Ezekiel 4:16
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
Moreover, he said to me, “Son of man, behold, I will break the supply of bread in Jerusalem. They shall eat bread by weight and with anxiety, and they shall drink water by measure and in dismay.

King James Bible
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:

American Standard Version
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 fearfulness; and they shall drink water by measure, and in dismay:

Douay-Rheims Bible
And he said to me: Son of man: Behold, I will break in pieces the staff of bread in Jerusalem: and they shall eat bread by weight, and with care: and they shall drink water by measure, and in distress.

English Revised Version
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 carefulness; and they shall drink water by measure, and with astonishment:

Webster's Bible Translation
Moreover he said to 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.

Ezekiel 4:16 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

The general divine instructions. - Ezekiel 3:25. And thou, son of man, lo, they will lay cords upon thee, and bind thee therewith, so that thou canst not go out into their midst. Ezekiel 3:26. And I shall make thy tongue cleave to thy palate, that thou mayest be dumb, and mayest not serve them as a reprover: for they are a stiff-necked generation. Ezekiel 3:27. But when I speak to thee, I will open thy mouth, that thou mayest say to them, Thus sayeth the Lord Jehovah, Let him who wishes to hear, hear, and let him who neglects, neglect (to hear): for they are a stiff necked generation. - The meaning of this general injunction depends upon the determination of the subject in נתנוּ, Ezekiel 3:25. Most expositors think of the prophet's countrymen, who are to bind him with cords so that he shall not be able to leave his house. The words ולא תצא appear to support this, as the suffix in בּתוכם indisputably refers to his countrymen. But this circumstance is by no means decisive; while against this view is the twofold difficulty - firstly, that a binding of the prophet with cords by his countrymen is scarcely reconcilable with what he performs in Ezekiel 4 and 5; secondly, of hostile attacks by the exiles upon the prophet there is not a trace to be discovered in the entire remainder of the book. The house of Israel is indeed repeatedly described as a stiff-necked race, as hardened and obdurate towards God's word; but any embitterment of feeling against the prophet, which should have risen so far as to bind him, or even to make direct attempts to prevent him from exercising his prophetic calling, can, after what is related in Ezekiel 33:30-33 regarding the position of the people towards him, hardly be imagined. Further, the binding and fettering of the prophet is to be regarded as of the same kind with the cleaving of his tongue to his jaws, so that he should be silent and not speak (Ezekiel 3:26). It is God, however, who suspends this dumbness over him; and according to Ezekiel 4:8, it is also God who binds him with cords, so that he cannot stir from one side to the other. The demonstrative power of the latter passage is not to be weakened by the objection that it is a passage of an altogether different kind, and the connection altogether different (Hvernick). For the complete difference between the two passages would first have to be proved. The object, indeed, of the binding of the prophet in Ezekiel 4:8 is different from that in our verse. Here it is to render it impossible for the prophet to go out of the house; in Ezekiel 4:8, it is to prevent him from moving from one side to the other. But the one object does not exclude the other; both statements coincide, rather, in the general thought that the prophet must adapt himself entirely to the divine will - not only not leave the house, but lie also for 390 days upon one side without turning. - We might rather, with Kliefoth, understand Ezekiel 4:8 to mean that God accomplished the binding of the prophet by human instruments - viz. that He caused him to be bound by foreigners (Ezekiel 3:25). But this supposition also would only be justified, if either the sense of the words in Ezekiel 3:25, or other good reasons, pronounced in favour of the view that it was the exiles who had bound the prophet. But as this is not the case, so we are not at liberty to explain the definite נתתּי, "I lay on" (Ezekiel 4:8), according to the indefinite נתנוּ, "they lay on," or "one lays on" (Ezekiel 3:25); but must, on the contrary, understand our verse in accordance with Ezekiel 4:8, and (with Hitzig) think of heavenly powers as the subject to נתנוּ - as in Job 7:3; Daniel 4:28; Luke 12:20 - without, in so doing, completely identifying the declaration in our verse with that in Luke 4:8, as if in the latter passage only that was brought to completion which had been here (Luke 3:25) predicted. If, however, the binding of the prophet proceeds from invisible powers, the expression is not to be understood literally - of a binding with material cords; - but God binds him by a spiritual power, so that he can neither leave his house nor go forth to his countrymen, nor, at a later time (Ezekiel 4:8), change the position prescribed to him. This is done, however, not to prevent the exercise of his vocation, but, on the contrary, to make him fitted for the successful performance of the work commanded him. He is not to quit his house, nor enter into fellowship and intercourse with his exiled countrymen, that he may show himself, by separation from them, to be a prophet and organ of the Lord. On the same grounds he is also (Ezekiel 3:26, Ezekiel 3:27) to keep silence, and not even correct them with words, but only to speak when God opens his mount for that purpose; to remain, moreover, unconcerned whether they listen to his words or not (cf. Ezekiel 2:4, Ezekiel 2:7). He is to do both of these things, because his contemporaries are a stiff-necked race; cf. Ezekiel 3:9 and Ezekiel 2:5, Ezekiel 2:7. That he may not speak from any impulse of his own, God will cause his tongue to cleave to his jaws, so that he cannot speak; cf. Psalm 137:6. "That the prophet is to refrain from all speech - even from the utterance of the words given him by God - will, on the one hand, make the divine words which he utters appear the more distinctly as such; while, on the other, be an evidence to his hearers of the silent sorrow with which he is filled by the contents of the divine word, and with which they also ought justly to be filled" (Kliefoth).

