Bible Project Part 16 – Ezekiel 10 to 40

Yes, I’m still in Ezekiel. Not only is this one of the longer Bible books, each chapter is also longer than in previous books. And while on the whole this has remained an interesting book, this week it hasn’t quite reached the awesome heights of the throne of God carried by the four-faced, four-winged angels and their eye-rimmed wheels.

What did I get instead? Well… kind of more of the same as in Isaiah and Jeremiah, but worded more interestingly. Still, ultimately this is the part of the Bible which is all about the woes of Israel and their suffering in exile.

Anyway, let’s just see what notes I have this week. It starts with Ezekiel 14, which claims that there have only ever been three righteous people: Noah, Daniel and Job. I find this interesting, since over the past few books it has been mentioned quite often that God will save Israel for the sake of his servant David. Of course, we know that David can’t possibly be among the unblemished after that affair with Bathsheba, but still. It is also interesting that if you’re a first-time Bible reader with no foreknowledge whatsoever, you won’t have a clue who the fuck Daniel is (other than some dude who has the next Bible book named after him). Chronological the Bible is not.

Ezekiel 14 also describes the four judgements: the sword, hunger, wild animals and pestilence. To me they sound like a kind of proto-horsemen of the apocalypse, later discarded for their more illustrious brethren. Except Pestilence, of course. It’s just… I couldn’t help but think of Good Omens and the additional motorcyclists of the apocalypse. Right now I can only remember GBH, but they always made me snigger.

Ezekiel 16 contains a ludicrously elaborate metaphor for Jerusalem as a newborn child rescued from dying in the field by God and adorned with the finest clothes and jewellery, after which she then committed adultery with every passer-by imaginable. There’s a lot of mention of Jerusalem being a whore, but then actually she’s not a whore, because she just commits adultery and doesn’t ask for payment.

Ezekiel 17 has an even more bizarre metaphor of an eagle taking the tip of a cedar tree, then planting it in a field like a willow, after which it grows into a grapevine. I know he’s God and all, but there’s some basic biology which isn’t working here…

Ezekiel 20 further illustrates what a total muppet God is, because he sums up the whole history again from Egypt, more or less like this: I told your forefathers in Egypt to worship me, but they didn’t, so I left them in the desert. Then I told their sons to worship me, but they didn’t. But I looked after them anyway, because I’m a mug.

And then he makes Ezekiel prophesy against a forest.

Ezekiel 23 and 24 contain an even more ludicrously elaborate metaphor for Jerusalem and Samaria, this time as two sisters called Ohola and Oholiba. They were married to God, but they committed adultery with lovers such as Assur. There is also a lot of talk of their maidenly breasts being fondled and stroked, which is yet another instance where the Bible makes you go O.o a little bit. Especially when immediately after that Jerusalem is compared to a rusty pot.

Ezekiel 24 also contains another example of Gods massive dickishness: Ezekiel is told by God ‘I will take away the joy of your eyes through a sudden stroke, but you shall not lament or weep; you shall suffer in silence.’ Then in the evening his wife dies, so the next day he goes around in mourning clothes but without weeping, and when the people ask him why he won’t tell them what’s wrong, it turns out that this is all a metaphor for how Israel will lose the light and joy of its life and how they will be forced to suffer in silence. And that’s what you killed your prophet’s wife for? For some stupid metaphor? Dick.

Ezekiel 25 contains this amazing sentence: ‘Because thou hast shouted ha! when my sanctum was defiled (etc.)’ and I immediately had to think of the kid from the Simpsons.

Ezekiel 31 mentions the underworld a lot, as in a place where dead people go.

Ezekiel 34 is confusing – God describes the wonderful kingdom where everyone will live. God himself will be their shepherd and everything will be great and marvellous and wonderful and David will be their king and… Wait, what? Is this in the afterlife or what? Because that really isn’t clear at all from the text. At least not to me. Though I admit that I do get onto the bus at 7am, which is not my most lucid and coherent time of the day.

In Ezekiel 35, after the successful prophesying against the forest, the new audience is a mountain range. The Seir mountain range shall be destroyed, because it has harboured an eternal hatred of Israel. I don’t even… I can’t…

Never mind.

Ezekiel 40 got boring, because some angel dude was taking lots of measurements for a new temple or something. I kind of lost interest here.

Next week, Daniel! Which I remember as being an entertaining book, and I don’t think I was wrong. Comparable to Esther, but more on that next week. Or possibly the week after, since I have family visiting next week. Expect a hiatus.

<– Back to Part Fifteen                                                                             On to Part Seventeen –>

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