Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament, by Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsh, [1857-78], at sacred-texts.com
On the day on which the king of Babylon commenced the siege and blockade of Jerusalem, this event was revealed by God to Ezekiel on the Chaboras (Eze 24:1 and Eze 24:2); and he was commanded to predict to the people through the medium of a parable the fate of the city and its inhabitants (Eze 24:3-14). God then foretold to him the death of his own wife, and commanded him to show no sign of mourning on account of it. His wife died the following evening, and he did as he was commanded. When he was asked by the people the reason of this, he explained to them, that what he was doing was symbolical of the way in which they were to act when Jerusalem fell (Eze 24:15-24). The fall would be announced to the prophet by a fugitive, and then he would no longer remain mute, but would speak to the people again (Eze 24:25-27). - Apart, therefore, from the last three verses, this chapter contains two words of God, the first of which unfolds in a parable the approaching calamities, and the result of the siege of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans (Eze 24:1-14); whilst the second typifies by means of a sign the pain and mourning of Israel, namely, of the exiles at the destruction of the city with its sanctuary and its inhabitants. These two words of God, being connected together by their contents, were addressed to the prophet on the same day, and that, as the introduction (Eze 24:1 and Eze 24:2) expressly observes, the day on which the siege of Jerusalem by the king of Babylon began.
And the word of Jehovah came to me in the ninth year, in the tenth month, on the tenth of the month, saying, Eze 24:2. Son of man, write for thyself the name of the day, this same day! The king of Babylon has fallen upon Jerusalem this same day. - The date given, namely, the tenth day of the tenth month of the ninth year after the carrying away of Jehoiachin (Eze 1:2), or what is the same thing, of the reign of Zedekiah, who was appointed king in his stead, is mentioned in Jer 52:4; Jer 39:1, and Kg2 25:1, as the day on which Nebuchadnezzar blockaded the city of Jerusalem by throwing up a rampart; and after the captivity this day was still kept as a fast-day in consequence (Zac 8:19). What was thus taking place at Jerusalem was revealed to Ezekiel on the Chaboras the very same day; and he was instructed to announce it to the exiles, "that they and the besieged might learn both from the time and the result, that the destruction of the city was not to be ascribed to chance or to the power of the Babylonians, but to the will of Him who had long ago foretold that, on account of the wickedness of the inhabitants, the city would be burned with fire; and that Ezekiel was a true prophet, because even when in Babylon, which was at so great a distance, he had known and had publicly announced the state of Jerusalem." The definite character of this prediction cannot be changed into a vaticinium post eventum, either by arbitrary explanations of the words, or by the unfounded hypothesis proposed by Hitzig, that the day was not set down in this definite form till after the event. - Writing the name of the day is equivalent to making a note of the day. The reason for this is given in Eze 24:2, namely, because Nebuchadnezzar had fallen upon Jerusalem on that very day. סמך signifies to support, hold up (his hand); and hence both here and in Psa 88:8 the meaning to press violently upon anything. The rendering "to draw near," which has been forced upon the word from the Syriac (Ges., Winer, and others), cannot be sustained.
Parable of the Pot with the Boiling Pieces
Eze 24:3. And relate a parable to the rebellious house, and say to them, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Set on the pot, set on and also pour water into it. Eze 24:4. Gather its pieces of flesh into it, all the good pieces, haunch and shoulder, fill it with choice bones. Eze 24:5. Take the choice of the flock, and also a pile of wood underneath for the bones; make it boil well, also cook its bones therein. Eze 24:6. Therefore, thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Woe! O city of murders! O pot in which is rust, and whose rust doth not depart from it; piece by piece fetch it out, the lot hath not fallen upon it. Eze 24:7. For her blood is in the midst of her; she hath placed it upon the naked rock; she hath not poured it upon the ground, that they might cover it with dust. Eze 24:8. To bring up fury, to take vengeance, I have made her blood come upon the naked rock, that it might not be covered. Eze 24:9. Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Woe to the city of murders! I also will make the pile of wood great. Eze 24:10. Heap up the wood, stir the fire, do the flesh thoroughly, make the broth boil, that the bones may also be cooked away. Eze 24:11. And set it empty upon the coals thereof, that its brass may become hot and glowing, that the uncleanness thereof may melt within it, its rust pass away. Eze 24:12. He hath exhausted the pains, and her great rust doth not go from her; into the fire with her rust! Eze 24:13. In thine uncleanness is abomination; because I have cleansed thee, and thou hast not become clean, thou wilt no more become clean from thy uncleanness, till I quiet my fury upon thee. Eze 24:14. I Jehovah have spoken it; it cometh, and I will do it; I will not cease, nor spare, nor let it repent me. According to thy ways, and according to thy deeds, shall they judge thee, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah.
