Ezekiel 1-20: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary [22] 0385009542

In Ezekiel 1-20, the first of two volumes of commentary on the Scripture attributed to the third major Old Testament pro

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Ezekiel 1-20: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary [22]

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Moshe Greenberg


is a fresh approach to the world's greatest classic. Its object is to make the Bible accessible to the modem reader; its method is to arrive at the meaning of biblical literature through exact translation and extended exposition, and to reconstruct the ancient setting of the biblical story, as well as the circumstances of its transcription and the characteristics of its transcribers.


THE ANCHOR BIBLE is a project of international and interfaith scope: Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish scholars from many countries contribute individual volumes. The project is not sponsored by any ecclesiastical organization and is not intended to reflect any particular theological doctrine. Prepared under our joint supervision, THE ANCHOR BIBLE is an effort to make available all the significant historical and linguistic knowledge which bears on the interpretation of the biblical record. THE ANCHOR BIBLE is aimed at the general reader with no special formal training in biblical studies; yet, it is written with most exacting standards of scholarship, reflecting the highest technical accomplishment.

This project marks the beginning of a new era of cooperation among scholars in biblical research, thus forming a common body of knowledge to be shared by all. William Foxwell Albright David Noel Freedman GENERAL EDITORS

Librnry of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data Bible.

O.T. Ezekiel I-XX. English. Greenberg. 1983. Ezekiel 1-20.

(The Anchor Bible; v. 22) Bibliography: p. 28. 1. Bible. O.T. Ezekiel I-XX-Commentaries. I. Greenberg, Moshe. II. Title. III. Series. BS192.2.Al 1964.G3 vol. 22 [BSI543] 224'.4077 ISBN: 0-385-00954-2 Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 77-12855 Copyright © 1983 by Doubleday & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Printed in the United States of America First Edition Second Printing 1986

To Evelyn Genesis 2:24


After rendering thanks to God, who has sustained me to this day, and to my parents, who trained me up in the love of Torah, I recall in gratitude the two men who most profoundly shaped my understanding of the task and method of biblical scholarship, and whose example has guided me in the ways of learning. Yehezkel Kaufmann embodied a passionate commitment to grand ideas, combining the philosopher's power of analysis and generalization with the attention to detail of the philological exegete. His lifework is a demonstration that the study of ancient texts does not necessitate losing contact with the vital currents of the spirit and the intellect. What this work owes to him cannot be documented. Only one who is familiar with Kaufmann's Toldot, III, pp. 475-583 (Eng. 426-46), will be able to appreciate how much of his understanding of Ezekiel has been incorporated here. E. A. Speiser was a master of language-as it appeared in ancient documents awaiting decipherment, as it flowed onto paper calling for parsimony, and as it was marshaled in a lecture spicing learning with wit. His pedagogy tempered rigorous discipline with unstinting consideration for his students, and set a standard for lifelong emulation. I do not know whether these two men would be happy with my labor, but it gives me joy to acknowledge my sense that what worth it has stems from their teaching. At the invitation of Chancellor Gerson D. Cohen, of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, I spent the fall and winter of 1976-77 as scholar-in-residence at the seminary, with no task other than to hammer out the method of this commentary. To assist in the task, he arranged for a weekly seminar composed of selected participants on whom I could try out my ideas. After years of false starts, those months gave birth to the impetus behind the present form of this commentary. I am deeply obliged to Chancellor Cohen for his academic midwifery. lowe an immeasurable debt to the University of Pennsylvania and, since 1970, to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem for providing me with a congenial academic berth and with colleagues and students whose challenge, stimulus, and curiosity helped keep me from intellectual torpor and complacency. During the years of wrestling with this work, no person has done as much to sustain my faith in it and ease difficulties that cropped up along



the way as the general editor of this series, D. N. Freedman. He provided a precious sounding board for the trial of my ideas; he criticized my writing section by section in a friendly, constructive way. I have incorporated some of his specific suggestions with the rubric "Freedman, privately," but my debt to him goes far beyond that, and I gladly acknowledge it.


