Ezekiel 25 - Outline of Ezekiel (Book Notes menu page)
The first 24 chapters, of the book of Ezekiel, are occupied with the LORD's judgment upon Jerusalem. The prophet, who had been taken captive eleven years prior to the fall of the city, faithfully proclaimed the cause (adulterous apostasy), means (the sword of Babylon), and severity of its imminent destruction. His fellow exiles failed to believe that this message was from God, until the calamity foretold had become fact.
     At this juncture in the book, the prophet's message turns from the judgment of Israel, to the judgment of the nations which have oppressed her. God's judgment of sin, in His people (Israel), illustrates that He must also judge the sin of the world. In chapters 25-32, the LORD declares the cause, means, and severity of impending judgment upon seven specific Gentile nations. In many cases, the language looks well beyond events which have already become history, to foresee events and entities which will be active in "the day of the LORD," the Tribulation period (Eze 30:2,3).
     These messages concerning the judgment of the nations, both in the near-term (ie., following the judgment of Jerusalem), and in the distant future, are echoed by several other prophets. Some of their writings will be referenced in the following notes on this section. For now, see the overview of God's judgment upon the nations, in Jer 25:15-33. In that passage, note that Jerusalem was the first nation judged (Jer 25:17,18), but judgment will come upon all nations (Jer 25:29), to settle the LORD's 'controversy' with the nations (Jer 25:31). As other passages clarify, this 'controversy' includes the persistent corruption of all mankind (though they observed God's judgment upon Israel's sin), and their continual mistreatment of Israel (though they were aware of God's eternal covenant with her).
     With the judgment of the nations, the LORD begins the process of Israel's restoration.
- The Glory of the LORD, Judging the Enemies of Israel - ch. 25-32
1. The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying,
2 Son of man, set thy face against the Ammonites, and prophesy against them;
3 And say unto the Ammonites, Hear the word of the Lord GOD;
Thus saith the Lord GOD;
Because thou saidst, Aha, against my sanctuary, when it was profaned;
and against the land of Israel, when it was desolate;
and against the house of Judah, when they went into captivity;
4 Behold, therefore I will deliver thee to the men of the east for a possession,
and they shall set their palaces in thee, and make their dwellings in thee:
they shall eat thy fruit, and they shall drink thy milk.
5 And I will make Rabbah a stable for camels,
and the Ammonites a couchingplace for flocks:
and ye shall know that I [am] the LORD.
6 For thus saith the Lord GOD;
Because thou hast clapped [thine] hands, and stamped with the feet,
and rejoiced in heart with all thy despite against the land of Israel;
7 Behold, therefore I will stretch out mine hand upon thee,
and will deliver thee for a spoil to the heathen;
and I will cut thee off from the people,
and I will cause thee to perish out of the countries:
I will destroy thee; and thou shalt know that I [am] the LORD.
The Ammonites were descendants of Lot, Abraham's nephew (Gen 19:36,38). But, in spite of their near kinship to Israel, they had been continual enemies, from the time of Moses. Here, the specific charge and cause for judgment is the Ammonites' joy at the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. cp. Prov 24:17,18
     About five years after the fall of Jerusalem, Nebuchadnezzar conquered the land of the Ammonites (the region lies east of the Jordan River, at the north end of the Dead Sea). The ruins of their capital city, Rabbah (modern Amman, Jordan), became a gathering place for the Bedouin people who moved into their land from the east, with their camels and flocks.
     See also Jer 49:1-6; Amos 1:13-15; Eze 21:28-32. According to that last passage (Eze 21:32), the judgment upon the Ammonites would eventually be complete, with loss of ethnic identity, and without hope of restoration (as confirmed, in the present chapter, by v.10).
8. Thus saith the Lord GOD;
Because that Moab and Seir do say,
Behold, the house of Judah [is] like unto all the heathen;
9 Therefore, behold, I will open the side of Moab from the cities,
from his cities [which are] on his frontiers,
the glory of the country, Bethjeshimoth, Baalmeon, and Kiriathaim,
10 Unto the men of the east with the Ammonites,
and will give them in possession,
{ie., Along with the land of the Ammonites (v.4), the land of Moab would also be given to the men of the east.}
that the Ammonites may not be remembered among the nations.
11 And I will execute judgments upon Moab;
and they shall know that I [am] the LORD.
The Moabites were also descendants of Lot (Gen 19:36,37). Like the Ammonites, the Moabites maintained animosity against the Israelites, though they were their cousins.
The land of Moab, on the east side of the Dead Sea, extended from the land of Ammon on the north, to Seir (the region occupied by Edom) on the south. Their country and its major cities would suffer a fate like that of Rabbah (v.4,5).
