The Book of Ezekiel
The Order of Return of Joseph
Ezekiel (11:18) hints that first the exiles will return to the Land of Israel
and after that they shall put away their idols and keep the Law (11:20). Ezekiel
says that Judah has an obligation to help the Lost Ten Tribes return. The
complete return of Judah is dependent upon the return of "Samaria" (16:53, 55,
61) meaning the Ten Tribes especially Manasseh. Manasseh today is mainly the
USA. God will renew His covenant with Judah and with Israel (16:62).
[Ezekiel 11:17] THEREFORE SAY, THUS SAITH THE LORD GOD; I WILL EVEN GATHER YOU FROM THE PEOPLE, AND ASSEMBLE YOU OUT OF THE COUNTRIES WHERE YE HAVE BEEN SCATTERED, AND I WILL GIVE YOU THE LAND OF ISRAEL.
Eisemann understands this following passage to be referring to all of Israel, including the Lost Ten Tribes.
Malbim: "In the future God will ingather the Ten Tribes who were in faraway lands and did not return in the time of the Second Temple".
Ramban (Nachmanides) holds the same view we have been quoting that the prophecies are understandable on two levels:
1. The message potentially could have been fulfilled partly in the very time of Ezekiel if the people would have repented; and
2. The complete fulfillment of the Prophecy of reconciliation will only happen in the time of the Messiah.
[Ezekiel 11:18] AND THEY SHALL COME THITHER, AND THEY SHALL TAKE AWAY ALL THE DETESTABLE THINGS THEREOF AND ALL THE ABOMINATIONS THEREOF FROM THENCE.
The exiles (from the Ten Tribes) will remove their idols and cease their paganism in their places of exile. OR ELSE:
They shall first come back to the land and then they shall cast aside their idols"
[Ezekiel 16:53] WHEN I SHALL BRING AGAIN THEIR CAPTIVITY, THE CAPTIVITY OF SODOM AND HER DAUGHTERS, AND THE CAPTIVITY OF SAMARIA AND HER DAUGHTERS, THEN WILL I BRING AGAIN THE CAPTIVITY OF THY CAPTIVES IN THE MIDST OF THEM:
<<THE CAPTIVITY OF SODOM AND HER DAUGHTERS: Moshkovitz (Daat Mikra) suggests that this refers to the revival of the Land of Canaan. Sodom was overturned and all the area around destroyed. So too, after the Roman conquest and the Arab and Turkish occupation was most of the Land turned into a wasteland without trees or greenery. The British and the Jews restored it in part. The State of Israel is continuing to do so but not as much nor as well as it should be. We have also been responsible for ecological abuses that should be corrected. There is much that could and should be done.
Malbim says here that at the return "Samaria" and "Sodom" (") will be the most important section of the Israelite nation whereas Judah will be pulled after them and returned through them. He repeats this message in 16:55.
The Lost Ten Tribes will return. Manasseh will return. The exiles of Judah who remained in exile will return together with the Lost Ten Tribes.
Abarbanel (1435-1509): "The Ten Tribes will return to Samaria and its daughter-regions and so will the scattered dispersion of Judah be gathered in from the four corners of the earth".
[Ezekiel 16:55] WHEN THY SISTERS, SODOM AND HER DAUGHTERS, SHALL RETURN TO THEIR FORMER ESTATE, AND SAMARIA AND HER DAUGHTERS SHALL RETURN TO THEIR FORMER ESTATE, THEN THOU AND THY DAUGHTERS SHALL RETURN TO YOUR FORMER ESTATE. UNTIL NOW THEY ARE STILL OVERTURNED AND HAVE NOT RETURNED UNTO THEIR FORMER STATE.
This is a message for Judah: In order for Judah to realize herself and to bring back all her exiles and rehabilitate herself Judah must also seek the Lost Ten Tribes and cause them to return! This is important to Judah for her own sake! It is also hinting that rehabilitation of the Land itself is somehow connected with the return of the Lost Ten Tribes. See our Commentary on Isaiah 56:8 and Hosea chapter six, where we have explained that according to prophecy: part of Judah would return to the Land and begin to build it up. Then the Lost Ten Tribes would return in two stages together with the remnant of Judah. The first part of this process is well on its way.
<<SODOM AND HER DAUGHTERS, SHALL RETURN TO THEIR FORMER ESTATE, AND SAMARIA AND HER DAUGHTERS SHALL RETURN TO THEIR FORMER ESTATE: Malbim: [addressing Judah] "For they [the Lost Tribes] shall be the most important section in the returning and you subservient to them, and you shall return through them".
Abarbanel: "There is no doubt that this promised ingathering will occur in the Times of the Messiah. Until now it has never been fulfilled".
[Ezekiel 16:61] THEN THOU SHALT REMEMBER THY WAYS, AND BE ASHAMED, WHEN THOU SHALT RECEIVE THY SISTERS, THINE ELDER AND THY YOUNGER: AND I WILL GIVE THEM UNTO THEE FOR DAUGHTERS, BUT NOT BY THY COVENANT.
Judah must seek to bring the Lost Ten Tribes back. God makes the participation of Judah in the process of returning the Lost Ten Tribes a prior condition for the rehabilitation of Judah herself!
<<I WILL GIVE THEM UNTO THEE FOR DAUGHTERS: Judah will have some degree of directional task to play in helping the Ten Tribes return and showing them the way in which they should go. Judah however is also obligated to get his own act together or else (God forbid) be punished.
<<BUT NOT BY THY COVENANT: The Lost Ten Tribes will not necessarily have to convert to Judaism in our sense of the word though they will renew the covenant between Israel and the Almighty and Judah is obligated to assist them.
[Ezekiel 16:62] AND I WILL ESTABLISH MY COVENANT WITH THEE; AND THOU SHALT KNOW THAT I AM THE LORD:
God will once again accept Judah and all Israel.