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Bible Commentaries

Trapp's Complete Commentary

Ezekiel 4

Verse 1

Eze 4:1 Thou also, son of man, take thee a tile, and lay it before thee, and pourtray upon it the city, [even] Jerusalem:

Ver. 1. Thou also, son of man. ] Hitherto we have had the preface: followeth now the prophecy itself, which is both concerning the fall of earthly kingdoms, and also the setting up of Christ’s kingdom among men. The siege, famine, and downfall of Jerusalem is here set forth to the life, four years at least before it occurred, not in simple words, but in deeds and pictures, as more apt to affect men’s minds: like as he is more moved who seeth himself painted as a thief or scoundrel hanged, than he who is only called so. This way of teaching is ordinary with the prophets, and was used also by our Saviour Christ; as when he set a child in the midst, washed his disciples’ feet, instituted the sacraments, &c. a

Take thee a tile. ] An unburnt tile, saith Lyra, and so fit to portray anything upon. Some take it for a four square table, like a tile or brick, that will admit engravement. Jerusalem, the glory of the East, was here pictured upon a tile sheard. How mean a thing is the most stately city on earth to that city of pearl, the heavenly Jerusalem!

And portray upon it the city. ] Not with the pencil, but with the graving tool. Where yet, as in Timanthes’ works, more was ever to be understood than was delineated.

a Oecolampadius.

Verse 2

Eze 4:2 And lay siege against it, and build a fort against it, and cast a mount against it; set the camp also against it, and set [battering] rams against it round about.

Ver. 2. And lay siege against it. ] This to carnal reason seemeth childish and ridiculous; not unlike the practice of boys that make forts of snow; or of the Papists’ St Francis, who made him a wife and children of snow; fair, but soon fading comforts; or of his disciple Massaeus, who is much magnified, because at his master’s command he did - not Diogenes-like, tumble his tub, but - himself tumble up and down as a little one, in reference to that of our Saviour, a "Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." Mat 18:3 But it must be considered, that what the prophet did here, he did by the word and command of the most wise God. This made the sacrifices of old, and doth make the sacraments still, to be reverend and tremendous; because holy and reverend is his name who instituted them. It cannot be said so of Popish ceremonies, men’s inventions; they have not God’s image or inscription, and are therefore frivolous and fruitless, worthily cast out of our churches.

a Sedulius., lib. iii. cap. 2.

Verse 3

Eze 4:3 Moreover take thou unto thee an iron pan, and set it [for] a wall of iron between thee and the city: and set thy face against it, and it shall be besieged, and thou shalt lay siege against it. This [shall be] a sign to the house of Israel.

Ver. 3. Moreover take thou unto thee an iron pan. ] Sartaginem ferream, in token of God’s hard and inflexible hatred bent against so hard-hearted a people; whom he will therefore fry as in a pan, and seethe as in a pot, Jer 1:13 so that they shall "pine away in their iniquities."

Set thy face against it, and thou shalt lay siege. ] This the prophet was to do in the name and person of God and his soldiers, the Chaldeans. Hard hearts make hard times, yea, they make Deum, natura sua mollem, misericordem, et melleum, durum esse et ferreum, as one saith - God to harden his hand, and hasten men’s destruction.

Verse 4

Eze 4:4 Lie thou also upon thy left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it: [according] to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon it thou shalt bear their iniquity.

Ver. 4. Lie thou also upon thy left side. ] Which for so long a time to do, could not but put the prophet to great pain, and try his patience to the utmost, especially if he lay bound all the while, as Theodoret thinketh he did, to set forth Jerusalem’s great miseries during the siege, or rather God’s infinite patience in bearing with their evil manners with so perverse a people.

Thou shalt bear their iniquity, ] i.e., Represent my bearing it, and forbearing to punish them for it.

Verse 5

Eze 4:5 For I have laid upon thee the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days: so shalt thou bear the iniquity of the house of Israel.

