Ezekiel 9 Let the judgements of God now begin!
The Wicked Are Slain
1 Then He called out in my hearing with a loud voice, saying, “Let those who have charge over the city draw near, each with a deadly weapon in his hand.” 2 And suddenly six men came from the direction of the upper gate, which faces north, each with his battle-ax in his hand. One man among them was clothed with linen and had a writer’s inkhorn at his side. They went in and stood beside the bronze altar.
God instructs his angelic warriors (watchers) who ironically would have been involved in the protection of the city to prepare their weapons of destruction to conduct his judgement. The deadly weapons the six angels carried were literally ‘shattering weapons’ or ‘slaughter-weapons’. Matthew Henry suggests the number of angels (six) was the same number as the six main gates of Jerusalem. There was amongst the six angels another one who was clothed in linen which was the type of garment worn by the priests. This person also had an ink horn like an ancient lawyer and was there to assist by marking some people for mercy. The presence of a priestly person makes us think of Jesus as the great High Priest and Mediator who saves humankind from divine justice.
Some think that what Ezekiel is seeing here is prophetic of what the Chaldeans will do to Jerusalem some five years later.
3 Now the glory of the God of Israel had gone up from the cherub, where it had been, to the threshold of the temple.[a] And He called to the man clothed with linen, who had the writer’s inkhorn at his side; 4 and the Lord said to him, “Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done within it.”
The divine glory had moved up from the mercy seat to the temple threshold indicating that the Lord was moving from mercy into judgement. The Lord summoned the seventh angel and instructed him to put a mark like a cross on the foreheads of those who mourned over the sins of those who were defiling the temple. Those who had the X mark (Hebrew taw) on their foreheads would be spared as a righteous remnant from the coming judgement.
5 To the others He said in my hearing, “Go after him through the city and kill; do not let your eye spare, nor have any pity. 6 Utterly slay old and young men, maidens and little children and women; but do not come near anyone on whom is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary.” So they began with the elders who were before the temple. 7 Then He said to them, “Defile the temple, and fill the courts with the slain. Go out!” And they went out and killed in the city.
The six warrior angels are commanded to destroy the idolaters with the single exception of those marked by the angel with the inkhorn as above. The angels are commanded to show no mercy on the guilty irrespective of age or gender and were to begin at the sanctuary which had been profaned by the guilty. The angels started with the elders who were at the temple. The angels were told to further defile the holy temple by filling its courts with the dead bodies of those whom they had executed.
8 So it was, that while they were killing them, I was left alone; and I fell on my face and cried out, and said, “Ah, Lord God! Will You destroy all the remnant of Israel in pouring out Your fury on Jerusalem?”
Ezekiel falls on his face and begins to intercede for the guilty people who are being put to death by the six angels. He appeals to the Lord God of Israel asking him to remember to save a remnant of his people as he pours out his fury on Jerusalem.
9 Then He said to me, “The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is exceedingly great, and the land is full of bloodshed, and the city full of perversity; for they say, ‘The Lord has forsaken the land, and the Lord does not see!’ 10 And as for Me also, My eye will neither spare, nor will I have pity, but I will recompense their deeds on their own head.”
God replies to Ezekiel’s intercession that the children of Israel were too far gone into sin that it was now appropriate that the Lord God was compelled to judge them. The Israelites could not be allowed to continue there many heinous sins including the shedding of innocent blood, their perversity, and thinking that the Lord God did not see how they were living in the depths of sin.
The Lord states because of the depth of sin being committed that he will not show any mercy on the guilty irrespective of age or gender as he had commanded the six angels.
11 Just then, the man clothed with linen, who had the inkhorn at his side, reported back and said, “I have done as You commanded me.”
The seventh angel with the inkhorn now reports back to the Lord that he has completed the marking of the remnant who are to be excluded from this terrible judgement.