The three separate disasters for the people of Jerusalem (Ezek 5:11-5:12)

“Says Yahweh God!

‘Surely as I live,

Because you have defiled

My sanctuary

With all your detestable things,

With all your abominations,

Therefore I will cut you down.

My eye will not spare.

I will have no pity.

One third of you

Shall die

Of pestilence,

Or be consumed

By famine among you.

One third of you

Shall fall

By the sword

Around you.

One third of you,

I will scatter

To every wind.

I will unsheathe

The sword

After them.”

The God Yahweh was mad at the people of Jerusalem. They had defiled his sanctuary. They had brought in all those detestable abominations into the Temple. Thus Yahweh was not going to spare them, but cut them down. He was not going to show any pity. Using language similar to Jeremiah, there were three main options for dying. However, Ezekiel was more precise. One third of them would die from pestilence or famine. Another third would fall by the sword. The final third would be scattered to the winds in every direction. Yahweh was going to let his sword loose on them.

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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.