Ezekiel (Ch 3-4)

Chapter 3 starts with further account of Ezekiel’s calling and mission; of his preparation and work; of the people to whom he was sent; of what happened to him; of the nature of his office, and what followed upon the renewal of his calling.

And remember, Ezekiel’s prophetic message wasn’t for the house of Judah but to the house of Israel; hence we must try to read the prophetic meaning behind all those historical setting. Its timing was a great distance into the future (Ezekiel 12:27), into our time and the message is primarily and principally for the United States of America, and secondarily her Western allies.

More on (1) Ephraim / The United States; (2) Ephraim and Manasseh

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.” — eat this roll; not literally, but figuratively, as John is bid to eat the little book, digest it; let it be thy nourishment; and let it be thy meat and drink to do the will of thy Father who is in heaven;

— 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.”

Ezekiel began to see Visions of God, “Son of man, eat this scroll.”

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

3 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. It’s liked the Parable of the King inviting one special friend for the Eight Day to end the Feast; for just one special guest.

— 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 says, “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:”

Remember, the Targum, whose origin was in the Aramaic language, could be traced to Ezra speaking to the returning exiles who couldn’t understand Hebrew, but was expounded to them in a language they could understand.

4 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: not to the house of Judah but to the house of Israel;

— parallel Scriptures in Ezekiel 36:1, “the mountain of Israel” this prophecy is infering the desolations of the United States, UK and France; “and to the hills, to the rivers and to the valleys (v4)” these are the hills: Ireland, Switzerland and the Scandinavian countries: Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, Finland and Iceland; and the valleys, the low countries: Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg;

5 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 (Protestants of Western Europe: principally the United States, UK and France);

— 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.

6 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, I had NOT sent thee to “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 Gentiles been favoured with the same means of instruction they were they would have been obedient. That is, Gentiles, people with a strange speech and of a hard language, “they would have hearkened unto thee” would have repented and would have done better!!!

7 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: stiffnecked as in Exodus 32:9; and indeed the reason why they did not hearken to him was not because they rejected Ezekiel and his words, but because they rejected the Lord and his reproofs (admonitions).

8 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.

9 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.” — adamant is the diamond, as it is translated (Jeremiah 17:1, the sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron and with the point of a diamond). The people were as hard as flint, but as the diamond cuts flint, so Ezekiel’s words should be made by the Divine power to cut through all their resistance.

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. — God shows what is meant by the eating of the book, that is, to internalise them in heart and mind.

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.”

— “Go, get thee unto thy people…” note that God did not say here, “unto my people,” but “unto thy people.” The apostasy of Israel was so complete that God no longer recognized them as his people, thus fulfilling the prophecy of Hosea, “I hated them: because of the wickedness of their doings I will drive them out of my house; I will love them no more” (Hosea 9:15); “and they shall be wanderers among the nations” (v17).

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.” — a voice of a great rushing; this was the same noise made by the wings of the living creatures that formed the chariot of God. See Ezekiel chapters 1 and 10.

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; it could be the wind, or an angel, often expressed as the spirit of God; who lifted 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, as appears by comparing Ezekiel 1:1 with Ezekiel 3:15.

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 Telabib, a change of place and company, but still by the same “river of Chebar,”

— 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, thus if he warned the wicked, he would not be chargeable with their ruin;

— 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 issues, to warn them of their evil ways, and of the danger they exposed them to; such as from their prophets of old; and lies in watching over the souls of men,

— as shepherds over their flocks, that they go into the 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 God require at their hand; God will visit their 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.

— repeated in Ezekiel 33:1-6,

1 Again the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, 2 “Son of man, speak to the children of thy people and say unto them: ‘When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man from their borders and set him as their watchman, and 3 if when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet and warn the people, 4 then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet and taketh not warning, if the sword come and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. 5 He heard the sound of the trumpet and took not warning: his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul. 6 But if the watchman see the sword come and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned, if the sword come and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand’ Ezekiel 33:1-6

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.

— better translated as “Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and God place an obstacle before him, he will die; but since you have not warned him, he will die in his sin, and the righteous deeds which he has done will not be remembered; but you will be responsible for his blood.”

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.” — considerable time must had passsed for this new event to come to pass.

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. — put bands upon thee; signifying the bonds and chains of their future captivity who were yet at Jerusalem; shall bind thee with them:

— this may indicate the severity with which the conqueror would treat them, he would bind their bonds fast, close, and this will be pain and grief to the bounden.

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,

— 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. — God will make thy tongue cleave to the roof of thy mouth; but he will give thee the message to deliver to them when the time is ripe;

— 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; — take a tile and lay it before thee; Ezekiel received God’s command to depict Jerusalem as a tile or a clay tablet;

— he often foreshowed impending judgements by significant emblems, which usually strike more powerfully than words; and to take one of those earthen vessels and break it in the sight of the elders of the Jews, (chap 19) that they might thereby be sensibly taught the greatness of God’s power, and their own frailty.

2 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. — lay siege against it; it seemed at this time that Jerusalem would soon become the subject of another siege.

— but if Jerusalem had already fallen then this mentioning of siege could be a futurist event, perhaps in the year 70 AD, and, lastly, 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, and its timing was a great distance into the future (Ezekiel 12:27).

3 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. —

4 “Also lie thou upon thy left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it: according to the number of the [hundred and fifty] days that thou shalt lie upon it, thou shalt bear their iniquity. — the Septuagint has another phase: “according to the number of the hundred and fifty days,” which is not in the Masoretic text.

