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In this Chapter the Prophet is engaged to instruct the people; and which he doth under the similitude of a siege, to show the state of their captivity.
There is somewhat very striking in the ministry of Ezekiel, different from that of other Prophets for the most part. He was not only to deliver God's truths by word of mouth: but also to represent by lively images the signification. Jeremiah wore a yoke of wood, constantly about him, in order to be a living testimony of the people's bondage; but Ezekiel constantly preached by type, in a great variety of ways.
I cannot but think somewhat more than Ezekiel, as a servant, and the captivity of the people in Babylon, was intended by this type. At least it is hardly possible to overlook Christ, the one and only suited burden-bearer of his people's sins, as here alluded to Jesus, indeed, not only on his side, but in his whole person in his body-sufferings, and soul-travail, bare the sins of his redeemed, and carried their sorrows. And most blessed it is to eye Him under this divine character.
The Reader will have a better idea of the coarse and scanty fare of the Prophet, if he understands, that this mixed grain not only made the whole unpleasant, but the allowance was scarcely enough, (and to a poor man confined to lay on his side, still harder) to keep life. A shekel was only about half an ounce; and an hin only eight ounces, or half a pint. And what a filthy and loathsome method of dressing was enjoined the Lord's servant. And though the Lord, at his representation, permitted an exchange from man's dung to cow dung for the purpose; yet still the poor Prophet had poor fare. What would some high fed and dainty characters among our clergy think of this! And yet Ezekiel was an eminent servant of the Lord!
Melancholy as this was, when the bread and water were given out by weight and measure, yet infinitely more distressing is it, when the Lord makes a famine, not of the bread that perisheth, but that which endureth to everlasting life. Oh Lord! keep to us the blessed and invaluable privilege of our Sabbaths, and of Jesus the bread of life. Amos 8:11 ; John 6:35 , etc.
READER! amidst many very sweet and profitable subjects suggested to our contemplation by the several types in this Chapter, I feel my mind constrained to one or two more immediately striking; and may the Lord direct yours also to the contemplation of the same. Who can overlook the Lord Christ as the great burden-bearer of his Church and people, while reading of God's appointment of Ezekiel to represent the bearing of iniquity: or, who that knows the blessedness of abundance, both in temporals and spirituals, but must be instantly led to eye Christ, as the bread of life, and the sanctifying mercy in the bread that perisheth with using, when sitting down to the enjoyment of either. Surely the Prophet was but the faintest type of Jesus, under the character of a burden-bearer, when laying on his side. Painful as the posture must have been, yet, what was it to Jesus hanging on the cross, suffering not only agonies of body, but the deepest anguish of soul when dying, the just for the unjust to bring us unto God! Precious Lord! may my soul behold thee often under this blessed character! And may I daily know, what it is to live upon thy fulness, and that the Holy Ghost breaketh to me daily of thee the staff of life, of which whosoever eateth shall live forever. Lord! evermore give me this bread!
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Ezekiel 4". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the First Week of Advent