Ezekiel 1 to 5
Vison of the Holy Chariot ("Mercabah") representing the Divine Presence that was departing from Jerusalem when the Temple was being destroyed.
Ezekiel is commanded to speak to the Rebellious "House of Israel". Ezekiel receives the obligation of Prophecy.
Jerusalem shall be punished for 40 days, the House of Israel for 390 days. Famine is predicted.
Two Thirds of the inhabitants of Jerusalem and later two-thirds of all Israelites (?) will perish. There is an obligation to keep the Law.
The Book of Ezekiel
Chapters 1 to 5
Chapters with Brit-Am Commentary
Summary of Individual Chapters:
Chapter 1: Vison of the Holy Chariot ("Mercabah") representing the Divine Presence that was departing from Jerusalem when the Temple was being destroyed
Chapter 2: What is a "son of man". Ezekiel is commanded to speak to the Rebellious "House of Israel".
Chapter 3: Ezekiel receives the obligation of Prophecy.
Chapter 4: Jerusalem shall be punished for 40 days, the House of Israel for 390 days. Famine is predicted.
Chapter 5: Two Thrids of the inhabitants of Jerusalem and later two-thirds of all Israelites (?) will perish. There is an obligation to keep the Law.
Chapters with Brit-Am Commentary:
Ezekiel 1 to 5
Chapter 1: Historical Background:
King Hezekiah was a righteous monarch. In the time of Hezekiah the
last of the Ten Tribes and part of Judah were exiled by the Assyrians. These
exiles became the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel. Hezekiah was followed by his son,
who was wicked but later repented. After
who was also bad. The son of
Ammon was Josiah who was good.
King Josiah attempted to reform Judah and also worked for a reconciliation with
the Lost Ten Tribes in their places of exile. Josiah attempted to bring part of
the Ten Tribes back and was partially successful on a temporary basis. When he
died those few of the Ten Tribes who had returned and tried to resettle their
former lands abandoned the project and returned to their kinfolk amongst the
Scythians in the north. King Josiah had been killed fighting the Ruler of Egypt
on behalf of the Scythian Israelites.
says that if Josiah had have lived he may have averted the final calamity.
cf. <<THE BREATH OF OUR NOSTRILS, THE ANOINTED OF THE LORD, WAS TAKEN IN THEIR
PITS, OF WHOM WE SAID, UNDER HIS SHADOW WE SHALL LIVE AMONG THE HEATHEN
At the death of Josiah his son
ruled for three months after which
of Egypt deposed him, then reigned his brother,
son of Josiah. After eleven years
was taken into captivity to Babylon.
(son of Jehoiakim)
then reigned for three months when he too was taken to Babylon together with the
elite elements of Jerusalem. Only the lowly people of the land remained. They
were ruled over by King Zedekiah son of Josiah, brother of
and uncle of Jehoiakin.
Zedekiah also ruled for eleven years. He rebelled more than once against
Babylon. Consequently Jerusalem was completely destroyed and most of the rest of
[Ezekiel 1:1] NOW IT CAME TO PASS IN THE THIRTIETH YEAR, IN THE FOURTH MONTH, IN
THE FIFTH DAY OF THE MONTH, AS I WAS AMONG THE CAPTIVES BY THE RIVER OF CHEBAR,
THAT THE HEAVENS WERE OPENED, AND I SAW VISIONS OF GOD.
points out that Prophetic books start out with the time of the prophecy given
since events of the time determined the nature of the prophecy. This holds even
though the full import of the message was for the distant future. Ezekiel was
with those captives of Judah who had been taken into exile with
According to tradition Ezekiel had received the gift of prophecy while still in
the Land of Israel even though his book begins with his being in the land of
"THE RIVER OF CHEBAR":
Some say "Chebar" is another name for the River Euphrates. Others say that it
was actually a large irrigation channel or a branch of the Euphrates that had
been converted into an irrigation channel. At that time the irrigation works of
Mesopotamia (Iraq) were very sophisticated and superior to those now in use in
[Ezekiel 1:2] IN THE FIFTH DAY OF THE MONTH, WHICH WAS THE FIFTH YEAR OF KING
[Ezekiel 1:3] THE WORD OF THE LORD CAME EXPRESSLY UNTO EZEKIEL THE PRIEST, THE
SON OF BUZI, IN THE LAND OF THE CHALDEANS BY THE RIVER CHEBAR; AND THE HAND OF
THE LORD WAS THERE UPON HIM.
[Ezekiel 1:4] AND I LOOKED, AND, BEHOLD, A WHIRLWIND CAME OUT OF THE NORTH, A
GREAT CLOUD, AND A FIRE INFOLDING ITSELF, AND A BRIGHTNESS WAS ABOUT IT, AND OUT
OF THE MIDST THEREOF AS THE COLOUR OF AMBER, OUT OF THE MIDST OF THE
[Ezekiel 1:5] ALSO OUT OF THE MIDST THEREOF CAME THE LIKENESS OF FOUR LIVING
CREATURES. AND THIS WAS THEIR APPEARANCE; THEY HAD THE LIKENESS OF A MAN.
