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This is the second highest distribution of the term in the Hebrew Bible, coming after Jeremiah 18x. Jer 5,9. And they will shed, that it may not be covered. Wilfully, the inhabitants of Jerusalem have exposed their blood guilt on a smooth bare rock, with no dust to cover it 24,7.

The blood on the exposed rock becomes the perpetual witness and evidence to the crime committed. With regard to the direction of dependence, 25,12—17 is likely to come after 24,3— Given that the setting of the oracles in Ez 25 gener- ally presupposes the fall of Jerusalem, it is thus possible that the Edom and Phil- istia oracles came into existence after the fall of Jerusalem. Peels, Vengeance, , who cites H. Lev 26,25; Isa 1,21—26; Jer 51,34— Outside of Ezekiel, the stretching-hand motif sur- faces independently of the cutting-off motif in both the pentateuchal and several prophetic materials.

Ex 7,19; 8,1. To be noted, the passages in the plague narratives where the stretching-hand motif appears are mostly attributed to the P-source. Jer 6,12; 15,6; 21,5; 51,25 cf. Ez 6,14; 14,9. And I will make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut deliver you as a booty to the nations. So you will know that I am Yahweh. And I will destroy you from the countries. I will And if the prophet is deceived and speaks a eliminate you. And you will know that I am word, I Yahweh, have deceived that prophet, Yahweh. And I acting treacherously, and I stretch out my hand will turn it into a wasteland.

Isa 9,13; 10,7; 14,22; Jer 9,21; 36,29; 44,7; Nah 1,14; 2,13; Zeph 1,3; 3,6; Am 1,5. The only difference between chapters 25 and 14 is that the targets of judgment in the former chapter are not the exiles or inhabitants of Jerusalem, but rather the Ammonites, Edomites and Philistines 25,7. Ez 14, Jer 32,43; 36, Given the distinctive juxtaposition and expansion of the stretching-hand and cutting-off motifs in Ez 14 and 25, the two chapters are unmistakably linked, and chapter 25 is likely to be aware of chapter Both chapters deal with the fall of Jeru- salem from different temporal perspectives.

In light of the events reflected in the two chapters, the appearances of the cutting-off and stretching-hand motifs in Ez 25 are more likely to be dependent on those in chapter Lev 17,4.

“This Song Shall Testify Against Them” (3)

Lev 26, Zeph 1,3; Zach 2,8 [Eng. Elsewhere the pair occurs in Lev 27,28; Ps 36,7, albeit in the non-judgment contexts. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of the darkness. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers.

And you will know I am the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you. In the citation, the good and evil people belong to clearly demarcated categories. In fact, the last line of the citation reflects his ego claiming to embody the very justice of God himself.

Turning back to our foregoing analysis of Ez 25,12—17, we find a different picture about good and evil. In the announce- ments of divine judgment, the house of Israel only acts instrumentally to punish Edom v. Given the direction of dependence and viewed in its current literary arrangement, the acts of divine judgment in chapter 25 have an escalating and equalizing effect.

Reinhartz, Scripture on the Silver Screen Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, , 97—, contains a useful summary of the relation between the film and Ez 25, All nations now stand on an equal footing with Jerusalem under the divine judgment. This last scene strangely echoes the message of judgment embedded in Ez 25,12— Unconventionally, the solution to this crisis is not to redeem the abominable Jeru- salem.

Acknowledgement: My hearty thanks go to Dr. Carla Sulzbach, who carefully proofread this paper and offered me plenty of encouragement. I am also grate- ful to Dr. Any surviving errors of fact are mine. Abstract: Ez 25,12—17 depicts one conflict zone peppered with violence and blood- shed, where Edom and Philistia took bitter vengeance against the house of Judah, and in turn incurred the divine retaliations. This essay argues that the oracles against Edom and Philistia in Ez 25,12—17 contain highly significant semantic par- allels with other biblical texts narrating the divine judgment executed against Jerusalem.

