Notes on the Bible, by Albert Barnes, , at sacred-texts.com
Translate it: take thee a sharp sword, for a barber's razor thou shalt take it thee. Even if the action were literal, the use of an actual sword would best enforce the symbolic meaning. The "head" represents the chief city, the "hair" the inhabitants - its ornament and glory - the "hair cut from the head" the exiles cast forth from their homes. It adds to the force of the representation that "to shave the head" was a token of mourning Job 1:20, and was forbidden to the priests Lev 21:5. Thus, in many ways, this action of Ezekiel "the priest" is significant of calamity and ruin. The sword indicates the avenging power; the shaving of the head the removal of grace and glory; the scales and weights the determination of divine justice. Compare Zac 13:8-9.
"The third part burnt in the midst of the city" represents those who perished within the city during the siege; "the third part smitten about it" (the city) "with" the sword, those who were killed about the city during the same period: "the third part scattered to the wind" those who after the siege were dispersed in foreign lands.
In the midst of the city - The prophet is in exile, and is to do this in the midst of Jerusalem. His action being ideal is fitly assigned to the place which the prophecy concerns.
When the days of the siege are fulfilled - i. e., "when the days of the figurative representation of the siege are fulfilled."
Of the third part a few are yet to be taken and kept in the fold of the garment (representing those still to remain in their native land), and yet even of those few some are to be cast into the fire. Such was the fate of those left behind after the destruction of Jerusalem Jer. 40; 41. The whole prophecy is one of denunciation.
Thereof - Or, from thence, out of the midst of the fire. Omit "For."
I have set it in the midst of the nations - It was not unusual for nations to regard the sanctuary, which they most revered, as the center of the earth. In the case of the holy land this was both natural and appropriate. Egypt to the south, Syria to the north, Assyria to the east and the Isles of the Gentiles in the Great Sea to the west, were to the Jew proofs of the central position of his land in the midst of the nations (compare Jer 3:19). The habitation assigned to the chosen people was suitable at the first for separating them from the nations; then for the seat of the vast dominion and commerce of Solomon; then, when they learned from their neighbors idol-worship, their central position was the source of their punishment. Midway between the mighty empires of Egypt and Assyria the holy land became a battlefield for the two powers, and suffered alternately from each as for the time the one or the other became predominant.
They - The inhabitants of Jerusalem.
Because ye multiplied - Some prefer: Because ye have raged tumultuously."
Neither have done according to the judgments - (or, ordinances) of the nations The reproach is that the Israelites have not even been as faithful to their one true God as the nations have been to their false gods (compare Kg2 17:33).
Execute judgments - As upon the false gods of Egypt Exo 12:12; Num 33:4.
Compare Mat 24:21. The calamities of the Babylonian were surpassed by the Roman siege, and these again were but a foreshadowing of still more terrible destruction at the last day.
The judgments Eze 5:12-17 of "famine, pestilence," and the "sword," were precisely those which attended the coming siege of Jerusalem (Jer 15:2 ff). The "drawing out the sword after them" indicates that the anger of God will follow them even to the land of their exile (compare Jer 42:19-22; Lev 26:25), and that the horrors of the Babylonian siege are but the beginning of the sorrows of the nation.
Comforted - In the sense of "consoling oneself" and "feeling satisfaction in punishing;" hence, to "avenge oneself."
The fury is to "rest" upon them, abide, so as not to pass away. The "accomplishment" of the divine anger is not the "completion" in the sense of bringing it to a close, but in the sense of carrying it out to the full.