This whole section has been given
philosophical and mystical interpretations all of which we can learn from. In
the meantime for our part we must recognize that at our present level the deeper
meaning behind this passage is beyond our ken. For the time being do not dwell
on the deeper meaning of this vision just take it in as a general impression and
move onward to simpler passages.
"THEY HAD THE LIKENESS OF A MAN" i.e. they had the physical form of a man but
only one of the four faces was that of a man.
[Ezekiel 1:6] AND EVERY ONE HAD FOUR FACES, AND EVERY ONE HAD FOUR
[Ezekiel 1:7] AND THEIR FEET WERE STRAIGHT FEET; AND THE SOLE OF THEIR FEET WAS
LIKE THE SOLE OF A CALF'S FOOT: AND THEY SPARKLED LIKE THE COLOUR OF BURNISHED
[Ezekiel 1:8] AND THEY HAD THE HANDS OF A MAN UNDER THEIR WINGS ON THEIR FOUR
SIDES; AND THEY FOUR HAD THEIR FACES AND THEIR WINGS.
[Ezekiel 1:9] THEIR WINGS WERE JOINED ONE TO ANOTHER; THEY TURNED NOT WHEN THEY
WENT; THEY WENT EVERY ONE STRAIGHT FORWARD.
[Ezekiel 1:10] AS FOR THE LIKENESS OF THEIR FACES, THEY FOUR HAD THE FACE OF A
MAN, AND THE FACE OF A LION, ON THE RIGHT SIDE: AND THEY FOUR HAD THE FACE OF AN
OX ON THE LEFT SIDE; THEY FOUR ALSO HAD THE FACE OF AN EAGLE.
There were four angels and each angel
had four faces.
[Ezekiel 1:11] THUS WERE THEIR FACES: AND THEIR WINGS WERE STRETCHED UPWARD; TWO
WINGS OF EVERY ONE WERE JOINED ONE TO ANOTHER, AND TWO COVERED THEIR
[Ezekiel 1:12] AND THEY WENT EVERY ONE STRAIGHT FORWARD: WHITHER THE SPIRIT WAS
TO GO, THEY WENT; AND THEY TURNED NOT WHEN THEY WENT.
[Ezekiel 1:13] AS FOR THE LIKENESS OF THE LIVING CREATURES, THEIR APPEARANCE WAS
LIKE BURNING COALS OF FIRE, AND LIKE THE APPEARANCE OF LAMPS: IT WENT UP AND
DOWN AMONG THE LIVING CREATURES; AND THE FIRE WAS BRIGHT, AND OUT OF THE FIRE
WENT FORTH LIGHTNING.
[Ezekiel 1:14] AND THE LIVING CREATURES RAN AND RETURNED AS THE APPEARANCE OF A
FLASH OF LIGHTNING.
[Ezekiel 1:15] NOW AS I BEHELD THE LIVING CREATURES, BEHOLD ONE WHEEL UPON THE
EARTH BY THE LIVING CREATURES, WITH HIS FOUR FACES.
[Ezekiel 1:16] THE APPEARANCE OF THE WHEELS AND THEIR WORK WAS LIKE UNTO THE
COLOUR OF A BERYL: AND THEY FOUR HAD ONE LIKENESS: AND THEIR APPEARANCE AND
THEIR WORK WAS AS IT WERE A WHEEL IN THE MIDDLE OF A WHEEL.
[Ezekiel 1:17] WHEN THEY WENT, THEY WENT UPON THEIR FOUR SIDES: AND THEY TURNED
NOT WHEN THEY WENT.
[Ezekiel 1:18] AS FOR THEIR RINGS, THEY WERE SO HIGH THAT THEY WERE DREADFUL;
AND THEIR RINGS WERE FULL OF EYES ROUND ABOUT THEM FOUR.
"RINGS" the word translated as "rings"
more properly should be rendered as "backs".
[Ezekiel 1:19] AND WHEN THE LIVING CREATURES WENT, THE WHEELS WENT BY THEM: AND
WHEN THE LIVING CREATURES WERE LIFTED UP FROM THE EARTH, THE WHEELS WERE LIFTED
[Ezekiel 1:20] WHITHERSOEVER THE SPIRIT WAS TO GO, THEY WENT, THITHER WAS THEIR
SPIRIT TO GO; AND THE WHEELS WERE LIFTED UP OVER AGAINST THEM: FOR THE SPIRIT OF
THE LIVING CREATURE WAS IN THE WHEELS.
