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Eze 4:1-17. SYMBOLICAL VISION OF THE SIEGE AND THE INIQUITY-BEARING.
2. fort--rather, "watch-tower"
wherein the besiegers could watch the movements of the besieged
[GESENIUS]. A wall of circumvallation
[Septuagint and ROSENMULLER]. A kind of
battering-ram [MAURER]. The first view is best.
3. iron pan--the divine decree as to the Chaldean army investing the
4. Another symbolical act performed at the same time as the former,
in vision, not in external action, wherein it would have been only
puerile: narrated as a thing ideally done, it would make a vivid
impression. The second action is supplementary to the first, to bring
out more fully the same prophetic idea.
5. three hundred and ninety days--The three hundred ninety years of punishment appointed for Israel, and forty for Judah, cannot refer to the siege of Jerusalem. That siege is referred to in Eze 4:1-3, and in a sense restricted to the literal siege, but comprehending the whole train of punishment to be inflicted for their sin; therefore we read here merely of its sore pressure, not of its result. The sum of three hundred ninety and forty years is four hundred thirty, a period famous in the history of the covenant-people, being that of their sojourn in Egypt (Ex 12:40, 41; Ga 3:17). The forty alludes to the forty years in the wilderness. Elsewhere (De 28:68; Ho 9:3), God threatened to bring them back to Egypt, which must mean, not Egypt literally, but a bondage as bad as that one in Egypt. So now God will reduce them to a kind of new Egyptian bondage to the world: Israel, the greater transgressor, for a longer period than Judah (compare Eze 20:35-38). Not the whole of the four hundred thirty years of the Egypt state is appointed to Israel; but this shortened by the forty years of the wilderness sojourn, to imply, that a way is open to their return to life by their having the Egypt state merged into that of the wilderness; that is, by ceasing from idolatry and seeking in their sifting and sore troubles, through God's covenant, a restoration to righteousness and peace [FAIRBAIRN]. The three hundred ninety, in reference to the sin of Israel, was also literally true, being the years from the setting up of the calves by Jeroboam (1Ki 12:20-33), that is, from 975 to 583 B.C.: about the year of the Babylonians captivity; and perhaps the forty of Judah refers to that part of Manasseh's fifty-five years' reign in which he had not repented, and which, we are expressly told, was the cause of God's removal of Judah, notwithstanding Josiah's reformation (1Ki 21:10-16; 2Ki 23:26, 27).
6. each day for a year--literally, "a day for a year, a day for a year." Twice repeated, to mark more distinctly the reference to Nu 14:34. The picturing of the future under the image of the past, wherein the meaning was far from lying on the surface, was intended to arouse to a less superficial mode of thinking, just as the partial veiling of truth in Jesus' parables was designed to stimulate inquiry; also to remind men that God's dealings in the past are a key to the future, for He moves on the same everlasting principles, the forms alone being transitory.
7. arm . . . uncovered--to be ready for action, which
the long Oriental garment usually covering it would prevent
9. wheat . . . barley, &c.--Instead of simple flour
used for delicate cakes
the Jews should have a coarse mixture of six different kinds of grain,
such as the poorest alone would eat.
11. sixth . . . of . . . hin--about a pint and a half.
12. dung--as fuel; so the Arabs use beasts' dung, wood fuel being scarce. But to use human dung so implies the most cruel necessity. It was in violation of the law (De 14:3; 23:12-14); it must therefore have been done only in vision.
13. Implying that Israel's peculiar distinction was to be abolished and that they were to be outwardly blended with the idolatrous heathen (De 28:68; Ho 9:3).
14. Ezekiel, as a priest, had been accustomed to the strictest
abstinence from everything legally impure. Peter felt the same scruple
at a similar command
Positive precepts, being dependent on a particular command can
be set aside at the will of the divine ruler; but moral precepts
are everlasting in their obligation because God cannot be inconsistent
with His unchanging moral nature.
15. cow's dung--a mitigation of the former order (Eze 4:12); no longer "the dung of man"; still the bread so baked is "defiled," to imply that, whatever partial abatement there might be for the prophet's sake, the main decree of God, as to the pollution of Israel by exile among Gentiles, is unalterable.
17. astonied one with another--mutually regard one another with astonishment: the stupefied look of despairing want.