Ezekiel 18 – The Soul that Sinneth Shall Die & Lost Cities of the Near and Middle-East: Troy (4 of 8)

I don’t understand what the big deal is, I mean, there’s no doubt that a city existed, and there is no other name, other than possibly Toraz.  Many things that Homer identified in his story match the city of Troy so I doubt that he made it all up.

Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord (Rom 12-19).

In my opinion, he decided to write a fiction story and he chose to use Troy for the city his characters lived in.  Or, Homer wanted to tell the history of Troy, but wrote it in fiction form.

Anyway, You sound really upset in Ezekiel chapter 18 and I want to…

Ezekiel 18
The Soul that Sinneth Shall Die

1 The word of the LORD came unto me again, saying,

What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge?

“This proverb” – cf. Jer 31:29, which indicates that the proverb arose first in Jerusalem, Jeremiah predicted the cessation of the proverb, and Ezekiel said its end had come.

“The fathers…on edge” – the proverb, though it expresses self-pity, fatalism and despair, and though it mocks the justice of God, had its origin in Israelite belief in corporate solidarity and Ezekiel’s own words in 16:23.

As I live, saith the Lord GOD, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel.

Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.

“The soul that sinneth, it shall die” – Ezekiel spoke out against a false use the people were making of a doctrine of inherited guilt (perhaps based on a false understanding of Ex 20:5; 34:7).

What follows is his description of three men, standing for three generations, who break the three/four-generation pattern.

But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right,

And hath not eaten upon the mountains, neither hath lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, neither hath defiled his neighbor’s wife, neither hath come near to a menstruous woman,

“Eaten upon the mountains” – eating meat sacrificed to idols on the high places.

“Defiled” – adultery (condemned in Ex 20:14; Deut 22:22; Lev 18:20, 20:10) is here associated with a menstrual prohibition (see Lev 15:19-24, 18:19, 20:18), which is absent from the two listings that follow.

And hath not oppressed any, but hath restored to the debtor his pledge, hath spoiled none by violence, hath given his bread to the hungry, and hath covered the naked with a garment;

“Oppressed” – the rich taking advantage of the poor.

“Spoiled none by violence” – not committed robbery.  See the commandment against stealing in Ex 20:15; Deut 5:19.  This is violent (“armed”) robbery rather than secret theft or burglary (see Lev 19:13).

He that hath not given forth upon usury, neither hath taken any increase, that hath withdrawn his hand from iniquity, hath executed true judgment between man and man,

“Given forth upon usury” – what is forbidden in Ex 22:25; Lev 25:35-37; Deut 23:19 is interest on loans to the needy.  Deut 23:20 allows an Israelite to charge interest to a foreigner; Ezekiel condemns usury (interest on modern commercial loans is a different matter).

Hath walked in my statutes, and hath kept my judgments, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord GOD.

10 If he beget a son that is a robber, a shedder of blood, and that doeth the like to any one of these things,

11 And that doeth not any of those duties, but even hath eaten upon the mountains, and defiled his neighbor’s wife,

12 Hath oppressed the poor and needy, hath spoiled by violence, hath not restored the pledge, and hath lifted up his eyes to the idols, hath committed abomination,

13 Hath given forth upon usury, and hath taken increase: shall he then live? he shall not live: he hath done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon him.

14 Now, lo, if he beget a son, that seeth all his father’s sins which he hath done, and considereth, and doeth not such like,

15 That hath not eaten upon the mountains, neither hath lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, hath not defiled his neighbor’s wife,

16 Neither hath oppressed any, hath not withholden the pledge, neither hath spoiled by violence, but hath given his bread to the hungry, and hath covered the naked with a garment,

17 That hath taken off his hand from the poor, that hath not received usury nor increase, hath executed my judgments, hath walked in my statutes; he shall not die for the iniquity of his father, he shall surely live.

18 As for his father, because he cruelly oppressed, spoiled his brother by violence, and did that which is not good among his people, lo, even he shall die in his iniquity.

19 Yet say ye, Why? doth not the son bear the iniquity of the father? When the son hath done that which is lawful and right, and hath kept all my statutes, and hath done them, he shall surely live.

20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.

21 But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.

22 All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live.

23 Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?

24 But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.

25 Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal?

26 When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die.

27 Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive.

28 Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.

29 Yet saith the house of Israel, The way of the Lord is not equal. O house of Israel, are not my ways equal? are not your ways unequal?

