1And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 2Son of man, set thy face toward the mountains of Israel, and prophesy against them,

Ezekiel here continues his prophecy of the destruction of the southern kingdom of Judah (Israel is a general name applied to both north and south kingdoms as they used to be one). Now we move from the city of Jerusalem to the nation at large. As we explored in Isaiah, the word “mountain” is a symbol for domain or kingdom. Here mountain is plural referring to the various tribes of the southern kingdom of Judah.

3And say, Ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord GOD; Thus saith the Lord GOD to the mountains, and to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys; Behold, I, even I, will bring a sword upon you, and I will destroy your high places.

God is of course not talking to piles of dirt, moving water, and dips between hills and mountains. These are representatives of the various places that the people of Judah dwell. God is not going to destroy literal mountains, hills, rivers, and valleys with a sword. He will destroy the people for their wickedness. The “high places” are the places where they worship idols, as first set up in the northern tribes by Jeroboam (1 Kings 12) and later by Abijam (son of Rehoboam – 1 Kings 15).

God refers to Himself as Adonai Jehovah (Lord God) and repeats this over and over again to remind the southern nation of who He is and who they have rejected so that all will understand the consequences of rejecting Jehovah God.

4And your altars shall be desolate, and your images shall be broken: and I will cast down your slain men before your idols. 5And I will lay the dead carcases of the children of Israel before their idols; and I will scatter your bones round about your altars. 6In all your dwelling places the cities shall be laid waste, and the high places shall be desolate; that your altars may be laid waste and made desolate, and your idols may be broken and cease, and your images may be cut down, and your works may be abolished. 7And the slain shall fall in the midst of you, and ye shall know that I am the LORD.

God promises a destruction of all of Judah’s idolatry and those who practice it by war. Note here the word “desolate”. It means empty. There would be nothing left of these things when God was through.

God states that because of those who would fall by the sword (war) they would know that He is Jehovah, the One True and Living God.

8Yet will I leave a remnant, that ye may have some that shall escape the sword among the nations, when ye shall be scattered through the countries. 9And they that escape of you shall remember me among the nations whither they shall be carried captives, because I am broken with their whorish heart, which hath departed from me, and with their eyes, which go a whoring after their idols: and they shall lothe themselves for the evils which they have committed in all their abominations.

God does leave a remnant alive to be witnesses to the other nations and because His promise to Abraham through the Israelites has not yet been fulfilled. They would be scattered as captives and refugees.

Here God directly ties idolatry with whoredom. When the Jews began to worship idols it was because they longed to be like the nations round about them. We see this in their desire for an earthly king rejecting God as King (1 Sam. 8). We see this again in Jeroboam’s reign as the northern tribes believe themselves cut off from Jerusalem and desire to be more like the nations around them (See Jeremiah 3). This and the desire to be like the nations around them causes Israel (both kingdoms) to fall into the idolatry. Thus it always is with men. When they desire to be like the world, they become corrupted and God will ultimately destroy them.

10And they shall know that I am the LORD, and that I have not said in vain that I would do this evil unto them.

God says that by this Judah would know that He is Jehovah, the One True and Living God. He had promised that this would happen (Lev. 26; Deut. 32) and here he fulfills that promise to some extent. In the first century AD He fulfills it completely.

11Thus saith the Lord GOD; Smite with thine hand, and stamp with thy foot, and say, Alas for all the evil abominations of the house of Israel! for they shall fall by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence. 12He that is far off shall die of the pestilence; and he that is near shall fall by the sword; and he that remaineth and is besieged shall die by the famine: thus will I accomplish my fury upon them.

Once again we see war, famine, and pestilence as servants of God used to bring judgment against the wicked Jews. We will see war and famine personified in the book of Revelation and pestilence will be used against the Jews of the NT times as well in that NT book.

13Then shall ye know that I am the LORD, when their slain men shall be among their idols round about their altars, upon every high hill, in all the tops of the mountains, and under every green tree, and under every thick oak, the place where they did offer sweet savour to all their idols. 14So will I stretch out my hand upon them, and make the land desolate, yea, more desolate than the wilderness toward Diblath, in all their habitations: and they shall know that I am the LORD.

A repetition of the warning of destruction for idolatry. The altars on the high hills (1 Kings 15:14) and here the green trees represent the groves of worship (essentially a form of druidism/paganism – Ex. 34:13; Deut. 7:5; Josh. 3:7; 1 Kings 14:5; 18:19; 2 Kings 17:10; Isa. 17:8)

God says He will make them empty, a keeping of the promise from Lev. 26 (vs. 33).

Diblath is only used here in all the Bible and it is not useful to speculate on where it is exactly. It is only important to note that an empty wilderness was near to it as one left Jerusalem.

In Truth and Love.

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