(4) and the LORD said to him, "Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done within it." (5) To the others He said in my hearing, "Go after him through the city and kill; do not let your eye spare, nor have any pity. (6) Utterly slay old and young men, maidens and little children and women; but do not come near anyone on whom isthe mark; and begin at My sanctuary." So they began with the elders who were before the temple. (7) Then He said to them, "Defile the temple, and fill the courts with the slain. Go out!" And they went out and killed in the city.
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Ezekiel 9 records the prophet's vision of the marking of those "who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done" (Ezekiel 9:4) and the slaying of all those who do not (Ezekiel 9:5-7). God explains to Ezekiel, "The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is exceedingly great, and the land is full of bloodshed, and the city full of perversity; for they say, 'The LORD has forsaken the land, and the LORD does not see!'" (Ezekiel 9:9). What does it mean to "sigh and cry"?
The Hebrew word for "sigh" is 'ânah, which means "to sigh, groan, or gasp." The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament comments, "Ezekiel's references point to exercise of heart on the part of those who sighed over Israel's desperate spiritual condition." "Cry" is translated from 'ânaq, which literally means "to shriek" but is used of crying, groaning, or lamenting. These nearly identical sounding words mean much the same thing. The difference is that sighing is inward, while crying is an outward expressing of our inner grief.
Are we saddened to see what has become of our country and its people? Do we "cry out" against the ravages of sin among our family and friends? Or, sadly, have we become inured to it, calloused by constant contact with it, or even apathetic about it? If Ezekiel 9 is any indication, it is time to let God know where we stand.
— Richard T. Ritenbaugh