Ezekiel 4:1--5:17

Ominous Object Lessons

4:1 “And you, son of man, take a brick and set it in front of you. Inscribe a city on it – Jerusalem. 4:2 Lay siege to it! Build siege works against it. Erect a siege ramp against it! Post soldiers outside it and station battering rams around it. 4:3 Then for your part take an iron frying pan and set it up as an iron wall between you and the city. Set your face toward it. It is to be under siege; you are to besiege it. This is a sign for the house of Israel.

4:4 “Also for your part lie on your left side and place the iniquity of the house of Israel on it. For the number of days you lie on your side you will bear their iniquity. 4:5 I have determined that the number of the years of their iniquity are to be the number of days for you – 390 days. So bear the iniquity of the house of Israel.

4:6 “When you have completed these days, then lie down a second time, but on your right side, and bear the iniquity of the house of Judah 40 days – I have assigned one day for each year. 4:7 You must turn your face toward the siege of Jerusalem with your arm bared and prophesy against it. 4:8 Look here, I will tie you up with ropes, so you cannot turn from one side to the other until you complete the days of your siege.

4:9 “As for you, take wheat, barley, beans, lentils, millet, and spelt, put them in a single container, and make food from them for yourself. For the same number of days that you lie on your side – 390 days – you will eat it. 4:10 The food you eat will be eight ounces a day by weight; you must eat it at fixed times. 4:11 And you must drink water by measure, a pint and a half; you must drink it at fixed times. 4:12 And you must eat the food like you would a barley cake. You must bake it in front of them over a fire made with dried human excrement.” 4:13 And the Lord said, “This is how the people of Israel will eat their unclean food among the nations where I will banish them.”

4:14 And I said, “Ah, sovereign Lord, I have never been ceremonially defiled before. I have never eaten a carcass or an animal torn by wild beasts; from my youth up, unclean meat has never entered my mouth.”

4:15 So he said to me, “All right then, I will substitute cow’s manure instead of human excrement. You will cook your food over it.”

4:16 Then he said to me, “Son of man, I am about to remove the bread supply in Jerusalem. They will eat their bread ration anxiously, and they will drink their water ration in terror 4:17 because they will lack bread and water. Each one will be terrified, and they will rot for their iniquity.

5:1 “As for you, son of man, take a sharp sword and use it as a barber’s razor. Shave off some of the hair from your head and your beard. Then take scales and divide up the hair you cut off. 5:2 Burn a third of it in the fire inside the city when the days of your siege are completed. Take a third and slash it with a sword all around the city. Scatter a third to the wind, and I will unleash a sword behind them. 5:3 But take a few strands of hair from those and tie them in the ends of your garment. 5:4 Again, take more of them and throw them into the fire, and burn them up. From there a fire will spread to all the house of Israel.

5:5 “This is what the sovereign Lord says: This is Jerusalem; I placed her in the center of the nations with countries all around her. 5:6 Then she defied my regulations and my statutes, becoming more wicked than the nations and the countries around her. Indeed, they have rejected my regulations, and they do not follow my statutes.

5:7 “Therefore this is what the sovereign Lord says: Because you are more arrogant than the nations around you, you have not followed my statutes and have not carried out my regulations. You have not even carried out the regulations of the nations around you!

5:8 “Therefore this is what the sovereign Lord says: I – even I – am against you, and I will execute judgment among you while the nations watch. 5:9 I will do to you what I have never done before and will never do again because of all your abominable practices. 5:10 Therefore fathers will eat their sons within you, Jerusalem, and sons will eat their fathers. I will execute judgments on you, and I will scatter any survivors to the winds.

5:11 “Therefore, as surely as I live, says the sovereign Lord, because you defiled my sanctuary with all your detestable idols and with all your abominable practices, I will withdraw; my eye will not pity you, nor will I spare you. 5:12 A third of your people will die of plague or be overcome by the famine within you. A third of your people will fall by the sword surrounding you, and a third I will scatter to the winds. I will unleash a sword behind them. 5:13 Then my anger will be fully vented; I will exhaust my rage on them, and I will be appeased. Then they will know that I, the Lord, have spoken in my jealousy when I have fully vented my rage against them.

5:14 “I will make you desolate and an object of scorn among the nations around you, in the sight of everyone who passes by. 5:15 You will be an object of scorn and taunting, a prime example of destruction among the nations around you when I execute judgments against you in anger and raging fury. I, the Lord, have spoken! 5:16 I will shoot against them deadly, destructive arrows of famine, which I will shoot to destroy you. I will prolong a famine on you and will remove the bread supply. 5:17 I will send famine and wild beasts against you and they will take your children from you. Plague and bloodshed will overwhelm you, and I will bring a sword against you. I, the Lord, have spoken!”