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“The word of the Lord came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the Lord was there upon him.”—Ezekiel, 1, 3.
ZEKIEL, the last of the three great prophet leaders,
was the teacher of the Jews in exile. He was a
contemporary of Jeremiah, though probably of a younger generation. A member of the priesthood and of the upper classes, Ezekiel was one of those Jews who were carried away from Jerusalem at the time of Nebuchadnezzar's first victory over the proud city. These unhappy exiles envied their lesser countrymen remaining in Jerusalem and thought their own fate particularly hard; yet it was through them, captives but at least dwellers in peace, that the Hebrew race was to be perpetuated and restored after its seventy years of castigation.
Among these exiles, Ezekiel had a little home of his own, a family, a garden to cultivate. Friends came to converse with him, and together they yearned for their far-off, beloved city, discussing the vague, unquiet rumors of her affairs, which must occasionally have reached them. Her king, Zedekiah, was quarrelling with Babylon; her prophet Jeremiah was predicting her destruction, and declaring that their captivity should last for seventy years. Thus while Jeremiah stood at the very center of that last terrible period of crime and tumult and destruction in
Judah, Ezekiel watched it peacefully from afar,
with vehement protest against sin. Num.
EZEKIEL XXII--THE IDOLS OF JUDAH
the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high.
27 I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him.
28 | And thou, son of man, prophesy and say, Thus saith the Lord God concerning the Ammonites, and concerning their reproach; Even say thou, The sword, the sword is drawn: for the slaughter it is furbished, to consume because of the glittering:
29 Whiles they see vanity unto thee, whiles they divine a lie unto thee, to bring thee upon the necks of them that are slain, of the wicked, whose day is come, when their iniquity shall have an end.
30 Shall I cause it to return into his sheath ? I will judge thee in the place where thou wast created, in the land of thy nativity.
31 And I will pour out mine indignation upon thee, I will blow against thee in the fire of my wrath, and deliver thee into the hand of brutish men, and skilful to destroy.
32 Thou shalt be for fuel to the fire; thy blood shall be in the midst of the land, thou shalt be no more remembered: for I the LORD have spoken it.
1 A catalogue of sins in Jerusalem. 13 God will burn them as dross in his furnace. 23 The general corruption of prophets, priests, princes, and people.
OREOVER the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
2 Now, thou son of man, wilt thou judge, wilt thou judge
the bloody city ? yea, thou shalt shew her all her abominations. 3 Then say thou, Thus saith the Lord God: The city sheddeth blood in the midst of it, that her time may come, and maketh idols against herself to defile herself.
4 Thou art become guilty in thy blood that thou hast shed; and hast defiled thyself in thine idols which thou hast made; and thou hast caused thy days to draw near, and art come even unto thy years: therefore have I made thee a reproach unto the heathen, and a mocking to all countries.
5 Those that be near, and those that be far from thee, shall mock thee, which art infamous and much vexed.
6 Behold, the princes of Israel, every one were in thee to their power to shed blood.
7 In thee have they set light by father and mother: in the midst of thee have they dealt by oppression with the stranger: in thee have they vexed the fatherless and the widow.
8 Thou hast despised mine holy things, and hast profaned my sabbaths.
9 In thee are men that carry tales to shed blood: and in thee they eat upon the mountains: in the midst of thee they conımit lewdness.