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This climactic chapter at the heart of the book of Ezekiel brings us finally to the Day of Reckoning for Jerusalem. After repeated prophecies emphasizing the reasons for judgment, the certainty of imminent judgment and the devastation that would transpire, the precise day is now revealed. The first half of the chapter unfolds the allegory of the burning pot of choice meat. The second half presents the surprising application from the death of Ezekiel’s wife where there was to be no outward mourning over the profaning of the temple and the destruction of Jerusalem. But all was not doom and gloom. The final two verses open the door to a new chapter in the ministry of Ezekiel. His lips are now unsealed to proclaim judgment on Israel’s enemies and the eventual restoration under the end times kingdom.

John Taylor: With these verses we come to the climax of all that Ezekiel has been trying to say in the previous twelve chapters. His main purpose, as we have noted, has been to justify the coming judgment upon Jerusalem. We called this collection of oracles ‘Objections to Judgment’, and we have seen arguments raised and demolished one by one and accusations made against both the past and the present conduct of the people of Jerusalem. There is hardly anything more that can be said. The hour has come. Judgment is about to fall.

Alexander: This is a pivotal chapter in the development of the book. Till now Ezekiel has variously proclaimed the Lord’s coming judgment on Jerusalem and Judah. He has systematically answered each argument against the impending judgment. Nothing remained except for the enactment of that discipline recorded in this chapter. The beginning of Babylonia’s siege of Jerusalem was described. Then Ezekiel prophesied against the foreign nations who had abused Judah and mocked her during her judgments (25:1—33:20). These foreign nations would be judged for their wicked attitude and actions toward Judah. However, the hope of future restoration and blessing would be promised to Judah.

Daniel Block: The māšāl of the boiling cauldron challenged Jerusalemite illusions of security. The residents of the city perceived themselves as the choice portions of meat specially selected for a sumptuous banquet. By implication the exiles in Babylon represented the discarded offal. In refutation of this illusion, what would have initially been greeted as a favorable figure is turned into a frightening literary caricature. Yahweh assumes the role of the cook who calls for the wood to be piled on and the fire to be stoked as hot as possible. But he is not interested in preparing a meal; his mind is only on destruction. In his rage he pours the contents of the pot onto the fire. Lest any shred of hope remain, the fire is stoked so hot that every vestige of meat or broth in the pot is burned and the vessel purified of its defiling contents. Residence in Jerusalem offers no security; it guarantees only destruction and judgment. Even as Ezekiel speaks (24:2) the fire is being lit. Nebuchadnezzar has arrived and has begun to lay siege to the city. Her fate and that of her inhabitants is sealed. They may compose clever proverbs and take delight in songs celebrating their privileged place under the sun, but they are deluded. Yahweh has spoken; he will have the last word.


“And the word of the LORD came to me in the ninth year,

in the tenth month, on the tenth of the month, saying,”

Leslie Allen: The message reception formula of v 1, which recurs at v 15, identifies vv 1–14 as an overall unit.

Constable: The Lord instructed Ezekiel to note permanently the day that this revelation came to him, because it was the very day that Nebuchadnezzar began his siege of Jerusalem. This day fell in January (cf. 2 Kings 25:1; Jer. 39:1; 52:4). Block dated it as January 5, 587 B.C., but most scholars follow Parker and Duberstein and date it as January 15, 586 B.C. Ezekiel’s ability to announce the beginning of the siege from Babylon validated his ministry as a prophet.

John Taylor: vv. 1-14 — The section begins therefore with a command from God to the prophet to note down the day, for it was the day when the siege would begin (1, 2). This is followed by a poetical allegory about a cauldron being set on a fire, symbolizing the city’s state of siege (3–5). Then comes a prose statement consisting of two short oracles, each beginning with the words, ‘Woe to the bloody city!’ (6, 9), which enlarge upon and interpret the allegory and at the same time introduce the idea of the cauldron’s symbolical rustiness.

A. (:2-5) Enactment of the Parable – Boil the Pot of Choice Meat

1. (:2) Precise Dating of Siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar

“Son of man, write the name of the day, this very day.

The king of Babylon has laid siege to Jerusalem this very day.”

Peter Pett: When he informed those who came to hear him there would certainly be some doubt, but eventually messengers would arrive who would confirm the grim news. Then they knew that this man indeed spoke from God.

