Ezekiel 25-32 – Judgement on the nations

Below is the full guide for a study on Ezekiel 25-32. Follow this link for a handout to be used by the members of your group for this study.


Biblical Context

God created the whole world and all that is in it. All nations under heaven are subject to the rule of our Sovereign God.

When God chose Israel to be his people, he gave them the promised land and declared that they were not to mingle and intermarry with the surrounding nations. They were to be devoted to the LORD and not be seduced by the nations around her. God aided Israel to drive out all the nations from the promised land.

Ezekiel Context

The Sovereign LORD has rebuked Israel for their idolatry and evil practices and condemned them to Exile which began in chapter 24. Chapter 16 described how much love and care God gave to Israel and yet she prostituted herself with all the nations around her.

For a map of the nations surrounding Israel in the time of Ezekiel, see the following web-link


Chapters 25-32 stand out in the book of Ezekiel because of their attention away from Israel and on to the nations that surround her. Rather than choose one chapter in this section, we’ll look at grabs from the whole section and see what they have to tell us about the nations that surround Israel.

Read chapter 25.

1) God promises to bring judgement on nations other than Israel. What are the reasons given for each nation? Ammon? Moab? Edom? Philistia?

2) What does this tell you about God’s view of those nations and about Israel?

You could look up these verses if you would like to read more about these judgements.

Genesis 19:36-38 Lot is the father of the Moabites and the Ammonites!
Zephaniah 2:8-11 – About Moab and Ammon
Psalm 35 esp. Verses 21-25 (about “aha!)
Isaiah 16:6 (about Moab)
Obadiah 10-15 esp.12 – about Edom
2 Samuel 8:13-14 + 2 Chronicles 28:17 (why Edomite might want revenge)

Read these verses about Tyre and paraphrase what they say…

27:1-4; 28:1-2 – you were perfection but you said “I am a god!”

26:1-2 – Tyre said Aha and wants to exploit the desolate Jerusalem

26:3-4 – Therefore God will destroy her like a wave on a sandcastle.

26:19-21 – you will go down to the pit and you will be sought, but you will never again be found.

28:6-10; 27:36; 28:19 – You will be slain and see that you are mortal – you will be no more!

About Egypt…

29:1-3; 9-10 – You say “The Nile is mine, I made it!” – therefore Egypt will become a wasteland.

32:32 – Pharoah will be laid among the dead.

About Assyria…

31:1-3, 9 – it was like a glorious cedar tree – God made her like this!

10-11 – But because of her pride I handed her over to the forces of the world.

14 – all such trees are destined for death – to the realm of the dead.

About Babylon…

26:7-14 – Babylon will do the work of God

30:10, 24 – Babylon will put an end to Egypt

29:17-20 – God will pay Babylon for his work!


About Israel…

28:24-26 – God will remove all the malicious neighbours and give them peace.

1) What does all this tell us about God? That he is the God over all the nations. That he gives life to the nations like Egypt and Assyria and he takes it away. He is the Sovereign LORD!

2) What does this tell us about Babylon in connection to God? That Babylon is given blessing by God to conquer only in that it serves the ends of God. The fate of this ungodly nation is in the hands of the LORD. All nations ought to recognise this.

3) What does this tell us about God’s people? That God, although punishing his people, is still protective of them. Just because he sends Israel into judgement, this doesn’t give other nations licence to abuse her. They are still subject to the almighty, whether they recognise it or not.

4) What is the connection between Ezekiel 25-32 and us? Whether you are Christian or not, God is still ruler. God has plans for his people that are for good and not evil – the rest of the world ought to surrender to this plan and become one of his people!

New Testament Connections?

Is there a New Testament passage that comes to mind after reflection on Ezekiel 25-32?

1) One could think of Acts 21:3-6 when Paul came to the region of Tyre and found some Christians there and they prayed together on the beach before Paul departed. This is a reminder that God is the God of all nations and any nation that will come to Christ is welcome.

2) You could also think of Luke 12:4-10 which picks up three allusions to Ezekiel 25-32.

