Judgment on Jerusalem

Text: Ezekiel 4:1-5:17


I.         The siege of Jerusalem

            A.        Ezekiel was to get a brick (or clay tile) and etch a city on it.

                        1.         One ancient source mentioned bricks being two feet long, one foot wide and four inches thick.

            B.        Around it he was to create a model of a siege complete with a siege wall, raised ramp, pitch camps, and battering rams.

            C.        He was to take an iron griddle and place it between himself and the city to show the siege.

                        1.         Impregnable, hard, not giving

                        2.         The Chaldeans would effectively seal off Jerusalem

            D.        What is being portrayed is the final siege of Jerusalem

                        1.         Jeremiah 39:1-8; 52:4-11

            E.        Ezekiel was to lie down

                        1.         Ezekiel was required to lay on his left side for 390 days

                                    a.         This represented the 390 years that Israel sinned against God

                                    b.         Jamieson-Faucett-Brown Commentary: The three hundred ninety, in reference to the sin of Israel, was also literally true, being the years from the setting up of the calves by Jeroboam (1Ki 12:20-33), that is, from 975 to 583 B.C.: about the year of the Babylonians captivity

                        2.         Then he was to lie on his right side for 40 days

                                    a.         This represented the 40 years that Judah sinned against God

                                    b.         Jamieson-Faucett-Brown Commentary: perhaps the forty of Judah refers to that part of Manasseh's fifty-five year's reign in which he had not repented, and which, we are expressly told, was the cause of God's removal of Judah, notwithstanding Josiah's reformation (1Ki 21:10-16; 2Ki 23:26,27)

                                    c.         Adam Clarke: Reckon, says Archbishop Newcome, near fifteen years and six months in the reign of Manasseh, two years in that of Amon, three months in that of Jehoahaz, eleven years in that of Jehoiakim, three months and ten days in that of Jehoiachin, and eleven years in that of Zedekiah; and there arises a period of forty years, during which gross idolatry was practiced in the kingdom of Judah.

                        3.         All the while he would be tied down so he could not move.

                                    a.         Represents the fact that Jerusalem would not be able to escape God’s judgment

                        4.         Adam Clarke notes: Now Jerusalem was besieged the ninth year of the reign of Zedekiah, 2Ki 25:1,2, and was not taken till the eleventh year of the same prince, 2Ki 25:2. But properly speaking, the siege did not continue the whole of that time; it was interrupted; for Nebuchadnezzar was obliged to raise it, and go and meet the Egyptians, who were coming to its succour. This consumed a considerable portion of time. After he had defeated the Egyptians, he returned and recommenced the siege, and did not leave it till the city was taken. We may, therefore, conclude that the four hundred and thirty days only comprise the time in which the city was actually besieged, when the city was encompassed with walls of circumvallation, so that the besieged were reduced to a state of the utmost distress. The siege commenced the tenth day of the tenth month of the ninth year of Zedekiah; and it was taken on the ninth day of the fourth month of the eleventh year of the same king. Thus the siege had lasted, in the whole, eighteen months, or five hundred and ten days. Subtract for the time that Nebuchadnezzar was obliged to interrupt the siege, in order to go against the Egyptians, four months and twenty days, or one hundred and forty days, and there will remain four hundred and thirty days, composed of 390+40=430.

                        5.         It also happens to be the years Israel spent in captivity in Egypt - Exodus 12:40-41

            F.        Finally, Ezekiel was to bare his arm and prophesy against Jerusalem

                        1.         A bared arm was uncovered and ready to strike. (See Isaiah 52:10 as another example)

II.        Defiled bread

            A.        Ezekiel is to make bread for his first 390 days of siege, mixing fine grains with coarse grains.

                        1.         During times of shortages this was done to make the food last longer.

                        2.         He only was to eat about 10 ounces per day

            B.        For water he was only to drink a pint and a half per day (3 cups)

            C.        These are the barest minimums to sustain life

                        1.         See description of the famine - Lamentations 4:3-10

            D.        To signify the scarcity of fuel, Ezekiel was to bake his bread over dried human dung

                        1.         Later he is granted a reprieve and was allowed to substitute cow dung for human dung.

                        2.         Because the fuel was unclean, the bread would also be unclean - Deuteronomy 14:3

                        3.         Human waste was normally to be buried - Deuteronomy 23:12-14

            E.        The unclean food is also representative of Israel’s captivity in Assyria - Hosea 9:3

            F.        Ezekiel objects to the fuel. Being a priest, he has kept himself pure

                        1.         What Ezekiel refers to is Leviticus 17:15 and Deuteronomy 14:3

                        2.         God allows a modification as it won’t change the overall message

            G.        Food will be rationed

                        1.         Leviticus 26:25-34 - As prophesied

                        2.         Isaiah 3:1 - A more recent prophecy

                        3.         II Kings 25:3 - Fulfillment

III.       Destruction of Jerusalem

            A.        Ezekiel is instructed to shave his head and beard with a sword (Ezekiel 5:1)

                        1.         The cutting of hair is a sign of mourning - Jeremiah 48:37

                        2.         Or a sign of disgrace - II Samuel 10:4-5

                                    a.         Especially for priests - Leviticus 21:5

                                    b.         Recall that Ezekiel is a priest

                        3.         The hair represents the people of Israel

                        4.         The sword represents the Chaldeans

                                    a.         Assyrians once represented thus - Isaiah 7:20

                        5.         Using a scale, he is to divide the hair

                                    a.         The balance is a symbol of God’s justice

                        6.         One third would be burnt in a fire in the center of his model city after the siege is completed (Ezekiel 5:2)

                                    a.         Those killed in the city during the siege

                                    b.         See Ezekiel 5:12 for the explaination

                        7.         One third is to be struck with the sword around the city

                                    a.         Those killed while attempting to escape or in sorties attempting to defend Jerusalem

                        8.         One third is to scattered to the wind with the sword unsheathed behind the hair.

                                    a.         Those who escape to other countries - Isaiah 6:12; II Kings 25:21

                        9.         A few are to be tied to the edge of Ezekiel’s garment.

                                    a.         A small number who remain - Jeremiah 40:6; 52:16

                        10.       Of these few, some will be burnt in a fire that will spread to all of Israel

                                    a.         The destruction of the remnant in Egypt - Jeremiah 41:1-2; 44:14

                                    b.         See also Isaiah 6:13

            B.        The message - Ezekiel 5:5-17

                        1.         God purposely placed Israel at the crossroads of many nations

                                    a.         The purpose was to be a light to the nations - Psalm 67:1-7

                                    b.         Deuteronomy 4:6

                        2.         Yet Israel’s sins exceeded the sins of the godless nations around her - Jeremiah 2:11; Lamentations 4:6

                                    a.         As a result, Israel would be publically punished

                                    b.         A punishment more severe than others had or will suffer - Daniel 9:12

                                    c.         They will be forced into cannibalism - Leviticus 26:29; Deuteronomy 28:53; Jeremiah 19:9; Lamentations 2:20; 4:10

                        3.         Because of the defilement of the temple, God will remove himself and not take pity on Israel. - II Chronicles 36:14; Jeremiah 15:2

                                    a.         God’s eye - Job 36:7

                                    b.         A third of the nation would die by plague and famine

                                    c.         A third would fall in battles

                                    d.         And a third would be scattered among the nations with the threat of death following them - Leviticus 26:33; Deuteronomy 28:64; Ezekiel 12:4

                        4.         The people would become a horror to the nations around and serve as a warning

                                    a.         Even nature would turn against them - Lamentations 2:15