Acknowledgments Principal Abbreviations and Signs

ix xiii


I. The Book of Ezekiel: Its Parts and Arrangement II. The Dates and the Historical Setting III. The Method of This Commentary: Holistic Interpretation BIBLIOGRAPHY

3 12 18 28




Ezekiel's Call: The Vision (1: 1-28b.. ) Ezekiel's Call: The Commissioning (1: 28b,8 - 3: 15) The Lookout (3:16-21) Confinement and Symbolic Acts (3: 22 - 5 : 17) Doom upon the Highland of Israel (6: 1-14) The End of the Civil Order (7: 1-27) The Defiled Temple and Its Abandonment (8: 1-11 :25) (8:1-18) (9: 1-11) (10: 1-22) (11:1-25) Symbolizing the Exile (12: 1-16) The Coming Terror (12: 17-20) Discounting Prophecy (12:21-28) Substitutes for True Prophecy (13: 1-23) God Will Not Respond (14: 1-11) An Exception to the Rule (14: 12-23) The Vinestock and Jerusalem (15: 1-8) Jerusalem the Wanton (16: 1-63)

37 60 82 98 129 142 164 164 174 179 185 207 222 226 232 247 256 264 270




The Fable of the Two Eagles (17: 1-24 ) Divine Justice and Repentance (18: 1-31) A Dirge over the Kings of Israel (19:1-14) Threat of a Second Exodus (20: 1-44)

307 325 348 360













Anchor Bible The Ancient Near East in Pictures, 2d ed., by J. B. Pritchard, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1969 Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, 3d ed., ed. J. B. Pritchard, Princeton: Princeton University PreSi, 1969. When page numbers are followed by letters a-" 'rETpafLoPrpo r. Hebrew mss., editions, "evil after ('a!;rar Heb. ta!;rat) evil."



evil"; S "evil for (!;rIp =




9 My

eye shall not spare, nor will I have pity; eAccording to your wayse I will requite you, and your abominations shall fester withi.ti you, And you shall know that I, YHWH, strike.

is here! See, it has gone forth; doom has gone forth, the rod has sprouted, insolence has put forth flowers; 11 lawlessness has grown into a rod of wickedness. dNothing of them and nothing of their masses and nothing of their tumult and no lament among them. d 12 The time has come; the day has arrived! The buyer-let him not rejoice; the seller-let him not mourn; for wrath is upon all her masses. 13 For the seller shall not return to what he has sold, though both parties still be alive; for the vision concerning all her masses shall not be revoked; and each, living in his iniquity, shall not hold finn. 14e'fhey have blowne the hom and made everythllg ready, but no one goes out to battle, for my wrath is upon all her masses. IS The sword without, plague and famine within: He who is in the country shall die by the sword, And he who is in the cityfamine and plague shall consume him. 16 Those of them who escape shall haunt the mountains like doves of the valleys, all of them moaningt each in his iniquity. 10 The day

e-c G reffects ky drkyk as in vs 4, d-~I G "and not with tumult (as from mhwmh) nor with speed (as from mhrh)." ""0 "Blow!" t G "1 will kill" (ns from 'myt); S "will die,"


EZEKIEL 17 Every hand


shall hang limp, all knees shall run with water. 18 They shall gird sackcloth, and shuddering shall cover them; Confusion on every face, hair plucked from every head. 19 They shallfiing their silver into the streets; their gold shall be as an unclean thing. Their silver and gold shall be powerless to save them on the day of YHWH's rage. They shall not satisfy their hunger; nor fill their bellies [with it], For it was their stumbling-block of iniquity. 20 Their« beautiful adornment in which theyc took pride-out of it they made images of htheir abominable, loathsomeh things; therefore I will tum it into an unclean thing for them. 21 I will hand it over to strangers as booty, to the wicked of the earth as spoil, and they shall desecrate it. 22 I will avert my face from them and they shall desecrate my treasure; Violent men shall enter it and desecrate it. 23 Forge