  1. a) God is not only in charge of the workings of this world but of the dead. More fearful than humans that scoff and show pride is the God of the universe who determines your eternal future.
  2. b) God is so in charge of this world and concerned for it that he cares for the all of the creatures – even the sparrow – we must never limit the care of God for anyone or anything on the planet. God cared how all the nations conducted themselves and judged them likewise.
  3. c) Fear God. He will forgive even the most extreme of sins (putting Jesus to death can be forgiven) but there comes a point when those who stand against everything God does, this will not be forgiven. Fear God.


What can you say in summary about the lesson we learn this week?

The God of all the nations will rebuke everyone on the basis of how they have submitted to God. God will continue to protect his people but will condemn all who are defiant, arrogant and proud.


  1. Meditate or reflect on what it means for God to be in control of all creation – that he is the God of all! How does this alter the way you view everyone else in the world?
  2. We are not to fear the world we live in but only God. People can do whatever they want to us but God is the ruler of life and death. Is it worth fearing the judgement of people when they can’t save or destroy our soul?
  3. World powers come and go but the word of God stands forever. He is not hassled by the stock exchange, or rumours of wars – he seeks true worshippers who will call on his name to be saved. Full stop.

Prayer for the week

Sovereign LORD, maker of heaven and earth, please accept our humility and thankfulness for life and the promise of new life eternal. May we see people everywhere as lost without knowing their saviour. And we pray that you will make your name known in all the earth. Amen.

Ezekiel 22-24 it’s time: bring in Nebuchadnezzar!

I’ll focus on chapter 24 this week because it brings us to the close of the first major section of the book. The devastation, which the LORD has been promising, begins in this chapter. Even Ezekiel’s contemporaries were mocking the prophet for being ‘all words’ but nothing ever happened (12:21). Chapter 24 marks the very day when the words of the LORD commence fulfilment.


For 21 chapters, the Sovereign LORD has been communicating through Ezekiel that he will avenge judgment on Israel for their detestable practices. These have been idolatry in every obscene way and worse than all of the other nations. The people of God have been blessed by God and totally abandoned the beautiful relationship He initiated and nurtured and fought for. Ezekiel has described the way that Israel will be seized and totally destroyed by an enemy power under the authority of God.

Chapter 22: The appointed years have come to an end. You are infamous among the nations and mocked. Your ways are detestable: bloodshed, careless, violations, extortion – you have forgotten Me! You will be scattered and melted. You’ve made no distinction between holy and common. You whitewash your evil deeds like divination. I will pour down my wrath on you for all you have done.

Chapter 23: The Story of Two Daughters. There’s a strong link back to chapter 16 in this chapter. Samaria and Jerusalem are described as two daughters. The former was a whore and the latter saw their sister and did the same, only worse! So, drink your sister’s cup! Lewdness and whoring judged. Idolatry, defiling the sanctuary and adulterous – blood is on their hands. “You will know that I am the Sovereign LORD.”



A specific day in history is recorded when King Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to Jerusalem (2 Kings 25:1). Ezekiel is in exile and being informed on the very day of the raid that it is happening from God. Notice that God refers to himself as the Sovereign LORD and in the parable that follows and the rest of the chapter, he describes what he will do to Jerusalem. Although Nebuchadnezzar is the man on the ground, he is a pawn in God’s plans.


A parable concerning a cooking pot. The imagery is difficult to understand. At first it sounds like an act of punishment – being boiled in the pot. But the imagery of the pot has been used elsewhere in Ezekiel and it’s best to be understood as a description of safety. Ezekiel 11:2-4 describes some wrong advice: that staying in the city is a good thing like the best meat placed into the pot rather than being the rubbish that gets seared directly onto the fire. Seeing the metaphor as a good thing, helps to understand the parable in chapter 24 (hopefully). The pot is the city and the meat are the cream of the crop in the city.

Verses 3-5 describes the scene of a great meal being cooked. The best meat into the pot to be cooked. With Ezekiel 11 in mind, this is a good image.

Verses 6-8 may describe the meat being removed from the place of safety. They are placed directly onto rock to be exposed, not drained into the earth, but increase their scorching by the fire outside the safety of the pot (city).

