Ezekiel 24:17

17 Groan quietly; do not mourn for the dead. Keep your turban fastened and your sandals on your feet; do not cover your mustache and beard or eat the customary food of mourners.”

Ezekiel 24:17 in Other Translations

17 Forbear to cry, make no mourning for the dead, bind the tire of thine head upon thee, and put on thy shoes upon thy feet, and cover not thy lips, and eat not the bread of men.
17 Sigh, but not aloud; make no mourning for the dead. Bind on your turban, and put your shoes on your feet; do not cover your lips, nor eat the bread of men."
17 Groan silently, but let there be no wailing at her grave. Do not uncover your head or take off your sandals. Do not perform the usual rituals of mourning or accept any food brought to you by consoling friends.”
17 Keep your grief to yourself. No public mourning. Get dressed as usual and go about your work - none of the usual funeral rituals."
17 Groan quietly; do not observe mourning rites for the dead. Put on your turban and strap your sandals on your feet; do not cover [your] mustache or eat the bread of mourners."

Ezekiel 24:17 Meaning and Commentary

Ezekiel 24:17

Forbear to cry
Groan or howl, or make any doleful noise: or, "be silent" F24: which the Talmudists F25 interpret of not greeting any person: make no mourning for the dead;
use none of those rites and ceremonies commonly observed for deceased relations and friends, particularly and especially for a wife; who is one of the seven persons for whom mourning is to be made, according to the Jewish canons F26; and which the ties of nature, nearness of relation, and especially mutual and cordial affection, where that has taken place, require; and though a wife is not expressly mentioned among those, for whom a priest might defile himself by attending their funerals, yet must be included among those akin to him, if not solely designed, as Jarchi thinks; whose note on ( Leviticus 21:2 ) , is, there are none his kin but his wife; so that Ezekiel, though a priest, was not exempted from the observation of funeral rites, but obliged to them, had he not been forbid by a special order from the Lord: the particulars of which follow: bind the tire of thine head upon thee;
cap or turban, wore on the head, as a covering of it, and ornament to it, as the word used signifies; and the priests' bonnets were for glory and beauty, ( Exodus 28:40 ) , and such was the tire about the prophet's head, since he was a priest; and which, in time of mourning, was taken off, and it was customary for mourners to be bare headed; and though the high priest might not uncover his head and rend his clothes for the dead, ( Leviticus 21:10 ) , yet other priests might, unless they had a particular and special prohibition, as Ezekiel here; see ( Leviticus 10:6 ) and yet it seems, by some instances, particularly that of David's mourning for Absalom, that the head was covered at such a time, ( 2 Samuel 19:5 ) and Kimchi on the place expressly says, that it was the way and custom of mourners to cover themselves; and certain it is, that in later times, however, it has been the usage of the Jews to cover their heads in mourning; for this is one of the things expressly forbid in the Jewish canons, as Maimonides F1 says, to be used in mourning for the dead, namely, making bare the head; and covering the head is what mourners are obliged to F2; this Gejerus


