Ezekiel 14:17

17 “Or if I bring a sword against that country and say, ‘Let the sword pass throughout the land,’ and I kill its people and their animals,

Read Ezekiel 14:17 Using Other Translations

Or if I bring a sword upon that land, and say, Sword, go through the land; so that I cut off man and beast from it:
"Or if I bring a sword upon that land and say, Let a sword pass through the land, and I cut off from it man and beast,
“Or suppose I were to bring war against the land, and I sent enemy armies to destroy both people and animals.

What does Ezekiel 14:17 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Ezekiel 14:17

Or [if] I bring a sword upon that land
The land which had grievously sinned; the same land into which a famine should come, and through which evil beasts should pass; to which, if the Lord should add, as he would, a third judgment, the sword; suffer a foreign enemy to come in among them, and destroy them. So the Targum,

``or if those that slay with the sword I should bring upon that land;''
the Chaldean army, as he did; the sword has its commission from God; war is not by chance; the invasion of a foreign enemy is from the Lord; and all the mischiefs and ravages of a tumultuous army are all by divine order: and say, sword, go through the land;
not only enter the borders of it, or proceed far in it, but even go through it; which is terrible indeed! but if the Lord bids it go, it must go, and does; it is a servant of his, and punctually obeys his commands; that is, such are those that use it, however profane and wicked they may be in themselves, as generally armies consist of dissolute persons; yet these are under a divine direction, and are obedient to the will of God, though they may know it not. So the Targum,
``and I say that they that kill with the sword pass through the land:''
so that I cut off man and beast from it;
by the sword; the one being destroyed as an enemy, the other for food.
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