Utilizing those semantic parallels in the literary context of Ez 25,12—17, the oracles against Edom and Philistia create a radical rhetorical impact, such that the house of Judah, though victimized, is not compensated materially. Instead, the oracles peculiarly form an oblique rhetoric, affirming not only the dispossession of belligerent Edom and Philistia, but also that of Judah. Related Papers. In the sentencing phase the purpose is to determine the penalty according to the law.

Retribution must be immediate because there is no other step in between unless the verdict is challenged on appeal. Sufficient time must elapse between arraignment and trial to gather information and for discovery, i. The time between the verdict and sentencing must be of sufficient length to allow the judge to determine the parameters of the sentencing guidelines for that particular crime and to allow for appeal.

Once this process is complete the penalty must be carried out with dispatch. This is what is meant by immediate retribution. The principle of immediate retribution is perhaps what causes the most confusion when studying vengeance because of the ways the judicial system in the United State have hamstrung itself by creating loopholes and delays in carrying out the sentence once a guilty verdict has been rendered.

William E. In the account of Cain, God demonstrated delayed retribution. By delaying vengeance, God gave Cain time to repent. Also, by delaying it, He impressed upon others the fact that there are consequences to murder and other similar offenses against God which, unless somehow mitigated, will eventually be exacted. There are two very interesting results of delayed retribution in this context. This to him was greater than immediate retribution because it impressed upon him his loss of fellowship with God and the loss of the blessings that went with that fellowship.

Cain complained:. The second interesting result was that Lamech concluded that, since God had delayed exacting retribution on Cain, Cain got away with murder. He then concluded that he could get away with murder also. In the case of Cain, God, the perfect Lawgiver, had the authority to delay retribution. Therefore, God was justified in delaying retribution whereas, as we have seen, human government does not have that right. Examining another incident between the two bookends of the Pentateuch and in the progress of revelation, we find a combination of both delayed and immediate retribution.

In the account of the flood, God exacted retribution personally. However, there was a delay of many years. Here we see another characteristic of immediate retribution. God was the one who personally brought the retribution.

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In this way, we might say that retribution is immediate even though there was a delay of many years. Therefore, immediate means more than simply that no time passes. It refers also to the personal involvement on the part of the one who has the authority to carry out the retribution.

On the other hand, delayed retribution refers to retribution that is delayed because some intervening circumstances must occur before retribution can be carried out. This brings us to a discussion of the different levels of immediate and delayed retribution.

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We have noted two types of retribution, immediate and delayed. With each type, there are two levels. There is temporal and eternal retribution. With temporal retribution, the retribution lasts only for this life. With eternal retribution, the consequences are never ending. The level of retribution depends upon the law that was broken.

If it is a temporal law governing behavior in this life, restitution will be temporal. As we approach this section, we need to guard against shading off into any thought of moral and venial sins or pardonable and unpardonable sins. When temporal laws are in view, retribution will always be temporal even though the retribution is physical death. From the death of Able until after the flood, no one other than God had the authority to exact vengeance.

God reserved that for Himself.

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However, following the flood, immediate retribution was passed into the hands of human government with the Noahic Covenant, a part of which follows:. Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant.

Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. And from every man, from every man's brother I will require the life of man.

Whoever sheds man's blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man. Genesis NASB. Here we see that, even though God would not personally carry out the sentence, it was still immediate retribution. By the time of the first advent of Christ, Israel no longer had the freedom to enforce the Mosaic Law but was forced to defer to the government of Roman.

Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good.

Wherefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience' sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.

Romans NASB.


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The purpose of immediate retribution is to curtail sin and its consequences in the world throughout human history. However, injustice continues to exist because human government is itself wracked by sin and often refuses or is unable to secure justice. This was true of Israel under the Law of Moses and is still true today in the period of the Gentiles. In John 10, Jesus confronted the leaders of the Jews in His day with the challenge:. John NASB. However, by going back to the immediate context of the quote and employing a proper method of hermeneutics, we are able to not only interpret that Old Testament context correctly but also discover insights for interpreting the New Testament context where the quote is used.

