Ezekiel 5:1
Parallel Verses
New International Version
"Now, son of man, take a sharp sword and use it as a barber's razor to shave your head and your beard. Then take a set of scales and divide up the hair.

New Living Translation
"Son of man, take a sharp sword and use it as a razor to shave your head and beard. Use a scale to weigh the hair into three equal parts.

English Standard Version
“And you, O son of man, take a sharp sword. Use it as a barber’s razor and pass it over your head and your beard. Then take balances for weighing and divide the hair.

New American Standard Bible
"As for you, son of man, take a sharp sword; take and use it as a barber's razor on your head and beard. Then take scales for weighing and divide the hair.

King James Bible
And thou, son of man, take thee a sharp knife, take thee a barber's rasor, and cause it to pass upon thine head and upon thy beard: then take thee balances to weigh, and divide the hair.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Now you, son of man, take a sharp sword, use it as you would a barber's razor, and shave your head and beard. Then take a set of scales and divide the hair.

International Standard Version
"Now as for you, Son of Man, you are to go find a sharp sword and use it like a barber's razor. You are to cut your hair and beard. Then you are to take a weighing scale and divide your shaved hair into three parts.

NET Bible
"As for you, son of man, take a sharp sword and use it as a barber's razor. Shave off some of the hair from your head and your beard. Then take scales and divide up the hair you cut off.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
[The LORD said,] "Son of man, take a sharp blade, and use it as a barber's razor to shave your head and beard. Take scales to weigh your hair and divide it [into three even parts].

Jubilee Bible 2000
And thou, son of man, take a sharp knife, take a barber's razor, and cause it to pass upon thine head and upon thy beard; then take balances to weigh, and divide the hair.

King James 2000 Bible
And you, son of man, take a sharp knife, take a barber's razor, and cause it to pass upon your head and upon your beard: then take balances to weigh and divide the hair.

American King James Version
And you, son of man, take you a sharp knife, take you a barber's razor, and cause it to pass on your head and on your beard: then take you balances to weigh, and divide the hair.

American Standard Version
And thou, son of man, take thee a sharp sword; as a barber's razor shalt thou take it unto thee, and shalt cause it to pass upon thy head and upon thy beard: then take thee balances to weigh, and divide the hair.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And thou, son of man, take thee a sharp knife that shaveth the hair: and cause it to pass over thy head, and over thy beard: and take thee a balance to weigh in, and divide the hair.

Darby Bible Translation
And thou, son of man, take thee a sharp knife; a barber's razor shalt thou take; and cause it to pass upon thy head and upon thy beard: and thou shalt take balances to weigh, and divide the [hair].

English Revised Version
And thou, son of man, take thee a sharp sword, as a barber's razor shalt thou take it unto thee, and shalt cause it to pass upon thine head and upon thy beard: then take thee balances to weigh, and divide the hair.

Webster's Bible Translation
And thou, son of man, take thee a sharp knife, take thee a barber's razor, and cause it to pass upon thy head and upon thy beard: then take to thee balances to weigh, and divide the hair.

World English Bible
You, son of man, take a sharp sword; You shall take it as a barber's razor to you, and shall cause it to pass on your head and on your beard: then take balances to weigh, and divide the hair.

Young's Literal Translation
And thou, son of man, take to thee a sharp weapon, the barber's razor thou dost take to thee, and thou hast caused it to pass over thy head, and over thy beard, and thou hast taken to thee weighing scales, and apportioned them.
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

5:1-4 The prophet must shave off the hair of his head and beard, which signifies God's utter rejecting and abandoning that people. One part must be burned in the midst of the city, denoting the multitudes that should perish by famine and pestilence. Another part was to be cut in pieces, representing the many who were slain by the sword. Another part was to be scattered in the wind, denoting the carrying away of some into the land of the conqueror, and the flight of others into the neighbouring countries for shelter. A small quantity of the third portion was to be bound in his shirts, as that of which he is very careful. But few were reserved. To whatever refuge sinners flee, the fire and sword of God's wrath will consume them.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 1. - Take thee a barber's razor, etc. The series of symbolic acts is carried further. Recollections of Isaiah and Leviticus mingle strangely in the prophet's mind. The former had made the "razor" the symbol of the devastation wrought by an invading army (Isaiah 7:20). The latter had forbidden its use for the head and beard of the priests (Leviticus 19:27; Leviticus 21:5). Once again Ezekiel is commanded to do a forbidden thing as a symbolic act. He is, for the moment, the representative of the people of Jerusalem, and there is to be, as of old, a great destruction of that people as "by a razor that is hired." The word for "barber" (perhaps "hair cutter") does not occur elsewhere in the Old Testament, but its use may be noted as showing that then, as now, the "barber" was a recognized institution in every Eastern town. The word for "knife" (Joshua 5:2; 1 Kings 18:28) is used in ver. 2, and commonly throughout the Old Testament, for "sword," and is so translated here by the LXX. and Vulgate. The prophet is to take a "sword" and use it as a razor, to make the symbolism more effective.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

