Ezekiel Chapter 4:9-17




The Bible says in Ezekiel chapter 4:9-11, “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.  And thy meat which thou shalt eat shall be by weight, twenty shekels a day: from time to time shalt thou eat it.  Thou shalt drink also water by measure, the sixth part of an hin: from time to time shalt thou drink.”


During the time that Ezekiel was to enact out this siege as a sign to Israel he would of course still need to eat and to be nourished. Therefore God told him to prepare his food and drink so that he would be sustained. It would not be possible for Ezekiel to lie on his side for all those days without starving to death or dying of thirst unless he did so. In other words when you serve God, do not forget to do the practical things of life. It is not likely that God is going to have you do otherwise. Another good example of this would be the concept of fasting. There is nothing spiritual about making decisions to neglect your physical needs.  Humans need to eat and to drink to be healthy and to have energy to be able to do the things that God wants them to do, whether it be prayer or in Ezekiel’s case prophesying and the showing of signs, or whether it be the daily mundane tasks of life.


The Bible goes on to say in verses 12-14, “And thou shalt eat it as barley cakes, and thou shalt bake it with dung that cometh out of man, in their sight.  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.” Here in these verses we learn something very important about the life of Ezekiel and the testimony of Ezekiel. Ezekiel said, “from my youth up even till now have I not eaten of that which dieth of itself.” This of course is referring to a Levitical law regarding animals. Leviticus 22:8 says, “That which dieth of itself, or is torn with beasts, he shall not eat to defile himself therewith: I am the LORD.” The Levitical law regarding what a man could and could not eat had a very practical purpose. It has to do with what is physically sanitary, safe, and healthy. Usually animals that die of themselves do so because they are old or sick, and if they have been dead sometimes the flesh is infested with bacteria and even other things which could make a man very sick if he ate it. Of course, thousands of years ago people did not understand bacteria and the other medical advances of today’s age. But God knows about those things because He is omniscient and He is the Creator.


Another excellent illustration of these truths is in Leviticus 11:30-31 says, “And the ferret, and the chameleon, and the lizard, and the snail, and the mole. These are unclean to you among all that creep: whosoever doth touch them, when they be dead, shall be unclean until the even.” Thousands of years after these verses of the Bible were written it has been discovered that snails often have parasites in them. There was a story on TV of a couple who ate some raw snails and they died a few weeks later because the parasites hatched and got into their brain and ate their brain. When the Word of God gives a commandment it is for a very practical reason. Certain kinds of animals should not be eaten and animals that have died of themselves should not be eaten either. It is hazardous to your health.


There is one other application to this law. And it is a spiritual application. The physical is after all used by God to symbolize the spiritual. In verse 14 Ezekiel said, “His soul had not been polluted.” The word “polluted” is elsewhere translated as “defiled” and “unclean.” This same principle is stated in Second Corinthians 6:17 which says, “Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive youThe challenge of the believer in Old Testament times is the same challenge of the believer today: to not be polluted by the world. In the spiritual sense, that which you eat is that which you take into your mind. The study of the Word of God has been compared to the eating of bread. “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every Word of God.” There are many, many verses in the Bible which talk and warn about these principles. Genesis 2:17 says, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die Proverbs 23:6 says, “Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats And Romans 7:25 says, “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin


God wants man to grow and to learn and to gain in knowledge and in wisdom. Jesus lived the life of a man and it says of him that, “He increased in wisdom and stature.” Of course the great failure of man is the same failure that man has made since the time of Adam and Eve when they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Romans 16:19 says, “For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.” One reason that Ezekiel had the opportunity and one reason that God was able to use him is because since Ezekiel’s youth up; he had not eaten anything which dieth of itself. Understanding the physical illustration of how disastrous it is to eat such, one can imagine how much more disastrous it is to the human soul and the human mind to intake that which is polluted.


If people would from their youth up learn to be as Ezekiel, society would be a much better place. Such problems as alcoholism and alcoholics, supposed mental and emotional disorders, drug abuse, rape and rapists, serial killers, and all the other things that pollute society would be solved. Of course, we live in a society in which the very school systems are so corrupt that they are used to pollute our children. The challenge of remaining pure is not easy. But with God all things are possible. No matter how much pollution is out there it is still within your power to think about and to put in your mind only pure things.


There is one more important illustration given in these verses of Ezekiel.  Considering that Ezekiel had kept this Levitical law it would seem a strange thing indeed that God would request of him to defile himself. Once again we have here an illustration of Jesus and his death on the cross of Calvary for the sins of the world. It’s hard to imagine how one can study the Old Testament and not be constantly reminded of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The book of Ezekiel constantly uses the phrase “the son of man.” Here in the first half of Ezekiel chapter 4 we already have 2 illustrations of the sacrifice of Jesus. The illustration here is that Jesus became sin for us. The Bible says in Second Corinthians 5:21, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” For those who have failed to remain unpolluted, and all have, there is a solution, the solution is Jesus. It does not matter how many times you fail or become polluted because you can always find cleansing in Christ and another opportunity to not be defiled. In many ways we begin to see Ezekiel being used as a figure of Christ much like other characters in the Bible have been used. Ezekiel from his youth up had never eaten anything that defileth, but then God told him to. Jesus from his youth lived a life without sin. But then God had him become sin for us. In the end all things point to Christ, for by Him and through Him all things exist. The goal should be that our lives become like Ezekiel’s that we may be used of God and be Christ-like examples ourselves.


The Bible goes on to say in verses 15-17, “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.” When it comes time for judgment and consequence there can be no escape. Sometimes God uses famine to punish a society. That is what the phrase, “I will break the staff of bread” means.


Revelation 18:2-8 says, “And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double. How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her


In the days of Ezekiel the kingdom of the Chaldeans was the most powerful kingdom in the world. In revelation Babylon in some ways is used to represent the world. Just as God said here in Ezekiel that he was going to use famine to punish Israel one day at the end of this world one of the great and final judgments will again be famine. There has even been one time in the history of America when America faced famine. This was back during the time of the great depression in the 1920s. Of course this was also around the time that government policy legalized the use of alcohol. Everyone knows that the abuse of alcohol has resulted in domestic violence, murder, lives wasted through alcoholism, and thousands upon thousands killed by drunk drivers. It may be just a coincidence but there can be no doubt that God will judge societies and nations and one way that he does it is through famine. Verse 17 says, “That they may want bread and water, and be astonished one with another, and consume away for their iniquity


The purpose of judgment, of course, is to bring justice to the world, and to remove evil. The purpose is that they might “consume away for their iniquity”. The word “consume” is also translated in the Old Testament with the word “dissolve.” Here in Ezekiel the word is used in reference to judgment of the children of Israel. In the book of Isaiah the same word is used in reference to the final judgment of all the world. Isaiah 34:4 says, “And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig.”


The journey of life has its good times and its bad times: its mountains and its valleys. But sometimes God brings about the valleys and the bad times as consequence and as judgment for sin.  It all began with Adam and Eve. The iniquities of Adam and Eve have affected every living person since. You never know just how far the negative effects of your sins will reach out into the world and cause others to suffer. Man is very limited in his ability to understand such things. Therefore, when we see the judgments of God such as famine we can be certain that God is Just in what He does.


Perhaps a person who has lived by bread alone is a person who is in danger of facing famine. After all, the spiritual is more important than the physical. What better way for God to teach a nation or an individual to not live by bread alone “but by every Word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God”, than to break the staff of bread.


When judgment comes the most important thing to remember is that Jesus died for your sins and if you turn to Him He will forgive you and save your soul.




Copyright; 2010 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
All Rights Reserved