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Ezekiel 21

Ezek 21, Eze 21, Ezk 21

Ezekiel 21

1 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

2 Son of man, set thy face toward Jerusalem, and drop thy word toward the holy places, and prophesy against the land of Israel,

3 And say to the land of Israel, Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I am against thee, and will draw forth my sword out of his sheath, and will cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked.

4 Seeing then that I will cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked, therefore shall my sword go forth out of his sheath against all flesh from the south to the north:

5 That all flesh may know that I the LORD have drawn forth my sword out of his sheath: it shall not return any more.

6 Sigh therefore, thou son of man, with the breaking of thy loins; and with bitterness sigh before their eyes.

7 And it shall be, when they say unto thee, Wherefore sighest thou? that thou shalt answer, For the tidings; because it cometh: and every heart shall melt, and all hands shall be feeble, and every spirit shall faint, and all knees shall be weak as water: behold, it cometh, and shall be brought to pass, saith the Lord GOD.

8 Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

9 Son of man, prophesy, and say, Thus saith the LORD; Say, A sword, a sword is sharpened, and also furbished:

10 It is sharpened to make a sore slaughter; it is furbished that it may glitter: should we then make mirth? it contemneth the rod of my son, as every tree.

11 And he hath given it to be furbished, that it may be handled: this sword is sharpened, and it is furbished, to give it into the hand of the slayer.

12 Cry and howl, son of man: for it shall be upon my people, it shall be upon all the princes of Israel: terrors by reason of the sword shall be upon my people: smite therefore upon thy thigh.

13 Because it is a trial, and what if the sword contemn even the rod? it shall be no more, saith the Lord GOD.

14 Thou therefore, son of man, prophesy, and smite thine hands together. and let the sword be doubled the third time, the sword of the slain: it is the sword of the great men that are slain, which entereth into their privy chambers.

15 I have set the point of the sword against all their gates, that their heart may faint, and their ruins be multiplied: ah! it is made bright, it is wrapped up for the slaughter.

16 Go thee one way or other, either on the right hand, or on the left, whithersoever thy face is set.

17 I will also smite mine hands together, and I will cause my fury to rest: I the LORD have said it.

18 The word of the LORD came unto me again, saying,

19 Also, thou son of man, appoint thee two ways, that the sword of the king of Babylon may come: both twain shall come forth out of one land: and choose thou a place, choose it at the head of the way to the city.

20 Appoint a way, that the sword may come to Rabbath of the Ammonites, and to Judah in Jerusalem the defenced.

21 For the king of Babylon stood at the parting of the way, at the head of the two ways, to use divination: he made his arrows bright, he consulted with images, he looked in the liver.

22 At his right hand was the divination for Jerusalem, to appoint captains, to open the mouth in the slaughter, to lift up the voice with shouting, to appoint battering rams against the gates, to cast a mount, and to build a fort.

23 And it shall be unto them as a false divination in their sight, to them that have sworn oaths: but he will call to remembrance the iniquity, that they may be taken.

24 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye have made your iniquity to be remembered, in that your transgressions are discovered, so that in all your doings your sins do appear; because, I say, that ye are come to remembrance, ye shall be taken with the hand.

25 And thou, profane wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end,

26 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high.

27 I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him.

28 And thou, son of man, prophesy and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD concerning the Ammonites, and concerning their reproach; even say thou, The sword, the sword is drawn: for the slaughter it is furbished, to consume because of the glittering:

29 Whiles they see vanity unto thee, whiles they divine a lie unto thee, to bring thee upon the necks of them that are slain, of the wicked, whose day is come, when their iniquity shall have an end.

30 Shall I cause it to return into his sheath? I will judge thee in the place where thou wast created, in the land of thy nativity.

31 And I will pour out mine indignation upon thee, I will blow against thee in the fire of my wrath, and deliver thee into the hand of brutish men, and skilful to destroy.

32 Thou shalt be for fuel to the fire; thy blood shall be in the midst of the land; thou shalt be no more remembered: for I the LORD have spoken it.

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Summary and the Meaning of Ezekiel Chapter 21: The Sword of God's Judgment

Ezekiel chapter 21, in the King James Version (KJV) of the Holy Bible, is a prophetic message of judgment and destruction. This chapter revolves around the symbolic imagery of a sword, representing God's wrath and judgment. The chapter is divided into three main sections, each depicting a different facet of the impending doom on Jerusalem and the whole of Israel because of their continued disobedience and rebellion against God.