And thou, son of man, take thee a sharp knife,.... Or, "sword" (m). The word signifies any sharp instrument, by which anything is cut off, or cut asunder; what is here meant is explained by the following:

take thee a barber's razor. The Septuagint and Arabic versions read this in conjunction with the former, thus, "take thee a knife", or "sword, sharper than a barber's razor"; and so the Syriac version, "take thee a sword sharp as a barber's razor"; this sharp knife, sword, or razor, signifies, as Jarchi interprets it, Nebuchadnezzar; and very rightly; so the king of Assyria is called in Isaiah 7:20,

and cause it to pass upon thine head, and upon thy beard; the "head" was a symbol of the city of Jerusalem, the metropolis of Judea; the "beard", of the cities, towns, and villages about it; and the "hair" of both, of the common people; compared to hair for their numbers, for their levity and unsteadiness, and for their being the beauty and ornament of the places where they lived; and the shaving of them denotes their disgrace and destruction, and mourning on account thereof:

then take thee balances to weigh and divide the hair. The Syriac version adds, "into three parts"; signifying, that several distinct punishments would be inflicted on them, and these according to the righteous judgment of God; balances being a symbol of justice.

(m) "gladium", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Polanus, Starckius.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

CHAPTER 5

Eze 5:1-17. Vision of Cutting the Hairs, and the Calamities Foreshadowed Thereby.

1. knife … razor—the sword of the foe (compare Isa 7:20). This vision implies even severer judgments than the Egyptian afflictions foreshadowed in the former, for their guilt was greater than that of their forefathers.

thine head—as representative of the Jews. The whole hair being shaven off was significant of severe and humiliating (2Sa 10:4, 5) treatment. Especially in the case of a priest; for priests (Le 21:5) were forbidden "to make baldness on their head," their hair being the token of consecration; hereby it was intimated that the ceremonial must give place to the moral.

balances—implying the just discrimination with which Jehovah weighs out the portion of punishment "divided," that is, allotted to each: the "hairs" are the Jews: the divine scales do not allow even one hair to escape accurate weighing (compare Mt 10:30).

Ezekiel 5:1 Additional Commentaries
Context
Judgment against Jerusalem
1"As for you, son of man, take a sharp sword; take and use it as a barber's razor on your head and beard. Then take scales for weighing and divide the hair. 2"One third you shall burn in the fire at the center of the city, when the days of the siege are completed. Then you shall take one third and strike it with the sword all around the city, and one third you shall scatter to the wind; and I will unsheathe a sword behind them.…
Cross References
Leviticus 21:5
"'Priests must not shave their heads or shave off the edges of their beards or cut their bodies.

Isaiah 7:20
In that day the Lord will use a razor hired from beyond the Euphrates River--the king of Assyria--to shave your heads and private parts, and to cut off your beards also.

Ezekiel 44:20
"'They must not shave their heads or let their hair grow long, but they are to keep the hair of their heads trimmed.

Daniel 5:27
Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.
Treasury of Scripture

And you, son of man, take you a sharp knife, take you a barber's razor, and cause it to pass on your head and on your beard: then take you balances to weigh, and divide the hair.

son. In this expressive emblem, the prophet represents the Jewish nation; his hair, the people; the razor, the Chaldeans; the cutting of the hair, the calamities and disgrace coming upon them; the balances, the exact distribution of the Divine judgments; the third part of the hair burnt, those destroyed in the city; the third part smitten with a knife, those slain in trying to escape; the third part scattered to the winds, those who escaped to other countries; the few hairs in his skirt, those left with Gedaliah; and the burning of these, their destruction in Egypt.

take

Ezekiel 44:20 Neither shall they shave their heads, nor suffer their locks to grow …

Leviticus 21:5 They shall not make baldness on their head, neither shall they shave …

Isaiah 7:20 In the same day shall the Lord shave with a razor that is hired, …

then

Daniel 5:27 TEKEL; You are weighed in the balances, and are found wanting.

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