Ezekiel 4:8
And, behold, I will lay bands on you, and you shall not turn you from one side to another, till you have ended the days of your siege.
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(8) I will lay bands upon thee.—See on Ezekiel 3:25. This is a fresh feature of the unrelenting character of the judgment foretold: God’s power should interpose to keep the prophet to his work. Not only pity, but even human weakness and weariness, should be excluded from interfering. The prophet is spoken of as besieging the city, because he is doing so in figure.

4:1-8 The prophet was to represent the siege of Jerusalem by signs. He was to lie on his left side for a number of days, supposed to be equal to the years from the establishment of idolatry. All that the prophet sets before the children of his people, about the destruction of Jerusalem, is to show that sin is the provoking cause of the ruin of that once flourishing city.I will lay bands upon thee - Contrast margin reference. The Lord will put constraint upon him, to cause him to exercise his office. In the retirement of his house, figuratively bound and under constraint, he shall not cease to proclaim the doom of the city.

The days of thy siege - Those during which he should thus foretell the approaching calamity.

8. bands—(Eze 3:25).

not turn from … side—to imply the impossibility of their being able to shake off the punishment.

Whoever were the persons that laid bonds on Ezekiel, in Ezekiel 3:25, here it is plain that the Lord doth it. If the prophet represent the besieged citizens who must be captives in bonds, then it is likely these bonds were visible and material, that they might be a teaching sign and admonition, that as they saw the prophet in them, so certainly he should see that come to pass which was signified by them. If he represent the Chaldeans, as those who were by Divine power as fast bound to this siege, till the city be taken, as he was tied to the place whence he could not stir a foot, then invisible bonds, which none feel or see but the prophet, may suffice these, assuring him that those could move no more from the siege than he from that side he lay on. And though the Egyptian army make some diversion, yet it is very like the siege was not quite raised, but they kept the city blocked up, whilst the gross of the army drew off to fight Pharaoh’s army, according to that Jeremiah 37:9, the Chaldeans shall not depart.

Thy siege, Heb. plural, sieges, either because it was like two sieges by that little interruption of three or four months, or else because of the length and soreness thereof. And, behold, I will lay hands upon thee,.... Representing either the besieged, signifying that they should be taken and bound as he was; or rather the besiegers, the Chaldean army, which should be so held by the power and providence of God, that they should not break up the siege until they had taken the city, and fulfilled the whole will and pleasure of God; for these bands were an emblem of the firm and unalterable decree of God, respecting the siege and taking of Jerusalem; and so the Targum paraphrases it,

"and, lo, the decree of my word is upon thee, as a band of ropes;''

and to this sense Jarchi interprets it; and which is confirmed by what follows:

and thou shall not turn thee from one side to another till thou hast ended the days of thy siege; showing that the Chaldean army should not depart from Jerusalem until it was taken; for though, upon the report of the Egyptian army coming against them, they went forth to meet it; yet they returned to Jerusalem, and never left the siege till the city fell into their hands, according to the purpose and appointment of God. Kimchi that the word for siege is in the plural number, and signifies both the "siege" of Samaria and the siege of Jerusalem; but the former was over many years before this time: by this it appears that the siege of Jerusalem should last three hundred and ninety days; indeed, from the beginning to the end of it, were seventeen months, 2 Kings 25:1; but the siege being raised by the army of the king of Egypt for some time, Jeremiah 37:5, may reduce it to thirteen months, or thereabout; for three hundred and ninety days are not only intended to signify the years of Israel's sin and wickedness, but also to show how long the city would be besieged; and so long the prophet in this symbolical way was besieging it.

And, behold, I will lay {e} cords upon thee, and thou shalt not turn thee from one side to another, till thou hast ended the days of thy siege.

(e) The people would so straightly be besieged that they would not be able to turn them.

8. from one side to another] lit. from thy side to thy side. Here the prophet represents those pressed by the rigours of the siege, as in Ezekiel 4:4-6. The “days of thy siege” most naturally means the days of thy suffering siege (ch. Ezekiel 5:2).Verse 8. - I will lay bands upon thee, etc. The words point to the supernatural constraint which would support the prophet in a position as trying as that of an Indian yogi or a Stylite monk. He would himself be powerless to move (exceptis excipiendis, as before) from the prescribed position. There is, perhaps, a reference to Ezekiel 3:25. The people would have "put bands" upon the prophet to hinder his work; Jehovah will "put bands" upon him to help, nay, to constrain, him to finish it. Introduction to the first prophetic announcement. - Ezekiel 3:22. And there came upon me there the hand of Jehovah, and He said to me, Up! go into the valley, there will I speak to thee. Ezekiel 3:23. And I arose, and went into the valley: and, lo, there stood the glory of Jehovah, like the glory which I had seen at the river Chebar: and I fell upon my face. Ezekiel 3:24. And spirit came into me, and placed me on my feet, and He spake with me, and said to me, Go, and shut thyself in thy house. - הבּקעה is, without doubt, the valley situated near Tel-abib. Ezekiel is to go out from the midst of the exiles - where, according to Ezekiel 3:15, he had found himself-into the valley, because God will reveal Himself to him only in solitude. When he had complied with this command, there appears to him there the glory of Jehovah, in the same form in which it had appeared to him at the Chaboras (Ezekiel 1:4-28); before it he falls, a second time, on his face; but is also, as on the first occasion, again raised to his feet, cf. 1:28-2:2. Hereupon the Lord commands him to shut himself up in his house - which doubtless he inhabited in Tel-Abib - not probably "as a sign of his future destiny," as a realistic explanation of the words, "Thou canst not walk in their midst (Ezekiel 3:25); they will prevent thee by force from freely exercising thy vocation in the midst of the people." For in that case the "shutting of himself up in the house" would be an arbitrary identification with the "binding with fetters" (Ezekiel 3:25); and besides, the significance of the address ואתּה בן אדם, and its repetition in Ezekiel 4:1 and Ezekiel 5:1, would be misconceived. For as in Ezekiel 4:1 and Ezekiel 5:1 there are introduced with this address the principal parts of the duty which Ezekiel was to perform, so the proper divine instruction may also first begin with the same in Ezekiel 3:25; consequently the command "to shut himself up in his house" can only have the significance of a preliminary divine injunction, without possessing any significance in itself; but only "serve as a means for carrying out what the prophet is commissioned to do in the following chapters" (Kliefoth), i.e., can only mean that he is to perform in his own house what is commanded him in Ezekiel 4 and 5, or that he is not to leave his house during their performance. More can hardly be sought in this injunction, nor can it at all be taken to mean that, having shut himself up from others in his house, he is to allow no one to approach him; but only that he is not to leave his dwelling. For, according to Ezekiel 4:3, the symbolical representation of the siege of Jerusalem is to be a sign for the house of Israel; and according to Ezekiel 4:12, Ezekiel is, during this symbolical action, to bake his bread before their eyes. From this it is seen that his contemporaries might come to him and observe his proceedings.
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