2021-7-28

Ezekiel 19:1-14

  This lament is a song composed to mourn and prophesy the demise of the Judahite monarchy. Lion was a proverbial term for the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:9). It symbolizes majesty, courage and power. The southern kingdom of Judah has deteriorated spiritually to the point comparable to, if not worse than their northern brothers in Israel. Despite seeing the judgement of the northern Israel kingdom, the last four kings of Judah were all evil kings: Jehoahaz, Jehoaikim, Jehoaichin and Zedekiah. God told Ezekiel to lament for the kings of Judah. The lament corresponds to 2 Kings 23-25 and 2 Chronicles 36.

  The lioness represents Judah, while the cubs are the princes (kings) of Judah. The first cub probably refers to King Jehoahaz. He tore his prey and devoured men (v. 3) referring to him as an evil man (2 Kings 23:30-32). In return, God judged Jehoahaz through Pharaoh Neco.

Jehoahaz was put in chains and carried off to Egypt where he died (v. 4).

  In verse 5, the dashed hopes and expectations were probably due to their loss of King Jehoahaz. The second cub could be referring to their new king- King Jehoaikim and or for the most part his nephew, King Jehoaichin. They too were evil kings (v. 6-7; Jeremiah 22:13-17; 2 Kings 24:9; 2 Chronicles 36:5,9), so God judged them through Nebuchadnezzar by sending the Babylonians and her other vassals: Arameans, Moabites and Ammonites to raid Judah (v.8-9; 2 Kings 24:2). Jehoaikim’s evilness was also depicted in Jeremiah 22:13-17. Jehoaikim and Jehoiachin, his family and his officials were also taken as captives to Babylon (v. 9,13; 2 Chronicles 36:6,10; 2Kings 24:12).

  In verse 10, the nation is now compared to a fruitful vine, planted by the water. It’s branches were full and strong fit for a ruler scepter (v. 11). It has full foliage and conspicuous height (v. 11). These descriptions were probably referring to the glorious days of Judah – under the spiritual leadership of the good King David and of King Solomon.

  In verse 12, we read that the vine was uprooted in a fury and thrown to the ground. This is consistent with the judgement that the prophets had prophesied about Judah. The Babylonianians from the east (east wind) were God’s instrument of judgement. The siege of Jerusalem, the captivity and exile (v.13) of the people and their kings were the result of God’s judgement upon Judah’s rebellion. The people mocked God’s prophet, and despised His words despite God’s patience and compassion on them (2 Chronicles 36:15-16). Finally the last king, Zedekiah’s refusal to listen to the advice of prophets (2 Chronicles 36:12-14) and the broken oath he made in God’s name with King Nebuchadnezzar (2 Chronicles 36:13), led to the judgement of fire which consumed Jerusalem and ended the dynasty of David (v. 14).

  The lament mourned for the kings of Judah. Human kings are not God’s idea from the beginning (1 Samuel 8:7). Let us be careful not to set our eyes on men, for all has fallen and may lead us astray. May we look to Jesus Christ for He is the true Lion of Judah (Revelation 5:5); He alone is our eternal Lord and King.    — Lai Yee Leong

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