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


Refs: CCoHS - Ezekiel p. 611


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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 611 


Babylon, That his voice might be heard no more On the mountains of Israel'. The nations are the vassals of Babylon.


10-14 Sedecias—10-11. 'Thy mother was like a vine stock in a vineyard, Planted by waters. She was fruitful and rich in branches Owing to the many waters. A strong branch of hers became A ruler's sceptre. His stature dominated Amid the foliage. He was conspicuous by his height And the multitude of his shoots'. The lion figure is abandoned because Israel is now a vassal state, Sedecias a creature of Nabuchodonosor. 12-13. 'But she was uprooted in fury, Dashed to earth, And an east wind withered Her branches which were broken off, And her strong branch was dried up And consumed by fire. And now she is planted in the desert In a dry and thirsty land'. The deposition of Sedecias and the exile are predicted. 14. And a fire came forth from the branch And devoured its shoots.' Scdecias is made responsible for the fire. Without shoots he can have no successor.


XX-XXIV Third Cycle of Threats against Jerusalem and Judah. XX 1-44 Israel's Past and Present Sins and Future Restoration— In August 591 b.c. the elders of Tel-Abib again request Ezechiel to consult Yahweh for them. The prophet again assures them that Yahweh will not hear them or reply to them. He recalls to them instead the sins of Israel and the necessity of conversion.


1-4. The date was about eleven months after the last given, ch 8. 3. 'answer you': 'be inquired of by you'.4. 'Wilt thou judge them?' or 'I will judge them' (LXX). 'Judge' means 'accuse'.


5-9. Sins in Egypt. 5. 'lifted up my hand' means 'swore'. 'appeared': 'made myself known'. 6. 'Exuding milk and honey': producing abundant and excellent food. 'excelleth amongst': lit. jewel of. 8. 'provoked': 'rebelled against'.9. Idol worship merited extirpation. Yahweh spared them that his name as an omnipotent protector might be honoured by the Gentiles.


10-17. Sins of the first generation in the desert. 11. Observance of the law was recompensed by length of life as non-observance was punished by death. 12. Observance of the Sabbath was particularly important in the exilic period when sacrifices and other ritual observances were impossible. 13. provoked': 'rebelled against'.14. 'spared them': 'acted'. After 'nations': 'in whose sight I brought them out'.


18-26. Sins of the second generation in the desert. Though warned they also sinned. Yahweh did not exterminate them for his name's sake. 25. 'shall': 'should'.'laws that were not good' are possibly laws not good for them because by their fault they failed to observe them but more probably Canaanite observances which Yahweh gave them, let them take voluntarily. Yahweh's gift of Canaan exposed them to the seductions of Canaanite worship. Cf. 14:9. It would be contrary to the Holiness of Yahweh to impose laws not objectively good. 26. 'And I polluted them by their gifts when they caused to pass through the fire all their firstborn to terrify them and that they might know that I am Yahweh'. God's purpose was to terrify them by the enormity of their crime. St Paul teaches similarly that God allowed sin to abound that man might realize his own weakness and seek divine aid.


27-29. Sins In Canaan. 27. After 'blasphemed me': 'by their grievous infidelity'.28. Worship in the high places was more usually associated with Canaanite divinities and included licentious practices of Canaanite origin. 29. The word bāmāh 'high place' is here popularly derived from the verb ba' 'go in', used of conjugal relations and suggesting infidelity to Yahweh. The philological derivation is unknown.


30-32. Sins in exile. The worship of idols made the exiles unworthy of a hearing from Yahweh. 31. Though human sacrifices were not unknown in Babylonia the reference to Moloch offerings here is surprising and may be an interpolation.


