Reading

Day 1: Jeremiah 31:15-40, Jeremiah 49:34-51:14

Day 2: Jeremiah 51:15-58, 2 Chronicles 36:10, 2 Kings 24:10-17, 1 Chronicles 3:10-16, 2 Chronicles 36:11-14, Jeremiah 52:1-3, 2 Kings 24:18-20, Jeremiah 37:1-10

Day 3: Jeremiah 37:11-38:28, Ezekiel 1:1-3:15

Day 4: Ezekiel 3:16-4:17, Jeremiah 27:1-28:17, Jeremiah 51:59-64

Day 5: Ezekiel 5:1-9:11

Day 6: Ezekiel 10:1-13:23

Day 7: Ezekiel 14:1-16:63


Preview


Hard Questions

  1. What does Jeremiah 31:22 mean? “A woman will encompass a man”? Short answer: no one knows, but the idea is at least that the hearers should expect something marvelous having to do with Israel’s return to the Lord. Charles L. Feinberg breaks down the range of interpretations in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: A. This refers to the virgin birth. The Hebrew doesn’t really indicate a birth at all, and the phrase is way too ambiguous to definitively count as a messianic prophecy. B. A woman who protects a man . . . a physically weaker partner surrounding and sustaining a stronger one C. “Virgin Israel” returns to the Lord D. The security Israel will enjoy, such that the women will be able to protect the nation in case of attack, allowing the men to dedicate themselves to work E. Though God has always embraced Israel in love, a time will come in which Israel (the woman) will embrace God F. The woman will propose marriage to the man (Israel will propose to God, as He has always done to Israel); they’d translate this as “a female will turn into a man,” i.e. taking the masculine initiative G. Israel will overcome the power of the Gentiles H. Israel, weak as a woman, will become stronger than the Babylonians
  2. Dating in Ezekiel 1:1? Ezekiel mentions the “thirtieth year,” and a specific day, which also falls within the fifth year of Jehoiachin’s exile. There are several opinions as to what this could mean, such as the date of an earlier king, or that it could be the third year, rather than the thirtieth. The oldest view of this is that it was Ezekiel’s age, that when he became old enough to accede to the high priestly position (for which he was a candidate), he began to have these visions. This makes a lot of sense thematically, given that he symbolically intercedes for the people, enters and tours the temple, and sees the new temple, at this time of his life.
  3. What’s going on with the four angels and the four wheels, and the firmament above them? My personal theory: it’s God’s chariot. I’m actually not the only one, either. Ralph H. Alexander refers to this in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary.
  4. (Ezekiel 8-9) God allows the exiled priest a behind the scenes view of what the temple is actually like in this time, as well as giving him a clear understanding of what’s about to happen and why, especially who is spared, and who dies, and God’s lifting His glory away from the temple before its destruction. We do see a lot of worship of fertility and weather gods here, which is probably because God has taken these two blessings from His people (cf. Deut. 28).
  5. (Ezekiel 13:17-23) “Likewise, son of man, set your face against the daughters of your people, who prophesy out of their own heart; prophesy against them, and say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Woe to the women who sew magic charms on their sleeves[ and make veils for the heads of people of every height to hunt souls! Will you hunt the souls of My people, and keep yourselves alive? And will you profane Me among My people for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread, killing people who should not die, and keeping people alive who should not live, by your lying to My people who listen to lies?” Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I am against your magic charms by which you hunt souls there like birds. I will tear them from your arms, and let the souls go, the souls you hunt like birds. I will also tear off your veils and deliver My people out of your hand, and they shall no longer be as prey in your hand. Then you shall know that I am the LORD. Because with lies you have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad; and you have strengthened the hands of the wicked, so that he does not turn from his wicked way to save his life. Therefore you shall no longer envision futility nor practice divination; for I will deliver My people out of your hand, and you shall know that I am the LORD.”  What’s going on with these women and the soul hunting? The phrase “like birds” could be translated “to break out” in disease. It could be that these women are practicing ritual curses.

Review


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