Adam Clarke's Bible Commentary-4
Verses 1-4. Take thee a sharp knife] Among the Israelites, and indeed among most ancient nations, there were very few edge-tools. The sword was the chief; and this was used as a knife, a razor, &c., according to its different length and sharpness. It is likely that only one kind of instrument is here intended; a knife or short sword, to be employed as a razor.
Here is a new emblem produced, in order to mark out the coming evils. 1.
The prophet represents the Jewish nation. 2. His hair, the people. 3. The razor, the Chaldeans. 4. The cutting the beard and hair, the calamities, sorrows, and disgrace coming upon the people. Cutting off the hair was a sign of mourning; see on Jer. xlv. 5; xlviii. 37; and also a sign of great disgrace; see 2 Sam. x. 4. 5. He is ordered to divide the hair, ver. 2, into three equal parts, to intimate the different degrees and kinds of punishment which should fall upon the people. 6. The balances, ver. 1, were to represent the Divine justice, and the exactness with which God's judgments should be distributed among the offenders. 7. This hair, divided into three parts, is to be disposed of thus: 1. A third part is to be burnt in the midst of the city, to show that so many should perish by famine and pestilence during the siege. 2. Another third part he was to cut in small portions about the city, (that figure which he had pourtrayed upon the brick,) to signify those who should perish in different sorties, and in defending the walls. 3. And the remaining third part he was to scatter in the wind, to point out those who should be driven into captivity. And, 4.
The sword following them was intended to show that their lives should be at the will of their captors, and that many of them should perish by the sword in their dispersions. 5. The few hairs which he was to take in his skirts, ver. 3, was intended to represent those few Jews that should be left in the land under Gedaliah, after the taking of the city. 6. The throwing a part of these last into the fire, ver. 4, was intended to show the miseries that these suffered in Judea, in Egypt, and finally in their being also carried away into Babylon on the conquest of Egypt by Nebuchadnezzar. See these transactions particularly pointed out in the notes on Jeremiah, chapters 40., 41., xlii. Some think that this prophecy may refer to the persecution of the Jews by Antiochus Epiphanes.
Matthew Henry Commentary
A type of hair, showing the judgments about to come upon the Jews (Ezek. 5:1-4) These awful judgments are declared. (Ezek. 5:5-17)
Ezek. 5:1-4 The prophet must shave off the hair of his head and beard which signifies God's utter rejecting and abandoning that people. On part must be burned in the midst of the city, denoting the multitude that should perish by famine and pestilence. Another part was to be cu in pieces, representing the many who were slain by the sword. Anothe part was to be scattered in the wind, denoting the carrying away of some into the land of the conqueror, and the flight of others into the neighbouring countries for shelter. A small quantity of the thir portion was to be bound in his shirts, as that of which he is very careful. But few were reserved. To whatever refuge sinners flee, the fire and sword of God's wrath will consume them.
Ezek. 5:5-17 The sentence passed upon Jerusalem is very dreadful, the manner of expression makes it still more so. Who is able to stand in God's sight when he is angry? Those who live and die impenitent, wil perish for ever unpitied; there is a day coming when the Lord will no spare. Let not persons or churches, who change the Lord's statutes expect to escape the doom of Jerusalem. Let us endeavour to adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. Sooner or later God's wor will prove itself true __________________________________________________________________
Original Hebrew ומהם 1992 עוד 5750 תקח 3947 והשׁלכת 7993 אותם 853 אל 413 תוך 8432 האשׁ 784 ושׂרפת 8313 אתם 853 באשׁ 784 ממנו 4480 תצא 3318 אשׁ 784 אל 413 כל 3605 בית 1004 ישׂראל׃ 3478