would, in effect, be a questioning or repudiation of Ezekiel’s “pessimistic” message.7
Against this historical situation Ezekiel confirms that judgment was unavoidable no
matter what. The reasons that he gives are (1) the need for Israel to undergo a complete
program of discipline as the only means of purifying her of idolatrous ways (20:1–44) (2)
Yahweh does not discriminate when it comes to righteous retribution (20:45—21:32) (3)
Israel’s leaders could not be pardoned (22:1–31) and (4) since Samaria had gone into
captivity for the same sins, Jerusalem could not justly be excused (23:1–49). Anything
happening on the political-military scene was inconsequential to God’s holy and just
purposes for His people.
C. Ezekiel announces Jerusalem’s judgment as having begun (24:1—25:17).
The date notation marks this out as a major section break, though most make
the break after chapter 24.8 Ezekiel is instructed to write down that date as the day on
which Nebuchadnezzar actually began the siege of Jerusalem (about Dec. 25, 589 B.C.).
The message of this section is that though Israel’s judgment of purification had begun,
symbolized by a boiling pot (24:1–14), her fate should not be mourned by the nation, as
though something tragic and inappropriate were taking place (24:15-27). Neither should
it be cheered by her neighbors out of spite and vengeance (25:1–17). It was the Lord’s
painful duty to judge His people for what they deserved even though Israel was still the
apple of His eye. Thus, the provisions of the Abrahamic covenant are still in effect with
So suggests Alexander, ibid., 64.
8 Alexander’s outline reflects the latter but he argues that there is no warrant for a major break between chapters 24 and 25, contending that they logically form a single message (Ibid., 80). The date notation in 24:1 does initiate a succession of rapid-fire date indicators (at least once the judgment against Egypt is taken up) and so should be seen as at least introducing the section on judgment per se. There is a variation of the introductory construction in 24:1.