This is a brief study on the Shekinah leaving the Temple.
“And it happened in the sixth year, in the sixth month, in the fifth day of the month…”(v1a) as Yechezk’el was taken into exile in 597 B.C.E., this date would represent August/September 592 B.C.E. Throughout this book, the prophet gives details of when prophecies were given to him (1:1; 20:1; 24:1; 31:1; 32:1,17; 33:21; 40:1). I have known people gifted in Prophecy that have kept detailed records on the assumption that they will be challenged in later years. Here the prophet leaves accurate dates for future generations to follow. In fact, יְהֹוָה specifically commands the prophet (v24:1) to write down the date that ties in with secular history.
“…as I sat in my house, and the Zakenim (elders) of Yehudah sat before me, that the hand of יְהֹוָה `Elohiym fell there on me..” (v1b). This seems to be a formal meeting where the elders have called upon Yechezk’el to seek his aid in consulting with יְהֹוָה (14:1; 20:1).
“to the door of the gate of the inner court that looks toward the north; where was the seat of the image of jealousy a , which provokes to jealousy b.” (v3b). a קִנְאָה #H7068 qin’ah *2038a qin’a this is usually translated as ardour as in passion. This would, therefore, be an idol representing sexual promiscuity. It is my opinion that the idol was Semiramis, the consort of Nimrod/Ba’al, the Canaanite fertility god. The location of the idol would be in close proximity to the brazen altar and anything sacrificed on the altar would be sacrificed to Semiramis. b קָנָא #H7065 qana’ *2038 qana this second use of jealousy is the word usually used of a husband/wife relationship. The first use is of an idol and the second use is of יְהֹוָה.
“He said to me, Son of man, see you what they do? Even the great abominations that the House of Yisra’el do commit here, that I should go far off from my sanctuary? But you shall again see yet other great abominations.” (v6). It is not sure to what abominations refer. It may be the sacrifices offered up to an idol or may be the use of the Temple prostitutes.
“So I went in and saw; and see, every form of creeping things, and abominable animals, and all the idols of the house of Yisra’el, portrayed on the wall round about.” (v10). These are all unclean animals.
“There stood before them seventy men of the Zakenim (Elders) of the House of Yisra’el; and in the midst of them stood Ya`azanyah the son of Shafan, every man with his censer in his hand; and the odour of the cloud of incense went up.” (v11). There must have been quite a crowd as the seventy elders (Sanhedrin) were standing in front of the others. Ya`azanyah seems to be in the position of High Priest to which he may be entitled. However, the Sanhedrin was made up of men of high standing in the community and would certainly contain men who were not priests and thus not entitled to offer up incense.
“Then he brought me to the door of the gate of יְהֹוָה ‘s house which was toward the north; and see, there sat the women weeping for Tammuz.” (v14). Tammuz is a false Babylonian deity that:
- a) was the ‘Quickener of the Child (in the mother’s womb)’. This is a counterfeit of the Set Apart Spirit (Luke 1:35).
- b) was associated with milk in the new birth and sustaining of life found in sheep. Again this is a counterfeit.
- c) was associated with the dying off of the spring vegetation (in the month called Tammuz) and was wept over for its death but looked forward to its resurrection in the next year as new life springs forth. Again this is another counterfeit.
- d) was the consort of the fertility goddess Ishtar.
- e) was associated with the Syrian cultic figure of Adonis.
Tradition has it that Tammuz was killed by a boar whilst hunting. Semiramis, Ishtar and others wept for forty days after which Tammuz came back to life. Ishtar is associated with ‘Easter’ and this period of mourning is associated with ‘Lent’.
“…twenty-five men, with their backs to the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east; and they were prostrating themselves eastward towards the sun.” (v16 NASB). Although most common Bible translations refer to these men as worshipping the sun, from the Temple aspect, Babylon would be approximately east. It may be that these men were worshipping Ba’al although the reference to holding a twig would indicate the actual worship of the sun.
The worship of Ba’al and its associated abdominal practices were imported from Babylon by the returning Israelites. Throughout the history of the Israelites, Ba’al worship frequently flared up due to the surrounding nations being seeped in this particular form of idolatry. It may be that the elders of v1 may have come to Yechezk’el to discuss the growing problem of idolatry.
“Behold, six men came from the way of the upper gate, which lies toward the north, every man with his slaughter weapon in his hand; and one man in the midst of them clothed in linen, with a writer’s inkhorn by his side. They went in, and stood beside the brazen altar… To the others he said in my hearing, Go you through the city after him, and strike: don’t let your eye spare, neither have you pity… kill utterly the old man, the young man and the virgin, and little children and women; but don’t come near any man on whom is the mark: and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the old men that were before the house.” (Ch.9:2-7). Could this be a reference to the destruction of the Temple in 70C.E. by the Romans who would have come from the north?
Yechezk’el had the anguish of prophesising the departing of the Shekinah and destruction of the Temple, he was also blessed by the prophecy of the building of the Millennial Temple.
Harris R.L., Archer G.L., Thoelogical Wordbook of the Old Testament, Moody, Chicago, Waltke B.K. (1980) Il.
Strong J. (1994) Strong’s New Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, World Bible Publishers Inc., Madison.
Strong J. (1996) The New Strong’s Complete Dictionary of Bible Words, Thomas Nelson, Nashville.
www.youtube.com – YaHuWaH – Giver of All Life
All verses are from HNV unless otherwise stated and taken from www.blueletterbible.org :
HNV The Hebrew Names Version is based off the World English Bible, an update of the American Standard Version of 1901. This version of the Bible is in the public domain.
NASB The New American Standard Bible Copyright (c) 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, Calif.