Bible Study: Ezekiel 5 – Judgment for Jerusalem

The book of Ezekiel is one of the major prophets in the Old Testament. It was authored by Ezekiel who was set as a watchman to the house of Israel.

Ezek 3:17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me:

The fifth chapter of Ezekiel is about God’s judgment for Jerusalem.

The Sign

Ezek 5:1“And you, son of man, take a sharp sword, take it as a barber’s razor, and pass it over your head and your beard; then take scales to weigh and divide the hair.

Ezekiel was told take a sharp sword and use it as a barber’s razor and shave the head and beard. Then take the scales to weigh and divide the hair. What is God symbolizing here?

Lev 13:45-46 “Now the leper on whom the sore is, his clothes shall be torn and his head bare; and he shall cover his mustache, and cry, ‘Unclean! Unclean! He shall be unclean. All the days he has the sore he shall be unclean. He is unclean, and he shall dwell alone; his dwelling shall be outside the camp.

Lev 14:8-9 “He who is to be cleansed shall wash his clothes, shave off all his hair, and wash himself in water, that he may be clean. After that he shall come into the camp, and shall stay outside his tent seven days. But on the seventh day he shall shave all the hair off his head and his beard and his eyebrows–all his hair he shall shave off. He shall wash his clothes and wash his body in water, and he shall be clean.

We find similarity with law of leprosy. We see that God is cleaning Jerusalem from it’s leprosy caused by His people. The following are told to Ezekiel to follow as signs.

Ezek 5:2-4 You shall burn with fire one-third in the midst of the city, when the days of the siege are finished; then you shall take one-third and strike around it with the sword, and one-third you shall scatter in the wind: I will draw out a sword after them. You shall also take a small number of them and bind them in the edge of your garment. Then take some of them again and throw them into the midst of the fire, and burn them in the fire. From there a fire will go out into all the house of Israel. 

Ezek 5:2-4 A fourth part thou shalt burn in the fire in the midst of the city, at the fulfillment of the days of the siege: and thou shalt take a fourth part, and burn it up in the midst of it: and a fourth part thou shalt cut with a sword round about it: and a fourth part thou shalt scatter to the wind; and I will draw out a sword after them. And thou shalt take thence a few in number, and shalt wrap them in the fold of thy garment. And thou shalt take of these again, and cast them into the midst of the fire, and burn them up with fire: from thence shall come forth fire; and thou shalt say to the whole house of Israel (LXX)

However, the measurements differs a bit in Masoretic text and LXX. Let us compare both to understand the truth.

  • Burn 1/3 (or 1/4of hair in the midst of the city when the days of the siege are finished
  • Burn 1/4 of hair in the midst.
  • Strike 1/3 (or 1/4of hair with the sword
  • Scatter 1/3 (or 1/4of hair in the wind 
  • Take a small number of hair and bind them in the edge of your garment. 
  • Take some of them again and throw them into the midst of the fire, and burn them in the fire. From there a fire will go out into all the house of Israel.

Sign, Sin & Punishments

Below is the tabulation of the sins of the whole house of Israel and their punishments.
Sin Punishment
Ezek 5:5-7 “Thus says the Lord GOD: ‘This is Jerusalem; I have set her in the midst of the nations and the countries all around her. ‘She has rebelled against My judgments by doing wickedness more than the nations, and against My statutes more than the countries that are all around her; for they have refused My judgments, and they have not walked in My statutes.’ Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Because you have multiplied disobedience more than the nations that are all around you, have not walked in My statutes nor kept My judgments, nor even done according to the judgments of the nations that are all around you

Ezek 5:8-10 “therefore thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Indeed I, even I, am against you and will execute judgments in your midst in the sight of the nations. And I will do among you what I have never done, and the like of which I will never do again, because of all your abominations. Therefore fathers shall eat their sons in your midst, and sons shall eat their fathers; and I will execute judgments among you, and all of you who remain I will scatter to all the winds.
Ezek 5:11a ‘Therefore, as I live,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘surely, because you have defiled My sanctuary with all your detestable things and with all your abominations Ezek 5:11b therefore I will also diminish you; My eye will not spare, nor will I have any pity.

Distribution of Punishments

Let us revisit the distribution values mentioned in this chapter.

Ezek 5:12 ‘One-third of you shall die of the pestilence, and be consumed with famine in your midst; and one-third shall fall by the sword all around you; and I will scatter another third to all the winds, and I will draw out a sword after them. 

Ezek 5:12 A fourth part of thee shall be cut off by pestilence, and a fourth part of thee shall be consumed in the midst of thee with famine: and as for another fourth part of thee, I will scatter them to every wind; and a fourth part of thee shall fall by sword round about thee, and I will draw out a sword after them (LXX).

Masoretic Septuagint
Pestilence & Famine (1/3)

Pestilence (1/4)
Famine (1/4)
Scatter to every wind (1/3) Scatter to every wind (1/4)
Fall by sword (1/3) Fall by sword (1/4)
The distribution of punishment is not important here, but the message what God is informing to Ezekiel and the warning to future generation is indeed important.

Fury of God

Ezek 5:13-17 ‘Thus shall My anger be spent, and I will cause My fury to rest upon them, and I will be avenged; and they shall know that I, the LORD, have spoken it in My zeal, when I have spent My fury upon them. Moreover I will make you a waste and a reproach among the nations that are all around you, in the sight of all who pass by. So it shall be a reproach, a taunt, a lesson, and an astonishment to the nations that are all around you, when I execute judgments among you in anger and in fury and in furious rebukes. I, the LORD, have spoken. When I send against them the terrible arrows of famine which shall be for destruction, which I will send to destroy you, I will increase the famine upon you and cut off your supply of bread. So I will send against you famine and wild beasts, and they will bereave you. Pestilence and blood shall pass through you, and I will bring the sword against you. I, the LORD, have spoken.’ ”

The last section of this chapter is summarizing the punishments for the whole house of Israel because of His fury against His people for their abominations and defiling His sanctuary.

Rom 11:21-22 For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.

In the new covenant, we are the temple of God where He dwells. If we defile our body where God dwells, He will destroy us.

1Cor 6:18-19, 3:16-17 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.

God cannot dwell with your sinful thoughts or adultery in heart. Have you fled from sexual immorality? If God did not spare the sanctuary built by His own people, He will not spare you either if you defile His dwelling place which is your body.