Ezekiel 33:24
Son of man, they who live in these waste places in the land of Israel are saying, Abraham was only one, yet he possessed the land; so to us who are many the land has been given as a possession. New American Standard Bible

This was before Zedekiah went to exile.

What does the Most High mean by 'inhabiting the waste places of the land of Israel' in Ezekiel 33:24?

  • Given your comment, perhaps you should develop the question more. It's not quite cryptic, but you don't signal your interest/concern with abundant clarity...
    – Dɑvïd
    Mar 5 '17 at 15:46

Marvin Sweeney's commentary in The Oxford Jewish Study Bible states that those who live in the ruins in the land of Israel (JPS Tanakh translation) are desert nomads.

Waste places is the NASB translation for חָרְבָּה (ḥor·bā), which the NASB translates elsewhere as "desert" (Is 48:21), "desolation" (Je 22:5), and "ruin" (Job 3:14).

  • my problem wasn't with the meaning of ''desolation,'' rather what with the sense that Judah is a 'desolate place of Israel', and that even before Zedekiah was deposed, also that the northern kingdom had long been dissolved by then, let alone that Judah is a nation distinct from the northern brothers who are/were Israel/ Ephraim/Joseph.
    – Ted O
    Mar 5 '17 at 13:46

H. G. M. Williamson says in ‘The concept of Israel in transition’, published in The World of Ancient Israel (edited by R. E. Clements), page 144, that unlike his slightly older contemporary Jeremiah, Ezekiel appears to blur the distinction between Israel (the northern kingdom) and Judah in the south. In this instance, we should interpret the word 'Israel' as applying to Judah, the land of the Jews now in Exile. For them, in their grief, Judah is a waste, inhabited by those unworthy of the land, which Ezekiel says was given to Abraham for an inheritance and which therefore belongs to the Jews, even in Exile.

In verse 25 the Lord tells the Jews to say to those who have occupied the land that "you eat blood, worship idols and shed blood - do you really think the land should be yours?" The answer is in verse 27 the Lord says "Surely they that are in the wastes shall fall by the sword."

  • Williamson is helpful here. But you're misreading Ezekiel. The quoted speech (of those living in desolate Judah) is then rebutted by oracle that follows in vv. 25-29. "Ezekiel" is expressly not saying what you attribute to him. (Unless you simply mean "...which Ezek 33:24 says was....", in which case, you had better spell that out! But in the previous sentence you're refering to Ezekiel the prophet, not the book, so...).
    – Dɑvïd
    Mar 5 '17 at 10:02
  • @Dɑvïd I have added a summary of the verses that follow so as to demonstrate that my reading of Ezekiel would seem to be correct. Mar 5 '17 at 19:38

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