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

Refs: CCoHS - Ezekiel p. 610


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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 610 


59-63 Re-establishment of Jerusalem— Yahweh will make a new and eternal alliance with Jerusalem. Her sisters shall become her daughters. She shall never forget her past infidelity. 59. 'I will deal with thee as thou hast dealt despising the oath etc. Chastisement comes first. 61. Daughters are subject, sisters independent. 'not by thy covenant': not for observance of the covenant. The promise is surprising in this context and most probably a later addition.


485a XVII 1-24 Fall of Sedecias; Advent of Messias— Ezechiel announces in a parable the enthronement of Sedecias, his alliance with Egypt and revolt from Babylon, his deposition and deportation. He then contrasts with the perjured and fallen monarch the Messianic king and his universal reign.


1-10 The Parable— Parables like symbols arouse interest. 3. The eagle is Nabuchodonosor who deposed Joachin and enthroned Sedecias. longbodied': 'with long pinions'; 'marrow': 'top'. 4. Joachin is deported to Babylon. 'top': 'topmost'; 'Canaan': 'trade'. 5. (After 'land'): 'And set it in tillage land beside many waters, (like) A willow he set it'. Sedecias, comfortably enthroned, is compared to a well-watered willow, but, as a weak ruler, to a lowly vine. 6. 'grew into': 'produced'.7. The second eagle is the Pharaoh Hophra. 7b. 'And behold the vine turned its roots towards him and shot forth its branches towards him that he might water it more than (it was watered in) the bed where it was planted'.8. Sedecias' alliance with Egypt was inexcusable. 9. The consequence of revolt. After 'fruit': 'that all its branches which it shot forth may wither'.10. 'furrows': 'bed'.


11-21 The Interpretation— The parable narrates the sin and punishment of Sedecias. By violating his oath of allegiance he offended Yahweh whom he had invoked in making it and broke faith with Nabuchodonosor. 12-14. The future tenses in DV should be past. 'observe it': 'stand'.16. Sedecias died in Babylon. 17. Cf. 9. 'Pharaoh': 'he' (Nabuchodonosor). 18-19. The perjury of Sedecias is an offence against Yahweh. 20. Judge is execute the sentence given at Riblah.


22-24 The Messianic King— ' Thus saith the Lord Yahweh: I, myself, will take from the top of the cedar, From its loftiest branches I will crop off a tender twig. I will plant it on a mountain high and elevated. On a lofty mountain of Israel will I plant it. It shall shoot forth branches and bear firuit. It shall become a magnificent cedar. All birds shall dwell beneath it, All winged things in the shade of its branches shall dwell. All the trees of the field shall know that I am Yahweh, That I have brought low a high tree and exalted a low tree, That I have made a green free wither and a dry tree flourish'. The Messianic king is a sprout of the Davidic tree, dried up when he appears; cf. Is 11:1. He becomes, not a vine like Sedecias, but a magnificent cedar. His kingdom is universal. All nations find shelter therein. All kings recognize its divine origin. Cf. the Gospel parable of the Mustard Seed. This promise is appropriate to, and even suggested by, the context.


e XVIII 1-32 Personal Responsibility— Ezechiel combats the belief that children are punished for the sins of their parents. Each individual is responsible only for his own sins. Moreover if the just man sin or the sinner be converted, neither the good deeds of the former nor the evil deeds of the latter will be remembered. Finally he invites all to a true repentance assuring them of the Mercy of Yahweh, more ready to pardon than to punish. This teaching on personal responsibility and divine mercy was particularly necessary when over-emphasis on national responsibility and divine justice led to despair. It was more a reminder than an innovation. In the oldest parts of the Bible individuals are rewarded and punished for their own good and evil deeds.


1-4. The Proverb. 2. 'Why do you repeat this proverb among the children [LXX, 'land' MT] of Israel:The fathers have eaten sour grapes and the teeth of the children are set on edge?' The proverb attributes injustice to Yahweh and claims innocence for the speakers.



5-9. The just man. The precepts mentioned summarize important obligations: purity of worship, sexual purity, social justice and charity. Whoever observes them is just and will be saved from premature death. 6. The mountains are the high places. 7. Omit 'to the debtor'. 8. 'increase': 'interest '. Interest could be exacted from a foreigner but not from an Israelite. 9. 'truth': 'them' (LXX).


10-13. The wicked son of a just father. Omit 11a. The list of sins refers not to omissions but to these things (10 ) which the sinner does. The son dies for his sins and is not saved by his father's justice.


14-20. The just son of a wicked father. This is the case instanced in the proverb. 17. 'from (injuring) the poor': 'from iniquity'. 18. Omit 'to his brother'. 19. Refutation of the proverb.


21-29. The Convert and the Pervert. God's Mercy to the repentant sinner and the need of perseverance in the practice of justice complete the teaching. God is more pleased to pardon than to punish but repentance is necessary for pardon and no sinner is safe from chastisement. 21. 'Do penance for' is lit. turn away from.24. Omit 'shall he live' (LXX) 'prevarication': 'infidelity' . 26. Omit 'therein' (LXX). 27. Omit 'considereth' (LXX). 28. 'Is not my way', etc.


30-32. Invitation to Repentance. 30b. 'Be converted and turn yourselves from all your transgressions that they may not be to you a stumbling-block of iniquity'. 32. For 'him that dieth' many read the sinner as in 23.


XIX 1-14 Elegy on the Princes of Judah— This elegy aptly concludes the second cycle of prophecies. It is a poetical composition in qînāh or elegiac metre. Each verse has five beats, three in the first and two in the second member. It is also a parable. Two princes are represented as young lions, sons of a lioness, and a third as a vine-branch. Sedecias is the vine branch as in ch 17. The lions, appointed by the lioness, are Joachaz deported to Egypt and Joachin deported to Babylon. Joakim is not mentioned because he died in Jerusalem, 4 Kg 24:5. The view that the second lion represents Sedecias is based on the false supposition that the lioness is Amital, wife of Josias and mother of Joachaz and Sedecias. But the lioness in the midst of lions is not the queen-mother but Judah in the midst of foreign nations. The lioness moreover appoints the second king. Sedecias was appointed by Nabuchodonosor. Finally the second monarch is deposed before the third is mentioned.


1-4 Joachaz—1. 'princes ' (MT): 'prince' (LXX).  m  Thy mother, 2, 10, shows that the whole poem is addressed to Sedecias. 2-3. 'What a lioness was thy mother Among the lions! She couched in the midst of the lions, Reared her cubs. She reared one of her cubs Who became a young lion; He learned to rend his prey, He devoured men'. The detailed description is verified in the lion rather than in the prince. A parable is not an allegory. 4. 'They summoned nations against him, He was caught in their pit, And they led him in hooks To the land of Egypt'. Joachaz after a three months' reign was deported by Nechao to Egypt where he died. The lion figure is probably derived from Gen 49:9.


5-9 Joachin—5. 'When she saw that she waited And  n  hoped in vain, She took another of her cubs And made him a lion'. Joachin, son of Joakim, like Joachaz was appointed without foreign interference. After a three months' reign he was deported to Babylon where records of his captivity have been discovered in the royal palace; see A. Bea, S.J., in Bi 23 ( 1942) 78-82. 6-7. 'He walked among the lions, He became a young lion. He learned to rend his prey, He devoured men, He knew their widows (?), He laid waste their cities, He terrified the land and its fulness, With the noise of his roaring'. For 'he knew their widows' (MT) 'he preyed in their dens' is suggested. 8-9. 'The nations round about laid snares for him, They spread out their nets, He was caught in their pit. They encaged him and brought him To the king of