Saturday, October 6, 2012

Ezekiel 25 & 26 - Judgment for Surrounding Nations

LINK: Ezekiel 25 & 26

BACKGROUND

Ezekiel 25-32 is the second section of the book and deals with judgment on the surrounding Gentile nations. This judgment was based on the Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 12:1-3; 15 - It would be really beneficial to memorize this!). God would bless those who blessed the descendants of Abraham and curse those who cursed them. Through these chapters, Ezekiel proclaimed God's curse on seven countries that had a part in Judah's demise. Each of these prophesies were delivered in a "Because/therefore/then . . . you will know" format.

Here is a brief history of and God's judgment on five of those surrounding nations:

Ammon

Conflict between this nation and Israel was first recorded in Judges 10:6-11:33. Saul fought them (1 Samuel 11:1-11), and David conquered them (1 Chronicles 19:1-20:3). They regained independence after Solomon's death and joined the Moabites and Edomites against Judah during Jehoshaphat's reign (2 Chronicles 20:1-30). Ammon did unite with Judah and Tyre against Babylon, but they did not help Judah when Nebuchadnezzar attacked (Ezekiel 21:18-27) and even rejoiced over Judah's demise. Because they did not help, they would be plundered by other nations (nomadic desert tribesmen) and destroyed.

Moab

Conflict between Moab and Israel began when Balak, king of Moab, opposed Moses who was leading Israel through Palestine (Numbers 22-24). Later, Israel was oppressed by Eglon, King of Moab (Judges 3:12-30). Remember that Ruth was a Moabitess and great-grandmother of David. So they obviously enjoyed some years of peace as nations. There was conflict through the reigns of Saul and David (1 Samuel 14:47; 2 Samuel 8:2), and Moab was under Israel's control through the reign of Solomon. They rebelled during Jehoshaphat's reign (2 Kings 3:4-27) and united with Ammon and Edom in an unsuccessful attempt to defeat Judah. They supported Babylon in an attack during Jehoiakim's revolt (2 Kings 24:2) but joined other nations against Babylon in 593 B.C. (Jeremiah 27:1-7). They were judged for their envy and contempt of God's people, thus profaning the name of God. They would be taken over by the same nomadic desert tribesmen who overran Ammon.

Edom 

They were blood relatives of Israel, both being descendants of Isaac (Genesis 25:19-26). Like Moab, they refused to let Moses and the Israelites cross their land (Numbers 20:14-21). Saul and David both fought them with David capturing them and making them a vassal state (1 Samuel 14:47; 2 Samuel 8:13-14). During Solomon's reign, Elath in Edom was Israel's seaport (1 Kings 9:26-28). They regained their freedom in 845 B.C. (2 Kings 8:20-22) and struggled with Judah over the caravan and shipping routes. In 605 B.C., they became a vassal of Babylon. When Judah revolted in 588 B.C., Edom helped Babylon (Psalm 137:7; Jeremiah 49:7-22). Their sin was that they took revenge on the house of Judah by joining in the attack with Babylon. God would reciprocate by laying vengeance on them. By the first half of the second century B.C., Edom was conquered by the Nabateans Arabs. Eventually, they moved to the Negev where they were forced to convert to Judaism.

Philistia

Israel was in conflict with them since the time of the Conquest. They were in opposition to Shamgar (Judges 3:31), Samson (Judges 13-16), Samuel (1 Samuel 7:2-17), and Saul (1 Samuel 13-14; 28:1-4; 29:1-2, 11; 31:1-3, 7-10). David finally defeated them (2 Samuel 8:1) and made them a vassal country. This continued into the division of Israel where there were numerous battles under various kings. The battles stopped when Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon subdued both countries. They were judged because they acted on their vengeance and took revenge with malice, trying to destroy Judah. Therefore, God would destroy them. "K(Ch)erethites" was a synonym for the Philistines (1 Samuel 30:1-14; Zephaniah 2:5). Philistia disappeared as a nation during the intertestamental period.

Tyre

This was the capital of Phoenicia. Israel and this country had wrangled over the trade routes between Egypt and the rest of the Middle East with Tyre dominating the sea and Jerusalem controlling the caravan routes. With Judah's collapse, more goods would be shipped by sea, and Tyre would "corner the market" and prosper. They sinned by their gloating, and God judged them when Nebuchadnezzar attacked the city in 586 B.C. and captured it by 571 B.C. (it took a long time because Tyre was constantly resupplied from the coastal side). The island part of Tyre surrendered to Nebuchadnezzar in 573 B.C. Some commentators think that the actual destruction of this island did not take place until Alexander the Great made a bridge to the island and destroyed it completely in 332 B.C. For centuries, it was nothing more than a bare rock where fishermen spread their nets (26:4-5, 14). Here is a current picture where Alexander's bridge has become permanent due to sand building up on it:


In the next chapter, there will be a "dirge" for the city of Tyre!

That was a ton of history and enough for today. Have a great day Bible readers!!!!

PRAYER

Lord, we praise You for Your sovereignty over world events. We pray we would continue to know that You are the Lord. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.
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