Ezekiel 4

1 You also, son of man, take a tile, and lay it before yourself, and portray on it a city, even Jerusalem: 2 and lay siege against it, and build forts against it, and cast up a mound against it; set camps also against it, and plant battering rams against it all around. 3 Take for yourself an iron pan, and set it for a wall of iron between you and the city: and set your face towards it, and it shall be besieged, and you shall lay siege against it. This shall be a sign to the house of Israel. 4 Moreover lie on your left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel on it; according to the number of the days that you shall lie on it, you shall bear their iniquity. 5 For I have appointed the years of their iniquity to be to you a number of days, even three hundred and ninety days: so you shall bear the iniquity of the house of Israel. 6 Again, when you have accomplished these, you shall lie on your right side, and shall bear the iniquity of the house of Judah: forty days, each day for a year, have I appointed it to you. 7 You shall set your face towards the siege of Jerusalem, with your arm uncovered; and you shall prophesy against it. 8 Behold, I lay bands on you, and you shall not turn you from one side to the other, until you have accomplished the days of your siege. 9 Take for yourself also wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentils, and millet, and spelt, and put them in one vessel, and make bread of it; according to the number of the days that you shall lie on your side, even three hundred and ninety days, you shall eat of it. 10 Your food which you shall eat shall be by weight, twenty shekels a day: from time to time you shall eat it. 11 You shall drink water by measure, the sixth part of a hin: from time to time you shall drink. 12 You shall eat it as barley cakes, and you shall bake it in their sight with dung that comes out of man. 13 The LORD said, Even thus shall the children of Israel eat their bread unclean, amongst the nations where I will drive them. 14 Then I said, Ah Lord GOD! behold, my soul has not been polluted; for from my youth up even until now have I not eaten of that which dies of itself, or is torn of animals; neither came there abominable meat into my mouth. 15 Then he said to me, Behold, I have given you cow’s dung for man’s dung, and you shall prepare your bread on it. 16 Moreover he said to me, Son of man, behold, I will break the staff of bread in Jerusalem: and they shall eat bread by weight, and with fearfulness; and they shall drink water by measure, and in dismay: 17 that they may want bread and water, and be dismayed one with another, and pine away in their iniquity.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1-8

The prophet was to represent the siege of Jerusalem by signs. He was to lie on his left side for a number of days, supposed to be equal to the years from the establishment of idolatry. All that the prophet sets before the children of his people, about the destruction of Jerusalem, is to show that sin is the provoking cause of the ruin of that once flourishing city.

Verses 9-17

The bread which was Ezekiel’s support, was to be made of coarse grain and pulse mixed together, seldom used except in times of urgent scarcity, and of this he was only to take a small quantity. Thus was figured the extremity to which the Jews were to be reduced during the siege and captivity. Ezekiel does not plead, Lord, from my youth I have been brought up delicately, and never used to any thing like this; but that he had been brought up conscientiously, and never had eaten any thing forbidden by the law. It will be comfortable when we are brought to suffer hardships, if our hearts can witness that we have always been careful to keep even from the appearance of evil. See what woful work sin makes, and acknowledge the righteousness of God herein. Their plenty having been abused to luxury and excess, they were justly punished by famine. When men serve not God with cheerfulness in the abundance of all things, God will make them serve their enemies in the want of all things.

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