Ezekiel 36

 

וְאַתָּה בֶן־אָדָם הִנָּבֵא אֶל־הָרֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאָמַרְתָּ הָרֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל שִׁמְעוּ דְּבַר־יְהוָה׃   36:1

Ezek. 36:1   “And you, human, prophesy to the mountains of Israel, and you shall say, ‘Mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord!’

כֹּה אָמַר אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה יַעַן אָמַר הָאֹויֵב עֲלֵיכֶם הֶאָח וּבָמֹות עֹולָם לְמֹורָשָׁה הָיְתָה לָּנוּ׃   36:2

Ezek. 36:2   ‘Thus says the Master, the Lord:  Because the enemy had said about you, ‘Aha!  Even the high places of old!  It is ours for a possession,’

לָכֵן הִנָּבֵא וְאָמַרְתָּ כֹּה אָמַר אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה יַעַן בְּיַעַן שַׁמֹּות וְשָׁאֹף אֶתְכֶם מִסָּבִיב לִהְיֹותְכֶם מֹורָשָׁה   36:3      לִשְׁאֵרִית הַגֹּויִם וַתֵּעֲלוּ עַל־שְׂפַת לָשֹׁון וְדִבַּת־עָם׃

Ezek. 36:3   for this, prophesy, and you shall say, ‘Thus says the Master, the Lord:  Just because of his devastating and his trampling you from all around for you to be a possession for the rest of the nations, and you have been brought up upon the edge of the tongue and are an evil report of people,

לָכֵן הָרֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל שִׁמְעוּ דְּבַר־אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה כֹּה־אָמַר אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה לֶהָרִים וְלַגְּבָעֹות לָאֲפִיקִים וְלַגֵּאָיֹות   36:4 וְלֶחֳרָבֹות הַשֹּׁמְמֹות וְלֶעָרִים הַנֶּעֱזָבֹות אֲשֶׁר הָיוּ לְבַז וּלְלַעַג לִשְׁאֵרִית הַגֹּויִם אֲשֶׁר מִסָּבִיב׃

Ezek. 36:4   for this, mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Master, the Lord:  Thus says the Master, the Lord, to the mountains and to the hills, to the ravines and the valleys, and to the desolate wastes and to the forsaken cities that had been for a spoil and for a mockery to the rest of the nations that are from all around,

לָכֵן כֹּה־אָמַר אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה אִם־לֹא בְּאֵשׁ קִנְאָתִי דִבַּרְתִּי עַל־שְׁאֵרִית הַגֹּויִם וְעַל־אֱדֹום כֻּלָּא אֲשֶׁר   36:5

נָתְנוּ־אֶת־אַרְצִי לָהֶם לְמֹורָשָׁה בְּשִׂמְחַת כָּל־לֵבָב בִּשְׁאָט נֶפֶשׁ לְמַעַן מִגְרָשָׁהּ לָבַז׃

Ezek. 36:5   therefore, thus says the Master, the Lord:  Surely, with the fire of My possessiveness I speak against the rest of the nations, and against all of Edom, who had taken My land for themselves for a possession with complete joy of heart, with contempt of soul, for the purpose of casting it out for a spoil,

לָכֵן הִנָּבֵא עַל־אַדְמַת יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאָמַרְתָּ לֶהָרִים וְלַגְּבָעֹות לָאֲפִיקִים וְלַגֵּאָיֹות כֹּה־אָמַר אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה   36:6

  הִנְנִי בְקִנְאָתִי וּבַחֲמָתִי דִּבַּרְתִּי יַעַן כְּלִמַּת גֹּויִם נְשָׂאתֶם׃

Ezek. 36:6   for this, prophesy about the soil of Israel, and you shall say to the mountains and to the hills, to the ravines and to the valleys, thus says the Master, the Lord:  Behold, I with My possessiveness and with My ‘rage’ speak because you have borne the reproach of the nations.’

לָכֵן כֹּה אָמַר אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה אֲנִי נָשָׂאתִי אֶת־יָדִי אִם־לֹא הַגֹּויִם אֲשֶׁר לָכֶם מִסָּבִיב הֵמָּה כְּלִמָּתָם   36:7             יִשָּׂאוּ׃

Ezek. 36:7   ‘Therefore, thus says the Master, the Lord:  I lift up My ‘hand;’ surely the nations that are in you from all around, they shall bear their ignominy,

וְאַתֶּם הָרֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל עַנְפְּכֶם תִּתֵּנוּ וּפֶרְיְכֶם תִּשְׂאוּ לְעַמִּי יִשְׂרָאֵל כִּי קֵרְבוּ לָבֹוא׃   36:8

Ezek. 36:8   but you, mountains of Israel, you shall deliver up your branches and you shall raise up your fruit to My people, Israel, for they draw near to coming.’

