Wesley's Notes on the Bible
Thou also, son of man, take thee a tile, and lay it before thee, and pourtray upon it the city, even Jerusalem:
4:1 Portray - Draw a map of Jerusalem.
And lay siege against it, and build a fort against it, and cast a mount against it; set the camp also against it, and set battering rams against it round about.
4:2 Lay siege - Draw the figure of a siege about the city. Build - Raise a tower and bulwarks.
Moreover take thou unto thee an iron pan, and set it for a wall of iron between thee and the city: and set thy face against it, and it shall be besieged, and thou shalt lay siege against it. This shall be a sign to the house of Israel.
4:3 A wall - That it may resemble a wall of iron, for as impregnable as such a wall, shall the resolution and patience of the Chaldeans be.
Lie thou also upon thy left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it: according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon it thou shalt bear their iniquity.
4:4 Lay - Take upon thee the representation of their guilt and punishment. House of Israel - The ten tribes. The number - By this thou shalt intimate how long I have borne with their sins, and how long they shall bear their punishment.
For I have laid upon thee the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days: so shalt thou bear the iniquity of the house of Israel.
4:5 I have laid - I have pointed out the number of years wherein apostate Israel sinned against me, and I did bear with them. Years - These years probably began at Solomon's falling to idolatry, in the twenty - seventh year of his reign, and ended in the fifth of Zedekiah's captivity.
And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year.
4:6 Accomplished - That is, almost accomplished. House of Judah - Of the two tribes. Forty days - Probably from Josiah's renewing the covenant, until the destruction of the temple, during which time God deferred to punish, expecting whether they would keep their covenant, or retain their idolatries, which latter they did for thirteen years of Josiah's reign, for eleven of Jehoiakim's, and eleven of Zedekiah's reign, and five of his captivity, which amount to just forty years. But all this was done in a vision.
Therefore thou shalt set thy face toward the siege of Jerusalem, and thine arm shall be uncovered, and thou shalt prophesy against it.
4:7 Set - While thou liest on thy side thou shalt fix thy countenance on the portrait of besieged Jerusalem. Uncovered - Naked and stretched out as being ready to strike.
And, behold, I will lay bands upon thee, and thou shalt not turn thee from one side to another, till thou hast ended the days of thy siege.
4:8 Bands - An invisible restraint assuring him, that those could no more remove from the siege, than he from that side he lay on.
Take thou also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentiles, and millet, and fitches, and put them in one vessel, and make thee bread thereof, according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon thy side, three hundred and ninety days shalt thou eat thereof.
4:9 Take - Provide thee corn enough: for a grievous famine will accompany the siege. Wheat - All sorts of grain are to be provided, and all will be little enough. One vessel - Mix the worst with the best to lengthen out the provision.
And thy meat which thou shalt eat shall be by weight, twenty shekels a day: from time to time shalt thou eat it.
4:10 By weight - Not as much as you will, but a small pittance delivered by weight to all. Twenty shekels - Ten ounces: scarce enough to maintain life. From time to time - At set hours this was weighed out.
Thou shalt drink also water by measure, the sixth part of an hin: from time to time shalt thou drink.
4:11 The sixth part - About six ounces.
And thou shalt eat it as barley cakes, and thou shalt bake it with dung that cometh out of man, in their sight.
4:12 As barley cakes - Because they never had enough to make a loaf with, they eat them as barley cakes. With dung - There was no wood left, nor yet dung of other creatures. This also was represented in a vision.
And the LORD said, Even thus shall the children of Israel eat their defiled bread among the Gentiles, whither I will drive them.
Then said I, Ah Lord GOD! behold, my soul hath not been polluted: for from my youth up even till now have I not eaten of that which dieth of itself, or is torn in pieces; neither came there abominable flesh into my mouth.
Then he said unto me, Lo, I have given thee cow's dung for man's dung, and thou shalt prepare thy bread therewith.
Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, behold, I will break the staff of bread in Jerusalem: and they shall eat bread by weight, and with care; and they shall drink water by measure, and with astonishment:
That they may want bread and water, and be astonied one with another, and consume away for their iniquity.
4:17 May want - So because they served not God with chearfulness in the abundance of all things, He made them serve their enemies in the want of all things.