Ezekiel (Ch 3-4)

This chapter starts with further account of the prophet’s calling and mission; of his preparation of him for is work; of, the persons to whom he was sent; of what happened to him upon this; of the nature of his office, and the work of it; and of what followed upon the renewal of his calling.

Ezekiel 3

1 Moreover He said unto me, “Son of man, eat what thou findest: eat this scroll, and go, speak unto the house of Israel.”

John Gill: eat this roll; not literally, but figuratively, as John is bid to eat the little book, Revelation 10:9; that is, read it, meditate upon the things contained therein; and digest them, that he might be able to impart them, and make them known to others: it is explained in Ezekiel 3:10; by hearing and receiving the words of the prophecy; and so the Targum, “receive what is written in this roll.”

So I opened my mouth, and He caused me to eat that scroll.

And He said unto me, “Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this scroll that I give thee.” Then did I eat it, and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness. — It was joyous for Ezekiel to receive the Divine message, to be thus let into the secrets of the Divine counsel. The Parable of the King invited one special friend for the Eight Day to end the Feast.

Gill: And he said unto me, son of man, cause thy belly to eat…. Or “devour”, and consume; that is, concoct and digest; do not cast it out of thy mouth, as soon as thou hast tasted of it; but let it go down into the stomach, and there digest it; and from thence into the belly, that so, upon the whole, virtue may be received, and nourishment come by it:

and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee; eat to satiety; so the Targum,

“son of man, thou shalt satiate thy soul, and fill thy belly, if thou receivest what is written in this roll, which I give thee:”

this was sufficient to qualify the prophet for prophesying, and furnish him with materials enough; and these fit and proper for the discharge of his office; and so such who study the word of God with application become scribes well instructed in the kingdom of heaven; and being filled themselves, are able to bring forth things to the comfort and satisfaction of others.

And He said unto me, “Son of man, go, get thee unto the house of Israel, and speak with My words unto them. And he said unto me, son of man, go…. After he had eaten the roll; for then was he qualified to prophesy:

For thou art not sent to a people of strange speech and of a hard language, but to the house of Israel, [but] to the house of Israel; who were a people of the same speech and language with the prophet; all spoke and understood the Hebrew language; nor were the things he delivered such as they were altogether strangers to being the same, for substance, which Moses, and the other prophets, had ever taught.

not to many people of strange speech and of a hard language, whose words thou canst not understand. Surely, had I sent thee to them, they would have hearkened unto thee. surely, had I sent thee to them “a people of strange speech and of a hard language,” they would have hearkened unto thee; which shows an aggravation of the obstinacy and disobedience of the people of Israel; that had the Gentile nations been favoured with the same means of instruction they were they would have been obedient. That is, Gentiles would have repented and would have done better!!!

But the house of Israel will not hearken unto thee, for they will not hearken unto Me; for all the house of Israel are impudent and hardhearted. “They are not willing”; they have no desire, no inclination, to hear and hearken; but the reverse; and indeed the reason why they did not hearken to him was not because they rejected him (Ezekiel) and his words, but because they rejected the Lord and his reproofs (admonitions).

Behold, I have made thy face strong against their faces, and thy forehead strong against their foreheads. Ezekiel should behave with an undaunted spirit, and with great intrepidity, amidst all opposition made to him.

As an adamant, harder than flint, have I made thy forehead. Fear them not, neither be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house.”

10 Moreover He said unto me, “Son of man, all My words that I shall speak unto thee receive in thine heart, and hear with thine ears.

11 And go, get thee to those of the captivity, unto the children of thy people, and speak unto them and tell them, ‘Thus saith the Lord God,’ whether they will hear or whether they will forbear.” Ezekiel’s message are for those already in captivity, actually children of captivity, actually meant for those far into the future, in our time.

12 Then the Spirit took me up, and I heard behind me a voice of a great rushing, saying, “Blessed be the glory of the Lord from His place.”

13 I heard also the noise of the wings of the living creatures that touched one another, and the noise of the wheels opposite them, and a noise of a great rushing.

