Ezekiel shaves his hair and divides it. He burns a third of it in a fire. He strikes a third of it with a sword. And he scatters a third of it to the wind.
VERSE 1. “You, son of man, take a sharp sword. You shall take it as a barber’s razor to yourself, and shall cause it to pass over your head and over your beard. Then take balances to weigh and divide the hair.
NLT translation. Son of man, take a sharp sword and use it as a razor to shave your head and beard. Use a scale to weigh the hair into three equal parts.
shave your head and beard. In those days, shaving one’s head and beard was a sign of mourning. The LORD God required Ezekiel to shave his hair and beard. That was a part of his ministry as a prophet.
Ezekiel was willing to deface his own beauty in order to glorify God.
VERSE 2. A third part you shall burn in the fire in the middle of the city, when the days of the siege are fulfilled. You shall take a third part, and strike with the sword around it. A third part you shall scatter to the wind, and I will draw out a sword after them.
the city. The sketch of Jerusalem that Ezekiel had drawn on a clay tablet in the previous chapter.
A third part. Ezekiel is to divide up his hair into three parts. Here is what he does with each part, and what it illustrates:
1. burn in the fire. This predicts that a third of all people will die by the plague or by famine.
2. strike with the sword. This predicts that a third of the people will die by the sword.
3. scatter to the wind. This predicts that those who survive Jerusalem’s fall to Babylon will be taken away in captivity and live in fear.
For more, see verse 12 below.
a few in number. After the prophetic actions in verse 2 above, a few strands of Ezekiel’s hair remained.
VERSE 4. Of these again you shall take, and cast them into the middle of the fire, and burn them in the fire. From it a fire will come out into all the house of Israel.
cast them into the middle of the fire. The whole nation would not escape the flames of oppression.
VERSE 5. “The Lord GOD says: ‘This is Jerusalem. I have set her in the middle of the nations, and countries are around her.
VERSE 6. She has rebelled against my ordinances in doing wickedness more than the nations, and against my statutes more than the countries that are around her; for they have rejected my ordinances, and as for my statutes, they have not walked in them.’
VERSE 7. “Therefore the Lord GOD says: ‘Because you are more turbulent than the nations that are around you, and have not walked in my statutes, neither have kept my ordinances, neither have followed the ordinances of the nations that are around you;
VERSE 8. therefore the Lord GOD says: ‘Behold, I, even I, am against you; and I will execute judgments among you in the sight of the nations.
I, even I, am against you. This expression was borrowed from the language of warfare. It meant “I have drawn my sword and am running after you!”
VERSE 9. I will do in you that which I have not done, and which I will not do anything like it any more, because of all your abominations.
VERSE 10. Therefore the fathers will eat the sons within you, and the sons will eat their fathers. I will execute judgments on you; and I will scatter the whole remnant of you to all the winds.
fathers will eat the sons within you:
Deuteronomy 28:53. You will eat the fruit of your own body, the flesh of your sons and of your daughters, whom the LORD your God has given you, in the siege and in the distress with which your enemies will distress you.
Lamentations 2:20. “Look, LORD, and see to whom you have done thus! Should the women eat their offspring, the children that they held and bounced on their knees? Should the priest and the prophet be killed in the sanctuary of the Lord?
Ezekiel 5:10. Therefore the fathers will eat the sons within you, and the sons will eat their fathers. I will execute judgments on you; and I will scatter the whole remnant of you to all the winds.
VERSE 11. Therefore as I live,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘surely, because you have defiled my sanctuary with all your detestable things, and with all your abominations, therefore I will also diminish you. My eye won’t spare, and I will have no pity.
defiled my sanctuary. In the sanctuary of the Most High God, they had done evil things. They “defiled” the sanctuary.
In our day, we are the sanctuary of the Most High. We often do evil things. That “defiles” the sanctuary.
VERSE 12. A third part of you will die with the pestilence, and they will be consumed with famine within you. A third part will fall by the sword around you. A third part I will scatter to all the winds, and will draw out a sword after them.
A third part. Ezekiel was to divide up his hair into three parts. Here is what happened:
1. burn in the fire. A third of people died with the pestilence, and they were consumed with famine.
2. strike with the sword. A third of people fell by the sword.
3. scatter to the wind. A third of people were scattered to all the winds.
For more, see verse 2 above.
VERSE 13. “ ‘Thus my anger will be accomplished, and I will cause my wrath toward them to rest, and I will be comforted. They will know that I, the LORD, have spoken in my zeal, when I have accomplished my wrath on them.
VERSE 14. “ ‘Moreover I will make you a desolation and a reproach among the nations that are around you, in the sight of all that pass by.
VERSE 15. So it will be a reproach and a taunt, an instruction and an astonishment, to the nations that are around you, when I execute judgments on you in anger and in wrath, and in wrathful rebukes—I, the LORD, have spoken it—
VERSE 16. when I send on them the evil arrows of famine that are for destruction, which I will send to destroy you. I will increase the famine on you, and will break your staff of bread.
VERSE 17. I will send on you famine and evil animals, and they will bereave you. Pestilence and blood will pass through you. I will bring the sword on you. I, the LORD, have spoken it.’ ”
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.