The constant repetition in these opening verses strikes me as a signal to us from Ezekiel that this chapter contains vital knowledge:  Although we have not lived by the covenant, and we have made ourselves so unclean that only God can cleanse us, nevertheless goodness will be ours.  However -- and here’s the important part, whatever grace comes our way is not for our sake.  It is for the reputation of the Lord among the nations, which we have badly soiled (soiling ourselves even more).  Yet we are to receive a new heart of flesh to replace our heart of stone, and we shall live in peace and without contempt among the nations.  And by this, they will know that the Lord is God.   Wow, how good is God!

כִּי הִנְנִי אֲלֵיכֶם וּפָנִיתִי אֲלֵיכֶם וְנֶעֱבַדְתֶּם וְנִזְרַעְתֶּם׃   36:9

Ezek. 36:9   ‘For behold, I shall be in among you and I shall turn to you, and you shall be tilled and sown,

וְהִרְבֵּיתִי עֲלֵיכֶם אָדָם כָּל־בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל כֻּלֹּה וְנֹשְׁבוּ הֶעָרִים וְהֶחֳרָבֹות תִּבָּנֶינָה׃   36:10

Ezek. 36:10   and I will multiply people of all the house of Israel upon you, of all of it, and the cities shall be re-inhabited, and the wastelands rebuilt.’

וְהִרְבֵּיתִי עֲלֵיכֶם אָדָם וּבְהֵמָה וְרָבוּ וּפָרוּ וְהֹושַׁבְתִּי אֶתְכֶם כְּקַדְמֹותֵיכֶם וְהֵטִבֹתִי מֵרִאשֹׁתֵיכֶם   36:11 וִידַעְתֶּם כִּי־אֲנִי יְהוָה׃

Ezek. 36:11   ‘But I will multiply human and beast upon you, and they shall increase and be fruitful, and I will make you inhabited as in your former times and I will do better than at your beginnings, and you may know that I am the Lord.’

וְהֹולַכְתִּי עֲלֵיכֶם אָדָם אֶת־עַמִּי יִשְׂרָאֵל וִירֵשׁוּךָ וְהָיִיתָ לָהֶם לְנַחֲלָה וְלֹא־תֹוסִף עֹוד לְשַׁכְּלָם׃   36:12

Ezek. 36:12   ‘So I shall cause humankind, My people, Israel, to walk upon you, and they shall repossess you, and you shall be theirs for an inheritance, and you shall not add to their miscarriages ever again.’

Ezekiel uses second-person masculine plural pronouns to address the mountains, hills, ravines, and valleys up to this verse.  Here he continues to use the same pronoun in the words upon you, but then he changes to masculine singular in the words you shall be theirs and you shall not add.  I see one of two explanations for the change.  Either the subject has changed from the mountains, etc., to the whole land or the subject is now the collective terrain of the land.  And then see what happens in the next verse.  Again, a typical Ezekielism.

אָמַר אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה יַעַן אֹמְרִים לָכֶם אֹכֶלֶת אָדָם (אָתִּי) [אָתְּ] וּמְשַׁכֶּלֶת (גֹּויֵךְ) [גֹּויַיִךְ] הָיִית׃   36:13

Ezek. 36:13   ‘Thus says the Master, the Lord:  Because of their saying to you, ‘You are devouring human and you have bereaved your nations,’

First, there are two errors in this verse, both in spelling.  See my remarks about the latter error regarding the next verse.  Second, we have here another change in gender as well as number.   The first pronoun you in the words translated as their saying to you, is masculine plural.  The next three second-person pronouns in what they are saying about the people are feminine singular.  When this has happened before, I have attributed it to the disparaging view Ezekiel holds of the people, thinking of them as feminine, i.e., weak.  That’s the meaning I believe is being conveyed here as well (and in the next two verses).

לָכֵן אָדָם לֹא־תֹאכְלִי עֹוד (וְגֹויֵךְ) [וְגֹויַיִךְ] לֹא (תְכַשְּׁלִי) [תְשַׁכְּלִי]־עֹוד נְאֻם אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה׃   36:14

Ezek. 36:14   therefore, you shall not devour human anymore, or cause your nations to stumble again, declares the Master, the Lord.’