[Ezekiel 1:21] WHEN THOSE WENT, THESE WENT; AND WHEN THOSE STOOD, THESE STOOD;
AND WHEN THOSE WERE LIFTED UP FROM THE EARTH, THE WHEELS WERE LIFTED UP OVER
AGAINST THEM: FOR THE SPIRIT OF THE LIVING CREATURE WAS IN THE WHEELS.
"LIVING CREATURE" is "Chayah";
"Wheel" is "Ofen".
and "Ofen" are considered to be the names of different grades of angels. When
at in this light the passage receives a different aspect, i.e. there were two
grades of angels and the higher grade transmitted power to the
[Ezekiel 1:22] AND THE LIKENESS OF THE FIRMAMENT UPON THE HEADS OF THE LIVING
CREATURE WAS AS THE COLOUR OF THE TERRIBLE CRYSTAL, STRETCHED FORTH OVER THEIR
"CRYSTAL" in Hebrew "Korach"
also translated as "Ice"
[Ezekiel 1:23] AND UNDER THE FIRMAMENT WERE THEIR WINGS STRAIGHT, THE ONE TOWARD
THE OTHER: EVERY ONE HAD TWO, WHICH COVERED ON THIS SIDE, AND EVERY ONE HAD TWO,
WHICH COVERED ON THAT SIDE, THEIR BODIES.
[Ezekiel 1:24] AND WHEN THEY WENT, I HEARD THE NOISE OF THEIR WINGS, LIKE THE
NOISE OF GREAT WATERS, AS THE VOICE OF THE ALMIGHTY, THE VOICE OF SPEECH, AS THE
NOISE OF AN HOST: WHEN THEY STOOD, THEY LET DOWN THEIR
[Ezekiel 1:25] AND THERE WAS A VOICE FROM THE FIRMAMENT THAT WAS OVER THEIR
HEADS, WHEN THEY STOOD, AND HAD LET DOWN THEIR WINGS.
[Ezekiel 1:26] AND ABOVE THE FIRMAMENT THAT WAS OVER THEIR HEADS WAS THE
LIKENESS OF A THRONE, AS THE APPEARANCE OF A SAPPHIRE STONE: AND UPON THE
LIKENESS OF THE THRONE WAS THE LIKENESS AS THE APPEARANCE OF A MAN ABOVE UPON
"LIKENESS AS THE APPEARANCE OF A MAN":
God has no form and it is forbidden to ascribe form to God.
<<I AM THE LORD THY GOD, WHICH HAVE BROUGHT THEE OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT, OUT
OF THE HOUSE OF BONDAGE.
HAVE NO OTHER GODS BEFORE ME.
NOT MAKE UNTO THEE ANY GRAVEN IMAGE, OR ANY LIKENESS OF ANY THING THAT IS IN
HEAVEN ABOVE, OR THAT IS IN THE EARTH BENEATH, OR THAT IS IN THE WATER
UNDER THE EARTH [Exodus 20:-2-4].
Nevertheless this "Likeness" in the
vision of Ezekiel somehow or other represented the Divine Presence of God that
was departing from Jerusalem when the Temple was being
[Ezekiel 1:27] AND I SAW AS THE COLOUR OF AMBER, AS THE APPEARANCE OF FIRE ROUND
ABOUT WITHIN IT, FROM THE APPEARANCE OF HIS LOINS EVEN UPWARD, AND FROM THE
APPEARANCE OF HIS LOINS EVEN DOWNWARD, I SAW AS IT WERE THE APPEARANCE OF FIRE,
AND IT HAD BRIGHTNESS ROUND ABOUT.
[Ezekiel 1:28] AS THE APPEARANCE OF THE BOW THAT IS IN THE CLOUD IN THE DAY OF
RAIN, SO WAS THE APPEARANCE OF THE BRIGHTNESS ROUND ABOUT. THIS WAS THE
APPEARANCE OF THE LIKENESS OF THE GLORY OF THE LORD. AND WHEN I SAW IT, I FELL
UPON MY FACE, AND I HEARD A VOICE OF ONE THAT SPAKE.
[Ezekiel 2:1] AND HE SAID UNTO ME, SON OF MAN, STAND UPON THY FEET, AND I WILL
SPEAK UNTO THEE.
"SON OF MAN" in Hebrew "Ben-Adam". The expression "son of" can also denote
"belonging to the category of".
The basic instincts of a being include:
3. Self-expression either at the individual level or as part of the group.
A person tries to reconcile these three basic instincts and fulfill all of them
at once. At all events the third category of self-expression is the highest and
the one we all ultimately yearn after in some way. The Prophet is a person who
has reached the highest plane a human being can strive for. He has fulfilled the
definition of "man" at its highest level. He is a "son of man".
[Ezekiel 2:2] AND THE SPIRIT ENTERED INTO ME WHEN HE SPAKE UNTO ME, AND SET ME
UPON MY FEET, THAT I HEARD HIM THAT SPAKE UNTO ME.