2. (:3-5) Parable Details

a. (:3) Boil Water in a Pot

“And speak a parable to the rebellious house, and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God, Put on the pot, put it on,

and also pour water in it;’”

Peter Pett: Note the continued use of ‘rebellious house’ for Ezekiel’s hearers. It was not only Jerusalem that was in rebellion against God but almost the whole house of Israel. If they did not hear and repent they would share the fate of Jerusalem.

Wiersbe: God called Judah a “rebellious house” not only because they broke His laws and violated His covenant, but also because Zedekiah had broken his treaty with Babylon and incited the displeasure of Nebuchadnezzar.

Galen Doughty: Is the pot a simple pot that anyone would use in their homes or is Ezekiel referring to a pot the temple priests would use when they cooked the meat from the fellowship offerings sacrificed on the altar in the temple? It is unclear but it is possible this is the case. If it is the pot of the priests then the symbolism of the pot is it is holy but now has such a deposit in it that it cannot be cleaned anymore except by melting it down. Judah had been holy to the Lord but now is so unclean it can no longer be saved. It needs to be melted down in order to be clean again.

b. (:4) Boil Choice Pieces of Meat

“Put in it the pieces, Every good piece, the thigh, and the shoulder; Fill it with choice bones.”

Daniel Block: From the description, Jerusalem would be a remarkable feast for Nebuchadnezzar and his armies. “The cook does not appear to be fixing an ordinary dinner; rather, an extraordinarily sumptuous meal is implied by the emphasis on the quality and quantity of meat being prepared.

Wiersbe: The image of the cooking pot takes us back to Ezekiel 11:1-13 where the Jewish leaders boasted that the Jews left in Jerusalem were better than the Jews taken off to Babylon. The Jerusalem Jews were the best “cuts of meat,” while the Jews in Babylon were only the scraps!

c. (:5) Boil It Vigorously

“Take the choicest of the flock, And also pile wood under the pot.

Make it boil vigorously. Also seethe its bones in it.”

Jamieson: So far from the city proving an iron, caldron-like defense from the fire, it shall be as a caldron set on the fire, and the people as so many pieces of meat subjected to boiling heat. See Jeremiah 1:13.

B. (:6-14) Explanation of the Parable

1. (:6-8) Total Culpability

“Therefore, thus says the Lord God,”

Leslie Allen: It functions as a judgment oracle with two parts, accusation (vv 6–8) and pronouncement of punishment (vv 9–14), each part being introduced by a messenger formula.

a. (:6) Universal Defilement Requires Indiscriminate Judgment

“Woe to the bloody city,

To the pot in which there is rust And whose rust has not gone out of it! Take out of it piece after piece, Without making a choice.”

Peter Pett: But the city was like a copper cauldron (Ezekiel 24:11) which was rusty. And its rust had not been removed from it. It was not fit for its purpose, and the rusty scum would form, the scum which represented the blood-guiltiness of Jerusalem with its violence and its child sacrifices (Ezekiel 22:1-16). Thus the rust affected pieces of flesh must be brought out piece by piece as the city was slowly taken. ‘No lot has fallen on it’. The removal is to be indiscriminate and not by selection. Fate cannot be manoeuvred, they can only helplessly submit to it.

Feinberg: Some translate the word as ‘scum,’ but ‘rust’ is correct. It was a symbol of the corrosion and corruption of the city and may have represented the blood of victims slain through intrigue and oppression.

Galen Doughty: God says empty the pot piece by piece without casting lots for the pieces. No cross reference explains this practice but I surmise this was a practice of the priests with the dedicated meat from the sacrifices. The priests would cast lots for who got what piece, letting “God decide” who got to eat what part of the sacrifice that was dedicated to the Lord. Jerusalem is so unholy and her pot so encrusted that no one should cast lots for the contents of the pot. Empty it!

The city is filled with bloodshed. This is a consistent theme in Ezekiel. The bloodshed is not from the Babylonians but from the rich and powerful in Jerusalem. They have sacrificed their children to Molech on the altar of Topheth but Ezekiel’s other references to bloodshed indicate many used murder as a means to gain wealth and power, taking what they wanted from those they had killed. Ezekiel says they even poured the blood of the slain on bare rock so that it would not be covered and not on the ground where it could be absorbed. They stained the land with the blood of the murdered and slain and so defiled it.