14 So the Spirit lifted me up and took me away, and I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit; but the hand of the Lord was strong upon me. Then the spirit took me up…. Not the wind, nor an angel, but the Spirit of God; who took up Ezekiel from the ground, from the place where he was, among the captives by the river Chebar, and had seen the glorious vision described in the first chapter; and had had his call and mission, as expressed in the second chapter; and was carried by him to another company of captives, who were at another place by the same river.

15 Then I came to those of the captivity at Telabib, who dwelt by the River of Chebar; and I sat where they sat, and remained there astonished among them seven days. seven days: at the change of place and company; at the sad condition his people were in; and, above all, at the dreadful things he had to deliver to them. The Targum renders it, “silent”; through grief and trouble a great time for reflection.

16 And it came to pass at the end of seven days that the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,

17 “Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore hear the word out of My mouth, and give them warning from Me.  

Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel … Both in a civil sense, a watchman of a town or city, or of the whole country, and in an ecclesiastical sense. So the Targum renders it by מליף, “a teacher”; whose business it was to instruct the people in divine things, to warn them of their evil ways, and of the danger they exposed them to; such were the prophets of old; and lies in watching over the souls of men, as shepherds over their flocks, that they go into right pastures, and not astray, and so preserves them from beasts of prey; and as watchmen of cities, to give the time of night, and, notice of approaching danger; to the discharge of which office are necessary quick sight, diligence in looking out, sobriety and vigilance, courage, constancy, and faithfulness: and they are “sons of men” that are put into this office.

18 When I say unto the wicked, ‘Thou shalt surely die,’ and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way to save his life, the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Thou shalt surely die — That is, If he turn not from his wickedness, and thou givest him not warning, as above, he shalt die in his iniquity, which he should not have committed; but his blood will I require at thy hand I will visit thy soul for the loss of his.

19 Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.

20 Again, when a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die. Because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand.

Rashi: I shall place a stumbling block before him: When he does his deeds in secret and displays himself as a righteous man, I place an overt sin before him in order to reveal his deeds, and when I bring evil upon him, they will not question Me.

21 Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul.”

<< there seems to be some missing events to fill the gap. Ezekiel must have delivered his warning message, least he would die as a watcher, but he didn’t die, signifying he must have delivered the warning but that the people didn’t like the message. On his return, he was made dumb by God who asked him to stay at home until the fulfillment of his warning: the destruction of Jerusalem: Ezekiel 24:26-27. This is historical but the real message is for the endtime and is to the house of Israel >>

22 And the hand of the Lord was there upon me; and He said unto me, “Arise, go forth into the plain, and I will there talk with thee.”

23 Then I arose and went forth into the plain, and behold, the glory of the Lord stood there, as the glory which I saw by the River of Chebar; and I fell on my face.

24 Then the Spirit entered into me and set me upon my feet, and spoke with me and said unto me, “Go, shut thyself within thine house. Instead of sending him to a public assembly, God orders him to confine himself to his own lodgings: Go, shut thyself within thy house.

25 But thou, O son of man, behold, they shall put bands upon thee and shall bind thee with them, and thou shalt not go out among them.

26 And I will make thy tongue cleave to the roof of thy mouth, that thou shalt be dumb and shalt not be to them a reprover [someone who finds fault or imputes blame], for they are a rebellious house.

that thou shall be dumb…. Which is to be understood not just literally, as if he was really struck dumb, as Zechariah was; and that such silence should be charged upon him by the Lord, that he should be as if his tongue cleaved to the roof of his mouth, as if he was a dumb man: and so the Septuagint version renders it, “I will bind thy tongue.”

27 But when I speak with thee, I will open thy mouth, and thou shalt say unto them, ‘Thus saith the Lord God.’ He that heareth, let him hear; and he that forbeareth, let him forbear; for they are a rebellious house. I will make thy tongue cleave to the roof of thy mouth — I will not give thee any message to deliver to them. They are so rebellious, it is useless to give them further warning. But then again, God set the time, when to be silent and when to speak when the time is right.

Ezekiel 4

1 “Thou also, son of man, take thee a tile and lay it before thee, and portray upon it the city, even Jerusalem;

and lay siege against it, and build a fort against it, and cast a mound against it. Set the camp also against it, and set battering rams against it round about.

