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Bible Commentaries

Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Ezekiel 5

Verses 1-17

EZEKIEL - CHAPTER 5

SIGN OF THE SHARP KNIFE---FAMINE, PESTILENCE, AND SWORD

Verses 1-17:

Verse 1 states that the Lord again addressed Ezekiel as the "Son of man," heir of humanity, a term repeatedly used of him and of Daniel once only, in the Old Testament, and of Jesus in the New Testament. He was God’s spokesman to all the house of Israel regarding their sins and redemption. He was directed to take him a knife, a sword-like knife, to use upon himself as a barber’s razor, Isaiah 7:20. With it he was to shave both his head and his beard. It was to make him appear as one in deep shame and humiliation, 2 Samuel 10:4-5, and as one unclean, Leviticus 21:5; Isaiah 7:20; Ezekiel 44:20. It was forbidden to priests, Leviticus 21:5. Because it was a sign of reproach and mourning because of judgment. He was then directed to take balances or scales and weigh the hair, then divide it, Matthew 10:30.

Verse 2 further directed him, "thou shalt burn a third part of it in the city", or on the model of the city, when the days of the siege of Jerusalem had been fulfilled or come to an end. He was then to take a third part of the hair and smite about it with a knife, cutting it to pieces finer. Then the final third part of the hair he was to scatter in the wind. The first two thirds of the people of Jerusalem, it was thus signified, had been destroyed. The last third part, scattered in the wind, were those who escaped death in the Jerusalem siege, yet who would be scattered throughout the world, to suffer by the sword the Lord would draw out after them.

Verse 3 directs Ezekiel to take from the few hairs remaining in his skirts, and bind them there, in the ends of his garment as a very small remnant. This signifies God’s preservation of His covenant people, through much chastening for their rebellion, Jeremiah 40:6; Jeremiah 52:15-16.

Verse 4 directs Ezekiel to take again of their hair of his skirt, shorn from his own head, as the Son of man, and cast it into the fire and burn them up. All the house of Israel was to suffer the chastening judgment of God for their sins, not just Jerusalem only. Ezekiel, as the son of man, did not escape. Even our Lord’s shame and humiliation in judgment was not for His own sins, but for all men. Yet His covenant seed continued and continues to be preserved, reflecting the integrity of God, Ezekiel 6:13; 1 Peter 4:17. Judgment for sin must first begin at the "house of God," among those who belong to God and have committed themselves to Him in a program of Divine worship and service. Such as obey that commitment receive Divine favors and such as flout or desert it receive his certain chastening judgment, Hebrews 12:5.

Verse 5 calls Ezekiel’s attention back to the blueprint of Jerusalem which he had sketched on the tile, Ezekiel 4:1. The Lord then asserted that He had Himself put, placed, or set her as the city of peace, in the midst of the nations round about her. It is from there He shall one day rule and reign overt he nations, from the very city-area where He provided their eternal redemption. 1 Peter 2:24; Hebrews 13:11-14.

Verse 6 charges Jerusalem and her rulers with having changed, perverted, or abused and distorted His judgments, laws, and statutes, even more wickedly than the nations (heathen) who surrounded them. They had become more base, as Jewish heathen, than the Gentile heathen about them, in willfully refusing to respect His laws, while piously claiming to be His people, Mark 7:1-9; Matthew 15:1-20.

Verse 7 continues to give a Divine reason for the certain captivity judgment the house of Israel was then experiencing and more that was to come. God had multiplied and prospered them more than the other nations about them, He reminded them. Such should have led them to a walk of obedient service and gratitude, but they did not follow such a desired course. Instead they raged, whined, found fault with God and His laws, and lived as moral, ethical, and religious rebels more than the heathen nations about them, as also charged Ezekiel 11:12. They simply went further in their sins, against the law of the Lord, than the heathen who knew less about it, James 4:17; Luke 12:47.

Verse 8 adds that God had announced that He "was against" the whole house of Israel! What a warrior to withstand, to defy! And every Gentile today who is not "with the Lord" is against Him, Luke 11:23. And He declared that He would execute or administer judgment upon Jerusalem and the whole rebellious house of Israel with the nations looking on. And he has done so, and is doing so still, as Jerusalem is still "trodden down of the Gentiles," so long as the ancient Jewish temple area is unsanctified, unclean as heathenism, according to their own Jewish law, Luke 21:24; Deuteronomy 28:28-68.

