1The word of the LORD also came unto me, saying, 2Son of man, thou dwellest in the midst of a rebellious house, which have eyes to see, and see not; they have ears to hear, and hear not: for they are a rebellious house.
God sends another prophecy to Ezekiel (in the same year, five years before it happens) telling him things concerning those of Judah not yet in captivity. They are still a rebellious people who have the capacity to see and hear but choose not to exercise that capacity. This capacity to see and hear represents understanding as is oft repeated in books of prophecy (even Revelation and the Olivet Discourse). “He that hath an ear let him hear...” God had given Judah a great number of warnings, including the destruction of the northern kingdom and the previous two sackings and of Jerusalem and the taking away of Jews into captivity (like Daniel and Ezekiel). Yet they still remained rebellious.
3Therefore, thou son of man, prepare thee stuff for removing, and remove by day in their sight; and thou shalt remove from thy place to another place in their sight: it may be they will consider, though they be a rebellious house. 4Then shalt thou bring forth thy stuff by day in their sight, as stuff for removing: and thou shalt go forth at even in their sight, as they that go forth into captivity. 5Dig thou through the wall in their sight, and carry out thereby. 6In their sight shalt thou bear it upon thy shoulders, and carry it forth in the twilight: thou shalt cover thy face, that thou see not the ground: for I have set thee for a sign unto the house of Israel.
Ezekiel is to give a visual representation to those in captivity what would happen to those remaining in Jerusalem. He is to dig a hole in the wall of the city where he lives and carry material goods out through the hole at dusk and away into the wilderness. He is to do this with a covering over his face so that he cannot see the ground.
7And I did so as I was commanded: I brought forth my stuff by day, as stuff for captivity, and in the even I digged through the wall with mine hand; I brought it forth in the twilight, and I bare it upon my shoulder in their sight. 8And in the morning came the word of the LORD unto me, saying, 9Son of man, hath not the house of Israel, the rebellious house, said unto thee, What doest thou? 10Say thou unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; This burden concerneth the prince in Jerusalem, and all the house of Israel that are among them. 11Say, I am your sign: like as I have done, so shall it be done unto them: they shall remove and go into captivity.
Ezekiel complies with God’s commands. The captives ask him what he is doing and God tells Ezekiel to answer them that Ezekiel has been a representation of what will happen to Zedekiah and his family and those captured with him.
12And the prince that is among them shall bear upon his shoulder in the twilight, and shall go forth: they shall dig through the wall to carry out thereby: he shall cover his face, that he see not the ground with his eyes.
In Jeremiah 39:2-4 (& 2 Kings 25:4) we read that Zedekiah and his family escaped through a small gate in the wall in the king’s garden and fled into the night. Zedekiah shall cover his own face meaning that he will intentionally cause himself not to understand or believe this prophecy concerning him even though Jeremiah and Ezekiel both gave it. He will still flee exactly as predicted.
13My net also will I spread upon him, and he shall be taken in my snare: and I will bring him to Babylon to the land of the Chaldeans; yet shall he not see it, though he shall die there.
(Jer. 39:5-7; 2 Kings 25:5-7) Zedekiah is captured and his family killed and his eyes put out – brought to Babylon but not see it though he dies there – at Riblah – the border of Israel (Ezek. 11:10-11).
14And I will scatter toward every wind all that are about him to help him, and all his bands; and I will draw out the sword after them.
“...and all his army were scattered from him.” (2 Kings 25:5)
15And they shall know that I am the LORD, when I shall scatter them among the nations, and disperse them in the countries.
The Jews will then know that God is “the LORD”, literally “the YHWH” whose name means “eternally existent one.” He is saying here that they will recognize then that Jehovah is the only true and living God as compared to all the fake man-made gods they worship. They will know this when He scatters them among the Gentile nations just as He promised.
16But I will leave a few men of them from the sword, from the famine, and from the pestilence; that they may declare all their abominations among the heathen whither they come; and they shall know that I am the LORD.
There would be some that survive and remain in the land. (2 Kings 25:22ff; Jer. 39:10) so that they would tell the Gentiles that come through the city what happened to them.
17Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 18Son of man, eat thy bread with quaking, and drink thy water with trembling and with carefulness; 19And say unto the people of the land, Thus saith the Lord GOD of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and of the land of Israel; They shall eat their bread with carefulness, and drink their water with astonishment, that her land may be desolate from all that is therein, because of the violence of all them that dwell therein. 20And the cities that are inhabited shall be laid waste, and the land shall be desolate; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
Those that remained would eat and drink water because the richness of the land would be gone. They would eat and drink with fear at what had been done by God, so powerful and complete would the promise be kept. Because of the desolation (the emptiness) and waste (destruction by the army) they would know and fear Jehovah God.
21And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 22Son of man, what is that proverb that ye have in the land of Israel, saying, The days are prolonged, and every vision faileth? 23Tell them therefore, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will make this proverb to cease, and they shall no more use it as a proverb in Israel; but say unto them, The days are at hand, and the effect of every vision. 24For there shall be no more any vain vision nor flattering divination within the house of Israel. 25For I am the LORD: I will speak, and the word that I shall speak shall come to pass; it shall be no more prolonged: for in your days, O rebellious house, will I say the word, and will perform it, saith the Lord GOD.
God speaks to Ezekiel about a proverb among the Jews that the prophecies of God (by Isaiah and Jeremiah) have failed because they have not been fulfilled yet. God then tells Ezekiel that he will put an end to that nonsense. Ezekiel is told to tell the Jews that the days of those prophecies are “at hand”. Once more it is important to call out the meaning of this phrase, that it means the events will happen soon, just as it is used in Revelation 1-3 and 22. God will put an end to the false prophecies of the idol worshippers that make things sound good to the itching ears of their followers. God’s long suffering is at an end.
26Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying. 27Son of man, behold, they of the house of Israel say, The vision that he seeth is for many days to come, and he prophesieth of the times that are far off. 28Therefore say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; There shall none of my words be prolonged any more, but the word which I have spoken shall be done, saith the Lord GOD.
The false prophets and leaders of the Jews claim that even if the prophecies of God are true, they are a long way off. God tells Ezekiel to correct them and let them know that they are at hand, soon, about to happen. Keep in mind the timing of this. Nebuchadnezzar attacks within 5 years of this prophecy. That gives us a really good indicator of what God means when he says soon. If the events in Revelation were to happen soon, that means they would happen within about a 5 or so year time frame!
In Truth and Love,