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


Refs: CCoHS - Ezekiel p. 616


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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 616 


quences to the prophet of warning and failing to warn are repeated.


c 10-20 Personal Responsibility—The chastisement of the nation for sins in which the exiles participated causes the latter to despair of pardon. Ezechiel reminds them of the justice and mercy of God who will not visit on them the sins of others and is always ready to pardon repentant sinners; cf. 14:1-8; 18:1-32. 12. Omit 'in his justice' (LXX). MT has the unintelligible 'in it'. 13-16. The just must persevere in his justice, the sinner must repent and repair the wrong he has done. 17-20. God's ways are just and forbid despair. Repentance of evil and perseverance in good will bring salvation.


21-29 Admonition to the Undeported Israelites— Ezechiel, informed of the fall of Jerusalem, receives at the same time full liberty of speech in preaching to the people. He rejects the claims of the undeported Israelites to the possession of Palestine. 21. Correct 'twelfth' (MT) and 'tenth' (LXX) to eleventh year. The news reached the exiles about six months after the city's fall. 22. Omit 'and he opened my mouth', dittography. Ezechiel was in ecstasy from the evening to the following morning when the fugitive visited him as already announced, 24:26. The undeported Israelites argue that Abraham was one, they his descendants are many and being better able to populate and utilize the land have a stronger claim to it. Ezechiel replies that as sinners they are doomed to destruction. Many of them must have suffered in a subsequent deportation, 582 b.c., mentioned in Jer 52:30. 25. 'uncleannesses': 'your idols'. 26. 'You stood on your swords': you regarded might as right. 27. The ruinous places are dilapidated towns as opposed to open country, mountain tops, caves.


30-33. Ezechiel's fellow-exiles are reproached by Yahweh for their levity in not heeding his words and carrying out his instructions. Omit 'my people' (LXX). 'for lies are in their mouth', reading kezāḇîm for 'agāḇîm. 32a. 'Behold thou art to them as a troubadour [šār or MT šîr] who has a fine voice and plays well on the harp'. 33. Their eyes will be opened in the day of their chastisement.


XXXIV 1-31 The Bad Shepherds replaced by a New David— In this prophecy Yahweh compares Israel to a flock of sheep, neglected, preyed on and dispersed by bad shepherds. He intends to purify them, to restore them to their old pasturage where they shall find abundant nourishment and where a single shepherd called David and Servant of Yahweh, shall rule them in peace and holiness; cf. Jer 23:1-8.


1-10 The Bad Shepherds—3. The shepherds took full remuneration for duties which they did not perform. 4. They did not assist the weak, sick, wounded and strayed who needed their ministrations, and the strong (LXX) with cruelty they trod under foot. 5. Omit 'and were scattered'. 8. The beasts of the field represent the foreign nations. 10. The shepherds will be called to account and deprived of their office.


11-16 Yahweh Shepherd of his Flock—The restoration is predicted. 11. 'visit': 'look for'. 12. As a shepherd reunites his scattered sheep, so shall Yahweh reunite his scattered people. 13. 'habitations': 'inhabited regions'. 16. Yahweh will do all that the bad shepherds failed to do. Omit 'fat' (LXX).


17-22 Judgement and Purification—17. The Heb. word for flock includes goats with sheep. Rams and he-goats particularly indicate the ruling classes inclined to egoism. The stronger animals after satisfying themselves trample the pastures and foul the waters. 'I will judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and he-goats' implies the removal of disturbers from the flock. 20. The fat are the oppressors, the lean the oppressed.


23-31 The Messias and his Reign—The Messianic kingdom is often represented as a revival of David's kingdom. The Messias is a new David, servant of Yahweh. His reign will be prosperous and peaceful. The new covenant is a covenant of peace. 23. Omit the second 'he shall feed them'. 25. LXX omits  489j  'secure' and MT refers 'in security' to 'dwell'. 26a. The text seems corrupt. LXX reads: I will set them around my mountains. 29. LXX reads šālôm, MT šēm (DV 'renown'). 'a bud of renown': 'a perfect plantation'. Great fertility is indicated. 30. Omit 'with them' (LXX). 31. 'You are my sheep, the sheep of my pasturage and I am Yahweh your God'. 'Men' is a gloss.


XXXV 1-15 Devastation of Edom—The Messianic restoration is depicted by the prophets as the reestablishment of Israel in all her ancient territory. Edom had occupied a considerable part of Judah after the fall of Jerusalem and aspired to the possession of all Israel. Their chastisement, already predicted, 25:12-14, is again announced as an integral part of the programme of the restoration. 2. Seir is a mountain range in Edom. 3-4. Edom will be entirely laid waste. 5. Edom's sin is perpetual enmity to Judah, manifested particularly in the recent calamity by either slaying fugitives or delivering them to the Chaldaeans, Abd 14. 6. (After 'God'): 'Thou hast made thyself guilty of blood and blood will pursue thee'. There is a play on the words Edom and dām 'blood'. 8. 'I shall fill with the slain thy hills and thy valleys; the slain with the sword shall fall therein' (LXX). 10. The Edomites aspire to the possession of Judah and Israel which belong to Yahweh. 11. The lex talionis will be applied to Edom. Insert to thee after 'do' (LXX). 'I shall make myself known to thee when I judge thee'. 12. 'To consume' means for our sustenance. 14. MT is corrupt. Not the whole earth but Edom rejoices. The thought appears clearly in 15.


XXXVI 1-38 Re-establishment of Israel: Preparation of the Land and Purification of the People—The degradation of Israel was attributed by the Gentiles to the powerlessness of Yahweh, her protector. She must be re-established that Yahweh's name be no longer blasphemed. The devastated land will increase in fertility and the sinful people will be spiritually regenerated. The prophecy was conditional and depended for its literal fulfilment on the co-operation of Israel with the designs of Yahweh. It was spiritually fulfilled in the spiritual Israel, the Church founded by Christ.


1-15 The Mountains of Israel shall be Blessed—1. 'Mountains' means 'mountainous land'. 2b. 'Aha! Deserts [LXX] for ever! They have become our possession 3. 'because you have been despised and hated' (LXX). 4. 'to the valleys, to the deserted ruins and the abandoned cities that were spoiled', etc. 5. 'of': 'against'. (After 'themselves'): 'with all the joy of their heart and the contempt of their soul to possess and despoil it'. 6. 'ridges': 'ravines'.7. Lift up the hand: swear. 8. The restoration is depicted as imminent. 9. 'I come to you and I turn to you', etc. 10. The fecundity of the remnant is also foretold by Isaias. 12b. 'You [the mountains of Israel] shall be their inheritance and you shall be no longer deprived of their children'. 13. 'suffocated': 'deprived of children'. 14. Canaan devoured its children by famine caused by the dryness of its soil.


16-38 Israel shall be re-established and spiritually  c  regenerated—16-23. The motive of the Messianic restoration is first explained. It is not for Israel's sake or through Israel's merits but that Yahweh's holy name be no longer blasphemed by the Gentiles who considered him unable to protect his people. 24. The exiles will return to Palestine. 25-29a. The spiritual regeneration of the people is predicted. Washing with water and infusion of God's spirit suggest a baptismal regeneration. 29b-30. Abundance of the fruits of the earth. 31-32. The Israelites will be rightly ashamed of their past infidelities. 33-35. Restoration of inhabitants to the desolate land and empty cities. 36. The neighbouring nations will recognize the hand of the Lord and no longer blaspheme his holy name. 37-38. Multiplication of the people. 'I shall multiply for them men like flocks'. The comparison suggests the consecrated flocks at the solemn feasts in Jerusalem.