Notes on the Bible, by Albert Barnes, , at sacred-texts.com
In Ezek. 24, Ezekiel is commissioned to announce to his fellow-exiles that the destruction of Jerusalem, so long foretold, was now in course of execution, that the siege had actually begun. This he is to declare:
(1) by a parable - of the boiling pot,
(2) by a symbolic act - the abstaining from the usual outward mourning for his wife's death.
The prophecies in this chapter were delivered two years and five months after those of the previous section Eze 20:1. The day mentioned here was the very day on which Nebuchadnezzar completed his arrangements for the siege, and closed in the city (marginal references). After the captivity this day was regularly observed as a fast day Zac 8:19.
A pot - Or, the caldron; with reference to Eze 11:3. The prophet indicates by the figure utter destruction. The caldron is the city, the fire is the surrounding army, the flesh and bones are the inhabitants shut in within the walls.
The pieces thereof - Or, that belong to it; i. e., the pieces which are designed for the caldron, and belong to it as the inhabitants belong to the city. The choice pieces are the choice members of the community Eze 11:3.
Burn - Rather, as in margin; the bones would serve for fuel.
Scum - Better, rust (and in Eze 24:11-12).
Bring it out piece by piece - It, the city; bring out the inhabitants, one by one, clear the city of them, whether by death, exile, or captivity.
Let no lot fall upon it - In the captivity of Jehoiakim and in that of Jehoiachin, some were taken, others left. Now all shall be removed.
The top of a rock - The blood was poured upon a naked, dry, rock where it could not be absorbed or unnoticed.
Consume ... spice it well - i. e., "dress the flesh, and make it froth and bubble, that the bones and the flesh may be all boiled up together."
The death of Ezekiel's wife took place in the evening of the same day that he delivered the foregoing prophecy. This event was to signify to the people that the Lord would take from them all that was most dear to them; and - owing to the extraordinary nature of the times - quiet lamentation for the dead, according to the usual forms of mourning, would be impossible.
The priest in general was to mourn for his dead (Lev 21:1 ff); but Ezekiel was to be an exception to the rule. The "tire" was the priest's mitre.
Eat not the bread of men - Food supplied for the comfort of the mourners.
Pine away - Compare Lev 26:39. The outward signs of grief were a certain consolation. Their absence would indicate a heart-consuming sorrow.
Ezekiel had been employed four years in foretelling the calamities about to come to pass. He had been utterly disregarded by the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and received with apparent respect but with real incredulity by those in exile. Now until the city had been actually taken, the voice of prophecy should cease, so far as God's people were concerned. Hence the intervening series of predictions relating to neighboring and foreign nations Ezek. 25-32. After which the prophet's voice was again heard addressing his countrymen in their exile. This accounts for the apparently parenthetical character of the next eight chapters.