He spoke through the spirit but in most such cases he would have had to achieve
a high level previously through his own efforts.
[Ezekiel 2:3] AND HE SAID UNTO ME, SON OF MAN, I SEND THEE TO THE CHILDREN OF
ISRAEL, TO A REBELLIOUS NATION THAT HATH REBELLED AGAINST ME: THEY AND THEIR
FATHERS HAVE TRANSGRESSED AGAINST ME, EVEN UNTO THIS VERY DAY.
"CHILDREN OF ISRAEL" in most of the Prophets it is usually clear whether "Judah"
is being addressed or the Ten Tribes of "Israel" or both together. With Ezekiel
this is not so. In some cases Ezekiel uses the expression "Israel" when he
appears to be only addressing Judah.
"TO A REBELLIOUS NATION" in Hebrew it says "al Goyim
HaMordim" i.e. "to
Rebellious Peoples" in the plural. The People of Israel are referred to as
[Ezekiel 2:4] FOR THEY ARE IMPUDENT CHILDREN AND STIFFHEARTED. I DO SEND THEE
UNTO THEM; AND THOU SHALT SAY UNTO THEM, THUS SAITH THE LORD
[Ezekiel 2:5] AND THEY, WHETHER THEY WILL HEAR, OR WHETHER THEY WILL FORBEAR,
(FOR THEY ARE A REBELLIOUS HOUSE,) YET SHALL KNOW THAT THERE HATH BEEN A PROPHET
[Ezekiel 2:6] AND THOU, SON OF MAN, BE NOT AFRAID OF THEM, NEITHER BE AFRAID OF
THEIR WORDS, THOUGH BRIERS AND THORNS BE WITH THEE, AND THOU DOST DWELL AMONG
SCORPIONS: BE NOT AFRAID OF THEIR WORDS, NOR BE DISMAYED AT THEIR LOOKS, THOUGH
THEY BE A REBELLIOUS HOUSE.
[Ezekiel 2:7] AND THOU SHALT SPEAK MY WORDS UNTO THEM, WHETHER THEY WILL HEAR,
OR WHETHER THEY WILL FORBEAR: FOR THEY ARE MOST REBELLIOUS.
[Ezekiel 2:8] BUT THOU, SON OF MAN, HEAR WHAT I SAY UNTO THEE; BE NOT THOU
REBELLIOUS LIKE THAT REBELLIOUS HOUSE: OPEN THY MOUTH, AND EAT THAT I GIVE
[Ezekiel 2:9] AND WHEN I LOOKED, BEHOLD, AN HAND WAS SENT UNTO ME; AND, LO, A
ROLL OF A BOOK WAS THEREIN;
[Ezekiel 2:10] AND HE SPREAD IT BEFORE ME; AND IT WAS WRITTEN WITHIN AND
WITHOUT: AND THERE WAS WRITTEN THEREIN LAMENTATIONS, AND MOURNING, AND WOE.
[Ezekiel 3:1] MOREOVER HE SAID UNTO ME, SON OF MAN, EAT THAT THOU FINDEST; EAT
THIS ROLL, AND GO SPEAK UNTO THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL.
[Ezekiel 3:2] SO I OPENED MY MOUTH, AND HE CAUSED ME TO EAT THAT
[Ezekiel 3:3] AND HE SAID UNTO ME, SON OF MAN, CAUSE THY BELLY TO EAT, AND FILL
THY BOWELS WITH THIS ROLL THAT I GIVE THEE. THEN DID I EAT IT; AND IT WAS IN MY
MOUTH AS HONEY FOR SWEETNESS.
On the one hand Ezekiel (as we shall see) was bitter and distraught about the
impending destruction of the Temple and about the disasters he would have to
predict concerning Judah. One the other hand he was being revealed the truth. He
was also to prophecy concerning the future redemption and reconciliation. The
spirit of the Almighty entered into him and he felt a great strength. This was
The Commentator "Metzudot David" says that the commandment to eat the scroll
should not be understood literally. Ezekiel was commanded to study and absorb it
and make it part of himself.
[Ezekiel 3:4] AND HE SAID UNTO ME, SON OF MAN, GO, GET THEE UNTO THE HOUSE OF
ISRAEL, AND SPEAK WITH MY WORDS UNTO THEM.
[Ezekiel 3:5] FOR THOU ART NOT SENT TO A PEOPLE OF A STRANGE SPEECH AND OF AN
HARD LANGUAGE, BUT TO THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL;
[Ezekiel 3:6] NOT TO MANY PEOPLE OF A STRANGE SPEECH AND OF AN HARD LANGUAGE,
WHOSE WORDS THOU CANST NOT UNDERSTAND. SURELY, HAD I SENT THEE TO THEM, THEY
WOULD HAVE HEARKENED UNTO THEE.