The error in the first set of parentheses recurs in all three of these verses, 36:13 to 36:15.  The root of the word means nation.  The assumption for flagging these words as errors seems to be that the word should be plural rather than singular, nations as opposed to nation, I presume referring to the two kingdoms, Israel and Judah.  But I have a problem with that.  In the next verse, the Lord uses the same word again, which is also corrected from singular to plural.  Now why would the Lord refer to nations when He brings His people back to the land?  Would there not be only one nation at that time?  So I’m not sure the corrections are appropriate.  The error in the second set of parentheses is also suspect.  The word in v. 36:13 (situated between the two errors there), translated as bereaved, is thought to be the word that should be in this verse, where the word appears with the chaf and shin interchanged   Once more I find a problem with this assumption.  The very same word appears in the next verse and there it is not flagged as an error.  The root word means to stumble.  I see no reason why the word should not be translated as stumble in this verse also, not bereaved.

וְלֹא־אַשְׁמִיעַ אֵלַיִךְ עֹוד כְּלִמַּת הַגֹּויִם וְחֶרְפַּת עַמִּים לֹא תִשְׂאִי־עֹוד (וְגֹויֵךְ) [וְגֹויַיִךְ] לֹא־תַכְשִׁלִי    36:15 עֹוד נְאֻם אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה׃

Ezek. 36:15   I will not allow the reproach of nations to be heard against you again, and you shall not bear the scorn of peoples anymore, nor shall you cause your nations to stumble again, declares the Master, the Lord.’”

To elaborate on what I remarked about v. 36:13, the last three verses are also typical of Ezekiel’s change of subject, identified by the change in pronouns.  Until v. 36:13, the Lord’s words have been directed to the mountains, etc., or to the land of Israel.  Abruptly the subject becomes the children of Israel, and the pronouns become feminine singular, referring to the whole of the people, but who are weak.

וַיְהִי דְבַר־יְהוָה אֵלַי לֵאמֹר׃   36:16

Ezek. 36:16   And the word of the Lord occurred to me saying,

בֶּן־אָדָם בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל יֹשְׁבִים עַל־אַדְמָתָם וַיְטַמְּאוּ אֹותָהּ בְּדַרְכָּם וּבַעֲלִילֹותָם כְּטֻמְאַת הַנִּדָּה   36:17         הָיְתָה דַרְכָּם לְפָנָי׃

Ezek. 36:17   “Human, the house of Israel had been dwelling on their own soil but they defiled it by their way and their wanton acts; their way was like the uncleanness of an impure woman before Me.”

What an awful and inaccurate simile!  These words have to be Ezekiel’s, not the Lord’s.  The defilement practiced by the children of Israel was nothing like the uncleanness of an impure woman.  The practices of idolatry, child sacrifice, and oppression of widow, orphan, and poor were evil, abominable, and destructive.  The impurity of a woman is natural, innocent, and life asserting.  In fact, I’m inclined to imagine that the impurity of women in menstruation is close to holiness.  This juxtaposition of opposites is possible in a language like biblical Hebrew.  There is no comparison between Israel’s defilement and a woman’s impurity.

וָאֶשְׁפֹּךְ חֲמָתִי עֲלֵיהֶם עַל־הַדָּם אֲשֶׁר־שָׁפְכוּ עַל־הָאָרֶץ וּבְגִלּוּלֵיהֶם טִמְּאוּהָ׃   36:18

Ezek. 36:18   “So I poured out My ‘rage’ on them because of the blood that they had shed upon the land and had defiled it with their idols.”

וָאָפִיץ אֹתָם בַּגֹּויִם וַיִּזָּרוּ בָּאֲרָצֹות כְּדַרְכָּם וְכַעֲלִילֹותָם שְׁפַטְתִּים׃   36:19

Ezek. 36:19   “And I scattered them among the nations that they were dispersed throughout the lands; I judged them according to their way and according to their evil acts.”

וַיָּבֹוא אֶל־הַגֹּויִם אֲשֶׁר־בָּאוּ שָׁם וַיְחַלְּלוּ אֶת־שֵׁם קָדְשִׁי בֶּאֱמֹר לָהֶם עַם־יְהוָה אֵלֶּה וּמֵאַרְצֹו יָצָאוּ׃   36:20

Ezek. 36:20   “But they arrived at the nations to which they came, and they profaned the fame of My holiness by saying in regard to them, ‘These are the people of the Lord and they come forth out of His land.’”

וָאֶחְמֹל עַל־שֵׁם קָדְשִׁי אֲשֶׁר חִלְּלוּהוּ בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל בַּגֹּויִם אֲשֶׁר־בָּאוּ שָׁמָּה׃   36:21

Ezek. 36:21   “But I have compassion for the fame of My holiness that the house of Israel had profaned among the nations to which they came.”