the chain! For the land is full of bloody judgments and the city is full of lawlessness. 24 So I will bring the worst of the nations and they shall take possession of their houses; And I will put an end to the pride of lthe fierce l, and their sanctuaries shall be desecrated. 2S Terror is coming! They shall seek peace, but there'll be none. 26 Disaster shall come after disaster, bad news on the heels of bad news. They shall seek [in vain] for the prophet's vision, instruction shall fail the priest, and counsel, the elders. MT "his" (S "their"); "he" (G S "they"). G reflects only one of these, but which one cannot be determined. 1-1 G "their strength" (as from 'zm).






shall be in mourning, the chief wear desolation, and the hands of the citizenry shall be paralyzed. I will give them a taste of their own ways, and by their own judgments I will judge them; And they shall know that I am YHWH.

27 The 'king


7:2. You, man. Although commonly marking subdivisions of an oracle, this formula occasionally stands, as here, at its beginning; see also 21 :24; 22:2; 27:2; 37:16 (not in 0). The message formula ("thus said . . .") is most often preceded by a command to speak (e.g., "say [to them] . . ."-12:10,23, 28), but often too it is not (e.g., 26: 3 ). Hence it is not surprising that in several passages the text witnesses diverge on this matter; here MT lacks "say" but o S show it; in 11:5 MT has "say" and 0 lacks it. When, as here, the message formula is not part of the proclamation (see comment at 6: 3 ), it is more logical not to have "say." A passage very like ours is 39:17: in MT the message formula precedes and stands outside the prescribed proclamation, but in 0, again, "say" precedes it, converting it (in accord with customary usage) into a part of the proclaimed speech, while at the same time creating a fresh difficulty (cf. comment there). the soil of (admat-) Israel. A phrase peculiar to Ezekiel. More than 'ere,y yiSra'el "the land of Israel," admat- "soil of" evokes the earth of the cultivated homeland lived on by Israel; it is particularly poignant in the mouth of an exile. B. Keller's attempt to attach a theological evaluation to the phrase--"the land without YHWH and without a united people" (RHPR 55 [1975], 481-90)-breaks down in the face of the usage in the Gog chapters (chs. 38-39) and 36:17 (of the past when YHWH was amidst the people united in their land). An end! For a similar abrupt exclamation, see vs. 5, "An evill" Elliger (BHS), reflecting most modems, recommends inserting h' "comes" after "an end" (q~) "with 2 [medieval Hebrew] mss., T (V), as in vs. 6; cf. OS." The chiasm of vs. 6 (q~ h' / h' hq,y) is certainly pleasing (Freedman, privately, considers it "too striking to be dropped," and explains MT as having dropped it by haplography); its importation into vs. 2 is supported by the modern tendency to regard vss. 2b-4 and 6-9 as containing doublets (variants of a single original which may be reconstructed by judicious selection of data from both; cf. Herrmann, Wev~rs)-a counterpart of the ancient leveling of differences between like texts in order to as-




similate them as completely as possible. This ancient tendency reached its height in T, whose invocation by Elliger in favor of his emendation is surprising. Here is T's rendering of the relevant passages: vss. 2b-3: The end has arrived; Has arrived the punishment of the end, to come upon the four winds of the earth Now has arrived the punishment of the end, to come upon you. vs. 6: The end has arrived; Has arrived the punishment of the end, to come upon you. To invoke such a free version to attest to conjectural restoration of an original Hebrew seems questionable. S exhibits translator's license in another manner: the two clauses in which q~ appears in vs. 2 are filled out and assimilated through the creation of synonymous parallelism. Has arrived the end (q~') on the land of Israel Has arrived the end (swp') on the four wings of the land Aside from the fact that no chiasm appears here, we may again doubt the value of such a version in reconstructing any JIorlage at all, let alone one superior to MT. We cannot be sure that V's reading in vs. 2: "End comes; comes an end" (= V at vs. 6) is not translator's license as well. But even if it is based on a Hebrew reading-say, like that of the "2 [medieval] rnss." cited in BHS-it does not exempt one from weighing the evidence to judge whether the assimilated reading is superior. As to G, its evidence is extremely problematic. "G gives a different arrangement from M[T] in the opening verses . . • The general effect in G is to bring the parallel passages together" (Cooke). G's reading of the relevant portion of vs. 2 is: End comes ( =