If there had been a willingness to listen and understand the message would have
[Ezekiel 3:7] BUT THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL WILL NOT HEARKEN UNTO THEE; FOR THEY WILL
NOT HEARKEN UNTO ME: FOR ALL THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL ARE IMPUDENT AND
[Ezekiel 3:8] BEHOLD, I HAVE MADE THY FACE STRONG AGAINST THEIR FACES, AND THY
FOREHEAD STRONG AGAINST THEIR FOREHEADS.
[Ezekiel 3:9] AS AN ADAMANT HARDER THAN FLINT HAVE I MADE THY FOREHEAD: FEAR
THEM NOT, NEITHER BE DISMAYED AT THEIR LOOKS, THOUGH THEY BE A REBELLIOUS
[Ezekiel 3:10] MOREOVER HE SAID UNTO ME, SON OF MAN, ALL MY WORDS THAT I SHALL
SPEAK UNTO THEE RECEIVE IN THINE HEART, AND HEAR WITH THINE
[Ezekiel 3:11] AND GO, GET THEE TO THEM OF THE CAPTIVITY, UNTO THE CHILDREN OF
THY PEOPLE, AND SPEAK UNTO THEM, AND TELL THEM, THUS SAITH THE LORD GOD; WHETHER
THEY WILL HEAR, OR WHETHER THEY WILL FORBEAR.
[Ezekiel 3:12] THEN THE SPIRIT TOOK ME UP, AND I HEARD BEHIND ME A VOICE OF A
GREAT RUSHING, SAYING, BLESSED BE THE GLORY OF THE LORD FROM HIS
[Ezekiel 3:13] I HEARD ALSO THE NOISE OF THE WINGS OF THE LIVING CREATURES THAT
TOUCHED ONE ANOTHER, AND THE NOISE OF THE WHEELS OVER AGAINST THEM, AND A NOISE
OF A GREAT RUSHING.
It was as if he had a flashback to his previous vision about the Divine Chariot
and was once more in the presence of angels.
[Ezekiel 3:14] SO THE SPIRIT LIFTED ME UP, AND TOOK ME AWAY, AND I WENT IN
BITTERNESS, IN THE HEAT OF MY SPIRIT; BUT THE HAND OF THE LORD WAS STRONG UPON
"I WENT IN BITTERNESS": Ezekiel was upset abut the situation. He may have been
depressed. Maimonides once quoted Aristotle to the effect that all great men
have a tendency towards depression. Even the bad qualities that we have are
often good ones that we are not utilizing properly.
[Ezekiel 3:15] THEN I CAME TO THEM OF THE CAPTIVITY AT TELABIB, THAT DWELT BY
THE RIVER OF CHEBAR, AND I SAT WHERE THEY SAT, AND REMAINED THERE ASTONISHED
AMONG THEM SEVEN DAYS.
"TELABIB" pronounced as Tel Aviv. The name literally means "The Hill of Spring".
Theodore Herzl (1860-1904)
was one of the primary founders of the Zionist Movement in its modern form. He
wrote a book called Altneuland (Old New Land, 1902). This was translated into
Hebrew as "Tell Aviv". Later the name was given to a Jewish settlement besides
the Port of Jaffa. The settlement later became the largest city in the State of
Israel. When I first came to Israel I used to enjoy visiting Tel Aviv. Nowadays
I keep away or make my visits short. It is still a nice sea-side city and worth
visiting but I prefer other parts of Israel.
[Ezekiel 3:16] AND IT CAME TO PASS AT THE END OF SEVEN DAYS, THAT THE WORD OF
THE LORD CAME UNTO ME, SAYING,
[Ezekiel 3:17] SON OF MAN, I HAVE MADE THEE A WATCHMAN UNTO THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL:
THEREFORE HEAR THE WORD AT MY MOUTH, AND GIVE THEM WARNING FROM
[Ezekiel 3:18] WHEN I SAY UNTO THE WICKED, THOU SHALT SURELY DIE; AND THOU
GIVEST HIM NOT WARNING, NOR SPEAKEST TO WARN THE WICKED FROM HIS WICKED WAY, TO
SAVE HIS LIFE; THE SAME WICKED MAN SHALL DIE IN HIS INIQUITY; BUT HIS BLOOD WILL
I REQUIRE AT THINE HAND.
The person who sins will be punished for his sin.
If however you have the wherewithal to effectually rebuke the sinner and
perhaps cause him to repent and you do not use this gift then you too will be
punished. We are to be held accountable not only for the bad we did but also but
the good we could have done and did not do it.