לָכֵן אֱמֹר לְבֵית־יִשְׂרָאֵל כֹּה אָמַר אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה לֹא לְמַעַנְכֶם אֲנִי עֹשֶׂה בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל כִּי   36:22

 אִם־לְשֵׁם־קָדְשִׁי אֲשֶׁר חִלַּלְתֶּם בַּגֹּויִם אֲשֶׁר־בָּאתֶם שָׁם׃

Ezek. 36:22   “Therefore, say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Master, the Lord:  Not for your sakes am I acting, house of Israel, but for the fame of My holiness that you profaned among the nations to which you came.’

From this point on to the end of the chapter, second-person pronouns are masculine plural.  According to my theory they refer to each individual of the house of Israel.  The Lord’s words are meant for each one of them -- and us -- although He is actually speaking only to Ezekiel at this point.

וְקִדַּשְׁתִּי אֶת־שְׁמִי הַגָּדֹול הַמְחֻלָּל בַּגֹּויִם אֲשֶׁר חִלַּלְתֶּם בְּתֹוכָם וְיָדְעוּ הַגֹּויִם כִּי־אֲנִי יְהוָה נְאֻם   36:23       אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה בְּהִקָּדְשִׁי בָכֶם לְעֵינֵיהֶם׃

Ezek. 36:23   ‘And I will sanctify My profaned great name among the nations that you profaned among them, and the nations shall know that I am the Lord, declares the Master, the Lord, by My being sanctified by you for their eyes

וְלָקַחְתִּי אֶתְכֶם מִן־הַגֹּויִם וְקִבַּצְתִּי אֶתְכֶם מִכָּל־הָאֲרָצֹות וְהֵבֵאתִי אֶתְכֶם אֶל־אַדְמַתְכֶם׃   36:24

Ezek. 36:24   when I take you out of the nations and gather you from all the lands and bring you to your own soil.’

וְזָרַקְתִּי עֲלֵיכֶם מַיִם טְהֹורִים וּטְהַרְתֶּם מִכֹּל טֻמְאֹותֵיכֶם וּמִכָּל־גִּלּוּלֵיכֶם אֲטַהֵר אֶתְכֶם׃   36:25

Ezek. 36:25   ‘Then I will sprinkle clean water over you, so you will be clean; I shall cleanse you from all your unclean acts and from all your idols.’

Fascinating!  Ezekiel (and the Lord) says that sprinkling clean water over us makes us clean.  We don’t have to wait till evening to be clean?  This is something new.  I wonder what the sages said about this.

וְנָתַתִּי לָכֶם לֵב חָדָשׁ וְרוּחַ חֲדָשָׁה אֶתֵּן בְּקִרְבְּכֶם וַהֲסִרֹתִי אֶת־לֵב הָאֶבֶן מִבְּשַׂרְכֶם וְנָתַתִּי לָכֶם   36:26      לֵב בָּשָׂר׃

Ezek. 36:26   ‘And I will give to you a new heart and put a new spirit in your innermost part and remove the heart of stone from your body and give a heart of flesh to you.’

וְאֶת־רוּחִי אֶתֵּן בְּקִרְבְּכֶם וְעָשִׂיתִי אֵת אֲשֶׁר־בְּחֻקַּי תֵּלֵכוּ וּמִשְׁפָּטַי תִּשְׁמְרוּ וַעֲשִׂיתֶם׃   36:27

Ezek. 36:27   ‘I will put My spirit into your innermost part and ordain that you shall live by My statutes and keep My ordinances and do them.’

וִישַׁבְתֶּם בָּאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר נָתַתִּי לַאֲבֹתֵיכֶם וִהְיִיתֶם לִי לְעָם וְאָנֹכִי אֶהְיֶה לָכֶם לֵאלֹהִים׃   36:28

Ezek. 36:28   ‘And you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be for a people for Me, and I shall be for God for you.’

וְהֹושַׁעְתִּי אֶתְכֶם מִכֹּל טֻמְאֹותֵיכֶם וְקָרָאתִי אֶל־הַדָּגָן וְהִרְבֵּיתִי אֹתֹו וְלֹא־אֶתֵּן עֲלֵיכֶם רָעָב׃   36:29

Ezek. 36:29   ‘Thus I will deliver you from all your uncleanness; and I will call to the corn and multiply it, and I will not permit any famine on you.’