Iain Duguid: Thus far the expectations of the audience have been moved in a positive direction. But in a classic twist, typical of the genre of parable, what ought to be a tasty sacred meal is, in fact, a foul, profane mess. The “choice pieces” and “the best of these bones” from the “pick of the flock” (24:4–5) turn out to be nothing but defiled filth (ḥelʾātâ, 24:6). This filth that is inside her will not “come out” (yāṣāʾ; 24:6; niv, “go away”), a phrase that has a double meaning. In terms of the imagery of the pot, the filth that will not come out reflects the frustration of a burned-on mess that cannot be removed. On the level of the metaphorical meaning, “come out” is precisely what Jerusalem’s inhabitants hope to do at the end of the siege.

As in chapter 11, however, the pot will not protect them; they have defiled the city by their evil and so they (the filth) will not come out from her safely. Their only exit from the pot will be when they are “brought out” (Hiphil of yāṣāʾ) for judgment (24:6; cf. 11:9). Nor will this judgment be partial, with some selected to die and some to live, as when the lot was cast over the two goats on the Day of Atonement, with one chosen for the altar and the other to be driven off into the desert (Lev. 16:8). No lots will be cast over the pot, for all the meat is destined for the same end, reprobation (Ezek. 24:6). There will be no escape.

b. (:7-8) Unjust Bloodshed Calls for Unmitigated Wrath

“For her blood is in her midst; She placed it on the bare rock;

She did not pour it on the ground To cover it with dust.

8 That it may cause wrath to come up to take vengeance,

I have put her blood on the bare rock,

That it may not be covered.”

Constable: Blood was in Jerusalem’s midst like the blood of a sacrifice that had not been drained out on the ground and covered up (atoned for) as the Law prescribed (Lev. 17:13). Israel’s sins were open for all to see, like blood on a bare rock (cf. Isa. 3:9). Not only was Jerusalem a city that had shed much innocent blood, but it was an unacceptable sacrifice to God because of the blood that was in it.

Wright: The blood in Ezekiel 24:7 is that of murder, wrongful conviction, and human sacrifice. Blood unjustly shed cries for vengeance (Genesis 4.10; Job 16.18).

Leslie Allen: So blemished was the city that extremely harsh measures had to be taken to remove the blemishes. Accordingly the cooking process was to be only stage one of Jerusalem’s experience of nemesis. The capital had undergone nothing yet by comparison with its eventual doom. In the second part of the section the inevitability of this fate is explained with fresh reference to the blood of v 6. The blatant taking of life in the capital was a crying shame. Like Abel’s blood in Gen 4:10 (cf. Job 16:18), it cried out for vengeance. Yahweh himself had seen to it that the powerful moral process of retribution took its course and that no cover-up was possible to impede Jerusalem’s exposure to vengeance. Retribution is expressed as an inexorable process at work in society, triggered by wrongdoing (cf. Wevers 141). Here that impersonal process is helped along by Yahweh’s personal intervention.

2. (:9-11) Total Consumption

“Therefore, thus says the Lord God,”

a. (:9-10) Stoke the Flames

“Woe to the bloody city! I also shall make the pile great.

Heap on the wood, kindle the fire, Boil the flesh well,

And mix in the spices, And let the bones be burned.”

Constable: All this symbolized the fierceness of the attack on Jerusalem and the many people that would die there.

Wiersbe: The only way to pure the city was to burn it and make it a great funeral pyre (Ezek. 24:9-10). He judged the people in the city (the “select pieces of meat in the pot”) and then burned the pot as well!

b. (:11) Scorch the Pot

“Then set it empty on its coals, So that it may be hot,

And its bronze may glow, And its filthiness may be melted in it,

Its rust consumed.”

Constable: Then Ezekiel was to empty the pot of its contents and replace it on the coals, with the fire burning hotly under it, so it would glow and all the impurities in it would burn up. This represented the continuing purification of Jerusalem after all the Jews had left it. It would remain empty, and that condition would free it from all sinful pollution for many years to come. The rust represented the uncleanness of Jerusalem that God would cleanse by using the Babylonians to burn it.

