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Bible Commentaries

Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ezekiel 4

Verse 1

Tile, very large. (Calmet) --- Those of Italy were two feet large and one broad. (Pallad.) --- This might be soft clay; (Grotius; Menochius) or the siege might be marked out upon it with chalk or a sharp stile. (Calmet)

Verse 2

Cast up. The ditch would be about three feet deep, and the earth being thrown up, people might approach the town with less danger. (Worthington) --- The besieged were thus also prevented from going out, 4 Kings xxv. 1. Forts or towers were erected to overlook and clear the walls. --- Rams. This is the first time we find them mentioned. Homer is silent about them; (Calmet) and the ancient sieges lasted so long, because people had not found out the art of demolishing the walls. (Diodorus ii.)

Verse 3

Pan, or plate, on which bread was usually baked. This was to represent the walls of the city. (Calmet)

Verse 4

Sleep. Hebrew, "lie down." (Menochius) --- He eat at intervals. (Calmet) --- Iniquities, or punishments. (Haydock)

Verse 5

Three, &c. St. Jerome says some "Vulgate," (Haydock) Latin, (Calmet) or rather incorrect Greek (Haydock) copies read 100, others 150. See Origen, &c. (Calmet) --- The Alexandrian copy has the former, (Haydock) the Roman edition the latter number; and is followed by Theodoret and Maldonat. (Calmet) --- But the more accurate Septuagint agree with the Hebrew, &c. The captivity of Israel must be dated from Phacee, (4 Kings xv. 29.) to the end of the reign of Darius Memnon, who espoused Esther, and granted liberty "to all the Jews;" or rather from Manathem, (4 Kings xv. 19.) to the 28th of the same king Assuerus. Thus God’s "grace, we think, and we may so speak without arrogance, has enabled us to explain this difficulty, which no other has done." (St. Jerome) --- Many confound the duration of the iniquity of Israel with that of Juda, forming 430 years; and they explain it of the time during which the nation had prevaricated. But this seems unnatural. We may rather conclude, that the prophet speaks of a separate judgment, and dates from the destruction of Samaria and of Jerusalem. The former city was taken the year of the world 3283. If we add 390 years, we shall find the year 3673 the very year when Alexander [the Great] overcame Darius, and soon after granted the Jews full liberty to return, or live according to their own laws. This he granted to those in Babylon, and to the Israelites (Calmet) in Media. (Josephus, Antiquities xii. 2.) as Osee (xi. 11.) had foretold. The chastisement of Juda must be dated from the destruction of Jerusalem under Sedecias, till Darius, the Mede, favoured the Jews about forty years afterwards. (Calmet) --- St. Jerome only allows forty years to have elapsed from the first of Jechonias till the first of Cyrus. The want of an exact chronology gives rise to many such difficulties. (Haydock) --- It is very hard to explain how the ten tribes were 390 and the two tribes 40 years in captivity, as it is certain that the latter were seventy year banished from their own country. (Worthington) --- Perhaps during the last thirty their condition was greatly ameliorated, after the decree of Cyrus, though the liberation was only perfect under Hystaspes and Esther. (Haydock) --- The iniquity of Israel, from Solomon to Salmanasar, lasted 390 years; and that of Juda, under the reign of Manasses, was most abominable for the space of forty years; (Tournemine) or it continued so long from the 18th of Josias till the 4th, after the city was destroyed, and the land became a desert. (Usher, the year of the world 3380 to 3420.) --- But how shall the reign of the virtuous Josias be included in this period? (Haydock) --- The action of the prophet lying 430 days, denoted the length of the siege of Jerusalem, during which extreme scarcity should be felt, and also the captivity of the people. Some have thought that he could not remain 390 days on one side, and that all passed in spirit. But what impression would that make upon the people? He was chained down, (Calmet) to represent their miserable condition. (Haydock) --- Prædo saw a fool who lay tied in one posture for above fifteen years. (Calmet) --- The remaining so long in one posture must have been painful to the prophet. (Tirinus)

Verse 7

Siege, which shall be most terrible; (Haydock) 390 days: the pillage shall last other forty. (Tirinus) --- So many years have the people transgressed. --- Out. Hebrew, "naked." Thus various barbarians fight. --- Prophesy, not by words, (chap. viii. 26.) but by actions. (Menochius)

Verse 10

Staters, sicles, each being equal to 9 dwt. 2.57 gr. Eng. The hin contained 1 gal. 2 pints. (Arbuthnot.) (Haydock) --- He had an allowance of ten ounces a-day. (Calmet) (Tirinus)

Verse 12

Barley, the worst or usual food of the poor. (Haydock) --- Ashes, to denote hurry. (Calmet) --- Cover with hot ashes, (Haydock) formed of dry excrements. (Calmet) --- That of oxen is still used in Egypt, (Val. ep. xi.) and in some parts of England, by the poor people. (Hooke.) --- This was more tolerable, (Calmet) and God agrees to substitute it, ver. 15. Hebrew, "Thou shalt eat it as barley cakes, and shalt bake," (Protestants) or "hide it," &c. (Septuagint) (Haydock) --- "The law itself, which the Jews read and do not understand, is this ember cake covered with human dung." (Philippians iii. 8.) --- "They adore not idols, but do all for the belly and for earthly goods." (St. Jerome)

Verse 13

Filthy. Israel was less careful to avoid uncleannesses than Juda. Hence the prophet eats only during 390 days, Osee ix. 3. (Calmet) --- While the city was pillage for forty days, the prisoners would procure better food, ver. 7. (Haydock)

Verse 14

Ah. He makes the same exclamation as Jeremias, i. 6. Hebrew aha. Theodotion, "Oh!" Septuagint and Symmachus, "by no means." (Haydock) --- God forbid. Excrements make a person legally unclean, Deuteronomy xxiii. 12. (Calmet)

Verse 15

Neats, or "oxen;" boum. Protestants, "cow’s dung." (Haydock) --- God allows him to bake his bread under such ashes. (Calmet) --- So great is his condescension towards his friends! (Calmet)

Verse 16

Staff. As this supports the weak, so bread nourishes all men, (Worthington) particularly the bread of life. (St. Jerome) --- Very little food, (Calmet) and that of a nauseous kind, (Haydock) would be found during the siege. (Calmet)

Verse 17

When. Protestants, "they may want bread and water, and be astonished one with another, and consume away for their iniquity." (Haydock)

Verse 27


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Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Ezekiel 4". "Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". 1859.