A third part of them shall die with the pestilence
This, with what follows, explains the division of the hair into the three parts, and what was done with them; and shows that the burning of one third part denotes their being destroyed by the pestilence, mentioned along with burning coals, ( Habakkuk 3:5 ) ; and by famine, as follows: and with famine shall they be consumed in the midst of thee;
and though there is no account of the former, yet there is of the latter; and no doubt but the pestilence raged, as well as the famine, at the siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar: and a third part shall fall by the sword round about thee;
signified by the third part of the hair, smitten with a knife; and intends such as perished by the sword of the Chaldeans at the taking of the city, and when they fled out of it; and so are properly said to fall round about it: and I will scatter a third part into all the winds;
the greatest part of which were carried into Babylon, and others into other parts; (See Gill on Ezekiel 5:2); and I will draw out a sword after them;
particularly after them that went into Egypt. The Septuagint and Arabic versions read a "fourth part" in each clause, as before; and make it out thus, "a fourth part of thee shall be consumed with death (the pestilence); and a fourth part of thee shall be consumed with famine in the midst of thee; and a fourth part of thee I will scatter to every wind; and a fourth part of thee shall fall by the sword round about thee; and I will draw out the sword after them".