Peter Pett: This cauldron, the blood-filled city, with its contents is doomed. God Himself will make of it a great burnt up pile. So the command comes to heap on wood, blow on the fire to make it burning hot, and then to overcook the flesh and the broth until it is spoiled and to burn the bones. Then once the spoiled flesh and broth are removed the cauldron is to remain on the fire as it grows hotter and hotter, until the copper is red hot, the filth within it becomes molten, and its rust is consumed. It is a picture of total destruction.

3. (:12-13) Total Contamination

“She has wearied Me with toil, Yet her great rust has not gone from her; Let her rust be in the fire!

In your filthiness is lewdness. Because I would have cleansed you,

Yet you are not clean, You will not be cleansed from your filthiness again, Until I have spent My wrath on you.”

Peter Pett: With all the effort the filth is not removed. It is so deeply ingrained that it is fire-resistant. That is why this time there is no hope for Jerusalem. Its sin is too great and too deeply imbedded. . .

The rust and filthiness in the cauldron represents the lewdness of Jerusalem/Judah. God had attempted to purge her again and again (for example through the prophets and through the defeats and deportations in 605 and 597 BC), but she was still not purged. Now God recognised that every effort would only fail until He had exacted full judgment on them, until He had shown them the fullness of His anger by the total destruction of Jerusalem and a period in exile away from their land when hope will seem almost to be gone.

Clarke: Lewdness: A word that denominates the worst kinds of impurity; adultery, incest, &c., and the purpose, wish, design, and ardent desire to do these things. Hers were not accidental sins, they were abominations by design.

4. (:14) Total Commitment to Judgment – No Relenting

“’I, the LORD, have spoken; it is coming and I shall act.

I shall not relent, and I shall not pity, and I shall not be sorry;

according to your ways and according to your deeds I shall judge you,’

declares the Lord God.”

Peter Pett: God added His seal to what was to happen. Now nothing could prevent it for He had determined it. He had spoken, and so it would come about (Isaiah 55:11). He stressed that this time there would be no alteration in His purpose. He would not go back to how things were before, or withdraw from His purpose, He would not spare, He would not have a change of mind. He would act towards them exactly as they deserved. They would receive what their behaviour merited.

David Thompson: God ends this section by saying six things:

1) I have spoken. 24:14a – This is God’s Word on the matter. God is always true to His Word.

2) I will act. 24:14b – When God says He will do something, He will do it. Circumstances do not prevent God from doing what He says He will do.

3) I will not relent. 24:14c – When God purposes to judge, He will not relent.

4) I will not pity My people. 24:14d – Many people have a false idea about God’s mercy. Their idea is that God is too merciful to ever do something negative to His own people.

5) I will not be sorry over My people. 24:14e – God offers His grace but when His people refuse to turn to Him for it, He will ultimately judge and not feel sorry for it.

6) I will judge you according to your deeds. 24:14f – Unfortunately, this is what most people want. They want God to judge them on the basis of their deeds. God says fine. You won’t turn to Me for help, that is exactly what I will do.

This is a declaration of God.

Leslie Allen: Yahweh’s will was by no means vindictive: it was the materializing of a force activated by Jerusalem’s wrong behavior. The Babylonian invaders stood as the final link in a moral chain of cause and effect.

Wiersbe: God warned the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem that they weren’t the “meat” – they were the butchers! They were guilty of shedding innocent blood and God would judge them for their sins. If they weren’t “cooked” in the cauldron of Jerusalem, they would eventually be slain by the swords of the Babylonian soldiers. Even if they escaped the city, they would be caught and killed.


“And the word of the LORD came to me saying,”

Constable: The preceding parable pictured the siege of Jerusalem itself. The symbolic acts that Ezekiel performed next, evidently on the same day, represented how the exiles were to respond to the news of Jerusalem’s siege.

Leslie Allen: Vv 15–24 comprise

(a) a divine command to the prophet to engage in a symbolic action (vv 16, 17); and

(b) a report of the prophet’s compliance (v 18);

(c) the people’s request for an explanation (v 19); and

(d) the sequel, a proof saying that applies the symbolic action to the people in a message of judgment (vv 21–24).

A further proof saying in vv 25–27 continues the foregoing; it is a personal message to the prophet. . .

Structurally vv 16–24 are controlled by a quite rigid parallelism. The announcement of Yahweh’s removal of Ezekiel’s wife (v 16a) coordinates verbally with the parallel announcement of the loss of the temple in v 21a, and thematically with the loss of family members in v 21b. Three pairs of instructions to the prophet in vv 16b–17 are echoed chiastically in vv 22b–23a.

