June 19, 2015: Daily Bible Reading with Commentary for Ezekiel 7-12
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Context: Chapter 7 is a prophecy of judgment about to fall on Israel. It can be broken into six sections: God's determination to bring judgment (1-4), repeated call for judgment to come (5-9), imminence and certainty of judgment (10-13), total destruction of the nation (14-18), uselessness of physical resources (19-22), and the fall of Jerusalem (23-27). Chapter 8 begins a three chapter vision of the sins being committed in the temple and the ultimate response by the Lord. In chapter 8, the vision is introduced (1-4), God is jealous (5-6), and there is cultic worship of animals (7-13), Tammuz (14-15), and the sun (16-18), likely by the temple priests. Chapter 9 foretells of those who commit idolatry being killed. Chapter 10, the ultimate punishment, can be broken into four parts: the coming of the man in white (1-2), the glory of God (3-8), the cherubim (9-17), and the glory of God and cherubim. Chapter 11 tells of coming judgment on Jerusalem, it leaders and inhabitants (1-13), offers hope (14-21), and foretells the departure of the glory of God (22-25). In chapter 12, Ezekiel acts out a symbolism of the coming exile. The reader is told of the rebellious people (1-2), the first drama with luggage is acted out (3-7), followed by an explanation (8-16), then a second drama, a nervous eater, is acted out (17-20), and finally a prophecy is given against false proverbs.
World History: In Samaria, Tummuz was the god of food and vegetation. Later Tummuz was worshipped in Mesopotamia, with a period of mourning for his death occurring when the days began getting shorter. He was a life-death-rebirth-deity. Due to the location of the men worshipping the sun, the men were likely priests.