In other words, we must properly interpret the Old Testament passage before trying to interpret the New Testament context where the quote occurs. The text Jesus quotes in John 10 is taken from Psalm In the course of His denunciation, He describes the leaders of Israel as gods and sons of God. In other words, in the matter of justice, they were to have the character of God who is a God of justice. Returning to the context of John 10 we find that the entire chapter is a rebuke against the leaders of the Jews who failed to shepherd the flock of God as good shepherds.

They were blind John They were thieves and robbers who did not know the sheep, nor were they recognized by the sheep. In other words, they did not belong in the position of leadership John They were hirelings concerned only for their own welfare who allowed wolves to devour the sheep John On the other hand, Jesus declared Himself to be the Good Shepherd who would lay down His life for His sheep and thereby provide a means for justice.

John records that about two months later, at a time when Jesus was teaching in the temple area, He was again accosted by the Jewish leaders regarding His teaching. The time was the Feast of Dedication, which memorialized the cleansing of the temple under Judah Maccebeus. The place was the Court of the Gentiles. This is the foundation of Romans 13 where Paul exhorts the Roman church to submit to human government.

For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God. While immediate retribution can and may be exacted either through human government or directly by God, individuals have always been forbidden from taking it upon themselves to exact vengeance. This was the purpose of the mark of Cain. The Noahic Covenant did not abolish this restraint upon individuals.

This distinction is often missed in the hyped atmosphere surrounding the death penalty as well as the debate regarding serving in the military. Therefore, when Paul wrote to the church at Roman warning them against taking vengeance personally, he was not stating a new principle but merely clarifying an old one.

He wrote:. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.


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Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. This observation is very important to any serious discussion of the doctrine of retribution or vengeance. The next paragraph, Romans , instructs the Roman believers to:. Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. From this we see that the concepts of love, justice, and vengeance, when properly defined and biblically applied, are not paradoxes or contradictory but are parallel concepts.

Since vengeance has never been the prerogative of individuals but has, since the flood, been the responsibility of human government, seeking to exact immediate vengeance as an individual is wrong. On the other hand, to confusion what is forbidden by Scripture for individuals with what has been assigned as a duty to human government is to totally misconstrue the facts.

When government fails to exact immediate retribution where circumstances and justice warrant, then government is abrogating its responsibility and will one day be held accountable. The expectation of immediate retribution for deliberate sin is what the writer to the book of Hebrews had in mind when he wrote:. Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Hebrews NASB. The writer is referring to the Law of Moses where a distinction was made between unintentional sins and deliberate sins.

There were many ordinances governing unintentional sins from a simple sacrifice to the sacrifice offered by the high priest on the Day of Atonement, first for himself and then for the people. There was also the ordinance establishing cities of refuge where an individual who accidentally killed someone could flee.

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On the other hand, there was no provision for setting aside or delaying retribution for someone who openly and defiantly broke the law. For that person, the law required immediate retribution. So all the congregation of the sons of Israel will be forgiven, with the alien who sojourns among them, for it happened to all the people through error. For examples of intentional sins in this context, the Holy Spirit leads Moses to record two separate incidents.

The first in Numbers is an account of a man who intentionally broke the law of Sabbath by gathering firewood on the Sabbath. For this he was immediately taken outside the city and stoned to death as the law required. The second is found in Numbers 16 in the account of Korah and his followers who opposed Moses and thereby directly opposed God. The result was that God exacted immediate retribution upon the guilty parties. The only reason David did not receive immediate retribution was because he was the government of Israel. God, on His part, chose not to exact vengeance upon David but rather chose to accept the death of many others in Israel including the child born to the adulterous relationship as retribution.

Reality requires that we understand that what we have is an imperfect system. Forgiveness is not based upon immediate retribution. When the law requires immediate retribution, it is never the right of an individual to exact it.

“This Song Shall Testify Against Them” (3)

This is the responsibility of government. Forgiveness is the prerogative only of individuals who are the offended party. Biblical forgiveness is based upon a higher principle than setting aside immediate retribution.