Ezekiel 14 – “God’s Vengeance and Mercy”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
Although God punishes Israel for its duplicity, he saves some of the people from the famine, wild beasts, enemy attacks, and pestilence that falls upon Jerusalem.

II. Photo
God is vengeful: “Or, if I were to send wild beasts to roam the land and they depopulated it…” (v. 15)

III. Important Verses
4: Now speak to them and tell them: Thus said the Lord GOD: If anyone of the House of Israel turns his thoughts upon his fetishes and sets his mind upon the sin through which he stumbled, and yet comes to the prophet, I the LORD will respond to him as he comes with his multitude of fetishes.
8: I will set My face against that man and make him a sign and a byword, and I will cut him off from the midst of My people. Then you shall know that I am the LORD.
13-14: O mortal, if a land were to sin against Me and commit a trespass, and I stretched out My hand against it and broke its staff of bread, and sent famine against it and cut off man and beast from it, even if these three men — Noah, Daniel, and Job — should be in it, they would by their righteousness save only themselves — declares the Lord GOD.
21-23: Assuredly, thus said the Lord GOD: How much less [should any escape] now that I have let loose against Jerusalem all four of My terrible punishments — the sword, famine, wild beasts, and pestilence — to cut off man and beast from it! Yet there are survivors left of it, sons and daughters who are being brought out. They are coming out to you; and when you see their ways and their deeds, you will be consoled for the disaster that I brought on Jerusalem, for all that I brought on it. You will be consoled through them, when you see their ways and their deeds and realize that not without cause did I do all that I did in it — declares the Lord GOD.

IV. Outline

1-11. Oracle #1
    1-2. Introduction
    3-5. God will not forget Israel’s duplicity
    6. Exhortation to repent
    7-8. Warning: God will kill those who are duplicitous
    9-11. God will also kill the duplicitous prophets
12-23. Oracle #2
    12. Introduction
    13-20. Only Noah, Dan[i]el, Job would be saved from
        13-14. Famine
        15-16. Wild beasts
        17-18. Enemy attack
        19-20. Pestilence
    21. Jerusalem is experiencing all four punishments
    22-23. Jerusalem has survivors

V. Comment
Chapter 14 contains two oracles: the first describes God’s vengeance and the second describes his mercy. Verse 13-20 relate how, if God were to destroy a wicked city, only three of the men would be saved. These three men are Noah, Daniel, and Job. In an article that appeared in the Bernard Revel Graduate School Student Journal, this author wrote the following: “One of the texts found at Ugarit is the Legend of Aqhat, and it describes a righteous man named Danel. Many scholars believe that this text can shed light on two obscure passages in the book of Ezekiel. God gives a warning in 14:19-20: “Or, if I send pestilence to that country, and I pour My fury upon it in blood, to eliminate from it man and animal, even if Noah, Dan[i]el, and Job would be in it… [they] would save [only] their souls.” In 28:3 God addresses the prince of Tyre and asks: “Are you wiser than Dan[i]el?”
While many once considered Dan[i]el to be the biblical Daniel, scholars now believe that he is the Danel described in the Legend of Aqhat. Sparks writes:

  • Ezekiel’s references to Danel mention him in the company of Noah and Job. Because these two figures can be legitimately identified as non-Israelites, Danel was probably a foreign hero. This likelihood is reinforced by Ezekiel’s oracle against the king of Tyre (Ezek 28), which presupposes that the Phoenicians were familiar with Danel. Although at first sight it may seem artificial to assume a connection between second-millennium Ugarit and first-millennium Phoenicia, we should recall that Ugarit was a cultural ancestor of Phoenicia and that there is substantial evidence the Ugaritic epic tradition was preserved in Phoenicia at least until the Hellenistic period.

Thus, these biblical passages seem to describe a famous non-Israelite hero, not the protagonist of the Book of Daniel.”

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Allen, Leslie C. “Ezekiel 1-19” Word Biblical Commentary vol. 28 (Waco, Texas: Wordbook, 1994).
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
Hals, Ronald M. “Ezekiel” The forms of the Old Testament Literature vol. 19 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1989)
Sparks, Kenton L. Ancient Texts for the Study of the Hebrew Bible. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 2005.
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