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Friday, June 21st, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Ezekiel 4

Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New TestamentZerr's N.T. Commentary

Verse 1

Eze 4:1. The chief sin of the Jewish nation and for which it went into captivity was idolatry. In order to Impress ils people with the seriousness of the offence, the prophet was required to do some of the "acting" mentioned in the preceding chapter. He was to dramatize the siege of Jerusalem which was the capital of the nation. In this drama he was to do some very unpleasant performances. The city of Jerusalem was -to be represented by a tile or brick, on which a likeness of Jerusalem was portrayed.

Verse 2

Eze 4:2. The 70-year captivity had been going on for some time when Ezekiel began to write, but the city of Jerusalem had not yet been destroyed because the 3rd stage of the subjugation was still to be accomplished. That great event was to be preceded with a siege, and the prophet was to "act out” the same by going through the motions of it in some figurative way.

Verse 3

Eze 4:3. The city had a protecting wall around it which would have to be attacked before it could be taken. As a representation of this wall Ezekiel was to get an iron pan which could be placed on edge in the position of such a protecting structure. This pan was to he raised up between the tile and the prophet who was to act as a besieging army. This shall be a sign means that the Jews were to take this performance of Ezekiel as a sign of what was about to happen to their city.

Verse 4

Eze 4:4. Lay is used figuratively and means that Ezekiel would be going through this unpleasant experience to emphasize the iniquity of the house of Israel. Each day lie lay on J^s side stood for a year in the sinful history of the nation. Bear their iniquity de-notes that the prophet was to undergo this affliction as a sign of the greatness of Israel's sin.

Verse 5

Eze 4:5. The children of Israel were inclined toward idolatry from the beginning of their history as was shown at Mt. Sinai and afterward. But the specific length of time named in this verse should be dated from the enactment of national idolatry (1Ki 12:26) which was in 975 B.C. to 585 B.C., and that was about the date of Ezekiel’s performance just described.

Verse 6

Eze 4:6. The prophet was to lie on his left side when the case of Israel (the 10 tribes) was being treated. After that he was to lie on his right side to indicate the house of Judah, and that was to continue 40 days. Various theories have been offered in the works of reference as to why there was only the smaller number for Judah; but I am not convinced that any of them is welt founded. It is true that Judah was regarded as the greater offender from the standpoint of responsibility, for she had the example of Israel before her and should have profited by the- lesson. But in actual years devoted to the abominable practice, Israel far exceeded Judah. It is not necessary to go into any speculation beyond the known facts of history.

Verse 7

Eze 4:7. Set thy face means that Ezekiel was to take his reclining position to indicate the siege of Jerusalem. Arm uncovered indicates that all hindrances were to be removed that might make a siege ineffective.

Verse 8

Eze 4:8. No literal bands would have been necessary, for Ezekiel was an obedient servant and ready always to do the Lord’s bidding. Yet he was under an obligation that was as binding as if he had been tied with ropes. In thus acting his part he would be showing the firmness of the siege.

Verse 9

Eze 4:9. Ezekiel was directed to prepare certain articles of food. This would require him to be up and about the community more or less, which indicates that his position of lying oil his side was not literally continuous, but only for the greater part of each day. Short intervals had to be used for the preparation of these articles of diet. The materials designated were such as a famine would produce, and that was one of the sub-jects the prophet wras to portray in his acting.

Verse 10

' Eze 4:10. The short rationing of meat described was another circumstance usually connected with a famine that is brought on by a siege.

Verse 11

Eze 4:11. Even drinking water is frequently very scarce in a siege. There was no actual shortage of that with Ezekiel, but he was made to ration it for himself as a further sign of the famine about to come on Jerusalem,

Verse 12

Eze 4:12-15. The history of mankind is one in which it is common to see one man enduring unpleasant experiences for the sake of another. This has been especially true of the prophets according to Jer 13:1 S; 27:2, and the case of Ezekiel's lying so long upon his sides. Now in the present verse we have another instance of a very disagreeable task imposed on the prophet. Smith's Bible Dictionary states that dung was sometimes used as fuel in ancient times. However, it was usually for heating purposes only, which would not be so objectionable. But in the case at hand the prophet was told to prepare his food with this substance as fuel. The necessary handling of such material in connection with cooking a meal would be very unpleasant, especially if the original order had been retained here. But upon the complaint of Ezekiel the Lord permitted him to substitute the discharges from a beast which would be less repulsive though bad enough. This unusual performance was to be a sign to the children of Israel of the unpleasant experiences which they were destined to have among the heathen nations where they had been sent as captives.

Verse 16

Eze 4:16. To avoid confusion It is well to keep in mind the fact of “the three captivities," or the three stages In the subjugation of Jerusalem and the kingdom of Judah. For a more extended comment on this subject see 2Ki 24:1 in volume 2 of this Commentary. Two of these captivities had taken place when Ezekiel began to write. The third one was still to come hut not very far in the future. The famine that is predicted in this verse occurred in that terrible event, and the Biblical account of it is given in 2Ki 25:3. The statements of this verse are literal and were fulfilled when Nebuchadnezzar threw Jerusalem into a siege.

Verse 17

Eze 4:17. No material facts are added in this verse except to describe the immediate effects of the famine. Astonied is from shamem which Strong defines, “To stun (or intransitively grow numb)The lack of food caused the people to grow numb and behold each other with a stunned countenance. All of this was to be brought upon them as a punishment for their iniquity.
Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Ezekiel 4". Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/znt/ezekiel-4.html. 1952.
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