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Chapter 5

I. Ezekiel is instructed to shave his head and beard to signify the manner of Judah’s Destruction (5:1-4): A. “And thou, son of man, take thee a sharp sword; as a barber's razor shalt thou take it unto thee, and shalt cause it to pass upon thy head and upon thy beard: then take thee balances to weigh, and divide the hair. A third part shalt thou burn in the fire in the midst of the city, when the days of the siege are fulfilled; and thou shalt take a third part, and smite with the sword round about it; and a third part thou shalt scatter to the wind, and I will draw out a sword after them. And thou shalt take thereof a few in number, and bind them in thy skirts. And of these again shalt thou take, and cast them into the midst of the fire, and burn them in the fire; therefrom shall a fire come forth into all the house of Israel” (5:1-4). 1. After the 430 days are complete, Ezekiel is commanded to cut his hair off his head and beard and separate it into thirds using a scale. a). One third of the hair is to be burned in the fire and is symbolical of the way Jerusalem would fall after the siege (cf. II Kings 25:8-9). b). The second third of the cut hair was to be chopped up with a sword illustrating the manner in which many in Jerusalem would loose their lives. c). The third part of the hair was to be cast into the wind and seems to indicate that some would die of other causes such as disease and famine. Still others were to be taken captives to Babylon. 2. Hair was a sign of consecration of a priest Lev 21:4-5 (But he shall not defile himself, being a chief man among his people, to profane himself. They shall not make baldness upon their head, neither shall they shave off the corner of their beard, nor make any cuttings in their flesh.) a). It was the symbol of a Nazarene vow; b). In Jer. 41 it was a sign of catastrophe; c). From Job 1, Isa. 22, and Jer. 7, it was a sign of mourning. 3. Shaving one’s head and beard signified mourning, humiliation, and repentance. God told Ezekiel to shave his head and beard and then to divide the hair into three parts. Along with verbal prophecies, God asked Ezekiel to use dramatic visual images to command the people’s attention and to burn an indelible impression on their minds. 4. It is interesting that throughout the book of Jeremiah the prophet repeatedly refers to the three fold manner in which the inhabitants of Jerusalem would die (i.e., by sword, famine, and pestilence; cf. Jer. 14:11ff; 21:7; 24:10; 27:8; 29:17; 34:17 etc.). The cutting of the hair in thirds and the manner in which Jeremiah prophesied of Judah’s demise seem to be connected. a). The first third would be smitten by fire, judgment in the form pestilence, starvation, and tribulation. We are familiar with the refining of silver and gold, where you get the impurities out by using fire, but here in Ezekiel’s prophecy it is Israel that is being refined by fire. b). The second third would be killed by the sword when the city was destroyed. c). The last third of the people were scattered out; this group included those who went down to Egypt taking Jeremiah with them. d). The Lord tells Ezekiel to take a few that were scattered into the wind and attach them to his skirt (hairs represent people, “a remnant”, who were spared from the siege and taken captive to Babylon).