If Jerusalem had already fallen then this mentioning of Jerusalem could be a futurist event, perhaps in the year 70 AD, and the event of this siege could be a microcosm for the endtime, for a wider audience, for the house of Israel in the next verse.

Moreover take thou unto thee an iron plate, 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.

“Also lie thou 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. The Septuagint says “according to the number of the hundred and fifty days,” which is not in the Masoretic text.

For 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.

Nobody seems able to place what this 390 years mean, except:

Rashi: three hundred and ninety days: We learned in Seder Olam (ch. 26): This teaches us that Israel sinned for three hundred and ninety years from the time they entered the Land until the ten tribes were exiled therefrom. 

Oh, and by the way, the Septuagint version of this verse says its 190 years instead of 390, or 150 in verse four; so is this easier to explain?

And 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.

Rashi: the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: This teaches us that the house of Judah sinned, from the time that the ten tribes were exiled until Jerusalem was destroyed, forty years.

Reading from verse 4 to verse 6 in the Septuagint, it seems the 190 days are made up of 150 days for Israel and 40 days for Judah.

Septuagint version: 4 And thou shalt lie upon thy left side, and lay the iniquities of the house of Israel upon it, according to the number of the hundred and fifty days which thou shalt lie upon it: and thou shalt bear their iniquities. 5 For I have appointed thee their iniquities for a number of days, for a hundred and ninety days: so thou shalt bear the iniquities of the house of Israel. 6 And thou shalt accomplish this, and shalt lie on thy right side, and shalt bear the iniquities of the house of Juda forty days: I have appointed thee a day for a year.

Therefore thou shalt set thy face toward the siege of Jerusalem; and thine arm shall be uncovered, and thou shalt prophesy against it. Therefore thou shalt set thy face toward the siege at Jerusalem…. All the while he was lying either on the left side or the right, his face was to be directed to the siege of Jerusalem, indicating perhaps it is prophetic “thou shalt prophesy” pointing to the year 70 AD.

And behold, I will lay bands upon thee, and thou shalt not turn thee from one side to another until thou hast ended the days of thy siege.

“Take thou also unto thee wheat and barley and beans, and lentils 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.

Gill: Take thou also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentiles, and millet, and fitches…. The first of these was commonly used to make bread of; in case of want and poverty, barley was used; but, for the rest, they were for cattle, and never used for the food of men but in a time of great scarcity; wherefore this was designed to denote the famine that should attend the siege of Jerusalem.

Gill: no mention is made of the forty days, perhaps they are understood, a part being put for the whole; or they were included in the three hundred and ninety days. The Septuagint and Arabic versions read only a hundred and ninety days.

10 And thy meat which thou shalt eat shall be by weight, twenty shekels a day. From time to time shalt thou eat it.

11 Thou shalt drink also water by measure, a sixth part of a hin. From time to time shalt thou drink. this is famine, same as the great scarcity during the siege of Jerusalem from 66 to 70 AD.

12 And thou shalt eat it as barley cakes, and thou shalt bake it with dung that cometh out of man in their sight.”

13 And the Lord said, “Even thus shall the children of Israel eat their defiled bread among the Gentiles, whither I will drive them.” — the above “thus shall” indicates it is futuristic, so the mystery of 390/190/150/40 years remains what this could possibly mean. Any suggestions?

14 Then 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.” Then said I, ah, Lord God!…. The interjection “ah” is expressive of sighing and groaning.

Gill: neither came there abominable flesh into my mouth; corrupt or, putrefied, or whatsoever was unclean by law, as swine’s flesh, or any other. The argument is, that since he had never eaten of anything forbidden by the law of God, he could by no means think of eating that which was abhorrent to nature; as bread baked with men’s dung was.

15 Then He said unto me, “Lo, I have given thee cow’s dung for man’s dung, and thou shalt prepare thy bread therewith.”

16 Moreover 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,

17 that they may lack bread and water, and be stunned one with another, and be consumed away for their iniquity.

~ by Joel Huan on September 5, 2021.

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