Ezekiel – Chapter 11

Going... going... gone.

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

A wind carried Ezekiel to the eastern gate of the Temple, where 25 men stood. These were the 25 idolators from chapter 8, but now he could identify them as princes of the people. G-d told Ezekiel that these men plan evil and give self-serving advice in the city. They told the people that the warnings of the prophets would not come to pass and they would safely live out their days in the city.

The spirit of G-d rested on Ezekiel and told him to prophesy that G-d knows not only the actions of the people, but their thoughts as well. Their actions will lead to the city being strewn with corpses. The dead will remain in the city; the survivors would be exiled. G-d will hand them over to their enemies and punish them so that they know it came from Him.

Ezekiel did as he was told and, while he was speaking, one of the men died. Ezekiel threw himself down and cried out to G-d, “Will You eradicate the remnant of Israel?” (According to Radak, Ezekiel knew that the people were “marked for death,” but he thought there would be time to try and encourage repentance. Now he saw that the smiting had begun.) G-d replied that the people of Jerusalem thought that they, unlike the people of Israel and the rest of Judah, were impervious to exile. Because they thought their hold on the city was immovable, they did not hesitate to turn away from G-d. Therefore, G-d says, they are being removed from Jerusalem and scattered among the nations. However, He will permit them to have synagogues in exile, to stand in for the loss of the Temple. Eventually, He will gather the exiles back and return them to the land of Israel. When that happens, they will not persist in their evil ways. They will have a new outlook and will be receptive to the word of G-d. As for those who refuse to accept G-d’s word and do persist in their evil, G-d will give them exile and the sword.

The cherubim raised their wings, with the ofanim adjacent to them, and G-d’s glory was over them. G-d’s presence, the shechina, withdrew from the Temple altogether. (It had done so in stages.) In a vision, the wind carried Ezekiel to the Chaldean exile, where he spoke to the refugees and told them what G-d had said.

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