Yechezkel 4

1 Thou also, Ben Adam, take thee a levenah (tile, brick), and lay it before thee, and engrave upon it the Ir, even Yerushalayim;
2 And lay matzor (siege) against it, and erect against it siege works, and build a ramp against it; set the machanot also against it, and set battering rams against it all around.
3 Moreover take thou unto thee a machavat barzel (iron griddle), and set it for a kir barzel (wall of iron) between thee and the Ir; and set thy face against it, and it shall be besieged, and thou shalt lay siege against it. This shall be an ot (sign) to Bais Yisroel.
4 Lie thou also upon thy left side, and lay the avon Bais Yisroel upon it; according to the mispar of the yamim that thou shalt lie upon it thou shalt bear their avon.
5 For I have laid upon thee the shanim of their avon (iniquity), according to the mispar (number) of the yamim, three hundred and ninety days; so shalt thou bear the avon Bais Yisroel.
6 And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the avon Bais Yehudah forty days; I have appointed thee a day for each year.
7 Therefore thou shalt set thy face toward the Matzor Yerushalayim (Siege of Jerusalem), and thine zero’a shall be bared, and thou shalt prophesy against it.
8 And, hinei, I will tie ropes upon thee, and thou shalt not turn thee from one side to another, till thou hast ended the days of thy matzor (siege).
9 Take thou also unto thee chittin (wheat), and se’orim (barley), and fol (beans), and adosim (lentils), and dochan (millet), and kussemim (spelt), and put them in keli echad, and make thee lechem thereof, according to the mispar of the yamim that thou shalt lie upon thy side, three hundred and ninety days shalt thou eat thereof.
10 And thy okhel (food) which thou shalt eat shall be by weight, twenty shekels a day; from time to time shalt thou eat it.
11 Thou shalt drink also mayim by measure, the sixth part of a hin: from time to time shalt thou drink.
12 And thou shalt eat it as cakes of se’orim, and thou shalt bake it with dung that cometh out of ha’adam, in their sight.
13 And Hashem said, Even thus shall the Bnei Yisroel eat their lechem tameh among the Goyim, whither I will drive them.
14 Then said I, Not so Adonoi Hashem! Hinei, my nefesh hath not been made tuma’ah for from my youth up even till now have I not eaten nevelah or trefah; neither came there basar piggul into my mouth.
15 Then He said unto me, Behold, I have given thee cattle dung instead of dung of adam, and thou shalt prepare thy lechem therewith.
16 Moreover He said unto me, Ben Adam, hinei, I will break the mateh lechem (staff of bread, food supply) in Yerushalayim: and they shall eat lechem weighted out in rations, and with worry; and they shall drink mayim by measure, and with amazed alarm:
17 In order that lechem and mayim be scarce, and that every ish and achiv be confounded with shock and rot away because of their avon.

Yechezkel 4 Commentary

Chapter 4

The siege of Jerusalem. (1-8) The famine the inhabitants would suffer. (9-17)

Verses 1-8 The prophet was to represent the siege of Jerusalem by signs. He was to lie on his left side for a number of days, supposed to be equal to the years from the establishment of idolatry. All that the prophet sets before the children of his people, about the destruction of Jerusalem, is to show that sin is the provoking cause of the ruin of that once flourishing city.

Verses 9-17 The bread which was Ezekiel's support, was to be made of coarse grain and pulse mixed together, seldom used except in times of urgent scarcity, and of this he was only to take a small quantity. Thus was figured the extremity to which the Jews were to be reduced during the siege and captivity. Ezekiel does not plead, Lord, from my youth I have been brought up delicately, and never used to any thing like this; but that he had been brought up conscientiously, and never had eaten any thing forbidden by the law. It will be comfortable when we are brought to suffer hardships, if our hearts can witness that we have always been careful to keep even from the appearance of evil. See what woful work sin makes, and acknowledge the righteousness of God herein. Their plenty having been abused to luxury and excess, they were justly punished by famine. When men serve not God with cheerfulness in the abundance of all things, God will make them serve their enemies in the want of all things.

Chapter Summary


This chapter contains a prophecy of the siege of Jerusalem, and of the famine that attended it. The siege is described by a portrait of the city of Jerusalem on a tile, laid before the prophet, Eze 4:1; by each of the actions, representing a siege of it, as building a fort, casting a mount, and setting a camp and battering rams against it, and an iron pan for a wall, between the prophet, the besieger, and the city, Eze 4:2,3; by his gesture, lying first on his left side for the space of three hundred ninety days, and then on his right side for the space of forty days, pointing at the time when the city should be taken, Eze 4:4-6; and by setting his face to the siege, and uncovering his arm, and prophesying, Eze 4:7; and by bands being laid on him, so that he could not turn from one side to the other, till the siege was ended, Eze 4:8; the famine is signified by bread the prophet was to make of various sorts of grain and seeds, baked with men's dung, and eaten by weight, with water drank by measure, which is applied unto the people; it is suggested that this would be fulfilled by the children of Israel's eating defiled bread among the Gentiles, Eze 4:9-13; but upon the prophet's concern about eating anything forbidden by the law, which he had never done, cow's dung is allowed instead of men's, to prepare the bread with, Eze 4:14,15; and the chapter is concluded with a resolution to bring a severe famine on them, to their great astonishment, and with which they should be consumed for their iniquity, Eze 4:16,17.

Yechezkel 4 Commentaries

The Orthodox Jewish Bible fourth edition, OJB. Copyright 2002,2003,2008,2010, 2011 by Artists for Israel International. All rights reserved.