The contents of these verses are called משׁל, a proverb or parable; and Ezekiel is to communicate them to the refractory generation. It follows from this that the ensuing act, which the prophet is commanded to perform, is not to be regarded as a symbolical act which he really carried out, but that the act forms the substance of the mâshâl, in other words, belongs to the parable itself. Consequently the interpretation of the parable in vv. 10ff. is clothed in the form of a thing actually done. The pot with the pieces of flesh and the bones, which are to be boiled in it and boiled away, represents Jerusalem with its inhabitants. The fire, with which they are boiled, is the fire of war, and the setting of the pot upon the fire is the commencement of the siege, by which the population of the city is to be boiled away like the flesh and bones in a pot. שׁפת is used, as in Kg2 4:38, to signify the setting of a pot by or upon the fire. 'אסף וגו: put in its pieces all together. נתחיה, its pieces of flesh, i.e., the pieces belonging to the cooking-pot. These are defined still more minutely as the best of the pieces of flesh, and of these the thigh (haunch) and shoulder are mentioned as the most important pieces, to which the choicest of the bones are to be added. This is rendered still more emphatic by the further instruction to take the choice of the flock in addition to these. The choicest pieces of flesh and the pieces of bone denote the strongest and ablest portion of the population of the city. To boil these pieces away, more especially the bones, a large fire is requisite. This is indicated by the words, "and also a pile of wood underneath for the bones." דּוּר in Eze 24:5, for which מדוּרה is substituted in Eze 24:9, signifies a pile of wood, and occurs in this sense in Isa 30:33, from דּוּר, to lay round, to arrange, pile up. דּוּר cannot mean a heap of bones, on account of the article, but simply a pile of wood for the (previously mentioned) bones, namely, for the purpose of boiling them away. If we pay attention to the article, we shall see that the supposition that Ezekiel was to place a heap of bones under the pot, and the alteration proposed by Bצttcher, Ewald, and Hitzig of העצמים into `eeעצים צים, are alike untenable. Even if דּוּר in itself does not mean a pile of wood, but simply strues, an irregular heap, the fact that it is wood which is piled up is apparent enough from the context. If העצמים had grown out of עצים through a corruption of the text, under the influence of the preceding עצמים, it would not have had an article prefixed. Hitzig also proposes to alter רתחיה into נתחיה, though without any necessity. The fact that רתחים does not occur again proves nothing at all. The noun is added to the verb to intensify its force, and is plurale tant. in the sense of boiling. גּם־בּשׁלוּ וגו' is dependent upon the previous clause גּם taking the place of the copulative ו. בּשׁל, to be cooked, thoroughly done, see the comm. on Exo 12:9.
