Ezekiel Chapter 5:1-13




Ezekiel chapter 5:1-6 says, “And thou, son of man, take thee a sharp knife, take thee a barber's razor, and cause it to pass upon thine head and upon thy beard: then take thee balances to weigh, and divide the hair. Thou shalt burn with fire a third part in the midst of the city, when the days of the siege are fulfilled: and thou shalt take a third part, and smite about it with a knife: and a third part thou shalt scatter in the wind; and I will draw out a sword after them. Thou shalt also take thereof a few in number, and bind them in thy skirts.  Then take of them again, and cast them into the midst of the fire, and burn them in the fire; for thereof shall a fire come forth into all the house of Israel. Thus saith the Lord GOD; This is Jerusalem: I have set it in the midst of the nations and countries that are round about her. And she hath changed my judgments into wickedness more than the nations, and my statutes more than the countries that are round about her: for they have refused my judgments and my statutes, they have not walked in them.”


    In Ezekiel chapter 5 we are given more detail about the judgment of God which was going to come upon the nation of Israel. The shaving of the head of course has a symbolic purpose. We see it used throughout the Bible. It is always used in association with judgment, and mourning. In some ways hair is like a crown of honor and glory on a person. That’s why some people, such as those whom are dying of cancer and are going through chemotherapy when they lose their hair they often buy a wig to cover their heads. Israel was the chosen nation of God. Of all the nations and kingdoms of the earth that have ever risen and fallen, God chose Israel as the nation through which He would provide both His Word and His only Begotten son Jesus. What greater privileges and honor can be given a nation or a country than to be called the people of God? But when it came time to judge the nation of Israel for their hard heartedness and unrepentance, God said they would be as the hairs of a head that were shaved, and smitten with a knife, drawn with the sword and scattered in the wind, and cast in the fire. This brings an image of complete judgment. In verse one the word “balances” is used. And the idea is that God is fair in His judgments and in His retribution and in His punishment for sin. When we look at history we find that the nation of Israel was indeed conquered and the remnant of the Jews scattered about the world.  Such a thing has never happened to any other nation in the world where an entire nation has been utterly conquered by other nations and its people scattered about the world. The reason for this judgment is explained in verse 6 which says, “She hath changed my judgments into wickedness more than the nations.” Apparently there was no nation in the world as wicked as the nation of Israel.  This should be a warning to any nation that should follow in the footsteps of Israel to do as verse 6, “refused my judgments and my statutes, they have not walked in them.” God is merciful and God is longsuffering, Jesus even wore a crown of thorns on His head that men might find salvation because the balances of God are always weighed fairly and His judgment is just. But when it comes time for judgment for sin upon a nation such as it came upon Israel, that judgment will be balanced fairly and it will be complete. Often the temptation when there is suffering for sin is to cry out that God is not fair, but once judgment comes we must remember that it is God that weighs the balances.


Ezekiel 5:7-11 says, “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye multiplied more than the nations that are round about you, and have not walked in my statutes, neither have kept my judgments, neither have done according to the judgments of the nations that are round about you; Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, am against thee, and will execute judgments in the midst of thee in the sight of the nations. And I will do in thee that which I have not done, and whereunto I will not do any more the like, because of all thine abominations. Therefore the fathers shall eat the sons in the midst of thee, and the sons shall eat their fathers; and I will execute judgments in thee, and the whole remnant of thee will I scatter into all the winds. Wherefore, as I live, saith the Lord GOD; Surely, because thou hast defiled my sanctuary with all thy detestable things, and with all thine abominations, therefore will I also diminish thee; neither shall mine eye spare, neither will I have any pity.” There are some very important lessons to learn here in God’s dealings with His chosen nation in how He will judge wickedness. The judgment that came upon Israel was so severe that God made a promise and said, “I will do in thee that which I have not done, and whereunto I will not do any more the like.” One example given here of how severe the judgment of God can be on a nation is what is said in verse 10. When God broke the staff of bread in Jerusalem apparently the famine became so great that they turned to cannibalism and the fathers ate the sons and the sons ate the fathers. Apparently there is no individual nation in the history of this world that has ever faced so severe a judgment as Israel. This promise in verse 8 sounds very similar to the promise God gave to Noah when God destroyed the world with a flood and then set the rainbow in the clouds as a promise that He would never again destroy the world by flood.


    The situation of Israel in the Old Testament can be very accurately compared to the situation of the church in the New Testament. It’s an excellent parallel for the direction that the church is headed. The church today is headed the same direction that Israel was headed. Of course we have not yet gotten into all the details in the book of Ezekiel of all Israel’s sins such as idolatry and violence. But the main failures of Israel had to do with the rejecting of His Word, and ultimately one day they would even crucify the Messiah. One reason God’s judgment on Israel was so severe is the principle explained in Second Peter 2:20 which says, “For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.” 


    In verse 11 the word “diminished” is used. This word can mean to scrape off or to shave. Just as Ezekiel shaved his head Israel was shaved. Of course they were not utterly destroyed. There remained a remnant that was as verse 10 says “scattered in the wind.” Some people today look at the new nation of Israel that formed after WW2 and see this as a fulfilling of God’s promise to restore the nation of Israel. But this full restoration of Israel has not yet come to pass, for it will come to pass at the return of Christ. Until such a time Israel is diminished. The Bible says the wicked shall be turned into hell and all the nations that forget God. When we consider these things, it’s impossible not to think about the United States of America, a country founded on the Bible. You can still pick up an American coin and find the words, “In God We Trust” engraved therein. What conclusion should be drawn about the fate of America if it follows the same path as the Nation of Israel did?


    In continuing these pronouncements of judgment the Bible goes on to say in Ezekiel 5:12-13, A third part of thee shall die with the pestilence, and with famine shall they be consumed in the midst of thee: and a third part shall fall by the sword round about thee; and I will scatter a third part into all the winds, and I will draw out a sword after them. Thus shall mine anger be accomplished, and I will cause my fury to rest upon them, and I will be comforted: and they shall know that I the LORD have spoken it in my zeal, when I have accomplished my fury in them.”  In reading these verses it’s impossible to not think about the book of Revelation. A very similar wording is used in reference to the great tribulation when God will judge all the nations of the world in one final great judgment.  Revelation 8:6-13 says, “And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound. The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up. And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed. And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter. And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise. And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!


    The reason that judgment must come upon the world is explained in Ezekiel 5:13 “Thus shall mine anger be accomplished, and I will cause my fury to rest upon them, and I will be comforted: and they shall know that I the LORD have spoken it in my zeal, when I have accomplished my fury in them.” When men wrong other men, they are grieved and often seek comfort in the justice system. How much more should God be grieved when He is wronged. God is a being, God has feelings and emotions. God is sensitive. And the day is coming when there must be judgment so that God can be comforted. Just imagine how grievous it is to the heart of a mother when her child has been kidnapped, molested, and killed. Think of all the violence and wrong doing in the world. These things grieve God much more than they grieve the mothers and the fathers, all whom suffer because of evil that is done unto them. Day after day for thousands of years men have been grieving the Holy God. Sometimes we men who have sinful natures become desensitized to Sin. If we could see things clearly, then we would do as Ezekiel did in the beginning of the book when He saw a vision of God: we would fall on our faces. 


Of course whenever we look at the judgment of God in the Bible as is emphasized here in Ezekiel chapter 5, we must also remember that God always keeps His promises. Even though Israel faced utter destruction, God still will emphasize later in the book of Ezekiel the restoration of Israel because God did make promises to Abraham and to Isaac and to Jacob.





Copyright; 2010 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
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