Verses 9-12 shows the aggression of the LORD’s anger to increase the temperature of the fire and to totally scourge everything in it. The pot will be boiled dry and then placed directly onto the hot coals.


The parable is followed up with the overall intent of its message. You will now receive the full sum of your judgement for what you have done.

The second half of the passage is where I’d like my groups to focus their attention.


Is there anything hard to understand in these words? The meaning seems plain to me. The LORD told Ezekiel that something heart wrenching was going to happen to him and that he is not to go about the normal ritual of mourning and lament. The “delight of [his] eyes” was taken from him. The LORD had Ezekiel’s wife die. The words are not unclear but the subject is difficult to digest. Does God hate Ezekiel or his wife that much? Is God punishing either of them or just making a point? Is the point worth ending a person’s life for?

Those who will struggle with this image may well need to meditate on what their idol is. Is God able to take whatever he pleases or not? The LORD gives and the LORD takes away. Isn’t that true. At the risk of sounding cold and heartless (which I am not) God’s word is concerning eternal life and eternal truths, not restricted to this life we live on earth. People die every day. While writing this sentence, statistically speaking, 34 people have died in the world (www.medindia.net/patients/calculators/world-death-clock.asp). When people hesitate to love and trust God because a loved one dies, does this mean that our loved ones are more important than every other death that has occurred? Either God is Sovereign or he is not! Either he has got an understanding and control of suffering in this world, or he has not. If not, then suffering is as powerful or more powerful than God. What’s my point? That true worship of the Sovereign God must admit that God is aware and able to stop our suffering – but he chooses not to or even orchestrates it. I do not mean that he is to blame for our suffering, but that he is Sovereign over it.

So, why take away Ezekiel’s wife? It’s to make another vivid point to Israel. And the message is about the Temple.


The death of Ezekiel’s wife and the instruction for Ezekiel to not mourn was a message of what awaits Israel. The sanctuary of God, which Israel took pride in – “the delight of [their] eyes” – will be desecrated, and the people’s sons and daughters will be killed by the sword of the Babylonians. The people will not react with mourning and weeping but with groaning and wasting away because of their own sin. Their focus will not be on what they have lost but on what they have done and failed to do.

The tense of this paragraph is interesting to note. The LORD speaks through Ezekiel to say what God is saying and directs the message to the people, and then Ezekiel speaks the same tense but uses his own name in the third person. The sense given is truly that God is speaking!


On that day, everything they found delight and joy in will be taken away. They have turned their backs on God, treating him like he is of no value to them (see chapter 16) and they will lose what they had held dear to them.

The prophet was told back in 3:26-27 that he would be unable to speak unless given words from God to speak. This is best understood that general conversations from Ezekiel’s mouth was restricted to the judgement messages from God. In 24:27 Ezekiel’s speech is promised to return when the fugitive comes to him with the news about Jerusalem. The silence of speech would be an added sign of judgement and the restored speech may indicate a sign of restoration to come.

New Testament insights

Read John 2:13-25 – especially verses 18-22. Jesus was angry at the misuse of the temple and taught that this temple needed to be rebuilt. He gave a sign to tear down the temple and he will rebuild it in three days. A couple of links with the Ezekiel passage are: a) the misuse of the temple even while the people thought highly of it, b) the passion of Jesus to cleanse the temple of its evil practices, c) the solution for Jesus was to see the temple torn down, d) the further instruction is for restoration. The difference is that Jesus was talking about his own body – God’s dwelling place – and that he spoke of the resurrection. Jesus would certainly undergo God’s wrath before the temple (his body) was rebuilt (the resurrection).


The judgement of God cannot be avoided. It will come and everything we hold dear and precious will be taken from us. What the people of God need is not more time to reform but a total demolition and rebuild.


  • The people of God did not hold dearly what God holds dearly: the covenant of relationship between God and Israel. They were delighted in the temple building, in their sons and daughters and their city but neglected the first priority which is to God. We can prioritise the good things in this life to the extent that God is overlooked and abandoned in our hearts. Love the LORD your God with all your heart, mind, body and soul. Then love your neighbour as yourself. The Christian way is not “family first” – it is “God first” and this is the best for our families.
  • There is a worse fate than death. It is to live without glorifying God.
  • In all my blessings I will give thanks to God. In all my grief I will acknowledge the Sovereignty and love of God.

