Ezekiel 9 - Outline of Ezekiel (MENU page)
Ezekiel's vision of the Glory of God in His House (the Temple in Jerusalem) continues in this chapter. In the previous chapter, the LORD of Glory shed light upon the apostasy and the wickedness of hearts which had turned away from Him to serve false gods. Despite numerous prophetic warnings, their rebellion had continued beyond the point of possible return. The judgment of Jerusalem was now inevitable. Therefore, in this chapter, the LORD pronounces commands to prosecute the punishment of the city and nation.
1. He cried also in mine ears with a loud voice, saying,
Cause them that have charge over the city to draw near,
even every man [with] his destroying weapon in his hand.
2 And, behold, six men came from the way of the higher gate, which lieth toward the north,
and every man a slaughter weapon in his hand;
and one man among them [was] clothed with linen, with a writer's inkhorn by his side:
and they went in, and stood beside the brasen altar.
3 And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up
from the cherub, whereupon he was, to the threshold of the house.
And he called to the man clothed with linen, which [had] the writer's inkhorn by his side;
4 And the LORD said unto him,
Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem,
and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry
for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.
5. And to the others he said in mine hearing,
Go ye after him through the city, and smite:
let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity:
6 Slay utterly old [and] young, both maids, and little children, and women:
but come not near any man upon whom [is] the mark;
and begin at my sanctuary.
Then they began at the ancient men which [were] before the house.
...them that have charge {HB=pequddah, oversight, visitation} over the city...
These six 'men' were angels. Their responsibility was not the ordering of the affairs of the city. (However, this word for 'charge' is frequently used, in that sense, with reference to human officers or overseers.) These angels were responsible for managing the 'visitation' {ie., judgment} of the city. Jeremiah uses this word eight times, always with reference to the 'visitation' of judgment (eg., Jer 8:12).
     Although these angels were charged with overseeing the judgment of the people, the actual slaying would be accomplished by the 'slaughter weapons' in their hands. Apparently, they were to manage the armies of Babylon, which would soon enter the city from the north, and kill its residents without mercy.
     Similar language is used, elsewhere, of the Assyrian and Babylonian forces which the Lord used as instruments of judgment (eg., Isa 10:5,15; Jer 50:23). The HB phrase for "slaughter weapons" is essentially the same as for "battle axe weapons," in Jer 51:20, referring to the Medes as the instrument of the destruction which would eventually overtake Babylon.
...they stood beside the brazen altar...
This altar represents the place of judgment upon sin. Here, the LORD issued the instructions for judgment upon the city.
...the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub... to the threshold of the house...
From the time that the glory of God filled the Tabernacle (and later, the Temple) at its dedication, the LORD's dwelling place, among His people, had been "between the cherubim" above the Mercy Seat, upon the Ark of the Covenant (eg., 2Kin 19:15; Psa 80:1). There, communion with God was possible, because the blood of a substitutionary sacrifice provided atonement {ie., covering} for sin (Ex 25:20-22; Num 7:88,89).
     But there is no atonement for willful sin and apostasy (eg., Num 15:30,31; Isa 1:11-15). For the reasons revealed in ch.8, the LORD could no longer dwell in the midst of His people. Therefore, in ch. 9-11, the glory of the LORD withdraws, in stages from the city. First, from the Mercy-Seat to the threshold of the House (v.3)... then, to the east gate of the court of the LORD's House (10:18,19)... ultimately, departing from the city eastward (11:23).
...the man clothed with linen, which had a writer's inkhorn... mark... the men that sigh and cry for all the abominations...
Yet, the LORD extends mercy and grace to those whose hearts are right toward Him. The man in linen was apparently a seventh angel with a special priestly task toward true believers. (In scripture, linen is associated with priestly garments and with righteousness. eg., Ex 39:27; Rev 19:7,8)
     With his writer's {accountant's, recorder's} inkhorn, he was to place a distinguishing mark upon those who were grieving over the nation's decline into wickedness and apostasy. These would be spared from the destruction which would come upon those whose hearts were in rebellion against the LORD. cp. Ex 12:7,13; 2Cor 1:21,22; 2Tim 2:19; 2Pet 2:9,10; Rev 7:2,3
...go ye... slay utterly... begin at my sanctuary... then they began at the ancient men...- (8:11,12)
Eze 6:11; cp. 1Pet 4:17,18
7 And he said unto them, Defile the house,
and fill the courts with the slain
{cp. Eze 7:20-22; 2Chr 36:17}: go ye forth.
And they went forth, and slew in the city.
8 And it came to pass, while they were slaying them, and I was left,
that I fell upon my face, and cried, and said, Ah Lord GOD!
wilt thou destroy all the residue of Israel in thy pouring out of thy fury upon Jerusalem?
9 Then said he unto me, The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah [is] exceeding great,
and the land
{HB='eretz} is full of blood, and the city full of perverseness:
for they say, The LORD hath forsaken the earth
{HB='eretz}, and the LORD seeth not. {cp. Eze 8:12}
10 And as for me also, mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity,
[but] I will recompense their way upon their head.
{cp. v.5; 5:11}
11 And, behold, the man clothed with linen,
which [had] the inkhorn by his side, reported the matter,
saying, I have done as thou hast commanded me.
...while they were slaying them... I fell upon my face, and cried... wilt thou destroy all the residue {ie., remnant} of Israel...
As Ezekiel watched the slaughter of his people, in his vision, he feared that there would be none remaining. Therefore, he fell on his face before the LORD and appealed for mercy (v.8; cp. Ex 32:31,32; Deu 9:18).
     But the LORD would not be entreated in their behalf, because of their flagrant 'iniquity' {HB='avon, guilt demanding punishment}, which included the widespread shedding of innocent blood, the perversion {HB=mutteh, distortion} of truth and justice, and their continual disregard and denial that the LORD would hold them accountable (cp. Jer 7:16-20; Psa 94:7). If God had forsaken the land, it was because they had willfully forsaken God (Jer 2:17).
     Without any pity {ie., compassion}, He would recompense {ie., give what was due, reward} them according to their sin. Eze 8:18; 21:31,32; Heb 10:30,31
...and, behold, the man clothed with linen... reported... saying, I have done as thou hast commanded me.
Ah, the Lord GOD had made provision to spare His own (v.4,6 with v.8).
He would preserve them. They would endure, though swept along, in the turmoil of the judgment which would overtake the nation.
cp. Psa 1:6; 37:17-20,28; Rom 8:28; 11:2-5; 2Tim 2:19

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