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hostile neighbor

Mean Neighbors, Ezekiel 25

Recommended Procedure. Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading

Idea for the Bible teacher or discussion leader: Ask your group, what kinds of things do mean neighbors do to one another? What should be done about it? In this Bible study we will look upon some of Israel's mean neighbors and what God does about it.

Review. In Babylon the prophet Ezekiel shares heavenly visions, performs many signs, object lessons, dramatizations, and other illustrations to get the attention of the Jewish exiles so that they might wake up to reality and repent before their beloved city of Jerusalem would be destroyed. However, God's efforts to save them are to no avail.

In chapter 24 Ezekiel shared two illustrations to get the attention of the Jewish exiles in Babylon. The first was a parable of an encrusted cooking pot with spoiled meat, symbolizing God's useless efforts to try to purify the leaders and people of Jerusalem with fires of affliction so that He might not have to destroy them. The second illustration was the death of Ezekiel's wife and his inability to grieve. This illustrated the shock and inconsolable grief the exiles would feel when their temple, their relatives and beloved city of Jerusalem would be destroyed.

In this lesson we move on to the second half of the book of Ezekiel. During the two year siege of Babylon, Jerusalem had a chance to repent but did not. As she was besieged and destroyed, how did the surrounding nations react? In Ezekiel 25-32 there are judgments against Israel's neighbors. The prophecies given by God to Ezekiel were apparently written down and sent by a messenger(s) to give to leaders of these nations because Ezekiel was in exile in Babylon. They probably received the messages shortly before they were fulfilled. Read Ezekiel 25, make observations and summarize what you discover the neighbors east and west of Israel. You may wish to consult this map to see where the nations mentioned are located (use browser arrow to return to this Bible study).

Answer 1


Who were the Ammonites? You may want to read about their history in gotquestions. org

What did Ammon do to deserve punishment when Jerusalem was besieged and attacked? What was God going to do? Ezekiel 25:1-7

Answer 2


God is angry with disobedient Israel so that he has them destroyed, so why does he care about how they are treated? By application, what do these verses say about how we should treat the Jewish people or our enemies? Genesis 12:3; Zechariah 2:8; Proverbs 24:16-18; Proverbs 25:21-22; Matthew 5:43-48

Answer 3


Who were the Moabites? Again, you may want to read about their history in gotquestions. org. In addition, to interpret Ezekiel 25 it would be profitable to read how they collaborated with Ammon and Meunites (or men from Mount Seir in Edom), in an attempt to take Judah's territory during the days of King Jehoshaphat. It is a pretty awesome story recorded in 2Chronicles 20:1-23.

What had the Moabites done and what was God going to do to them? Ezekiel 25:8-11

Answer 4


Who were the Edomites? Once again, you may want to read about their history in gotquestions. org. The Edomites have had a long history in their struggles with Israel 2Kings 8:20-22a. They wanted revenge for the times they lost their land 2Kings 14:7; 2Kings 14:22; 2Chronicles 28:16-17. Most recently, in 588 B.C. when King Zedekiah of Judah revolted against Babylon, Edom sided with Babylon and aided Babylon in her assaults on Judah Psalm 137:7; Jeremiah 49:7-22. In Ezekiel 25:12-14 what did Edom do and what would be her judgment from the Sovereign LORD?

Answer 5


Who were the Philistines? Yet once again, you may want to read about their history in gotquestions. org. The Philistines had a long history with Israel and Judah, particularly after Israel entered the land. They were in frequent military conflicts and some of the last recorded are in 2Chronicles 26:6-7 and 2Chronicles 28:16-18. According to Ezekiel 25:15-17 what had the Philistines done before the time of Jerusalem's destruction and what was the judgment against them?

Answer 6


Lessons to Live by: (ask for members' input first)

Today's Bible memory verse: Genesis 12:3 "I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." (NIV)

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A1: Observations:

  • "Hear the Word of the Sovereign LORD" is a solemn proclamation from a high authority, the King of all nations and people.
  • There are judgments coming for Ammon, Moab, Edom and the Philistines for what they did when Israel and Judah were being destroyed.
  • The Sovereign LORD will be personally involved (note the frequency of the pronoun "I" throughout the passage) in the judgment of these nations, but he will use "the people of the East" to accomplish it. Though unidentified in this passage, the Bible Knowledge Commentary of the O.T., by Walvoord and Zuck ©1985, p.1276 identifies these as nomadic desert tribesmen.
  • Looking at the map, these nations surrounded Israel and were old enemies, dating back to the times of Moses.
  • At the end of each message of judgment is the statement that "then they would know that I am the LORD." Therefore, these judgments have a purpose, namely to show them that the LORD is Sovereign.


You said "Aha!" over my sanctuary when it was desecrated and over the land of Israel when it was laid waste and over the people of Judah when they went into exile (v. 3, NIV), have clapped your hands and stamped your feet, rejoicing with all the malice of your heart against the land of Israel, (v.6, NIV)

Therefore, I (the SOVEREIGN LORD) am going to give you to the people of the East as a possession. They will set up their camps and pitch their tents among you; they will eat your fruit and drink your milk. I will turn Rabbah into a pasture for camels and Ammon into a resting place for sheep. Then you will know that I am the LORD.(vs. 4-5, NIV),

Therefore I will stretch out my hand against you and give you as plunder to the nations. I will cut you off from the nations and exterminate you from the countries. I will destroy you, and you will know that I am the LORD.'" (v.7, NIV)

A3: God has a special relationship with his people and has promised that he will curse those who curse them. Those who touch Israel touch the apple of his eye. God will bless those who are kind to Israel.

We are to treat our enemies kindly whenever possible. We are not to rejoice over their calamity, lest the Lord see, disapprove and stop exercising his judgment. Instead, we are to love them and be good to them. We are to let the Lord take revenge for ill treatment.

A4: The Moabites denied the importance of the land of Israel or Judah, and in particular Jerusalem, the glory of the Israelites. Their words probably implied God's failure to keep it from being destroyed. For this, God was going to have the people of the East come and destroy them and the frontier towns in which they most gloried. Ammon, her cohort would also be destroyed.

Do you respect the nation of Israel and her beloved city? Do you respect the God of Israel who established her and protects her? Do you respect the work of God in individuals?

A5: Because Edom took revenge upon Judah, God will take revenge upon Edom by Israel's hand. God will kill its men and its animals (apparently the children and widows would be spared as Jeremiah 49:11 prophesies)

A6: Like Edom, the Philistines took revenge upon Judah and sought to destroy her, so God would take revenge upon the Philistines and seek to destroy her. Both Edom and the Philistines would experience God's revenge.

Do you seek revenge against your enemies? As we said earlier, revenge belongs to God.


Lessons to Live by:

  • Be a good neighbor, not a mean one.
  • Respect Israel and her God. He takes personal offense to those who attack her or rejoice at her demise.
  • Do not rejoice in the calamity of your enemies or anyone else
  • Leave vengeance to the LORD. Do not seek it yourself

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