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Ezekiel Chapter Five                            


Ezekiel 5

Chapter Contents

A type of hair, showing the judgments about to come upon the Jews. (1-4) These awful judgments are declared. (5-17)

Commentary on Ezekiel 5:1-4

(Read Ezekiel 5:1-4)

The prophet must shave off the hair of his head and beard, which signifies God's utter rejecting and abandoning that people. One part must be burned in the midst of the city, denoting the multitudes that should perish by famine and pestilence. Another part was to be cut in pieces, representing the many who were slain by the sword. Another part was to be scattered in the wind, denoting the carrying away of some into the land of the conqueror, and the flight of others into the neighbouring countries for shelter. A small quantity of the third portion was to be bound in his shirts, as that of which he is very careful. But few were reserved. To whatever refuge sinners flee, the fire and sword of God's wrath will consume them.

Commentary on Ezekiel 5:5-17

(Read Ezekiel 5:5-17)

The sentence passed upon Jerusalem is very dreadful, the manner of expression makes it still more so. Who is able to stand in God's sight when he is angry? Those who live and die impenitent, will perish for ever unpitied; there is a day coming when the Lord will not spare. Let not persons or churches, who change the Lord's statutes, expect to escape the doom of Jerusalem. Let us endeavour to adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. Sooner or later God's word will prove itself true.

── Matthew HenryConcise Commentary on Ezekiel


Ezekiel 5

Verse 1

[1] And thou, son of man, take thee a sharp knife, take thee a barber's razor, and cause it to pass upon thine head and upon thy beard: then take thee balances to weigh, and divide the hair.

Take — Thus foretel the mourning, reproach, and deformity that are coming, for all this is signified by shaving the head and beard.

Verse 2

[2] Thou shalt burn with fire a third part in the midst of the city, when the days of the siege are fulfilled: and thou shalt take a third part, and smite about it with a knife: and a third part thou shalt scatter in the wind; and I will draw out a sword after them.

A third part — Described on the tile, chap. 4:1, a type of what should be done in Jerusalem.

The days — When the three hundred and ninety days of thy lying against the portrayed city shall be ended.

With a knife — To signify them that fall by the sword.

Scatter — To typify them that fell to the Chaldeans, or fled to Egypt, or other countries.

Verse 3

[3] Thou shalt also take thereof a few in number, and bind them in thy skirts.

Take — Of the last third.

Bind — As men tied up in the skirt of their garment what they would not lose: to signify the small remnant.

Verse 4

[4] Then take of them again, and cast them into the midst of the fire, and burn them in the fire; for thereof shall a fire come forth into all the house of Israel.

Of them — Out of that little remnant.

In the fire — For their sin against God, their discontents at their state, and conspiracies against their governor, another fire shall break out which shall devour the most, and be near consuming all the houses of Israel.

Verse 5

[5] Thus saith the Lord GOD; This is Jerusalem: I have set it in the midst of the nations and countries that are round about her.

This is Jerusalem — This portrayed city, is typically Jerusalem.

The midst — Jerusalem was set in the midst of the nations, to be as the heart in the body, to invigorate the dead world with a divine life, as well as to enlighten the dark world with a divine light.

Verse 6

[6] And she hath changed my judgments into wickedness more than the nations, and my statutes more than the countries that are round about her: for they have refused my judgments and my statutes, they have not walked in them.

More — More than the heathen.

Verse 7

[7] Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye multiplied more than the nations that are round about you, and have not walked in my statutes, neither have kept my judgments, neither have done according to the judgments of the nations that are round about you;

Multiplied — In idols, superstitions, and wickedness.

Neither — You have exceeded them in superstition and idolatry, and fallen short of them in moral virtues.

Verse 9

[9] And I will do in thee that which I have not done, and whereunto I will not do any more the like, because of all thine abominations.

Not done — Though the old world perished by water, and Sodom by fire, yet neither one or other was so lingering a death.

Verse 10

[10] Therefore the fathers shall eat the sons in the midst of thee, and the sons shall eat their fathers; and I will execute judgments in thee, and the whole remnant of thee will I scatter into all the winds.

Scatter — This was verified when they were fetched away, who were left at the departure of the besiegers, and when the very small remnant with Johanan fled into Egypt.

Verse 11

[11] Wherefore, as I live, saith the Lord GOD; Surely, because thou hast defiled my sanctuary with all thy detestable things, and with all thine abominations, therefore will I also diminish thee; neither shall mine eye spare, neither will I have any pity.

Sanctuary — My temple.

Detestable things — Thy idols.

Verse 13

[13] Thus shall mine anger be accomplished, and I will cause my fury to rest upon them, and I will be comforted: and they shall know that I the LORD have spoken it in my zeal, when I have accomplished my fury in them.

Comforted — In executing my vengeance.

In my zeal — For my own glory.

Verse 15

[15] So it shall be a reproach and a taunt, an instruction and an astonishment unto the nations that are round about thee, when I shall execute judgments in thee in anger and in fury and in furious rebukes. I the LORD have spoken it.

Taunt — A very proverb among them.

Instruction — Sinners shall learn by thy miseries, what they may expect from me.

Verse 17

[17] So will I send upon you famine and evil beasts, and they shall bereave thee; and pestilence and blood shall pass through thee; and I will bring the sword upon thee. I the LORD have spoken it.