30 Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.

31 Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

32 For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.

Lost Cities of the Near and Middle-East: Troy (4 of 8)

Location: Dardanelles, Turkey
Date of Construction: c 2600B.C.
Abandoned: Roman Times
Built by: Trojans? Sub-Kingdom of Hittite Empire?
Key Features: Numerous Phases of Occupation; Massive Walls, and Citadel; Treasure of Priam

These are the city walls where Trojan princes Hector and Paris fought against King Menelaos and Achilleus.
Troy has a magnificent historical background and very interesting remains, of which only the ones of the upper city (acropolis) can be seen. It is also remarkable that there have been built some 25 cities or towns with the name of Troy in the United States.

For the ancient Greeks and Romans there was no doubt that Troy was a real place and that the epics of Homer were genuine records of history, but with the rise of critical history in the modern era, Troy was consigned to the realm of legend.

The pioneering and controversial work of Heinrich Schliemann changed that and today Troy is again the site of fierce battles, this time of a purely academic nature, concerning the historicity of Homer.

The mainstay of Greek literature, and by extension a foundation stone of the Western canon, was the cycle of epic poems about the Achaean (Bronze Age Greek) expedition to Troy, and the many heroes, gods, battles and adventures associated with it.

The only complete survivors of these epics are Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, but these give a clear picture of a great city situated on a hill near the mouth of the River Scamander in a region known as Troas (modern-day Canakkale in Turkey), a city known both as Troy and as llion.

Legendary Troy commanded the trade routes between the Aegean and the Black Sea via the Straits of the Dardanelles, and ruled over the surrounding lands from behind its apparently unbreachable walls. According to various Greek myths and traditions, the Trojans descended from Achaean stock.

Silver tetradrachm minted by the koinon of Athena Ilias when Zoilos son of Kleon was the presiding agonothetes c. 165-150 BC. Obv. Head of Athena in Attic helmet.

Rev. Cult statue of Athena Ilias with spear in hand facing right with the control marks of a caduceus (left) and owl (right) and the inscription: ΑΘΗΝΑΣ ΙΛΙΑΔΟΣ, ΚΛΕΩΝΟΣ ΖΩΙΛΟΥ, “Athena Ilias, Zoilos son of Kleon”.

 

Ancient Greek historians dated the decade-long Trojan War to between the 14th and 12th centuries B.C., most popularly to 1193-1183 B.C., at the culmination of which Troy was destroyed and the Trojans scattered, their lands eventually occupied by later immigrants.

To the Greeks of Homer’s age (the 8th century B.C.) the ruins of the ancient city were still visible and the remnants of the walls may even have been used for protection by the small remaining community.

Alexander the Great visited it in 334 B.C. and the Roman emperor Augustus founded a city there, called Novum Ilium (New Troy), which flourished for 300 years but declined under the Byzantine Empire.  By the time of the Islamic conquest, the city was deserted and the location lost.

Thanks to Homer, ancient Troy was never forgotten, but as European intellectuals began to develop a more critical approach to history after the Enlightenment, it was assumed that the stories were little more than myths.

 

 

The view from Hisarlık across the plain of Ilium to the Aegean Sea.

The Second Destroyer

One man who disagreed was German businessman and amateur archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann. Fascinated by Troy since he was a little boy, Schliemann had made a fortune trading in Russia and America and decided to devote himself to tracking down proof of Homer’s historicity.

Homer’s epics contain specific geographical information and although the coastline in the region has changed over the millennia some of these clues pointed to a mound near a village called Hissarlik.

In 1870 Schliemann started digging and quickly discovered that the mound concealed evidence of several ancient cities built on top of one another, in successive phases of occupation.

Convinced that he had found the site of Troy, but with little patience for the painstaking methods of conventional archaeology, Schliemann had his workmen dig a trench right down to the lowest and oldest phase, which he assumed must be the original Troy of Homer.

A fanciful reconstruction of the wooden horse of Troy.
According to the epic cycle grew weary of their decade-long siege of Troy and arrived upon the clever ruse of hiding troops in a huge wooden horse left on their departure as an apparent offering to placate the gods, based, according to one theory, on an ancient custom whereby a defeated general surrendered his horse.

The horse was taken inside the city walls by the jubilant Trojans and that same night, the Greek troops climbed down from their hideout and destroyed the city.

