Ezekiel 32 & Psalm 80

Ezekiel 32

    In the twelfth year, in the twelfth month, on the first day of the month, the word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, raise a lamentation over Pharaoh king of Egypt and say to him:

    “You consider yourself a lion of the nations,
        but you are like a dragon in the seas;
    you burst forth in your rivers,
        trouble the waters with your feet,
        and foul their rivers.
    Thus says the Lord GOD:
        I will throw my net over you
        with a host of many peoples,
        and they will haul you up in my dragnet.
    And I will cast you on the ground;
        on the open field I will fling you,
    and will cause all the birds of the heavens to settle on you,
        and I will gorge the beasts of the whole earth with you.
    I will strew your flesh upon the mountains
        and fill the valleys with your carcass.
    I will drench the land even to the mountains
        with your flowing blood,
        and the ravines will be full of you.
    When I blot you out, I will cover the heavens
        and make their stars dark;
    I will cover the sun with a cloud,
        and the moon shall not give its light.
    All the bright lights of heaven
        will I make dark over you,
        and put darkness on your land,
                                                                                                                                                                    declares the Lord GOD.
    
    
        “I will trouble the hearts of many peoples, when I bring your destruction among the nations, into the countries that you have not known. I will make many peoples appalled at you, and the hair of their kings shall bristle with horror because of you, when I brandish my sword before them. They shall tremble every moment, every one for his own life, on the day of your downfall.

    “For thus says the Lord GOD: The sword of the king of Babylon shall come upon you. I will cause your multitude to fall by the swords of mighty ones, all of them most ruthless of nations.

    “They shall bring to ruin the pride of Egypt,
        and all its multitude shall perish.
    I will destroy all its beasts
        from beside many waters;
    and no foot of man shall trouble them anymore,
        nor shall the hoofs of beasts trouble them.
    Then I will make their waters clear,
        and cause their rivers to run like oil,
                                                                                                                                                                    declares the Lord GOD.
    When I make the land of Egypt desolate,
        and when the land is desolate of all that fills it,
    when I strike down all who dwell in it,
        then they will know that I am the LORD.
    
    
        This is a lamentation that shall be chanted; the daughters of the nations shall chant it; over Egypt, and over all her multitude, shall they chant it, declares the Lord GOD.”

    In the twelfth year, in the twelfth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, the word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, wail over the multitude of Egypt, and send them down, her and the daughters of majestic nations, to the world below, to those who have gone down to the pit:

    ‘Whom do you surpass in beauty?
        Go down and be laid to rest with the uncircumcised.’
    
    
        They shall fall amid those who are slain by the sword. Egypt is delivered to the sword; drag her away, and all her multitudes. The mighty chiefs shall speak of them, with their helpers, out of the midst of Sheol: ‘They have come down, they lie still, the uncircumcised, slain by the sword.’

    “Assyria is there, and all her company, its graves all around it, all of them slain, fallen by the sword, whose graves are set in the uttermost parts of the pit; and her company is all around her grave, all of them slain, fallen by the sword, who spread terror in the land of the living.

    “Elam is there, and all her multitude around her grave; all of them slain, fallen by the sword, who went down uncircumcised into the world below, who spread their terror in the land of the living; and they bear their shame with those who go down to the pit. They have made her a bed among the slain with all her multitude, her graves all around it, all of them uncircumcised, slain by the sword; for terror of them was spread in the land of the living, and they bear their shame with those who go down to the pit; they are placed among the slain.

    “Meshech-Tubal is there, and all her multitude, her graves all around it, all of them uncircumcised, slain by the sword; for they spread their terror in the land of the living. And they do not lie with the mighty, the fallen from among the uncircumcised, who went down to Sheol with their weapons of war, whose swords were laid under their heads, and whose iniquities are upon their bones; for the terror of the mighty men was in the land of the living. But as for you, you shall be broken and lie among the uncircumcised, with those who are slain by the sword.

    “Edom is there, her kings and all her princes, who for all their might are laid with those who are killed by the sword; they lie with the uncircumcised, with those who go down to the pit.

    “The princes of the north are there, all of them, and all the Sidonians, who have gone down in shame with the slain, for all the terror that they caused by their might; they lie uncircumcised with those who are slain by the sword, and bear their shame with those who go down to the pit.

