The Sin and Judgment of the Gentile Nations

Ezeki'el 25: 1-17

DIG: Where were Ammon, Mo'ab, Edom and Philistia? From whom did these nations descend (Genesis 36:6-9 and 19:36-38)? Were the Philistines related to Isra’el (Genesis 10:13)? For what crime is each nation being punished? Had any of them been given the ten commandments or any part of the Torah? How will God punish each nation? What will be the effect of the punishments (Ezeki’el 25:7, 11, 14, 17)?

REFLECT: Do you recall a time when you learned ADONAI is ELOHIM through hard knocks? Does your faith grow best in good times or adversity? Is Ha'Shem really “mean” to those He punishes, or is He righteous? What is your attitude when you hear bad things are happening to bad people? What should it be? If the LORD did not give Isra'el’s neighbors biblical revelation, how do you think He made His will known? How and with whom does God communicate today?

588 to 585 BC during the eleven-year reign of Zedekiah

With the preceding chapter, Ezeki’el’s denunciation of Isra’el’s sins and prophecy of Jerusalem’s doom come to an end. Before he reverts to the theme of Isra’el’s future, her restoration and spiritual regeneration, Ezeki’el proclaims the downfall of seven Gentile nations. The nearest, Ammon, Mo'ab, Edom and Philistia, are seen here. Those farther away are Egypt (see Fl – The Sin and Judgment of Egypt), Tyre and Tzidon (see Gl – The Sin and Judgment of Tyre and Tzidon). The sins of these nations, and the reason they are doomed, are twofold: not only did they take no warning from Isra’el’s punishment and made no effort to change their wicked ways, but they were overjoyed at Isra’el’s tragedy. And their presence was a constant physical and spiritual danger to Isra’el’s restoration and thereby an obstacle of the divine plan.

The word of ADONAI came to me:

A near historical prophecy against Ammon: The Ammonites were related to Isra’el (see the commentary on Genesis Fb – Let’s Get Our Father to Drink Wine, and then Lie With Him to Preserve Our Family Line). Son of man, set your face against the Ammonites and prophesy against them. Say to them, “Hear the word of Adonai ELOHIM. The Ammonites maliciously rejoiced over the destruction of the Temple, the ravaging of Judea and the deportation of the population. He says: Because you have gloated when My sanctuary was profaned, when the land of Isra’el was laid waste, and when the house of Judah went into exile. I will let the people from the east take possession of you. Once again what is seen is the working out of the Abrahamic Covenant: Whoever curses you I will curse (Genesis 12:3). The Ammonites had cursed the Jews and then YHVH would place a curse upon them (also see Zephaniah 2:8-10). The nomad tribes of the Arabian Desert. Josephus records that five years after his campaign against Judah, Nebuchadnezzar successfully went to war against the Ammonites and the Moabites (Antiquities X, 10.7). In their weakened state they could not resist the Bedouins. They will set up camps and build their homes among you; they will eat your fruit and drink your milk. I will turn Rabbah, the capital of Ammon, into a camel pasture and Ammon into a sheep-yard. From being a great city, the site will be overgrown and camels graze where once were streets. Then, addressing the exiles, you will know that I am ADONAI (Ezeki’el 25:1-5 CJB).

A far eschatological prophecy for Ammon: For here is what Adonai ELOHIM says: Because you clapped your hands and stamped your feet, full of malicious joy over the land of Isra’el; I am going to stretch out My hand over you and deliver you as plunder to the nations; I will cut you off from being a people and cause you to cease from being a nation; I will destroy you. Then you will know that I am ADONAI (Ezeki’el 25:6-7 CJB). Eventually that knowledge of the LORD will lead the Ammonites to salvation, and the nation of Ammon will be restored during the millennial Kingdom (see the commentary on Revelation Fk – Gentiles in the Messianic Kingdom).316

A Prophecy Against Mo'ab: The Moabites were also related to Isra’el (see the commentary on Genesis Fb – Let’s Get Our Father to Drink Wine, and then Lie With Him to Preserve Our Family Line). There was constant strife between the two nations, Mo'ab joined in the attack upon Judah by the Babylonians (Second Kings 24:2). Adonai ELOHIM says: Because Mo'ab and Seir (Seir stands for Edom. They were mentioned together because of their hatred for Isra’el) said, “Look, Judah has become like all the other nations.” They taunted the afflicted Israelites with being no different from other nations and mocked their claim to be a people chosen by God. Thus I expose the flank of Moab, with all its cities – that is, all the cities on its frontier, Beth Jeshimoth, Ba’al Meon and Kiriathaim – the glory of that land. ADONAI will expose Mo'ab to attack by Bedouins who will penetrate the fortified cities on the frontiers and overrun the whole country. The three cities mentioned here were fortresses upon which Mo'ab relied for security. Mo'ab would suffer the same fate as Ammon. I will give Mo'ab along with the Ammonites to the people of the East as a possession, so that the Ammonites will not be remembered among the nations; and I will inflict punishment on Mo'ab. Then they will know that I am the LORD (Ezeki’el 25:8-11). So just like Ammon, this knowledge of the LORD will eventually lead the Moabites to salvation, and the nation of Mo'ab will be restored during the millennial Kingdom (see the commentary on Revelation Fk – Gentiles in the Messianic Kingdom).317

