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4:1-7:27 JUDGMENT AGAINST JERUSALEM
Siege and exile (4:1-17)
Prophets often acted their messages instead of, or in addition to, speaking them. Ezekiel drew a rough picture of Jerusalem on a brick, placed the brick on the ground, then with sticks, stones, clay and markings in the sand, he modelled a siege of the city. The message to the exiles was that they had no chance of an early return to Jerusalem. On the contrary, Jerusalem could expect further attack. God would not defend the city; rather he would cut himself off from it. The prophet symbolized the barrier between God and sinful Jerusalem by taking an iron cooking plate and holding it between himself (representing God) and the model of the besieged city (4:1-3).
The prophet’s next acted parable lasted more than a year. Each day he spent a period lying on his side facing his model of besieged Jerusalem. He was bound with cords so that he could not move, to symbolize that God’s people could not escape the judgment of their sins. However, his arm was left bare, to demonstrate God’s determination to fight against Jerusalem. The number of days he lay on his left side was for the number of years from the northern kingdom’s breakaway from Jerusalem to the end of the captivity. The number of days he lay on his right side was for the number of years from the fall of Jerusalem to the end of the captivity (4-8).
In the third acted parable, Ezekiel ate a starvation diet each day, to symbolize the scarcity of food and water in Jerusalem during the last great siege (9-11; see v. 16-17). He was told to cook the food on a fire of human dung. In this way he would picture the uncleanness of the food that the people would be forced to eat, both during the siege and later in the foreign countries to which they would be scattered (12-13). When Ezekiel complained that it was unfair to ask him to use human dung to make the fire, God allowed him to use cow’s dung instead. This was a fuel commonly used by people in that part of the world (14-17).
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Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Ezekiel 4". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany