A Commentary on Ezekiel Chapter 6 – God’s Judgment Against Idolatry


The book of Ezekiel contains prophecies and visions that Ezekiel received from God during the Babylonian exile. Ezekiel ministered to the Jewish captives in Babylon between 593 and 571 BC. Chapter 6 records God’s message of judgment against idolatry practiced by the people of Israel and Judah.

In this chapter, God instructs Ezekiel to prophesy against the “mountains of Israel” which likely refers to the hills and high places where idol worship took place. The people had turned away from worshipping the one true God and instead worshipped false gods and idols. As a result, God’s judgment was coming upon the land.

Key Takeaways from Ezekiel Chapter 6

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  • God will bring His judgment against Israel’s idolatry by making the land desolate and scattering the people (Ezekiel 6:1-7).
  • Idolaters will be slain and God will spare only a remnant (Ezekiel 6:8-10).
  • The judgment will happen so that the people may know that the Lord is God (Ezekiel 6:7, 13-14).
  • God calls the people to repentance in light of the coming destruction (Ezekiel 6:9).
  • The judgment will happen throughout the land, from wilderness to city (Ezekiel 6:11-14).

In this commentary, we will explore this message of judgment and see what we can learn about God’s view of idolatry and His dealings with His people. While initially given to warn Israel and promote repentance before the Babylonian invasion, these words remain relevant today as we seek to worship God alone and remove all idols from our lives.

A Commentary on Ezekiel Chapter 6 - God's Judgment Against Idolatry

God’s Case Against Israel’s Idolatry (Ezekiel 6:1-7)

Chapter 6 begins with God instructing Ezekiel to “set your face toward the mountains of Israel” (Ezekiel 6:2 NKJV). The mountains and high places of Israel were frequently the locations of idol worship as the people sacrificed and burned incense to false gods (1 Kings 14:23). Given this context, God’s message is likely directed at Israel’s idolatrous practices in these places.

Ezekiel is told to prophesy against the mountains saying, “Thus says the Lord GOD to the mountains, to the hills, to the ravines, and to the valleys…Indeed I, even I, will bring a sword against you, and I will destroy your high places.” (Ezekiel 6:3 NKJV). God makes it clear that the coming judgment will specifically target these centers of idol worship.

In verse 4, God declares that “your altars shall be desolate, your incense altars shall be broken, and I will cast down your slain men before your idols.” Again, the judgment is aimed at destroying the implements of idolatry – the very altars, incense burners, and idols that the people worshipped and sacrificed to.

God then reveals the purpose of this judgment in verse 7: “Then you shall know that I am the LORD.” This phrase is repeated multiple times in Ezekiel and highlights an important reason behind God’s actions. Israel had turned away to worship false gods, so God was going to bring judgments that revealed Him as the one true God worthy of worship. Ezekiel chapter 6 makes clear that idolatry arouses God’s jealousy and wrath.

A Remnant Will Be Spared (Ezekiel 6:8-10)

While God’s judgment against idolatry would be severe, He also promised that a remnant would survive:

“Yet I will leave a remnant, so that you may have some who escape the sword among the nations…Then those of you who escape will remember Me among the nations where they are carried captive” (Ezekiel 6:8-9 NKJV).

Though many would be slain, God would preserve a remnant who would come to true remembrance of Him during their time in exile. Still, this remnant is described as those “who escape,” indicating the comprehensive scale of judgment. Only those whom God protected would survive.

This remnant would reflect on God’s judgments and turn from their idolatry as Ezekiel 6:9 records: “Then those of you who escape will remember Me among the nations…and they will loathe themselves for the evils which they perpetrated.” God’s purpose was always to turn His people back to Himself, even if it required severe discipline. Judgment gave way to restoration.

The Scope of God’s Judgment (Ezekiel 6:11-14)

Ezekiel 6:11-14 reveals the widespread nature of the coming judgment against idolatry in the land of Israel:

Thus says the Lord GOD: “Pound your fists and stamp your feet, and say, ‘Alas, for all the evil abominations of the house of Israel! For they shall fall by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence. He who is far off shall die by the pestilence, he who is near shall fall by the sword, and he who remains and is besieged shall die by the famine.” (Ezekiel 6:11-12 NKJV)

From the wilderness in the south to the cities in the north, from the remote to those in the midst, all would experience God’s wrath against the abominations of idolatry that had filled the land. Three means of judgment are listed: sword, famine, and pestilence. Verse 14 underscores that the destruction would happen “from the wilderness to Diblah.” No place would escape.

