Summary: A study of chapter 2 verses 9 through 17
Ezekiel 4: 9 – 17
‘School for the performing arts’ Part 2
9 “Also take for yourself wheat, barley, beans, lentils, millet, and spelt; put them into one vessel, and make bread of them for yourself. During the number of days that you lie on your side, three hundred and ninety days, you shall eat it. 10 And your food which you eat shall be by weight, twenty shekels a day; from time to time you shall eat it. 11 You shall also drink water by measure, one-sixth of a hin; from time to time you shall drink. 12 And you shall eat it as barley cakes; and bake it using fuel of human waste in their sight.” 13 Then the LORD said, “So shall the children of Israel eat their defiled bread among the Gentiles, where I will drive them.” 14 So I said, “Ah, Lord GOD! Indeed I have never defiled myself from my youth till now; I have never eaten what died of itself or was torn by beasts, nor has abominable flesh ever come into my mouth.” 15 Then He said to me, “See, I am giving you cow dung instead of human waste, and you shall prepare your bread over it.” 16 Moreover He said to me, “Son of man, surely I will cut off the supply of bread in Jerusalem; they shall eat bread by weight and with anxiety, and shall drink water by measure and with dread, 17 that they may lack bread and water, and be dismayed with one another, and waste away because of their iniquity.”
Have you ever been nagged, err, encouraged, to eat better. I enjoy eating a balanced diet from the major various food groups, you know; pizza, cheese steaks, hoagies, and tacos. Hey they come with good vegetables such as tomatoes and lettuce. Well, anyhow, my body led me to understand that I needed to add some more variety to my diet.
I am sure you have seen this at your local supermarket. – 7-grain bread. My goal to eat better would involve the selection of quality meats and cheese on this healthy bread and in no time whatsoever I will be ready to do my next triathlon.
You don’t buy my description for improvement? Then how about I tell you that I am now attempting to eat like the prophets of old. Well, at least a little bit like them.
In the beginning of chapter 4 we read about our Lord instructing Ezekiel to do some unique acting. He was told to lie on his left side for 390 days and then turn and lie on his right side for 40 days. Some might at first think that the Lord was going to keep Ezekiel from moving for over a year. This is not what the Lord was informing His prophet to do.
In the medical field a person who is bedridden for some time needs to have someone come and help them move their muscles and joints. I believe the medical term is atrophy, where the body part wastes away from non-use. It is a use it or lose it principle.
As we see in this section of chapter 4, our Lord required Ezekiel to perform this command for a few hours each day to show the people God’s message. Ezekiel had to do other tasks during the day such as preparing his meal, drinking, and eating his food. So, he had to be mobile for other times of the day.
We read in verse 9 about the mixture of various ingredients to make bread. The six ingredients were not concocted to help a health conscious person but to indicate the condition of survival food due to the horrors and ravages of war. In other words from the start of the siege onwards into captivity, the Jewish people would experience a short supply of food.
The purpose of this recipe of 6 mixed grains and the Lord’s following instructions indicate the limited amount of available food. The various grains were all to be baked together in some form of bread. Don’t forget this food Ezekiel obtained was obtained from the fields of Babylon. ‘Barley’ cakes were the poor man’s food of that day.They did not have a local supermarket to go and shop like we can today. People under the conditions of war will put together anything that they have.
The small portions allocated to Ezekiel were to vividly portray to the people of Israel what the current residents of Jerusalem would be going through. The exiles now in Babylon of course had it bad when they themselves had directly experienced in past days the atrocities of being taken captives. However, it sadly was not as bad as what the Jews in Jerusalem would have to go through.