The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying,It was a distinct part of scriptural prophecy to address pagan nations. In Isaiah Isa. 13-19, Jeremiah Jer. 46-51, and here Ezekiel 25-32, one section is specially devoted to a collection of such prophecies. Every such prediction had the general purpose of exhibiting the conflict ever waging between the servants of God and the powers of the world, the struggle in which the Church of Christ has still to wrestle against her foes Ephesians 6:12, but in which she will surely prevail.
It was a distinct part of scriptural prophecy to address pagan nations. In Isaiah Isa. 13-19, Jeremiah Jer. 46-51, and here Ezekiel 25-32, one section is specially devoted to a collection of such prophecies. Every such prediction had the general purpose of exhibiting the conflict ever waging between the servants of God and the powers of the world, the struggle in which the Church of Christ has still to wrestle against her foes Ephesians 6:12, but in which she will surely prevail.
This series of prophecies, with one exception, was delivered at the time of the fall of Jerusalem; some shortly before, and some shortly after, the capture of the city. They were collected together to illustrate their original purpose of warning the nations not to exult in their neighbor's fall. Seven nations are addressed, which have had most contact with the children of Israel - on their eastern borders Moab and Ammon, to the south, Edom, on the south-west Philistia, northward Tyre (the merchant city) and the more ancient Sidon, and lastly Egypt, alternately the scourge and the false stay of the chosen people. The number "seven" is symbolic of completeness. "Seven" prophecies against Egypt the chief of "seven" nations, denote the completeness of the overthrow of the pagan power, the antagonist of the kingdom of God. While other prophets hold out to these pagan nations some prospect of future mercy (e. g., Isaiah 16:14; Jeremiah 49:6, Jeremiah 49:11), Ezekiel speaks of their complete ruin. He was contemplating "national" ruin. In the case of Jerusalem there would be national restoration, but in the case of the pagan no such recovery. The "national" ruin was irretrievable; the remnant to whom the other prophets hold out hopes of mercy were to find it as individuals gathered into God's Church, not as nations to be again set up. Ezekiel does not, like other prophets, prophesy against Babylon; it was his mission to show that for the moment, Babylon was the righteous instrument of the divine wrath, doing God's work in punishing His foes. In prophesying against foreign nations, Ezekiel often adopts the language of those who preceded him.
In Ezekiel 25, the four nations most closely connected with one another by geographical position and by contact, are addressed in a few brief sentences concluding with the same refrain - "Ye shall know that I am the Lord" (e. g. Ezekiel 25:5). This prophecy was delivered immediately after the capture of the city by Nebuchadnezzar, and so is later, in point of time, than some of the prophecies that follow it.
The Ammonites were inveterate foes of the descendants of Abraham.
Son of man, set thy face against the Ammonites, and prophesy against them;
And say unto the Ammonites, Hear the word of the Lord GOD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thou saidst, Aha, against my sanctuary, when it was profaned; and against the land of Israel, when it was desolate; and against the house of Judah, when they went into captivity;
Behold, therefore I will deliver thee to the men of the east for a possession, and they shall set their palaces in thee, and make their dwellings in thee: they shall eat thy fruit, and they shall drink thy milk.Men of the east - The wild wandering Arabs who should come in afterward upon the ruined land. The name was a common term for the nomadic tribes of the desert. Compare Isaiah 13:20.
Palaces - encampments. The tents and folds of nomadic tribes. After subjugation by Nebuchadnezzar Ezekiel 21:28, the land was subjected to various masters. The Graeco-Egyptian kings founded a city on the site of Rabbah Ezekiel 25:5, called Philadelphia, from Ptolemy Philadelphus. In later times, Arabs from the east have completed the doom pronounced against Rabbah.
And I will make Rabbah a stable for camels, and the Ammonites a couchingplace for flocks: and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
For thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thou hast clapped thine hands, and stamped with the feet, and rejoiced in heart with all thy despite against the land of Israel;
Behold, therefore I will stretch out mine hand upon thee, and will deliver thee for a spoil to the heathen; and I will cut thee off from the people, and I will cause thee to perish out of the countries: I will destroy thee; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD.For a spoil - Or, for a portion.
Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because that Moab and Seir do say, Behold, the house of Judah is like unto all the heathen;Prophecies against Moab which lay south of Ammon, and shared Ammon's implacable hostility to the children of Israel.
Seir was close to Moab. Edom is identified with Mount "Seir" in Ezekiel 35:1-15; and "Seir" is therefore probably coupled with "Moab" here because, being near neighbors closely leagued together, they expressed a common exultation at Jerusalem's fall.
