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Monday, July 22nd, 2024
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
Ezekiel 5

Layman's Bible CommentaryLayman's Bible Commentary

Verses 1-17

Extent of the Desolation (5:1-17)

A shaved head was a mark of captivity, so the prophet is told to shave off his hair in public and to dispose of it in three ways. One third is to be burned with fire in the midst of the city. One third is to be struck by the sword "round about the city." The remaining one third is to be scattered to the wind. A small part of this portion is to be bound in the prophet’s robe (vs. 3), but even some of these hairs are to be burned.

Following this prophetic act there is an interlude wherein justification for God’s judgment is clearly and forcefully presented. Judah has "rebelled" against God’s ordinances and statutes even more than the nations round about (vs. 6) . Because this is so, destruction is necessary. In verse 10 and following, the horrors of siege are described and the three phases of destruction are interpreted. Cannibalism often occurred under the conditions of siege (vs. 10). The people who have defiled God’s sanctuary are to be destroyed: one part by pestilence and famine, one part by the sword, and one part by dispersion to the ends of the earth.

Verses 13-17 introduce a dominant theme of Ezekiel’s prophecy. God’s actions in history, whether for judgment or for redemption, are all designed that the nations may know that he is the Lord, the only God, and that they may see his true nature. Judah in captivity will be "a warning and a horror" to the nations. Destruction by war and famine must be understood as God’s manifestation of his true character. His purpose in the Covenant was to reveal himself to all nations through his servant people. But Israel and Judah failed to co-operate with the divine will. Because of their disobedience he will use their failure to manifest to all men his integrity and justice. If God cannot be revealed through an obedient Israel, he will reveal himself in judgment on a rebellious people.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Ezekiel 5". "Layman's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lbc/ezekiel-5.html.
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