4 Ezekiel, son of man, find a brick and sketch a picture of Jerusalem on it. 2 Then prepare to attack the brick as if it were a real city. Build a dirt mound and a ramp up to the top and surround the brick with enemy camps. On every side put large wooden poles as though you were going to break down the gate to the city. 3 Set up an iron pan like a wall between you and the brick. All this will be a warning for the people of Israel.
4-5 After that, lie down on your left side and stay there for three hundred ninety days as a sign of Israel’s punishment[a]—one day for each year of its suffering. 6 Then turn over and lie on your right side forty more days. That will be a sign of Judah’s punishment—one day for each year of its suffering.
7 The brick stands for Jerusalem, so attack it! Stare at it and shout angry warnings. 8 I will tie you up, so you can’t leave until your attack has ended.
9 Get a large bowl. Then mix together wheat, barley, beans, lentils, and millet, and make some bread. This is what you will eat for the three hundred ninety days you are lying down. 10 Eat only a small loaf of bread each day 11 and drink only two large cups of water. 12 Use dried human waste to start a fire, then bake the bread on the coals where everyone can watch you. 13 When I scatter the people of Israel among the nations, they will also have to eat food that is unclean, just as you must do.[b]
14 I said, “Lord God, please don’t make me do that! Never in my life have I eaten food that would make me unacceptable to you. I’ve never eaten anything that died a natural death or was killed by a wild animal or that you said was unclean.”
15 The Lord replied, “Instead of human waste, I will let you bake your bread on a fire made from cow manure. 16 Ezekiel, the people of Jerusalem will starve. They will have so little food and water that they will be afraid and hopeless. 17 Everyone will be shocked at what is happening, and, because of their sins, they will die a slow death.”
4.4,5Israel’s punishment: Israel here refers to the northern kingdom that was destroyed in 722 B.C.
4.13have to eat food that is unclean, just as you must do: The Lord had forbidden the people of Israel to mix certain things (see Deuteronomy 22.9-11), and so the people would not have been allowed to eat this bread under normal conditions. It is used here to show that when a city is under attack, people eat whatever food is left, even if the Lord had said it was unclean.
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