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Ezekiel’s commission and his vision of living beings and the siege of Jerusalem: Ezekiel 1–4

Jeremiah had already prophesied that Zedekiah and his officials, who were still in Jerusalem, were nothing but rotten figs. Ezekiel now demonstrated the siege to come.

 Ezekiel 4:1-3 And now, son of man, take a large clay brick and set it down in front of you. Then draw a map of the city of Jerusalem on it. Show the city under siege. Build a wall around it so no one can escape. Set up the enemy camp, and surround the city with siege ramps and battering rams. Then take an iron griddle and place it between you and the city. Turn toward the city and demonstrate how harsh the siege will be against Jerusalem. This will be a warning to the people of Israel.

Ezekiel was told to lie down in front of this drawing for some 14 to 15 months—390 days (for Israel’s sins) and then a further 40 days (for Judah’s sins). He was to survive on a carefully measured ration of flatbread and water that he’d weighed before he started.

It was designed to show not only the coming (second) exile, but also the severity of the siege to come:

Ezekial 4:16-17Son of man, I will make food very scarce in Jerusalem. It will be weighed out with great care and eaten fearfully. The water will be rationed out drop by drop, and the people will drink it with dismay7 Lacking food and water, people will look at one another in terror, and they will waste away under their punishment.