Therefore, behold, I will open the side of Moab from the cities, from his cities which are on his frontiers, the glory of the country, Bethjeshimoth, Baalmeon, and Kiriathaim,I will open the side ... - i. e., lay it open to the attack of the enemy from the cities, from his cities, from his frontier (or, in every quarter). There is an ironical stress on "his" cities, because these cities belonged not to Moab but to Israel, having been assigned to the Reubenites Numbers 32:38; Joshua 13:20. They lay to the north of the river Arnon, which was the proper boundary of Moab Numbers 21:13. The Moabites had in the last days of the kingdom of Israel recovered this territory Isaiah 16:1-14. They still occupied this land in the time of Ezekiel (see Jeremiah 48).
The glory of the country - This tract, belonging to the district called by the Arabians "Al Belka," has been at all times highly valued on account of the excellence of its pastures for cattle. The most southern of these three cities is Kiriathaim, called on the Moabitic stone Kirjath, and now Kureiyat. The dual termination of the name Kiriathaim," is explained by the fact that Kureiyat is situated on two sister hillocks half a mile apart, both covered by the ancient city. It is situated about eight miles north of the Arnon, and seven miles east of the shore of the Dead Sea. Baal-meon is about ten miles north of Kureiyat - known at present as Main. It is probable that Kiriathaim was the "Kirjath-Huzoth" (city of streets), and Baal-meon, the "Bamoth-Baal" (high places of Baal), to which Balak took Balaam Numbers 22:39, Numbers 22:41. Baal-meon occurs on the Moabitic stone as a place which Mesa built or fortified. He probably erected a stronghold on the old locality, reviving the ancient name. Beth-jeshimoth is identified with a knoll at the northeasternmost point of the Dead Sea.
Unto the men of the east with the Ammonites, and will give them in possession, that the Ammonites may not be remembered among the nations.Ammon and Moab, of common origin, whose lands had so often been interchanged, shall now share a common ruin. To "the men of the east" Ezekiel 25:4 shall Moab with Ammon be given, that Ammon may be remembercd no more, and judgment be executed on Moab.
And I will execute judgments upon Moab; and they shall know that I am the LORD.
Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because that Edom hath dealt against the house of Judah by taking vengeance, and hath greatly offended, and revenged himself upon them;Edom, so named from Esau, consisted of various tribes enumerated in Genesis 36. The Edomites became a powerful nation before the Israelites came out of Egypt. David conquered them, but in the reign of Joram they rebelled and were not again subdued 2 Kings 8:20. Under the name of Idumea the land was conquered by John Hyrcanus (compare Ezekiel 25:14), when many of the people adopted the religion of the Jews. In later times the Idumean Herod became king of Palestine, reckoning himself as a Jew. Mount Seir, deserted by its original inhabitants, was occupied by a tribe of Arabians (the Nabatheans), under whelm Petra rose and continued a flourishing city under Roman dominion, until the tide of Mahometan conquest brought it to that ruin in which Edom at last found the complete fulfillment of the prophecies uttered against it Ezekiel 35:1-15.
Taking vengeance - Referring to the wrong done by Jacob to Esau Genesis 27:36.
Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; I will also stretch out mine hand upon Edom, and will cut off man and beast from it; and I will make it desolate from Teman; and they of Dedan shall fall by the sword.From Teman ... - Or "from Teman" even unto "Dedan," "shall they fall." Teman and Dedan were districts (not cities), the former in the south (Ezekiel 20:46 note), the latter in the north ("over the whole country").
And I will lay my vengeance upon Edom by the hand of my people Israel: and they shall do in Edom according to mine anger and according to my fury; and they shall know my vengeance, saith the Lord GOD.
Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because the Philistines have dealt by revenge, and have taken vengeance with a despiteful heart, to destroy it for the old hatred;The Philistines occupying lands to the south of Judah were a Hamite race Genesis 10:14, but of a different branch from the Canaanites. They were a powerful people never dispossessed by the Israelites Joshua 13:3. They were a thorn in the side of the chosen people throughout, and joined in attacking Jerusalem in the day of her trouble. They were much reduced by the Assyrians Isaiah 14:31, and Egyptians Jeremiah 47:1-7, before the time of this prophecy, but further destruction came upon them in the general ruin of the inhabitants of Canaan, which commenced with the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar.
Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will stretch out mine hand upon the Philistines, and I will cut off the Cherethims, and destroy the remnant of the sea coast.Cherethims - The inhabitants of the southern portion of Philistia Zephaniah 2:5.
And I will execute great vengeance upon them with furious rebukes; and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I shall lay my vengeance upon them.