1Thou also, son of man, take thee a tile, and lay it before thee, and pourtray upon it the city, even Jerusalem:
Ezekiel is told to take a tile, as for a mural on a wall or a tile floor. It is made of clay and will receive paint. He is going to make a picture of the city of Jerusalem on this tile and draw events relating to it all around.
2And lay siege against it, and build a fort against it, and cast a mount against it; set the camp also against it, and set battering rams against it round about.
This is still part of the picture painted by Ezekiel. He paints the city of Jerusalem under siege. A fort is built near it, a camp also. Battering rams surround the city and a mountain is cast at it. This idea of the mountain is essentially a catapult lobbing large stones. The word “cast” here is used to refer to liquids as to pour a deluge or large amount. For solids, to cast is to throw. The idea is that there were enough catapults besieging Jerusalem that a whole mountain was torn down to feed them. It was an overwhelming attack that Ezekiel portrayed against Jerusalem.
3Moreover take thou unto thee an iron pan, and set it for a wall of iron between thee and the city: and set thy face against it, and it shall be besieged, and thou shalt lay siege against it. This shall be a sign to the house of Israel.
The concept of iron throughout scripture is that of the strongest metal. Iron was unbendable, unstoppable. The iron army of Rome conquered all other armies, many of whom used bronze as armor.
There is a strong, unbending wall between Ezekiel and the city of Jerusalem. Ezekiel himself is said to besiege it. The idea that it was not just a physical army, but in Ezekiel, the messenger of God, that God himself attacked the city. The iron wall represented that the siege could not be broken for it was against God’s will that it be so.
This would be an emblem, a symbol to represent what would actually happen.
4Lie thou also upon thy left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it: according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon it thou shalt bear their iniquity. 5For I have laid upon thee the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days: so shalt thou bear the iniquity of the house of Israel. 6And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year. 7Therefore thou shalt set thy face toward the siege of Jerusalem, and thine arm shall be uncovered, and thou shalt prophesy against it. 8And, behold, I will lay bands upon thee, and thou shalt not turn thee from one side to another, till thou hast ended the days of thy siege.
This is a vivid picture. Ezekiel was ordered by God to lie on his side around the tiled picture of Jerusalem, representing the army lying before it to block it up, to keep the food from going in and the people from going out. He was to lie on his left side 390 days or about about thirteen months, bound in chains to prevent him from turning.
From Jeremiah 52:4-6 we know that the siege by the Babylonians took place during a period of eighteen months. However, if you deduct from that a five month interval when Nebuchadnezzar withdrew upon the approach of Pharaoh's army (Jeremiah 37:5-8) the number of the days of the full siege will be 390.
God further says that the 390 days of siege signified 390 years. This was how long the sin of the northern tribes had lasted from jeroboam till the sacking of Jerusalem. Within Jerusalem were a few remnants of the northern tribes who had avoided Assyrian captivity. Their punishment is completed now.
A similar image is given for Judah, the southern tribes. 40 days Ezekiel is to lie on his side, bound in chains so that he cannot move. It took 40 days after the city fell for the Babylonians to finish sacking it. These 40 days are the 40 years from when Jeremiah the prophet began to warn the southern kingdom and they did not repent. This was in the 13th year of Josiah (Jer. 1:1-2).
9Take thou also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentiles, and millet, and fitches, and put them in one vessel, and make thee bread thereof, according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon thy side, three hundred and ninety days shalt thou eat thereof. 10And thy meat which thou shalt eat shall be by weight, twenty shekels a day: from time to time shalt thou eat it. 11Thou shalt drink also water by measure, the sixth part of an hin: from time to time shalt thou drink. 12And thou shalt eat it as barley cakes, and thou shalt bake it with dung that cometh out of man, in their sight.
The wheat is mixed with harder grains, many used to feed horses and pigs, to make the bread go farther. The quantity of meat was a bare minimum needed to sustain life. 20 shekels is approximately 10oz. The water is scarce, about 8oz. And the worst of the symbols required of Ezekiel is the barley cakes that had to be baked using human feces instead of wood or other fuel for the fire.
13And the LORD said, Even thus shall the children of Israel eat their defiled bread among the Gentiles, whither I will drive them.
These all represent the nature of what the people of Jerusalem would have to endure. It is a vivid picture, but it is important to note that it was not the worst that Jerusalem ever faced. According to Matt. 24:31, the siege by the Romans would be the worst Jerusalem ever faced or ever would face. “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.”
14Then said I, Ah Lord GOD! behold, my soul hath not been polluted: for from my youth up even till now have I not eaten of that which dieth of itself, or is torn in pieces; neither came there abominable flesh into my mouth.
Ezekiel cries out to God that he has never eaten anything that defiles (anything against the Law of Moses). This symbolic picture he is not only to paint, but to live for more than a year is too much for Ezekiel.
15Then he said unto me, Lo, I have given thee cow's dung for man's dung, and thou shalt prepare thy bread therewith.
God hears Ezekiel’s plea and allows him to use cow poop instead of human poop to cook the bread. God CAN change His mind, just not His nature.
16Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, behold, I will break the staff of bread in Jerusalem: and they shall eat bread by weight, and with care; and they shall drink water by measure, and with astonishment: 17That they may want bread and water, and be astonied one with another, and consume away for their iniquity.
God tells Ezekiel that He will be the cause of Jerusalem’s suffering. God will cause them to have to ration everything because of their sin and be astonished with how they look to each other, emaciated and downtrodden.
This is all fulfilled in 2 Kings 25.
In Truth and Love.
- Ezekiel 1
- Ezekiel 2
- Ezekiel 3
- Ezekiel 4
- Ezekiel 5
- Ezekiel 6
- Ezekiel 7
- Ezekiel 8
- Ezekiel 9
- Ezekiel 10
- Ezekiel 11
- Ezekiel 12
- Ezekiel 13
- Ezekiel 14
- Ezekiel 15
- Ezekiel 16
- Ezekiel 17
- Ezekiel 18
- Ezekiel 19
- Ezekiel 20
- Ezekiel 21
- Ezekiel 22
- Ezekiel 23
- Ezekiel 24
- Ezekiel 25
- Ezekiel 26-28
- Ezekiel 29-32
- Ezekiel 33
- Ezekiel 34
- Ezekiel 35
- Ezekiel 36
- Ezekiel 37
- Ezekiel 38-39
- Ezekiel 40-48