12:3 “Therefore, son of man, pack up your belongings as if for exile. During the day, while they are watching, pretend to go into exile. Go from where you live to another place. Perhaps they will understand, 1 although they are a rebellious house.
12:6 While they are watching, raise your baggage onto your shoulder and carry it out in the dark. 2 You must cover your face so that you cannot see the ground 3 because I have made you an object lesson 4 to the house of Israel.”
12:7 So I did just as I was commanded. I carried out my belongings packed for exile during the day, and at evening I dug myself a hole through the wall with my hands. I went out in the darkness, carrying my baggage 5 on my shoulder while they watched.
12:8 The word of the Lord came to me in the morning: 12:9 “Son of man, has not the house of Israel, that rebellious house, said to you, ‘What are you doing?’ 12:10 Say to them, ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: The prince will raise this burden in Jerusalem, 6 and all the house of Israel within it.’ 7 12:11 Say, ‘I am an object lesson for you. Just as I have done, it will be done to them; they will go into exile and captivity.’
12:12 “The prince 8 who is among them will raise his belongings 9 onto his shoulder in darkness, and will go out. He 10 will dig a hole in the wall to leave through. He will cover his face so that he cannot see the land with his eyes. 12:13 But I will throw my net over him, and he will be caught in my snare. I will bring him to Babylon, the land of the Chaldeans 11 (but he will not see it), 12 and there he will die. 13 12:14 All his retinue – his attendants and his troops – I will scatter to every wind; I will unleash a sword behind them.
12:15 “Then they will know that I am the Lord when I disperse them among the nations and scatter them among foreign countries. 12:16 But I will let a small number of them survive the sword, famine, and pestilence, so that they can confess all their abominable practices to the nations where they go. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”
3 tn Or “land” (ASV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV).
5 tn The words “my baggage” are not in the Hebrew text, but are implied from the context.
6 tc The nearly incoherent Hebrew reads “The prince is this burden (prophetic oracle?) in Jerusalem.” The Targum, which may only be trying to make sense of a very difficult text, says “Concerning the prince is this oracle,” assuming the addition of a preposition. This would be the only case where Ezekiel uses this term for a prophetic oracle. The LXX reads the word for “burden” as a synonym for leader, as both words are built on the same root (נָשִׂיא, nasi’), but the verse is still incoherent because it is only a phrase with no verb. The current translation assumes that the verb יִשָּׂא (yisa’) from the root נָשִׂיא has dropped out due to homoioteleuton. If indeed the verb has dropped out (the syntax of the verbless clause being the problem), then context clearly suggests that it be a form of נָשִׂיא (see vv. 7 and 12). Placing the verb between the subject and object would result in three consecutive words based on the root נָשִׂיא and an environment conducive to an omission in copying: הַנָּשִׂיא יִשָּׁא הַמַּשָּׂא הַזֶּה (hannasi’ yisha’ hammasa’ hazzeh, “the Prince will raise this burden”).
sn The prince in Jerusalem refers to King Zedekiah.
7 tc The MT reads “within them.” Possibly a scribe copied this form from the following verse “among them,” but only “within it” makes sense in this context.
8 sn The prince is a reference to Zedekiah.
9 tn The words “his belongings” are not in the Hebrew text but are implied.
10 tc The MT reads “they”; the LXX and Syriac read “he.”
11 tn Or “Babylonians” (NCV, NLT).
sn The Chaldeans were a group of people in the country south of Babylon from which Nebuchadnezzar came. The Chaldean dynasty his father established became the name by which the Babylonians are regularly referred to in the book of Jeremiah, while Jeremiah’s contemporary, Ezekiel, uses both terms.