Ezekiel 8

 

וַיְהִי בַּשָּׁנָה הַשִּׁשִּׁית בַּשִּׁשִּׁי בַּחֲמִשָּׁה לַחֹדֶשׁ אֲנִי יֹושֵׁב בְּבֵיתִי וְזִקְנֵי יְהוּדָה יֹושְׁבִים לְפָנָי וַתִּפֹּל   8:1         עָלַי שָׁם יַד אֲדֹנָי יְהֹוִה׃

Ezek. 8:1   Now it was in the sixth year, in the sixth month, on the month's fifth day, I was sitting in my house and the elders of Judah were sitting before me, when the “hand” of the Master, the Lord, fell on me there.                                                                                          [Return to Ezek. 9:11]

The sixth year must be the sixth year of Jehoiachin’s exile (see Ezek. 1:2).  Thus it was a year and two months after the initial “vision” of Ezekiel.  An interesting observation has been offered by the sages.  If the intervening year had been a major leap year that included a second month of Adar, this day was exactly 442 days after the beginning of Ezekiel’s “ordeal” of lying on his side (for 430 days) that was described in Chapter 4.  If this seems reasonable, then Ezekiel would have had this experience twelve days after completing his “ordeal.”  But, as I’ve mentioned before, I suspect the whole episode, from Chapter 1 to Chapter 6, was most likely a vision or dream.  So the potential coincidence in the times is, I think, no more than that.  If you suspect I could very well be wrong; there is good evidence for my suspicion in v. 8:3 below.

וָאֶרְאֶה וְהִנֵּה דְמוּת כְּמַרְאֵה־אֵשׁ מִמַּרְאֵה מָתְנָיו וּלְמַטָּה אֵשׁ וּמִמָּתְנָיו וּלְמַעְלָה כְּמַרְאֵה־זֹהַר כְּעֵין   8:2 הַחַשְׁמַלָה׃

Ezek. 8:2   And I looked, and behold, a likeness like the appearance of fire; from the appearance of its midsection and downward was fire, and from its midsection and upward, like an appearance of brightness was like an eye of amber.

וַיִּשְׁלַח תַּבְנִית יָד וַיִּקָּחֵנִי בְּצִיצִת רֹאשִׁי וַתִּשָּׂא אֹתִי רוּחַ בֵּין־הָאָרֶץ וּבֵין הַשָּׁמַיִם וַתָּבֵא אֹתִי   8:3           יְרוּשָׁלְַמָה בְּמַרְאֹות אֱלֹהִים אֶל־פֶּתַח שַׁעַר הַפְּנִימִית הַפֹּונֶה צָפֹונָה אֲשֶׁר־שָׁם מֹושַׁב סֵמֶל הַקִּנְאָה    הַמַּקְנֶה׃

Ezek. 8:3   And it extended a form of a hand and took hold of me by a lock of my head, and a spirit lifted me up between the earth and heaven, and brought me to Jerusalem in Godly visions to the door of the innermost gate facing north where the dwelling place of the image provoking passion was.                                                                     [Return to Levi. 19 notes]           [Return to Dani. 8:2]

Here Ezekiel admits that he is a witness to Godly visions.  On another issue, the image provoking passion must be an idol.  Other translators have a different ending to this verse.  Theirs say something like “the image of jealousy that provokes jealousy.”  As it turns out this is perhaps a more literal translation than mine, but mine offers the opportunity to see that God does not exhibit jealousy as we know it.

וְהִנֵּה־שָׁם כְּבֹוד אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל כַּמַּרְאֶה אֲשֶׁר רָאִיתִי בַּבִּקְעָה׃   8:4

Ezek. 8:4   And behold, the glory of the God of Israel was there, like the sight that I had seen on the plain.

Remember the plain?  Ezek. 3:22 and 23.

וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלַי בֶּן־אָדָם שָׂא־נָא עֵינֶיךָ דֶּרֶךְ צָפֹונָה וָאֶשָּׂא עֵינַי דֶּרֶךְ צָפֹונָה וְהִנֵּה מִצָּפֹון לְשַׁעַר   8:5              הַמִּזְבֵּחַ סֵמֶל הַקִּנְאָה הַזֶּה בַּבִּאָה׃

Ezek. 8:5   And He said to me, “Human, lift up now your eyes directly north.”  So I could lift up my eyes directly north, and behold, from the north toward the gate of the altar this image of passion was in the entrance.

וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלַי בֶּן־אָדָם הֲרֹאֶה אַתָּה (מֵהֵם) [מָה] [הֵם] עֹשִׂים תֹּועֵבֹות גְּדֹלֹות אֲשֶׁר בֵּית־יִשְׂרָאֵל   8:6  עֹשִׂים פֹּה לְרָחֳקָה מֵעַל מִקְדָּשִׁי וְעֹוד תָּשׁוּב תִּרְאֶה תֹּועֵבֹות גְּדֹלֹות׃

Ezek. 8:6   Then He said to me, “Human, are you seeing what they are doing?  Great abominations that the house of Israel are committing here, to be removed from My sanctuary!  But you can turn back, you will see yet greater abominations.”

The word in the parentheses appears to be a contraction of the two words in the brackets.  It is improperly used in this context, however, so it is corrected to the two words, meaning what they in are you seeing what they are doing?

In addition, most if not all other translators have mistranslated the word, hq'x\r'l (third word in the lower line), which I translate as to be removed.  Their translations amount to something like that I should go far away.  However, there are no words for I or go in the Hebrew.  It’s the result of a misinterpretation of the meaning of this verse.  The God Figure is not saying He should be forced to go far away.  He is saying the abomination must be removed.

וַיָּבֵא אֹתִי אֶל־פֶּתַח הֶחָצֵר וָאֶרְאֶה וְהִנֵּה חֹר־אֶחָד בַּקִּיר׃   8:7

Ezek. 8:7   Then He brought me to the door of the court, and I looked, and behold, a certain hole in the wall.

וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלַי בֶּן־אָדָם חֲתָר־נָא בַקִּיר וָאֶחְתֹּר בַּקִּיר וְהִנֵּה פֶּתַח אֶחָד׃   8:8

Ezek. 8:8   And He said to me, “Human, now dig into the wall.”  When I dug into the wall, then behold, another doorway.

וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָי בֹּא וּרְאֵה אֶת־הַתֹּועֵבֹות הָרָעֹות אֲשֶׁר הֵם עֹשִׂים פֹּה׃   8:9

Ezek. 8:9   Then He said to me, “Go in and see the evil abominations that they are committing here.”

וָאָבֹוא וָאֶרְאֶה וְהִנֵּה כָל־תַּבְנִית רֶמֶשׂ וּבְהֵמָה שֶׁקֶץ וְכָל־גִּלּוּלֵי בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל מְחֻקֶּה עַל־הַקִּיר   8:10         סָבִיב סָבִיב׃

Ezek. 8:10   So I went in and looked, and behold, every form of creeping thing and detestable beast, and all the idols of the house of Israel carved on the wall completely all around!

וְשִׁבְעִים אִישׁ מִזִּקְנֵי בֵית־יִשְׂרָאֵל וְיַאֲזַנְיָהוּ בֶן־שָׁפָן עֹמֵד בְּתֹוכָם עֹמְדִים לִפְנֵיהֶם וְאִישׁ מִקְטַרְתֹּו   8:11  בְּיָדֹו וַעֲתַר עֲןַן־הַקְּטֹרֶת עֹלֶה׃

Ezek. 8:11   And seventy men from the elders of the house of Israel, with Jaazaniah son of Shaphan standing in their midst, were standing before them, and each one, his censer in his hand, with an odorous cloud of incense rising up.

וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלַי הֲרָאִיתָ בֶן־אָדָם אֲשֶׁר זִקְנֵי בֵית־יִשְׂרָאֵל עֹשִׂים בַּחֹשֶׁךְ אִישׁ בְּחַדְרֵי מַשְׂכִּיתֹו כִּי   8:12             אֹמְרִים אֵין יְהוָה רֹאֶה אֹתָנוּ עָזַב יְהוָה אֶת־הָאָרֶץ׃

Ezek. 8:12   Then He said to me, “Do you see, human, what the elders of the house of Israel are doing in secrecy, each in the innermost parts of his imagination, that they are saying, ‘The Lord is not regarding us; the Lord has abandoned the land.’”