A. (:16-17) Command to Refrain from Outwardly Mourning Death of the Prophet’s Wife

1. (:16) Unnatural Command in Response to Death of Wife

“Son of man, behold, I am about to take from you the desire of your eyes with a blow; but you shall not mourn, and you shall not weep, and your tears shall not come.”

2. (:17) Unchanged Behavior = No Signs of Mourning

“Groan silently; make no mourning for the dead. Bind on your turban, and put your shoes on your feet, and do not cover your mustache, and do not eat the bread of men.”

Peter Pett: So Ezekiel was to abjure all the normal signs of mourning. He was not to wail loudly (Micah 1:8 see also Mark 5:38). He was not to begin a period of official mourning. He was to continue to wear his priestly turban (Ezekiel 44:18; Exodus 39:28), although in periods of deep distress that would normally be removed and the head covered in dust and ashes (compare Joshua 7:6; 1 Samuel 4:12; Job 2:12). He was not to take off his sandals (compare 2 Samuel 15:30; Isaiah 20:2). He was not to cover his lips (veil the lower part of his face – compare Micah 3:7; Leviticus 13:45 of a leper). He was not to take part in a mourning feast, a wake (Jeremiah 16:7). He was not to show signs of mourning.

B. (:18-19) Compliance and Request for Explanation

1. (:18) Compliance of Ezekiel

“So I spoke to the people in the morning,

and in the evening my wife died.

And in the morning I did as I was commanded.”

David Guzik: This was a great loss to Ezekiel, one that many have suffered. The title, the desire of your eyes (Ezekiel 24:16), points to a dear and loving relationship. Throughout the book, Ezekiel is presented to us as a man of deep feeling and emotion who often mourned and wept over the fate of Jerusalem and Judah. He certainly was deeply affected by this sudden loss of a dear companion and spouse.

2. (:19) Request for Explanation by the People

“And the people said to me,

‘Will you not tell us what these things that you are doing mean for us?’”

Leslie Allen: Ezekiel has the opportunity to give the divine interpretation and so to carry out his prophetic task, functioning as Yahweh’s witness. A double blow is to befall the exiles. First, the temple is to be desecrated as a consequence of the coming fall of Jerusalem. The temple had immense significance in Judah’s religion-based culture as the visible guarantee of divine goodwill. The formal Songs of Zion celebrated the aura of inviolability the temple gave to Jerusalem (Pss 46, 76, 87; cf. 78:68, 69), and their informal versions attested the people’s devotion to it (Pss 84, 122). It stood as the bastion of the community’s present life and future hopes. Now, however, this visible link between Yahweh and his people (“my … your”) was to be severed. Second, just as Ezekiel had lost his wife, so the fall of Jerusalem was to mean the deaths of members of the exiles’ families. In 597 b.c. people of significance had been deported as hostages to insure Judah’s loyalty; evidently their children had been left behind. Hopes of fond reunion were dashed by the forecast. Ahead lay only the total breakdown of society, attested in the loosing of its religious moorings and in the damning of its hopes vested in the next generation.

Lamar Cooper: Ezekiel’s unorthodox conduct in light of his grief inevitably drew questions. The people asked, “What do these things have to do with us?” (v. 19). The question is ironic. With it, the people unknowingly spoke of their own deaths. The fall of Jerusalem resulted in the desecration and destruction of the temple. Jerusalem suddenly “died,” as had Ezekiel’s wife, and with it the temple and worship. The temple was characterized as the “delight” of their eyes (vv. 20–21), the same words used to describe the prophet’s wife in v. 16.

Besides the loss of the temple, they lost another “delight,” namely, their sons and daughters (v. 21). Like Ezekiel, those in Jerusalem would be unable to mourn because they would immediately be taken away as captives to Babylon. For the captives to lament could be perceived as seditious. Therefore they would, like the prophet, be forced to “groan quietly” (v. 17). When this happened, it was to be a confirmation of the truth of God’s word and the integrity of Ezekiel (v. 24).

C. (:20-23) Application: No Mourning for the Death of the Temple

“Then I said to them, ‘The word of the LORD came to me saying,’”

1. (:21) Unspeakable Loss

“Speak to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God,

‘Behold, I am about to profane My sanctuary,

the pride of your power,

the desire of your eyes,

and the delight of your soul;

and your sons and your daughters whom you have left behind will fall by the sword.’”

