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


Refs: CCoHS - Ezekiel p. 613


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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 613 


called for vengenace on the shedder. 8. Yahweh is again the author of what he lets happen.


9-14 The Empty Cauldron— The cauldron or 'the city defies all attempts at purification and must be entirely destroyed. 10. The text is in disorder. The meat was cooked and the cauldron emptied in 5-6. Here again: 'Pile up the wood, light the fire, cook well the meat, (prepare the sauce) let the bones be burned'. Similarly the reference to the rust in 6a is out of place. It belongs to the burning of the empty cauldron. Heinisch reads 6a after 12 and 6b after 10a. Thus 3-5 and 7-8 refer to the first symbol, 6 and 9-13 to the second. 12. Omit 'great pains have been taken', dittography. Attach 13a. 'owing to the defilement of thy lewdness' to 12.


15-27 Unlamented Death of Ezechlel's Wife— By his attitude on the death of his wife, Ezechiel becomes a sign to the exiles. As he is forbidden to lament her death so they are forbidden to lament the destruction of Jerusalem. 17. MT transposes 'dead' and 'mourning' and reads 'men' for mourners. The mourning rites prohibited were baring the head and the feet, veiling the lower part of the face, the mourning meal. 18a. 'And thou shalt speak' (LXX), a command executed in 18c. 21. Jerusalem is lit. 'the glory of your might, the desire of your eyes, the object of your soul's compassion'. The text is in disorder. 22-23, in which the prophet speaks, interrupt the speech of Yahweh 21 and 24. 24. Omit 'of things to come'. 26-27. The restrictions imposed on Ezechiel's prophetic ministry shall cease when a fugitive from Jerusalem announces the city's fall; cf. 33:21 f.


XXV-XXXII Prophecies against Gentile Nations. XXV 1-17 Prophecies against Ammon, Moab, Edom, and Philistia— Like Isaias and Jeremias Ezechiel also predicts God's judgement on the Gentile Nations: Ammonites, Moabites, Edomites, Philistines, Phoenicians, Egyptians. He does not denounce their idol worship but their malevolent attitude towards Yahweh's sanctuary and Yahweh's people, because this hostility is the chief obstacle to a Messianic restoration.


1-7 Ammon— The Ammonites will disappear and Ammon will be a camping-ground for desert dwellers, her eastern neighbours. 2. 'of them': 'against them'.3. The sin of Ammon is hostility to the temple, the land and the people of Yahweh. 4. 'inheritance': 'possession'; 'sheepcotes': 'encampments', lit. the stone rings surrounding the tents. 5. stable 'pasturage'; 'children': 'cities'.7. 'people': 'peoples'.


8-11 Moab— The Moabites will share the fate of the Ammonites. 8. Omit Seir. 9. The text is corrupt, but the sense is clear. All Moab will be exposed to invasion. The shoulder is the mountain side protecting on the north Moab and its important cities: Beth-jesimoth (Suwēme at NE. end of Dead Sea), Baal-meon (Ma'in, S. of Suwēme) and Kiriathaim (Kureiyāt, S. of Baal-meon). 10b. 'of the children of Ammon': 'of it'.


12-14 Edom— The judgement on Edom will be executed by the Jews themselves who subjected the Edomites in the Maccabean period. 13. 'the south': 'Teman', an Edomite city,' perhaps Odroh. Dedan is El-'Olah.


15-17 Philistia— God himself will chastise the Philistines. 15. 'with all their mind': 'with despite of soul'. After 'destroying': 'with eternal [implacable] enmity'.16. 'killers': 'Cretans'. Ezechiel plays on the words kārat 'cut off' and ketî 'Cretan' equivalent to Philistine.


