In these passages, Ezekiel speaks to the elders of Israel in Babylonian exile. He tells them of God’s reasons for their predicament and why God has punished Israel. When God freed Israel from Egyptian slavery using miraculous events, the people witnessed God’s power and glory. As Moses let them away from Egypt and through the wilderness en route to a land which God promised Israel, God gave the people rules and guidelines by which to live. But the people were disobedient and did not follow God’s rules. They also worshipped idols that they brought out of Egypt. So God punishes them.
God caused all the adults to die in the wilderness and did not let them enter the promised land. Only their children were allowed to enter the land. But the children were also rebellious toward God. So, God swore He would scatter them and their descendants throughout the world.
God allowed them to live in the promised land for almost 1200 years. Many times God tried to turn the people back to being dedicated and obedient to God, but they refused. So, finally, Israel ceased to be a nation; and the people were scattered throughout the world as God promised. However, God also promises to return the people to the land and restore them to Himself.
For about 1800 years, Israel was not a nation. However, in 1948 the state of Israel once again became a sovereign nation. People of Jewish lineage are returning to the land. There is an organization called the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews that is funding some of this promised return to Israel. Jews without the funds to travel are being given free airfare and brought back to Israel. Indeed, God’s promised return is happening today.