Jerusalem, under King Zedekiah, had recovered a measure of strength after its capture by Nebuchadnezzar in 597 BC, and false prophets were prophesying a period of divine favor (see Jer. 28:1-4).
These reports reached the exiles in Babylon, and the burden of Ezekiel’s message at this time was that, on the contrary, Jerusalem was about to experience God’s judgments.
The closing verses of chapter 3 are best regarded as an introduction to the prophecies of chapters 4-24, which all relate to the approaching judgment on Jerusalem. During this time the prophet was commanded to live in seclusion, as if bound and dumb, except when God gave him some message to deliver (3:25-27).
- In chapters 4:1- 5:4 the prophet is directed to show by four symbolic actions the impending siege of Jerusalem, with its privations and sufferings, and also the plight of those who would be carried into exile after the city’s fall. What were these actions?
Which of them refer to the siege, and which to the sufferings of those who would be carried into captivity?
Cf. 4:13; Hos. 9:3, 4.
- What is said in 5:5-17 of:
(a) the reasons,
(b) the nature; and
(c) the purposes of the terrible judgment that was about to fall upon Jerusalem?
Some Christians are less Christian in their lives than many who reject or ignore Christ. In the light of these verses, what can we infer to be God’s attitude to this sad fact?
- 4:10, 11. Food restricted to eight ounces, and water to two pints or less. Cf. 4:16.
- 4:15. Animals dung was, and still is, a recognized form of fuel in the East.