The first section (verses 1-7) introduces the sword of God's judgment. This symbolic sword is unsheathed and prepared to strike not just Israel, but all flesh from south to north. The impending doom is so severe that even nature will groan and all faces 'shall be as the blackness of the pot'. This vividly portrays the terror and despair that will befall the people.

In the second section (verses 8-17), the prophet Ezekiel is commanded to groan in agony and despair before the people, symbolizing the pain and suffering that is to come. He is to demonstrate this before the people so that they might understand the severity of God's judgment. The sword of God's judgment is sharpened and polished, ready for the slaughter, ready for destruction. It is a sword of great wrath, a sword of great slaughter, a sword that will cause hearts to faint and ruin to multiply.

The third section (verses 18-32) presents the sword at a crossroad, a significant decision point. This represents the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar who is deciding whether to attack Jerusalem or Rabbah of the Ammonites. The decision is made using divination, consulting idols, examining the liver, and casting lots. This symbolizes the pagan practices that were prevalent during that time. However, the direction of the sword, regardless of the divination, is ultimately controlled by God. God's judgment will come upon Jerusalem first, then the Ammonites.

This chapter is a solemn reminder of the consequences of disobedience and rebellion against God. The people of Israel had repeatedly broken their covenant with God, despite His constant warnings and pleas for repentance. Their actions have led to this severe judgment, symbolized by the sword of God.

The Symbolism of the Sword

The sword in Ezekiel chapter 21 is a powerful symbol of God's judgment. It is not a mere tool of destruction, but a divine instrument of judgment. It is unsheathed, sharpened, and polished, ready for the task at hand. It is wielded not by human hands, but by God Himself. This symbolizes that the judgment is not only severe, but it is also just. It is a necessary response to Israel's persistent sin and rebellion.

The sword is also indiscriminate. It is prepared to strike "all flesh from south to north". This shows that God's judgment is not partial. It is not limited to a specific group of people, but extends to all who have rebelled against Him. This underscores the universal nature of God's justice and judgment.

The Groaning Prophet

Ezekiel, in this chapter, is not just a messenger of God's judgment, but also a participant in the emotional turmoil that it entails. He is commanded to groan "with the breaking of thy loins and with bitterness". This shows that the impending judgment is not a joyous occasion, but a time of great sorrow and pain. Ezekiel's groaning is a reflection of God's own heart - a heart that takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but desires them to turn from their ways and live (Ezekiel 33:11).

The Decision at the Crossroad

The decision at the crossroad is a significant part of this chapter. It shows that the course of history, despite seeming randomness and chaos, is ultimately under God's control. The Babylonian king may use pagan methods to decide his course of action, but the final outcome is determined by God. This reaffirms the sovereignty of God in the affairs of nations and individuals.

The judgment on Jerusalem is followed by the judgment on the Ammonites. This shows that God's judgment is not limited to His own people, Israel, but extends to the nations that have opposed and oppressed His people. This is a reminder that God is not just the God of Israel, but the God of all nations, and He will hold all accountable for their actions.

Lessons from Ezekiel Chapter 21

There are several lessons that can be drawn from Ezekiel chapter 21. First, the severity of God's judgment serves as a warning to all who would consider rebelling against Him. It is a sobering reminder of the consequences of sin and disobedience. Second, the symbolism of the sword underscores the justice of God's judgment. It is not arbitrary or capricious, but a necessary response to persistent sin and rebellion.

Third, the groaning of Ezekiel reminds us of the emotional cost of sin and judgment. It is not a matter of indifference, but a cause of great sorrow and pain. This reflects the heart of God, who takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. Fourth, the decision at the crossroad reaffirms the sovereignty of God. Despite the seeming randomness and chaos of world events, God is in control and His purposes will prevail.

Finally, the judgment on the Ammonites reminds us that God's justice extends to all nations. He is not just the God of Israel, but the God of all nations. He will hold all accountable for their actions and will execute justice on behalf of His people.

In conclusion, Ezekiel chapter 21 is a powerful depiction of God's judgment on Jerusalem and the whole of Israel for their continued disobedience and rebellion. Despite the severity of the judgment, it is just and necessary, reflecting the justice and righteousness of God. This chapter serves as a solemn warning to all who would rebel against God, reminding us of the consequences of sin and the sovereignty of God in the affairs of nations and individuals.

This article is informed by the King James Version of the Holy Bible, the authors' personal knowledge, considerations and experience, and additional materials and resources available in internet.

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