     As with the Ammonites, the Moabites would be judged for their hatred of Israel (Zeph 2:8-11). However, according to other passages, unlike Ammon, Moab would eventually be restored. eg., Jer 48:1-47 (where, note v.47)
     Moab and Seir {the land of Edom} wrongly thought that Israel was like all of the Gentile nations (v.8). However, like the Assyrians in the days of king Hezekiah, they grossly under-estimated the God of Israel, to their own hurt (eg., Isa 36:18-20; 37:18-20,36).
...and they shall know that I am the LORD.
In the first half of the book of Ezekiel, this phrase was repeatedly applied to Israel. When the LORD's judgment would fall upon them, then they would know that it was He whose Word they had disregarded.
     In this section, the phrase is repeatedly applied to the Gentile nations. Through the LORD's judgment upon Israel, they had been made aware of His Word and His power to fulfill it. But they did not pay attention, because they served their own gods and interests. When the LORD's judgment overtakes the nations, then they will recognize that the God of Israel is the Lord over the whole earth. Isa 54:5; Jer 51:19
12 Thus saith the Lord GOD;
Because that Edom hath dealt against the house of Judah by taking vengeance,
and hath greatly offended, and revenged himself upon them;
13 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD;
I will also stretch out mine hand upon Edom,
and will cut off man and beast from it;
and I will make it desolate from Teman;
and they of Dedan shall fall by the sword.
14 And I will lay my vengeance upon Edom by the hand of my people Israel:
and they shall do in Edom according to mine anger and according to my fury;
and they shall know my vengeance, saith the Lord GOD.
Edom is the land of the descendants of Esau, the brother of Jacob (whose name was changed to Israel). Gen 25:30; 32:3
Although closely related to Israel, Esau harbored a strong hatred toward his brother, which had not diminished with the passing generations (Gen 27:41,42; Amos 1:11,12). During Israel's exodus from Egypt, Edom had refused to allow them to pass through their land (Num 20:17-21). During the time of Israel's kings, Edom joined other nations in attacking Judah's cities and villages (eg., 2Chr 28:17,18). During the siege of Jerusalem, the Edomites had encouraged Babylon to finish its destructive work (Psa 137:7).
...I will stretch out mine hand upon Edom... I will make it desolate...
The LORD would judge Edom severely. The nation would be laid waste from its strong capital city of Teman, to Dedan in its rural extremes, hundreds of miles southeast on the Arabian Peninsula. The cause and severity of their destruction was foretold in Jer 49:7-22. The judgment of Edom is the only subject of the short book of Obadiah. Later, in Ezekiel, a full chapter is again dedicated to the LORD's judgment of 'mount Seir' (the land of Edom), but with application to the distant future (Eze 35:1-15).
...I will lay vengeance upon Edom by the hand of my people Israel...
In the near term, Babylon would be the Lord's instrument of judgment upon Ammon, Moab and Edom. Edom would cease to exist as a nation, and other people would occupy its lands. Yet, following the destruction of Jerusalem, a number of displaced Edomites moved into southern Judah to fill the void left by the Jews who had been taken captive to Babylon (c.586 BC).
     Verse 14 was partially fulfilled by the Maccabees (c.125 BC), who subjugated the Edomites who were then living in Judah, forced them to convert to Judaism, and incorporated them into the nation of Israel. These Edomite Israelis were known as Idumeans. The Herods, who were kings over Israel during the earthly life of Christ, were Idumeans.
     However, the region of Edom will also be a scene of future judgment, when Christ returns (Isa 63:1-6).
15 Thus saith the Lord GOD;
Because the Philistines have dealt by revenge,
and have taken vengeance with a despiteful heart,
to destroy [it] for the old
{ie., never ending} hatred;
16 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD;
Behold, I will stretch out mine hand upon the Philistines,
and I will cut off the Cherethims, and destroy the remnant of the sea coast.
17 And I will execute great vengeance upon them with furious rebukes;
and they shall know that I [am] the LORD,
when I shall lay my vengeance
{lit., vengeances} upon them.
The Philistines inhabited the coastal plain of the Mediterranean Sea, on the west side of the land of Israel.
The Philistines were closely related to the Cherethims, who had migrated from Caphtor {Crete} (Gen 10:14; Jer 47:4). As a sojourner in the land of Canaan, Abraham had many respectful interactions with his Philistine neighbors. Following Israel's exodus (from Egypt) and possession of the land which God had given them, the Philistines frequently fought against the people of Israel. Present day 'Palestinians' are Arabs who are not descended from the Philistine people, although they dwell in the same coastal region, and harbor a similar hatred for the Jews, whom they regard as illegitimate occupiers of their territory.
     Not long after the fall of Jerusalem, Philistia was overrun by Babylon, as the LORD avenged their vengeance against His people. (eg., Isa 14:29-31; Zeph 2:5-7, where note that, today, Ashkelon is a city of Israel.)
     The 'old hatred', of the present Palestinians against Israel, will not be fully resolved until Christ returns.

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