[Ezekiel 3:19] YET IF THOU WARN THE WICKED, AND HE TURN NOT FROM HIS WICKEDNESS,
NOR FROM HIS WICKED WAY, HE SHALL DIE IN HIS INIQUITY; BUT THOU HAST DELIVERED
You may not be successful in trying to help others reform themselves but at
least you will have fulfilled your duty. It will not be your fault in any
[Ezekiel 3:20] AGAIN, WHEN A RIGHTEOUS MAN DOTH TURN FROM HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND
COMMIT INIQUITY, AND I LAY A STUMBLING-BLOCK BEFORE HIM, HE SHALL DIE: BECAUSE
THOU HAST NOT GIVEN HIM WARNING, HE SHALL DIE IN HIS SIN, AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS
WHICH HE HATH DONE SHALL NOT BE REMEMBERED; BUT HIS BLOOD WILL I REQUIRE AT
"HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS WHICH HE HATH DONE SHALL NOT BE REMEMBERED": The Sages said
that according to its plain meaning this is not exactly so. They say that a
person gets rewarded for his good deeds and punished for his bad ones. One does
not exactly wipe out the other though good deeds can cause the punishment for
bad ones to be mitigated, changed for the better, or put aside. When therefore
does the above verse apply" When a person regrets the good deeds he has done,
then his righteousness will not be remembered.
[Ezekiel 3:21] NEVERTHELESS IF THOU WARN THE RIGHTEOUS MAN, THAT THE RIGHTEOUS
SIN NOT, AND HE DOTH NOT SIN, HE SHALL SURELY LIVE, BECAUSE HE IS WARNED; ALSO
THOU HAST DELIVERED THY SOUL.
Even righteous people can slip up and need to be constantly warned to look out
[Ezekiel 3:22] AND THE HAND OF THE LORD WAS THERE UPON ME; AND HE SAID UNTO ME,
ARISE, GO FORTH INTO THE PLAIN, AND I WILL THERE TALK WITH
[Ezekiel 3:23] THEN I AROSE, AND WENT FORTH INTO THE PLAIN: AND, BEHOLD, THE
GLORY OF THE LORD STOOD THERE, AS THE GLORY WHICH I SAW BY THE RIVER OF CHEBAR:
AND I FELL ON MY FACE.
"WENT FORTH INTO THE PLAIN": The
Radak(Kimchi) suggests that this was the same
plain mentioned in Genesis 11:
<<AND THE WHOLE EARTH WAS OF ONE LANGUAGE, AND OF ONE
<<AND IT CAME TO PASS, AS THEY JOURNEYED FROM THE EAST, THAT THEY FOUND A
PLAIN IN THE LAND OF SHINAR; AND THEY DWELT THERE [Genesis 11:1-2].
then built the Tower of Babylon (Babel) and consequently had their languages
confused and were scattered over the fact of the earth. Something similar was
about to happen to the Children of Israel (especially to Judah) and Ezekiel was
about to prophesy about it.
"AS THE GLORY WHICH I SAW BY THE RIVER OF
CHEBAR": Once more he saw the vision
of the Divine Chariot as he had done by the River
Chebar. The Divine presence
was leaving Jerusalem and going into Exile.
[Ezekiel 3:24] THEN THE SPIRIT ENTERED INTO ME, AND SET ME UPON MY FEET, AND
SPAKE WITH ME, AND SAID UNTO ME, GO, SHUT THYSELF WITHIN THINE
[Ezekiel 3:25] BUT THOU, O SON OF MAN, BEHOLD, THEY SHALL PUT BANDS UPON THEE,
AND SHALL BIND THEE WITH THEM, AND THOU SHALT NOT GO OUT AMONG
[Ezekiel 3:26] AND I WILL MAKE THY TONGUE CLEAVE TO THE ROOF OF THY MOUTH, THAT
THOU SHALT BE DUMB, AND SHALT NOT BE TO THEM A REPROVER: FOR THEY ARE A
Ezekiel was commanded to go into his house and regard himself as if he was a
prisoner who could not leave and a dumb person who could not speak, until God
would give him the message and send him to speak.
[Ezekiel 3:27] BUT WHEN I SPEAK WITH THEE, I WILL OPEN THY MOUTH, AND THOU SHALT
SAY UNTO THEM, THUS SAITH THE LORD GOD; HE THAT HEARETH, LET HIM HEAR; AND HE
THAT FORBEARETH, LET HIM FORBEAR: FOR THEY ARE A REBELLIOUS
[Ezekiel 4:1] THOU ALSO, SON OF MAN, TAKE THEE A TILE, AND LAY IT BEFORE THEE,
AND PORTRAY UPON IT THE CITY, EVEN JERUSALEM:
[Ezekiel 4:2] AND LAY SIEGE AGAINST IT, AND BUILD A FORT AGAINST IT, AND CAST A
MOUNT AGAINST IT; SET THE CAMP ALSO AGAINST IT, AND SET BATTERING RAMS AGAINST
IT ROUND ABOUT.
