Ezekiel 4

1The prophet is directed to represent a mock siege of Jerusalem for a sign to the Jews: 4and to lie before it in one posture for a set number of days, in order to denote the time of their sins for which God did visit: 9his allotted provisions, with design to prefigure the people's defilement among the Gentiles, 16and the scarcity they should be reduced to by the siege.

1THOU also, son of man, take thee a 1tile, and lay it before thee, and 2pourtray upon it the city, even Jerusalem:

1 Understand a flat smooth table made of tile or brick, on which a man could write, engrave or make a draft of anything; as slates are used with us for such a purpose.

2 The word signifies here properly to express, to cut in, to delineate, to engrave with a graver. Compare Ezek. 23:14.

2And 3lay siege against it, and build a 4forta against it, and 5cast a 6mountb against it; set the camp also against it, and set 7battering rams against it round about.

3 Namely, in portrait or picture.

4 See of the Hebrew word 2 Kings 25 on verse 1.

a 2 Kings 25:1.

5 Hebr. empty or pour out.

6 See 2 Sam. 20 on verse 15.

b mound, bank of earth

7 Namely, wherewith the walls of the cities and strongholds were broken down; called by the Latinists arietes. The word signifies also captains or commanders in war, as 2 Kings 11:4, 19, in which sense it is also taken by some, as likewise Ezek. 21:22.

3Moreover take thou unto thee 8an iron pan, and set it for a wall of iron between thee and the city: and 9set thy face against it, and it shall be 10besieged, and thou shalt lay siege against it. This shall be a 11sign to the house of Israel.

8 Namely, for a sign of God’s firm and unmovable resolution which He had to destroy Jerusalem and not to spare it.

9 That is, have a strong resolution to destroy it by the siege. Compare the phrase with Lev. 17:10 and see the annotation. The prophet is here charged by way of portrait to do that work against Jerusalem which God Himself intended to do, Jer. 21:10.

10 Hebr. that it be in siege.

11 Namely, that Jerusalem shall be besieged, taken and destroyed.

412Lie thou also upon thy 13left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it: 14according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon it thou shalt bear 15their iniquity.

12 Namely, for a sign that God was so long as it were still and sleeping, bearing with the iniquities of His people. Now it is conceived that this was not really done by the prophet in his own person, but only in a prophetical vision and representation thereof, which he in preaching was to show unto the people. But some are of the opinion that there was also somewhat of this act really shown unto the people.

13 Namely, to signify thereby that this first lying down was in respect of the children of Israel (though some understand here not only the ten tribes, but also Judah, in regard of the community of their sins, especially of their idolatry) whose chief city Samaria was to them, that stood between it and Jerusalem with their faces towards the east, on the left side, that is, northward; as Jerusalem the chief city of the Jews was on the right side, that is, southward. Or, understand by the left side that the Israelites were the most unworthy of God’s people, because they were under the reign of Jeroboam fallen off from the true worship of God. See verse 6.

14 This word is here inserted from the next verse.

15 Namely, not as Christ did, to take away the guilt and the punishment of iniquity by satisfaction; but as a Divine sign represented unto them by this portrait, signifying God’s longsuffering and forbearance, whereby He had born many years with their obstinacy and willfulness, and the grievousness of the punishment which they now were to expect.

5For I have 16laid upon thee 17the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, 18three hundred and ninety days: so shalt thouc bear the iniquity of the house of Israel.

16 That is, I have appointed, ordained and commanded thee to bear their iniquity so many days as those years are.

17 Which are here, as follows, declared by the days of the prophet’s lying down. They are three hundred and ninety in number, beginning from the revolt of the ten tribes under Jeroboam, 1 Kings 12:26; 2 Chron. 10:16, on which also immediately followed the rebellion of the Jews , 1 Kings 14:22; 2 Chron. 12:1, and ended with the siege and capture of the city of Jerusalem, and the destruction of the temple by Nebuchadnezzar, 2 Kings 25; 2 Chronicles 36, with this proviso, that among the three hundred and ninety years are also comprehended the forty years mentioned in the next verse; of which beginning see there. This may be gathered from the ninth verse following, where the prophet’s provision is prescribed only for three hundred and ninety days. Some begin to count the years (signified by the days) from the twenty-seventh year of king Solomon, when he and the land began to fall into open idolatry, 1 Kings 11:4.

18 This number is also precisely set down, because the strong and straight siege of Jerusalem would continue so long, agreeing with the time of years wherein the Israelites and the Jews had defiled themselves with idolatry, for a public evidence of God’s righteous judgment. From Jer. 52:4, 5, 6, it appears that more days were elapsed from the beginning of the siege to the capture of the city; but we must know that the siege was intermitted a while because of the marching up of the Egyptians, Jer. 37:5, which time is here passed by and not counted by Ezekiel.

c Num. 14:34.

619And when thou hast accomplished them, 20lie again on thy 21right side, and thou shalt 22bear the iniquity of the house of Judah 23forty days: I have appointed thee 24each day for a year.

19 That is, when thou shalt not be far from the achievement of these days, having finished those three hundred and fifty, so that but forty remain.

20 See on verse 4. This second lying down was in respect of the sins of the Jews.

21 Judah, in respect of Samaria and the Israelites, was situated southward, that is, on the right side of the world. See on verse 4. The right side may also signify the dignity which the Jews had above the Israelites, because with them was the temple, and the service of God, and the house of David.

