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Bible Commentaries

Smith's Bible Commentary

Ezekiel 4

Verses 1-17

Chapter 4

Now thou also, Son of man, take a tile ( Ezekiel 4:1 ),

Now this is a brick, and it's about twelve inches by fourteen inches. The archeologists have uncovered thousands of these bricks there in the area of Babylon. This is what they wrote their records on. And their libraries were full of these tiles or bricks. They were a clay brick and they would write, they would scratch in these clay bricks. And so the Lord is telling him to take one of these drawing boards, one of these drawing pads, and draw a picture of Jerusalem and then draw a siege against Jerusalem.

casting up a mount against it; and set the camp also against it, and set battering rams around it. And take unto thee an iron pan [or an iron plate], and set it for a wall of iron between you and the city: and set thy face against this iron plate, and it shall be besieged, and thou shalt lay siege against it. And this shall be a sign to the house of Israel ( Ezekiel 4:2-3 ).

So he's going to give them now a little illustrated sermon. He takes this clay tile, clay brick, and he draws the picture of Jerusalem. And draws these armies camped against it. And he draws these battering rams knocking down the wall. And then he takes this iron plate and he puts the plate there and pushes it against between him and the city, as the city is in siege, and of course, he is there showing how that God Himself is coming against the city. God is destined to turn it over into the hands of their enemies.

Now, the false prophets were saying to the people, "Don't worry, Jerusalem is going to conquer the Babylonians. They're going to destroy them and then they're going to come and take us home." Ezekiel's saying, "Not so," and he's drawing these pictures and saying, "This is the way it's going to happen. This is the way it's going to be."

Now the second illustration. And there are four ways by which he is to illustrate the truth to them. The second is a little more difficult.

Lie also upon your left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it: according to the number of days that thou shalt lie upon it thou shalt bear their iniquity. For I have laid upon thee the years of their iniquity, according to the number of days, three hundred and ninety days: so shalt thou bear the iniquity of the house of Israel. And when you have accomplished them, then turn on your right side, and you shall bear the iniquity of the house of Judah for forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year ( Ezekiel 4:4-6 ).

So the Lord says, "Lie there on your left side for three hundred and ninety days in which you bear the iniquity of the house of Israel. This is how many years they were filled with iniquity against Me." So he had to lie there for three hundred and ninety days on his left side, bearing the iniquity of the house of Israel. A day for a year. Then after that, turned over--I bet it felt good--over on his right side. And then another forty days lying on his right side.

Now, I don't think that he lay there the whole while. Probably each day would go down and lie out there on his side. But I do feel that he probably got up and moved around and so forth, but he was always... whenever the people would see him, he was lying there on his left side, going out every morning and assuming the position and then just saying, "I'm bearing the iniquity of the house of Israel. This is how many years." And then forty years for the house of Judah.

Therefore thou shalt set thy face toward the siege of Jerusalem, and your arm shall be uncovered, and ye shall prophesy against it. And, behold, I will lay bands upon thee, and thou shalt not turn thee from one side to another, till you have ended the days of the siege. Now take also ( Ezekiel 4:7-9 )

And this is the third way by which he was going to illustrate to these people what was going to happen to Jerusalem. It wasn't going to conquer the Babylonian army, but it was going to be defeated.

Take unto you wheat, barley, beans, lentils, millet, and fitches [which is a kind of a corn], and put them in one vessel, and make thee the bread [by these mixed grains] ( Ezekiel 4:9 ),

So he had multiple grained bread.

according to the number of days that you shall lie on your side; three hundred and ninety days shalt thou eat thereof ( Ezekiel 4:9 ).

So, for this period that he's lying there, he's got to be eating this bread.

And thy meat which thou shalt eat by weight, twenty shekels a day: from time to time you shall eat it. And thou shalt drink also thy water by measure ( Ezekiel 4:10-11 ),

In other words, measure out the water.

a sixth part of a hin ( Ezekiel 4:11 ):

So it's about a quart of water a day that he's allowed.

And thou shalt eat it as barley cakes, and thou shalt bake it with the dung that comes from man, in their sight ( Ezekiel 4:12 ).

Now this is to show the siege that is going to happen to Jerusalem, how that the people who were in Jerusalem are going to be suffering from famine. There is going to be a water shortage. They'll be measuring out the water. There is going to be a shortage of grains, so that they'll be mixing their grains together for their bread, gathering whatever they can to make the bread. And there is going to be a shortage of food and the people are going to be starving to death, and this is to be a picture to these people in Babylon. "Look, Jerusalem is not going to be victorious. They're going to be destroyed. The people are going to be starving to death there within the city."

And the LORD said, Even thus shall their children of Israel eat the defiled bread [they will be defiled; they'll eat defiled bread] among the Gentiles, where I'm going to drive them ( Ezekiel 4:13 ).

I'm going to drive them out of the land and they're going to be eating this defiled bread.

Then said I, Ah Lord, GOD! behold, my soul hath not been polluted: for from my youth up even till now have I not eaten of that which dies of itself, or is torn in pieces; neither came there abominable flesh into my mouth ( Ezekiel 4:14 ).

Lord, I've been kosher all my life, and now you're telling me to be non-kosher. Lord, I can't do that.

And he said unto me, Lo, I have given thee cow's dung for the man's dung, and thou shalt prepare thy bread with it. Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, I am going to break the staff of bread in Jerusalem: and they shall eat bread by the weight, and with carefulness; and they shall drink water by measure, and with astonishment: That they may want bread and water, and be astonished one with another, and they will be consumed away for their iniquity ( Ezekiel 4:15-17 ). "

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Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Ezekiel 4". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/ezekiel-4.html. 2014.