The end comes upon the four wings of the land followed by a short version of MT vss. 6-7: Comes the end upon you, the inhabitant of the land We note that G does not exhibit the chiasm (cf. MT vs. 6) that BHS, comparing it, wishes to restore to vs. 2. To be sure, G seems to be based on a Vorlage very different in wording and arrangement from MT (Zimmerli attempts a detailed reconstruction of its development, alongside a conjectured evolution of the "original" Hebrew into the present MT; contrast H. Parunak, Structural Studies, pp. 194-98, who argues for the priority of MT to G); yet, difference, even in so early a witness to the text, is not in itself a mark of superiority. In the end (as in the case of V), we shall still have to judge between alternatives-MT (q~) and the conjectured JIorlage of G (q~ b'). Cooke judged the brevity of MT to be "impressive," while Fohrer pointed out that the repetitiveness of MT vss.




2-4, 5-9 was typical of Ezekiel's style. Indeed the argument from style decisively pleads against the assimilation of vs. 2 to vs. 6; for throughout this oracle varied repetition prevails; see, e.g., the variations on "day/ time" in vss. 7, 12, or on /:Iaron/I)azon in vss. 12-14. Comes the end. A standard announcement of doom, cf. Gen 6: 13 (of the Flood); Amos 8:2 (see Structure and Themes); Lam 4:18. Hebrew qe~ means properly "term, measure of time" (Mishnaic q~~ means "measure out, fix terms"), whence evolves the sense "time's end"; cf. Ps 39:5 "Let me know my qe~, the measure of my days." In late biblical Hebrew it serves for the eschatological "end-time" (Dan 8: 17; cf. H. L. Ginsberg, Koheleth [Hebrew] [Tel Aviv and Jerusalem: M. Newman, 1961], p. 81). four corners (lit. "wings"; see comment to 5: 3) of the earth! As Isa 11:12 shows, the phrase means the whole earth (cf. Job 37:3); for this scope, see Structure and Themes. The earth is conceived as an outspread surfaCe which, sheetlike, has four comers; cf. "The four comers of your garment" in Deut 22: 12, and the image in Job 38: 13 of taking the earth by its comers to shake the wicked out of it Our phrase is thus different from Akkadian kippat erbette "circle [circumference] of the four [quarters of the world]" with which it has been compared. 3. The end is now upon you! See comment to hnny 'Iyk at 5:8. let loose my anger. Closest analogues to this unusual phrase are Exod 15:7 (Song of the Sea) and Ps 78:49. God's anger is here given a personality apart from him; cf. 5:15-17; 14:19-21; 28:23, in which the objects of the verb sillal) are baleful agents and appurtenances of God. punish. This sense of sapa! (BDB, p. 1047, def. 3) is required by the context. The following parallel phrase natan 'alayik "lay upon you" does not mean "charge you with" as it is usually rendered but "impose on you [the penalty for]." This is seen in Jonah 1: 14, where the desperate sailors, about to throw Jonah into the sea, pray to God, "Do not lay upon us [the penalty for shedding] the blood of an innocent man." What they fear is not a divine indictment but a divine punishment. Similarly, in Ezek 23:49, "[Your executioners] shall lay upon you [the penalty of] your depravity, and you shall bear the guilt (= suffer the punishment [see comment to 4:4 aboveD of your idolatry." Again, since the subjects are not judges (or plaintiffs) but executioners, their acts are not a mere proffering of charges, but a carrying out of a penal verdict. 4. your abominations shall fester (lit. be) within you. Compare 24:7 "Her blood [= the blood of those slain in her] festers [lit. was] within her; she put it on glaring rock; she did not pour it out on the ground to cover it with dirt." The guilty evidence will not be obliterated, but, everpresent, will call down retribution on the CUlprits. 5. An evil! A singular evil . .. This word division-r'h / '/:It r'hfollows the accents. The alternative r'h '/:It / r'h hnh b'h "a singular evil. an evil, surely is about to come" (Freedman, privalely), while theoret-




