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


Refs: CCoHS - Ezekiel p. 609


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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 609 


him, not positively but negatively, lets him be voluntarily seduced.


XIV 12-XVI 63 Total Corruption of Judah and Jerusalem— Ezechiel first describes the justice of Yahweh in chastising sinful nations, then the sinfulness of Israel, unfruitful vine, ungrateful child, unfaithful spouse. He concludes that her chastisement, severe and inevitable, will be followed by her restoration.


12-23 Justice of the Chastisements of Yahweh— When Yahweh chastises a nation he spares the just but not their sons and daughters. In the chastisement of Jerusalem, however, some will escape into exile to reveal by their manner of life the justice of Yahweh's judgement. Thus the general law of personal responsibility admits exceptions. As some of the guilty are spared here, so the just perish with the wicked, 21:3. 13. The clauses are all conditional, the apodosis is 14b. 'They [alone] shall be saved'. 14. As Israel is an exception to the general rule the instances of just men are sought elsewhere. It is therefore improbable that the prophet Daniel is here indicated. He was moreover a contemporary of Ezechiel while Noe and Job were ancients. Finally the prophet's name is always written Daniel, but here and in 28:3 MT has 'Danel'. This was the name of an ancient Phoenician sage recently revealed by the Rās-Shamra tablets. Most moderns accept the association of the Phoenician Danel with the Edomite Job. It may be assumed that Danel was an ancient historical figure, introduced into Phoenician mythology as Job was introduced into Hebrew Wisdom literature. 22-23. The conduct and actions of the fugitives must have been evil to convince the earlier exiles of the justice of the chastisement.


k XV 1-8 Jerusalem, Unfruitful Vine— The comparison of Israel to a vineyard usually depicts Yahweh's care of his people and their ingratitude and infidelity. Here the point of comparison is the inutility of the unfruitful vine-stock and its consequent destiny, the fire. Both ends, the northern and southern kingdoms, and the centre Jerusalem, captured and sacked in 597 b.c., have been wholly or partially consumed. Yahweh will complete the destruction. 2. 'What advantage has the vine-tree over any other tree, the vinebranch which is among the trees of the forest?'4. 'reduced to ashes': 'burned'.7b. 'They have gone out', etc. They have escaped so far but will finally perish.


XVI 1-14 Jerusalem, Ungrateful Child— Jerusalem as capital represents the land of Israel. Ezechiel does not consider the ethnical origin of the Hebrew people. Israel is a foundling. Her father and mother are the previous possessors of the land. The Amorites are the Semitic immigrants who invaded Canaan in the 19th cent. b.c. The Hethites are the northern nonSemitic peoples, Hurrites and perhaps Hittites, who invaded the land in the 18th cent. These possessed Canaan when the patriarchs settled there. 4. The new-born child is still washed, salted and swaddled by the Palestinian Arabs. Israel as a foundling was neglected. 5. 'in the abjection of thy soul': 'in disgust for thy life'. The unwanted child was exposed to death. 6. 'I saw thee weltering in thy blood and I said to thee in thy blood "Live"'. Omit last member (LXX). 7. 'And grow like the plants of the fields'. 'woman's ornament': 'beauteous maturity'.8. Covering with the extremity of the garment meant betrothal, Ru 3:9. Covenant was espousal. 10. 'violet-coloured shoes': 'the skin of the sea-cow'.12. 'jewel upon thy forehead'; 'ring on thy nose'.13. Omit last member (LXX). A bride, not a queen, is described. 14b. 'For it was perfect through my splendour'. The early monarchy is depicted.