He has spoke and man is responsible for obeying. “Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Because ye are turbulent more than the nations that are round about you. 16:10). and have not walked in my statutes. 5. a very high expression of profaneness. but had so perverted and abused them that they had made them the excuse and color of their wickedness. The few strands of hair Ezekiel put in his garment symbolized the small remnant of faithful people whom God would preserve. and the place where the New Covenant Law would go forth (cf. instead of God’s institutions. this was changing the truth of God into a lie (Rom. 4:2. 14:11-12. 8:6. that the people had not only broken God’s laws. 16:12. a). the dwelling place of God (in Solomon’s temple). however. they have not walked in them” (5:5-6). 8:7). 6:20. 2. They introduced the abominable customs and usages of the heathen. God’s statutes are the terms on which he deals with men. But even some from this remnant would be judged and destroyed because their faith was not genuine. 1:25) and the glory of God into shame. Ezekiel helps us to define what it means to lack knowledge in God’s word and to pursue one’s own course in life. 5. were again to be burned. b). God proclaimed them sinful. She had “ rebelled against mine ordinances in doing wickedness more than the nations. 18:12). Judah considered their ways right. Ps. A contempt of the word and law of God opens a door to all manner of iniquity. 3. 8:8. Clearly we see that man’s thoughts do not determine righteousness. 9:14. She had been worse than the neighboring nations. however. and against my statutes more than the countries that are round about her. and against my statutes”. Jeremiah reveals that the people did what they thought was good rather than what God commanded as good (cf. 2:35. 1. II. And she hath rebelled against mine ordinances in doing wickedness more than the nations. and countries are round about her. those that refuse his terms cannot expect his favors. The remnant would suffer persecution and some would go astray. being wise and innocent when in all reality Jehovah God terms them rebellious. They believe that they are worshipping God in an acceptable way. “Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: This is Jerusalem. Herein is a lesson on the authority of God. 2:2ff). Judah considered their worship acceptable to the Lord (Jer. To rebel is to turn away from. Isa. Here was a city that the creator of all things chose to be the center of the course of history. . 11:8. When man does not obey he is clearly in rebellion. some of those hairs that he had spared. to whom she should have set a good example: 4.See Rev 8:7-12 where judgment by thirds is also referenced. 18:12). God’s people were aware of His laws yet they chose other paths to walk. neither have kept mine ordinances. Here we have the story of ungodly men and Jehovah Himself. Their biggest problem was that they had no knowledge of God’s laws and thereby could not follow them (Jer. Jerusalem was the city of David. 7:24.” Jeremiah tells us that the people of Judah considered themselves innocent in relation to sin against Jehovah God (Jer. Such action is termed “rebellion” and a “rejection of mine (God’s) ordinances. 26:2) and thought that they were wise (Jer. In Ezekiel 5:3-4. Jerusalem’s Gruesome Demise comes due to Her Great Sin (5:5-17): A. 11:15. Many today live in the same deluded state. I have set her in the midst of the nations. B. and as for my statutes. Jer. The remnant in Babylon would constitute the “whole house of Israel” after the destruction of Jerusalem. for they have rejected mine ordinances. neither have done after the ordinances of the nations that are round about e).

terrible famine that will lead to cannibalism. In the New Testament. 26:27-29. God’s anger was directed at Jerusalem. or any other wrong actions or attitudes to be a part of our lives. and a third part I will scatter unto all the winds. 19:9. Jer. She would suffer judgment in the sight of the nations. 21:5). Dt. C. These same conditions were encountered at the siege of Samaria (2 Kg 6:24–33. and e). The inhabitants of Judah were worse than the heathen nations round about them when it came to keeping their respective laws. 19:8–9). ch. 21:1–2. 11:22-23). The Lord affirmed that He would withdraw His presence from His people because they had defiled His temple with idols (cf. D. and I also will have no pity” (5:10-11). therefore will I also diminish [thee]. Jeremiah told the inhabitants of Judah that this terrible thing was soon to come to pass as well (Jer. and I will execute judgments on thee. 26:29. Public sin brings public judgment. that this should occur would be the enactment of the curses that sanctioned the Lord’s covenant (Lv. Lev. and with famine shall they be consumed in the midst of thee. 10:4. scattering and killing of a remnant. “A third part of thee shall die with the pestilence. 1. Priests and Nazarene were not even allowed to touch a corpse (Lv. the nation’s capital. 6:19). and will draw out a sword . Consider the fact that God had always warned Israel of such grotesque consequences if His people persist in their sin (cf. even I. 21:4). God would not have pity on them. We defile God’s temple today by allowing gossiping. Ezekiel’s prophecy underscores the severity of the crisis conditions predicted for the fall of Jerusalem. and with all thine abominations. “Therefore the fathers shall eat the sons in the midst of thee. Nm 6:7). as I live. and I will execute judgments in the midst of thee in the sight of the nations. And I will do in thee that which I have not done. especially v. love of money. violent death by sword or wild beasts. therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Behold. God is now set against Judah for her unlawful works. Our bodies are God’s temple (see 1 Cor. The elements in God’s judgment on the people for their sins can be enumerated in this way: a). It was a serious sin to defile the temple. meaning plagues and diseases associated with famine. 2. The clause “as I live” expresses a very solemn oath. It appears 14 times in Ezekiel. c). and whereunto I will not do any more the like. By asking the Holy Spirit’s help. 2. lying. judgment that will be worse in extent than ever before. we can keep from defiling his temple. It was unthinkable for any Israelite to practice cannibalism. 5. we learn that God now makes his home within those who are his. saith the Lord Jehovah. our bodies. b). d). and the sons shall eat their fathers. because thou hast defiled my sanctuary with all thy detestable things. and a third part shall fall by the sword round about thee. 4. by worshiping idols and practicing evil within its very walls. 3. Deut. I. because of all thine abominations” (5:7-9). neither shall mine eye spare. bitterness. because of her sin. The object of God’s special favor would soon become the object of His special judgment. am against thee. 3. 1. surely. more often than in any other prophetic book. God’s sanctuary. and the whole remnant of thee will I scatter unto all the winds. Jeremiah tells us that God would actually fight against Judah (cf. see Jr. 28:53–55. 8. 28:47-58). Wherefore. 29).you. pestilence.

