Ezekiel 20 – “A History of Israel”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
God relates that the people’s ancestors were punished for sinning.

II. Photo
The people are drawn to idolatry: “We will be like the nations, like the families of the lands, worshiping wood and stone!” (v. 32b)

III. Important Verses
5-9: Say to them: Thus said the Lord GOD: On the day that I chose Israel, I gave My oath to the stock of the House of Jacob; when I made Myself known to them in the land of Egypt, I gave my oath to them. When I said, “I the LORD am your God,” that same day I swore to them to take them out of the land of Egypt into a land flowing with milk and honey, a land which I had sought out for them, the fairest of all lands. I also said to them: Cast away, every one of you, the detestable things that you are drawn to, and do not defile yourselves with the fetishes of Egypt — I the LORD am your God. But they defied Me and refused to listen to Me. They did not cast away the detestable things they were drawn to, nor did they give up the fetishes of Egypt. Then I resolved to pour out My fury upon them, to vent all My anger upon them there, in the land of Egypt. But I acted for the sake of My name, that it might not be profaned in the sight of the nations among whom they were. For it was before their eyes that I had made Myself known to Israel to bring them out of the land of Egypt.
19-20: I the LORD am your God: Follow My laws and be careful to observe My rules. And hallow My sabbaths, that they may be a sign between Me and you, that you may know that I the LORD am your God.
25-26: Moreover, I gave them laws that were not good and rules by which they could not live: When they set aside every first issue of the womb, I defiled them by their very gifts — that I might render them desolate, that they might know that I am the LORD.
29: Then I said to them, “What is this shrine which you visit?” (Therefore such [a shrine] is called bamah to this day.)

IV. Outline

1. The elders inquire with God
2-3a. Introduction to the oracle
3b-4. God rejects the inquiry
5-44. Oracle
    5-38. God’s version of Israel’s history
        5-9. Israel’s first sin
            5-6. God’s vow to bring the people from Egypt to Israel
            7. Stipulation: the people must rid themselves of idolatry
            8. Israel’s disobedience and God’s anger
            9. God brought Israel out of Egypt for the sake of his name
        10-17. Israel’s second sin
            10-12. God gave Israel his laws
            13. Israel’s disobedience and God’s anger
            14-17. God vowed not to destroy the Israelites
        18-26. Israel’s third sin
            18-20. God reiterated his rules to the next generation
            21. Israel’s disobedience and God’s anger
            22. God vowed not to destroy the Israelites
            23-24. God vowed to disperse the Israelites
            25-26. God regrets the law of tithes
        27-29. Israel’s fourth sin
            27-28. The Israelites committed idolatry in the land
            29. Etymological explanation for the word “bamah”
        30-38. God warns the people about the repercussions of idol worship
    39-40. God wants to be worshiped on his mountain and nowhere else
    41-44. God will gather the people for his name’s sake

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

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)
Photo taken from http://www.pbase.com/joshuacripps/image/85074703