The great judgment of Yahweh (Ezek 5:7-5:9)

“Therefore thus says

Yahweh God!

‘You are more turbulent

Than the nations

That are all around you.

You have not followed

My statutes.

You have not kept

My ordinances.

But you have acted

According to the ordinances

Of the nations

That are all around you.’

Therefore thus says

Yahweh God!

‘I,

I myself,

Am coming against you.

I will execute judgments

Among you

In the sight of the nations.

Because of all your abominations,

I will do to you

What I have never yet done,

The like of which

I will never do again.’”

Yahweh now spoke directly to Jerusalem, as if Ezekiel was not even there.  The God Yahweh proclaimed his judgment against Jerusalem. The people of Jerusalem were more turbulent than all the other nations around them. They have not followed Yahweh’s statutes. They have not kept his ordinances, but acted according to the ordinances of their surrounding nations. Thus Yahweh said that he himself was coming against them. He was going to execute his judgments on the people of Jerusalem in the sight of all the other countries. Because of their abominations, he was going to do what he had never done before or would ever do again.

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The rebellious ones in Jerusalem (Ezek 5:5-5:6)

“Thus says Yahweh God!

‘This is Jerusalem.

I have set her

In the center

Of the nations,

With countries

All around her.

She has rebelled

Against my ordinances.

She has rebelled

Against my statutes.

She has become

More wicked

Than the nations,

Than the countries,

All around her.

She has rejected

My ordinances.

She has not followed

My statutes.”

The God Yahweh spoke to Ezekiel about Jerusalem. Yahweh had put Jerusalem at the center of all the nations and countries that surrounded her. However, she has rebelled against the ordinances and statutes of Yahweh. She now has become more wicked that those nations and countries all around her, because she has rejected the ordinances of Yahweh. She has refused to follow the statutes of Yahweh.

The division of Ezekiel’s hair into thirds (Ezek 5:2-5:4)

“One third of the hair,

You shall burn

In the fire

Inside the city,

When the days

Of the siege

Are completed.

One third of the hair,

You shall take

To strike

With the sword

All around the city.

One third of the hair,

You shall scatter

To the wind.

I will unsheathe

The sword after them.

Then you shall take

From these

A small number.

You shall bind them

In the skirts

Of your robe.

From these,

Again,

You shall take some.

You shall throw them

Into the fire.

You shall burn them up.

From there a fire

Will come out

Against all the house of Israel.”

Ezekiel was to divide his shaved hair into thirds. He would burn one third of his shaved hair in a fire inside the city, when the siege days of Jerusalem were over. He was to strike with a sword all around the city another third of his shaved hair. This was kind of vague. The final third would be scattered to the wind, which is pretty simple. Yahweh was going to take a sword after them. The left over hair fragments were to be bound into the skirts of their robes. Finally, anything still not used up would be thrown into a burning fire. This fire indicated how fire would come against all the house of Israel. There was a symbolic purpose to the dividing of Ezekiel’s hair.

The shaving of Ezekiel’s hair (Ezek 5:1-5:1)

“You!

O son of man!

Take a sharp sword!

Use it

As a barber’s razor!

Run it over your head!

Run it over your beard!

Then take the balances

For weighing!

Divide the hair!”

Yahweh gave Ezekiel, the son of man, a series of commands to do another symbolic action. Ezekiel was to take a sharp sword and use it as a barber’s razor on his head and beard. It must have been common for men to have a full beard with a full head of hair. Then Ezekiel was to weigh all his hair and divide it up.

The lack of food and drink in Jerusalem (Ezek 4:16-4:17)

“Then he said to me.

‘Son of man!

I am going to break

The staff of bread

In Jerusalem.

They shall eat bread

By weight

With fearfulness.

They shall drink water

By measure

In dismay.

Lacking bread,

Lacking water,

They will look

At one another

In dismay.

They will waste away

Under their punishment.”

Meanwhile in Jerusalem, the siege meant a famine. Yahweh reminded Ezekiel, the son of man, of their plight. Those in Jerusalem were going to eat bread with fear. Their bread and water would be measured by weight. They would lack bread and water, as they would look at each other in great dismay. They were going to waste away under their punishment.

The dialog about defilement (Ezek 4:14-4:15)

“Then I said.

‘Yahweh God!

I have never

Defiled myself.

From my youth

Up until now,

I have never eaten

What died of itself

Or was torn by animals.

Carrion decaying flesh

Has never

Come into my mouth.’

Then he said to me.

‘See!

I will let you have

Cow’s dung

Instead of human dung.

You can prepare

Your bread on that.’”

Ezekiel was upset about eating unclean bread. He complained to Yahweh that he had never defiled himself from his youth on. He had never eaten anything that died of itself or any torn up animals. This meant that he ate only slaughtered animals. He had never touched decaying or the carrion flesh of dead animals. We might call it road kill animals. Yahweh responded that he would let him cook his barley cakes on animal dung, which was not considered unclean. Human excrement, however, was considered unclean. This was an indication of the obsession of later Israelites about touching and eating clean and unclean animals.

Food and drink (Ezek 4:11-4:13)

“‘You shall drink

Water

By measure,

One-sixth of a hin.

You shall drink

At fixed times.

You shall eat it

As a barley cake.

You will bake it

In their sight

On human dung.’

Yahweh said.

‘Thus shall

The people of Israel

Eat their bread unclean,

Among the nations

To which I will drive them.’”

Yahweh clearly gave orders about food and drink. Ezekiel had to measure his water.   A hin is about 5 quarts, so that 1/6th of a hin would be a little less than a quart of water, which is a reasonable amount of water. Once again, Ezekiel was to drink it at fixed times. Then he was to eat barley cakes that were baked on human dung. This seems odd. Here, Yahweh seems to say that the people of Israel should eat unclean bread, as long as they were living among strangers in various countries.