In Eze 24:6-8 the interpretation of the parable is given, and that in two trains of thought introduced by לכן (Eze 24:6 and Eze 24:9). The reason for commencing with לכן, therefore, may be found in the fact that in the parable contained in Eze 24:3., or more correctly in the blockade of Jerusalem, which furnished the occasion for the parable, the judgment about to burst upon Jerusalem is plainly indicated. The train of thought is the following: - Because the judgment upon Jerusalem is now about to commence, therefore woe to her, for her blood-guiltiness is so great that she must be destroyed. But the punishment answering to the magnitude of the guilt is so distributed in the two strophes, Eze 24:6-8 and Eze 24:9-13, that the first strophe treats of the punishment of the inhabitants of Jerusalem; the second, of the punishment of the city itself. To account for the latter feature, there is a circumstance introduced which is not mentioned in the parable itself, namely, the rust upon the pot, and the figure of the pot is thereby appropriately extended. Moreover, in the explanation of the parable the figure and the fact pass repeatedly the one into the other. Because Jerusalem is a city of murders, it resembles a pot on which there are spots of rust that cannot be removed. Eze 24:6 is difficult, and has been expounded in various ways. The ל before the twofold נתחיה is, no doubt, to be taken distributively: according to its several pieces, i.e., piece by piece, bring it out. But the suffix attached to הוציאהּ cannot be taken as referring to סיר, as Kliefoth proposes, for this does not yield a suitable meaning. One would not say: bring out the pot by its pieces of flesh, when nothing more is meant than the bringing of the pieces of flesh out of the pot. And this difficulty is not removed by giving to הוציא the meaning to reach hither. For, apart from the fact that there is nothing in the usage of the language to sustain the meaning, reach it hither for the purpose of setting it upon the fire, one would not say: reach hither the pot according to its several pieces of flesh, piece by piece, when all that was meant was, bring hither the pot filled with pieces of flesh. The suffix to הוציאהּ refers to the city (עיר), i.e., to its population, "to which the blood-guiltiness really adhered, and not to its collection of houses" (Hitzig). It is only in appearance also that the suffix to נתחיה refers to the pot; actually it refers to the city, i.e., to the whole of its population, the different individuals in which are the separate pieces of flesh. The meaning of the instructions therefore is by no means doubtful: the whole of the population to be found in Jerusalem is to be brought out, and that without any exception, inasmuch as the lot, which would fall upon one and not upon another, will not be cast upon her. There is no necessity to seek for any causal connection between the reference to the rust upon the pot and the bringing out of the pieces of flesh that are cooking within it, and to take the words as signifying that all the pieces, which had been rendered useless by the rust upon the pot, were to be taken out and thrown away (Hvernick); but through the allusion to the rust the interpretation already passes beyond the limits of the figure. The pieces of the flesh are to be brought out, after they have been thoroughly boiled, to empty the pot, that it may then be set upon the fire again, to burn out the rust adhering to it (Eze 24:11). There is no force in Kliefoth's objection, that this exposition does not agree with the context, inasmuch as, "according to the last clause of Eze 24:5 and Eze 24:10 and Eze 24:11, the pieces of flesh and even the bones are not to be taken out, but to be boiled away by a strong fire; and the pot is to become empty not by the fact that the pieces of flesh are taken out and thrown away, but by the pieces being thoroughly boiled away, first to broth and then to nothing." For "boiling away to nothing" is not found in the text, but simply that even the bones are to be thoroughly done, so as to turn into the softness of jelly. - So far as the fact is concerned, we cannot follow the majority of commentators, who suppose that the reference is simply to the carrying away of the inhabitants into exile. Bringing the pieces of flesh out of the pot, denotes the sweeping away of the inhabitants from the city, whether by death (vid., Eze 11:7) or by their being carried away captive. The city is to be emptied of men in consequence of its being blockaded by the king of Babylon. The reason of this is given in Eze 24:7 and Eze 24:8, where the guilt of Jerusalem is depicted. The city has shed blood, which is not covered with earth, but has been left uncovered, like blood poured out upon a hard rock, which the stone cannot absorb, and which cries to God for vengeance, because it is uncovered (cf. Gen 4:10; Job 16:18; and Isa 26:21). The thought is this: she has sinned in an insolent and shameless manner, and has done nothing to cover her sin, has shown no sign of repentance or atonement, by which she might have got rid of her sin. This has all been ordered by God. He has caused the blood that was shed to fall upon a bare rock, that it might lie uncovered, and He might be able to execute vengeance for the crime.