5 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 attempts 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.

— well, if Rashi’s premise is true, that the 390 years were since the house of Israel entered the Promised Land from the other side of the Jordan to the time of their exile, then using the same principle, Judah’s 40 years of iniquity would have started the same time but ended around the time Joshua ended his reign when he died an an age of 110, or shortly after? It just doesn’t add up and doesn’t make sense!

— and by the way, the Septuagint version of this verse says it is 190 years instead of 390 years in verse five; so is this easier to understand? Maybe! Perhaps and perhaps only, the downfall of the house of Israel would start first and last for 150 years before the house of Judah joins them for the last 40 years for the final total 190 years as spelt out in the Septuagint? What do you think?

6 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. — this takes for its starting-point the evident allusion of Ezekiel to Numbers 14:14, “After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year shall ye bear your iniquities;” 

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; but these figures and reasoning don’t sound right; why start only after the northern 10 tribes had gone into captivity; and the time gap was about 135 to 150 years, not 40?

— reading from verse 4 to verse 6 in the Septuagint, it seems the 190 days are made up of 150 days for Israel and consecutively and other 40 days for both Israel and 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.

7 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 this is prophetic “thou shalt prophesy” pointing to the year 70 AD.

8 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.

9 “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.” — in the severity of famines, the captives, to languish in hunger and distress, though not compelled to make bricks from straw but only asked to bake their food with shits! Yak! Is this a better deal than the time during their Egyptian captivity?

13 And the Lord said, “Even thus shall the children of Israel eat their defiled bread among the nations, whither I will drive them.” — the above “thus shall” indicates it is futuristic from God’s and Ezekiel’s perspectives as the house of Israel shall spend 190 years in captivity, so the mystery of 390/190/150/40 years remains in the future. Any other possibilities? None that I know off.

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.” — cow’s dung, obviously an improvement over man’s excretion, which Ezekiel seemed to have bargained for, like Abraham did in his days.

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.

~~~~

Below is the Septuagint (and Arabic versions too; John Gill says so) and putting all together, a possible explanation to the mystery of the 390/190/150/40 years:

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. — start with the ten tribes house of Israel and last for 150 years

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. — start with the 10 tribes but end with the full house of Israel; all 12 tribes: end of the 190 years

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. Ezekiel 4:4-6 Septuagint. — after the start of the 10 tribes house of Israel and last for 150 years, the house of Judah; 3 tribes join in for 40 years

9 Take thou also to thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentils, and millet, and bread-corn; and thou shalt cast them into one earthen vessel, and shalt make them into loaves for thyself; and thou shalt eat them a hundred and ninety days, according to the number of the days which thou sleepest on thy side. Ezekiel 4:9 Septuagint.

From the start with 10 tribes and end with full house of Israel: 190 years; why the difference? Perhaps Judah had undergo numerous pogroms and cleanings whereas Ephraim has none since the day when went captivity and into apparent oblivion

We’re now in the Hebrew year 5783 and we’ll need another 216 years to usher the Divine Plan into the 7th Millennium as we believe. Of course, this is on the assumption that God’s oracles have been accurately kept since the day Adam was created as the Jewish custodians claim.

If we add 216 years to the Gregorian calendar year 2022 we’ll come to 2238 when the 7th Millennium starts. Working backward 190 years will bring us to the Gregorian year 2048. So could the year 2048 be the start of the house of Israel’s “iniquity?” — “thus shall the children of Israel eat their defiled bread among the Gentiles, whither I will drive them;” in captivity to start the 190 years?

No, perhaps not: the 190 years may end with the appearance of “My servant David,” in the “valley full of dry bones” scenario (Ezekiel 37) where the full house of Israel would dwell securely rather than in captivity. Indications are that this period is a hundred year period involving “Gog and all his multitude” to the beginning of the Millennium (Ezekiel 40); (or it may be only seven years).

If so, the start of the 190 years would be pushed back another hundred years, which would be the Gregorian year 2048; which seems having a higher possibility than the figures (of 390/40 years) offered by the Masoretic Text.

On reflection the children of Israel were in Egypt for about 210 years, so cheers; this captivity of 190 years is 20 years shorter. These analyses may run away with imaginations, but the incorporation of prophecies always has elements of uncertainties and so these predictions could be prone to errors.

Okay, one Question that comes to mind is, “Why the iniquity for Israel is much longer than Judah?” Perhaps the answer could be broken into two parts: (1) the house of Judah, the Jews, have undergone pogroms numerous times over the last two and a half millenium whereas the house of Israel have remained largely unscatched since their only captivity was by the Assyrians;

And a related second reason: (2) the house of Judah has already been restored to the Land of Promise; whereas the house of Israel are still largely intact and dwelling “among the nations” (Lamentations 1:1, Ezekiel 12:15). It would take decades for conditions to build up for the whole house of Israel to want to return back to their homeland to team up with the house of Judah for the fulfilment of the prophecy of the joining of the two sticks in Ezekiel 37.

And finally, these analyses are not written in stone and so any thoughts to the contrary are most welcome. Are there any other possibilities or factors that have been left out but could or should be considered? Thanks for reading.

~~~

More on (1) Ephraim / The United States; (2) Ephraim and Manasseh

~ by Joel Huan on October 14, 2022.

One Response to “Ezekiel (Ch 3-4)”

  1. […] Study of Chapters 3 and 4 HERE ~ —— […]

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