Prayer for the week

Sovereign LORD, may we never hold so tightly to the things of this world that we might resent knowing you. May we know you fully and trust you with everything that we hold dear. Amen.


Ezekiel 11-21

Chapter 16 focus: The Adulterous Wife!


With chapters 11-21 in our sights this week, we’ll focus on chapter 16 because of it’s powerful imagery. It’s a vivid image of Israel’s dark heart and the hideousness of sin.


Biblical Context: Consider these snippets from the Old Testament as God establishes a covenant with Israel…

EXODUS 19:5-8
5 Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, 6 you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.’ 7 So Moses went back and summoned the elders of the people and set before them all the words the Lord had commanded him to speak. 8 The people all responded together, ‘We will do everything the Lord has said.’ So Moses brought their answer back to the Lord.

EXODUS 20:1-3
And God spoke all these words: 2 ‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 3 ‘You shall have no other gods before me.’

5 For your Maker is your husband –

the Lord Almighty is his name –

the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer;

he is called the God of all the earth.

EXODUS 20:4-6
4 ‘You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

EXODUS 20:14
14 ‘You shall not commit adultery.’

EZEKIEL CONTEXT: Chapters 1-10 describe God coming to Ezekiel amongst the exiles in a vision and giving him the command to speak to the fellow exiles about the future destruction of Israel. There are very dark images of judgement on God’s people because of their detestable practices. The ultimate judgement of God is that he departs from the Temple – leaving it nothing but an empty building. The following are possible titles for each chapter surrounding chapter 16.

Chapter 11: The End of the Heart of Stone
Chapter 12: The Final Sign: Ezekiel Packs His Exile Bag
Chapter 13: Stop Lying and Whitewashing!
Chapter 14: You Have Idols In Your Heart
Chapter 15: Like a Stick in the Fire, Jerusalem will be Consumed
Chapter 16: Israel the Whore!
Chapter 17: The Fragile Vine: it will not survive – yet another will
Chapter 18: Individual Sin Judged – so turn and live!
Chapter 19: The Lion and the Lament
Chapter 20: Listen and Learn From Your Past
Chapter 21: My Sword is Drawn – You’ll Not Be Remembered

Chapter 16 gives a vivid and “Adults only” description of why God is so angry with them.


16:1-5 Israel’s birth is described as totally uncared for. Nobody gave any motherly love or affection to this nation. The imagery is clear but what about the historic reality? Abraham was promised descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky (Gen 15:5). He was also assured that his descendants would be mistreated by the Egyptians (Gen 15:13). Israel’s early years was spent in slavery.

16:6-8 The imagery continues but it is vivid now that Israel is a female who is growing up (see also ‘her’ in verse 1). The importance here is that Israel’s description is not just a generic person but a girl. Fragile and vulnerable are two words that come to mind here. The covenant would best be compared with the covenant with the nation of Israel at the foot of Mt Sinai – see Exodus 19-20. God enters a covenant between Himself and Israel – this chapter imagines it like a marriage. See also Jeremiah 3 and Hosea 2.

16:9-14 The virgin bride is adorned by the King. She becomes a glorious queen, renowned for her beauty because the LORD has adorned her in glorious splendour. A break-down of the different elements would be interesting but futile. The imagery is that this abondoned baby is now fully grown and her beauty amplified because of the love lavished from God. The wife has benefited greatly by this covenant relationship. The LORD had given her splendour and made her beauty great! It’s a Cinderella story! For Israel, the height of her beauty would be the dedication of the Temple in Solomon’s day (1 Kings 8).

16:15-19 But Israel took everything that God had given her and metaphorically slept with other gods. They were thankless and ran to idols, adorning them with the very things that God had given to her.

16:20-22 It gets worse. She is not only being free with her adornments – like the temple silver and gold etc – but now abusing her children. She is involved in child abuse! Sacrificing the children of Israel to idols. See 2 Kings 17:17 and Jeremiah 19:5.

