The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Ezekiel 8

Eze 8:1

Eze 8: "This ch introduces a new series of visions relating to the destiny of Jerusalem. Over twelve months has elapsed since the original vision. Most of the time the prophet had spent on his side before the model of Jerusalem. His dramatisation of his prophecies had impressed the elders of Judah who now look upon him as an inspired teacher (cp Eze 33:30-33). In spirit he was taken to Jerusalem, and described his experiences to the elders as they sat before him. The drama now is the knowledge that Yahweh abandoned His temple (Eze 8:1--11:25). What Ezekiel saw in vision is constantly seen in reality. Men who have been unfaithful to their trust have been similarly abandoned by Yahweh so that the Divine Name might be no longer compromised by their infidelity, worldliness, and depravity. So the chapter reveals the work of the prophet in continuing the drama of judgment. (1) Ezekiel is taken to Jerusalem: vv 1-4. (2) The image of jealousy in the entry: vv 5,6. (3) Idolatrous worship of the Sanhedrin: vv 7-12. (4) Weeping for Tammuz: vv 13,14. (5) Persian worship of the sun: vv 15,16. (6) Yahweh will vindicate His honour: vv 17,18. So the ch concludes with the refusal of Yahweh to compromise His righteousness. His person, His eye, and His ear refuse to heed the wickedness of the nations, as they flaunted themselves before His face. 'They are those who mock Me,' and 'publicly affront Me.' Our responsibility is to uphold the righteousness of Yahweh, and to bring His honour constantly before our care" (GEM).

IN THE SIXTH YEAR: The Glory begins to depart at this date. Three years and four months later, the city was besieged (2Ki 25:1). For almost 3 1/2 years God's Shekinah Glory (by rabbinical tradition) abode on Olivet, as it were offering a final plea to Israel before the impending destruction (Temple 40).

THE ELDERS OF JUDAH WERE SITTING BEFORE ME: Waiting for some revelation, poss with the question for Ezekiel: 'What of our brethren left in Jerusalem? Are they not better off than we?' (The answer is in v 18; Eze 9-11: an emphatic NO!)

Eze 8:3

THE IDOL THAT PROVOKES TO JEALOUSY: That is, which provokes GOD to jealousy! Cp Exo 20:4,5; Deu 32:21; 4:24.

Eze 8:6

THAT WILL DRIVE ME FAR FROM MY SANCTUARY: This "going far off" (AV) is theme of Eze 8-11.

Eze 8:8

Vv 8-10: "As the prophet stood there God said to him, 'Son of man, dig in the wall'. He did so, and through the wall he saw a door. Then he was told to go in and see what vile abominations were being committed. When he went in he saw portrayed on the wall all kinds of creeping things and loathsome beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel... The description of these gods suggests that the people had adopted some of the gods of Egypt. For some time Israel had been looking to Egypt for assistance in their conflict with Babylon" (BEz 52).

A hidden chamber, symbol of the conscious guilt and cunning secrecy of the hypocritical idolaters (cp v 12).

Eze 8:11

SEVENTY ELDERS: In Exo 24:1, 70 elders go with Moses to see the Glory of God. Here, the opposite. (70 = the ideal number of all nations.) Also, suggestive of going down to Egypt again: Gen 46:27.

JAAZANIAH: Sig "Yahweh hears". This leader in Temple idolatry was a relative of Jeremiah and the High Priest Hilkiah (see Lesson, Jeremiah's family tree).

FRAGRANT CLOUD OF INCENSE: The thick cloud of incense protected the High Priest on Day of Atonement (Lev 16:12,13). This principle is here perverted.

Eze 8:14

TAMMUZ: An Assyrian god. Poss related to Bacchus -- "the lamented one". Another name for Nimrod (2Bab 21). A ceremonial grief at "death" in fall; followed by riotous and licentious revelings in spring. The death and resurrection of Adonis, the paramour of Venus.

Eze 8:16

TWENTY-FIVE MEN: 24 orders of elders (2Ch 24), plus the High Priest himself. Thus all the priestly class together. The princes of the sanctuary (Isa 43:28; Jer 35:4) who pollute God's house (2Ch 36:14).

WITH THEIR BACKS TOWARD THE TEMPLE: The reverse of the position of all true believers: ct 1Ki 8:44; Dan 6:10.

Eze 8:17

Some early Jewish commentators, render the word "zemorah" ("branch") as "stench". However, the word's normal reading is "twig". Others hold that putting the twig to the nose was part of the ritual practice of sun worship, a concept that fits this context well. Either way, the context implies that the act was offensive to God.

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