The second turn in the address (Eze 24:9) commences in just the same manner as the first in Eze 24:6, and proceeds with a further picture of the execution of punishment. To avenge the guilt, God will make the pile of wood large, and stir up a fierce fire. The development of this thought is given in Eze 24:10 in the form of a command addressed to the prophet, to put much wood underneath, and to kindle a fire, so that both flesh and bones may boil away. התם, from תּמם, to finish, complete; with בּשׂר, to cook thoroughly. There are differences of opinion as to the true meaning of הרקח ; but the rendering sometimes given to רקח, namely, to spice, is at all events unsuitable, and cannot be sustained by the usage of the language. It is true that in Exo 30:25. the verb רקח is used for the preparation of the anointing oil, but it is not the mixing of the different ingredients that is referred to, but in all probability the thorough boiling of the spices, for the purpose of extracting their essence, so that "thorough boiling" is no doubt the true meaning of the word. In Job 41:23 (31), מרקחה is the boiling unguent-pot. יחרוּ is a cohortative Hiphil, from חרר, to become red-hot, to be consumed. - Eze 24:11. When the flesh and bones have thus been thoroughly boiled, the pot is to be placed upon the coals empty, that the rust upon it may be burned away by the heat. The emptying of the pot or kettle by pouring out the flesh, which has been boiled to broth, is passed over as self-evident. The uncleanness of the pot is the rust upon it. תּתּם is an Aramaean form for תּתּם = תּתּם. Michaelis has given the true explanation of the words: "civibus caesis etiam urbs consumetur" (when the inhabitants are slain, the city itself will be destroyed).
(Note: Hitzig discovers a Hysteronproteron in this description, because the cleaning of the pot ought to have preceded the cooking of the flesh in it, and not to have come afterwards, and also because, so far as the actual fact is concerned, the rust of sin adhered to the people of the city, and not to the city itself as a collection of houses. But neither of these objections is sufficient to prove what Hitzig wants to establish, namely, that the untenable character of the description shows that it is not really a prophecy; nor is there any force in them. It is true that if one intended to boil flesh in a pot for the purpose if eating, the first thing to be done would be to clean the pot itself. But this is not the object in the present instance. The flesh was simply to be thoroughly boiled, that it might be destroyed and thrown away, and there was no necessity to clean the pot for this purpose. And so far as the second objection is concerned, the defilement of sin does no doubt adhere to man, though not, as Hitzig assumes, to man alone. According to the Old Testament view, it extends to things as well (vid., Lev 18:25; Lev 27:28). Thus leprosy, for example, did not pollute men only, but clothes and houses also. And for the same reason judgments were not restricted to men, but also fell upon cities and lands.)
In Eze 24:12. the reason is given, which rendered it necessary to inflict this exterminating judgment. In Eze 24:12 the address still keeps to the figure, but in Eze 24:13 it passes over to the actual fact. It (the pot) has exhausted the pains (תּאנים, ἁπ λεγ.., namely, as Eze 24:13 clearly shows, the pains, or wearisome exertions, to make it clean by milder means, and not (as Hitzig erroneously infers from the following clause) to eat away the rust by such extreme heat. הלאת, third pers. Hiphil of לאה fo lih, is the earlier form, which fell into almost entire disuse in later times (vid., Ges. 75, Anm. 1). The last words of Eze 24:11, I agree with Hitzig, Hvernick, and others, in taking as an exclamation. Because the pot has exhausted all the efforts made to cleanse it, its rust is to go into the fire. In Eze 24:13 Jerusalem is addressed, and זמּה is not a genitive belonging to בּטמאתך, "on account of thy licentious uncleanness" (Ewald and Hitzig), but a predicate, "in thine uncleanness is (there lies) זמּה, i.e., an abomination deserving of death" (see Lev 18:17 and Lev 20:14, where the fleshly sins, which are designated as zimmâh, are ordered to be punished with death). The cleansings which God had attempted, but without Jerusalem becoming clean, consisted in the endeavour, which preceded the Chaldean judgment of destruction, to convert the people from their sinful ways, partly by threats and promises communicated through the prophets (vid., Ch2 36:15), and partly by means of chastisements. For הניח חמה, see Eze 5:13. In Eze 24:14 there is a summary of the whole, which brings the threat to a close.
