Ezekiel Chapter 5: Ezekiel Acts out the Diaspora of Judah

Mar 3rd, 2010 | By | Category: Ezekiel, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)

Ezekiel Chapter 5: Ezekiel Acts out the Diaspora of Judah

Ezek. 5:1 And thou, son of man, take thee a sharp knife, take thee a barber’s razor, and cause it to pass upon thine head and upon thy beard: then take thee balances to weigh, and divide the hair.

Ezek. 5:2 Thou shalt burn with fire a third part in the midst of the city, when the days of the siege are fulfilled: and thou shalt take a third part, and smite about it with a knife: and a third part thou shalt scatter in the wind; and I will draw out a sword after them.

Ezek. 5:3 Thou shalt also take thereof a few in number, and bind them in thy skirts.

Ezek. 5:4 Then take of them again, and cast them into the midst of the fire, and burn them in the fire; for thereof shall a fire come forth into all the house of Israel.

The setting of this chapter was right after the fulfillment of the 430 (390 + 40) days that Ezekiel lay on his left and right sides. During all that time, his hair grew. Now, at the end of the 430 days, Ezekiel was instructed to cut off all the hair on his head and beard—that was a lot of hair!—and divide it into three parts by carefully weighing it. Ezekiel’s treatment of the hair demonstrated how those of Judah would die in the coming literal siege of Jerusalem, for the hairs represented the people. There was a sufficient quantity of hair to make this demonstration dramatic. Ezekiel ended up bald.

One third of the hair was burned with fire in the midst of Ezekiel’s portrayal of Jerusalem. This action showed that the city would be destroyed by fire and that people would die in the fire. Another third of the hair was chopped with a knife, portraying that people would be slain in the violence of the war. The final third was scattered in the wind. As the hair was scattering, Ezekiel ran after the hair with a sword and slashed at it in the air, showing that people would be pursued and killed as they tried to escape from Jerusalem, ran out for food, or ran out to actively defend the city.

Remember, the Israelite captives there in Babylon by the river Chebar were observing Ezekiel’s dramatizations. And burning hair has a stench just like burning bodies, so the odor was also apparent. Of the original pile of hair, a pinch was taken and put in Ezekiel’s apron. The apron was then folded to retain the few hairs while he weighed out the rest by thirds and enacted the pantomime. Of the few hairs in the apron, Ezekiel next took some and cast them into the fire and burned them. The point is that only the very few remaining hairs in the apron represented the survivors of the 606 BC trouble, for 99.9 percent of the Israelites in Judah were destroyed. The hairs from the apron that were cast into the fire represented the Israelites who fled to Egypt.

When King Nebuchadnezzar defeated Judah and destroyed Jerusalem, he left vinedressers in the land under the leadership of Gedaliah, a puppet governor, so that the land would not become completely sterile. However, instead of submitting and being thankful that they were left in the land, the few Israelite vinedressers assassinated Gedaliah. In anger, Nebuchadnezzar sent his general to Israel to kill them. When they heard that Nebuchadnezzar’s men were coming, the Israelites, including Jeremiah and Baruch, fled to Egypt. The king of Babylon pursued them to Egypt and killed them all except a very small remnant of which Jeremiah was one.

The people considered Ezekiel a dreamer and a fanatic until his prophecies began to come true. Then he was regarded as a true prophet.

Ezek. 5:5 Thus saith the Lord GOD; This is Jerusalem: I have set it in the midst of the nations and countries that are round about her.

Ezekiel now paused to give an explanation of his actions—that they were an object lesson representing the Lord’s displeasure in Israel. (The destruction of Jerusalem would also be an object lesson to watching Gentile nations.) The prophet called attention to the drawing of Jerusalem on the tile (Ezek. 4:1). Jerusalem was strategically situated and thus was geographically important. Since activities there had a greater influence than elsewhere, the conduct of the Israelites should have been more exemplary.

Ezek. 5:6 And she hath changed my judgments into wickedness more than the nations, and my statutes more than the countries that are round about her: for they have refused my judgments and my statutes, they have not walked in them.

What a scathing denunciation! The Israelites should have known better because they were the Lord’s people and greater favor brings greater responsibility, but very few really benefited and were faithfully on God’s side. The vast majority were in the wrong. With greater responsibility on Israel, there was also greater condemnation.

Ezek. 5:7 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye multiplied more than the nations that are round about you, and have not walked in my statutes, neither have kept my judgments, neither have done according to the judgments of the nations that are round about you;

Ezek. 5:8 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, am against thee, and will execute judgments in the midst of thee in the sight of the nations.

