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Bible: What Does Ezekiel 11-12 Teach Us About Divine Judgment and the Knowledge of God?

Updated on September 9, 2016

The Cauldron


Ezekiel's Familiar Refrain

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The Cauldron and the Meat

The Spirit again transports Ezekiel—this time to the temple's eastern gate—to prophesy against the twenty-five princes of Israel (v. 1).

[It is probably not unreasonable to say that these men are the sun worshipers of chapter eight].

Yahweh first identifies their sin—counseling the people wrongly—and then enables the prophet to speak judgment upon them (vv. 2-5a).

[The princes employ metaphors, calling the city, the cauldron, and the people, the meat (v. 3).

Verses 7, 11 provide clues as to the possible meaning.

God designates their slain as the meat (v. 7); those who survive, however, God will judge at the border of Israel (v. 11).

He says that the latter is not the meat in the midst of the city/cauldron.

But what connection does their advice— "It is not yet the time to build houses"—have with their metaphors?

The princes seem to regard the "cauldron" as the place where they will die; however, God has other plans for them].

The Spirit knows their thoughts and holds them responsible for the deaths of many in the city (vv. 5-6).

For their punishment, He promises to bring the princes out of the city and deliver them into the hands of strangers who will put them to death with the sword (vv. 7-10).

The familiar refrain, "Then you shall know that I am the LORD," appears twice, again in a context of judgment (vv. 10, 12).

Verse thirteen records the judgment/death of one of the leading princes, and Ezekiel's distressful response to it.

The Glory's Gradual Departure Completed

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God Will Restore Israel One Day

Yahweh reveals another message to the prophet regarding the future restoration of Israel (v. 14ff).

Although the people of Jerusalem do not accept the house of Israel (v. 15), and God has exiled these people, the LORD promises not only to be a "little sanctuary" for them while in exile (v. 16), but also to gather them and bring them back to their land (v. 17).

When they return, they will repent (v. 18), and God will regenerate them (v. 19) so that they might obey His word and be in covenant relation with Him (v. 20).

However, recalcitrant Jews will suffer punishment (v. 21).

The cherubim and the Shekinah move again, as the LORD leaves the city and stands on the mountain on the east side (vv. 22-23).

Once more, the Spirit transports the prophet (on this occasion to Babylon) to minister to those in captivity there (vv. 24-25).



The Sign

Ezekiel 12

Ezekiel must have stayed in Chaldea only a short while in his vision, for he receives instruction to be a "sign to the house of Israel" (v. 7).

The sign involves a portrayal of Zedekiah and others attempting to leave Jerusalem during the Babylonian siege of this city (cf. Jer. 39:4; 2 Kings 25:4).

Purposing that Israel would “consider”' their ways, though they be a "rebellious house," God directs His spokesman to act out this journey "in their sight" (vv. 1-3; cf. Is. 6: 9-10).

He should perform the following: prepare his belongings for travel (v. 4), dig through the wall and carry his stuff out at twilight (vv. 5-6), and cover his face (v. 6).

Verse seven records the prophet’s obedience.

When Israel asks him what he is doing, the LORD tells the prophet to tell them, in essence, "Acting out what will happen to you and your prince" (vv. 8-11).

Mistreatment of Judah's Last King


The prince will do exactly as Ezekiel has done (v. 12; cf. vv. 4-6).

The Babylonians will capture him, put out his eyes (he shall not see Babylon, v. 13; see 2 Kings 25:7), and take him to their land.

In addition, Zedekiah's enemy will rout and scatter his army (v. 14).

Their dispersion will convince Judah that Yahweh's word is true (v. 15).

God will spare a remnant so that they might tell the nations why their God has scattered them (v. 16).

Next, the LORD commands the prophet to portray great anxiety before the people (vv. 17-18).

Verses 19-20 suggest that the result ("so that") of the people's anxiety is the desolation of the land.

Even though skeptics in Israel say that either Ezekiel's prophecies do not pertain to their day, or that they will never come to fruition (vv. 22, 27), Yahweh plainly states that their fulfillment will no longer be postponed, that His word will come to pass shortly (vv. 23-25, 28).

© 2014 glynch1


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    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 4 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Another good write! Ezekiel certainly had a unique ministry. Thanks for sharing it with us.