A Prophecy Against Edom: While Ammon and Mo'ab were merely guilty of taking pleasure in Isra’el’s fall, Edom was guilty of actively aiding that very destruction. Therefore, her punishment will be much greater. This was especially despicable because Edom was more closely related to Isra’el than Ammon and Moab because they were descendants of Esau (see the commentary on Genesis Iu – The Division of the Two Brothers). Adonai ELOHIM says: Because Edom has taken severe vengeance against the house of Judah, incurring much guilt by its actions of vengeance against them, therefore, I will stretch out My hand over Edom and eliminate both its humans and its animals. I will make it a ruin; from Teman to Dedan they will die by the sword. Teman was a district in the extreme north of Edom named after Esau’s grandson, while Dedan was in the extreme south. The meaning is, therefore, that the entire country was reduced to nothing (Obadiah 18). Moreover, I will lay My vengeance on Edom carried out by My people Isra’el; they will treat Edom in accordance with My anger and My wrath; and they will know My vengeance, declares Adonai ELOHIM (Ezeki’el 25:12-14 CJB). Both Ammon and Moab will eventually know YHVH and become a nation again in the millennial Kingdom. But no such statement is made of Edom because she will only know God’s vengeance (see the commentary on Revelation Fk – Gentiles in the Messianic Kingdom).318

A Prophecy Against Philistia: The Philistines, who inhabited the southern coast of the Holy Land, are believed to have come from the island of Crete and also known as the Cherethites. The designation of the Cherethites and the Pelethites (Second Samuel 8:18) is assumed to have been that of a bodyguard of King David consisting of Philistines. Hence the dual name Kerethi Pelethi. The hostile acts of the Philistines against Isra’el at various times were so ferocious as to be capable of being committed only by an outraged people seeking vengeance. Adonai ELOHIM says: Because the Philistines have acted out of vengeance, taking revenge with malice of heart, due to their long-standing hatred sought to destroy Judah (Isaiah 14:28-31; Jeremiah 47:1-7 and Amos 1:6-8). Therefore, Adonai ELOHIM says: I will stretch out My hand against the Philistines, and just like the Edomites, I will cut off the Kerethites. The Kerethites was the original name of the Philistines and also a play upon words. The Hebrew words for Kerethites and cutting off sound very similar. It literally means, “I will cut off the cutters off.” And destroy the rest of the people along the coast (Ezeki’el 25:15-16 CJB).

The final fulfillment came in 604-603 BC when Nebuchadnezzar attacked Ashkelon (see Di – A Message Concerning the Philistines). And as a result, there are no more Philistines in existence today (see Ae – The Problem of Holy War in the TaNaKh). And what sorrow awaits you Philistines who live along the coast and in the land of Canaan, for this judgment is against you, too! The LORD will destroy you until not one of you is left (Zephaniah 2:5 NLT). Therefore, God declared: I will execute great vengeance on them with furious punishments; and they will know that I am ADONAI when I take vengeance on them (Ezeki’el 25:17 CJB). Consequently, as with Edom, they will only know God’s vengeance and will not have a part in the messianic Kingdom (see the commentary on Revelation Fk – Gentiles in the Messianic Kingdom).319

It is solemn to consider that all four nations in this chapter showed vindictive jealousy and hatred toward Isra’el. That nations of earth refused to learn that YHVH meant every single word in the Abrahamic Covenant: The LORD said to Abram, ‘Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. ‘I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you’ (Genesis 12:1-3).”

No nation under heaven can go to war with Isra’el without bringing down upon them the wrath of Adonai ELOHIM. The pages of history are littered with the wreckage of nations who, though great in the eyes of the world, incurred the just wrath of an outraged God. While Ha’Shem reserved the right to judge His chosen people for their sins, He also reserves the right to judge those who spitefully attack the apple of His eye (Deuteronomy 32:10), and thus rebuke the One who made an everlasting covenant with Isra’el.320

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