Verse 9 warns that God would do in and to Jerusalem a judgment more severe than He had ever done before, because of her abominations, Lamentations 4:6; Daniel 9:12. This seems to have reached ultimate judgment on the city and people of Israel who rejected Him, His Son, His church, and His laws until they dispersed among the nations A.D. 70, under the terrible punishment inflicted by Titus of Thespasia, Zechariah 13:8-9; Matthew 24:21; Luke 21:24. See also Lamentations 4:6; Daniel 9:12; Amos 3:2.

Verse 10 declares that Israel’s chastening should be so severe upon them, because of their sins and the sins of their fathers, that in starvation they would turn to cannibalism, eating their weakened fathers and mothers, eating their own children, even as they had been forewarned in the early giving of the Law, Leviticus 26:29. He then forewarned that the remnant of those who escaped starvation would be scattered into all the winds, or into all parts of the earth, as further certified, v. 12; Ezekiel 12:14. These judgments should come upon them without excuse, because of these forewarnings, Jeremiah 19:9; Lamentations 2:20; Lamentations 4:10.

Verse 11 firmly warns that as surely as God lived He would punish and diminish the population of Israel because they had defiled His sanctuary with detestable things and with their vile abominations, Deuteronomy 4:2. His eye was neither to spare nor have further pity upon them. His spirit would not always strive with men, Hebrews 6:3; Proverbs 1:22-30; Proverbs 29:1; Ezekiel 7:4; Ezekiel 7:9; Ezekiel 8:18; Ezekiel 9:10. This obstinate course Israel continued, even to our Lord’s coming, John 2:13-17.

Verse 12 explains that at the siege of Jerusalem, in her coming destruction by the Chaldeans: 1) one third would die by famine and pestilence that accompanied it, 2) one third would be slain in battle and subduing of the city, and 3) the latter third would be scattered by the Lord into all parts of the earth, to be followed and haunted by the sword, wherever they were scattered, v. 2, 20; Leviticus 26:33; Ezekiel 6:8; Jeremiah 9:16; Jeremiah 15:2; Jeremiah 21:9.

Verse 13 asserts that in this manner the living God’s righteous chastening judgment fury should rest upon the whole house of Israel until he was comforted, Isaiah 30:32. At that time He declared they would come to recognize or to know that He had spoken this judgment in His zeal, when He had fulfilled His righteous and just fury in them, Ezekiel 36:6; Ezekiel 39:19. God will not permit His holy laws to be trampled without chastening consequences upon those who trample them down, Psalms 119:160; Galatians 6:6-8. See also Deuteronomy 28:63; Proverbs 1:26; Isaiah 1:24.

Verse 14 adds that the Lord would make Jerusalem and Israel to be a waste and an object of reproach, among the nations round about her, before or in the sight of those who passed by, those who observed or looked upon her lowly state, even as warned, Leviticus 26:31-32; Nehemiah 2:17. It was illustrated in the story of the Prodigal Son, Luke 15:15.

Verse 15 explains that (Jerusalem in particular) would come to be an object of taunting derision of their once glorious power, even before and by the heathen nations when the Lord executed His chastening judgment in fury and anger upon her. Because what the Lord decrees as corrective chastisement, He performs, without fail, Deuteronomy 28:37; 1 Kings 9:7; Psalms 79:4; Jeremiah 24:9; Lamentations 2:15.

Verse 16 warns that the bitter and evil arrows that shall pierce Jerusalem with increasing, accumulative horror shall come in the form of famine upon famine, wave upon wave of starvation, hunger and thirst, to break her staff of bread, on which she and all men lean for survival of life as described Deuteronomy 32:23-24.

Verse 17 concludes that the Lord would also send carnivorous beasts, with the famine, such as devouring jackals, to bereave them. Pestilence of diseases and sword would also follow starvation, to bring further bloodshed and death upon rebellious Israel, in the once holy city, Deuteronomy 28:24-26. Wild beasts and the lion especially are sometimes used to symbolize heathen, destructive conquerors, Daniel 7:4; Deuteronomy 24; 2 Kings 17:25.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Blessed Hope Foundation and the Baptist Training Center.
Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Ezekiel 5". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/ezekiel-5.html. 1985.