Ver. 5. Three hundred and ninety days. ] That is, say some, the siege of Jerusalem shall continue so many days - via, thirteen months, or thereabouts. But they do better, who, taking a day for a year in both the accounts, as Eze 4:6 and making the forty of Judah to run along with the last year of Israel’s 390, end both at Nabuzaradan’s carrying away to Babylon the last relics of Israel and Judah: and begin Israel’s years at Jeroboam’s apostasy, and Judah’s at Huldah’s prophecy in the eighteenth of Josiah’s reign, when the law was found but not observed by that idolatrous people, as appeareth by the complaints made of them by Zephaniah and Jeremiah; neither were they warned by their brethren’s miseries, the ten tribes being now carried into captivity. Compare Ezekiel 1:1-2 ; Ezekiel 3:15 ; Ezekiel 3:24-27 ; Ezekiel 8:1 .

Verse 6

Eze 4:6 And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year.

Ver. 6. And when thou hast accomplished them. ] That is, art within forty years of accomplishing them.

Thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days, ] i.e., Years, beginning at the eighteenth year of Josiah; or, as others compute it, at his thirteenth year, and ending them in the eleventh of Zedekiah, which are the bounds of Jeremiah’s prophecy. A very learned man yet living observeth, that God doth here set and mark out Judah’s singular iniquity by a singular mark; for that they had forty years so pregnant instructions and admonitions by so eminent a prophet as Jeremiah, yet were they impenitent to their own destruction. And the like may well be said of Dr Ussher, that prophet of Ireland, who, upon the toleration of Popery there, preaching before the State at Dublin upon a special solemnity, made a full and bold application of this text unto them in these very words: From this year, said he - viz., A.D. 1601 - will I reckon the sin of Ireland; and dare say that those whom you embrace shall be your ruin, and you shall bear this iniquity. a And it happened accordingly; for, forty years after - viz., A.D. 1641 - began the rebellion and destruction of Ireland, done by those Papists and Popish priests then connived at.

a Dr Ussher’s Funeral Sermon, by Dr Bern. 39.

Verse 7

Eze 4:7 Therefore thou shalt set thy face toward the siege of Jerusalem, and thine arm [shall be] uncovered, and thou shalt prophesy against it.

Ver. 7. Set thy face toward the siege of Jerusalem. ] Steel thy countenance, be stern and resolute, to show that the Chaldees should be so. Thus this prophet proceedeth to write, as it were, in hieroglyphics, and to preach in emblems.

And thine arm shall be uncovered, ] i.e., Thou shalt do thy work bodily; which, when soldiers and servants set themselves to do, they make bare their arms, ut fine expeditiores, for quicker despatch. Even orators also pleaded with their right arm, as Oecolampadius here noteth, stripped up and stretched out.

And thou shalt prophesy against it. ] By these signs and dumb shows at least. See Ezekiel 3:26 .

Verse 8

Eze 4:8 And, behold, I will lay bands upon thee, and thou shalt not turn thee from one side to another, till thou hast ended the days of thy siege.

Ver. 8. And, behold, I will lay bands upon thee. ] To show that he was unchangeably resolved to ruin Judah, a whom the prophet here personateth. Some make the sense to be this, I will give thee strength to hold out in that thy long lying on one side till the city be taken. Of a nobleman of Louvain it is told, that he lay sixteen years in one posture - viz., with his face upwards. And Pradus saith he saw a madman who had lain upon one side fifteen years.

a Pertinacis poenae simulachrum est. - Oecolamp.

Verse 9

Eze 4:9 Take thou also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentiles, and millet, and fitches, and put them in one vessel, and make thee bread thereof, [according] to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon thy side, three hundred and ninety days shalt thou eat thereof.

Ver. 9. Take thou also unto thee wheat and barley, &c. ] Promiscuam farraginem; to show what shall be the condition of the city in the time of the siege. Miscellan bread shall be good fare, but hard to come by in that grievous famine.

Three hundred and ninety days shalt thou eat thereof. ] Not sleep all the while, as some Papists would have it, grounding their conceit upon their Trent translation of Ezekiel 4:4 , Sleep thou also upon thy left side, &c.; but lying and sleeping are distinct things, as may be seen, Psalms 3:5 ; Psalms 4:8 .

