Ezekiel 6:1-14 – Judgment Against the Mountains of Israel


Ezekiel 6:1-14


Ezekiel addresses the mountains of Israel and condemns their altars and high places, thereby expanding the message of judgment beyond the city of Jerusalem (as seen in the sign-acts of Ezekiel 4-5).


The description of Israel has narrowed from a rebellious house found in Ezekiel 2-3 to the more specific label of idolatry. The phrase “mountains of Israel” occurs frequently in Ezekiel but interestingly not in other biblical books. The hill country of Israel and Jerusalem are in view, and the language of mountains, or better “hills,” highlights the locales which the prophet wishes to condemn. These illicit cultic sites with their altars were often established at high places.

Why are the high places to be condemned and destroyed? The prophet clearly shares the view of other reformers such as authors of Deuteronomy and prophets such as Amos and Hosea that idolatry is foolish and not effective. However, the oracle quickly expands the addressee to the ravines and valleys, that is, from the highest places to the lowest. The addressee gradually morphs into the people eventually by the end of verse 5. Why are the mountains the addressees? The mountains serve rhetorically to bring to mind the places, the geography, on which the idolatry occurs. Divine judgment will of course affect the mountains as well.