Archive for February 13th, 2020

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Ezekiel 4: Siege and Exile

The Fall of Jerusalem

The Fall of Jerusalem

“Ezekiel’s prophecy has long been regarded as difficult to understand . . . Ordinary readers have found the book’s language, images, and theology puzzling, while scholars have often been embarrassed both by the contents of the book and by their own inability to produce adequate commentary on it . . . The major theme, Ezekiel’s announcement of judgment, is clearly stated in his first portrays in miniature the coming siege against Jerusalem (4:1-3).  From this point, he repeatedly assures his readers that the city can in no way escape the wrath of the Babylonians”.  (Mays 583)

The sad but beautiful Psalm 137 evokes the emotions these people feel as they suffer through first the siege and then the exile . . . By the streams of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion.  On the aspens of that land we hung up our harps. 

The political and religious upheaval of this time can be seen in our own social landscape today . . . nothing is ever really new.  As we reflect on the events of Jerusalem’s fall and exile, and as we think about the world in which we presently live, we see connections.  We also feel empathy for a people so certain of their destiny as God’s people that they begin to take God’s gifts of freedom and love for granted.  Many fall into corruption; they focus on gaining for themselves only.  Throughout Ezekiel’s prophecy he rails against those who were to be watchmen and shepherds and who have led the people into disaster.  Today we read the opening description of the tragedy and we might come away from all of this with a sense of doom if we were not reminded in 2 Kings 25:12: Then Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, led into exile the last of the people remaining in the city, and those who had deserted to the king of Babylon, and the last of the artisans.  But some of the country’s poor, Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, left behind as vine-dressers and farmers. 

In the end, those who live on the margin when great and powerful forces sweep through a civilization are often abandoned and eventually forgotten.  Yet it is these invisible poor ones who will be the faithful remnant from which a new shoot will spring to rejuvenate life in a land once thought a wasteland and to a people once thought extinguished.

By the streams of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion.  On the aspens of that land we hung up our harps . . . May my tongue cleave to my palate if I remember you not, if I place not Jerusalem ahead of my joy. 

As we celebrate the beginning of Lent today, let us take these verses in, let us consider our own siege and exile, and let us determine to remain a faithful remnant of God’s love.

Mays, James L., ed.  HARPERCOLLINS BIBLE COMMENTARY. New York, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1988. 583. Print.

Image from: http://www.rjgeib.com/thoughts/desolation/josephus.html

First written on June 25, 2010. Re-written and posted today as a Favorite.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: