A Lament for Israel’s Princes (Ezekiel 19)

Scripture Text:

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Ezekiel 19

1. Of all the stories you’ve heard your parents or grandparents tell about “the good ol’ days”, which one sticks in your mind? Were “the days gone by,” which they lament, really that much better than the present? Why?

2. Who is your favorite political cartoonist? What satirical cartoon lamenting the signs of the times still sticks in your mind? Why?

3. What is a “lament”? How might its use in funeral dirges apply here?

4. This chapter is also an allegory, similar in content to chapter 17, with an interpretation in 2 Kings 23:31 – 24:20. What then is your best guess at the meaning of these symbolic elements:

  • lioness… your mother… a vine (verses 2, 10, chapter 15:2, chapter 17:7)?
  • one of her cubs… devoured men… brought to Egypt (verses 3 and 4, 2 Kings 23:31-34)?
  • another of her cubs… brought to Babylon (verses 5 – 9, 2 Kings 24:8, 15)?
  • east wind (verse 12; chapter 17:10)?
  • desert (verse 13; chapter 20:25)?
  • fire… one of its main branches (verse 14; 2 Kings 24:20)?

5. Putting these puzzle pieces all together, is the picture you get just a sad funeral song about the destruction of Jerusalem and its last kings? Or does this puzzling lament contain any hints that the tragedy was their fault and came as God’s judgment on them?

6. What do you think God inspires a lament for a few evil kings? How might this lament be a particular illustration of the general teaching in chapter 18?

7. How would you update the political cartoon or allegorical lament of Ezekiel 19, so that it fits your current situation?

8. What do you lament? What does God lament? What difference do you see between what breaks your heart and what breaks His? What can you do to be more a person “after God’s own heart”, even in your laments?

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