Bible Study: Ezekiel 22 – Siege of Jerusalem (AD 70)

The book of Ezekiel is one of the major prophets in the Old Testament. It was authored by Ezekiel who was set as a watchman to the house of Israel.

Ezek 3:17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me:

The twenty-second chapter of Ezekiel is about the prophecy of the Siege of Jerusalem in AD 70 written hundreds of years before it happened for the sins of Israel.

Sins of Jerusalem

destruction_of_jerusalem

The Siege and Destruction of Jerusalem, by David Roberts (1850)

Ezek 22:1-6 Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, Now, son of man, will you judge, will you judge the bloody city? Yes, show her all her abominations! Then say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “The city sheds blood in her own midst, that her time may come; and she makes idols within herself to defile herself. You have become guilty by the blood which you have shed, and have defiled yourself with the idols which you have made. You have caused your days to draw near, and have come to the end of your years; therefore I have made you a reproach to the nations, and a mockery to all countries. Those near and those far from you will mock you as infamous and full of tumult. Look, the princes of Israel: each one has used his power to shed blood in you.

There are two important sins which the Lord refers to:

  • Murder
  • Idolatry

Shedding of blood or murder causes the end to draw near. It prepones judgment for the land. Idolatry defiles the land.

Ezek 22:7-12 “In you they have made light of father and mother; in your midst they have oppressed the stranger; in you they have mistreated the fatherless and the widow. You have despised My holy things and profaned My Sabbaths. In you are men who slander to cause bloodshed; in you are those who eat on the mountains; in your midst they commit lewdness. In you men uncover their fathers’ nakedness; in you they violate women who are set apart during their impurity. One commits abomination with his neighbor’s wife; another lewdly defiles his daughter-in-law; and another in you violates his sister, his father’s daughter. In you they take bribes to shed blood; you take usury and increase; you have made profit from your neighbors by extortion, and have forgotten Me,” says the Lord GOD.

God then gives a list of very serious sins.

  1. Treating parents with contempt
  2. Oppressed the stranger
  3. Mistreated the fatherless and widows
  4. Dispised His holy things
  5. Profaned His Sabbaths
  6. Slander to cause bloodshed
  7. Eat on mountains (Idolatry)
  8. Commited lewdness
  9. Uncovered father’s nakedness
  10. Violate women during her impurity
  11. Adultery with neighbor’s wife
  12. Defiling his own daughter-in-law
  13. Violating his own sister
  14. Takes bride to shed blood
  15. Take usury and increase
  16. Profit from your neighbors by extortion

Jewish Diaspora

Ezek 22:13-16 Behold, therefore, I beat My fists at the dishonest profit which you have made, and at the bloodshed which has been in your midst. Can your heart endure, or can your hands remain strong, in the days when I shall deal with you? I, the LORD, have spoken, and will do it. I will scatter you among the nations, disperse you throughout the countries, and remove your filthiness completely from you. You shall defile yourself in the sight of the nations; then you shall know that I am the LORD.” 

God then gave a prophecy that He will scatter them among the nations, disperse the throughout the countries and remove their filthiness completely. They shall defile themselves in the sight of nations. This event was not the exile of Jerusalem in 586 BC but rather 70 AD, where God scattered them throughout the countries.

Melted in midst of Jerusalem by Romans

Ezek 22:17-22 The word of the LORD came to me, saying, Son of man, the house of Israel has become dross to Me; they are all bronze, tin, iron, and lead, in the midst of a furnace; they have become dross from silver. Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Because you have all become dross, therefore behold, I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem. As men gather silver, bronze, iron, lead, and tin into the midst of a furnace, to blow fire on it, to melt it; so I will gather you in My anger and in My fury, and I will leave you there and melt you. Yes, I will gather you and blow on you with the fire of My wrath, and you shall be melted in its midst. As silver is melted in the midst of a furnace, so shall you be melted in its midst; then you shall know that I, the LORD, have poured out My fury on you.

According to Josephus, 1.1 million non-combatants died in Jerusalem (scholars suggest this number is too high or exagerated), mainly as a result of the violence and famine. Many of the casualties were observant Jews from across the world such as Babylon and Egypt who had travelled to Jerusalem wanting to celebrate the yearly Passover but instead got trapped in the chaotic siege by the Romans. Little did the Jews know that they were walking straight into the midst of a furnace for God to blow fire on them and melt them.

Just as the Jews who became dross walked straight into God’s fury to be melted in the midst of Jerusalem in 70 AD, Christ will come to execute Judgment and accomplish His wrath in a time no one expects.

From God, To Jerusalem

Ezek 22:23-29 And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Son of man, say to her: ‘You are a land that is not cleansed or rained on in the day of indignation. The conspiracy of her prophets in her midst is like a roaring lion tearing the prey; they have devoured people; they have taken treasure and precious things; they have made many widows in her midst. Her priests have violated My law and profaned My holy things; they have not distinguished between the holy and unholy, nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean; and they have hidden their eyes from My Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them. Her princes in her midst are like wolves tearing the prey, to shed blood, to destroy people, and to get dishonest gain. Her prophets plastered them with untempered mortar, seeing false visions, and divining lies for them, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD,’ when the LORD had not spoken. The people of the land have used oppressions, committed robbery, and mistreated the poor and needy; and they wrongfully oppress the stranger.

The list of sins God is accusing Jerusalem continues further:

  • Land (not cleansed or not rained in the day of indignation)
    • Prophets
      • A roaring lion tearing the prey.
      • Taken treasure and precious things.
      • Made many widows in her midst.
      • Plastered the deeds of Princes with untempered mortar saying, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD,’ when the LORD had not spoken.
        • seeing false visions
        • divining lies for them,
    • Priests
      • Violated My law and profaned My holy things
      • Have not distinguished between
        • the holy and unholy
        • unclean and the clean
      • Hidden their eyes from My Sabbaths
      • I am profaned among them.
    • Princes (wolves tearing the prey)
      • to shed blood
      • to destroy people
      • to get dishonest gain.
    • People
      • used oppressions
      • committed robbery
      • mistreated the poor and needy
      • wrongfully oppress the stranger

Need for a Messiah

Ezek 22:30-31 So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one. Therefore I have poured out My indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath; and I have recompensed their deeds on their own heads,” says the Lord GOD.

When God executed His fury on 70 AD, the Jews actually had their Messiah come and live among them, who could have mediated for them.

Matt 27:25 And all the people answered and said, “His blood be on us and on our children.”

Yet they rejected Him and delivered to be crucified. Now there is no one to mediate for them in the land.

1 John 2:1-3 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.

Today we have an Advocate who is meditating with the Father and giving us grace time to repent and walk in righteousness for all who keep His commandments. You will not know this Advocate if you do not keep His commandments.