The Trojan Horse is only briefly mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey, which describes a “horse of wood, which Epeius made with Athena’s help, the horse which once Odysseus led up into the citadel as a thing of guile, when he had filled it with the men who sacked Ilium [Troy].”

It is detailed more fully in Virgil’s Aeneid, which describes “a steed of monstrous height” with “sides planked with pine.”

In doing so he ploughed through no fewer than eight other phases of occupation, doing so much damage that some contemporaries called him “the second destroyer of Troy.”  In Schliemann’s defense, many other archaeologists of the time were just as bad, and some contemporary experts argue that he has been unfairly vilified.

Eventually Schliemann decided that the penultimate phase of occupation, labeled Troy II (Troy I being the oldest and IX the youngest), which had massive stone walls and towers and grand public buildings, must be the city of Priam and Paris.

A layer of ash separating this phase from the next indicated that the city had perished in fire, matching Homer’s description of the fiery demise of Troy.

Reports of Schliemann’s discovery captured global attention, but the best was yet to come. In 1873, according to his own account, he unearthed a bronze vessel from the walls of a building he assumed to be Priam’s palace, which proved to contain a fabulous treasure of gold and silver, including exotic headdresses and beads, plates and drinking vessels.

Smuggled to Greece and revealed to the world in 1874, Priam’s Treasure, as Schliemann was quick to label it, caused a sensation and forever changed the public perception of archaeology, introducing an element of romance, adventure and treasure hunting.

Schliemann’s shady dealings with the treasure caused problems with the Turkish authorities, and the archaeologists who succeeded him discovered that some of his primary conclusions were off the mark.

Troy II was quickly identified as an early Bronze Age town dating back to 2600-2250 B.C., more than a thousand years before the supposed time of Priam.

The amphitheater from the Roman phase of settlement at Troy, when it was known as Novum Ilium (Troy IX in the archaeological record).
The Roman city was founded after the Greek city on the site was destroyed in 85 B.C., during the time of Sulla. It flourished for several centuries but was eventually abandoned sometime in the 5th century A.D.

The other phases of note were Troy VI – a high Bronze Age citadel with huge walls and palace-like buildings and Troy VII, its successor, which are considered much more likely candidates for the Homeric Troy (although Schliemann would never have seen the walls, as he was excavating in the center of the mound and they ran around the edges).

Troy IX was Novum Ilium, the city founded by the Romans.

Troy II

Schliemann may have been wrong about Troy II’s age, but it was an important and impressive settlement nonetheless. It was a fortified citadel with walls of stone blocks and mud bricks, with regular towers and massive gatehouses, one approached by a wide stone ramp.

Within the walls were two large public spaces, one of them colonnaded and leading to a grand building of stone and mud brick known as the Megaron, comparable with Mycenaean palaces in Greece from a thousand years later, with a colonnaded porch giving onto a great hall with a huge hearth.

Ruins at ancient city of Troy

It was probably the hall of the settlement’s chief. Together with the treasures discovered by Schliemann, these findings show that Troy II was extremely wealthy. Evidence of textile industry suggests one source of the wealth, while the settlement’s strategic location with regard to the trade routes through the Dardanelles suggests another.

Also attested to by extensive evidence of trade links with the wider Mediterranean world, such as pottery and imported metals.

Troy VI

The most impressive ruins at the site are from the phase named Troy VI, which dates to the mid-2nd millennium B.C.. Imposing fortifications, with massive walls of dressed limestone blocks topped with mud bricks, over 13 feet thick, and five gates protected by high towers, encircled a citadel area containing concentric rings of large buildings on mounting terraces.

Some of these buildings are two stories high, made of wood and bricks on stone foundations, and may have been palaces or mansions. Clearly Troy VI was a center of economic and military importance, although the fortified area was more of a citadel than a city.

In 1988, however, further excavations revealed evidence of city ramparts enclosing a much larger area, allowing space for up to 10,000 inhabitants.

Ancient Troy ruins.

So was Troy VI the Troy of Homer? For a while it was thought likely, but Troy VI probably dates to 1800-1300 B.C. , outside most of the traditional dates ascribed to Homeric Troy.

More importantly, there are none of the tell-tale signs of war or siege, such as ash from fires, buried stores or treasure, goods abandoned by fleeing residents or the skeletons of those killed violently. The city was probably destroyed by an earthquake.

