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Ezekiel 4:1 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— Thou also, son of man, take thee a tile, and lay it before thee, and portray upon it a city, even Jerusalem:
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— Thou also, son of man, take thee a tile, and lay it before thee, and pourtray upon it the city, [even] Jerusalem:
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— “Now you son of man, get yourself a brick, place it before you and inscribe a city on it, Jerusalem.
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— Thou also, son of man, take thee a tile, and lay it before thee, and pourtray upon it the city, [even] Jerusalem;
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— And thou, son of man, take thee a brick, and lay it before thee, and portray upon it a city,—Jerusalem:
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— Thou, therefore, O son of man, Take thee a tile, and lay it before thee,—and portray thereon a city, even Jerusalem.
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— 'And thou, son of man, take to thee a brick, and thou hast put it before thee, and hast graven on it a city—Jerusalem,
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— And thou, O son of man, take thee a tile, and lay it before thee: and draw upon it the plan of the city of Jerusalem.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— Thou also sonne of man, take thee a tile, and lay it before thee, and pourtray vpon it the citie, [euen] Ierusalem,
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— And thou, son of man, take thee a brick, and thou shalt set it before thy face, and shalt portray on it the city, [even] Jerusalem.
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— Thou also, son of man, take thee a tile, and lay it before thee, and pourtray upon it the city, [even] Yerushalaim:

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
Thou x859
(0859) Complement
A primitive pronoun of the second person; thou and thee, or (plural) ye and you.
also, son 1121
{1121} Prime
From H1129; a son (as a builder of the family name), in the widest sense (of literal and figurative relationship, including grandson, subject, nation, quality or condition, etc., (like H0001, H0251, etc.).
of man, 120
{0120} Prime
From H0119; ruddy, that is, a human being (an individual or the species, mankind, etc.).
take 3947
{3947} Prime
A primitive root; to take (in the widest variety of applications).
<8798> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperative (See H8810)
Count - 2847
thee a tile, 3843
{3843} Prime
From H3835; a brick (from the whiteness of the clay).
and lay 5414
{5414} Prime
A primitive root; to give, used with great latitude of application (put, make, etc.).
<8804> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Perfect (See H8816)
Count - 12562
it before 6440
{6440} Prime
Plural (but always used as a singular) of an unused noun (פָּנֶה paneh, {paw-neh'}; from H6437); the face (as the part that turns); used in a great variety of applications (literally and figuratively); also (with prepositional prefix) as a preposition (before, etc.).
thee, and pourtray 2710
{2710} Prime
A primitive root; properly to hack, that is, engrave (Judges 5:14, to be a scribe simply); by implication to enact (laws being cut in stone or metal tablets in primitive times) or (generally) prescribe.
<8804> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Perfect (See H8816)
Count - 12562
upon x5921
(5921) Complement
Properly the same as H5920 used as a preposition (in the singular or plural, often with prefix, or as conjugation with a particle following); above, over, upon, or against (yet always in this last relation with a downward aspect) in a great variety of applications.
it the city, 5892
{5892} Prime
From H5782 a city (a place guarded by waking or a watch) in the widest sense (even of a mere encampment or post).
[even] x853
(0853) Complement
Apparently contracted from H0226 in the demonstrative sense of entity; properly self (but generally used to point out more definitely the object of a verb or preposition, even or namely).
Yrlaim יְרוּשָׁלִַם: 3389
{3389} Prime
A dual (in allusion to its two main hills (the true pointing, at least of the former reading, seems to be that of H3390)); probably from (the passive participle of) H3384 and H7999; founded peaceful; Jerushalaim or Jerushalem, the capital city of Palestine.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Ezekiel 4:1

_ _ Ezekiel 4:1-17. Symbolical vision of the siege and the iniquity-bearing.

_ _ tile — a sun-dried brick, such as are found in Babylon, covered with cuneiform inscriptions, often two feet long and one foot broad.

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Ezekiel 4:1-8

_ _ The prophet is here ordered to represent to himself and others by signs which would be proper and powerful to strike the fancy and to affect the mind, the siege of Jerusalem; and this amounted to a prediction.

