Ezekiel 21

1 The LORD’s word came to me, saying, 2 Son of man, set your face towards Jerusalem, and preach towards the sanctuaries, and prophesy against the land of Israel; 3 and tell the land of Israel, the LORD says: Behold, I am against you, and will draw my sword out of its sheath, and will cut off from you the righteous and the wicked. 4 Seeing then that I will cut off from you the righteous and the wicked, therefore shall my sword go out of its sheath against all flesh from the south to the north: 5 and all flesh shall know that I, the LORD, have drawn my sword out of its sheath; it shall not return any more. 6 Sigh therefore, you son of man; with the breaking of your thighs and with bitterness you will sigh before their eyes. 7 It shall be, when they tell you, Why do you sigh? that you shall say, Because of the news, for it comes; 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 comes, and it shall be done, says the Lord GOD. 8 The LORD’s word came to me, saying, 9 Son of man, prophesy, and say, the LORD says: Say, a sword, a sword, it is sharpened, and also polished; 10 it is sharpened that it may make a slaughter; it is polished that it may be as lightning: shall we then make mirth? The rod of my son, it condemns every tree. 11 It is given to be polished, that it may be handled: the sword, it is sharpened, yes, it is polished, to give it into the hand of the killer. 12 Cry and wail, son of man; for it is on my people, it is on all the princes of Israel: they are delivered over to the sword with my people; therefore beat your thigh. 13 For there is a trial; and what if even the rod that condemns shall be no more? says the Lord GOD. 14 You therefore, son of man, prophesy, and strike your hands together; and let the sword be doubled the third time, the sword of the deadly wounded: it is the sword of the great one who is deadly wounded, which enters into their rooms. 15 I have set the threatening sword against all their gates, that their heart may melt, and their stumbling be multiplied: Ah! it is made as lightning, it is pointed for slaughter. 16 Gather yourselves together, go to the right, set yourselves in array, go to the left, wherever your face is set. 17 I will also strike my hands together, and I will cause my wrath to rest: I, the LORD, have spoken it. 18 The LORD’s word came to me again, saying, 19 also, you son of man, appoint two ways, that the sword of the king of Babylon may come; they both shall come out of one land: and mark out a place, mark it out at the head of the way to the city. 20 You shall appoint a way for the sword to come to Rabbah of the children of Ammon, and to Judah in Jerusalem the fortified. 21 For the king of Babylon stood at the parting of the way, at the head of the two ways, to use divination: he shook the arrows back and forth, he consulted the teraphim, he looked in the liver. 22 In his right hand was the lot for Jerusalem, to set battering rams, to open the mouth in the slaughter, to lift up the voice with shouting, to set battering rams against the gates, to cast up mounds, to build forts. 23 It shall be to them as a false divination in their sight, who have sworn oaths to them; but he brings iniquity to memory, that they may be taken. 24 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Because you have made your iniquity to be remembered, in that your transgressions are uncovered, so that in all your doings your sins appear; because you have come to memory, you shall be taken with the hand. 25 You, deadly wounded wicked one, the prince of Israel, whose day has come, in the time of the iniquity of the end, 26 thus says the Lord GOD: Remove the turban, and take off the crown; this will not be as it was; exalt that which is low, and abase that which is high. 27 I will overturn, overturn, overturn it: this also shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it. 28 You, son of man, prophesy, and say, Thus says the Lord GOD concerning the children of Ammon, and concerning their reproach; and say, a sword, a sword is drawn, for the slaughter it is polished, to cause it to devour, that it may be as lightning; 29 while they see for you false visions, while they divine lies to you, to lay you on the necks of the wicked who are deadly wounded, whose day has come in the time of the iniquity of the end. 30 Cause it to return into its sheath. In the place where you were created, in the land of your birth, will I judge you. 31 I will pour out my indignation on you; I will blow on you with the fire of my wrath; and I will deliver you into the hand of brutish men, skillful to destroy. 32 You shall be for fuel to the fire; your blood shall be in the middle of the land; you shall be remembered no more: for I, the LORD, have spoken it.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1-17

Here is an explanation of the parable in the last chapter. It is declared that the Lord was about to cut off Jerusalem and the whole land, that all might know it was his decree against a wicked and rebellious people. It behoves those who denounce the awful wrath of God against sinners, to show that they do not desire the woful day. The example of Christ teaches us to lament over those whose ruin we declare. Whatever instruments God uses in executing his judgments, he will strengthen them according to the service they are employed in. The sword glitters to the terror of those against whom it is drawn. It is a sword to others, a rod to the people of the Lord. God is in earnest in pronouncing this sentence, and the prophet must show himself in earnest in publishing it.

Verses 18-27

By the Spirit of prophecy Ezekiel foresaw Nebuchadnezzar’s march from Babylon, which he would determine by divination. The Lord would overturn the government of Judah, till the coming of Him whose right it is. This seems to foretell the overturnings of the Jewish nation to the present day, and the troubles of states and kingdoms, which shall make way for establishing the Messiah’s kingdom throughout the earth. The Lord secretly leads all to adopt his wise designs. And in the midst of the most tremendous warnings of wrath, we still hear of mercy, and some mention of Him through whom mercy is shown to sinful men.

Verses 28-32

The diviners of the Ammonites made false prophecies of victory. They would never recover their power, but in time would be wholly forgotten. Let us be thankful to be employed as instruments of mercy; let us use our understandings in doing good; and let us stand aloof from men who are only skilful to destroy.

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