Sinful Things Done at the Temple
8 One day I, Ezekiel, was sitting in my house, and the elders of Judah were sitting there in front of me. This was on the fifth day of the sixth month of the sixth year of exile.[a] Suddenly, the power of the Lord God came on me. 2 I saw something that looked like fire, like a man’s body. From the waist down, he was like fire. From the waist up, he was bright and shining like hot metal[b] in a fire. 3 Then I saw something that looked like an arm. The arm reached out and grabbed me by the hair on my head. Then the Spirit[c] lifted me into the air, and in a vision from God he took me to Jerusalem. He took me to the inner gate—the gate that is on the north side. The statue that makes God jealous is by that gate. 4 But the Glory of the God of Israel was there. The Glory looked just like the vision I saw in the valley by the Kebar Canal.
5 God spoke to me. He said, “Son of man,[d] look toward the north.” So I looked, and there, north of the Altar Gate by the entrance, was that statue that made God jealous.
6 Then God said to me, “Son of man, do you see what terrible things the people of Israel are doing? They built that thing here, right next to my Temple! And if you come with me, you will see even more terrible things!”
7 So I went to the entrance to the courtyard, and I saw a hole in the wall. 8 God said to me, “Son of man, make a hole in the wall.” So I made a hole in the wall, and there I saw a door.
9 Then God said to me, “Go in and look at the terrible, evil things that the people are doing here.” 10 So I went in and looked. I saw statues of all kinds of reptiles[e] and animals that you hate to think about. The statues were the filthy idols that the people of Israel worshiped. There were pictures of those animals carved all around on every wall!
11 Then I noticed that Jaazaniah son of Shaphan and the 70 elders of Israel were there with the people worshiping in that place. There they were, right at the front of the people, and each leader had his own incense dish in his hand. The smoke from the burning incense was rising into the air. 12 Then God said to me, “Son of man, do you see what the elders of Israel do in the dark? Each man has a special room for his own false god. They say to themselves, ‘The Lord cannot see us. The Lord left this country.’” 13 Then he said to me, “If you come with me, you will see these men doing even more terrible things!”
14 Then God led me to the entrance to the Lord’s Temple. This gate was on the north side. I saw women sitting there and crying. They were sad about the false god Tammuz[f]!
15 God said to me, “Son of man, do you see these terrible things? Come with me and you will see things that are even worse than this!” 16 Then he led me to the inner courtyard of the Lord’s Temple area. There I saw 25 men bowing down and worshiping. They were at the entrance to the Lord’s Temple between the porch and the altar—but they were facing the wrong way. Their backs were to the Holy Place. They were bowing down to worship the sun!
17 Then God said, “Son of man, do you see this? The people of Judah think my Temple is so unimportant that they will do these terrible things here in my Temple! This country is filled with violence, and they constantly do things to make me angry. Look, they are wearing rings in their noses to honor the moon as a false god![g] 18 I will show them my anger! I will not show them any mercy or feel sorry for them! They will shout to me—but I refuse to listen to them!”
- Ezekiel 8:1 sixth year of exile This is the fall of 592 B.C.
- Ezekiel 8:2 hot metal The Hebrew word might mean “melted copper,” “an alloy of gold and silver,” or “amber.”
- Ezekiel 8:3 Spirit Or “wind.”
- Ezekiel 8:5 Son of man This was usually just a way of saying “a person” or “a human being.” Here, it is a way of addressing Ezekiel. Also in verses 6, 7, 12, 15, 17.
- Ezekiel 8:10 reptiles The Hebrew word can mean “lizards,” “snakes,” and “all kinds of bugs and insects.”
- Ezekiel 8:14 Tammuz People thought this false god died and his wife Ishtar asked everyone to be sad and cry with her. Ishtar hoped this would bring him back to life. This ceremony was on the 2nd day of the fourth month (June/July). This month was named Tammuz because of this ceremony.
- Ezekiel 8:17 Look … god Or “Look at them putting that cut branch in their noses.”