David Guzik: We note how God referred to the temple that had become an idol and false source of hope for Judah:

• Your arrogant boast, thought to guarantee their security.

• The desire of your eyes, that most precious to them.

• The delight of your soul, that which delighted them most.

Peter Pett: The significance of the sanctuary to the exiled, and to all Israel, is brought out. It was their pride and joy when they were at their most powerful, it was the place to which their eyes turned in longing, it was the place their soul yearned for. But it was to be so no more, for it had become a defiled sanctuary, a place where many gods were worshipped. And yet it had been and should have been His!

And they were not to mourn for it, nor for their sons and daughters who would be slain by the sword, rather were they to mourn for their sins which have brought it about. Their moanings must be because of their iniquities, not because of the lost temple and the destruction of Jerusalem and its inhabitants.

We probably cannot even begin to conceive what the temple in Jerusalem meant to the people of Israel. It depicted all their past, it was their present, it represented all their hopes for the future. It was the one thing that stood firm in an uncertain world, the one ‘guarantee’ of such a future. It was the one permanency when all else was changing. But although they had clung to the temple of Yahweh, they had not clung to Yahweh, they had allowed Him to be submerged under a multiplicity of gods. And so now the temple was to go. And they were not to mourn for it.

2. (:22-23a) Continue Normal Behavior

“And you will do as I have done;

you will not cover your mustache,

and you will not eat the bread of men.

And your turbans will be on your heads

and your shoes on your feet.”

Douglas Stuart: Mourning was not appropriate in cases of capital punishment. When God commanded that someone was to die for his crimes, it was not expected that people would regret carrying out the punishment by mourning the dead. Many passages in the Pentateuch call for capital punishment (e.g., Ex. 21; Lev. 20, 24; Num. 35; Deut. 24), but none demand mourning for the person executed for his crimes.

Thus while Ezekiel had every right to mourn for his wife whose life God had not ended in wrath, the Israelites had no right to mourn for Jerusalem whose existence was being symbolically brought to an end most certainly in wrath. Ezekiel’s wife died of illness. Jerusalem died because of its sins against God. Ezekiel had a right to mourn his undeserved personal loss but did not. The Israelites had no right to mourn for their well-deserved national loss and could not (v. 24). . .

Obeying God’s command not to mourn for his wife could not have been an easy thing for Ezekiel. Not to mourn dead relatives was almost surely considered the equivalent of an insult by the ancient Israelites. His beloved was dead, and he was showing no sadness. The one who had loved, supported, and cared for him for years was suddenly taken from him, and he couldn’t show her the final respect that was considered fitting evidence of love and gratitude.

Nevertheless neither Ezekiel nor any of his countrymen could afford to concentrate on their individual, personal interests at this time. A much greater matter was at hand, a great turning point in history: the end of the covenant people in the Promised Land and the destruction of Jerusalem, God’s chosen city. People had to come to their senses and leave behind less significant things. The work of God was what they needed to focus on, and they needed to follow Ezekiel’s example not to let anything intervene to keep them from that. Jesus, in a somewhat similar context where paying attention to God’s plan needed to be elevated above otherwise legitimate personal concerns said “Let the dead bury their dead” (Matt. 8:22). This wasn’t cruel, insensitive advice. It was necessary. Our personal concerns must not keep us from responding to God’s direction. What’s happening in His kingdom doesn’t wait for us to get around to doing something about it. What He has ordained in history can’t depend upon our deciding whether it is convenient for us to pay attention to it.

3. (:23b) Refrain from Outward Mourning

“You will not mourn, and you will not weep;

but you will rot away in your iniquities,

and you will groan to one another.”

D. (:24) Recognition Refrain

“Thus Ezekiel will be a sign to you;

according to all that he has done you will do; when it comes,

then you will know that I am the Lord God.”

Key verse in the book of Ezekiel.

David Guzik: The consistent purpose of God throughout the book of Ezekiel is the revelation of Himself even through tragedy and crisis. In all their unexpressed sorrow, there would be a revelation of the Lord GOD.