This passage reminds us that God hates idolatry intensely. When His people turn away from Him to worship false gods, His righteous anger responds decisively. God will share His glory with no one. May this sober warning compel us to tear down any idol in our hearts and lives that competes with the one true God.

A Call to Repentance (Ezekiel 6:9)

While Ezekiel 6 emphasizes God’s impending judgment against idolatry, it also contains an appeal to repentance:

“Then those of you who escape will remember Me among the nations where they are carried captive, because I was crushed by their adulterous heart which has departed from Me, and by their eyes which play the harlot after their idols” (Ezekiel 6:9 NKJV, emphasis added).

This verse implies that there was still time for the people to repent. If they turned from their spiritual adultery with idols, the coming judgment could be averted. Though God hated their idolatry, He also grieved over their unfaithfulness to Him.

Similarly, today God graciously calls people everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30). He sent Christ to redeem us from idolatry and reconcile us to Himself. God delays judgment so that more may come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). May we respond by casting away our idols and returning to the Lord.

The Purpose of God’s Judgment (Ezekiel 6:7, 13-14)

In Ezekiel chapter 6, two key verses reveal God’s purpose behind the promised judgment on Israel’s idolatry:

“Then you shall know that I am the LORD” (Ezekiel 6:7)

“Then they shall know that I am the LORD, when their slain are among their idols all around their altars…” (Ezekiel 6:13 NKJV)

From these declarations, we see that God’s intent was to reveal Himself as the one true God to His people. By judging the false gods and idol altars, He would demonstrate His supreme power and glory. His jealousy for His name drove these judgments.

Furthermore, verse 14 explains that God acted “so that I might devastate them and make them desolate – so that they might know that I am the LORD.” The people had forgotten God, so through judgment they would come to “know” Him again in the Biblical sense of acknowledging and understanding His lordship.

Even in wrath, God’s heart is always to draw people to Himself. He alone is worthy of worship. May we learn from Israel’s idolatry to fear the LORD and worship Him only, so that we know Him in truth.

Applications for Today

  1. God hates idolatry. Anything we put above the Lord becomes an idol worthy of judgment. We must examine our hearts and lives to identify and destroy any idol that competes with Him for our affections.
  2. God graciously calls people to repentance. If we turn from idols to serve God, we can avoid judgment. Let us quickly repent of any idolatry that the Holy Spirit reveals.
  3. Coming judgment should compel urgency to know God. One day we will stand before Him. May we seek Him wholeheartedly today and surrender all idols from our hearts.
  4. God wants to reveal Himself to people as the one true God. Even His judgments reflect His heart to make Himself known. Let us join Him in sharing the truth about who He is with the world.
  5. A holy remnant survives judgment. The Lord preserves those who faithfully worship Him alone amid general idolatry. Let us purpose to be counted among the holy remnant in our day.

In summary, Ezekiel chapter 6 contains a sobering warning against the grave sin of idolatry. Yet even in the message of coming judgment, we see God’s heart of mercy calling people back to Himself. May we examine our lives, destroy all idolatry, and worship the LORD alone who is worthy of all glory and praise!


In Ezekiel chapter 6, God delivers a stern warning against the idolatry that Israel and Judah had embraced. They had turned to false gods and erected places of worship to these idols. As a result, God promised severe judgment upon the land – the people would be slain and scattered, the land made desolate, and the implements of idolatry destroyed.

Yet God graciously promised to preserve a remnant who would survive the coming invasion and return to true worship of Him. He pleaded with the people to remember their covenant and turn from their adulterous idolatry. Though God’s wrath would be poured out because of their sin, His ultimate purpose was to show Himself as the one true God worthy of their worship.

While this prophecy concerned God’s dealing with Israel, the principles remain relevant today. God calls each of us to reject idolatry and worship Him alone. He seeks to reveal Himself to us as both holy and merciful. May Ezekiel chapter 6 compel us to examine our lives, willingly destroy all rivals to God’s glory, and worship Him in spirit and truth.

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