God would make Israel an example in the sight of other nations.

Ezek. 5:9 And I will do in thee that which I have not done, and whereunto I will not do any more the like, because of all thine abominations.

God would do things to Israel that had never been done before. In the past, the reference was especially to the AD 69–70 Roman siege, but in the near future, the reference will apply to nominal spiritual Israel.

Ezek. 5:10 Therefore the fathers shall eat the sons in the midst of thee, and the sons shall eat their fathers; and I will execute judgments in thee, and the whole remnant of thee will I scatter into all the winds.

Conditions would become so extreme that the fathers would eat their sons and vice versa. And God would scatter the Israelites “into all the winds.” This was partly true in 606 BC and more true in AD 69–70 and the Diaspora.

Notice that God assumed the responsibility for the destruction in which the fathers ate the children and the children ate the fathers. We should understand the principle here. Contrary to what the human heart would think, we must be in sympathy with the judgments and say “Amen!”

The French Revolution was a prototype of the anarchy that will occur at the end of the Gospel Age. Similarly, what happened in 606 BC was repeated—only worse—in AD 70. In both cases, the lesson was not learned the first time, so a future devastation had to occur.

Ezek. 5:11 Wherefore, as I live, saith the Lord GOD; Surely, because thou hast defiled my sanctuary with all thy detestable things, and with all thine abominations, therefore will I also diminish thee; neither shall mine eye spare, neither will I have any pity.

The needed judgment would also come because of a defiled sanctuary: diseased animals, wrong practices, etc.

Ezek. 5:12 A third part of thee shall die with the pestilence, and with famine shall they be consumed in the midst of thee: and a third part shall fall by the sword round about thee; and I will scatter a third part into all the winds, and I will draw out a sword after them.

Again the punishments were prophesied. One third of those in Judah would die through pestilence and famine, especially in Jerusalem; that is, they would be consumed by disease and hunger. (The punishment of pestilence and famine was represented by fire in Ezekiel 5:2.) One third would die by the sword. Defenders of the city, the fighting force, would be killed by the sword of the enemy encompassing them. (Here the description of the three parts varies slightly because the reference is to the city of Jerusalem.) One third (the escapees from the city) would be scattered and a sword drawn out after them. (Verses 3 and 4 show a small number being temporarily spared and a few of those individuals being taken captive and thus actually spared.) The judgments were repetitively expressed to make sure the entire nation was apprised of Ezekiel’s words.

Ezek. 5:13 Thus shall mine anger be accomplished, and I will cause my fury to rest upon them, and I will be comforted: and they shall know that I the LORD have spoken it in my zeal, when I have accomplished my fury in them.

The God of love also possesses fury and wrath. In other words, the love of righteousness and the corresponding hatred of iniquity are merely love operating under two different circumstances.

Ezek. 5:14 Moreover I will make thee waste, and a reproach among the nations that are round about thee, in the sight of all that pass by.

Ezek. 5:15 So it shall be a reproach and a taunt, an instruction and an astonishment unto the nations that are round about thee, when I shall execute judgments in thee in anger and in fury and in furious rebukes. I the LORD have spoken it.

Surrounding nations would view the judgment as Israel became a reproach, a taunt, and a byword. Those nations knew that the Red Sea had miraculously opened, that the walls of Jericho had fallen, etc., and now they would see what appeared to be total destruction of the Israelites. These judgments would be told to children and posterity, especially the destruction in 606 BC. Surrounding nations saw the glorious Temple of Solomon get destroyed.

Down through history, many Gentile nations have been anti-Semitic through reading the Old Testament. However, not only did the nations forget about the future promises of blessing, but also they did not realize God was dealing with a select few (such as Daniel, Micaiah, and Jeremiah). All of the prophets gave reproofs, and so do the Gospels. Disciplines are necessary for the faithful as well as for the unfaithful.

Notice the repeated words in Chapter 5, all referring to God: fury/furious, judgment, anger, and zeal.

Ezek. 5:16 When I shall send upon them the evil arrows of famine, which shall be for their destruction, and which I will send to destroy you: and I will increase the famine upon you, and will break your staff of bread:

Ezek. 5:17 So will I send upon you famine and evil beasts, and they shall bereave thee; and pestilence and blood shall pass through thee; and I will bring the sword upon thee. I the LORD have spoken it.

Evil beasts were included in the judgments. Even the animals would seem to be against the unrighteous.

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