Ezekiel 6 - Outline of Ezekiel (Book Notes menu page)
As the signs which Ezekiel had silently acted out were completed (in ch.4-5), the LORD opened His prophet's mouth to declare (A) the significance of those signs ("Thus saith the LORD..." 5:5-12), and (B) the certainty of the judgment which those signs illustrated ("I the LORD have spoken it..." 5:13-17).
     In ch.6-7, the LORD speaks, to and through His prophet, to explain very clearly the cause (ch.6) and character (ch.7) of the impending judgment.
1. And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
2 Son of man, set thy face toward the mountains of Israel,
and prophesy against them,
3 And say, Ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord GOD;
Thus saith the Lord GOD to the mountains,
and to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys;
Behold, I, [even] I, will bring a sword upon you,
and I will destroy your high places.
4 And your altars shall be desolate, and your images shall be broken:
and I will cast down your slain [men] before your idols.
5 And I will lay the dead carcases of the children of Israel before their idols;
and I will scatter your bones round about your altars.
6 In all your dwellingplaces the cities shall be laid waste,
and the high places shall be desolate;
that your altars may be laid waste and made desolate,
and your idols may be broken and cease,
and your images may be cut down, and your works may be abolished.
7 And the slain shall fall in the midst of you,
and ye shall know that I [am] the LORD.
'...the mountains... hills... rivers and... valleys...' of Israel, were targets for God's wrath,
because the sites of idolatrous worship were everywhere in the land. Not only were the 'high places' (upon the mountains and hills) devoted to false gods, but the rivers and valleys had also been given over to their idols (eg., Isa 57:4-8; Jer 2:19-28; 32:35).
...I will bring a sword upon you... I will destroy your high places... I will cast down your slain before your idols...
What the Lord had long promised, He was about to perform (Lev 26:30). This word for 'idols' {HB=gillulim, lit., round things} is a derogatory term, which occurs 48 times in the OT, 39 of those are in Ezekiel (another is in Lev 26:30). The original use of the word was in reference to 'dung pellets' [WEVine]. Israel had become obsessed with these objects of devotion, which were completely useless. In contrast, the LORD is living and powerful (Psa 115:1-11). Therefore, He declares what He will do ("I will... I will...," in v.3-5).
     He would thoroughly destroy the places and practitioners of idolatrous worship, causing such practices to 'cease' in His land.
     Yet, beyond punishment, the Lord had another purpose for the destruction and desolation which was coming upon Israel:
...and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
This phrase occurs more than 60 times in the book of Ezekiel.
The true and living God is identified and known through His faithfulness to His Word.
  • In the first half of the book, Israel is taught that He, the Righteous Judge, is powerful to punish sin, just as He said He must do.
    The Gentile nations should learn this lesson by observing God's judgment upon Israel. But they, too, will not take it to heart until they experience His judgment for themselves (eg., Eze 25:5,7,11, etc.)
  • In the last half of the book, Israel and the nations come to know the LORD as the God of the Covenant, who is powerful to regather and restore Israel, in keeping with His ancient and eternal promises to their forefathers (eg., Eze 36:8-12).
When would they recognize Him?
     Not until He had destroyed the idols and the idolators, in the land.
8. Yet will I leave a remnant,
that ye may have [some] that shall escape the sword among the nations,
when ye shall be scattered through the countries.
9 And they that escape of you shall remember me
among the nations whither they shall be carried captives,
because I am broken with their whorish heart, which hath departed from me,
and with their eyes, which go a whoring after their idols:
and they shall lothe themselves for the evils
which they have committed in all their abominations.
10 And they shall know that I [am] the LORD,
[and that] I have not said in vain that I would do this evil unto them.
Yet will I leave a remnant...- Isa 10:21-23; Rom 9:27
Some of the people would escape the destruction, to be scattered as captives in foreign nations.
There, they would remember their spiritual adultery in turning from the LORD to false gods (eg., Jer 3:1-10).
     They would loathe themselves {ie., be grieved with themselves} for their wicked abominations {ie., the loathsome and hideous practices of idol worship}, which had broken the LORD's heart (eg., Eze 7:16; 12:16; 36:31,32).
     Sincere sorrow, for personal sin against God, leads to repentance (Isa 64:6; 2Cor 7:10).
...and they shall know that I am the LORD...
When would they recognize Him?
Not until, as exiles, they would remorsefully realize their guilt, in rejecting His true Word, to pursue false gods (Zech 10:2).
11. Thus saith the Lord GOD;
Smite with thine hand, and stamp with thy foot,
and say, Alas for all the evil abominations of the house of Israel!
for they shall fall by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence.
12 He that is far off shall die of the pestilence;
and he that is near shall fall by the sword;
and he that remaineth and is besieged shall die by the famine:
thus will I accomplish my fury upon them.
13 Then shall ye know that I [am] the LORD,
when their slain [men] shall be among their idols round about their altars,
upon every high hill, in all the tops of the mountains,
and under every green tree, and under every thick oak,
{eg., Eze 20:28; Hos 4:13}
the place where they did offer sweet savour to all their idols.
14 So will I stretch out my hand upon them, and make the land desolate,
yea, more desolate than the wilderness toward Diblath, in all their habitations:
and they shall know that I [am] the LORD.
...smite with thine hand... stamp with thy foot...
These actions are expressions of anger and grief (cp. Num 24:10; Eze 21:14-17).
...for they shall fall by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence...
Within the walls of Jerusalem, during its siege, famine and disease would claim the lives of many. Of those who survived or escaped, many would die by the enemy's sword.
...Then shall ye know that I am the LORD...
...when their slain men shall be among their idols... (cp. v.4-7)
...[when]... I... make the land desolate... more desolate than... Diblah (cp. v.1-3)
  • There is no known place, in Israel, called 'Diblah.'
    However, this name could be a miss-spelling of 'Riblah.' (The Hebrew letters for 'D' and 'R' look very similar.) Riblah was located in Syria, between Dan and Hamath. If this is the case, the phrase might read: '...desolate from the wilderness to Riblah' (meaning that the whole land of Israel would be desolate, from the wilderness in the far south, to its northern extremes). This would be equivalent to the expression: 'from Dan to Beersheba.'
  • Some suggest Beth-diblathaim, in Moab (Num 33:46; Jer 48:22), was the place intended.
    However, there is no other reference to this place as a picture of desolation.
...and they shall know that I am the LORD.
When? Not until death, destruction and desolation had overtaken the people and the land, at the LORD's hand, as He had forewarned.

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