Ezekiel 24 - Outline of Ezekiel (Book Notes menu page)
The severity of the judgment upon Jerusalem has been compared, in previous chapters, to a forest fire (ch.21), the heat of a smelting furnace (ch.22), and to the stoning of an adulteress (ch.23). In the present chapter, it is compared to a overheated cooking pot.
     The previous chapters were warnings of imminent judgment. This message announces that it had begun. The kettle was now in the fire.
     - The Parable of the Boiling Pot - (v.1-14)
1. Again in the ninth year, in the tenth month, in the tenth [day] of the month,
the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
2 Son of man, write thee the name of the day, [even] of this same day:
the king of Babylon set himself against Jerusalem this same day.
This message was delivered on the day that Nebuchadnezzar began the siege of Jerusalem.
See 2Kin 25:1, where the time reference is to the beginning of Zedekiah's reign, which coincided with the beginning of the captivity of Jehoiachin, in which Ezekiel was included (Eze 1:2).
     The LORD, who continually spoke to His people through His prophet, supernaturally revealed this detail to Ezekiel. It would be months before a courier could carry the news from Jerusalem to the exiles in Babylon. When that news finally came, it would confirm the date, which Ezekiel had previously recorded, and thereby, confirm that this message, which foretells the harsh outcome of the siege, was truly from God.
3 And utter a parable unto the rebellious house,
and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD;
Set on a pot, set [it] on, and also pour water into it:
4 Gather the pieces thereof into it,
[even] every good piece, the thigh, and the shoulder;
fill [it] with the choice bones.
5 Take the choice of the flock,
and burn also the bones under it, [and] make it boil well,
and let them seethe the bones of it therein.
...utter a parable unto the rebellious house...
Although the LORD's prophets presented His Word to nation, the people of Israel had neither believed nor received it (Eze 12:2). Even at this late date, the exiles thought that judgment was only a distant possibility for Jerusalem (Eze 12:22-25). The inhabitants of Jerusalem had mocked the prophetic warnings, saying that Jerusalem was a holy vessel, and they were like the holy meat which fed the priests of the LORD (Eze 11:3). Therefore, they thought, they would be preserved from all harm. Yet, they had ignored God's Word concerning how He must deal with those in rebellion against Him (Eze 20:38).
...set on a pot... pour water into it... gather the pieces... into it... the choice of the flock...
These who regarded themselves as the LORD's choice servants, were to be gathered into the vessel and cooked with high heat.
     Ezekiel was to 'utter a parable...' and 'say...' The word for 'utter' is the verb form of the word for 'parable' {HB=mashal}. Most likely, Ezekiel presented the parable, by acting it out. As in other parables or riddles, his actions would catch the attention of his hard-hearted hearers, in order to prepare them for the LORD's verbal explanation of the parable.
...burn... boil... seethe the bones of it therein.
Ezekiel was to build a very hot and well fueled fire under this pot full of pieces of flesh.
Then, he was to speak God's Word...
6 Wherefore thus saith the Lord GOD;
Woe to the bloody city, to the pot whose scum [is] therein,
and whose scum is not gone out of it!
bring it out piece by piece; let no lot fall upon it.
7 For her blood is in the midst of her;
she set it upon the top of a rock;
she poured it not upon the ground, to cover it with dust;
8 That it might cause fury to come up to take vengeance;
I have set her blood upon the top of a rock, that it should not be covered.
...woe... to the pot whose scum... is not gone out of it...
The pot was Jerusalem. The word for 'scum' refers to 'rust, corrosion, and corruption.' In spite of the prophetic warnings, the city retained its filthiness. There had been no repentance or recognition of the need for cleansing. While the 'scum' remained in the pot, the individual pieces of flesh (ie., the people) would be removed one by one (Eze 11:7-11).
     There would be no 'lot' taken to determine relative guilt (eg., Josh 7:16-18). All would be taken, one way or another.
...woe... to the bloody city... I have set her blood upon the top of a rock, that it should not be covered.
The wickedness of the city, which shed the blood of innocents (in offering of children to Molech) and of righteous men (through injustice for gain), was well known. They had made no attempt to cover it. v.7; eg., Eze 22:2,6-9,12,27; 2Kin 21:16).
     The LORD would reward the city accordingly, for under His wrath, their blood would be spilled and left uncovered. eg., Eze 16:37,38; cp. Mat 7:2
9 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD;
Woe to the bloody city! I will even make the pile for fire great.
10 Heap on wood, kindle the fire,
{cp. Eze 22:19-22,31}
consume the flesh, and spice it well, and let the bones be burned.
11 Then set it empty upon the coals thereof,
that the brass of it may be hot, and may burn,
and [that] the filthiness of it may be molten in it,
[that] the scum of it may be consumed.
{cp. Eze 20:38; Isa 1:25}
12 She hath wearied [herself] with lies,
{or, 'she has exhausted herself in her toil of wickedness,' cp. Jer 9:5}
and her great scum went not forth out of her: {cp. Jer 5:3}
her scum [shall be] in the fire.