This state of silence, according to which he is only then to speak when God opened his mouth for the utterance of words which were to be given him, is, indeed, at first imposed upon the prophet - as follows from the relation of Ezekiel 3:25-27 to Ezekiel 4 and 5 - only for the duration of the period Ezekiel 3:25 to Ezekiel 5:17, or rather Ezekiel 7:27. But the divine injunction extends, as Kliefoth has rightly recognised, still further on - over the whole period up to the fulfilment of his prophecies of threatening by the destruction of Jerusalem. This appears especially from this, that in Ezekiel 24:27 and Ezekiel 33:22 there is an undeniable reference to the silence imposed upon him in our verse, and with reference to which it is said, that when the messenger should bring back the news of the fall of Jerusalem, his mouth should be opened and he should be no longer dumb. The reference in Ezekiel 24:27 and in Ezekiel 33:22 to the verse before us has been observed by most expositors; but several of them would limit the silence of the prophet merely to the time which lies between Ezekiel 24 and Ezekiel 33:21. This is quite arbitrary, as neither in Ezekiel 24 nor in Ezekiel 33 is silence imposed upon him; but in both chapters it is only stated that he should no longer be dumb after the receipt of the intelligence that Jerusalem had been destroyed by the Chaldeans. The supposition of Schmieder, moreover, is untenable, that the injunction of Ezekiel 3:25 refers to the turning-point in the prophet's office, which commenced on the day when the siege of Jerusalem actually began. For although this day forms a turning-point in the prophetic activity of Ezekiel, in so far as he on it announced to the people for the last time the destruction of Jerusalem, and then spake no more to Israel until the occurrence of this event, yet it is not said in Ezekiel 24:27 that he was then to be dumb from that day onwards. The hypothesis then only remains, that what was imposed and enjoined on the prophet, in Ezekiel 3:26 and Ezekiel 3:27, should remain in force for the whole period from the commencement of his prophetic activity to the receipt of the news of the fall of Jerusalem, by the arrival of a messenger on the banks of the Chaboras. Therewith is also connected the position of this injunction at the head of the first prophecy delivered to him (not at his call), if only the contents and importance of this oracle be understood and recognised, that it embraces not merely the siege of Jerusalem, but also the capture and destruction of the city, and the dispersion of the people among the heathen - consequently contains in nuce all that Ezekiel had to announce to the people down to the occurrence of this calamity, and which, in all the divine words from Ezekiel 6:1-14 to Ezekiel 24, he had again and again, though only in different ways, actually announced. If all the discourses down to Ezekiel 24 are only further expositions and attestations of the revelation of God in Ezekiel 4 and 5, then the behaviour which was enjoined on him at the time of this announcement was to be maintained during all following discourses of similar contents. Besides, for a correct appreciation of the divine precept in Ezekiel 3:26 and Ezekiel 3:27, it is also to be noticed that the prophet is not to keep entire silence, except when God inspires him to speak; but that his keeping silence is explained to men, that he is to be to his contemporaries no אישׁ, "no reprover," and consequently will place their sins before them to no greater extent, and in no other way, than God expressly directs him. Understood in this way, the silence is in contradiction neither with the words of God communicated in Ezekiel 6:1-14 to 24, nor with the predictions directed against foreign nations in Ezekiel 25-33, several of which fall within the time of the siege of Jerusalem. Cf. with this the remark upon Ezekiel 24:27 and Ezekiel 33:22.

Ezekiel 4:16 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

I will

Ezekiel 5:16 When I shall send on them the evil arrows of famine, which shall be for their destruction, and which I will send to destroy you...

Ezekiel 14:13 Son of man, when the land sins against me by trespassing grievously, then will I stretch out my hand on it...

Leviticus 26:26 And when I have broken the staff of your bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one oven...

Psalm 105:16 Moreover he called for a famine on the land: he broke the whole staff of bread.

Isaiah 3:1 For, behold, the Lord, the LORD of hosts, does take away from Jerusalem and from Judah the stay and the staff, the whole stay of bread...

eat
The prophet was allowed each day only twenty shekels weight, or about ten ounces, of the coarse food he had prepared, and the sixth part of a hin, scarcely a pint and a half, of water; all of which was intended to shew that they should be obliged to eat the meanest and coarses food, and that by weight, and their water by measure.

Ezekiel 4:10,11 And your meat which you shall eat shall be by weight, twenty shekels a day: from time to time shall you eat it...

Ezekiel 12:18,19 Son of man, eat your bread with quaking, and drink your water with trembling and with carefulness...

Psalm 60:3 You have showed your people hard things: you have made us to drink the wine of astonishment.

Lamentations 1:11 All her people sigh, they seek bread; they have given their pleasant things for meat to relieve the soul: see, O LORD, and consider...

Lamentations 4:9,10 They that be slain with the sword are better than they that be slain with hunger: for these pine away...

Lamentations 5:9 We got our bread with the peril of our lives because of the sword of the wilderness.

Cross References
Revelation 6:5
When he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, "Come!" And I looked, and behold, a black horse! And its rider had a pair of scales in his hand.

Leviticus 26:26
When I break your supply of bread, ten women shall bake your bread in a single oven and shall dole out your bread again by weight, and you shall eat and not be satisfied.

Psalm 105:16
When he summoned a famine on the land and broke all supply of bread,

Isaiah 3:1
For behold, the Lord GOD of hosts is taking away from Jerusalem and from Judah support and supply, all support of bread, and all support of water;

Jeremiah 52:6
On the ninth day of the fourth month the famine was so severe in the city that there was no food for the people of the land.

Lamentations 5:4
We must pay for the water we drink; the wood we get must be bought.

Ezekiel 4:10
And your food that you eat shall be by weight, twenty shekels a day; from day to day you shall eat it.

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