1He said to me, “Mortal, eat what is offered you; eat this scroll, and go speak to the House of Israel.” 2So I opened my mouth, and He gave me this scroll to eat,

4Then He said to me, “Mortal, go to the House of Israel and repeat My very words to them. 5For you are sent, not to a people of unintelligible speech and difficult language, but to the House of Israel—

7But the House of Israel will refuse to listen to you, for they refuse to listen to Me; for the whole House of Israel are brazen of forehead and stubborn of heart.

8But I will make your face as hard as theirs, and your forehead as brazen as theirs. 9I will make your forehead like adamant, harder than flint. Do not fear them, and do not be dismayed by them, though they are a rebellious breed.”

12Then a spirit carried me away, and behind me I heard a great roaring sound: “Blessed is the Presence of the Lord, in His place,” 13with the sound of the wings of the creatures beating against one another, and the sound of the wheels beside them—a great roaring sound.

14A spirit seized me and carried me away. I went in bitterness, in the fury of my spirit, while the hand of the Lord was strong upon me. 15And I came to the exile community that dwelt in Tel Abib by the Chebar Canal, and I remained where they dwelt. And for seven days I sat there stunned among them.

22Then the hand of the Lord came upon me there, and He said to me, “Arise, go out to the valley, and there I will speak with you.” 23I arose and went out to the valley, and there stood the Presence of the Lord, like the Presence that I had seen at the Chebar Canal; and I flung myself down on my face.

24And a spirit entered into me and set me upon my feet. And He spoke to me, and said to me: “Go, shut yourself up in your house. 25As for you, O mortal, cords have been placed upon you, and you have been bound with them, and you shall not go out among them.

26And I will make your tongue cleave to your palate, and you shall be dumb; you shall not be a reprover to them, for they are a rebellious breed.

27But when I speak with you, I will open your mouth, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God!’ He who listens will listen, and he who does not will not—for they are a rebellious breed.” Ezekiel Chapter 3/1,2,4,5,7-9,12-15 and 22-27 Tanakh JPS 1985.

 

4“Then lie on your left side, and let it bear the punishment of the House of Israel; for as many days as you lie on it you shall bear their punishment. 5For I impose upon you three hundred and ninety days, corresponding to the number of the years of their punishment; and so you shall bear the punishment for the House of Israel. 6When you have completed these, you shall lie another forty days on your right side, and bear the punishment of the House of Judah. I impose on you one day for each year.

7“Then, with bared arm, set your face toward besieged Jerusalem and prophesy against it. 8Now I put cords upon you, so that you cannot turn from side to side until you complete your days of siege.

9“Further, take wheat, barley, beans, lentils, millet, and emmer. Put them into one vessel and bake them into bread. Eat it as many days as you lie on your side: three hundred and ninety. 10The food that you eat shall be by weight, twenty shekels a day; this you shall eat in the space of a day. 11And you shall drink water by measure; drink a sixth of a hin in the space of a day.

12“Eat it as a barley cake; you shall bake it on human excrement before their eyes. 13So,” said the Lord, “shall the people of Israel eat their bread, unclean, among the nations to which I will banish them.” 14Then I said, “Ah, Lord God, my person was never defiled; nor have I eaten anything that died of itself or was torn by beasts from my youth until now, nor has foul flesh entered my mouth.” 15He answered me, “See, I allow you cow’s dung instead of human excrement; prepare your bread on that.”     Ezekiel Chapter 4/4-12 Tanakh JPS 1985.

 

8By oppressive judgment he was taken away,
Who could describe his abode?
For he was cut off from the land of the living
Through the sin of my people, who deserved the punishment.

9And his grave was set among the wicked,
And with the rich, in his death—
Though he had done no injustice
And had spoken no falsehood.

10But the Lord chose to crush him by disease,
That, if he made himself an offering for guilt,
He might see offspring and have long life,
And that through him the Lord’s purpose might prosper.

11Out of his anguish he shall see it;
He shall enjoy it to the full through his devotion.
“My righteous servant makes the many righteous,
It is their punishment that he bears;     Isaiah 53/8-10 Tanakh JPS 1985.

 

Isaiah was the most “political” of the prophets. In the face of Assyrian expansionism he counseled a passive political and military approach. He put his faith in divine salvation, which would certainly follow from a necessary change in the moral leadership and in the people’s spiritual tenacity. Every “earthly” attempt to alter the course of events was foredoomed, since the mighty Assyria was no more than a “rod” in God’s hands with which to punish the sins of Jerusalem: “Again the Lord spoke to me, thus: ‘Because that people has spurned the gently flowing waters of Siloam assuredly, my Lord will bring up against them the mighty, massive waters of the Euphrates, the king of Assyria and all his multitude” (8:6-7).       Isaiah: at jewishvirtuallibrary.org  (excerpt)

 

Commentary:

“Mortal, eat what is offered you; eat this scroll, and go speak to the House of Israel”

“But I will make your face as hard as theirs, and your forehead as brazen as theirs.”

