|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
4:9-17 The bread which was Ezekiel's support, was to be made of coarse grain and pulse mixed together, seldom used except in times of urgent scarcity, and of this he was only to take a small quantity. Thus was figured the extremity to which the Jews were to be reduced during the siege and captivity. Ezekiel does not plead, Lord, from my youth I have been brought up delicately, and never used to any thing like this; but that he had been brought up conscientiously, and never had eaten any thing forbidden by the law. It will be comfortable when we are brought to suffer hardships, if our hearts can witness that we have always been careful to keep even from the appearance of evil. See what woful work sin makes, and acknowledge the righteousness of God herein. Their plenty having been abused to luxury and excess, they were justly punished by famine. When men serve not God with cheerfulness in the abundance of all things, God will make them serve their enemies in the want of all things.
Verse 10. - Thy meat, etc.; better, food, here and elsewhere. Coarse as the food was, the people would have but scanty rations of it. Men were not, as usual, to measure the corn, but to weigh the bread (Leviticus 26:26). Taking the shekel at about 220 grains, the twenty shekels would be about 10 or 12 ounces. The common allowance in England for prison or pauper dietaries gives, I believe from 24 to 32 ounces, Besides other food. And this was to be taken, not as hunger prompted, but at the appointed hour. once a day. The whole scene of the people of the besieged city coming for their daily rations is brought vividly before us.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And thy meat which thou shall eat shall be by weight, twenty shekels a day,.... To eat bread by weight was a sign of a grievous famine; see Leviticus 26:26; a shekel, according to Josephus (i), weighed four Attic drachms, or half an ounce, wherefore twenty shekels weighed ten ounces; so that the bread the prophet had to eat was but ten ounces a day:
from time to time shall thou eat it; at the certain time of eating, or but once a day; from a set time in one day to the same in another; as from morning to morning, or from noon to noon, or from evening to evening; see Jeremiah 37:21.
(i) Antiqu. l. 3. c. 8. sect. 2.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
10. twenty shekels—that is, little more than ten ounces; a scant measure to sustain life (Jer 52:6). But it applies not only to the siege, but to their whole subsequent state.
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