Ezekiel 12 – “Symbolic Actions; Lessons About Prophecy”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
God tells Ezekiel to exile himself and eat his food in fear because the people will go into exile and eat their own food in fear. God also tells Ezekiel that his prophecies will come true in the near future.

II. Photo
God will punish the people of Jerusalem: “They shall eat their bread in anxiety!” (v. 19)

III. Important Verses
2: O mortal, you dwell among the rebellious breed. They have eyes to see but see not, ears to hear but hear not; for they are a rebellious breed.
11-12: Say: “I am a portent for you: As I have done, so shall it be done to them; they shall go into exile, into captivity. And the prince among them shall carry his gear on his shoulder as he goes out in the dark. He shall break through the wall in order to carry [his gear] out through it; he shall cover his face, because he himself shall not see the land with his eyes.”
18-19: O mortal, eat your bread in trembling and drink your water in fear and anxiety. And say to the people of the land: Thus said the Lord GOD concerning the inhabitants of Jerusalem in the land of Israel: They shall eat their bread in anxiety and drink their water in desolation, because their land will be desolate of its multitudes on account of the lawlessness of all its inhabitants.
22-23: O mortal, what is this proverb that you have in the land of Israel, that you say, “The days grow many and every vision comes to naught?” Assuredly, say to them, Thus said the Lord GOD: I will put an end to this proverb; it shall not be used in Israel any more. Speak rather to them: The days draw near, and the fulfillment of every vision.

IV. Outline

1-16. Symbolic action #1
    1. Introduction
    2-6. God tells Ezekiel to go into exile
    7. Ezekiel follows God’s order
    8-16. Meaning: Jerusalem’s leaders will be exiled
17-20. Symbolic action #2
    17. Introduction
    18. God tells Ezekiel to eat his food in fear
    19-20. Meaning: the people will live in fear
21-25. Lesson about prophesy #1
    21. Introduction
    22. A proverb in Israel: prophecy is fallacious
    23-25. Lesson: God’s words will come true
26-28. Lesson about prophesy #2
    26. Introduction
    27. A proverb in Israel: prophecies are for the distant future
    28. Lesson: God’s words will come true imminently

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Allen, Leslie C. “Ezekiel 1-19” Word Biblical Commentary vol. 28 (Waco, Texas: Wordbook, 1994).
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
Hals, Ronald M. “Ezekiel” The forms of the Old Testament Literature vol. 19 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1989)
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