How will HaShem make Ezekiel suitable for His purpose, making him as tough as the House of Israel unafraid to bring the words of G-d to them? By chastisement and punishment just as he does with the righteous servant of Isaiah 53 and teaching him the scripture.

“Then a spirit carried me away, and behind me I heard a great roaring sound: “Blessed is the Presence of the Lord, in His place,”

“And for seven days I sat there stunned among them.”

“A spirit seized me and carried me away. I went in bitterness, in the fury of my spirit, while the hand of the Lord was strong upon me.”
“Then the hand of the Lord came upon me there”

“And a spirit entered into me and set me upon my feet. And He spoke to me, and said to me: “Go, shut yourself up in your house”

“As for you, O mortal, cords have been placed upon you, and you have been bound with them”

“And I will make your tongue cleave to your palate, and you shall be dumb”

“But when I speak with you, I will open your mouth, and you shall say to them”

“Then lie on your left side, and let it bear the punishment of the House of Israel; for as many days as you lie on it you shall bear their punishment. 5For I impose upon you three hundred and ninety days, corresponding to the number of the years of their punishment; and so you shall bear the punishment for the House of Israel.”

G-d and the person of the spirit of the Holy G-d have come to Ezekiel to prepare him to be a prophet. The hand of the Lord of chastisement and punishment is infuriating his spirit. His power covering Ezekiel like cords is the power which envelops a prophet to bear up to the weight of the presence of G-d. His tongue is no longer his own for he speaks the words G-d would have him speak.

Ezekiel is treated harshly and punished for 430 consecutive days. This punishment is for the sins of the House of Israel and the House of Judah which is the Jewish people. This is the same manner G-d prepares His righteous servant of Isaiah 53. In Isaiah 53 the words “Through the sin of my people, who deserved the punishment.” and “It is their punishment that he bears” are used instead of “you shall bear their punishment”.

Ezekiel does not relieve the punishment of the House of Israel and the House of Judah or their sins. It describes a great ordeal Ezekiel is being put through to make him suitable for G-d’s purpose to be a prophet to the Jewish people.

As the commentator on Isaiah of the Jewish Virtual Library says above “Every “earthly” attempt to alter the course of events was foredoomed, since the mighty Assyria was no more than a “rod” in God’s hands with which to punish the sins of Jerusalem:”

I know what Ezekiel is going through in this punishment. I have experienced it. I cannot describe exactly what Ezekiel went through during those 430 days but I do know what 5 days was for me.

In the second year after the person of the spirit of G-d alighted upon me and G-d first spoke to me in 2007 everything changed when G-d told me I was going to sacrifice for 5 days. I had not experienced any crushing, bruising, chastisement or punishment before this. And those are the very words from Isaiah 53.

As I lay in bed the cords of G-d’s power enveloped me. I simply could not move. G-d never stopped talking to me and was explaining to me everything that was happening. He showed me how His power could slowly crush my chest until I could not breath and He let the fear of that overwhelm me.

He used this example to teach and discuss with me Jonah on the bottom of the ocean. He also gave me tremendous visions related to death by suffocation and was showing me that He could keep me alive without air.

This only took a few hours of the five days. G-d is very creative and there was very little let up in this method of teaching me of His power, the scripture, the Jewish people, fear of Him and the level of pain He would lay on me.

It changed our relationship, how I thought of Him and took a lot of the fight out of my soul. And this process has continued in many ways and experiences over the years. It is how I learned about creation, the scripture and mysteries of heaven while being made suitable for the purposes of G-d.

“Then I said, “Ah, Lord God, my person was never defiled; nor have I eaten anything that died of itself or was torn by beasts from my youth until now, nor has foul flesh entered my mouth.” He answered me, “See, I allow you cow’s dung instead of human excrement; prepare your bread on that.”

I know this answer and the tone of it in a thousand different ways. That is HaShem. This is an example of taking self righteousness out of Ezekiel. Ezekiel is telling G-d, I have always eaten as you commanded, and G-d is presenting Himself as one who does not care and telling Ezekiel to defile himself in a very smart aleck way (on purpose) just to change the way Ezekiel is.

G-d is not as interested in Ezekiel following G-d’s ways as He is in changing Ezekiel.

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