In this vivid allegory the prophet seeks to break down the pride of Jerusalem. She appears as the bride of the Lord God, who loved her from infancy, and did everything for her, but whose love she requited with persistent and shameful idolatry. The chapter falls into four sections:
(i) Jerusalem as a child and as a bride (verses 1-14);
(ii) her sin (verses 15-34);
(iii) her judgment (verse 35-52);
(iv) her restoration (verses 53-63).
- What was God’s complaint against Jerusalem? With verses 22 and 32, cf. Deut. 32:15-18. Notice also that God regards her sin as greater than that of Samaria and of Sodom. See verses 46-52 and cf. Matt. 11:23, 24.
- How can the teaching in this chapter be applied to one who has been truly converted, but has backslidden? What can we learn here for our warning of the peril and folly of the sin of unfaithfulness? Cf. Jer. 2:13, 19; Jas. 4:4-10.
Following the prophecy of judgment, with Ezekiel recorded in chapters 6 and 7, and the vision of chapter 8, which illustrated in detail why such a judgment was justified, the prophet here gives a picture of God acting in judgment in the destruction of both the people (chapter 9) and the city (chapter 10) according to his word in 8:18.
- Chapter 9. What was God’s answer to the prophet’s cry of distress?
Cf. Jer. 14:19; 15:1. Who alone were spared, and why?
How were they distinguished from others?
Compare the distinguishing marks that similarly brought men salvation, described in Exod. 12:13; Rev. 7:1-3; 14:1.
- Chapter 10. To what use were the burning coals put, and what did they symbolize?
How does this differ from their function in Isaiah’s vision (Is. 6:6, 7)?
- ‘The cherubim’ of chapter 10 are the same as the ‘living creatures’ which featured in the vision of chapter 1.
- 10:14. We would expect to find the word ‘ox’ instead of ‘cherub’, and this should probably be understood (cf. 1:10).
Chapters 8-11 describes what Ezekiel was shown in a prophetic trance fourteen months after his first vision. Cf. 8:1 and 1:1, 2.
- The prophet is carried ‘in visions of God’ (verse 3) to Jerusalem, and is there shown four forms of idolatry, practiced in or at the gate of the temple. If you were asked what these practices were, how would you describe them?
Observe also what classes of the community are seen engaging in them.
- The idol-worshipping elders said, ‘The Lord has forsaken the land’ (verse 12). In what sense were their words true (cf. verse 6), and in what sense false?
How does this chapter show that all that was happening was under the eyes and under the judgment of God?
- Verse 3. ‘The idol that provokes to jealousy’: i.e., which provoked God’s jealous anger. Cf. Deut. 32:21.
- Verse 14. ‘Women… mourning for Tammuz, taking part in the heathen festival of mourning the death of the vegetation god, Tammuz, later known in Greek mythology as Adonis.
- Verse 16. “Between the portico and the altar’: these men must have been priests. Cf. Joel 2:17.