Ezekiel 19

 

וְאַתָּה שָׂא קִינָה אֶל־נְשִׂיאֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל׃  19:1

Ezek. 19:1   “Now you take up a lamentation about the princes of Israel,

The princes are assumed to be the recent kings of Judah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, and Zedekiah.  Ezekiel seems to consistently use the term princes for kings.  Is this chapter depicting yet another vision?  According to my criterion, it is.

וְאָמַרְתָּ מָה אִמְּךָ לְבִיָּא בֵּין אֲרָיֹות רָבָצָה בְּתֹוךְ כְּפִרִים רִבְּתָה גוּרֶיהָ׃  19:2

Ezek. 19:2   and you shall say,

                       ‘What a lioness your mother was!

                                Among lions she had lain;

                       in the midst of young lions

                                she had raised her cubs.’

The mother is assumed to be the house of David.  The pronoun your in your mother is masculine singular, so I presume this dictation is addressed to the kings as a group.

וַתַּעַל אֶחָד מִגֻּרֶיהָ כְּפִיר הָיָה וַיִּלְמַד לִטְרָף־טֶרֶף אָדָם אָכָל׃  19:3

Ezek. 19:3   ‘And she brought up one of her cubs;

                                he was a young lion,

                      and he learned to rend prey;

                                he devoured human.’

וַיִּשְׁמְעוּ אֵלָיו גֹּויִם בְּשַׁחְתָּם נִתְפָּשׂ וַיְבִאֻהוּ בַחַחִים אֶל־אֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם׃  19:4

Ezek. 19:4   ‘Then nations agreed concerning him;

                                he was captured in their pit,

                      and they brought him with hooks

                                to the land of Egypt.’

This would refer to Jehoahaz, who was captured by Egypt and taken there to die.

וַתֵּרֶא כִּי נֹוחֲלָה אָבְדָה תִּקְוָתָהּ וַתִּקַּח אֶחָד מִגֻּרֶיהָ כְּפִיר שָׂמָתְהוּ׃  19:5

Ezek. 19:5   ‘When she saw, then she waited;

                                 her hope was destroyed,

                      so she took up another of her cubs,

                                 she made him a young lion.’

This would refer to either Jehoiachin or Jehoiakim.  Scholars differ on this, although I believe that most Jewish commentators accept that this young lion is Jehoiakim.

וַיִּתְהַלֵּךְ בְּתֹוךְ־אֲרָיֹות כְּפִיר הָיָה וַיִּלְמַד לִטְרָף־טֶרֶף אָדָם אָכָל׃  19:6

Ezek. 19:6   ‘And he went about in the midst of the lions;

                                 a young lion he was;

                      he also learned to rend prey;

                                 he devoured human.’

וַיֵּדַע אַלְמְנֹותָיו וְעָרֵיהֶם הֶחֱרִיב וַתֵּשַׁם אֶרֶץ וּמְלֹאָהּ מִקֹּול שַׁאֲגָתֹו׃  19:7

Ezek. 19:7   ‘And he knew his widows,

                                  and laid their cities waste;

                      and the land was desolate,

                                  and its fullness,

                      because of the sound of his roaring.’

There’s some disagreement over the second Hebrew word.  It normally is translated as his widows (although some translations have their widows, which is not according to the Hebrew), but some scholars believe the word is a variant on a word that means castles or citadels.  As I try to remain true to the Hebrew whenever possible, I go with my translation.  I also believe the his in his widows refers back to the noun human in the previous verse.  I also believe the verb knew is meant in the biblical sense.  In other words, the king and his armies killed men and raped their widows.

וַיִּתְּנוּ עָלָיו גֹּויִם סָבִיב מִמְּדִינֹות וַיִּפְרְשׂוּ עָלָיו רִשְׁתָּם בְּשַׁחְתָּם נִתְפָּשׂ׃  19:8

Ezek. 19:8   ‘Then nations all around set against him

                                  from the provinces,

                      and they spread their net over him;

                                  he was captured in their pit.’

וַיִּתְּנֻהוּ בַסּוּגַר בַּחַחִים וַיְבִאֻהוּ אֶל־מֶלֶךְ בָּבֶל יְבִאֻהוּ בַּמְּצֹדֹות לְמַעַן לֹא־יִשָּׁמַע קֹולֹו עֹוד אֶל־הָרֵי  19:9 יִשְׂרָאֵל׃

Ezek. 19:9   ‘Then they put him in a cage with hooks,

                                  and brought him to the king of Babylon;

                       they had to bring him into strongholds,

                                  so that his sound would be heard no longer

                       in among the hills of Israel.’

אִמְּךָ כַגֶּפֶן בְּדָמְךָ עַל־מַיִם שְׁתוּלָה פֹּרִיָּה וַעֲנֵפָה הָיְתָה מִמַּיִם רַבִּים׃  19:10

Ezek. 19:10   ‘Your mother was like a vine with your wine,

                                   planted near water, bearing fruit,

                         and was of dense foliage, from much water.’

The word translated as your wine is literally your blood.  I think the use of the term is meant to convey an ironic metaphor for the destruction wrought by the kings of Judah.

וַיִּהְיוּ־לָהּ מַטֹּות עֹז אֶל־שִׁבְטֵי מֹשְׁלִים וַתִּגְבַּהּ קֹומָתֹו עַל־בֵּין עֲבֹתִים וַיֵּרָא בְגָבְהֹו בְּרֹב דָּלִיֹּתָיו׃   19:11

Ezek. 19:11   ‘And she had branches of strength,

                                   as tribes of rulers,

                         and she exalted its stature over

                                   -- between -- the interwoven foliage,

                         and it was seen because of its height

                                   among the multitude of its branches.’

וַתֻּתַּשׁ בְּחֵמָה לָאָרֶץ הֻשְׁלָכָה וְרוּחַ הַקָּדִים הֹובִישׁ פִּרְיָהּ הִתְפָּרְקוּ וְיָבֵשׁוּ מַטֵּה עֻזָּהּ אֵשׁ   19:12

אֲכָלָתְהוּ׃

Ezek. 19:12   ‘But she was plucked up in rage,

                                  cast down to the ground,

                         and the east wind dried up her fruit;

                                  the branches of her might

                         were torn apart and withered

                                  a fire consumed it.’

וְעַתָּה שְׁתוּלָה בַמִּדְבָּר בְּאֶרֶץ צִיָּה וְצָמָא׃   19:13

Ezek. 19:13   ‘And now she is planted

                                   in the wilderness,

                         in a land of dryness and thirst.’

וַתֵּצֵא אֵשׁ מִמַּטֵּה בַדֶּיהָ פִּרְיָהּ אָכָלָה וְלֹא־הָיָה בָהּ מַטֵּה־עֹז שֵׁבֶט לִמְשֹׁול קִינָה הִיא וַתְּהִי   19:14

 לְקִינָה׃

Ezek. 19:14   ‘And the fire has gone out

                                    from the branch of her limbs;

                         her fruit is consumed,

                                    and there is not

                         a branch of strength on her,

                                    a ruling tribe.

                          It is a lamentation.’”

 And it was for a lamentation.

Again I believe this chapter is another vision because nothing is acted upon, and remember that Ezekiel is in exile in Babylon; he is not in Jerusalem.

 

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