Now we can clearly see from the words of my translation (each in the innermost parts of his imagination) that this part of the vision, at least, is a metaphor.  The hole and the doorway and the chamber represent the deepest innermost recessed thoughts of the elders.

וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָי עֹוד תָּשׁוּב תִּרְאֶה תֹּועֵבֹות גְּדֹלֹות אֲשֶׁר־הֵמָּה עֹשִׂים׃   8:13

Ezek. 8:13   He also said to me, “You can turn back, you will see yet greater abominations that they are committing.”

וַיָּבֵא אֹתִי אֶל־פֶּתַח שַׁעַר בֵּית־יְהוָה אֲשֶׁר אֶל־הַצָּפֹונָה וְהִנֵּה־שָׁם הַנָּשִׁים יֹשְׁבֹות מְבַכֹּות   8:14 אֶת־הַתַּמּוּז׃

Ezek. 8:14   Then He brought me to the door of the gate of the house of the Lord that was to the north and behold, there women were sitting lamenting Tammuz.

These women were busily worshiping the Babylonian god Tammuz in the Temple.  This is the only specific mention of the worship of Tammuz in the entire bible.

וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלַי הֲרָאִיתָ בֶן־אָדָם עֹוד תָּשׁוּב תִּרְאֶה תֹּועֵבֹות גְּדֹלֹות מֵאֵלֶּה׃   8:15

Ezek. 8:15   Then He said to me, “Do you see, human?  Still, you should turn, you will see greater abominations than these.”

וַיָּבֵא אֹתִי אֶל־חֲצַר בֵּית־יְהוָה הַפְּנִימִית וְהִנֵּה־פֶתַח הֵיכַל יְהוָה בֵּין הָאוּלָם וּבֵין הַמִּזְבֵּחַ כְּעֶשְׂרִים   8:16 וַחֲמִשָּׁה אִישׁ אֲחֹרֵיהֶם אֶל־הֵיכַל יְהוָה וּפְנֵיהֶם קֵדְמָה וְהֵמָּה מִשְׁתַּחֲוִיתֶם קֵדְמָה לַשָּׁמֶשׁ׃

Ezek. 8:16   And He brought me to the inner court of the house of the Lord and behold, the doorway of the Temple of the Lord between the porch and the altar, about twenty-five men, their backs to the Temple of the Lord and their faces eastward, and they were prostrating themselves eastward toward the sun.                                                                   [Return to Ezek. 11:1]

וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלַי הֲרָאִיתָ בֶן־אָדָם הֲנָקֵל לְבֵית יְהוּדָה מֵעֲשֹׂות אֶת־הַתֹּועֵבֹות אֲשֶׁר עָשׂוּ־פֹה כִּי־מָלְאוּ   8:17

 אֶת־הָאָרֶץ חָמָס וַיָּשֻׁבוּ לְהַכְעִיסֵנִי וְהִנָּם שֹׁלְחִים אֶת־הַזְּמֹורָה אֶל־אַפָּם׃

Ezek. 8:17   Then He said to me, “Do you see, human, how easy it is for the house of Judah to commit the abominations that they commit here while they fill the land with violence and turn away to provoke Me?  And lo, they are extending the branch to their nose.”

The last phrase in this verse, they are extending the branch to their nose, is not understood and has led to a great deal of speculation.  Suffice it to say, this behavior, obviously some kind of pagan worship, is the most abominable of all the activities described before this, as it is the last.

וְגַם־אֲנִי אֶעֱשֶׂה בְחֵמָה לֹא־תָחֹוס עֵינִי וְלֹא אֶחְמֹל וְקָרְאוּ בְאָזְנַי קֹול גָּדֹול וְלֹא אֶשְׁמַע אֹותָם׃   8:18

Ezek. 8:18   “So I also will act in ‘rage;’ My ‘eye’ will not spare, and I will not have pity; though they shout a loud sound in My ‘ear,’ yet I will not hear them.”

 

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