The Spaceships of Ezekiel
Are there Flying Saucers in the Bible?


Refs: CCoHS - Ezekiel p. 608


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Keywords: Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture, history, Middle East, religion, Ezekiel, Roman Catholicism, prophecy, Christianity, Old Testament, Judaism, Protestantism, biblical prophets, Tanakh, Hebrew  Scriptures





Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture

Ezekiel article page 608 


of the slaughter of the citizens and the burning of the city are prophecies of future events. The visions of the evil counsellors and idolatrous worship do not refer to the future. Moreover the terrible chastisement naturally follows its primary cause, idolatrous worship. The traditional order of the text should be retained.


1-13 The Flesh and the Cauldron— Ezechiel sees at the eastern gates of the city 25 of the chief men devising evil counsel. They declare themselves protected from destruction by the city wall as meat in a cauldron is protected from consumption. The prophet announces to them that the corpses of those for whose death they are responsible shall remain within the wall like meat in the cauldron but they themselves shall be deported from the city and slain by the sword. On the capture of Jerusalem in 587 b.c. the principal citizens were deported and some were subsequently executed by Nabuchodonosor at Riblah (cf.Jer 52:24-27; 4 Kg 25:18-21).


1. Jezonias and Pheltias are mentioned only here, but as princes of the people would be well known to the exiles. 3. 'Were not houses lately built?' (LXX, Vg) is preferable to MT: 'The time is not near to build houses'. The reference is to repairs executed after Nabuchodonosor's visit in 597 b.c.7. This means the city. 10. The borders of Israel refer to Riblah, the scene of Nabuchodonosor's executions. LXX omits 11-12 possibly as superfluous. 13. The death of Pheltias at the time of the prophecy was a coincidence.


14-21 Who shall possess the land of Yahweh?— The inhabitants of Jerusalem say to the exiles: You are far from Yahweh; the land is given in possession to us. The prophet announces that they shall be removed far from Palestine but the despised exiles shall return to it, purify it, and possess it as Yahweh's people. 15. Omit repetition of 'thy brethren'. 'kinsmen': 'fellow exiles' (LXX). 16c. 'And I have been to them only in a small degree a sanctuary', etc. The full observance of Yahweh worship was not possible outside Palestine. 17. 'you': them (LXX). 19. 'one heart': 'a new heart'.20b. 'They shall be my people and I shall be their God'.


22-25 Conclusion of the Vision— Yahweh abandons Jerusalem—The heavenly chariot appears last on Mt Olivet whence Christ ascended into heaven. Reconducted to Tel-Abib the prophet relates his visions to his fellow exiles.


XII-XIX Second Cycle of Threats against Jerusalem and Judah. XII 1-20 Exile and Devastation— By symbolic actions, Ezechiel predicts (1) the exile in general and the fate of Sedecias in particular, (2) the devastation of the land. He makes public preparations for a departure in the daytime by collecting his belongings and putting them outside his house. He departs by night, passing through a hole which he has made in the wall and simulating blindness. There is some confusion in the text. In the command the evening is the time of departure, in the execution it is the time when the hole was made in the wall. 'Go forth' (qal) and 'carry forth' (hiph'il) are also confused in MT and Vg. Sedecias fled from Jerusalem through a south-eastern gate but was captured and blinded before he was led into exile. The second symbolic action depicts fear and anxiety about food caused by the devastation of the land.


1-16 Exile and Fate of Sedecias—2. 'provoking': 'rebellious'. The signs would excite the curiosity of the unbelieving exiles. 3. Omit 'and remove' before 'by day'. The preparation was by day, the departure by night. This verse predicts the exile in general. The necessaries would be few: food, waterskin, staff, clothes.4. "furniture': 'belongings'. Refer 'by day in their sight' to 'bring forth'. 'that removeth his dwelling': 'to depart'.5-6. These verses refer to Sedecias. 6a. 'In their sight thou shalt put (thy baggage) on thy shoulder and go forth in the dark'. The covering of the face represents the blinding of the king before his deportation. 7. (After 'dark'):


'I put (my baggage) on my shoulder in their sight'.10. The message, lit. 'the prince, this burden (or, oracle) in Jerusalem', is obscure. 11c. 'Into exile, into captivity they shall go'.12. 'shall carry (his belongings) on his shoulder'.


