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Ezekiel 4 Good News Translation (GNT)

Ezekiel Acts Out the Siege of Jerusalem

God said, “Mortal man, get a brick, put it in front of you, and scratch lines on it to represent the city of Jerusalem. Then, to represent a siege, put trenches, earthworks, camps, and battering rams all around it. Take an iron pan and set it up like a wall between you and the city. Face the city. It is under siege, and you are the one besieging it. This will be a sign to the nation of Israel.

4-5 “Then lie down on your left side, and I[a] will place on you the guilt of the nation of Israel. For 390 days you will stay there and suffer because of their guilt. I have sentenced you to one day for each year their punishment will last. When you finish that, turn over on your right side and suffer for the guilt of Judah for forty days—one day for each year of their punishment.

“Fix your eyes on the siege of Jerusalem. Shake your fist at the city and prophesy against it. I will tie you up so that you cannot turn from one side to the other until the siege is over.

“Now take some wheat, barley, beans, peas, millet, and spelt. Mix them all together and make bread. That is what you are to eat during the 390 days you are lying on your left side. 10 You will be allowed eight ounces of bread a day, and it will have to last until the next day. 11 You will also have a limited amount of water to drink, two cups a day. 12 You are to build a fire out of dried human excrement, bake bread on the fire, and eat it where everyone can see you.”

13 The Lord said, “This represents the way the Israelites will have to eat food which the Law forbids,[b] when I scatter them to foreign countries.”

14 But I replied, “No, Sovereign Lord! I have never defiled myself. From childhood on I have never eaten meat from any animal that died a natural death or was killed by wild animals. I have never eaten any food considered unclean.”

15 So God said, “Very well. I will let you use cow dung instead, and you can bake your bread on that.”

16 And he added, “Mortal man, I am going to cut off the supply of bread for Jerusalem. The people there will be distressed and anxious as they measure out the food they eat and the water they drink. 17 They will run out of bread and water; they will be in despair, and they will waste away because of their sins.”

Footnotes:

  1. Ezekiel 4:4 Probable text I; Hebrew you.
  2. Ezekiel 4:13 The Law of Moses prohibited the eating of certain foods as being ritually unclean (see Lv 11).
Good News Translation (GNT)

Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

Ezekiel 4 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

The Siege of Jerusalem Portrayed

And you, O mortal, take a brick and set it before you. On it portray a city, Jerusalem; and put siegeworks against it, and build a siege wall against it, and cast up a ramp against it; set camps also against it, and plant battering rams against it all around. Then take an iron plate and place it as an iron wall between you and the city; set your face toward it, and let it be in a state of siege, and press the siege against it. This is a sign for the house of Israel.

Then lie on your left side, and place the punishment of the house of Israel upon it; you shall bear their punishment for the number of the days that you lie there. For I assign to you a number of days, three hundred ninety days, equal to the number of the years of their punishment; and so you shall bear the punishment of the house of Israel. When you have completed these, you shall lie down a second time, but on your right side, and bear the punishment of the house of Judah; forty days I assign you, one day for each year. You shall set your face toward the siege of Jerusalem, and with your arm bared you shall prophesy against it. See, I am putting cords on you so that you cannot turn from one side to the other until you have completed the days of your siege.

And you, take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt; put them into one vessel, and make bread for yourself. During the number of days that you lie on your side, three hundred ninety days, you shall eat it. 10 The food that you eat shall be twenty shekels a day by weight; at fixed times you shall eat it. 11 And you shall drink water by measure, one-sixth of a hin; at fixed times you shall drink. 12 You shall eat it as a barley-cake, baking it in their sight on human dung. 13 The Lord said, “Thus shall the people of Israel eat their bread, unclean, among the nations to which I will drive them.” 14 Then I said, “Ah Lord God! I have never defiled myself; from my youth up until now I have never eaten what died of itself or was torn by animals, nor has carrion flesh come into my mouth.” 15 Then he said to me, “See, I will let you have cow’s dung instead of human dung, on which you may prepare your bread.”

16 Then he said to me, Mortal, I am going to break the staff of bread in Jerusalem; they shall eat bread by weight and with fearfulness; and they shall drink water by measure and in dismay. 17 Lacking bread and water, they will look at one another in dismay, and waste away under their punishment.

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Ezekiel 4 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

“As for you, human being, take a clay slab, lay it down in front of you, and draw on it the city of Yerushalayim. Show it under siege — build towers against it, raise earthworks against it, set up camps against it, and surround it with battering rams. Then take an iron griddle and put it in place as a wall of iron between yourself and the city, and fix your gaze on it — the city is under siege, and you are the one besieging it. This will be a sign for the house of Isra’el.

“Next, you are to lie on your left side, and have it bear the guilt of the house of Isra’el — for as many days as you lie on your side, you will bear their guilt. For I am assigning you one day for each year of their guilt; thus you are to bear the guilt of the house of Isra’el for 390 days. Then, when you have finished that, you are to lie on your right side and bear the guilt of the house of Y’hudah for forty days, each day corresponding to a year; this is what I am assigning you. You are to fix your gaze on the siege of Yerushalayim, and, with your arm bared, prophesy against it. I am tying you down with ropes, and you are not to turn from one side to the other until you have completed the days of your siege.

“Take wheat, barley, beans, lentils, millet and buckwheat; put them together in one bowl; and make bread from it. For as long as you lie on your side, 390 days, this is what you are to eat. 10 Each day the food you eat must weigh only three-quarters of a pound; you may eat it from time to time [during the day]. 11 You are also to drink a limited amount of water, two-thirds of a quart; you may drink it from time to time [during the day]. 12 [The bread] you eat is to be baked like barley cakes; you are to bake it before their eyes, using human dung as fuel.” 13 Adonai said, “This is how the people of Isra’el will eat their food — unclean — in the nations where I am driving them.” 14 I objected: “No, Adonai Elohim! I have never defiled myself — from my youth until now I have never eaten anything that died by itself or was killed by wild animals; no such disgusting food has ever entered my mouth.” 15 He answered, “All right, I will give you cow dung to use instead of human dung, and you can prepare your bread on it.”

16 He then said to me, “Human being, I am going to cut off the supply of bread in Yerushalayim, so that they will anxiously weigh out bread to eat, and, horrified, ration water to drink. 17 Finally, due to lack of bread and water, they will stare at each other in shock, wasting away because of their guilt.”

Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.

Ezekiel 4 The Message (MSG)

This Is What Sin Does

1-3 “Now, son of man, take a brick and place it before you. Draw a picture of the city Jerusalem on it. Then make a model of a military siege against the brick: Build siege walls, construct a ramp, set up army camps, lay in battering rams around it. Then get an iron skillet and place it upright between you and the city—an iron wall. Face the model: The city shall be under siege and you shall be the besieger. This is a sign to the family of Israel.

4-5 “Next lie on your left side and place the sin of the family of Israel on yourself. You will bear their sin for as many days as you lie on your side. The number of days you bear their sin will match the number of years of their sin, namely, 390. For 390 days you will bear the sin of the family of Israel.

6-7 “Then, after you have done this, turn over and lie down on your right side and bear the sin of the family of Judah. Your assignment this time is to lie there for forty days, a day for each year of their sin. Look straight at the siege of Jerusalem. Roll up your sleeve, shake your bare arm, and preach against her.

“I will tie you up with ropes, tie you so you can’t move or turn over until you have finished the days of the siege.

9-12 “Next I want you to take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, dried millet and spelt, and mix them in a bowl to make a flat bread. This is your food ration for the 390 days you lie on your side. Measure out about half a pound for each day and eat it on schedule. Also measure out your daily ration of about a pint of water and drink it on schedule. Eat the bread as you would a muffin. Bake the muffins out in the open where everyone can see you, using dried human dung for fuel.”

13 God said, “This is what the people of Israel are going to do: Among the pagan nations where I will drive them, they will eat foods that are strictly taboo to a holy people.”

14 I said, “God, my Master! Never! I’ve never contaminated myself with food like that. Since my youth I’ve never eaten anything forbidden by law, nothing found dead or violated by wild animals. I’ve never taken a single bite of forbidden food.”

15 “All right,” he said. “I’ll let you bake your bread over cow dung instead of human dung.”

16-17 Then he said to me, “Son of man, I’m going to cut off all food from Jerusalem. The people will live on starvation rations, worrying where the next meal’s coming from, scrounging for the next drink of water. Famine conditions. People will look at one another, see nothing but skin and bones, and shake their heads. This is what sin does.”

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson

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