ically possible, is less likely in view of the exclusively deictic function of hnh in the phrase hnh b'(h) throughout Ezekiel (7:6, 10; 17:12; 21:12; 33: 33). (And when it is not deictic, hnh never links subject and predicate -a rarity even outside Ezekiel [e.g., Gen 34:21].) '1}.t r'h is an irregular sequence; for similar precedence of the number "one" to its noun, see Num 31:28 (,J:zd 'J:zwz); Dan 8:13 CM qdws); Neh 4:11 (b'1}.t ydw). The translation "a singular evil" follows Rashi and Kim1).i, who explain the expression in the light of God's threat in 5: 9 to inflict an unprecedented punishment on Israel. Some Hebrew mss. and T render "evil after [Hebrew 'J:zr] evil" (implied also in Kara's litany of evils), but this idea is expressed otherwise in vs. 26 (and in Jer 4:20; the preposition is 'ell 'al). S's rendering "evil for [Hebrew t1}.t] evil" is attractive precisely because its legal analogies ("an eye for an eye") accord with the notion of measure for measure that permeates these verses (cf. J er 14: 16 "I will pour out their evil upon them"). The versional readings involve each the change of a single letter of MT; it is almost as though MT were a combination of them (MT '1}.t = a fusion of '1}.r plus t~)! 6. it is ripe for you. This rendering of heqi~ as from qay4 "ripe summer fruit" takes its cue from the agricultural imagery of vss. 10-11 and its provenience in Amos 8: 2, where the connection of qe~ and qayi.y (it is argued below) is more than mere assonance. Others render more conventionally, "it has awakened" (BDB, p. 884). 7. Doom has come. This conventional translation of .yp(y)rh is a guess based on the context (here and in vs. 10), where it is associated with "time" and "day" of reckoning; "doom" (a fatal sentence) may also be construed with "come" and "go out" (usually opposites!), much as is dabar in the related sense of "promise" or "decree"; ct. Josh 23:15; Esther 7: 8. Ibn J anal,1 connected our word with $pyrt tp'rh "diadem of glory" (Isa 28: 5) and Mishnaic $pyrh "plaited circling band" (in basketwork; Kelim 16.3). He defined the basic sense as Arabic dawr'''' "tum" (cf. dur "circling band" in the very same mishnah), whose range includes "change of fortune"; Maimonides (in his commentary to the Mishnah, ad loc.) used the same Arabic term to explain our passage: "the turn of that. (other) kingdom (to rule) arrived." Modems have accordingly connected -yp(y)rh with Arabic cJafara "to plait." In view of the association with imagery drawn from piant life--ripening, flowering, and (by implication) harvest-time--Luzzatto's conjecture that .yp(y)rh means "season" (a "round" of the year) is noteworthy. G omits in both verses; S "kid" (Bar Hebraeus: "the Babylonians who skip like a kid"; ct. Hebrew .yepir "goat") . harvest-cries upon the hills. This conjecture is based on the assumed equiv:11ence of hed = hednd. the shouting of harvesters and grape-treaders, Tsa 16:9f.; Jer 48:33. Not the cheerful work cries of harvest-time, but the SOl1nds of rOllt and confusion will revcrbeTHte through the hills. 9. according to your ways. Evidently under the influence of the previ-




