Ezekiel 18 – 20

Ezekiel – 18 & 19

The teaching of national retribution in chapter 16 and other passages seems to have raised doubts as to the justice of God’s dealings with individuals (18:2, 29). This is the subject of chapter 18. Chapter 19 is a lament.

  1. Two fundamental principal are stated in 18:4 in answer to the people’s

Complaint in 18:2. How would you express these in your own words? What

Verses in the New Testament can you think of which emphasize the same ideas?

  1. In the remainder of chapter 18 two questions are answered: (a) Is each man Responsible to God for his own acts, and for these alone (see verses 5-20)? (b) If a man turns form his past way of life, will that past affect God’s judgment upon him (see verses 21-29)? How does this teaching reveal not only God’s justice, but also his mercy? Why dose it lead on immediately to the call to repentance of verses 30-32?
  2. Chapter 19 is a lament over three of the kings of Judah. Try to identify these by comparing verses 3 and 4 with 2 Kgs. 23:31-34; verses 5-9 with 2Kgs. 24:8-15; and verses 10-14 with 2 Kgs. 25:4-11. What did they all have in common?


  1. 18:6, 11, 15. ‘East at the mountain shrines’: i.e., join in idolatrous forms of worship. Cf. 6:1-4.
  2. 19:14. The fire which brought destruction sprang from the ruler himself, i.e., Zedekiah. See 17:19-21.


Ezekiel 20:1-44

This section is a review of Israel’s history (verses 5-31), with a prophecy of what God will yet do (verses 32-44). The review of history covers: (a) the time in Egypt (verses 5-9); (b) in the wilderness (verses 10-17 and 18-26); and (c) in the land of Canaan (verses 27-31). With verses 1-3, cf. 14:1, 2.

  1. Analyse the repeated poetical pattern found in verses 5-9, 10-14, 15-17, 18-22. What restrained God from pouring out his wrath? What does this reveal of God’s character? How does it show what is the one and only guarantee of our salvation? Cf. 1 Sam. 12:22.
  2. To what two conclusions does God say he will ultimately bring his people Israel (verses 42-44)? Has a similar conviction been brought about in us?


  1. Verse 25 is a Hebrew way of saying, ‘I gave them good statutes but they had a bad effect; I thereby condemned those who were disobedient and I defiled those who performed human sacrifices.’ Cf. Rom. 5:20.
  2. Verse 37. ‘Pass under my rod’: the eastern shepherd makes his sheep pass one by one under his staff, held horizontally, to count and examine them.


Ezekiel – 20:45 – 21:32

The prophet is bidden to prophecy: (a) against the south (of Palestine) (20:45-49), and (b) against Jerusalem and the land of Israel (21:1-17). The sword of the Lord is drawn from its sheath (21:1-7), sharpened and polished (21:8-13), and smites repeatedly in its deadly work (21:14-17). In 21:18-27, the explanation is given. The king of Babylon is seen, standing at the parting of the ways, seeking guidance by divination – Ammon or Jerusalem? The decision falls of Jerusalem, the city is taken, and the king (Zedekiah) slain. The closing verses of the chapter (verses 28-32) are a short prophecy of utter doom upon Ammon as well.

  1. Who kindles the fire? Whose sword is drawn? Yet it was by a heathen king that the judgment was affected. What does this teach us concerning God’s methods of accomplishing his purpose of judgment in the world? Cf. Jer. 25:9 (‘my servant’); Is. 25:1-4.
  2. When human leaders and confidences all fail and are overthrown, where can we still look for the establishment of a reign of peace? See 21:25-27; cf. Ps. 2:6-9; Luke 21:25-28.



  1. 21:21 refers to three well-known forms of divination practiced by the Babylonians: drawing marked arrows from a quiver (or throwing them in the air to see how they fall); consulting the teraphim, the ancestral household gods, in some form of necromancy; and studying the marks on the entrails of sacrificial victims.
  2. 21:27. ‘To whom it rightfully belongs’: i.e., the Davidic Messiah who is entitled to the kingship. Cf. Gen. 49:10.

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