Scripture reading – Ezekiel 24

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Ezekiel 24

 

An Introduction (Ezekiel 24:1-2)

Remembering that Ezekiel was living in Babylon, the LORD employed the prophet to declare His Word and reveal to the captives events unfolding in Judah and Jerusalem (Ezekiel 24:1-2). We read that it was on the day the LORD came to Ezekiel with another parable (Ezekiel 24:1) that Nebuchadnezzar began his final siege of Jerusalem (Ezekiel 24:2).

 

The Parable of a Boiling Caldron (Ezekiel 24:3-14) 

Ezekiel 24 recorded a parable that the LORD commanded Ezekiel to teach to those living in Babylon who were described as “the rebellious house” (a reference to the “rebellious house of Israel”, Ezekiel 24:3). With a dramatic flair meant to provoke questions, the prophet was told to “Set on a pot, set it on, and also pour water into it” (Ezekiel 24:3). Ezekiel was then told to “gather the pieces” of meat, “even every good piece” and fill the pot “with the choice bones” (Ezekiel 24:4) and bring it to a boil (Ezekiel 24:5).

The boiling pot in this parable represented Jerusalem, described as “the blood city” (Ezekiel 24:6a). The fire in the parable identified the wrath of God’s judgment, and the scum that arose in the pot symbolized the sin and wickedness of Jerusalem (Ezekiel 24:6-11). Reflected in the parable was the imminent judgment of Jerusalem and its people whom the LORD declared, “I will even make the pile for fire great. Heap on wood, kindle the fire, consume the flesh…let the bones be burned” (Ezekiel 24:9-10).

The sinful people of Jerusalem had become like the scum from the meats that were consumed in the boiling pot (Ezekiel 24:11-13). Thus, the LORD declared that His judgment would not cease until His justice was satisfied (Ezekiel 23:14).

The Parable of a Boiling Caldron

The Sign from the Death of Ezekiel’s Wife (Ezekiel 24:15-27) 

Today’s devotion concludes with a sad but powerful sign of God’s judgment. Ezekiel’s final message before the destruction of Jerusalem was a revelation of his tragedy…the death of his wife.

The LORD revealed to his prophet, “Son of man, behold, I take away from thee the desire [Ezekiel’s wife] of thine eyes with a stroke: yet neither shalt thou mourn nor weep, neither shall thy tears run down” (Ezekiel 24:15-16). Ezekiel suffered many things living in Babylon, and added to the burden of confronting the sins of his people, was now the prophecy of his wife’s death. What an unexpected sorrow. The LORD commanded Ezekiel that he was not to “mourn nor weep, neither shall thy tears run down. 17Forbear to cry, make no mourning for the dead, bind the tire of thine head upon thee, and put on thy shoes upon thy feet, and cover not thy lips, and eat not the bread of men” (Ezekiel 24:16-17).

Even with the knowledge of his wife’s imminent death, Ezekiel nevertheless “spake unto the people in the morning: and at even [his] wife died” (Ezekiel 24:18). The morning after his wife’s death, for the way of the ancients was to bury their dead within the day. Understanding his wife was dead, the people wondered why he failed to mourn after the manner of that day (Ezekiel 24:19).

Ezekiel then related that his refusal to mourn his wife’s death was a sign for the people to refrain from mourning when the news that Jerusalem had fallen reached them in Babylon (Ezekiel 24:20-23). They were not to mourn the destruction of the Temple and the city. Instead, they were to mourn the sins and wickedness that necessitated its ruin (Ezekiel 24:24-25). To that end, the LORD desired that His people, amid their sorrows, would come to hear and know Him as LORD (Ezekiel 24:27).

The Sign from the Death of Ezekiel’s Wife

Closing thoughts

Our study concludes with the news that a messenger would escape the fall of Jerusalem and bring news to him that Jerusalem was destroyed (Ezekiel 24:26-27; note Ezekiel 33:21-22). Though many prophets foretold the day of Jerusalem’s fall, it was the news of that tragic event that none of the LORD’s promises failed. Thousands died in the final siege. Thus, though the LORD is longsuffering, His judgment was inevitable, for He is just and holy.

“Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.” (Ezekiel 18:4)

Copyright © 2024 – Travis D. Smith 

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