ous verse, MT slightly alters the text and meaning of vs. 4b, ky drkyk to kdrkyk; G characteristically presents the identical text in both cases. For the authenticity of such variations in repeated passages, see comment above to "An end'" vs. 2. that 1, YHWH, strike. A predicate participle in the recognition formula is rare, but recurs in 20:12 and 37:28. It is another variation in the repetition of vs. 4. 10. The botanical expressions in this verse evoke Num 17: 23: the proof that God chose Aaron was that ". . . the rod of Aaron . . . had flowered; it had brought forth flowers, and produced sprouts . . ." (the relation of these passages was pointed out by D. Yellin, Ketavim niv/:Jarim, II, pp. 118f.). The use of these terms here appears as a grim parody of election. The verse is pervaded with ambiguity: on the one hand, enigmatic matte "rod" evokes rulership and discipline (19:11ff.)-combined in the Isaianic figure of the heathen kingdom used as a chastising rod by God (Isa 19:5); but on the other hand, its combination here with r,pdon "insolence" (and its proximity to lJ.amas "lawlessness" in the next line) evokes mu1te "perversion of law" (9:9 II damim "bloodshed"; cf. damim IIlJ.amas in vs. 23 below). Indeed on the ground of parallelism, Ibn J anal}. expressly defined ma1!e here as injustice. "Insolence" too is ambiguous: is it Israel's insolence that is now "bearing fruit," or is it Insolence, the epithet of the enemy (in Jer 50:31f., Babylon), that has now reached its flowering? 11. The first half-verse continues the ambiguity: it could mean "the lawlessness of Israel has now turned into a scourge of their wickedness" (evil recoiling upon its doers), or, "lawlessness incarnate (the enemy, cf. vss. 21, 24 below) has now risen up as an evil scourge"--or any combination of these elements. At any rate, the sense is: the time is ripe for punishment. The rendering of qam Je by "grown into" is conjectured on the basis of qama "standing grain" (N. H. Tur-Sinai, in B-Y, p. 5842b top). The rest of the verse is obscure, with its crazy variations on h and min sounds (note that in the sequellaryngeals [h, l}.] and liquids [m, n, r] continue prominent in the refrain of vss. 12-14). KiInQi's guess as to the sense is as good as any: nothing of them will remain after the day of doom. For "no lament" (taking noah n6hi [Jer 9:9]) cf. Jer 16:6 and Ezek 24:23. 12. "It is customary that a buyer rejoices in his purchase and a seller is sorry that out of need he had to part with his property; compare the talmudic adage, 'People say, If you've bought you've gained, if you've sold, you've lost' [BT Baba Me$i'a, p. 51a]. Here, however, it is said that whoever sells an estate in the land of Israel has nothing to mourn over, for even if he will not sell it, it will not be his for long, since he will soon go into exile and have to abandon it. Nor has the buyer reason for rejoicing, for he will retain possession only briefly" (KUntU).· Cf. further, "Usually





