Wednesday, May 11, 2016

How did you find Satan in Ezekiel 28? (Part #2). Lamentations are not meant to be understood literally.


This is the second part of the study on Ezekiel 28, please ensure that you have read the first part before proceeding with this.

What has everyone missed out in the understanding of Ezekiel 28?

Ezekiel chapters 26 to 28 are about Tyre, with a few verses at the end of the 28th chapter concerning Sidon. In these 3 chapters it is told 4 times it is a lamentation. The passage is not a prophecy or burden. Unlike Isaiah 14, it is not a proverb or a taunt.
Eze 26:17 And they shall take up a lamentation[H7015] for thee, and say to thee, How art thou destroyed, that wast inhabited of seafaring men, the renowned city, which wast strong in the sea, she and her inhabitants, which cause their terror to be on all that haunt it!
Eze 27:2 Now, thou son of man, take up a lamentation[H7015] for Tyrus;
Eze 27:32 And in their wailing they shall take up a lamentation[H7015] for thee, and lament over thee, saying, What city is like Tyrus, like the destroyed in the midst of the sea?
Eze 28:12 Son of man, take up a lamentation[H7015] upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.
The Hebrew word indicated by Strong's Number H7015 is used 18 times in the scriptures and it is always translated as lamentation.
H7015 קִינָה (qı̂ynâh, kee-naw')
From H6969; a dirge (as accompanied by beating the breasts or on instruments): - lamentation.
The awareness that Ezekiel 26 to 28 is a lamentation makes the understanding of the passage easier.

Though I am not aware of how people in west lament or mourn the death of someone, I can tell you for certain that it is a grand event in the Orient. Screaming and wailing could be heard from many blocks away. Most of the things the mourners utter make no sense.

A couple of years back one of the brothers who belonged to our congregation in Bangalore passed away and a preacher who came that day from the USA accompanied us to the dead brother's house. On seeing the preacher the dead brother's wife resumed her grieving with a new vigor and addressing the dead body she said: "Do you see who has come all the way from America to see you?" After the preacher, it was my turn to be the victim. Though I have met this dead brother at the church a couple of times, I couldn't even recollect his name or face. Nevertheless, his widow went on to tell the dead body: "Look, your friend Thomas brother has come to see you..." (evidently, she did not even know my name correctly). Same kind of lamentations could be seen in the Bible.

Let us consider the very first usage of H7015, lamentation, in the Bible.

The very first time the aforementioned Hebrew word is used is in narrating King David's mourning the death of Saul and Jonathan:
2Sa 1:17...David lamented with this lamentation[H7015] over Saul and over Jonathan his son:
2Sa 1:22 From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty, the bow of Jonathan turned not back, and the sword of Saul returned not empty.
Does it not sound as though Saul and Jonathan were invincible? Were they? If they were invincible, why were they afraid of Goliath?

2Sa 1:23 Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death they were not divided: they were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions.

An eagle can soar at speeds of 75 to 96 km/h. Also, eagles can fly at speeds of 177 to 240 km/h. The fastest runner in the world, Usain Bolt, has attained the speed of 45 km/h. It is hypothesized that man can reach up to 64 km/h. To run a full Marathon (42.195 kms) it takes nearly 2 hours. So, the effective maximum speed of a human being is 21 km/h. Is there a reason to believe that Saul and Jonathan were literally swifter than eagles?

2Sa 1:26 I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.
Really? Could this be true? If it were, why did David seek the love of many women?

Another lamentation, this time from Ezekiel himself, about the princes of Israel.

Eze 19:1 Moreover take thou up a lamentation[H7015] for the princes of Israel,
Eze 19:2 And say, What is thy mother? A lioness: she lay down among lions, she nourished her whelps among young lions.
Eze 19:3 And she brought up one of her whelps: it became a young lion, and it learned to catch the prey; it devoured men.
We don't see anything factual in this lamentation.

One of Jeremiah's Lamentations.

Jer 9:10 For the mountains will I take up a weeping and wailing, and for the habitations of the wilderness a lamentation[H7015], because they are burned up, so that none can pass through them; neither can men hear the voice of the cattle; both the fowl of the heavens and the beast are fled; they are gone.
Jer 9:11 And I will make Jerusalem heaps, and a den of dragons; and I will make the cities of Judah desolate, without an inhabitant.
Jer 9:12 Who is the wise man, that may understand this? and who is he to whom the mouth of the LORD hath spoken, that he may declare it, for what the land perisheth and is burned up like a wilderness, that none passeth through?
This lamentation took place at least a decade before the inhabitants Judah and Jerusalem were carried into Babylon as captives. Let us examine the scriptures to see whether the land of Judah and Jerusalem became a den of dragons and desolate without inhabitants.

2Ki 25:10 And all the army of the Chaldees, that were with the captain of the guard, brake down the walls of Jerusalem round about.
2Ki 25:11 Now the rest of the people that were left in the city, and the fugitives that fell away to the king of Babylon, with the remnant of the multitude, did Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carry away.
2Ki 25:12 But the captain of the guard left of the poor of the land to be vinedressers and husbandmen.
Unless it could be proved that the poor people of the land were dragons and were non-existent, the land of Judah and Jerusalem did not become the den of dragons and uninhabited, as stated in Jeremiah's lamentation.

Moral of the story: whatever is stated in a lamentation need not be factual. Lamentations use highly exaggerated expressions.

"Why such hyperbolic language is being used?", one may ask. It is quite common in the culture of the orient to grieve sorely for a departed soul. In the case of things which Jehovah was about to bring upon the people, lamentations are Jehovah's way of pleading with the people to change their ways. For instance, in one of the lamentations we read thus:
Amo 5:1 Hear ye this word which I take up against you, even a lamentation[H7015], O house of Israel.
Amo 5:4 For thus saith the LORD unto the house of Israel, Seek ye me, and ye shall live:
Amo 5:6 Seek the LORD, and ye shall live; lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and devour it, and there be none to quench it in Bethel.
Having established that lamentations use highly exaggerated expression, I leave it to your common sense and discernment to conclude whether Ezekiel 28 is about Satan's glory in Eden, OR it is a lamentation on the king(s) of Tyre, as the scriptures say it is.

Continued in Part #3
In Christ,
Tomsan Kattacka

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