Ezekiel - Session Two Study Guide
I. Re-cap and Introduction
II. A. Read 13:3-11, 20-21 - What do we learn of false prophets and bad leaders (and their behaviors)? Do we have such prophets in our own time?
Ezekiel 13:3-11, 20-21
3 Thus said the Lord God: Woe to the degenerate prophets, who follow their own fancy, without having had a vision! 4 Your prophets O Israel, have been like jackals among ruins. 5 You did not enter the breaches and repair the walls for the House of Israel, that they might stand up in battle in the day of the Lord. 6 They prophesied falsehood and lying divination; they said, “Declares the Lord, when the Lord did not send them, and then they waited for their word to be fulfilled. 7 It was false visions you prophesied and lying divination you uttered, saying, “Declares the Lord,” when I had not spoken.
8 Assuredly, thus said the Lord God: Because you speak falsehood and prophesy lies, assuredly, I will deal with you---declares the Lord God. 9 My hand will be against the prophets who prophesy falsehood and utter lying divination. They shall not remain in the assembly of My people, they shall not be inscribed in the lists of the House of Israel, and they shall not come ack to the land of Israel. Thus shall you know that I am the Lord God.
10 Inasmuch as they have misled My people, saying, “It is well,” when nothing is well, daubing with plaster the flimsy wall which ‘the people’ were building, 11 say to those daubers of plaster: it shall collapse; a driving rain shall descend--- and you, O great hailstones, shall fall---and a hurricane wind shall rend it.
20 Assuredly, thus said the Lord God; I am going to deal with your pads, by which you hunt down lives like birds, and I will tear them from your arms and free the persons whose lives you hunt down like birds. 21 I will tear off your bonnets and rescue My people from your hands, and they shall no longer be prey in your hands; then you shall know that I am the Lord.
B. Read 15:1-5; 19:10 - Here we see the metaphor of the vine with Israel. What is it, and what does it signify?
Ezekiel 15: 1-5; 19:10
1 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 O mortal, how is the wood of the grapevine better than the wood of any branch to be found among the trees of the forest? 3 Can wood be taken from it for use in any work? Can one take a peg from it to hang any vessel on? 4 Now suppose it was thrown into the fire as fuel and the fire consumed its two ends and its middle was charred---is it good for any use? 5 Even when it was whole it could not be used for anything; how much less when fire has consumed it and it is charred! Can it still be used for anything?
19:10 Your mother was like a vine in your blood, planted beside streams, with luxuriant boughs and branches thanks to abundant waters.
C. Read 16:7-18 - Where along this path of God’s blessings and bestowed riches do people go wrong and stray?
Ezekiel 16: 7-18
7 I let you grow like the plants of the field; and you continued to grow up until you attained to womanhood, until your breasts became firm and your hair sprouted.
You were still naked and bare 8 when I passed by you (again) and saw that your time for love had arrived. So I spread My robe over you and covered your nakedness, and I entered into a covenant with you by oath---declares the Lord God, thus you became Mine. 9 I bathed you in water and washed the blood off you, and anointed you with oil. 10 I clothed you with embroidered garments, and gave you sandals of dolphin leather to wear, and wound fine linen about your head, and dressed you in silks. 11 I decked you out in finery and put bracelets on your arms and a chain around your neck. 12 I put a ring in your nose, and earrings in your ears, and a splendid crown on your head. 13 You adorned yourself with gold and silver, and your apparel was of fine linen, silk, and embroidery. Your food was choice flour, honey and oil. You grew more and more beautiful, and became fit for royalty. 14 Your beauty won you fame among the nations, for it was perfected through the splendor which I set upon you---declares the Lord God.
15 But confident in your beauty and fame, you played the harlot; you lavished your favors on every passerby; they were his. 16 You even took some of your cloths and made yourself tapestried platforms and fornicated on them---not in the future; not in time to come. 17 You took your beautiful things, made of gold and silver that I had given you, and you made yourself phallic images and fornicated with them. 18 You took your embroidered cloths to cover them; and you set My oil and My incense before them.