וְהִרְבֵּיתִי אֶת־פְּרִי הָעֵץ וּתְנוּבַת הַשָּׂדֶה לְמַעַן אֲשֶׁר לֹא תִקְחוּ עֹוד חֶרְפַּת רָעָב בַּגֹּויִם׃   36:30

Ezek. 36:30   ‘And I will increase the fruit of the tree and the produce of the field so that you will not acquire the scorn of famine by the nations again.’

וּזְכַרְתֶּם אֶת־דַּרְכֵיכֶם הָרָעִים וּמַעַלְלֵיכֶם אֲשֶׁר לֹא־טֹובִים וּנְקֹטֹתֶם בִּפְנֵיכֶם עַל עֲוֹנֹתֵיכֶם וְעַל   36:31         תֹּועֲבֹותֵיכֶם׃

Ezek. 36:31   ‘Then you shall remember your evil ways and your practices that were not good, and you shall loathe yourselves in your own faces because of your iniquities and because of your abominations.’

לֹא לְמַעַנְכֶם אֲנִי־עֹשֶׂה נְאֻם אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה יִוָּדַע לָכֶם בֹּושׁוּ וְהִכָּלְמוּ מִדַּרְכֵיכֶם בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל׃   36:32

Ezek. 36:32   ‘Not for your sake am I acting, declares the Master, the Lord, be it known to you.  Be ashamed and humiliated on account of your ways, house of Israel!’

כֹּה אָמַר אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה בְּיֹום טַהֲרִי אֶתְכֶם מִכֹּל עֲוֹנֹותֵיכֶם וְהֹושַׁבְתִּי אֶת־הֶעָרִים וְנִבְנוּ הֶחֳרָבֹות׃   36:33

Ezek. 36:33   ‘Thus says the Master, the Lord:  In the day of My purifying you from all your iniquities, then I will make the cities inhabited, and the wastelands shall be rebuilt.’

וְהָאָרֶץ הַנְּשַׁמָּה תֵּעָבֵד תַּחַת אֲשֶׁר הָיְתָה שְׁמָמָה לְעֵינֵי כָּל־עֹובֵר׃   36:34

Ezek. 36:34   ‘And the land made desolate shall be tilled instead of that which it was, a desolation to the eyes of every passerby.’

וְאָמְרוּ הָאָרֶץ הַלֵּזוּ הַנְּשַׁמָּה הָיְתָה כְּגַן־עֵדֶן וְהֶעָרִים הֶחֳרֵבֹות וְהַנְשַׁמֹּות וְהַנֶּהֱרָסֹות בְּצוּרֹות   36:35        יָשָׁבוּ׃

Ezek. 36:35   ‘And they shall say, ‘This desolate land has become like the garden of Eden; now the wasted and desolate and torn down cities are fortified -- they are inhabited.’

וְיָדְעוּ הַגֹּויִם אֲשֶׁר יִשָּׁאֲרוּ סְבִיבֹותֵיכֶם כִּי אֲנִי יְהוָה בָּנִיתִי הַנֶּהֱרָסֹות נָטַעְתִּי הַנְּשַׁמָּה אֲנִי יְהוָה   36:36 דִּבַּרְתִּי וְעָשִׂיתִי׃

Ezek. 36:36   ‘Then the nations that will have survived on all sides of you shall know that I, the Lord, have rebuilt the ruined places, replanted the desolation.  I, the Lord, speak, and I will act.’

כֹּה אָמַר אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה עֹוד זֹאת אִדָּרֵשׁ לְבֵית־יִשְׂרָאֵל לַעֲשֹׂות לָהֶם אַרְבֶּה אֹתָם כַּצֹּאן אָדָם׃   36:37

Ezek. 36:37   ‘Thus says the Master, the Lord:  ‘Yet this I will seek for the house of Israel to do for them; I shall increase them as a human flock.’

כְּצֹאן קָדָשִׁים כְּצֹאן יְרוּשָׁלִַם בְּמֹועֲדֶיהָ כֵּן תִּהְיֶינָה הֶעָרִים הֶחֳרֵבֹות מְלֵאֹות צֹאן אָדָם   36:38                 וְיָדְעוּ כִּי־אֲנִי יְהוָה׃

Ezek. 36:38   ‘As a flock of holy ones, as the flock of Jerusalem at its appointed seasons, so shall be the desolate cities full of a human flock, and they shall know that I am the Lord.’”

What a beautiful prophecy!  Christians have, however, usurped this prophesy, claiming it is not about the “old” Israel, but about the “new” Israel -- Christianity.  Yet they ignore the parts of this chapter that clearly identify Israel, its people, and its land.  Do Christians also believe they will inhabit the land of Israel?

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