15-34 Jerusalem, Unfaithful Spouse— Judah used Yahweh's splendid gifts ungratefully for adulterous ends. Forms of idolatrous worship, both Canaanite and foreign, are indicated. She even paid her guilty partners instead of being paid by them. 16. (After high places'): 'decked with divers colours and hast played the harlot upon them'.17. 'vessels': 'ornaments'. 20-21. Placating false gods with sacrifices of Yahweh's children was the climax of iniquity. Infants were 484m first slain, then burned as holocausts to Moloch at Jerusalem. 22. 'after': 'in'. Correct last member as in 5. 24. 'common stew': 'altar base'; 'brothel house': 'high place'.26-27 are usually misinterpreted. Ezechiel, describing the sins of Judah, records, after indigenous Canaanite worship, foreign worship introduced by foreign alliances. The first alliance with Egypt was that of Ezechias with the Kushite Pharaoh, punished by the invasion of Sennacherib. Many cities were detached from Judah and incorporated in the Assyrian province of Ashdod. The Egyptians were small in stature but the Kushites who then ruled Egypt were long-bodied,Is 18:2, 7. Their stature is here emphasized as giving them a deceptive appearance of strength. Great in flesh is 'big-bodied' or 'long-bodied', since bāśār 'flesh' is frequently used for 'body', but rarely for membrum virile, the inappropriate modern interpretation here. 27. 'And behold I stretched out my hand against thee, I diminished thy portion and I delivered thee to the desire of thy enemies, the daughters of the Philistines'. This verse confirms the historical allusion suggested above. 29. 'Canaan': 'trade';cf. 17:4. Babylon was a trade centre. 31. Cf. corrections in 24. 'Thou hast not been as a harlot seeking [LXX] a wage'.32-34. Judah differed from ordinary harlots in seeking and paying her lovers instead of being sought and paid by them.



35-43 The Chastisement of Jerusalem— She shall be handed over defenceless to her paramours who will strip her of everything and, as Yahweh's appropriate agents, will execute on her the sentence pronounced on adulteresses and shedders of blood. 36. Brass, not used for money (Vg), is unintelligible. 'by': 'and through'. Bloodshed by human sacrifice is indicated. 37. 'Hated' may mean 'loved less'. It probably indicates Judah's fickleness in adopting and abandoning false gods. 38b (corrected). 'And I shall bring upon thee my fury and my jealousy'.39. 'the vessels of thy beauty': 'thy fair jewels'.40. 'multitude'; 'assembly', a kind of tribunal of the nations. The adulteress is stoned, the shedder of blood has his own blood shed. 41. 'Women' here means nations and particularly Judah's neighbours who rejoice in her humiliation. 42a. 'And I shall satisfy my indignation with her'. Yahweh is depicted as a husband who completely vindicates the wrong done him and is fully satisfied. 43c is probably interrogative. Hast thou not fornicated over all thy abominations?' Her punishment is merited by continual infidelity.


44-58 Jerusalem compared with Samaria and Sodom  o  The justice of the sentence pronounced on Jerusalem is confirmed by a comparison. She has sinned more than Samaria and Sodom. As they were punished her chastisement is inevitable. 44. Omit 'common'. 45. The Hittite mother was a heathen. The husbands are national as distinguished from foreign deities. The sisters adopted Canaanite gods and offered them human sacrifices. 46. 'elder': 'bigger'; 'younger': 'smaller'. Not age but extent of territory is indicated. 47. Almost, which begins the second member, must be referred to all. Jerusalem has been more wicked than her sisters in almost all her ways. 48. Daughters are minor cities. 49. 'abundance and idleness': 'careless ease'; 'put forth': 'strengthen' (the hand of the needy). 50. As thou hast seen alludes to the still visible ruins of Sodom. 52. 'Justify' here means render excusable as less guilty. Jerusalem entreated for (DV 'surpassed') her sisters by showing the comparative lightness of their guilt. 53. 'And I will change their lot, the lot of Sodom and her daughters and the lot of Samaria and her daughters and I will change thy lot in the midst of them'. As the prophecy precedes the fall of Jerusalem, Sodom and Samaria shall be re-established but Jerusalem shall be disestablished. 56-57. Was not Sodom a byword on thy lips? Now thou art a byword for thy neighbours. 'Syria', Aram (MT); 'Edom' (Syriac) Edom and Philistia were Judah's neighbours. 58. 'hast borne': 'shall bear'.