3 Suppose he sees the sword advancing against the country, and he blows the shofar and warns the people.
v’-ra-AH et ha-KHE-rev ba-AH al ha-A-retz v’-ta-KA ba-sho-FAR v’-hiz-HEER et ha-AM
ג וְרָאָה אֶת־הַחֶרֶב בָּאָה עַל־הָאָרֶץ וְתָקַע בַּשּׁוֹפָר וְהִזְהִיר אֶת־הָעָם׃
33:3 He blows the horn
At the beginning of this chapter, Yechezkel compares the job of a prophet to a city’s watchman. Just as the guard alerts the townsfolk of impending danger, so is the prophet responsible for warning the people about the consequences of their actions. Ancient Israelite cities were built with towers connected to their walls where the watchmen would sit. In order to warn inhabitants of approaching enemies, the watchman would blow a ‘horn’, in Hebrew shofar (שופר). In Judaism, the shofar has both military significance (see also Joshua 6), and religious significance, as it is sounded on Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year. By using the image of a shofar, Yechezkel deftly combines the two themes of military and spiritual preparedness.