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)

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