_ _ I. He was ordered to engrave a draught of Jerusalem upon a tile, Ezekiel 4:1. It was Jerusalem's honour that while she kept her integrity God had graven her upon the palms of his hands (Isaiah 49:16), and the names of the tribes were engraven in precious stones on the breast-plate of the high priest; but, now that the faithful city has become a harlot, a worthless brittle tile or brick is thought good enough to portray it upon. This the prophet must lay before him, that the eye may affect the heart.

_ _ II. He was ordered to build little forts against this portraiture of the city, resembling the batteries raised by the besiegers, Ezekiel 4:2. Between the city that was besieged and himself that was the besieger he was to set up an iron pan, as an iron wall, Ezekiel 4:3. This represented the inflexible resolution of both sides; the Chaldeans resolved, whatever it cost them, that they would make themselves masters of the city and would never quit it till they had conquered it; on the other side, the Jews resolved never to capitulate, but to hold out to the last extremity.

_ _ III. He was ordered to lie upon his side before it, as it were to surround it, representing the Chaldean army lying before it to block it up, to keep the meat from going in and the mouths from going out. He was to lie on his left side 390 days (Ezekiel 4:5), about thirteen months; the siege of Jerusalem is computed to last eighteen months (Jeremiah 52:4-6), but if we deduct from that five months' interval, when the besiegers withdrew upon the approach of Pharaoh's army (Jeremiah 37:5-8), the number of the days of the close siege will be 390. Yet that also had another signification. The 390 days, according to the prophetic dialect, signified 390 years; and, when the prophet lies so many days on his side, he bears the guilt of that iniquity which the house of Israel, the ten tribes, had borne 390 years, reckoning from their first apostasy under Jeroboam to the destruction of Jerusalem, which completed the ruin of those small remains of them that had incorporated with Judah. He is then to lie forty days upon his right side, and so long to bear the iniquity of the house of Judah, the kingdom of the two tribes, because the measure-filling sins of that people were those which they were guilty of during the last forty years before their captivity, since the thirteenth year of Josiah, when Jeremiah began to prophesy (Jeremiah 1:1, Jeremiah 1:2), or, as some reckon it, since the eighteenth, when the book of the law was found and the people renewed their covenant with God. When they persisted in their impieties and idolatries, notwithstanding they had such a prophet and such a prince, and were brought into the bond of such a covenant, what could be expected but ruin without remedy? Judah, that had such helps and advantages for reformation, fills the measure of its iniquity in less time than Israel does. Now we are not to think that the prophet lay constantly night and day upon his side, but every day, for so many days together, at a certain time of the day, when he received visits, and company came in, he was found lying 390 days on his left side and forty days on his right side before his portraiture of Jerusalem, which all that saw might easily understand to mean the close besieging of that city, and people would be flocking in daily, some for curiosity and some for conscience, at the hour appointed, to see it and to take their different remarks upon it. His being found constantly on the same side, as if bands were laid upon him (as indeed they were by the divine command), so that he could not turn himself from one side to another till he had ended the days of the siege, did plainly represent the close and constant continuance of the besiegers about the city during that number of days, till they had gained their point.