Verse 10

Eze 4:10 And thy meat which thou shalt eat [shall be] by weight, twenty shekels a day: from time to time shalt thou eat it.

Ver. 10. Twenty shekels a day. ] Five ounces, or ten at most; not prisoners’ pittance, qua proinde per diem trahitur magis anima quam sustentatur. See this complained of, Lamentations 1:11 ; Lamentations 1:19 ; Lamentations 2:11-12 ; Lamentations 2:19-20 ; Lamentations 4:4 ; Lamentations 4:9-10 ; Lamentations 5:6 ; Lamentations 5:9-10 . They had sinned in excess, and now they are punished with cleanness of teeth. The famine of the word is far worse.

Verse 11

Eze 4:11 Thou shalt drink also water by measure, the sixth part of an hin: from time to time shalt thou drink.

Ver. 11. From time to time shalt thou drink, ] i.e., At thy set times, in stata tempera comparcito, make no waste: the least drop is precious.

Verse 12

Eze 4:12 And thou shalt eat it [as] barley cakes, and thou shalt bake it with dung that cometh out of man, in their sight.

Ver. 12. And thou shalt eat it as barley cakes. ] Baked on coals made of homely fuel, man’s dung burnt. a

And thou shalt bake it with dung. ] For want of wood. Lam 5:4 To the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet. Pro 27:7

In their sight. ] This, then, was more than a vision.

a Panem exhibuit Papa non ad purum ignem, sed ad oleta Quaestionariorum, Sorbonistarum, et Canonicorum coctum. - Pol.

Verse 13

Eze 4:13 And the LORD said, Even thus shall the children of Israel eat their defiled bread among the Gentiles, whither I will drive them.

Ver. 13. Eat their defiled bread. ] Not able now to observe that ceremonial purity in their meats which God had commanded. This was just upon them for their worshipping those their dungy deities.

Verse 14

Eze 4:14 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 dieth of itself, or is torn in pieces; neither came there abominable flesh into my mouth.

Ver. 14. Ah Lord God! behold, my soul hath not been polluted. ] Neither had it been here by eating suchlike bread, because God bade him do it, and his command legitimateth anything. But a good soul feareth and deprecateth all kind of pollution: "Keep thyself pure"; 1Ti 5:22 "Abstain from all appearance of evil." 1Th 5:22 The prophet in this prayer of his is very pathetic, Ah Domine Iehovi: not Iehova, but Iehovi. See the similar passage in Genesis 15:2 ; Gen 15:8 Deuteronomy 3:24 ; Deuteronomy 9:26 .

For from my youth up. ] Let us be as careful of spiritual uncleanness; sin is the devil’s excrement, the corruption of a dead soul. a Constantinus Copronymus is reported to have delighted in stench and filth. The panther preferreth man’s dung before any meat; so do many feed greedily on sin’s murdering morsels.

a Polan.

Verse 15

Eze 4:15 Then he said unto me, Lo, I have given thee cow’s dung for man’s dung, and thou shalt prepare thy bread therewith.

Ver. 15. Lo, I have given thee cow’s dung.] This was some mitigation. Something God will yield to his praying people when most bitterly bent against them.

Verse 16

Eze 4:16 Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, behold, I will break the staff of bread in Jerusalem: and they shall eat bread by weight, and with care; and they shall drink water by measure, and with astonishment:

Ver. 16. Behold, I will break a the staff of bread.] Bread shall be very scarce, and that which men have shall not nourish or satisfy them; they shall have appetitnm caninum. See Isaiah 3:1 ; See Trapp on " Isa 3:1 " and take that good counsel, Amo 5:14-15 lest we know the worth of good by the want of it.

a מקק contabescere, foetidum fieri.

Verse 17

Eze 4:17 That they may want bread and water, and be astonied one with another, and consume away for their iniquity.

Ver. 17. And be astonied. ] At their straits and disappointments.

And consume away for their iniquity. ] They. shall "pine away in their iniquity"; Lev 26:31 this is the last and worst of judgments there threatened, after those other dismal ones.

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Ezekiel 4". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jtc/ezekiel-4.html. 1865-1868.