Troy Vila

Many of the signs of war are present in the next phase of occupation, known as Troy Vila (because it is the first of several sub-phases of occupation). Troy Vila was essentially the same city as Troy VI, apparently reoccupied and partially rebuilt after the earthquake.

The evidence suggests that conditions had changed, however, with some of the grand mansions of the earlier phase now subdivided for multiple occupancy and the damaged fortifications of previous eras merely patched up, rather than enlarged/improved as past generations of Trojans had done.

The new buildings were more densely packed and smaller (possibly indicating that people who used to live in the wider metropolis were now crowded into the citadel for safety).

Evidence suggestive of warfare and siege is present. Many houses have storage pits for large clay jars built into their floors, possibly for supplies in case of siege (although this may also have been normal practice), and some unburied skeletons have been found.

Archaeologists in the ancient city of Troy in Turkey have found the remains of a man and a woman believed to have died in 1,200 B.C., the time of the legendary war chronicled by Homer,

Most significantly, the demise of the city is marked with a layer of ash. Troy Vila dates to around 1250 B.C., and although there is significant debate over the exact date of its destruction, it was probably around 1200 B.C., similar to Classical Greek dating of the Trojan War.

Wilusa of the Hittites

Important evidence apparently linking the city at Hissarlik to Homer’s epics comes from the records of the Hittites, the civilization under whose remit the region of Troas would have fallen in the late 13th century B.C. Hittite texts mention the place-names Wilusa and Taruisa.

Mycenaean Greeks used a “W” letter that later Greeks dropped, and evidence from the meter used in the composition of the Iliad suggests that Ilion was originally Willion, probably a derivation of Wilusa.

Taruisa, meanwhile, is lexically linked to Troas and Troy. Other texts describe features of Wilusa, such as a water tunnel, which conform to archaeological findings at Hissarlik. Hittite diplomatic letters mention an incident involving Wilusa and aggression by a nation called the Ahhiyawa, possibly a Hittite version of the Achaeans.

Homer’s Troy?

Troy Vila thus seems like the most likely candidate as the true Homeric city, but there is controversy over whether the evidence really points to this conclusion, and even over whether there is any historical accuracy to the epics.

The Hittite textual evidence is circumstantial and there is no direct evidence linking the site at Hissarlik to Wilusa or the place-names Ilion or Troy. In fact, some scholars suggest that there never was a city called Troy and that the ancients mistook the name of a region (Troas) for the name of a city.

What about Homer’s apparent accuracy regarding the geography of Troy/Hissarlik? Recent research on the ancient coastline of the area (before sedimentation) suggests that it closely matches Homer’s description, as do other features of Hissarlik.

Archaeologists in the ancient city of Troy in Turkey have found the remains of a man and a woman believed to have died in 1,200 B.C., the time of the legendary war chronicled by Homer,

But this could simply reflect the fact that Homer travelled to the area before composing his epics. The Greeks had not long before settled nearby areas, and it is possible that they sought out a place to which they could attach pre-existing legends and folklore about ancient battles.

So the city at Hissarlik, which would have been little more than a relic community living amid ruins in Homer’s time, might have become retrospectively identified as Troy.

If Homer was right, the Achaeans who destroyed Troy were Bronze Age Greeks i.e. Mycenaeans. Certainly the linguistic evidence of the epics suggests that they derive from Mycenaean legends and traditions, but there is no evidence linking the destruction of Troy Vila (or any other phases) to the Mycenaeans.

In fact, archaeologists believe that at the period in question, around 1200 B.C., the Mycenaeans might well have been preoccupied with the collapse of their civilization in its heartland in Greece, where most of their major cities seem to have been destroyed at around this time.

Archaeological Site of Troy

Ultimately it may be fruitless to attempt to draw specific correspondences between the Homeric epics – which are literary fictions based on ancient oral traditions – and a real place, let alone to try to prove the existence of Homeric characters through archaeological investigation of a site that is more than 4,000 years old.

What the excavations at Hissarlik do prove is that this was the site of an important city for 2,000 years, the center of a fascinating culture about which we still know very little.

…study more on how things were with the Israelites when they were in captivity in Babylon, like the economy.

I also noticed that things You had said in chapter 18, Jesus had also said when He was here.  Yet, I have to be honest with You, Jesus did a much better job of explaining it, You just basically scared the hell out of everyone.

“When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:

And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:

And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal(Matt 25:31-46).