A. (:25) Removal of False Security

“As for you, son of man, will it not be on the day when I take from them

their stronghold, the joy of their pride, the desire of their eyes,

and their heart’s delight, their sons and their daughters,”

B. (:26-27a) Revelation of New Hope

“that on that day he who escapes will come to you with information for your ears? 27 On that day your mouth will be opened to him who escaped,

and you will speak and be dumb no longer.”

Constable: Evidently Ezekiel was not to deliver any more prophetic messages to his fellow exiles, after he made the explanation in verses 20-24, until he received word of the destruction of the temple and the capture of the remaining Judahites. This message reached him five months later (33:21). His enforced dumbness must have been limited to prophecies concerning Israel, however, because 25:1—33:20 contains oracles against foreign nations, some of which are dated during the siege of Jerusalem.

Peter Pett: But he will not be wholly silent meanwhile. There would yet be three years before the final end. Meanwhile he will have prophecies to give to the nations, and as he proclaims them in the direction of the various countries his awed watchers will hear and understand. They will understand firstly that there was now no word of Yahweh for Jerusalem. All that could be said had been said, and God had no further message for them. It would be a pregnant silence. But they would also receive a hint of hope. For the fact that God was acting against those countries that took advantage of Israel’s misfortune would demonstrate that God was not totally finished with Israel and had not totally forgotten them. Thus the silence was both pregnant and awesome, but it was not final.

This demonstrates that the messages to the nations have not just been fitted in here in order to find a place for them. Rather they are an essential indication of the fact that while there was no further word for Israel, in the midst of their current misfortunes they had not just been forgotten. He was still watching over their concerns. God’s judgment may be severe, and would be final for Jerusalem, but it was not to be final for the whole of Israel. God still had further purposes towards them, which the remainder of the book will deal with.

Wiersbe: From this point on, the prophet was free to speak as he felt led, and at the same time, the focus of his ministry shifted. He had exposed the nation’s sins and announced her judgment. Now he would announce God’s plans for the Gentile nations, including victorious Babylon; and then he would minister hope to the Jewish exiles and share with them visions of the kingdom yet to come.

C. (:27b) Recognition Refrain

“Thus you will be a sign to them, and they will know that I am the LORD.”

Daniel Block: That day will be marked by two significant events: Yahweh will pull the rug out from under the people by removing the ground of all their hopes, and he will vindicate his prophet by confirming his sign value for the nation.

Iain Duguid: Here ends the first lesson, we might say—the lesson of inevitable and incredible judgment poured out on sinners. The prophet’s dumbness will be ended, and God’s favor will once again be extended toward his people. This promise marks a shift in the nature of Ezekiel’s proclamation. In the chapters that follow, it will be time for the prophet to speak words of judgment on the surrounding nations, Israel’s enemies (chs. 25–32), and then, when the promise of the removal of dumbness is fulfilled (ch. 33), words of hope to God’s chosen people (chs. 34–48).

Daniel Block: Ironically, looking beyond the immediate tragedy, even the bad news would turn out to be good. To be sure, news of the loss of temple and city will shock the exiles and challenge all their theological presuppositions. But Ezekiel’s relentless pronouncements of judgment had emphasized the need for the old order to be totally dismantled before the nation could be reconstituted. The fall of Jerusalem would mark the end of the old and be the prerequisite for the new. In the process the sign value of Ezekiel himself would become apparent. First, the report of the refugee, that Jerusalem had fallen, would provide factual proof for Ezekiel’s exilic audience of his authenticity as a true prophet of Yahweh and the veracity of the divine word he proclaimed (cf. 2:5). Second, the freeing of his mouth would open up the possibility of a new genre of message. Heretofore his tied tongue had symbolized the monotonously judgmental tone of his pronouncements. Only when he received an order from Yahweh could he speak, and, with the exception of a few glimmers of hope attached to oracles of judgment, there had been no room for another kind of message. All that would change when the city fell. Third, potentially at least, the loosening of Ezekiel’s tongue signaled the beginning of a new relationship with his audience. He could finally assume the normal prophetic (and priestly) role of interceding with Yahweh on behalf of his people to avert his wrath, rather than serving simply as a messenger of divine fury. His role as herald and sign (môpēt) of God’s judgment (24:24) would be transformed into herald and agent of divine grace (24:17). According to the last affirmation in this oracle, and the last in the long series of judgment messages that had begun in 4:1, Ezekiel could take comfort also in knowing that that event would mark the beginning of a new knowledge of Yahweh in Israel.