Really Ezekiel chapter 19 needs three full lessons to explain its intricacies.
The whole chapter consists of a “lament.” That is, “a funeral dirge.” An “elegy,” some say. “Moreover take thou up a LAMENTATION for the princes of Israel …” Verse 1, where “qiynah” (“to lament”) literally means “to chant, to wail, to cry and moan loudly.”
Immediately its first paragraph then discusses Judah, the Tribe that produced the Nation’s genuine kings. She is compared to a “lioness,” because Kings are often considered as “roaring lions.” Look: “What is thy mother? A lioness: she lay down among lions, she nourished her whelps among young lions.” Three of her “whelps” (meaning “young ones”) will be discussed in the chapter, will be lamented!
First … “And she brought up one of her whelps: it became a young lion, and it learned to catch the prey; it devoured men. The nations also heard of him; he was taken in their pit, and they brought him with chains unto the land of Egypt.” Verses 3-4, one of her sons (King Jehoahaz, by name) grew to maturity, assumed the Throne (he being godly King Josiah’s son), and became aggressive, sinfully so, brutal! “Devoured” means “to eat, consume, destroy.” But he was soon conquered and deported to Egypt! This literally occurred! (He only reigned 3 months, during 609 BC.) See 2 Kings 23:32-34 for more details.
Second … Judah had another “royal” son, King. “Now when she (Judah) saw that she had waited, and her hope was lost, then she took another of her whelps, and made him a young lion (a King). And he went up and down among the lions, he became a young lion, and learned to catch the prey, and devoured men. And he knew their desolate palaces, and he laid waste their cities; and the land was desolate, and the fulness thereof, by the noise of his roaring. Then the nations set against him on every side from the provinces, and spread their net over him: he was taken in their pit. And they put him in ward in chains, and brought him to the king of Babylon: they brought him into holds, that his voice should no more be heard upon the mountains of Israel.” Verses 5-9, but King Jehoiachin this time! He, being oppressive and wicked, also reigned only 3 months! Deported to Babylon “in a cage,” says verse 9, by using the word “ward.”
Ezekiel next changes “word pictures, metaphors.” Judah is now compared to a “vine.” Read with me: “Thy mother (Judah) is like a vine in thy blood (bloodline, heritage), planted by the waters: she was fruitful and full of branches by reason of many waters. And she had strong rods for the sceptres of them that bare rule, and her stature was exalted among the thick branches, and she appeared in her height with the multitude of her branches.” Verses 10-11, how God blessed Judah, again and again.
But … “But she was plucked up in fury, she was cast down to the ground, and the east wind (the Babylonian army) dried up her fruit: her strong rods were broken and withered; the fire (the City and Temple were burned) consumed them. And now she is planted in the wilderness (Babylon), in a dry and thirsty ground. And fire is gone out of a ROD (Zedekiah, her last king) of her branches, which hath devoured her fruit, so that she hath no strong rod to be a sceptre to rule.”
Yes Zedekiah cause Jerusalem to be demolished, by fire …. because of his disloyalty, treason, rebellion against Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon!
All dead, or soon to be!
Three life stories worthy of a funeral song, a lamentation.
Look at the last half of the chapter’s final verse: “This is a lamentation, and shall be for a lamentation.” The verb “shall be,” in Hebrew spelled “hayah” but as a future (imperfect) tense … tells us that … God wants this “sad song” to be sung again and again!
Another lesson on “the wages of sin!”
— Dr. Mike Bagwell
Lamenting in Babylon … not a book title, but the truth about Judah for 70 long years!
Psalm 137 opens with that “mood” being quite obvious: “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the LORD’S song in a strange land?”
Again, the wages of sin.