Ezekiel 5 Commentary

Jerusalem destroyed (5:1-17)

The last of this group of four acted parables was again concerned with the siege of Jerusalem. It dealt more specifically with the dreadful fate that awaited the citizens.

Ezekiel shaved his hair, weighed it, then divided it into three equal parts. One part he burnt on his model city (the brick), symbolizing the death of one third of the city’s people through famine and disease. The second part he scattered around the model city, then chopped up the hair with a sword, symbolizing the slaughter of many in fighting around the city. The third portion he scattered to the wind, symbolizing those who would be taken captive to Babylon or otherwise scattered among the nations. Many of those who attempted to flee the city would be ruthlessly killed by the enemy (5:1-2; see v. 12).

In a symbolic expression of hope, Ezekiel then picked up a few of the scattered hairs and put them in his clothing, indicating that a remnant would be saved. But even some of these would perish (3-4).

Jerusalem was the centre of God’s chosen nation, but its people had behaved worse than the people of heathen nations round about (5-6). God would therefore punish Jerusalem with a terrible judgment (7-9). Starvation during the siege would make the people so desperate for food that some would kill their children and eat them. They would experience the horrors of famine, disease, slaughter and captivity that Ezekiel had pictured (10-12). God would act as he saw fit. His judgment would be a punishment on Jerusalem and a warning to other nations (13-17).

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