Jeremiah frequently used the same formula (Jr. and recurs in 6:11–12. but God will bring the sword after them and they will be destroyed. 38:2. When the days come that their bread is gone and they are dying by the sword and pestilence they will know that God has spoken and that they are subjects of His divine wrath for their sinful deeds. Jehovah. 44:13). hath spoken in my zeal. 12:16. that are for destruction. Jehovah. and I will cause my wrath toward them to rest. 27:8. 7:15. have spoken it” (5:14-17). when I shall execute judgments on thee in anger and in wrath. and pestilence and blood shall pass through thee. But there will be a small remnant that God will preserve and out of that small remnant. Ezekiel’s three-part judgment formula (“famine. 2. and I will bring the sword upon thee: I. 22. which I will send to destroy you: and I will increase the famine upon you. and I will send upon you famine and evil beasts. 24:10. God will start over and He will ultimately bring them back into the land. and will break your staff of bread. Jer. and in wrathful rebukes.after them. Both prophets used the formula to indicate that judgment would be severe and extensive.” “plague. 3. unto the nations that are round about thee. When the other nations looked at the slaughter of Judah they would make up a taunt that reminded them of the consequences of rebellion against Jehovah God. The . Jehovah. 42:17. when I have accomplished my wrath upon them” (5:12-13). (I. 21:7. and they shall bereave thee. II Chron. So it shall be a reproach and a taunt. 14:21. When the inhabitants of Judah see the destruction come to pass that Jehovah’s prophets foretold they would “know that I. Synopsis of chapters 4 and 5 When one studies Ezekiel chapters 4 and 5 we are left with no questions regarding how God views sin. 32:24. have spoken it. the conditions were based on the curses of the Mosaic covenant (Lv. Thus shall mine anger be accomplished. Dt. and I shall be comforted.” E. and then the remaining third part will be scattered around.) when I shall send upon them the evil arrows of famine. When the Babylonian army comes in. in the sight of all that pass by. 1. 9. 13. 28:53–55). 14:12. 4.” During the captivity there were apparently some who were winnowed by the fires of persecution and one sits back in amazement to think that an individual would turn from God after being spared all that the Lord’s prophets said would come to pass. 2. Jehovah. 25:1-3). 36:15-16). and they shall know that I. 26:29. 1. 29:17–18.” and “sword”) appears here for the first time. 34:17. “Moreover I will make thee a desolation and a reproach among the nations that are round about thee. 36. an instruction and an astonishment. have spoken in my zeal. Here were a people who were dealt with patiently for a multitude of years yet grew further and further from God (cf. another third part of them will be wiped out with the sword. Though the Lord sought to turn them with the prophets they ignored their warnings and continued in their sinful ways (cf. When God has thoroughly outpoured His wrath it will satisfy Him and He shall be “comforted.

15). 11). and they prohibited idolatry (see Ex. This came as the result of the people’s idolatry—they had defiled God’s temple with detestable things and abominations (v. 20:3). 13). • with a full expenditure of God’s wrath (v. and • with the result of making God’s people an object lesson of warning among the on-looking neighbor nations (v. 11). The Ten Commandments were the foundation of all Mosaic legislation. these judgments would be accomplished: • without pity and with no hope of escape (v. Now was the time for the outpouring of God’s “anger” and “wrath”. see 11:18). In His covenant with His people.time of God’s patience had ended. 28:15–68). Further. God had promised to send these curses if the people chose to rebel against Him (Deut. . 7. The disobedient and rebellious people should not be surprised at the horror they were soon to face. evidencing their complete disregard for the Law (see vv. 6.