_ _ IV. He was ordered to prosecute the siege with vigour (Ezekiel 4:7): Thou shalt set thy face towards the siege of Jerusalem, as wholly intent upon it and resolved to carry it; so the Chaldeans would be, and neither bribed nor forced to withdraw from it. Nebuchadnezzar's indignation at Zedekiah's treachery in breaking his league with him made him very furious in pushing on this siege, that he might chastise the insolence of that faithless prince and people; and his army promised themselves a rich booty of that pompous city; so that both set their faces against it, for they were very resolute. Nor were they less active and industrious, exerting themselves to the utmost in all the operations of the siege, which the prophet was to represent by the uncovering of his arm, or, as some read it, the stretching out of his arm, as it were to deal blows about without mercy. When God is about to do some great work he is said to make bare his arm, Isaiah 52:10. In short, The Chaldeans will go about their business, and go on in it, as men in earnest, who resolve to go through with it. Now, 1. This is intended to be a sign to the house of Israel (Ezekiel 4:3), both to those in Babylon, who were eye-witnesses of what the prophet did, and to those also who remained in their own land, who would hear the report of it. The prophet was dumb and could not speak (Ezekiel 3:26); but as his silence had a voice, and upbraided the people with their deafness, so even then God left not himself without witness, but ordered him to make signs, as dumb men are accustomed to do, and as Zacharias did when he was dumb, and by them to make known his mind (that is, the mind of God) to the people. And thus likewise the people were upbraided with their stupidity and dulness, that they were not capable of being taught as men of sense are, by words, but must be taught as children are, by pictures, or as deaf men are, by signs. Or, perhaps, they are hereby upbraided with their malice against the prophet. Had he spoken in words at length what was signified by these figures, they would have entangled him in his talk, would have indicted him for treasonable expressions, for they knew how to make a man an offender for a word (Isaiah 29:21), to avoid which he is ordered to make use of signs. Or the prophet made use of signs for the same reason that Christ made use of parables, that hearing they might hear and not understand, and seeing they might see and not perceive, Matthew 13:14, Matthew 13:15. They would not understand what was plain, and therefore shall be taught by that which is difficult; and herein the Lord was righteous. 2. Thus the prophet prophesies against Jerusalem (Ezekiel 4:7); and there were those who not only understood it so, but were the more affected with it by its being so represented, for images to the eye commonly make deeper impressions upon the mind than words can, and for this reason sacraments are instituted to represent divine things, that we might see and believe, might see and be affected with those things; and we may expect this benefit by them, and a blessing to go along with them, while (as the prophet here) we make use only of such signs as God himself has expressly appointed, which, we must conclude, are the fittest. Note, The power of imagination, if it be rightly used, and kept under the direction and correction of reason and faith, may be of good use to kindle and excite pious and devout affections, as it was here to Ezekiel and his attendants. “Methinks I see so and so, myself dying, time expiring, the world on fire, the dead rising, the great tribunal set, and the like, may have an exceedingly good influence upon us: for fancy is like fire, a good servant, but a bad master.” 3. This whole transaction has that in it which the prophet might, with a good colour of reason, have hesitated at and excepted against, and yet, in obedience to God's command, and in execution of his office, he did it according to order. (1.) It seemed childish and ludicrous, and beneath his gravity, and there were those that would ridicule him for it; but he knew the divine appointment put honour enough upon that which otherwise seemed mean to save his reputation in the doing of it. (2.) It was toilsome and tiresome to do as he did; but our ease as well as our credit must be sacrificed to our duty, and we must never call God's service in any instance of it a hard service. (3.) It could not but be very much against the grain with him to appear thus against Jerusalem, the city of God, the holy city, to act as an enemy against a place to which he was so good a friend; but he is a prophet, and must follow his instructions, not his affections, and must plainly preach the ruin of a sinful place, though its welfare is what he passionately desires and earnestly prays for. 4. All this that the prophet sets before the children of his people concerning the destruction of Jerusalem is designed to bring them to repentance, by showing them sin, the provoking cause of this destruction, sin the ruin of that once flourishing city, than which surely nothing could be more effectual to make them hate sin and turn from it; while he thus in lively colours describes the calamity with a great deal of pain and uneasiness to himself, he is bearing the iniquity of Israel and Judah. “Look here” (says he) “and see what work sin makes, what an evil and bitter thing it is to depart form God; this comes of sin, your sins and the sin of your fathers; let that therefore be the daily matter of your sorrow and shame now in your captivity, that you may make your peace with God and he may return in mercy to you.” But observe, It is a day of punishment for a year of sin: I have appointed thee each day for a year. The siege is a calamity of 390 days, in which God reckons for the iniquity of 390 years; justly therefore d they acknowledge that God had punished them less than their iniquity deserved, Ezra 9:13. But let impenitent sinners know that, though now God is long-suffering towards them, in the other world there is an everlasting punishment. When God laid bands upon the prophet, it was to show them how they were bound with the cords of their own transgression (Lamentations 1:14), and therefore they were now holden in the cords of affliction. But we may well think of the prophet's case with compassion, when God laid upon him the bands of duty, as he does on all his ministers (1 Corinthians 9:16, Necessity is laid upon me, and woe unto me if I preach not the gospel); and yet men laid upon him bonds of restraint (Ezekiel 3:25); but under both it is satisfaction enough that they are serving the interests of God's kingdom among men.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Ezekiel 4:1