XXVI 1-21 First Prophecy against Tyre: Sin and Punishment of Tyre—Tyre was the richest and most Powerful of the Phoenician cities. It was built on an island nearly half a mile from the shore and was thus impregnable as long as the Tyrians retained command of the sea. It had also dependent cities and considerable territory on the mainland as well as colonies and trading posts in the islands and on the coasts of the Mediterranean. Its general policy, dictated by commercial interests, was submission and payment of tribute to the imperial invaders of Palestine and friendly relations with its neighbours. Though the Tyrians took part with Sedecias in his revolt against Nabuchodonosor they nevertheless rejoiced at the fall of Jerusalem, a commercial rival whose trade they hoped to inherit. Ezechiel predicts the complete ruin of Tyre and the Babylonian siege of Tyre. The ruin of Tyre is always attributed to Yahweh without mention of human agents. It was finally accomplished by the Saracens in a.d. 1291. Josephus informs us (C.Ap. 1, 21) that Nabuchodonosor besieged Tyre for 13 years, c 586-574 b.c. We have no direct information on the outcome of this siege. The general verdict of historians that it was unsuccessful, seems to be confirmed by Ezechiel himself in a later prophecy, 29:18. Nabuchodonosor had no fleet and could not assault the island city or intercept its supplies. We must therefore regard the prophet's description of the siege as largely conventional. He magnifies the part played by horses and chariots and makes no reference to the special measures needed for the capture of an island city. A similar use of conventional language in eschatological prophecies is generally recognized.


1-6 Sin and Chastisement—1. The date is spring 586. The omitted month must be the 11th or 12th; cf. 33:21. 2. Tyre rejoices at Jerusalem's fall. 'Aha, she is shattered, The gate of the peoples. To me hath been turned The fulness of her that was laid waste.3. 'to thee': 'against thee'.4. Omit 'like'. Tyre (Heb. ṣôr; ṣûr, means 'rock') shall become bare rock. 6. The daughters are the cities on the mainland.


7-14 Nabuchodonosor's Siege of Tyre—The long siege h is the initial stage of Tyre's chastisement. 7. 'horsemen and an assembly of many peoples'.8. The cities on the mainland are first reduced. Wall, mound, testudo or shield formation are ordinary features of a siege. 9. 'engines of war and': 'the shock of'.10. 'horsemen and chariot-wheels when he enters thy gates as a conquered city is entered'.11c. 'And thy strong pillars he shall lay low'.12. 'they': 'he'.13. 'multitude 'noise'. Note the change of subject.


15-18 Effect on Tyre's Neighbours—15. They tremble  i  at the news of Tyre's fall. 16. They exhibit the usual signs of mourning. 'astonishment': 'mourning garb'. ground and shall tremble every instant and be astonished at thee'.17-18. They chant a lament: 'How hast thou disappeared from the seas, Famous city! That ruled over the sea, She and her inhabitants, at spread terror Over all the continent. Now the coasts tremble In the day of thy fall, And the islands in the sea are terrified At thy end'.


19-21 Oracle on Tyre—20. 'I shall bring thee down to those who have gone down to the pit, the men of yore, and set thee in the underworld, the primordial solitudes . . . that thou be no more inhabited, no more subsist in the land of the living'. 21. 'to nothing': 'to a terrible end'.


XXVII 1-36 Second Prophecy against Tyre: Lament for Tyre—The city is here likened to a magnificent ship whose construction and destruction are described in elegiac verse. Between the poetic sections is a detailed description in prose of the commerce of Tyre, probably a later addition.


1-9a The Building of the Ship—3. 'mart' 'trafficker'. The elegy begins 3c: 'Tyre thou hast said: I am a ship, Perfect in beauty. 'Ship' ('onîyāh) is omitted by haplography after 'anî. The comparison suggests insular site and sea trade. 4. 'In the heart of the sea thy domain; thy builders Have made thee perfect in beauty.5. From the cypresses of Sanir they built All thy planks. The cedars of Lebanon they took To make thee a mast'. Sanir is Mt Hermon. 6. 'From the highest oaks of Bashan They made thy oars. Thy deck they made of ivory inlaid in pine wood From the coasts of Kittim'. Bashan is northern Transjordan. Kittim, originally the inhabitants of Citium, is by extension Cyprus. The red pine of Cyprus was much used in ship-building. 7. 'Of fine linen with embroidered work from Egypt Was thy sail, Violet and purple from the coasts of Elisha Was thy awning'. 'To be thy