Yahweh turns to a new tactic – he looks for someone else to blame for the sins of the Israelites. (Is it even remotely reasonable for an omnipotent deity to try to shift the blame for anything???) He decides the tribal leaders are at fault, and creates an elaborate analogy comparing them to shepherds who neglect their sheep (v 1-10). Then in v 11-16, god describes how he will do a much better job as a shepherd, looking after the sheep himself. Well why didn’t he just do that in the first place??? This shepherd analogy and the concept of the ‘good shepherd’ is all-pervasive in Christianity, and of course is always applied to Jesus. Then in v 17-22, god gets discerning; he vows to sort the flock. Sounds like some are going to get preferential treatment. From here we get our expression ‘separate the sheep from the goats’. (This sheep and goat metaphor will become very important in the NT – Matthew 25).
And Yahweh says he will appoint one shepherd over them – his servant David. I don’t know how he will manage that – David had already been dead a long time when Ezekiel was written, so go figure. It’s probably a reference to Jesus again – the reason why the gospel writers made a big deal out of Jesus being a descendant of David. The remainder of the chapter (v 25-31) describes a Utopian Israel that will always yield bountiful harvests and live in peace. I don’t know about the agriculture of the area, but the ‘peace’ part of this prophesy is certainly a fail.
Just the same old rant *…* except directed at Edom. I’ve become inured to the gratuitous violence and sadism and have no new comments on it.
At Yahweh’s request, Zeke talks to the mountains. (Not kidding.) Check v 17 for more misogynistic language.
But not until verse 20-24 do we get to what I think is the crux of the rant in this chapter – Yahweh’s embarrassed and ashamed by the evil behavior of his people. With Yahweh, it’s always about him and his ego and power. All the rest – people, land, flora and fauna – is just collateral and infinitely expendable.
V 26 gives us the metaphor of the stony heart again. And then god prattles on to the end about all the good stuff he will do when he repairs all the damage he caused himself. I think he boasts just to hear himself carry on.