Today’s Scripture reading – Ezekiel 18; Ezekiel 19

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Ezekiel 18 addressed the assertion by some that the LORD was unjust, for they supposed their sorrows and travails were brought upon them because of their father’s sins (Ezekiel 18). Ezekiel answered their erroneous claims and declared a sinner’s responsibility for his sins (Ezekiel 18:4) and that “everyone” would be judged “according to his [own] ways” (Ezekiel 18:29).


Ezekiel 19

The focus of Ezekiel 19 turned to wicked rulers’ influence upon Israel, particularly Judah. Ezekiel commanded the people of the captivity to “take … up a lamentation for the princes of Israel” (Ezekiel 19:1). Who were the princes? They were the last kings of the Davidic dynasty (of course, David’s lineage will be restored to the throne when Christ reigns in the Millennial Kingdom). Three wicked kings were described and can be identified. They were: Jehoahaz (Ezekiel 19:3-4), Jehoiachin (Ezekiel 19:5-9), and Zedekiah (Ezekiel 19:14).


The Lioness and Her Cubs (Ezekiel 19:1-9)

The “lioness” of this lamentation was Judah. The young lion cubs represented the kings of Judah (Ezekiel 19:2). Jehoahaz was the first king described. You may remember that he was twenty-three when he became king (2 Kings 23:31-33; 2 Chronicles 36:1-3). He was like a lion, a tyrant, and “learned to catch the prey…[and]devoured men” (Ezekiel 19:3b). Jehoahaz was notoriously wicked and after reigning for only three months, Neco, king of Egypt, removed him from the throne and “brought him with chains unto the land of Egypt” (Ezekiel 19:4).

The Lioness and Her Cubs (Ezekiel 19:1-9)

Jehoiakim ascended to the throne after Jehoahaz; however, he was not mentioned in Ezekiel 19, because he died in battle, and his son Jehoiachin reigned in his stead (2 Kings 24:7-16; 2 Chronicles 36:9-10). Like Jehoahaz, Jehoiachin was described as “a young lion” who devoured men, for he was a ruthless and heartless king (Ezekiel19:5-6). Indeed, Jehoiachin was everything a king should not be, for he destroyed the homes and cities of his people, and terrorized them “by the noise of his roaring” (Ezekiel 19:7). His rebellion provoked Nebuchadnezzar, who came and took him away prisoner to Babylon (Ezekiel 19:8-9).


When Israel was a Fruitful Vine (Ezekiel 19:10-13)

Ezekiel 19:10-13 painted a beautiful, poetic picture of Israel in the days of her glory (Ezekiel 19:10). Israel, and perhaps, in particular Jerusalem, was described as a fruitful vine, “planted by the waters,” and “full of branches” (i.e., kings, Ezekiel 19:10). We know that under David’s reign, who was followed by his son Solomon, Israel reached her zenith as a great, and powerful nation. The nation was then “fruitful and full of branches” (Ezekiel19:10), and her rulers were like “strong rods for the sceptres” (Ezekiel 19:11). In that age, Jerusalem was exalted among the nations (Ezekiel 19:11).

However, a succession of wicked kings spelled the doom of Israel and then Judah, and consequently, brought God’s judgment (Ezekiel 19:12). Jerusalem was “plucked up in fury,” and “cast down to the ground” (Ezekiel19:12). Nebuchadnezzar came as an east wind (Ezekiel 19:12). The glory and riches of Jerusalem were dried up. David’s dynasty (i.e., “her strong rods”) was broken and consumed (Ezekiel 19:12). The captivity of the children of Israel in Babylon was described as “planted in the wilderness, in a dry and thirsty ground” (Ezekiel 19:13).

Corporate Guilt and National Judgment

Ezekiel 19:14 brings us to Zedekiah, the third king whose reign was described in this chapter. His rule and the climatic end of Jerusalem were portrayed in this:

“Fire [God’s judgment] is gone out of a rod of her branches [Zedekiah, the last king], which hath devoured her fruit, so that she [Jerusalem] hath no strong rod to be a sceptre to rule” (Ezekiel 19:14).

Ezekiel 19 concluded with a pitiful cry: “This is a lamentation, and shall be for a lamentation” (Ezekiel 19:14). Lament, lament, for Jerusalem will be destroyed, and Judah will be left desolate. King Zedekiah witnessed the deaths of his sons, his eyes were put out, and he was taken prisoner to Babylon, where he died.


Closing thoughtsCorporate Guilt and National Judgment

We have seen that fathers do not bear the guilt of their children’s sins, nor do children suffer the condemnation of their fathers’ sins (Ezekiel 18). Nevertheless, when a nation tolerates its leaders’ evil ways, the people will bear the consequences of their wicked leaders.

Proverbs 14:34 – “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.”

Pity the nation ruled by wicked, immoral leaders.

Copyright © 2024 – Travis D. Smith 

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