Exile to Babylon (Ezek 12:12-12:13)

“The prince

Who is among them

Shall lift

His baggage

On his shoulder

In the dark.

He shall go out.

He shall dig

Through the wall.

He will carry his baggage

Through the hole.

He shall cover

His face.

Thus he may not see

The land

With his eyes.

I will spread

My net over him.

He shall be caught

In my snare.

I will bring him

To Babylon,

The land of the Chaldeans.

Yet he shall not see it.

He shall die there.”

This appears to be a description of what happened to King Zedekiah in 2 Kings, chapter 25, and Jeremiah, chapter 39. The prince or King Zedekiah of Judah left Jerusalem through the hole in the wall. He was captured, blinded, and then taken to Babylon, where he eventually died. This prince was going to take his baggage on his shoulder in the dark, as he dug through the hole in the wall. He covered his face so that he could not see the land. However, he was caught by the Babylonians who blinded him and sent him to Babylon where he died.

Ezekiel leaves Jerusalem (Ezek 12:7-12:7)

“I did

As I was commanded.

I brought out

My baggage

By day,

As baggage for exile.

In the evening

I dug through the wall

With my own hands.

I brought it out

In the dark,

Carrying it

On my shoulder

In their sight.”

Ezekiel said that he did what Yahweh had asked him to do.   He got his luggage ready during the day, clearing indicating that it was exile baggage. Then when the evening came, he dug a hole in the wall with his own hands. Next, in the sight of everyone, even though it was dark, he put his baggage on his shoulder. He then went through the hole in the wall.

Go into exile with your baggage (Ezek 12:4-12:6)

“You shall bring out

Your baggage,

By day,

In their sight,

As baggage for exile.

You shall go out yourself

At evening,

In their sight,

As those do

Who go into exile.

Dig through the wall

In their sight.

Carry the baggage

Through it.

In their sight

You shall lift

The baggage

On your shoulder.

You shall carry it out

In the dark.

You shall cover

Your face.

Thus you may not see

The land.

I have made you

A sign

For the house of Israel.”

There is a great emphasis on the baggage during this symbolic exilic story, since it assumes that Ezekiel was still in Jerusalem. Everything was to be done in plain sight of everyone. Thus the baggage was prepared during the day so that everyone could see him getting ready to leave. However, Ezekiel was to leave in the evening, but in plain sight. He was to dig a hole in the wall, reminiscent of what King Zedekiah had done. He was to carry his baggage on his shoulder in the dark through the hole in the wall. He had to cover his face, so that he could not see the land he was leaving. Thus his action would become a sign for the house of Israel to see.