Portray — Draw a map of Jerusalem.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

[[no comment]]

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance

Ezekiel 5:1-17 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]. ... So will I send upon you famine and evil beasts, and they shall bereave thee; and pestilence and blood shall pass through thee; and I will bring the sword upon thee. I the LORD have spoken [it].
Ezekiel 12:3-16 Therefore, thou son of man, prepare thee stuff for removing, and remove by day in their sight; and thou shalt remove from thy place to another place in their sight: it may be they will consider, though they [be] a rebellious house. ... But I will leave a few men of them from the sword, from the famine, and from the pestilence; that they may declare all their abominations among the heathen whither they come; and they shall know that I [am] the LORD.
1 Samuel 15:27-28 And as Samuel turned about to go away, he laid hold upon the skirt of his mantle, and it rent. ... And Samuel said unto him, The LORD hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbour of thine, [that is] better than thou.
1 Kings 11:30-31 And Ahijah caught the new garment that [was] on him, and rent it [in] twelve pieces: ... And he said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces: for thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee:
Isaiah 20:2-4 At the same time spake the LORD by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, Go and loose the sackcloth from off thy loins, and put off thy shoe from thy foot. And he did so, walking naked and barefoot. ... So shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians prisoners, and the Ethiopians captives, young and old, naked and barefoot, even with [their] buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt.
Jeremiah 13:1-14 Thus saith the LORD unto me, Go and get thee a linen girdle, and put it upon thy loins, and put it not in water. ... And I will dash them one against another, even the fathers and the sons together, saith the LORD: I will not pity, nor spare, nor have mercy, but destroy them.
Jeremiah 18:2-12 Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words. ... And they said, There is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart.
Jeremiah 19:1-15 Thus saith the LORD, Go and get a potter's earthen bottle, and [take] of the ancients of the people, and of the ancients of the priests; ... Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring upon this city and upon all her towns all the evil that I have pronounced against it, because they have hardened their necks, that they might not hear my words.
Jeremiah 25:15-38 For thus saith the LORD God of Israel unto me; Take the wine cup of this fury at my hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send thee, to drink it. ... He hath forsaken his covert, as the lion: for their land is desolate because of the fierceness of the oppressor, and because of his fierce anger.
Jeremiah 27:2-22 Thus saith the LORD to me; Make thee bonds and yokes, and put them upon thy neck, ... They shall be carried to Babylon, and there shall they be until the day that I visit them, saith the LORD; then will I bring them up, and restore them to this place.
Hosea 1:2-9 The beginning of the word of the LORD by Hosea. And the LORD said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, [departing] from the LORD. ... Then said [God], Call his name Loammi: for ye [are] not my people, and I will not be your [God].
Hosea 3:1-5 Then said the LORD unto me, Go yet, love a woman beloved of [her] friend, yet an adulteress, according to the love of the LORD toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine. ... Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days.
Hosea 12:10 I have also spoken by the prophets, and I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes, by the ministry of the prophets.

a tile:
לבנה [Strong's H3843], levainah generally denotes a brick, and Palladius informs us that the bricks in common use among the ancients were "two feet long, one foot broad, and four inches thick;" and on such a surface the whole siege might be easily pourtrayed. Perhaps, however, it may here denote a flat tile, like a Roman brick, which were commonly used for tablets, as we learn from Pliny, Hist. Nat. 1. vii. c. 57.


Jeremiah 6:6 For thus hath the LORD of hosts said, Hew ye down trees, and cast a mount against Jerusalem: this [is] the city to be visited; she [is] wholly oppression in the midst of her.
Jeremiah 32:31 For this city hath been to me [as] a provocation of mine anger and of my fury from the day that they built it even unto this day; that I should remove it from before my face,
Amos 3:2 You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.
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1S 15:27. 1K 11:30. Is 20:2. Jr 6:6; 13:1; 18:2; 19:1; 25:15; 27:2; 32:31. Ezk 5:1; 12:3. Ho 1:2; 3:1; 12:10. Am 3:2.

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