The scene is reminiscent of Egyptian burial chambers; the walls were covered with brilliantly painted images of deities in animal form, including Anubis, the jackal-headed god who weighed the soul of the dead. This second phase of the prophets vision of Jerusalem illustrates a number of important points with respect to the state of religion in the capital city. The nations leadership was actively engaged in the pursuit of evil. When the integrity of the nations leadership is lost, there is no hope for its people.. It is already clear from the first part of the prophets vision that the worship of the temple had become sadly debased; a pagan altar had been set up in the temples outer court. So why, with a public altar outside was there a secret worship of the other false gods inside? Probably, there were two forms of the false religion? The open altar outside represented the public false cult, that akin to the religion of neighboring Canaan. After the Exodus from Egyptian slavery, seventy elders had participated in the making of the covenant (Exodus 24:1, 9). Now, threatened by slavery once again seventy elders of another age turned back to Egypt, of all places, in seeking salvation. Thus the scene of the seventy elders worshipping Egyptian gods represents a loss of a sense of liberation; fearing slavery again, they turned back to their old slave-masters, not to the God who delivered them from slavery. The life of liberation called for continuing faith in the great Liberator. The tragedy of so much of human existence is that faced with new bondage, there is a loss of courage and a voluntary return to the old forms of slavery. The elders suffered delusions of secrecy (Blenkinsopp)
The last scene takes place in north of the temple the gate to the most sacred temple areas. A group of women were sitting on the ground and weeping. The weeping women that Ezekiel saw were engaged in the summer ritual, mourning the demise of Tammuz and seeking his return the following spring.The prophet bears witness to the twenty five men facing east, with their backs to the temple, worshipping the rising sun. . That they conducted their ritual in this place of special sanctity at least suggests a body with official standing.
They turned their expectant faces to the mourning sunlight, hoping that would dispel the gloom of their existence.
The four scenes with which this great vision begins, taken together, form a comprehensive condemnation of Israels worship. All were involved, with no exceptions. The idol Asherah at the north of the gate indicated the popular worship of the people. The secret room of sacrilegious murals demonstrated the distinctive failure of the nations leaders, the elders. The weeping women illustrated the loss of faith in the Living God. and, in the mist of it all, even the priests were turning backwards in their misdirected attempts t worship. Not only were all people engaged in this folly; they were without discrimination in their choice of idols. The idol Asherah represented the religion of Canaan, the secret murals that of Egypt (Craigie 63). The weeping women turned to the gods of Babylon, while the priest worshipped the sun, a cult practiced by the ancient nations of the Near East. The focus of this vision is failure to worship. All too easily, religion can be reduced to matters of morality, so that good and evil are limited in the meaning to ethical and unethical acts. But worship and the failure to worship were matters of equal gravity in Ancient Israel. All human beings are summoned to worship their Maker; not to do so and to do so wrongly is to miss a part of the meaning of our existence. Thus it becomes evil and a ground for judgment.
Allen, Leslie C Word Biblical Commentary: Ezekiel 1-19 vol 28. Nashville: Nelson Thomas Inc. Print.
Blenkinsopp, Joseph .Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching: Ezekiel. Louisville:Westminster John Press. Print Block, Daniel I . The New International Bible Commentary: Book of Ezekiel chapters 1-24. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, William B. Publishing Company. Print Craigie, Peter C..