33-44. The Restoration. Yahweh will reassemble his people from the nations among whom they are dispersed and judge them. The wicked shall perish and the good shall return to Palestine. 35. 'of people': 'of the nations'. The Syro-Arabian desert seems indicated. 37. 'And I will make you pass under the rod', the shepherd's rod under which the sheep pass as they enter the fold at night. 39. After 'Lord God': 'Do away with [LXX] your idols. But after that you shall certainly hear me and you shall no longer profane my holy name by your offerings and your idols'. 40. After 'serve me': 'There I shall accept them favouraby and there I shall require your offerings', etc. The promise here between the sins and their chastisement is unexpected and probably a later addition.



XX 45-XXI 32 (MT XXI:1-37) The Sword of Yahweh i against Jerusalem and Ammon— Ezechiel first sees a fire consuming all the trees of Judah, symbol of the sword of Yahweh massacring all the inhabitants. He then describes in verse the sword and its work of destruction. In the third scene Nabuchodonosor (the sword) at the cross-roads consults his oracles to determine whether he shall first assail Jerusalem or RabbathAmmon. Jerusalem is designated. Finally Ammon's subsequent chastisement is predicted. This final invasion of Judah began in winter 589 b.c.


45-XXI 7 (MT XXI:1-12) The Fire and the Sword— The fire is a figure, the sword its interpretation. 46. 'Drop (thy word) on the south'.47. As the forest fire spares no tree, so Nabuchodonosor will spare no person. XXI:3. The just perish with the wicked. This prophecy of indiscriminate slaughter by a human agent does not contradict the prophet's teaching of man's individual responsibility before God. Nabuchodonosor neither could nor would discriminate between the just and the unjust. 7. After 'faint': 'And all knees shall be weak as water'.


XXI 8-17 (MT 13-22) The Song of the Sword— The text is sometimes uncertain. 9b-10. 'A sword, a sword is sharpened and polished. It is sharpened to slay; it is polished to flash lightning. Or shall we rejoice? The sceptre of my son despises all wood'. Wood or tree means sceptre or king. Sedecias despises all kings even Nabuchodonosor. 11-12. 'I have given it to a butcher [MT, to be polished] that he may take it in his hand. It is sharpened, it is polished to be put into the hand of a slayer. Cry and roar, Son of man, for it is (drawn) against my people, against all the princes of Israel; they are vowed to the sword with my people. Strike then thy thigh'. Striking the thigh expresses grief, Jer 31:19. 13. 'For what a trial if even the sceptre which despises is no longer! Oracle of the Lord Yahweh'. The dethronement of Sedecias is predicted. 14-16. 'But thou, Son of man, prophecy and clap thy hands, Let the sword be doubled, be tripled. It is a sword of slaughter, a sword of great slaughter which surrounds them, that hearts may melt and the overthrown be many. At all their gates I have set the threat [?] of the sword. It is made to flash lightning, to slay. Spread terror on the right, place thyself on the left wherever thy edge is destined'. Clapping hands indicates approval, exultation. 17. 'I also shall clap my hands, shall assuage my wrath. I, Yahweh, have spoken'.


18-27 (MT 23-32) Nabuchodonosor at the Crossroads — Ezechiel is ordered to represent graphically the two roads open to the invader. From Riblah on the Orontes they branch off, SW. to Jerusalem, SE. to Rabbath-Ammon. He sees Nabuchodonosor at Riblah directed by his oracles to march on Jerusalem. He marks the Jerusalem road with an arrow in his drawing. 19c. After 'land': 'And fashion a signal, at the beginning of the way to the city fashion it'. The road to Jerusalem alone is marked for the sword of Yahweh. 21. 'stood': 'stands'; 'highway': 'crossroads'. The diviners cast lots, conventionally interpreted, consulted the Teraphim, household gods, and inspected the livers of slain animals. 22. 'In his right hand is the reply, Jerusalem'. Omit 'to set battering rams'. 'engines': 'battering rams'; 'lift up the voice in howling': 'raise the war cry'.23. The oracle, disbelieved by the citizens, is confirmed by the remembrance of their iniquity. 24. 'remembered': 'called