Bereave thee — Of your children, friends, and your own life.

Pestilence and blood — Thy land shall be the common road for pestilence and blood. Tho' this prophecy was to be accomplished presently, in the destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans; yet it may well be supposed to look forward, to the final destruction of it by the Romans, when God made a full end of the Jewish nation, and caused his fury to rest upon them.

── John WesleyExplanatory Notes on Ezekiel


05 Chapter 5


Verses 1-17

Verses 1-4

Ezekiel 5:1-4

Take thee a sharp knife.

God’s judgments upon the wicked

1. Wicked men are of little worth; take a whole city of them, they are of no more account with God than a little hair of the head or beard.

2. It is the privilege of Christ to appoint whom and what instruments He pleases to execute His pleasure upon sinners.

3. When God hath been long provoked by a people, He comes with sharp and sweeping judgments amongst them.

4. There is no standing out against God; whatever our number or strength is, His judgments are irresistible.

5. The judgments and proceedings of God with sinners are not rash, but most carefully weighed.

6. There is no escaping of God’s judgments for hard-hearted sinners.

7. In great judgments and general destructions, God of His infinite mercy spares some few. Ezekiel must take a few and bind up in his skirts, all must not be destroyed; the fire and sword devoureth many, but the dispersion preserved some, and some few are left in Judah. God is just, and yet when He is in the way of His judgments, he forgets not mercy: a little of the hair shall be preserved, when the rest goes to the fire, sword, and wind.

8. The paucity preserved in common calamities are not all precious, truly godly. Reprobates for the present escape as well as elect vessels; some choice ones may be cut off, and some vile ones may be kept. In a storm cedars and oaks are smitten, when bushes and briers are spared; and yet after they are cut up and cast into the fire. Sinners may escape present wrath, but there is wrath to come (Luke 3:7).

9. God may take occasion, from the sin of some, to bring in judgment upon all. He must take of the remnant preserved, and throw into the fire, and out of that fire went forth fire into all the house of Israel. (W. Greenhill, M. A.)

Verse 5

Ezekiel 5:5

This is Jerusalem: I have set it in the midst of the nations.

Jerusalem in the midst of the nations

Jerusalem was designed to have a good influence upon the nations and countries round about, and was set in the midst of them as a candle upon a candlestick to spread the light of Divine revelation, which she was blessed with, to all the dark corners of the neighbouring nations, that from them it might diffuse itself further, even to the ends of the earth. Jerusalem was set in the midst of the nations, to be as the heart in the body, to invigorate this dead world with a Divine life, to be an example of everything that is good. (M. Henry.)

Verse 11

Ezekiel 5:11

As I live, saith the Lord God.

The Divine oath

I. The form of the Divine oath. When men swear, they do it “by the greater” (Hebrews 6:16). God cannot do this. So He swears by Himself.

II. The use of the Divine oath. God utters His word clearly and plainly, calling on men to believe it. When they will not, He tries a new expedient, backing it up with an oath. Was ever grace more conspicuous, and forbearance more extraordinary?

III. Examples of the Divine oath.

1. The oath used in connection with the Priesthood of Christ (Psalms 110:4, as interpreted in Hebrews 7:1-28).

2. The oath used in connection with the believer’s safety (Hebrews 7:17-18). Blessed safeguard!

3. The oath used in connection with the sincerity of the Gospel call (Ezekiel 33:11). Must not God be terribly in earnest?

4. The oath used in connection with the ultimate triumph of the Christian cause (Isaiah 45:23). Can such a purpose be defeated? Encouraged by this, let the Church go forward.

5. The oath used in connection with the doom of the unbelieving (Psalms 95:11). Then, “Acquaint now thyself,” etc. (Job 22:21). “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ,” etc. (Acts 16:31). (John Burnett, B. D.)

Verse 13

Ezekiel 5:13

Thus shall Mine anger be accomplished.

God’s anger against sinners

1. God goes on by degrees in His wrath against a people. He had in times past corrected them like a father, He would now execute them like a judge; the drops of His wrath had done no good, now they should have the full vials.

2. Wrath let out against a sinful people, ofttimes lies long upon them. “I will cause My fury to rest upon them.” They were seventy years under God’s displeasure in Babylon.

3. God takes pleasure in executing judgment, in accomplishing His wrath, and causing His fury to rest upon impenitent and incurable sinners, He will be comforted in it (Proverbs 1:26).

4. The Word of God may be preached among a people, and they, through ignorance and malice, not know it, nor entertain it.

5. Wicked men shall be convinced, and left without excuse. “They shall know that I the Lord have spoken”; they eyed men and not Me, they deemed it man’s voice, not Heaven’s; but they shall find that it was the voice of God amongst them.

6. God will justify His servants in their zealous labours for Him. “They shall know that I have spoken it in My zeal.” It is God speaks in the prophets; it is His zeal they express. Let men be zealous against sin, the iniquities of the times, they are counted mad, fiery fellows, troublers of Israel, seditious, factious, etc.

7. The Lord is intense, and will not recall His indignation, when He deals with unfaithful, covenant-breaking persons. As in God’s zeal there is intense love towards His Church (when God promises mercy to His people, it is sealed with this, “The zeal of the Lord of hosts shall do it,” 2 Kings 19:31), so here is intense hatred, wrath against His enemies. (W. Greenhill, M. A.)

──The Biblical Illustrator