when a man sells something to his fellows the seller is sad and the buyer is happy" (Berakot 5a), on which, see Y. Muffs, "Joy and Love as Metaphorical Expressions ..." Festschrift Morton Smith, III (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1975), pp. 26f. Eliezer of Beaugency adds: '''The seller-let him not mourn,' for had he not sold it, the property would have devolved upon foreigners; better, then, that he take its equivalent in money." for wrath . .. Standing alone without its complement 'ap (I:zflron 'ap .lit. "burning anger"), I:zaron is rare and poetic (Exod 15:7; Ps 2:5; 58:10; also Neh 13:18); its isolation (also in vs. 14) facilitates replacement in VS. 13 by the assonant I:zazon "(prophetic) vision, oracle." her masses. "Her" refers to the land (fem. in Hebrew) heretofore addressed. "Masses" renders hamon (d. vs. 14; 32:12, 16,24, etc.), but since the sense "wealth, abundance" also attaches to this word (see comment at 29: 19), it must be considered ambiguous-"wealth" being a suitable sense (and certainly an inevitable overtone) in the present context. 13. the seller . .. sold. The idiom is borrowed directly from the jubilee laws (cf. Lev 25:28) from which fact an unwarranted deduction has been drawn that the law was practiced in Ezekiel's time; all that may be deduced is that Ezekiel knew the idiom of the law. No more is said here than that the seller will never again see his property, even if he and the buyer remain alive (for they will both be refugees or in exile). The noun *I:zyh "life" is a rare, poetic word II nps "life" in Ps 78:50; 143:3; Job 33: 18, 22, 28; the phrase w'wd b/:tym /:tytm. lit. "while still in life is their life," sounds as strange in Hebrew as in English. The corresponding language at the end of the verse is even stranger (though each word in itself is clear) and raises the suspicion that we are missing the true sense of the combination (on the omission in G of this phrase and more, see the end of this comment). But, the verse goes on to say, the prophetic vision (= oracle, as in vs. 26, and 12:22ff.; 13: 16)-here the doom proclaimed in the foregoing verses-shall not be revoked (l' yJwb, the same words that were rendered "shall not return" in the first part of the verse, an instance of antanaclasis [repetition of the same word in a different meaning), see I. Casanowicz, Paronomasia, p. 34; D. Yellin, Ketavim, pp. 107ff.; C. C. Torrey, The Second Isaiah [New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1928), pp. 199ff.); hence each man shall languish because of his sin (lit. "each in his iniquity his life [they] shall not hold firm"-unusual and unclear language, but the wording is confirmed by G). G does not represent all that lies between yJwb "shall return" in vs. 13a" and yswb "shall be revoked" in 13b". Despite the critical consensus in G's favor (BHS; see the detailed argument in Zimmerli), the striking balance of the two halves of MT (with a break at the atna/:t) argues for its integrity. The translation can only partly reflect the formal parallelism (pointed out by Freedman, privately):

7:1-27 ae aP be bp



ky noun '1 . •• I' yswb w-monosyllable •.. I:zytIcy noun '/ . . . [' yJwb w-monosyllable •• . I:zyt- ••• (extended for closure)

From such a text, G will have arisen by the error of homoioteleuton ("similar endings"). 14. They have blown the horn (taqe·u battaqoa.). Hebrew taqo4', translated in G as "hom," is otherwise unknown; the pattern of the word is common in adjectives (e.g., gadol "big") and agent-nouns ('ajoq "extortioner")-hence taqo4' "blower"? The past tense of the verb accords with the usage in vss. 10-12. However, the phrase is very similar to Jer 6: 1 ubU 8 qo4' tiq'u sopar "And in Tekoa [a town southeast of Bethlehem] blow the hom!"-a similarity increased by G's reading the verb here as imperative. Brushing aside the Jeremianic phrase as senseless here, CorDill emended our phrase tutu taqrfS', with postpositive infinitive on the pattern of the verbs in Isa 6:9; it must be admitted, however, that such a play on what was perhaps a familiar phrase would accord with Ezekiel's manner (see esp. vs. 10), and the hapax taqo4f is not so strange in this this chapter, containing as it does an unusual number of unique and rare expressions. made . .. ready. In later biblical Hebrew, the infinitive construct is used (as here) to continue a finite verb; e.g., Esther 1 :7; I Chron 21 :24b; n Chron 7:3 (disregard GKC, p. 345, note). 15. The three scourges of 5: 12; 6: 12 are divided between "the city" and "the country," on which cf. Jer 14: 18. 16. shall haunt. Lit. "shall be on"; haya 'el = haya 'al "be located on" for which sense cf. Exod 10:6; 28:28; Isa 30:25; Jonah 4:2. In Ezekiel 'el often 'al (e.g., 2:6, 10; 3:15; 6:11, 13; 7:18,26; 11:11; 12:12, 19; 13:2,9 [haya 'el haya 'al; see comment at 13:9]). The simile of birds on heights for refugees seeking safety is found elsewhere. Thus: "Abandon the towns! Make your home in the cliffs, 0 inhabitants of Moab! Be like the dove that nests on high on the sides of the gorge" (Jer 48:28; cf. the parallel in Isa 16:2, alluding to "fugitive birds, like nestlings driven away"); or again, Ps 11: 1, "Flee to the mountain like a bird" (reading km[w] ~pr). On "doves of the valley" Bodenheimer writes (EM III, col. 606, s.v. "yona"): "One finds the rock dove (Columba livia) especially in the northern and southern parts of the land of Israel; it nests in the mountain regions, in caves, in valleys and in rocky crags." The epithet "of the valleys" (hagge'ayot) affords a double wordplay: the surface contrast of "mountains-valleys," as in 6:3, and the subtler evocation of moaning ("'hogiyyot) doves-cf. Isa 38: 14, but especially 59: 11, where hgh is in parallel to hmh as here. The conflict between the masculine suffix of kullam "all of them" and the feminine participle homo! "moaning" indicates vacillation between doves and men as the subject (hmh, though not attested with doves, can,






