Ezekiel 12


The nation’s sinfulness and inevitable doom. Ezekiel 12-19


1. Two signs:

a. The exiles baggage.

b. Eating and drinking with fear.

2. The people and their king will go into exile.

Two symbolic acts portraying the departure of the king and the people, and bread of tears

Symbolic action of the emigration of king and people from Jerusalem. Ezekiel 12:1-7.

Explanation of the symbolic action. Ezekiel 12:8-16.

A sign depicting the terrors and consequences of the conquest of Jerusalem. Ezekiel 12:17-20.

Declarations to remove all doubt as to the truth of the threat. Ezekiel 12:21-28.

‘The word of the LORD came to me: ‘Son of man, you are living among a rebellious people. They have eyes to see but do not see and ears to hear but do not hear, for they are a rebellious people. ‘Therefore, son of man, pack your belongings for exile and in the daytime, as they watch, set out and go from where you are to another place. Perhaps they will understand, though they are a rebellious people. During the daytime, while they watch, bring out your belongings packed for exile. Then in the evening, while they are watching, go out like those who go into exile. While they watch, dig through the wall and take your belongings out through it. Put them on your shoulder as they are watching and carry them out at dusk. Cover your face so that you cannot see the land, for I have made you a sign to the Israelites.’ So, I did as I was commanded. During the day I brought out my things packed for exile. Then in the evening I dug through the wall with my hands. I took my belongings out at dusk, carrying them on my shoulders while they watched. In the morning the word of the LORD came to me: ‘Son of man, did not the Israelites, that rebellious people, ask you, ‘What are you doing?’ ‘Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: This prophecy concerns the prince in Jerusalem and all the Israelites who are there.’ Say to them, ‘I am a sign to you.’ ‘As I have done, so it will be done to them. They will go into exile as captives. ‘The prince among them will put his things on his shoulder at dusk and leave, and a hole will be dug in the wall for him to go through. He will cover his face so that he cannot see the land. I will spread my net for him, and he will be caught in my snare; I will bring him to Babylonia, the land of the Chaldeans, but he will not see it, and there he will die. I will scatter to the winds all those around him—his staff and all his troops—and I will pursue them with drawn sword. ‘They will know that I am the LORD, when I disperse them among the nations and scatter them through the countries. But I will spare a few of them from the sword, famine and plague, so that in the nations where they go they may acknowledge all their detestable practices. Then they will know that I am the LORD.’ Ezekiel 12:1-16

The Exiles Baggage

This is a straightforward sign by the prophet to show the people that there would be a further group of people going into exile including the king, Zedekiah. We are shown the sign, then the prophet gives an explanation of his actions. We are back in the realms of reality as we were in Ezekiel 4ff. There is no indication that this is a vision, so we see the prophet carrying out these strange actions.

We see him prepare baggage for exile. Common sense tells us what that might have been. The lightest and least possessions which could have been carried would be taken with them. So, Ezekiel acted this out in the sight of the people. He has two points marked out between which he walks; his house is one point, and the other is unspecified.

He also has to dig through the wall of his own house, probably the Hebrew would indicate that rather than the city wall. Having gone through the hole in the wall he then walks his path with his face covered.

All this unusual action was done in one day. Again, we might picture that audience wondering if this prophet really had been affected by the heat in this flat, scorching hot land.

The following day God asks Ezekiel, ‘Well, did they ask you?’ God proceeds to explain what these actions meant. The sign concerns the prince and the people. It becomes clear that Ezekiel is giving a specific future prophecy concerning the events surrounding Zedekiah at the fall of Jerusalem. Jeremiah 52:4-11 / 2 Kings 25:1-7 / Jeremiah 39:4.

This was acted out in about 591 B.C. Zedekiah did not rebel against Babylon until about 588 B.C. and finally was defeated in 586 B.C. The people would be able to put Deuteronomy 18 into action on Ezekiel, he would come out on top.

Note, Zedekiah is called a prince rather than king, Hebrew, ‘nasi’, rather than ‘melek’. Ezekiel never calls Zedekiah king as he does Jehoiachin, Ezekiel 17:12. This word is also used of Solomon, 1 Kings 11:34, in relation to his continuing as ruler, prince after his sin had caused God to allow a division of the kingdom.

The point being with Zedekiah was that he was not really the rightful king and that neither the exiles nor the people of Jerusalem could put any hope in him.

‘The word of the LORD came to me: ‘Son of man, tremble as you eat your food, and shudder in fear as you drink your water. Say to the people of the land: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says about those living in Jerusalem and in the land of Israel: They will eat their food in anxiety and drink their water in despair, for their land will be stripped of everything in it because of the violence of all who live there. The inhabited towns will be laid waste and the land will be desolate. Then you will know that I am the LORD.’ Ezekiel 12:17-20

The Fearful Meal

Again, see the prophet acting out this strange act. Try eating and drinking whilst shaking and trembling like this and see the food and drink spilling all over the place, what a vivid sign. Here are how the people in Jerusalem will be. They will be in terror of what is coming upon them. They will be quaking and trembling when they realise this is really happening to them.

‘The word of the LORD came to me: ‘Son of man, what is this proverb you have in the land of Israel: ‘The days go by and every vision comes to nothing’? Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am going to put an end to this proverb, and they will no longer quote it in Israel.’ Say to them, ‘The days are near when every vision will be fulfilled. For there will be no more false visions or flattering divinations among the people of Israel. But I the LORD will speak what I will, and it shall be fulfilled without delay. For in your days, you rebellious people, I will fulfil whatever I say, declares the Sovereign LORD.’ The word of the LORD came to me: ‘Son of man, the Israelites are saying, ‘The vision he sees is for many years from now, and he prophesies about the distant future.’ ‘Therefore, say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: None of my words will be delayed any longer; whatever I say will be fulfilled, declares the Sovereign LORD.’ Ezekiel 12:21-28

Two Proverbs Corrected

The first says this, ‘They-lengthen the days and it dies every vision’. Four words in Hebrew. God’s answer to that is a play on those 4 words. He says, ‘they draw near the days and the word of every vision’.

God is going to put an end to this proverb, as he will others. Their proverb is saying, it will never happen. All this that Ezekiel and Jeremiah and maybe others are saying will never happen, and even if it does it will be a long way off, it will never affect us.

God’s answer, it is at hand. At hand means near. By definition at hand must refer to something near. Revelation 1:3 / Revelation 22:10 / Mark 1:15. etc.

The second proverb is like the first. Even if it is true, it’s a long way off. It is for tomorrow, for the next generation, not for us. God says no. This prophecy will not be delayed. In your days, in their generation, they will be fulfilled. Mark 9:1 / Mark 13:30.

Go To Ezekiel 13



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