17-20. Eating in fear and trembling indicates  c  insecurity of the means of subsistence. 18. 'trouble': 'trembling'. 'hurry and sorrow': 'anxiety and fear'. 19b. (Afier 'desolation'): 'Because their land and all it contains shall be devastated'.


XII 21-XIV 11 Prophecy and Prophets— Ezechiel first refutes popular sayings about prophecy. He then inveighs against false prophets and prophetesses. Finally he sets down the conditions required for obtaining answers through a prophet from Yahweh.


21-28 Sayings about Prophecy— The saying 'The days are prolonged and every vision faileth' must cease. Let it be said instead 'The days are near and every vision is realized'.22. 'in the land': 'about the land'. The prophecies concern the land of Israel. 23. 'the word' (MT) 'the effect' (DV): 'is realized' (Syr.). 24. 'doubtful divination': 'deceitful oracle'.25a-b. 'I am Yahweh, I shall speak my words, I shall speak and I shall perform and I shall postpone no longer' (LXX). The second saying refers particularly to the proximate destruction of Judah and Jerusalem. This prophecy will be fulfilled without delay, not 'after many days and in times afar off'.


XIII 1-16 The False Prophets— These are defined as prophesying from their own hearts, announcing to the people as the words of Yahweh their own thoughts and wishes, and seeing not, having no supernatural vision. They are like foxes in ruins, undermining instead of building, like whitewashers of a wall, hiding instead of repairing weakness. Their punishment will be exclusion from the people and the land of Israel. 2. (After ' Israel'): 'prophesy and say'.5. 'to face the enemy': 'to the breach'.6c. 'And they expected him to accomplish their word'.9. 'council': 'congregation'. Written in the book means registered as members. 10. The wall is the false belief that Yahweh will protect Jerusalem unconditionally. 'dirt without straw': 'whitewash'.11. 'Say to the whitewashers: there shall be violent rain, hailstones shall fall and the storm-wind shall break forth'.13. The storm is the Babylonian invasion. 'to consume': 'shall fall'. 14. Insert 'you' before 'shall be consumed'. 15. 'I will say': 'it will be said'.16. The prophets are the whitewashers of 15.


17-23. The false prophetesses besides attributing to  g  Yahweh their own inventions and prophesying in his name adopted also Babylonian magical practices. They made bands for the joints of the hand and veils for the head to be used as amulets to avert evil influences. Superstitious belief in the efficacy of these amulets gave the power of life and death to their dispensers. 18. 'cushions': 'bands'; 'elbows': 'joints' (of the hands); 'pillows': 'veils'. To catch souls means to prey upon souls. 18c. 'Do you prey upon souls belonging to my people and give life to souls for your own advantage?' The prophetesses promised length of life to the sinners who bought their charms and threatened with death the just who refused them. They also profaned Yahweh by prophesying in his name. 20. Omit (LXX) as glosses 'flying' and 'the souls that should fly'. 22. Justice, not amulets, gives length of life.


XIV 1-11 Worshippers of Idols consult Ezechiel— He is ordered to threaten them with extermination unless they renounce idolatry and not to reply to their queries under penalty of sharing their fate. 3. 'uncleannesses':'idols'. The sense is that their idol worship is external as well as internal. 4. 'I, Yahweh, will answer him notwithstanding the number of his idols'. 5. The answer has a salutary purpose. 7. The strangers would be pagan slaves who accompanied their masters into exile. 9. The prophet who is seduced and answers the demands of idolaters will be exterminated with them. It is Yahweh who seduces