushions by which you have been hunting there the budding souls, so I will tear them from your arms and release the souls whom you have been hunting, budding souls.’

What are these cushions mentioned here and in v. 13:18 above?  Some other definitions of the basic word tAts'K (from v. 13:18) found in various bibles are pillows, bands, and false phylacteries.  I find it difficult to reconcile any of these definitions within the context of v. 13:18, but in this verse the last two listed definitions seem to fit, yet still in a strange way.  At least it’s conceivable that they could be ripped off the arms.  Now there’s added strangeness in the Hebrew of this verse.  The pronouns don’t all match their antecedents. Remember the persons being addressed are the seamstresses in v. 13:18, and they are feminine plural.  The word translated here as cushions is also feminine plural.  Yet the pronouns them in I will tear them and your in from your arms are both masculine plural.  On occasion feminine plural antecedents are pointed to by masculine plural pronouns, but it’s relatively rare.  Keep in mind that masculine plural pronouns are appropriate for mixed groups (of males and females), although there are no mixed groups identified here.  Two illuminating thoughts that I have about this strange Hebrew are these:  (1) The “seamstresses” in v. 13:18 are really a metaphor for the prophets being prophesied against (v. 13:2), and they are masculine plural; (2) The antecedent for the pronoun them could be the souls (of both males and females) and not the cushions, and that would make this masculine pronoun appropriate. 

וְקָרַעְתִּי אֶת־מִסְפְּחֹתֵיכֶם וְהִצַּלְתִּי אֶת־עַמִּי מִיֶּדְכֶן וְלֹא־יִהְיוּ עֹוד בְּיֶדְכֶן לִמְצוּדָה וִידַעְתֶּן כִּי־אֲנִי   13:21    יְהוָה׃

Ezek. 13:21   ‘And I will tear apart your veils, and I will deliver My people from your hand, and they shall not be at your hand to be hunted any longer; then you may know that I am the Lord.’

יַעַן הַכְאֹות לֵב־צַדִּיק שֶׁקֶר וַאֲנִי לֹא הִכְאַבְתִּיו וּלְחַזֵּק יְדֵי רָשָׁע לְבִלְתִּי־שׁוּב מִדַּרְכֹּו הָרָע לְהַחֲיֹתֹו׃   13:22

Ezek. 13:22   ‘Because the heart of the righteous one has been fraudulently disheartened although I did not grieve him, and the hands of the evil one have been for strength so that he does not return from his wicked way, to keep himself alive,

לָכֵן שָׁוְא לֹא תֶחֱזֶינָה וְקֶסֶם לֹא־תִקְסַמְנָה עֹוד וְהִצַּלְתִּי אֶת־עַמִּי מִיֶּדְכֶן וִידַעְתֶּן כִּי־אֲנִי יְהוָה׃   13:23

Ezek. 13:23   therefore you will not prophesy falsehood or practice divination any longer, and I will remove My people from your hand, so you may know that I am the Lord.’”

 

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