like hgh, refer to delicate as well as rough sounds [Isa 16: 11 (harp); J er 48:36 (flutes»)). For men repining in iniquity both hgh and hmh are suitable verbs, as Isa S9: I1f. shows. The grammatical tension is absent in G S, where hmwt is rendered as though derived from mwt "die"; elsewhere in Ezekiel, however, survivors are allowed to live on in self-disgust (see 6:9), as is the sense of MT. 17. knees shall run with water. G "thighs shall be defiled with moisture," that is, from urine passed in fright. Cf. "One who hears the blare of horns and recoils in fright, the clash of shields and recoils in fright, the flashing of swords and water flows (.rwttyn) upon his knees" (BT Sotah 44b). With this and the preceding image compare this Assyrian description of enemies in flight: "Their hearts beat like that of a fledgling dove chased away, they passed hot urine" (Luckenbill, ARAB II, p. 128 and fn. I, corrected by CAD s.v. u~arapu"). For the Hebrew idiom, cf. "our eyes flow (trdnh, lit. run down) with tears" (Jer 9: 17; Lam 1: 16); "hills shall flow (tlknh, lit. go) with milk" (Joel 4:18). Our phrase locates the urine on the knees perhaps because it would appear there on infantry wearing knee-length skirts (the common dress of Egyptian and Assyrian soldiers; see, e.g., ANEf'2 #311, #369, ~370). On the other hand, Ehrlich aptly adduces the variant ending to the talmudic passage cited above: "water runs down between (byn) his knees" in Sifre to Deuteronomy, § 192, while G. R. Driver, ("Some Hebrew Medical Expressions," ZAW 65 [1953],260) suggests that birkayim here serves as a euphemism for penis, like Akkadian birku. The phrase appears again only in 21: 12; owing to its connection there with "melting" heart (cf. Josh 7:5, "heart turned into water") and "fainting" spirit, and the further combination of limp hands and collapsing knees in Isa 35:3 (see the heaping up of such phrases in Qumran Hodayot iv 33f.; viii 34), it has been rendered "knees turn to (or: weak as) water" (RSV, NJPS). But this seems to be a euphemistic skewing of the primary sense (Freedman, privately). 18. Such mortifications were customary on occasions of public calamity as well as in mourning (Amos 8:10; Isa 22:12; Ezek 27:31; cf. de Vaux, Ancient Israel, pp. 59-61). Note the interweave of ordinary parallelismin the a-colon I;zag"ru II kisseta, in the b-colon kol panim II bekol raSehemwith chiasm: aa and bfJ mourning rites, afJ and b