Ezekiel was told to do a physical action that would symbolize a
larger event. Reversely we should realize that even small physical things that
we do can have great significance on a spiritual level.
[Ezekiel 4:3] MOREOVER TAKE THOU UNTO THEE AN IRON PAN, AND SET IT FOR A WALL OF
IRON BETWEEN THEE AND THE CITY: AND SET THY FACE AGAINST IT, AND IT SHALL BE
BESIEGED, AND THOU SHALT LAY SIEGE AGAINST IT. THIS SHALL BE A SIGN TO THE HOUSE
<<THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL: here "House of Israel" is referring to the northern
[Ezekiel 4:4] LIE THOU ALSO UPON THY LEFT SIDE, AND LAY THE INIQUITY OF THE
HOUSE OF ISRAEL UPON IT: ACCORDING TO THE NUMBER OF THE DAYS THAT THOU SHALT LIE
UPON IT THOU SHALT BEAR THEIR INIQUITY.
<<UPON THY LEFT SIDE: In Hebrew "left" is "smal" which also connotes "north",
i.e. the "House of Israel" of the Ten tribes was to the north of Judah. A clan
of Gad was known as "Tsifion" which can also mean "north": <<AND THE SONS OF
GAD; ZIPHION>> [Genesis 46:16]. We have suggested that "Tsifion" populated
the area known as "Smal" in north Syria adjoining the
Dananu of Dan and the
of Judah. Similarly the important province of
Smaland (Smal-land) in Sweden
also relates to Ziphion of Gad.
[Ezekiel 4:5] FOR I HAVE LAID UPON THEE THE YEARS OF THEIR INIQUITY, ACCORDING
TO THE NUMBER OF THE DAYS, THREE HUNDRED AND NINETY DAYS: SO SHALT THOU BEAR
THE INIQUITY OF THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL.
[Ezekiel 4:6] AND WHEN THOU HAST ACCOMPLISHED THEM, LIE AGAIN ON THY RIGHT SIDE,
AND THOU SHALT BEAR THE INIQUITY OF THE HOUSE OF JUDAH FORTY DAYS: I HAVE
APPOINTED THEE EACH DAY FOR A YEAR.
390 days for northern Israel.
40 days for Judah.
Commentators have offered various explanations for these numbers. They usually
translate them into years saying that 390 days = 390 years and 40 days = 40
years. They also try to explain them in terms of historical events and processes
that took place before the time of Ezekiel. These explanations are not
convincing to us. Ezekiel was prophesying concerning the future. The days may
really only be "days" and not years and the solution (at least in its full
sense) is most likely yet to come.
[Ezekiel 4:7] THEREFORE THOU SHALT SET THY FACE TOWARD THE SIEGE OF JERUSALEM,
AND THINE ARM SHALL BE UNCOVERED, AND THOU SHALT PROPHESY AGAINST
[Ezekiel 4:8] AND, BEHOLD, I WILL LAY BANDS UPON THEE, AND THOU SHALT NOT TURN
THEE FROM ONE SIDE TO ANOTHER, TILL THOU HAST ENDED THE DAYS OF THY
[Ezekiel 4:9] TAKE THOU ALSO UNTO THEE WHEAT, AND BARLEY, AND BEANS, AND
LENTILES, AND MILLET, AND FITCHES, AND PUT THEM IN ONE VESSEL, AND MAKE THEE
BREAD THEREOF, ACCORDING TO THE NUMBER OF THE DAYS THAT THOU SHALT LIE UPON THY
SIDE, THREE HUNDRED AND NINETY DAYS SHALT THOU EAT
[Ezekiel 4:10] AND THY MEAT WHICH THOU SHALT EAT SHALL BE BY WEIGHT, TWENTY
SHEKELS A DAY: FROM TIME TO TIME SHALT THOU EAT IT.
[Ezekiel 4:11] THOU SHALT DRINK ALSO WATER BY MEASURE, THE SIXTH PART OF AN HIN:
FROM TIME TO TIME SHALT THOU DRINK.
[Ezekiel 4:12] AND THOU SHALT EAT IT AS BARLEY CAKES, AND THOU SHALT BAKE IT
WITH DUNG THAT COMETH OUT OF MAN, IN THEIR SIGHT.
[Ezekiel 4:13] AND THE LORD SAID, EVEN THUS SHALL THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL EAT
THEIR DEFILED BREAD AMONG THE GENTILES, WHITHER I WILL DRIVE
[Ezekiel 4:14] THEN SAID I, AH LORD GOD! BEHOLD, MY SOUL HATH NOT BEEN POLLUTED:
FOR FROM MY YOUTH UP EVEN TILL NOW HAVE I NOT EATEN OF THAT WHICH DIETH OF
ITSELF, OR IS TORN IN PIECES; NEITHER CAME THERE ABOMINABLE FLESH INTO MY
[Ezekiel 4:15] THEN HE SAID UNTO ME, LO, I HAVE GIVEN THEE COW'S DUNG FOR MAN'S
DUNG, AND THOU SHALT PREPARE THY BREAD THEREWITH.
