Singer/Songwriter Paul Simon wrote a song about 50 ways to leave your lover…way back in the 1970’s. It’s a callous concept, but rather insightful about the way certain people, who say all the right things to gain your trust, end up leaving you in the end. Seems like nothing to betray trust.
Looks like Ezekiel was trying to talk about the same thing as we come to Ezekiel Chapter 12 in this ongoing blog InOpenCountry. Thanks for coming back and reading some more.
Now, some of the commentaries I’ve read describe this chapter as the beginning of an entirely new section of the Book of Ezekiel, unrelated so to speak to what’s been going on up til this point. From my point of view, this section of prophecy is very much related to everything we’ve read so far and could be classified as good follow-up. It doesn’t happen as much in today’s modern journalism, but you can still occasionally find a follow-up investigation to a former headline story…if you look hard enough.
In Ezekiel’s case, we are provided with a look at how the governmental leaders were portrayed back to the people held in captivity. It’s not a very flattering image. Imaging you are a captive with idealistic notions that somehow your noble and royal family is somehow leading a glorious fight against the invading army. Instead you are presented with a scene where the prince digs his way out a wall so as to avoid detection. He sneaks out “the back, jack”. He escapes his own people’s eyes, but not the justice of God as is detailed elsewhere in Chronicles.
So this is a follow up to the overall progression of the story eg.
The unfaithfulness of Israel –> Discovery and unveiling of reckless practices –> religious leaders exposed for their hipocracy –> Judgment confirmed and executed –> people in disarray –> ….but what about the highest level of government??
Ezekiel is shown that the prince of Israel is the kind of guy who sneaks out the back. He has no true love for his people, no true loyalty to the city, no concern even for those who help him – they are scattered. And to all of this, he responds by hiding his eyes.
Have you ever watched on the news when public officials are indicted? More often then not, they cover their eyes, put their hand up to block view of their face from the public. Obviously, they know they can be seen, but to actually meet the eyes of those whom you have betrayed seems to be to much to bear. And similarly for this prince, the accusing eyes of the people of Israel, who were facing imminent conquest, much have been too much for what was left of his shattered self worth.
God uses his own words against the prince of Israel and chases him to the very borders of the land. It is there that the prince is apprehended by the armies of Babylon. His house and family are destroyed, and he is summarily blinded for the rest of his captivity – never to return to Israel.
So much for a pompously boasting royal line of government who had no mercy or taste for justice for the people of Israel. In case it isn’t clear from this narrative, a situation where the leaders of a people are all about “me first” is not considered “just” leadership in the eyes of God. The corruption of faith always follows, and it is the poor, the widow, the stranger, the falsely accused whom always fall victim in such periods of governmental influence. The people turn to their religious leaders only to find them catering to their primary patron…that very same government. And when all is revealed, they disappear with no thought for those who put trust in them.
“Slip out the back, Jack.
Make a new plan, Stan….
Hop on the bus, Gus
You don’t need to discuss much
Just drop off the key, Lee
And get yourself free” -Paul Simon
Indeed. It is something to be wary about.
Ezekiel is then told to eat his food with trembling to show the life of extreme fear that the people of Jerusalem will face. Fear indeed and evidently justified with the reality that their leaders have left them. Those who placed their faith in the person of the prince instead of placing their faith in God must deal with the realization that there is no one to come be their advocate in the face of the enemy.
It is such a graphic and compelling line at the end of that section in Verse 19, “…they shall eat their food in anxiety, and drink their water in fear,…” Gripping because that line also describes many families in our day and age. We have seen our pop-icons and political/religious icons exposed in weakness and corruption. Many in our societies feel abandoned or pushed to the very fringe. They live at the edges of communities, but never really in. Hearts full of anxiety and tongues wetted with fear.
It is only faith that allows the human condition to rise above the indecency of human pride and false entitlement.