The Sword Sharpened

D.A. Carson once said, “Hell is not a place where people are consigned because they were pretty good blokes, but they just didn’t believe the right stuff. They’re consigned there, first and foremost, because they defy their maker and want to be at the center of the uni … More


This passage explains how the sword was sharpened (vv. 8-17). It is a poetic song of judgment and the theme is that God’s sword was sharpened, ready for slaughter. The song has three stanzas:

  1. The first stanza explains how God’s sword was sharpened with a whetstone to give it a keen cutting edge and polished and scoured to remove all rust and give the blade a gleam (vv. 8-10). Much like a soldier preparing for battle, God had honed His weapon so it would be effective. The sword was coming because Israel had despised the rod and all advice. A rod was often used for discipline (cf. Prov. 10:13; 13:24; 23:13), and God used “the rod” to discipline His own (cf. 2 Sam. 7:14; Job 9:34; 21:9). Israel had despised God’s earlier attempts to use a rod to correct her, so He now used the sword.
  2. The second stanza revealed the victims against whom the sword was drawn: God’s people and all Israel’s princes (vv. 11-13). The leaders had rejected God’s advice and chastisement so all they could expect was the sword. Because of the massive destruction God told Ezekiel, Cry out and wail.
  3. The third stanza stressed the work of the sword (vv. 14-17). In derision both the prophet and God would strike their hands (vv. 14, 17; cf. 6:11; 22:13). As the sword would move swiftly against the people and princes, it would strike and strike again (twice, even three times), seemingly coming from every side. In fear the people’s hearts would melt (v. 7). The judgment moved to all sides (to the right, then to the left) as it relentlessly pursued the people. It would stop only when the judgment was complete.


“The Word of God is quick and powerful and sharper than any two edged sword.” I want to be able to handle the Word of God is such a way that people will be brought to Him and live for Him.

Ezekiel 21:8-17 (English Standard Version)

And the word of the LORD came to me: "Son of man, prophesy and say, Thus says the Lord, say: "A sword, a sword is sharpened and also polished, sharpened for slaughter, polished to flash like lightning! (Or shall we rejoice? You have despised the rod, my son, with everything of wood.) So the sword is given to be polished, that it may be grasped in the hand. It is sharpened and polished to be given into the hand of the slayer. Cry out and wail, son of man, for it is against my people. It is against all the princes of Israel. They are delivered over to the sword with my people. Strike therefore upon your thigh. For it will not be a testing--what could it do if you despise the rod?" declares the Lord GOD. "As for you, son of man, prophesy. Clap your hands and let the sword come down twice, yes, three times, the sword for those to be slain. It is the sword for the great slaughter, which surrounds them, that their hearts may melt, and many stumble. At all their gates I have given the glittering sword. Ah, it is made like lightning; it is taken up for slaughter. Cut sharply to the right; set yourself to the left, wherever your face is directed. I also will clap my hands, and I will satisfy my fury; I the LORD have spoken."

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