Siege of Jerusalem Predicted
“Now you, son of man, take a brick, place it before you and inscribe on it [a diagram of] the city of Jerusalem. Then lay siege against it, build a siege wall, raise a ramp against it; set up [enemy] camps and place battering rams all around it. Further, take an iron plate and place it as an iron wall between you and the city, and set your face toward it so that it is under siege, and besiege it. This is a sign to the house of Israel.
“Then lie down on your left side (toward the north) to bear [symbolically] the wickedness and punishment of the [a]house of Israel. You shall bear their wickedness and punishment for the number of days that you lie on your side. For I have assigned you the years of their wickedness and punishment, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days [representing three hundred and ninety years]; in this way you shall bear [symbolically] the wickedness and punishment of the house of Israel. When you have completed these [days for Israel], lie down again, but on your right side (toward the south), and you shall bear the wickedness and punishment of the [b]house of Judah forty days. I have assigned you one day for each year. Then you shall set your face toward the siege of Jerusalem with your arm bared and prophesy against it. Now behold, I will put ropes on you so that you cannot turn from one side to the other until you have completed the days of your siege.
“But as for you, take wheat, barley, beans, lentils, millet, and spelt, and put them into one vessel and make them into bread for yourself. You shall eat it according to the number of the days that you lie on your side, three hundred and ninety days. The food you eat each day shall be [measured] by weight, [c]twenty shekels, to be eaten daily at a set time. You shall drink water by measure also, [d]the sixth part of a hin; you shall drink daily at a set time. You shall eat your food as barley cakes, having baked it in their sight over human dung.” Then the Lord said, “Thus the children of Israel will eat their bread unclean and defiled among the nations where I will banish them.” But I said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold (hear me), I have never been defiled; for from my youth until now I have never eaten what died on its own or was torn by beasts, nor has any unclean meat ever entered my mouth.” Then He said to me, “See, I will let you use cow’s dung instead of human dung over which you shall prepare your food.” Moreover, He said to me, “Son of man, behold (listen carefully), I am going to break the staff of bread [that supports life] in Jerusalem; and they shall eat bread [rationed] by weight and [eat it] with anxiety and fear, and drink water by measure and [drink it] in horror [of the impending starvation], because bread and water will be scarce; and they will look at one another in dismay and waste away [in punishment] for their wickedness.
- Ezekiel 4:4 I.e. the ten tribes of the Northern Kingdom.
- Ezekiel 4:6 I.e. the two tribes of the Southern Kingdom.
- Ezekiel 4:10 About a half pound.
- Ezekiel 4:11 About a quart.
Jerusalem’s Desolation Foretold
“And you [Ezekiel], son of man, take a sharp sword and use it as a barber’s razor and shave your head and your beard. Then take scales for weighing and divide the hair [into three parts]. You shall burn one third with fire in the center of the city, when the days of the siege are completed. Then you shall take one third and strike it with the sword all around the city, and one third you shall scatter to the wind; and I will unsheathe a sword behind them. Also take some of them and bind them in the edges of your robes. Again take some hair and throw them into the fire and burn them in the fire; from it a fire will spread to all the house of Israel.
“Thus says the Lord God, ‘This is Jerusalem; I have set her in the center of the nations, and countries are around her. And she has rebelled against My ordinances more wickedly than the [pagan] nations and against My statutes more than the countries that are around her; for Israel has rejected My ordinances and has not walked in My statutes.’ Therefore, thus says the Lord God, ‘Because you have more turmoil than the nations which surround you and have not walked in My statutes, nor kept My ordinances, nor observed the ordinances of the nations which surround you,’ therefore, thus says the Lord God, ‘Behold, I, I Myself, am against you, and I will execute judgments among you in the sight of the nations. And because of all your abominations, I will do among you that which I have not done, and the like of which I will not do again. Therefore, fathers will eat their sons among you, and sons will eat their fathers; and I will execute judgments on you and I will scatter to all the winds the remnant of you. So, as I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘surely, because you have defiled My sanctuary with all your detestable idols and with all your abominations, therefore I will also diminish you and withdraw, and My eye will have no pity and I will not spare [you]. One third of you will die of virulent disease or be consumed by famine among you; one third will fall by the sword around you; and one third I will scatter to all the winds, and I will unsheathe a sword behind them.
‘Thus My anger will come to an end and I will satisfy My wrath on them, and I will be appeased; then they will know [without any doubt] that I the Lord have spoken in My zeal when I have spent My wrath on them. Moreover, I will make you a desolation and a disgrace among the nations which surround you and in the sight of all who pass by. So it will be a disgrace, a taunt, a warning and an object of horror to the [pagan] nations who surround you when I execute judgments against you in anger and in wrath and in raging reprimands—I, the Lord, have spoken. When I send against them the deadly arrows of hunger which were for the destruction of those whom I will send to destroy you, then I will increase the famine upon you and break your staff of bread. Further, I will send against you hunger and wild beasts, and they will bereave you of children; virulent disease and bloodshed also will pass through you, and I will bring the sword on you. I, the Lord, have spoken.’”
Idolatrous Worship Denounced
And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, set your face against the mountains of Israel and prophesy against them, and say, ‘You mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord God! Thus says the Lord God to the mountains and the hills, to the ravines and the valleys: “Behold, I Myself am going to bring a sword on you, and I will destroy your high places [of idolatrous worship], and your altars will become deserted and your pillars for sun-worship will be smashed in pieces; and I will throw down your slain in front of your idols [that cannot bring them back to life]. I will also lay the dead bodies of the children of Israel in front of their [Canaanite] idols; and I will scatter your bones all around your altars. Everywhere you live, the cities will become waste and the high places will become deserted, so that your altars may bear their guilt and become deserted, your idols may be broken and destroyed, your incense altars [for sun-worship] may be cut down, and your works may be blotted out. The slain will fall among you, then you shall know [without any doubt] that I am the Lord.
“Yet I will leave some of you alive [a remnant], for you will have some who escaped the sword among the nations when you are scattered throughout the countries. Then those of you who escape will remember Me among the nations to which they will be exiled, how I have been broken by their lewdness and their adulterous hearts which have turned away from Me, and by their eyes which lust after their idols; and they will loathe themselves for the evils which they have committed, for all their repulsive acts. Then they will know [without any doubt] that I am the Lord; I have not said in vain that I would bring this disaster [as punishment] on them.”’
“Thus says the Lord God, ‘Strike with your fist, stamp with your foot and say, “Alas, because of all the evil atrocities of the house of Israel, which will fall by sword, by famine, and by virulent disease! He who is far away will die of the virulent disease, and he who is near will fall by the sword, and he who remains and is besieged will die by the famine. Thus I will spend My wrath on them. Then you will know [without any doubt] that I am the Lord, when their slain are among their idols around their altars, on every high hill, on all the tops of the mountains, under every leafy tree and under every oak with thick branches, the places where they offered sweet incense and a soothing aroma to all their idols. And I will stretch out My hand against them and make the land a more desolate waste than the wilderness toward Diblah [the Moabite city], throughout all the places where they live; and they will know [without any doubt] that I am the Lord.”’”