    “When Pharaoh sees them, he will be comforted for all his multitude, Pharaoh and all his army, slain by the sword, declares the Lord GOD. For I spread terror in the land of the living; and he shall be laid to rest among the uncircumcised, with those who are slain by the sword, Pharaoh and all his multitude, declares the Lord GOD.”

(Ezekiel 32 ESV)


Psalm 80

To the choirmaster: according to Lilies. A Testimony. Of Asaph, a Psalm.

    Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel,
        you who lead Joseph like a flock.
    You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth.
        Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh,
    stir up your might
        and come to save us!
    
    
    Restore us, O God;
        let your face shine, that we may be saved!
    
    
    O LORD God of hosts,
        how long will you be angry with your people's prayers?
    You have fed them with the bread of tears
        and given them tears to drink in full measure.
    You make us an object of contention for our neighbors,
        and our enemies laugh among themselves.
    
    
    Restore us, O God of hosts;
        let your face shine, that we may be saved!
    
    
    You brought a vine out of Egypt;
        you drove out the nations and planted it.
    You cleared the ground for it;
        it took deep root and filled the land.
    The mountains were covered with its shade,
        the mighty cedars with its branches.
    It sent out its branches to the sea
        and its shoots to the River.
    Why then have you broken down its walls,
        so that all who pass along the way pluck its fruit?
    The boar from the forest ravages it,
        and all that move in the field feed on it.
    
    
    Turn again, O God of hosts!
        Look down from heaven, and see;
    have regard for this vine,
        the stock that your right hand planted,
        and for the son whom you made strong for yourself.
    They have burned it with fire; they have cut it down;
        may they perish at the rebuke of your face!
    But let your hand be on the man of your right hand,
        the son of man whom you have made strong for yourself!
    Then we shall not turn back from you;
        give us life, and we will call upon your name!
    
    
    Restore us, O LORD God of hosts!
        Let your face shine, that we may be saved!

(Psalm 80 ESV)

The following is taken from D.A. Carson's For the Love of God series...

 

PROBABLY PSALM 80 WAS WRITTEN BY Asaphite singers at another time of national disaster—when the Assyrians captured the northern kingdom, destroyed its cap- ital, and exiled many of its people. The shock felt by the godly remnant in Judah must have been considerable. It accounts for the refrain, “Restore us, O God” (80:3, 7, 19; cf. v. 14).

Perhaps the most striking feature of this psalm is the peculiar use it makes of the extended vine imagery (80:8-18):

(1) We have often seen Israel portrayed as a vine: see, for instance, the med- itation for May 7 (on Isa. 5). In the most dramatic of these passages, Israel is a vine that God carefully planted and nurtured, but sadly it produced only bad fruit. The vine ultimately proved so disappointing that in due course God resolved to destroy it.

(2) But here the emphasis is not on the terrible quality of the vine’s fruit (though that is presupposed), but on the wretched condition of the vine now that the Lord himself has broken down the protecting wall he had built around it. God himself brought the vine out of Egypt, planted it, nurtured it, and watched it spread from the (Mediterranean) Sea to the (Euphrates) River (80:8-11). “Why have you broken down its walls so that all who pass by pick its grapes?” (80:12). Even the wild beasts from the forest trample it and ravage it (80:13).

(3) So the appeal is that God would have compassion on his own vine. Without dwelling on why God broke down the protecting wall—though Asaph recognizes that it is God’s smoldering anger (80:4), God’s righteous rebuke (80:16)—the psalmist makes a frankly emotional appeal to God to protect the vine that he himself has nurtured and protected: “Watch over this vine, the root your right hand has planted” (80:14-15).

(4) Interlaced with this theme is a reference to the “son” God raised up for himself (80:15). The Hebrew word can refer to a branch or a bough (as in Gen. 49:22), but in this poem it is also preparing the way for 80:17. Probably in the first instance we are to detect a reference to Israel, a reference stemming from Exodus 4:22: “Israel is my firstborn son, and I told you, ‘Let my son go, so he may worship me.’” The psalmist pleads for compassion for God’s “son.” Even in verse 17 the “son of man” and the man at God’s right hand, i.e., God’s firstborn, envis- age, in the first instance, Israel.

In the larger horizon, the ultimate answer to these petitions of Asaph would come when the true vine (John 15), the ultimate Son of Man, emerged from Israel.