D. Read 16:60-63 - In a chapter devoted principally to rebuke, we come upon these verses. What do we learn here?
Ezekiel 16: 60-63
60 Nevertheless, I will remember the covenant I made with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish it with you as an everlasting covenant. 61 You shall remember your ways and feel ashamed, when you receive your older sisters and your younger sisters, and I give them to you as daughters, though they are not of your covenant. 62 I will establish My covenant with you, and you shall know that I am the Lord. 63 Thus you shall remember and feel shame, and you shall be too abashed to open your mouth again, when I have forgiven you for all that you did---declares the Lord God.
E. Read 18:1-9, 20-23, 26, 30-31 - There is a major advance (change? clarification?) in ethical understanding in sacred text. What is it? Why is it made? Why do you think it comes here?
Ezekiel 18:1-9, 20-23, 26, 30-31
1 The word of the Lord came to me. 2 What do you mean by quoting this proverb upon the soil of Israel, “ Parents eat sour grapes and their children’s teeth are blunted”? 3 As I live---declares the Lord God---this proverb shall no longer be current among you in Israel. 4 Consider, all lives are Mine; the life of the parent and the life of the child are both Mine. The person who sins, only he shall die.
5 Thus, if a man is righteous and does what is just and right: 6 If he has not eaten on the mountains or raised his eyes to the fetishes of the House of Israel; if he has not defiled another man’s wife or approached a menstruous woman; 7 if he has not wronged anyone; if he has returned the debtor’s pledge to him and has taken nothing by robbery; if he has given bread to the hungry and clothed the naked; 8 if he has not lent at advance interest or exacted accrued interest; if he has abstained from wrong-doing and executed true justice between man and man;9 if he has followed My laws and kept My rules and acted honestly--- he is righteous. Such a man shall live---declares the Lord God.
20 The person who sins he alone shall die. A child shall not share the burden of a parent’s guilt, nor shall a parent share the burden of a child’s guilt; the righteousness of the righteous shall be accounted to him alone, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be accounted to him alone. 21 Moreover, if the wicked one repents of all the sins that he committed and keeps all My laws and does what is just and right, he shall live; he shall not die. 22 None of the transgressions he committed shall be remembered against him; because of the righteousness he has practiced, he shall live. 23 Is it my desire that a wicked person shall die/? ---says the Lord God. It is rather that he shall turn back from his ways and live.
26 When a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does wrong, he shall die for it; he shall die for the wrong he has done.
30 Be assured, O House of Israel I will judge each one of you according to his ways---declares the Lord God. Repent and turn back from your transgressions; let them not be a stumbling block of guilt for you. 31 Cast away all the transgressions by which you have offended, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit, that you may not die, O House of Israel.
1. Let’s look at 1-2 first. Fathers eat unripe grapes; sons’ teeth become blunt. This reflects an earlier sense that children are punished for the sins of their fathers. Is that just? Or should the standard be different? Now look at 3-9.
2. Now note the ways/actions of the righteous in 5-9: just and righteous acts > without idolatry, respecting neighbor and wife, living in moral ways, chaste, no oppression of others, honest, remembers debts, no stealing or robbery, charitable, not haughty or oppressive.
(Akiba: one can’t do all these but certainly can do some and as part of a fabric of good.)
Notice this person “shall surely live.” What does that mean?
3. Verses 20-23 fill out the picture. How?
4. Verses 30-31 conclude the idea. How?
F. Read 20:40-42 - This is a statement from God about what the Divine looks for from us in the Days to Come. It seems to be what God always expects of us. What is it?
40 For only on My holy mountain, on the lofty mount of Israel---declares the Lord God---there, in the land, the entire House of Israel, all of it, must serve Me. There I will accept them and there I will take note of your contributions and the choicest offerings of all your sacred things. 41 When I bring you out from the peoples and gather you from the lands in which you are scattered, I will accept you as a pleasing odor; and I will be sanctified through you in the sight of the nations. 42 Then, when I have brought you to the land of Israel to the country that I swore to give to your fathers, you shall know that I am the Lord.
III. Conclusion - wrap up