ben a-DAM SEEM pa-NE-kha DE-rekh tay-MA-nah v’-ha-TAYF el da-ROM v’-hi-na-VAY el YA-ar ha-sa-DEH NE-gev
ב בֶּן־אָדָם שִׂים פָּנֶיךָ דֶּרֶךְ תֵּימָנָה וְהַטֵּף אֶל־דָּרוֹם וְהִנָּבֵא אֶל־יַעַר הַשָּׂדֶה נֶגֶב׃
21:2 Prophesy against the brushland of the Negev
Repeating his warning of Yerushalayim’s imminent destruction, Yechezkel uses the metaphor of a forest fire that will burn without control until all the trees of the forest, dry and healthy alike, are consumed. In Israel’s arid climate, forest fires are extremely dangerous, spreading quickly and leaving behind tremendous destruction. Before giving him this prophecy, Hashem tells Yechezkel to look southward in the direction of Israel, and uses three Hebrew words for ‘south’, tayman (תימן), darom (דרום) and negev (נגב). In the following verse, however, only the word negev is used. In addition to ‘south’, negev also means ‘dry,’ and refers to the desert region of southern Israel. After the fire, all of Israel will be like the negev — a barren, lifeless desert.