[Ezekiel 4:16] MOREOVER HE SAID UNTO ME, SON OF MAN, BEHOLD, I WILL BREAK THE
STAFF OF BREAD IN JERUSALEM: AND THEY SHALL EAT BREAD BY WEIGHT, AND WITH CARE;
AND THEY SHALL DRINK WATER BY MEASURE, AND WITH
[Ezekiel 4:17] THAT THEY MAY WANT BREAD AND WATER, AND BE ASTONISHED ONE WITH
ANOTHER, AND CONSUME AWAY FOR THEIR INIQUITY.
[Ezekiel 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.
"THEE BALANCES TO WEIGH, AND DIVIDE THE HAIR: One opinion says this is
figurative and that they did not have such sensitive scales in those days. I
however would hesitate to underestimate the technological capability of the
Ancient Israelites and neighboring peoples at some stages. This aspect of weighing was seen (Breuer) to
emphasize the Divine Providence in the events predicted as against mere caprice.
[Ezekiel 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.
Ezekiel is referring to the fate of Jerusalem on the simple level. One third
destroyed within the city, another third in the area around about, and the last
third scattered and exiled. A similar use of dividing into threes concerning a
coming calamity was found in Zechariah. Compare the verses and our commentary
<< AND IT SHALL COME TO PASS, THAT IN ALL THE LAND,
SAITH THE LORD, TWO PARTS
THEREIN SHALL BE CUT OFF AND DIE; BUT THE THIRD SHALL BE LEFT
<< AND I WILL BRING THE THIRD PART THROUGH THE FIRE, AND WILL REFINE THEM AS
SILVER IS REFINED, AND WILL TRY THEM AS GOLD IS TRIED: THEY SHALL CALL ON MY
NAME, AND I WILL HEAR THEM: I WILL SAY, IT IS MY PEOPLE: AND THEY SHALL SAY, THE
LORD IS MY GOD [Zechariah 13:8-9].
The general explanation suggested is that some calamity will occur.
Two-thirds of the world"s people (including, by implication, two-thirds of the
Israelites") will perish. Part of the remaining third of non-Israelites and
Israelites by descent will then accept the faith of Israel and identify as
Israelites BUT then will come the troubles of
Magog. There will be
persecutions and the threat of extinction. Most of the non-Israelites who
accepted the Israelite faith will back out and it will be mainly those of
Israelite descent who remain attached to Israelite religion.
[Ezekiel 5:3] THOU SHALT ALSO TAKE THEREOF A FEW IN NUMBER, AND BIND THEM IN THY
[Ezekiel 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.
Here the indication is that the prophecy concerns all the House of Israel (i.e.
including the Ten Tribes) but the specifics seem to indicate primarily Jerusalem
[Ezekiel 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.
"I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England's green and pleasant land"
William Blake (1757-1827)
Is "JERUSALEM" always the literal Jerusalem in Scripture" It can
also represent Judah in general. But can "JERUSALEM" in some contexts be also
applicable to the Lost Ten Tribes" Just when I was considering this question I
received in the mail a booklet from British Israel in the UK. It contains a
review by Michael A. Clark of a book titled "New Jerusalem" by Adrian Gilbert.
"New Jerusalem" means London. In 1666 there was the Great Fire of London after
which part of the city had to be rebuilt. According to Mr. Clark (reviewing "New
Jerusalem" by Adrian Gilbert):
"Sir Christopher Wren, who was a leading figure in the newly formed
Royal Society, led the group charged with this task [of designing the rebuilding
of London] by Charles II. The direction that the rebuilding of this new city
took was entirely shaped by the mystical and scientific beliefs of this group.
They believed that Britain had a predestined role as the new Israel, and London
was waiting to take up its position as the prophesied New Jerusalem."
[Ezekiel 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.
We have not kept the Law nor the will of the Almighty as we should have
[Ezekiel 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;
We have not kept the judgments of God, nor even have we done as well on a moral
level as the non-Israelite nations around us.
[Ezekiel 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
[Ezekiel 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
[Ezekiel 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
[Ezekiel 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.
[Ezekiel 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 retribution is predicted against us and we divided into three
part only one of which is to survive"
[Ezekiel 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
[Ezekiel 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
[Ezekiel 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
These predictions were fulfilled in the disasters that overcame the
inhabitants of Jerusalem. The question is what does the future hold" OK everyone
here (on this list) is a believer and probably lives a fairly righteous
existence. How can we better ourselves" How much obligation do we have towards
others" How can we help them" How can we help ourselves" Where does the solution
[Ezekiel 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
[Ezekiel 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 HE LORD HAVE SPOKEN IT.