Study Guide

Book of Ezekiel Chapter 20

Chapter 20

"Fool You Once, Shame on You"

  • Some elders of Israel come to chat with Ezekiel again. 
  • God, speaking through Ezekiel, refuses to talk to them. He has Ezekiel judge them and condemn them for their idolatry and abominations. 
  • God then runs through the history of his relations with Israel. At first, while the Hebrews are still in Egypt, God tells them they need to give up their idolatries. They don't.
  • God considers pouring out his anger on them, but for the sake of his name, leads them out of Egypt and into the wilderness.
  • He gives them his laws and Sabbaths to keep.
  • They don't do that, either.

"Fool Me Twice, Shame On Me—Or, Actually, Wait… On You Again"

  • God continues to restrain his anger for his name's sake. He tries to get the children of the people in the wilderness to follow the same laws and honor the Sabbath, but they refuse, too.
  • God takes vengeance on them by swearing to scatter them among the nations and by giving them laws that are bad for them and—in the supreme shocker—by apparently encouraging them to sacrifice their firstborn children. In his own terms, he terrifies them into acknowledging him. 
  • God says that even when he led people into the land he'd promised them, they continued to blaspheme, sacrificing to idols on high places, etc., etc. 
  • He promises them that they'll never get away with worshipping idols like other nations. He says that it's because of these treasonous acts against him that he refuses to discuss anything with the elders. He has seriously had it with everybody.

"Fool Me A Bunch of Times… Eh, Let's Call It a Draw and Forgive Everyone"

  • But eventually, God will lead the people out of exile after judging them and purging the disobedient rebels from among them.
  • He won't let the transgressors return to their land. 
  • Meanwhile, the wicked might as well just go and serve their idols. God doesn't want their cheating love anyway.
  • When God brings the remainder of Israel back into their own land, they'll show God's holiness to the world. He'll accept them, and the people will finally be ashamed of their past behavior.
  • God ends by tacking on a prophecy that he'll burn down the forest land of the Negeb. 
  • Ezekiel cries to God, saying that the people are claiming that Ezekiel's only a storyteller and they don't take him seriously with all these weird allegories.

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