Ezekiel 25

Paul Zellmer zellmer at digitelone.com
Tue Aug 17 21:52:38 EDT 1999


Baruch Alster wrote:

> I would like to bring up for discussion on this list an idea I have
about
> Ezekiel's oracle(s) against the nations in chap. 25.
>
Greetings, Baruch,

I'm not quite sure from your post exactly what your idea is.  Is it the
conclusion in #6, is it a combination of all the main ideas expressed at
the start of each number paragraphs, or is it that 26:1-6 is separate
from chapter 25?  Anyway, your analysis appears fairly good, except that
I think you may be reading too much into some points.  But that is just
my opinion.

> 1.  Chap. 26, 1-6 is separate from chap. 25.  Although these verses
use
> much of the same structure and language as the previous chapter, a.
they
> begin with a date; b. they lack the words KOH 'FMAR ':ADONFY Y-WH
before
> the description of Tyre's sins; and c. these verses use 2nd and 3rd
person
> alternately, while in chap. 25, vs. 3-7 use only 2nd person and vs.
8-17
> use only 3rd person.  In light of this, chap. 26, 1-6 is possibly a
> variation of the theme in chap. 25.
>
I agree that chapter 26 is separate from 25.  In fact, one of the
organizing features that the book seems to use is the date.  Based on
this, chapters 24 and 25 are connected, and chapters 26-28 are
connected.

While the theme of the section concerning Tyre starts out with the same
type complaint against Tyre as was expressed against the groups in ch
25, I don't see that the two are so closely tied as to consider the
first part of chapter 26 as a "variation" of the theme of chapter 25.
It appears just as likely, or, considering the new division as marked by
the statement of the date, perhaps even more likely that the common
theme between the two chapters serves as a transition device, preserving
the unity of book as a whole.

> 2.  Chap. 25 is itself ONE ORACLE.  We see this by the unified
structure
> and language.  Very few verb forms appear only once.  All its parts
begin
> with KOH 'FMAR ':ADONFY Y-WH and end with a sentence beginning with
the
> root YD` and ending with the Tetragrammaton.  Each nation's sins begin
with
> YA`AN, and each punishment begins with LFK"N.  The root NTN appears in
each
> part of this chapter.
>
Again, I agree that the chapter is indeed a single oracle.  I would see
the strongest support for this as the introduction WAY:HIY D:BAR-Y:HWFH
'"LAY L"'MOR.  Based on this, it appears as if the ch 24-25 section is
made up of three oracles (to use your term): 24:1-14, 24:15-27, and
25:1-17.  A closely worded phrase is found in 24:20, but it changes from
wayyiqtol to X-qatal and, IMO, is there to extend the oracle begun in
verse 15, explaining the significance of the oracle to the people.

I also agree that chapter 25 is divided into four "sub-oracles,"
although I'm not sure the use of NTN is very significant.

> 3.  The use of 2nd person in chap. 25 only in vs. 3b-7 implies that
this
> oracle is meant primarily for Ammon.
>
If you were to say that the only group expected to actually receive the
oracle was Ammon, I would agree with you.  (Please see my comments to
#6.)

> 4.  Vs. 3b-11 are connected by the similarity of the sins of Ammon,
Moab
> and Se`ir (expressions of joy over the destruction of Jerusalem), and
(in
> vs. 4 and 10) either the similarity of their punishment, or -
according to
> the MT - the mention of Ammon's punishment in connection with Moab.
>
I agree there's a unifying theme between the parts of the oracle.

> 5.  Vs. 12-17 are connected by the repeated use of the root NQM (10
times),
> in the sins and punishments of Edom and the Phillistines.  In vs. 1-11
and
> in chap. 26, 1-6, this root is not mentioned at all.  The use of NQM
shows
> that the sin discussed here is not merely rejoicing over Jerusalem's
> destruction, but actually taking revenge against Judah.  Another sign
of
> the division between vs. 3b-11 and 12-17 is the use of the name Se`ir
in v.
> 8, as opposed to Edom in vs. 12-14.
>
I see this more as a progression in the seriousness of the complaint as
we go through the parts of the oracle.  There is also a progression in
the punishments.  The use of progressions like these is a fairly common
organizing features in communication in many different languages and
cultures.

> 6.  Therefore, Ezekiel's message in this oracle is to equate Ammon's
> seemingly lighter sin of rejoicing with those nations who committed
the
> seemingly heavier sin of revenge.
>
Perhaps you have read too much into the common theme and the pronominal
use here.  I see the use of the second person in the first "sub-oracle"
and the use of the third person in the other three more as an indication
that Ezekiel expected the Ammonites to see the oracle while the other
three would not.  But the punishment of Ammon (to be cut off and
destroyed) is arguably less severe than the punishment of Moab (the
exposure of the glory of the land and the infliction of punishment),
which in turn is less severe than the punishment of Edom (take his
vengeance [NIQ:MFTIY] by the hand of Israel, who will deal with the in
accordance with YHWH's wrath), which in turn is less severe than the
punishment of the Philistines (YHWH himself carrying out great vengeance
[N:QFMOWT G:DOLOWTH] and punish them himself in his wrath.  Now, I'll
admit the Ammonites, experiencing the punishment of YHWH, would be hard
put to see the progression of the punishments, but it does appear as if
the progression is there in language of the text.

So I do not see this passage as an equating, as support for the concept,
"If you trangress one part of the law, you are guilty of transgressing
the whole law."

HTH,

Paul Zellmer





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