Ezekiel 8

Visionary Journey to Jerusalem

1 In the sixth year, in the sixth [month], on the fifth [day] of the month, I was sitting in my house and the elders of Judah were sitting in front of me, and there the hand of the Lord God came down on me.
2 I looked, and there was a form that had the appearance of a man.[a] From what seemed to be His waist down was fire, and from His waist up was something that looked bright, like the gleam of amber.
3 He stretched out what appeared to be a hand and took me by the hair of my head. Then the Spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven and carried me in visions of God[b] to Jerusalem, to the entrance of the inner gate that faces north, where the offensive statue that provokes jealousy was located.
4 I saw the glory of the God of Israel[c] there, like the vision[d] I had seen in the plain.[e]

Pagan Practices in the Temple

5 The Lord said to me, "Son of man, look toward the north." I looked to the north, and there was this offensive statue north of the altar gate, at the entrance.
6 He said to me, "Son of man, do you see what they are doing, the great abominations that the house of Israel is committing here, so that I must depart from My sanctuary? You will see even greater abominations."
7 Then He brought me to the entrance of the court, and when I looked there was a hole in the wall.
8 He said to me, "Son of man, dig through the wall." So I dug through the wall, and there was a doorway.
9 He said to me, "Go in and see the terrible abominations they are committing here."
10 I went in and looked, and there engraved all around the wall was every form of detestable thing, crawling creatures and beasts, as well as all the idols of the house of Israel.[f]
11 Seventy elders from the house of Israel were standing before them, with Jaazaniah son of Shaphan[g] standing among them. Each had an incense burner in his hand, and a fragrant cloud of incense was rising up.
12 Then He said to me, "Son of man, do you see what the elders of the house of Israel are doing in the darkness, each at the shrine of his idol? For they are saying: The Lord does not see us. The Lord has abandoned the land."
13 Again He said to me, "You will see even greater abominations, which they are committing."
14 So He brought me to the entrance of the north gate of the Lord's house, and I saw women sitting there weeping for Tammuz.
15 And He said to me, "Do you see [this], son of man? You will see even greater abominations than these."
16 So He brought me to the inner court of the Lord's house, and there were about 25 men at the entrance of the Lord's temple, between the portico and the altar,[h] with their backs to the Lord's temple and their faces [turned] to the east. They were bowing to the east in worship of the sun.
17 And He said to me, "Do you see [this], son of man? Is it not enough for the house of Judah to commit the abominations they are practicing here, that they must also fill the land with violence and repeatedly provoke Me to anger, even putting the branch to their nose?[i]
18 Therefore I will respond with wrath. I will not show pity or spare [them]. Though they cry out in My ears with a loud voice, I will not listen to them."

Ezekiel 8 Commentary

Chapter 8

The idolatries committed by the Jewish rulers. (1-6) The superstitions to which the Jews were then devoted, the Egyptian. (7-12) The Phoenician. (13,14) The Persian. (15,16) The heinousness of their sin. (17,18)

Verses 1-6 The glorious personage Ezekiel beheld in vision, seemed to take hold upon him, and he was conveyed in spirit to Jerusalem. There, in the inner court of the temple, was prepared a place for some base idol. The whole was presented in vision to the prophet. If it should please God to give any man a clear view of his glory and majesty, and of all the abominations committing in any one city, he would then admit the justice of the severest punishments God should inflict thereon.

Verses 7-12 A secret place was, as it were, opened, where the prophet saw creatures painted on the walls, and a number of the elders of Israel worshipped before them. No superiority in worldly matters will preserve men from lust, or idolatries, when they are left to their own deceitful hearts; and those who are soon wearied in the service of God, often grudge no toil nor expense when following their superstitions. When hypocrites screen themselves behind the wall of an outward profession, there is some hole or other left in the wall, something that betrays them to those who look diligently. There is a great deal of secret wickedness in the world. They think themselves out of God's sight. But those are ripe indeed for ruin, who lay the blame of their sins upon the Lord.

Verses 13-18 The yearly lamenting for Tammuz was attended with infamous practices; and the worshippers of the sun here described, are supposed to have been priests. The Lord appeals to the prophet concerning the heinousness of the crime; "and lo, they put the branch to their nose," denoting some custom used by idolaters in honour of the idols they served. The more we examine human nature and our own hearts, the more abominations we shall discover; and the longer the believer searches himself, the more he will humble himself before God, and the more will he value the fountain open for sin, and seek to wash therein.

Footnotes 9

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO EZEKIEL 8

This chapter contains a vision the prophet had of the idolatry of the Jews, which was the cause of their destruction. The time when, place, where, and persons with whom he was, when the hand of the Lord came upon him, are mentioned, Eze 8:1; then follows a description of the divine Person that appeared to him, Eze 8:2; and an account is given how he was in a visionary way brought to Jerusalem, and to the temple, where he saw the glory of the God of Israel, and the idolatry of the people, Eze 8:3,4; which latter was gradually represented to him; first the image of jealousy in the entry at the gate of the altar northward, Eze 8:5; then greater abominations through a hole in the wall, by which he saw their idols, in the form of reptiles and four footed beasts, portrayed on the wall, Eze 8:6-10; next seventy of the ancients of Israel, among whom were one mentioned by name, offering incense to these idols, Eze 8:11,12; after this, greater abominations still are showed him, at the north of the temple, women weeping for Tammuz, Eze 8:13,14; and then again far greater ones, twenty five men, between the porch and the altar, with their backs to the temple, and their face to the east, worshipping the sun, and putting the branch to the nose, Eze 8:15-17; wherefore it is reasoned to deal with them in fury, without any mercy, pity, and compassion, Eze 8:18.

Ezekiel 8 Commentaries