4:1 “And you, son of man, take a brick 1 and set it in front of you. Inscribe 2 a city on it – Jerusalem. 4:2 Lay siege to it! Build siege works against it. Erect a siege ramp 3 against it! Post soldiers outside it 4 and station battering rams around it. 4:3 Then for your part take an iron frying pan 5 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 6 for the house of Israel.
4:4 “Also for your part lie on your left side and place the iniquity 7 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 8 for you – 390 days. 9 So bear the iniquity of the house of Israel. 10
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 11 – 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. 12
1 sn Ancient Near Eastern bricks were 10 to 24 inches long and 6 to 13 1/2 inches wide.
2 tn Or perhaps “draw.”
3 tn Or “a barricade.”
4 tn Heb “set camps against it.”
5 tn Or “a griddle,” that is, some sort of plate for cooking.
6 tn That is, a symbolic object lesson.
8 tn Heb “I have assigned for you that the years of their iniquity be the number of days.” Num 14:33-34 is an example of the reverse, where the days were converted into years, the number of days spying out the land becoming the number of years of the wilderness wanderings.
9 tc The LXX reads “190 days.”
sn The significance of the number 390 is not clear. The best explanation is that “days” are used figuratively for years and the number refers to the years of the sinfulness of Israel during the period of the First Temple. Some understand the number to refer to the length of the division of the northern and southern kingdoms down to the fall of Jerusalem (931-586
10 tn Or “When you have carried the iniquity of the house of Israel,” and continuing on to the next verse.
11 sn The number 40 may refer in general to the period of Judah’s exile using the number of years Israel was punished in the wilderness. In this case, however, one would need to translate, “you will bear the punishment of the house of Judah.”
12 sn The action surely refers to a series of daily acts rather than to a continuous period.