1And 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.
Ezekiel is to shave his head and beard using a short sword (chereb). This is the same word as used in Genesis when man was driven from the garden of Eden and a flaming sword was set to guard the place. It is likely that the word chereb and cherubim are homophones in the original Hebrew. It is a play on words indicating that cherubims are sword angels or warrior angels. A sword is not a normal shaving tool so for Ezekiel to use one, and one that is sharp enough to shave, shows a vivid picture of the nature of the attack to come.
Ezekiel is then to divide the hair using a balance. This will serve as another symbol for his audience.
2Thou 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. 3Thou shalt also take thereof a few in number, and bind them in thy skirts. 4Then 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.
Ezekiel is to divide his hair into three parts. The first third he is to burn in the middle of the city after the days of “the siege” (his lying on his side) is fulfilled. The second third he is to smite with a knife. The final third part is to be scattered to the wind. Ezekiel is to take a few stray pieces of hair and bind them in his robes, then take them out and burn them in the fire like the first third. These symbols are interpreted for us below.
5Thus saith the Lord GOD; This is Jerusalem: I have set it in the midst of the nations and countries that are round about her. 6And 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.
God interprets the symbols for Ezekiel as above. Jerusalem is said to be more wicked than those nations surrounding them because the Jews had the Truth and corrupted it. The mindset of the Pharisees did not start in the time of Christ.
7Therefore 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; 8Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, am against thee, and will execute judgments in the midst of thee in the sight of the nations.
God declares that even though He blessed them, the Jews have corrupted the Law of Moses and not obeyed God. Therefore God will judge Judah and set them as an example to all the nations of the world about what it means to disobey God.
9And 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.
God says that He will do to Jerusalem something that he has never done before and will not do again because of their wickedness. It is important to note that the extent of the destruction of Jerusalem and the captivity of the Jews had never happened like this before. It was bad, but not an utter destruction. There would come a day when the worst would happen and it would be far and above what happened in the days of Nebuchadnezzar.
10Therefore 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.
This is not a literal cannibalism for though the food was scarce it never came to the point of being completely gone before the city fell. The idea here is that the people in the city would begin to turn on one another
11Wherefore, 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.
God emphasizes how angry He is with Judah for all the wickedness they have done. He will have no pity and give no quarter to the Jews.
12A third part of thee shall die with the pestilence, and with famine shall they be consumed in the midst of thee: and a third part shall fall by the sword round about thee; and I will scatter a third part into all the winds, and I will draw out a sword after them.
Here the symbol of the hair is interpreted for us. The part consumed by fire represents those in the city who will die from pestilence and famine. The second third of hair represents those who die during the fighting. The third portion of hair represents those who flee the city but who are chased after by the Chaldean army. Read 2 Kings 25 to see all of this fulfilled exactly.
13Thus 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. 14Moreover I will make thee waste, and a reproach among the nations that are round about thee, in the sight of all that pass by. 15So 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. 16When I shall send upon them the evil arrows of famine, which shall be for their destruction, and which I will send to destroy you: and I will increase the famine upon you, and will break your staff of bread: 17So 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.
Jehovah pronounces his name (“translated” in the KJV as LORD) three times here at the end so that the Jews will know specifically that it is their God, Jehovah, who carries these things out. God’s vengeance will be had. Jerusalem will lay waste, its survivors hungry and set upon by wild beasts because the walls no longer stand. Marauders and bandits will plague them. (Read Ezra and Nehemiah). They will be a warning a lesson and even a “taunt” to all the nations around the Jews not to try and thwart the will of Jehovah God.
Pay careful attention to the symbols and events of these chapters because they will be echoed in Revelation.
In Truth and Love.