bible bog 1333

Ezekiel 7:10-27

New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised (NRSVA)

10 See, the day! See, it comes!
    Your doom[a] has gone out.
The rod has blossomed, pride has budded.
11     Violence has grown into a rod of wickedness.
None of them shall remain,
    not their abundance, not their wealth;
    no pre-eminence among them.[b]
12 The time has come, the day draws near;
    let not the buyer rejoice, nor the seller mourn,
    for wrath is upon all their multitude.

13 For the sellers shall not return to what has been sold as long as they remain alive. For the vision concerns all their multitude; it shall not be revoked. Because of their iniquity, they cannot maintain their lives.[c]

14 They have blown the horn and made everything ready;
    but no one goes to battle,
    for my wrath is upon all their multitude.
15 The sword is outside, pestilence and famine are inside;
    those in the field die by the sword;
    those in the city—famine and pestilence devour them.
16 If any survivors escape,
    they shall be found on the mountains
    like doves of the valleys,
all of them moaning over their iniquity.
17 All hands shall grow feeble,
    all knees turn to water.
18 They shall put on sackcloth,
    horror shall cover them.
Shame shall be on all faces,
    baldness on all their heads.
19 They shall fling their silver into the streets,
    their gold shall be treated as unclean.

Their silver and gold cannot save them on the day of the wrath of the Lord. They shall not satisfy their hunger or fill their stomachs with it. For it was the stumbling-block of their iniquity. 20 From their[d] beautiful ornament, in which they took pride, they made their abominable images, their detestable things; therefore I will make of it an unclean thing to them.

21 I will hand it over to strangers as booty,
    to the wicked of the earth as plunder;
    they shall profane it.
22 I will avert my face from them,
    so that they may profane my treasured[e] place;
the violent shall enter it,
    they shall profane it.
23 Make a chain![f]
For the land is full of bloody crimes;
    the city is full of violence.
24 I will bring the worst of the nations
    to take possession of their houses.
I will put an end to the arrogance of the strong,
    and their holy places shall be profaned.
25 When anguish comes, they will seek peace,
    but there shall be none.
26 Disaster comes upon disaster,
    rumour follows rumour;
they shall keep seeking a vision from the prophet;
    instruction shall perish from the priest,
    and counsel from the elders.
27 The king shall mourn,
    the prince shall be wrapped in despair,
    and the hands of the people of the land shall tremble.
According to their way I will deal with them;
    according to their own judgements I will judge them.

And they shall know that I am the Lord.

This is Ezekiel’s warning to the people in the time before the exile, when Israel allied itself with Egypt to oppose Babylon, a doomed strategy, which brought about a complete defeat and the sacking of the Temple. Given that the editors of this material lived after the defeat, we would expect them to alter some of Ezekiel’s material to incorporate some of the details of the siege and destruction of the city.

In any case, the prophet is saying in the name of God that the punishment for the greed, materialism and idolatry of the people, is a catastrophe which destroys their capital city and centre of faith, along with the lives of may citizens.

I don’t think that God acts like this, although it would be nice to think that God rewards virtue and punishes vice. I see no evidence of this in my world, where perfectly innocent children are born, live briefly and die in pain while disgusting tyrants live in luxury. So if Ezekiel made a similar prophecy today I would say, “Bring it on, baby,” but I would have no expectation that anything would result. This is not a trivial matter. Almost the whole of the Hebrew bible is based on the faith that God acts in this world to reward goodness and punish evil. In my case, although I recognise that this doesn’t happen in this world, I trust it shall in the next, wherever and whenever that may be. Of course I hope that God’s punishment will awake us sinners to our sinfulness and bring us all to forgiveness, but I can’t rule out the possibility that some of us will refuse God’s judgement and his mercy, and so bring destruction upon ourselves.

A God who doesn’t treat people with justice is not worthy of worship; forgiveness is more than justice, not less.

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