F3 reconciles, by observing, that at the first of the mourning they used to take off of their heads what they wore for the sake of ornament, such as the tire, or bonnet here; but after a while covered themselves with veils when they went abroad, or others came to them. Jarchi interprets this of the "tephillim", or phylacteries the Jews wore about their heads; and so the Talmud F4; and the Targum is,
``let thy "totaphot" or frontlets be upon thee;''
of which interpretation Jerom makes mention; but these things do not appear to be in use in Ezekiel's time: and put on thy shoes upon thy feet:
which used to be taken off, and persons walked barefoot in times of mourning, ( 2 Samuel 15:30 ) , and this custom continues with the Jews to this day; and which they say is confirmed by this passage. One of their canons F5 runs thus,
``they do not rend garments, nor pluck off the shoe for any, until he is dead;''
which supposes they do, and should do, when he is dead: and this is one of the things, their writers F6 say, is forbidden a mourner for the dead, namely, to put on his shoes; and they ask, from whence it appears that a mourner is forbid to put on his shoes? the answer is, from what is said to Ezekiel, "put on thy shoes upon thy feet": which shows that in common it was not right nor usual to do it; and it is their custom now for mourners, when they return from the grave, to sit seven days on the ground with their feet naked F7: and cover not thy lips;
as the leper did in the time of his separation and distress, who put a covering upon his upper lip, ( Leviticus 13:45 ) and as mourners did, who put a veil upon their faces: and eat not the bread of men:
of other men; or "of mourners" F8, as the Targum; such as used to be sent to mourners by their friends, in order to refresh and revive their spirits; and who, they supposed, through their great grief, were not careful to provide food for themselves; and this they did to comfort them, and let them know that, though they had lost a relation, there were others left, who had a cordial respect for them, and heartily sympathized with them: and, according to the traditions of the Jews F9, a mourner might not eat of his own bread; but was obliged to eat the bread of others, at least his first meal, and on the first day of his mourning; though he might on the second, and on the following days; and this they endeavour to establish from this place of Scripture. What their friends used to send them at such a time were usually hard eggs and wine. Eggs, because round and spherical, and so a proper emblem of death, and might serve to put in mind of it, which goes round, is with one today, and with another tomorrow; and wine, to cheer their spirits, that they might forget their sorrow F11. They also used to eat at such times a sort of pulse, called lentiles, to show by what sort of food they lost their birthright, or firstborn F12 And such like things were used by the Romans in their funeral feasts, as beans, parsley, lettuce, lentiles, eggs F13, and as the Romans had their "parentalia", and the Greeks their (paradeipna) , so the Jews had also very sumptuous feasts on such occasions: not only great personages, as kings and nobles, made them; so Archelaus, made a magnificent one for the people, on the death of his father Herod F14, after the custom of the country; but even the common people were very profuse and lavish in them; and which, as Josephus F15 observes, was the cause of great poverty among them; for so prevalent was the custom, that there was a necessity of doing it, or otherwise a man would not have been reckoned a holy man; see ( Jeremiah 16:7 ) .
F24 (Md) "tace", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus.
F25 T. Bab. Moed Katon, fol. 15. 1.
F26 Maimon. Hilchot Ebel, c. 2. sect. 1. Buxtorf. Jud. Synagog. c. 49. p. 708.
F1 Maimon. Hilchot Ebel, c. 5. sect. 1.
F2 Schulchan Aruch, lib. Jore Dea, c. 380. sect. 1. c. 386. sect. 1, 2.
F3 De luctu Ebr. c. 11. sect. 5. p. 250.
F4 T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 11. 1. Moed Katon, fol. 15. 1. Succa, fol. 25. 2.
F5 Messech, Semachot, c. 1. sect. 5.
F6 Maimon. Hilchot Ebel, c. 5. sect. 1. Schulchan Aruch, lib. Jore Dea, c. 380. sect. 1. 382. sect. 1, 2.
F7 Buxtorf. Jud. Synagog. c. 49. p. 706.
F8 T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 11. 1. Moed Katon, fol. 15. 1. Succa, fol. 25. 2.
F9 T. Bab. Moed Katan, fol. 27. 2. Maimon. Hilchot Ebel, c. 4. sect. 9. Schulchan Aruch, lib. Jore Dea, c. 378. sect. 1.
F11 Buxtorf. Jud. Synagog. c. 49. p. 708.
F12 Hieron. ad Paulam super obitu Blesillae, tom. 1. operam, fol. 54. L.
F13 Vid. Kirchman. de Funer. Rom. l. 4. c. 7. p. 591.
F14 Joesph Antiqu. l. 17. c. 8. sect. 4.
F15 De Bello Jud. l. 2. c. 1. sect. 1.

Ezekiel 24:17 In-Context

15 The word of the LORD came to me:
16 “Son of man, with one blow I am about to take away from you the delight of your eyes. Yet do not lament or weep or shed any tears.
17 Groan quietly; do not mourn for the dead. Keep your turban fastened and your sandals on your feet; do not cover your mustache and beard or eat the customary food of mourners.”
18 So I spoke to the people in the morning, and in the evening my wife died. The next morning I did as I had been commanded.
19 Then the people asked me, “Won’t you tell us what these things have to do with us? Why are you acting like this?”

Cross References 5

  • 1. Psalms 39:9
  • 2. S Exodus 28:39; S Isaiah 3:20
  • 3. S Isaiah 20:2
  • 4. S Leviticus 13:45
  • 5. ver 22; S Jeremiah 16:7
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