Ezekiel 9

DateVersionReading Plan
@August 29, 2023ESV (2016)ESV Prophets Plan 2023


  • Idolaters Killed


The chapter opens with God crying in Ezekiel’s ears with a loud voice to “Bring near the executioners of the city. Six men then came from the north (the direction of from which the Babylonians were to come) to destroy the idolaters. With them was a man clothed in linen with a writing case. Linen was often worn by angelic messengers (Dan. 10:5; Rev. 15:6), but it was also the fabric for priestly garments (Exod. 28:42), thus portraying purity and holiness.

In Ezek. 9:3-8, the glory of God rested on the threshold of the house and He told the man in linen with the writing case to put a mark on the men who were sorrowful over the idolatrous practices of the people (Ezek. 9:4). The faithful Jews that opposed idolatry were to be sealed with a mark on their foreheads and spared from death. Their sorrow over the idolatry revealed what was in their heart and this kept them from judgment. All the rest without the mark were to be slaughtered, even women and children (Ezek. 9:6)

In Ezek. 9:9-10, God spoke to Ezekiel that the sin of both houses, Israel and Judah, was “exceedingly great”. This echoes of the flood narrative in Gen. 6:11, that all would be wiped out save but a few marked for exemption. The Lord would have no pity and would “bring their deeds upon their heads.” (Ezek. 9:10)

The final verse of the chapter (Ezek. 9:11) is of the man with the writing case, clothed in linen. He brought back word and said, “I have done as you commanded me.” There is no indication of how many were marked for salvation.


God’s judgment on the people had arrived, but in an act of His mercy, He assigned a man in linen to place a mark on the foreheads of those to be spared. These were the individuals who expressed heartfelt grief over the peoples’ betrayal of God in their idolatrous practices. They were the few that had remained faithful in the midst of the masses chasing and worshiping worldly things.

The question to us is one of the most convicting we could ever ask of ourselves: “Am I among the few who deeply grieve the worship of worldly things over the worship of God?” While we don’t know the exact number of those marked for salvation in Ezek. 9, its label as a “remnant” certainly insinuates a small fraction. This is heart-check chapter; an invitation to audit our lives, to test ourselves, so see if we are in the faith, to examine whether anything exists that surpasses His glory and the joy of His return.

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