Ezekiel 4

A message about Jerusalem

1 ‘Son of man, take a large brick and put it in front of you. On the brick, draw a picture of the city, Jerusalem. 2 Show that soldiers are ready to attack the city. Build heaps of earth around it so that nobody can escape. Put heavy pieces of wood around the city that the enemy could use to break its walls. 3 Then you must do this. Take a flat plate of iron and put it between you and the brick. It will be like a wall between you and the city. Look towards the city. Show that soldiers are around the city and they are ready to attack it. Nobody can escape. This will be a picture to show Israel's people what will happen to them.

4:1The people of Babylon did not have paper to write on. Instead, they made their records on bricks that were made from clay. They would write on the soft brick. Then they would bake the brick to make it hard.
4:3God gave this prophecy to Ezekiel. He told Ezekiel to make a model of a city and to do certain things with it. Ezekiel did those things to show what would happen to Jerusalem.

4-5 Then lie down on your left side. Show that you are receiving the punishment for the sins of the Israelites. You will suffer like that for 390 days. It will show the number of years that I have decided to punish Israel's people. Each day that you suffer will show one year of their punishment.

6 After you have finished all those days, lie down again. This time, lie down on your right side for 40 days. You will suffer like that to show the punishment for the sins of Judah's people. Each day will show one year of their punishment. 7 Continue to look towards the brick which has the picture of Jerusalem on it. Show that you are ready to attack it, like soldiers all around it. Speak my message to warn the city. 8 Listen! I will use ropes to tie around you. You will not be able to turn from one side to another. You will lie on one side until you have finished all the days to attack the city.

4:8This means that Ezekiel had to lie on his side for a part of each day.

9 You must take some grains like wheat and barley, and different kinds of beans. Then put them all into a jar. Use them to make bread for yourself. You must eat this for 390 days while you lie on your left side. 10 You should eat 220 grams of food each day. Eat it at the same time each day. 11 You must measure the water that you drink each day. You may drink two cups at the same times each day. 12 Prepare your food like a cake that is made from barley. Bake it on a fire that you have made with human dung. Do this where the people can see you.’

4:12Ezekiel did not bake the cake in an oven, but on hot stones. God told him to use human dung to make the fire to heat the stones. God's law said that would make the food unclean.

13 The Lord also said, ‘I will send Israel's people away to live in foreign lands. Then they will have to eat unclean food, as you will do now.’

4:13When God sent the Israelites away to live among foreign people, they would have to eat unclean food.

14 Then I said, ‘No, Almighty Lord, I could not use human dung. It would make me unclean. Since I was a child I have never eaten any food that would make me unclean. I have never eaten meat from a dead animal that people have found. I have not eaten meat from an animal that wild animals have killed.’

15 So God said to me, ‘I will allow you to use dung from cows instead of from humans. You may use that to make the fire to cook your bread.’

16 Then God said to me, ‘Son of man, I will soon take away the bread in Jerusalem. The people will have to measure the food that they eat. And they will have to measure the water that they drink. They will worry and be afraid. 17 They will not have enough food or water. Everyone will be very upset. Their bodies will become very thin when I punish them for their sins.’