22 See on verse 4.

23 These days, which signify forty years, have begun from the eighteenth year of Josiah’s reign wherein the Jews renewed their covenant with God, but in such a manner that they straightway again fell to idolatry. They have ended with the siege or destruction of the city of Jerusalem and the temple, or the last carrying away of the Jews captive to Babel by Nebuchadnezzar, 2 Kings 25.

24 Hebr. a day for a year, a day for a year. See Gen. 7 on verse 2; Lev. 24 on verse 8.

7Therefore thou shalt set thy 25face toward 26the siege of Jerusalem, and thine arm shall be 27uncovered, and thou shalt prophesy against it.

25 See on verse 3.

26 That is, the besieged Jerusalem.

27 To signify that the Chaldeans shall be very ready, active and forward to take Jerusalem suddenly by mere force and violence. Compare Jer. 21:5.

8And, behold, 28I will lay bands upon thee, and thou shalt not turn thee 29from one side to another, till thou hast ended the days of 30thy 31siege.

28 In this eighth verse the Lord shows that His decree of destroying the city was unalterable, and that therefore the prophet must persevere in this his prophesying, and in propounding his prophetical portrait.

29 Hebr. from thy side to thy side.

30 It is called thy siege, either because the portrait and prediction thereof was enjoined to him, or because they concerned his city.

31 Other, sieges, in the plural number, because there were at that time two sieges of the city of Jerusalem. For, when the Chaldeans had heard that the king of Egypt came to help king Zedekiah, they left the siege, but when they understood that he was returned into Egypt, they reassumed the siege.

932Take thou also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentiles, and 33millet, and fitches,d and put them 34in one vessel, and make thee bread thereof, according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon thy side, 35three hundred and ninety days shalt thou eat thereof.

32 By these and the following words is shown the great distress and famine that would come upon those who would be besieged in Jerusalem.

33 Otherwise called, hiose.

d a cereal, like wheat

34 That is, not every kind in a different vessel, but all mingled together in one vessel, which was accustomed to be done in time of need, when there is great want of bread-corn.

35 That is, the siege of Jerusalem shall last about fourteen months.

10And thy meat which thou shalt eat shall be by weight, twenty 36shekels a day: 37from time to time shalt thou eat it.

36 Understand common or civil shekels, whereof one made about a quarter of a rix dollar, Gen. 20 on verse 16. Four of these made the weight of an ounce, that is, of a rix dollar. So then the weight of twenty shekels was five ounces.

37 That is, every day shalt thou eat but so much, to signify the famine which shall be in Jerusalem. Also in the next verse of the daily drink. Compare 2 Kings 25:3; Jer. 37:21.

11Thou shalt drink also water by measure, the sixth part of an 38hin: from time to time shalt thou drink.

38 A measure of liquid commodities, containing as much as may go into threescore and twelve common eggshells. See Lev. 19 on verse 36; so that the measure of drink was as much as might go into twelve hen-eggs.

12And thou shalt eat it 39as barley cakes, and thou shalt bake it with 40dung that cometh out of man, 41in their sight.

39 Other, thou shalt eat it as a barley cake. Understand the foodstuff mentioned verses 9 and 10. That is, prepared and made up in such a fashion as barley cakes are.

40 Which must be in the place of wood to cook therewith their food, or also to bake their cakes on a hearth with man’s dung. Thus hereby is signified that in the siege they would have great want of wood; yea, also of cattle, because the dung thereof was held to be less loathsome.

41 Some do gather from this that these things were not only shown by God unto the prophet in a vision, but that he also showed them unto the people in a visible representation.

13And the LORD said, Even thus shall the 42children of Israel eat their 43defilede bread among the 44Gentiles, whither I will drive them.

42 That is, the Jews, together with those of the ten tribes who dwelled among them. See 2 Chron. 21 on verse 2.

43 It is called as such because of the aforementioned boiling or baking. Compare Deut. 23:12, etc.

e Hosea 9:3.

44 Understand the Chaldeans, among whom the Jews would be when they would be besieged and afterward carried away captive by them.

14Then said I, Ah Lord GOD! behold, 45my soul hath not been 46polluted: for from my youth up even till now have I not eaten of that which 47dieth of itself, or is 48torn in pieces; neither came there 49abominable flesh into my mouth.

45 That is, my person. See 1 Kings 19 on verse 4.

46 Namely, by any ceremonial uncleanness, which was manifold, whereof three kinds are named here, among which all the rest are to be understood, and those that were forbidden to the priests, Leviticus 21 and 22.

47 See of this kind of uncleanness, Lev. 11:40.

48 See of this kind Exod. 22:31.

49 Hebr. flesh of loathsomeness or of stink. See Lev. 7 on verse 18.

15Then he said unto me, Lo, 50I have given thee cow's dung for man's dung, and thou shalt prepare thy bread therewith.

50 Thus the Lord mitigates His previous command in respect of the prophet’s own person, who was to portray this before the eyes of the people, verse 12; but not in respect of the Jews who would be besieged in Jerusalem.

16Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, behold, I will 51breakf the staff of bread in Jerusalem: and they shall eat bread 52by weight, and with 53care; and they shall drink water by measure, and with 54astonishment:

51 See Lev. 26 on verse 26.

f Lev. 26:26; Isa. 3:1; Ezek. 5:16; 14:13.

52 As God had threatened, Lev. 26:26.

53 Or, with carking; namely, whereby they shall fear yet greater misery.

54 That is, whereby they shall be so cast down, that they shall stand amazed like despairing men.

1755That they may want bread and water, and be astonied 56one with another, and consume away 57for their iniquity.

55 Or, So that they shall want bread and water.

56 Hebr. the man and his brother.

57 Compare Lev. 26:39; Ezek. 24:23; 33:10.