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Bible Commentaries

Arno Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
Ezekiel 4



Verses 1-17

Ezekiel 4:1-3. The word tile means “brick.” They were used by the Babylonians to preserve their records, and many have been found marked with building plans, etc. The sign of the tile foretells the siege of Jerusalem and Jehovah’s opposition against the city.

Ezekiel 4:4-8. While in the preceding sign Jehovah’s action against Jerusalem was pictured, in this new sign a portrayal is given of the punishment which should come upon the inhabitants of the city. In his own person Ezekiel had to experience the great degradation and judgment which was to fall upon all the people. The critical school has invented all kinds of theories to explain, or rather to explain away, the divine command given to the prophet. They say that probably Ezekiel suffered from some form of epilepsy or catalepsy; they also point out the physical impossibility for a man to lie continuously for 390 days on his left side. But it says nowhere that the Prophet should be in that position day and night during these allotted days. The 390 and 40 days are symbolical. They mean years, giving us a total of 430 years. This reminds us of Exodus 12:40-41, where the sojourning of the children of Israel in Egypt is given as 430 years.

But the 390 years apply more specifically to Israel, the period of unfaithfulness of the ten tribes, beginning with Jeroboam. 1 Kings 11:31). The 40 years describe the unfaithfulness of the house of Judah. The captives were reminded by the prophet’s position of the shameful history of their long apostasy. But more than that. The Lord said to Ezekiel: “I have laid upon thee the years of their iniquity... so shalt thou bear the iniquity of the house of Israel.” The sign, therefore, pictured the actual punishment which was now to fall upon the nation.

Ezekiel 4:9-17. Both the sign of the famine and the bread baked in an unclean manner predict the horrors of famine in connection with the siege of Jerusalem, and how the people in the subsequent captivity among the Gentiles should live in defilement.


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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Ezekiel 4:4". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". 1913-1922.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, October 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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