4:12–15 Ceremonial cleanness was all but impossible to observe during a siege, even for a priest like Ezekiel. Human excrement was considered impure (Deut. 23:13), and the prophet is repulsed by God’s command to him, protesting that he had never violated the dietary laws restricting the kinds of food Israel was permitted to eat (44:31; Ex. 22:31; Lev. 7:19–24; 11:8, 39, 40; 22:8; Deut. 14:3, 8). God permitted him to substitute cattle manure, still a widely used fuel in parts of the Near East.