16:23-29 It gets worse. She is never satisfied. Not only one incident of prostitution but it goes on and on and Israel can’t get no satisfaction! The imagery of sexual immorality as a description of how Israel has treated God is blunt. Notice how each other nation is described. Egypt with its …… and the Philistines who are shocked at the conduct of Israel.

17:30-34 It gets worse. Israel is sleeping around and not even getting paid for it. She’s an adulterous wife! She even gives to others for the pleasure. The people of God are so desperate to be ‘in bed’ with other nations and their practices that they’ll do anything. This chapter is M rated and will get worse.

16:35-42 And God will now act justly with his adulterous wife (Deut 22:21)! They will be worse off than when the LORD first found her. She was once abandoned and bloody and naked with nobody wanting her. Now she will be stripped naked and butchered by those she prostituted herself with. Verse 42 indicates that God’s wrath will be spent and come to an end. It’s not a great moment but there is the beginning of hope here.

16:43 This one verse sums up the chapter neatly. They failed to remember their youth and how the LORD had provided so well for them. Israel has mounted anger upon anger on themselves and the LORD will now bring down enraged fury on their head.

16:44-58 Compared to the most shameful people around, they have got nothing on Israel! No, Israel makes the worst nations look good! Sodom and Samaria have been wicked, but Israel has far exceeded their wickedness. Yet God will restore all of them.

16:59-63 The LORD will remember his covenant and will restore Israel. The grace of God certainly does pass all understanding. Just imagine if the metaphor running through this chapter were literally about someone you were married to. And yet you would re-establish the original covenant! Now imagine that it were you who treated your spouse like Israel treated God. Would you expect to be forgiven and welcomed back? How can God allow this and remain just? He will make atonement for them. He will completely spend his rage and satisfy his wrath in atonement. So the two parties – God and Israel – will be at-one

New Testament relevance.

“This is love: not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sin.” 1 John 4:10

The marriage agreement is used in the scriptures to point us to the great commitment of God to His people. Jesus is described as the groom which we await to return (Matt 25; Rev 21). While we wait, will we remain faithful? Or will we be attracted to and lust after other loves? We can make the same mistake as Israel and take God’s love and care for granted –

Here is a trustworthy saying:
If we died with him,
we will also live with him;
12 if we endure,
we will also reign with him.
If we disown him,
he will also disown us;
13 if we are faithless,
he remains faithful,
for he cannot disown himself. 2 Timothy 2:11-13


Israel has been completely unfaithful to God and it is beyond a joke. God’s anger and rage must be spent before this marriage can be fixed. God is Israel’s husband and she has been the most infamous slut in return. She should have remembered the LORD and been devoted to Him only – forsaking all others!


  1. A teaching: Our God makes and keeps promises and has the same expectation of us. Like the marriage vows are to be meaninful and true, so is our commitment to the One who died for us and gave us life – who said, “Live!”
  2. A Correction: Where has your heart wandered recently? Is there something or someone that is stealing your heart from God? The people of God are called to be different. Are you devoted to the LORD or do the things of this world catch your eye and you feel drawn to pursue them? Examples might be an immaculate home, a new relationship, sexual immorality…
  3. A Rebuke: Have you forgotten the love that you once had for God? Has the understanding of God’s grace and mercy and love left your memory? Is God in the back-seat of your life? Is he in a different car? Turn back to God. Remember how much he loves you and cares for you. Call him your God again and repent if you have run far away from him.
  4. Training: Couples are often advised to attend relationship courses or workshops to help each person develop better skills at communication and caring and having quality time together. Our God does not want religion but relationship. God’s side of the relationship is perfect. Couldn’t be better! But we need to address our side of the relationship often. How is your listening skills with God? How is your quality time in prayer? How is your financial planning and goal-setting getting along? Are you taking the lead in this relationship or are you being submissive? It’s worth thinking about how we treat God in our relationship.


Dear LORD, thank you for giving us a new life in Jesus. Thank you for loving us with an everlasting love. Please help us to be faithful and love you with all our heart. Amen.