Ezekiel 20:25-26 and How to Investigate Biblical Translation Issues

The following are rough notes from a Twitter discussion I had on the translation and meaning of Ezekiel 20:25-26. It was claimed God gave “bad laws” to the Israelites (eg. child sacrifice) because they wouldn’t follow His good laws. This is obviously problematic as its relates to the Goodness of God. These are my tweets and notes from that discussion.

– “nâthan, naw-than’; a primitive root; to give, used with greatest latitude of application (put, make, etc.)”

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H5414&t=KJV

– “Your reading, if true, is delightfully illogical. The people are so disobedient that god gives them different laws, which they suddenly and cheerfully obey, like the obedient followers they aren’t. And that cheerful obedience mirrors the disobedience of their ancestors.”

– Vs 23 God swore to disperse Isrealites to the nations around them (who didn’t have God’s Law), because they had not obeyed the Law (Vs 24), “So I gave them other statutes” meaning the statutes of the nations He dispersed them to (vs 25)

“23 Also with uplifted hand I swore to them in the wilderness that I would disperse them among the nations and scatter them through the countries, 24 because they had not obeyed my laws but had rejected my decrees and desecrated my Sabbaths, and their eyes lusted after their parents’ idols. 25 So I gave them other statutes that were not good and laws through which they could not live;”

– Verses 30-38 continue this idea of dispersing to the immoral nations and bringing them back home where they are still doing immoral things they brought with them (Vs 32 ‘we want to be like the nations).

Tweet Thread

Okay, continuing the Ezekiel 20:25-26 thead here. I’m going to talk about 3 main points I’ve come across so far from, in my opinion, the least convincing to the most convincing why this could be better translated ‘I gave them [over to] statutes’ instead of ‘I gave them statutes’.
– https://twitter.com/shovas/status/1017610935618465793

1. Translation for the word “gave” from: “nâthan, naw-than’; a primitive root; to give, used with greatest latitude of application (put, make, etc.):” () Note wide usage of meanings. It can’t categorically be said to be wrong to use “gave over” here.
– https://twitter.com/shovas/status/1017613563605716993

See translation of whole verse here: https://t.co/XW4vCFizeq
– https://twitter.com/shovas/status/1017613689388720130

2. Logical Consistency of Argument (): Israelites so disobedient God gives them other laws…which He expects them to obey??! Infers wording does not indicate bad laws from God – because they wouldn’t obey anyway. Maintains logical consistency of argument.
– https://twitter.com/shovas/status/1017614811616686080

Did you read the link? It’s quite clever in its simplicity as an argument: From your side, you’re admitting the Israelites didn’t want to folllow God’s statutes so…God gave them more statutes…to follow? It’s not logical. It breaks the meaning of the passage.
– https://twitter.com/shovas/status/1018211081569951744

3a. Immediate Context Makes It Obvious (): *head hanging in shame* I should have read the chapter much sooner *sigh*. Cont’d…
– https://twitter.com/shovas/status/1017615444579102720

3b. Vs23 God swore to disperse Isrealites to the nations around them (who didn’t have God’s Law) because they had not obeyed the Law (vs24), “So I gave them statutes” meaning the statutes of the nations He dispersed them to (vs25). He claims ownership of statutes… Cont’d…
– https://twitter.com/shovas/status/1017616152980320256

3c. God claims ownership of the statutes by way of the dispersion resulting in them acquiring those statutes from the evil nations around them not in the giving of the statutes.
– https://twitter.com/shovas/status/1017616394551222273

3d. This is the most convincing to me because it’s right there in the text and it just follows so immediately one verse to the other, sequentially, and it maintains its internal consistency. It’s so powerful because it’s so simple.
– https://twitter.com/shovas/status/1017616911683768320

The Prophecy against Tyre

In Ezekiel 26, God declares the coming destruction of Tyre because its king was excessively proud, taking glory away from the only one due it, God, himself.. Initially, Nebuchadnezzar destroys the mainland city of Tyre. However, the king and the people had already moved to an island about half a mile offshore. So, the prophecy of the cities destruction was fulfilled but not completely.

In Ezekiel 26, God declares the coming destruction of Tyre because its king was excessively proud, taking glory away from the only one due it, God, himself. Initially, Nebuchadnezzar destroys the mainland city of Tyre. However, the king and the people had already moved to an island about half a mile offshore. So, the prophecy of the cities destruction was fulfilled but not completely.

The prophecy speaks of the island itself, though, so God’s prophecy must have included the destruction of the island stronghold.

Lo and behold, Alexander the Great comes along around two hundred years later and obliterates the island city.

When God said, “I will make you a bare rock, and you will become a place to spread fishnets,” that’s exactly what happened. It is now an archaeological spot showcasing the ancient city.

There are many, many more prophecies from the Old Testament of the Christian bible that were literally and wholly fulfilled.

Reading God’s Word is an amazing adventure, filling me with awe and surprise at every turn.

When you really consider God’s message as a whole, you have to admit to yourself, this is not something we would make up. This really is inspired. It could have only come from the one, true, living God, the God who is able to deliver you and I from all distress.