Just more of the usual. Yahweh vows to punish and destroy the Ammonites, Moabites, Philistines, and Edomites. Yawn. But this chapter is famous because the hitman in Pulp Fiction, Jules Winnfield, supposedly quoted from it in the movie.
Here is the text of his lines:
“There’s this passage I got memorized. Ezekiel 25:17. ‘The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of the darkness. For he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you.’”
I found clips of the scene on YouTube but they all end right after that quote. The scene continues but I was unable to find a clip that included the comments Winnfield made afterward, so they are continued below:
“I been saying that shit for years. And if you heard it, that meant your ass. I never gave much thought to what it meant. I just thought it was some cold-blooded shit to say to a motherfucker before I popped a cap in his ass. But I saw some shit this morning made me think twice. See, now I’m thinking, maybe it means you’re the evil man, and I’m the righteous man, and Mr. 9 millimeter here, he’s the shepherd protecting my righteous ass in the valley of darkness. Or it could mean you’re the righteous man and I’m the shepherd and it’s the world that’s evil and selfish. I’d like that. But that shit ain’t the truth. The truth is, you’re the weak, and I am the tyranny of evil men. But I’m trying, Ringo. I’m trying real hard to be the shepherd.”
Now that you’ve read the whole scene, compare the quote to the actual verse in the bible. You’ll see that it’s a big stretch to say that Winnfield is quoting that verse – he’s added a whole lot of extra words to it, changing both the context and meaning. Such is Hollywood.
Fascinating! It’s Yahweh’s usual rant, but this time it’s directed at the city of Tyre. References to the city, calling it a rock in the sea (v 5), an island city, and ruler of the sea (v 17), made me curious, so I looked it up. The ancient port city was originally a small island off the coast of southern Lebanon. Alexander the Great built a causeway to the island around 300 BCE (well after the action in Ezekiel), which eventually silted over and widened. The aerial view of the modern city shows it as a peninsula now rather than an island. And it’s still there; over 100,000 people were living there in 2003. Which makes a mockery of the prophesy in v 14 and v 19-21.
A lament for the loss of Tyre. If you’re a history buff, it’s interesting, since it mentions trading partners and goods common at the time – like Egypt’s finest linen, silver and iron from Tarshish, horses and mules from Beth-togarmah, coral and rubies from Syria, and more. Read the whole list in v 5-25. But alas, it was all destroyed, never to rise again… oops, no! That prophesy was wrong in the last chapter and it’s still wrong – in fact, Jesus and Paul both visited Tyre in the NT. These bible authors just can’t get their facts straight.