13 In thy filthiness [is] lewdness:
because I have purged thee, and thou wast not purged,
{cp. Jer 6:28-30; 25:4-7}
thou shalt not be purged from thy filthiness any more,
till I have caused my fury to rest upon thee.
{cp. 2Chr 36:14-19}
14 I the LORD have spoken [it]: it shall come to pass, and I will do [it];
I will not go back, neither will I spare, neither will I repent;
{cp. Eze 5:11-13}
according to thy ways, and according to thy doings,
shall they judge thee, saith the Lord GOD.
With the start of the siege, Jerusalem was the pot upon the fire. The all consuming fire of God's wrath would not be quieted, until the city was emptied of its people by the sword, and purged of its filthiness by fire.
     Note that other passages foretell similarly devastating judgments, which would occur long after Nebuchadnezzar's destruction of Jerusalem (in 586 BC)... (A) when the city was destroyed by the Romans, in 70 AD (Mat 23:37-39)... (B) at the Lord's return, at the end of the time of Jacob's Trouble (Mal 4:1-3; Mat 3:12).
- The Sign of the Death of Ezekiel's Wife (v.15-27)
15. Also the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
16 Son of man, behold,
I take away from thee the desire of thine eyes with a stroke:
yet neither shalt thou mourn nor weep, neither shall thy tears run down.
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.
18 So I spake unto the people in the morning: and at even my wife died;
and I did in the morning as I was commanded.
The LORD caused the death of Ezekiel's wife, and instructed him not to mourn in any way.
He was forbidden to "mourn... weep... shed tears... cry {ie., wail}... make mourning {ie., lamentation}..." He was not to make any change in his clothing. He was not to cover his upper lip (a cultural expression of uncleanness, sorrow or shame, cp. Lev 13:45; Mic 3:7). He was not to accept the food which his neighbors {'other men'} might bring to comfort him (cp. Jer 16:7). He was to act as though nothing had happened.
     The LORD's action, toward Ezekiel and his wife, was not harsh (Psa 116:15; Rom 8:28). Rather, it was necessary, to cause the people to hear His message.
19 And the people said unto me,
Wilt thou not tell us what these [things are] to us, that thou doest [so]?
20 Then I answered them, The word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
21 Speak unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD;
Behold, I will profane my sanctuary, the excellency of your strength,
the desire of your eyes,
{cp. Psa 48:2-5; Lam 2:15}
and that which your soul pitieth;
and your sons and your daughters whom ye have left shall fall by the sword.
22 And ye shall do as I have done:
ye shall not cover [your] lips, nor eat the bread of men.
23 And your tires [shall be] upon your heads, and your shoes upon your feet:
ye shall not mourn nor weep;
but ye shall pine away for your iniquities, and mourn one toward another.
24 Thus Ezekiel is unto you a sign:
according to all that he hath done shall ye do:
and when this cometh, ye shall know that I [am] the Lord GOD.
With the destruction of Jerusalem and the death and dispersion of its residents, the captives would be so overwhelmed that they would be unable to grieve for their losses. Instead, they would 'pine away' {HB=maqaq, dissolve, melt, decay} in the consequences of their iniquity. They would 'mourn' {HB=naham, groan} among others, for there would be no hope and no comforters. cp. Deu 28:32-34
     At the LORD's instruction, Ezekiel's lack of mourning for his wife was a sign {HB=mopet, wonder, miracle, symbol} of the silent agony which would soon engulf the sinful nation (cp. Isa 59:11). Jeremiah's lack of a wife was a similar sign (Jer 16:1-7).
...and when this cometh, ye shall know that I am the Lord GOD. - Eze 6:7
25 Also, thou son of man,
[shall it] not [be] in the day when I take from them
their strength, the joy of their glory, the desire of their eyes,
and that whereupon they set their minds, their sons and their daughters,
26 [That] he that escapeth in that day shall come unto thee,
to cause [thee] to hear [it] with [thine] ears?
27 In that day shall thy mouth be opened to him which is escaped,
and thou shalt speak, and be no more dumb:
and thou shalt be a sign unto them;
and they shall know that I [am] the LORD.
This chapter opened, on the day that Nebuchadnezzar had set siege against Jerusalem, with Ezekiel's prophetic statement that the siege had begun (v.1,2). A few months later, that statement would be confirmed by a newly arrived refugee.
     Eventually, news of the fall of Jerusalem would reach Ezekiel and the other exiles, through the mouth of another refugee.
     Until that news came (confirming, again, that Ezekiel was indeed the LORD's prophet), Ezekiel would remain 'dumb' {HB='alam, tongue tied}, except when the LORD spoke through him (Eze 3:26,27).
     That news would be a year and a half old by the time it arrived. After that, Ezekiel's tongue would be loosened, so that he could freely rehearse what God had foretold and what He had fulfilled (Eze 33:21,22).
     May the Lord open our mouths to proclaim what He has done and will do. eg., Psa 51:15; Luk 21:15; Eph 6:19

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