Reflection for Today ▶️ ⏹️

Justice and Divine Vengeance Pursuing Crime by Pierre-Paul Prud'hon, c.1805–1808

Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will stretch out mine hand upon the Philistines, and I will cut off the Cherethims, and destroy the remnant of the sea coast. And I will execute great vengeance upon them with furious rebukes; and they shall know that I am the Lord, when I shall lay my vengeance upon them.
Ezekiel 25:16-17

After twenty-four chapters of prophesying against Judah and Jerusalem, Ezekiel spends the next eight condemning the neighbouring, non-Jewish nations. The difference here is that despite its sins, the nation of Judah can be redeemed, but the gentile nations will be eliminated. Ezekiel's God was one very focused on retributive justice, and not much one for forgiveness, or harmonious living. Redemption for Judah, and the building of the new Israel is conditional on total obedience to the law, to the finest detail. In this way Ezekiel stands in quite stark contract to that later prophet, Jesus, whose work was very much focused on inclusiveness and forgiveness for all. Ezekiel is perhaps a forerunner of the scribes and pharisees considered by Jesus to be missing the point, the ones following the letter of the law and missing the spirit. All prophets preach the word of God, but each, to one extent or another, has cast God in his own image. We all, of course, do the same.1

1 The nature of God changes over the course of the Bible, through the Old Testament and into the New. See these earlier reflections for commentary on this: Teenager and Acceptance.