Notes on the Bible, by Albert Barnes, , at sacred-texts.com
Compare Deu 1:26; margin reference; Rom 10:21. The repetition of such words from age to age, shows that the prophet's words are intended to reach beyond the generation in which he lived.
Stuff - Raiment, vessels, and the like. The "removing" was to be of the kind that accompanied exile. The whole account of this transaction marks it as a real act. The prophet was to be "a sign" to his countrymen, and the "exiles" as well as those that remained in Judaea had need to be taught this lesson, for though themselves far away, they looked to Jerusalem as their home, and were scarcely less eager for its safety than the inhabitants themselves.
The particulars which Ezekiel here foretold actually occurred (compare Kg2 25:4; Jer 39:4); but at this time Zedekiah seemed to be prosperous, and the Jews at Jerusalem expected, it is clear, a long continuance of his prosperity (see Eze 17:1 note).
The prophetic character of the passage is undoubted (the prophet is declared to be "a sign," Eze 12:6) - the genuineness of the book and of the position of the passage in the book, are beyond dispute; in the historical event we have an exact fulfillment. The only legitimate inference is that the prophet received his knowledge from above.
Thou shalt cover thy face - A sign of mourning (see Eze 24:17); also of Zedekiah's blindness Eze 12:12.
In the evening the prophet was to return to the wall, break through it, and transport the goods from the inside to the outside of the city.
Burden - A word used to indicate a prediction of woe to be borne by some individual or people (Isa 13:1 note). Ezekiel, bearing his "stuff" on his shoulder was a sign of the weight of calamity coming upon king and people.
Compare Jer 52:9 ff
Few - literally, as in the margin; so few, that they can easily be counted Isa 10:19. The few who should escape destruction should make known to all among whom they should dwell how great had been the wickedness of the people, how just their punishment.
Here the sign is the exhibition of such terror as the danger of a siege creates.
The people of the land - Chaldaea.
Of the inhabitants - In respect to "the inhabitants."
Desolate from, all that is therein - i. e., stripped of all its inhabitants and of all its wealth.
At one and the same time, Jeremiah was prophesying in Jerusalem, and Ezekiel in Chaldaea; the prophecies of the former were sent to the exiles, and those of Ezekiel to the dwellers at Jerusalem, that the guiding hand of One God in different places might be made clear (Jerome).
As in Ezek. 7, the nearness of the judgment is foretold.
The land of Israel - is put generally for the land where the children of Israel dwelt, whether at home, or in exile. There was prevalent a disregard for the true prophets, which is ever followed by a recognition of the false. First, the true prophet is rejected because it is thought that his prophecies fail. Then men persuade themselves that if the prophecy be true it respects some distant time, and that the men of the present generation need not disturb themselves about it. Compare Jer 1:11; Amo 6:3; Mat 24:43; Th1 5:2; Pe2 3:4. Against both these delusions Ezekiel is commissioned to protest, and so to lead the way to his condemnation of his countrymen for their blind reliance on false prophets.