The Sign of Silent Sorrow Concerning the Destruction of Jerusalem
Eze 24:14. And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Eze 24:16. Son of man, behold, I take from thee thine eyes' delight by a stroke, and thou shalt not mourn nor weep, and no tear shall come from thee. Eze 24:17. Sigh in silence; lamentation for the dead thou shalt not make; bind thy head-attire upon thee, and put thy shoes upon thy feet, and do not cover thy beard, and eat not the bread of men. Eze 24:18. And I spake to the people in the morning, and in the evening my wife died, and I did in the morning as I was commanded. Eze 24:19. Then the people said to me, Wilt thou not show us what this signifies to us that thou doest so? Eze 24:20. And I said to them, The word of Jehovah has come to me, saying, Eze 24:21. Say to the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Behold, I will profane my sanctuary, the pride of your strength, the delight of your eyes, and the desire of your soul; and your sons and your daughters, whom ye have left, will fall by the sword. Eze 24:22. Then will ye do as I have done, ye will not cover the beard, nor eat the bread of men; Eze 24:23. And ye will have your head-attired upon your heads, and your shoes upon your feet; ye will not mourn nor weep, but will pine away in your iniquity, and sigh one towards another. Eze 24:24. Thus will Ezekiel be a sign to you; as he hath done will ye do; when it cometh, ye will know that I the Lord am Jehovah. - From the statements in Eze 24:18, to the effect that the prophet spoke to the people in the morning, and then in the evening his wife died, and then again in the (following) morning, according to the command of God, he manifested no grief, and in answer to the inquiry of the people explained to them the meaning of what he did, it is evident that the word of God contained in this section came to him on the same day as the preceding one, namely, on the day of the blockade of Jerusalem; for what he said to the people on the morning of this day (Eze 24:18) is the prophecy contained in Eze 24:3-14. Immediately after He had made this revelation to him, God also announced to him the approaching death of his wife, together with the significance which this event would have to the people generally. The delight of the eyes (Eze 24:16) is his wife (Eze 24:18) בּמגּפה by a stroke, i.e., by a sudden death inflicted by God (vid., Num 14:37; Num 17:13). On the occurrence of her death, he is neither to allow of any loud lamentings, nor to manifest any sign of grief, but simply to sigh in silence. מתים אבל does not stand for אבל מתים, but the words are both accusatives. The literal rendering would be: the dead shalt thou not make an object of mourning, i.e., thou shalt not have any mourning for the dead, as Storr (observv. p. 19) has correctly explained the words. On occasions of mourning it was customary to uncover the head and strew ashes upon it (Isa 61:3), to go barefoot (Sa2 15:30; Isa 20:2), and to cover the beard, that is to say, the lower part of the face as far as the nose (Mic 3:7). Ezekiel is not to do any of these things, but to arrange his head-attire (פּאר, the head-attire generally, or turban, vid., Eze 24:23 and Isa 61:3, and not specially that of the priests, which is called פּארי in Exo 39:28), and to put on his shoes, and also to eat no mourning bread. לחם אנשׁים does not mean panis miseroroum, cibus lugentium, in which case אנשׁים would be equivalent to אנשׁים, but bread of men, i.e., of the people, that is to say, according to the context, bread which the people were accustomed to send to the house of mourning in cases of death, to manifest their sympathy and to console and refresh the mourners - a custom which gave rise in the course of time to that of formal funeral meals. These are not mentioned in the Old Testament; but the sending of bread or food to the house of mourning is clearly referred to in Deu 26:14; Hos 9:4, and Jer 16:7 (see also Sa2 3:35). - When Ezekiel thus abstained from all lamentation and outward sign of mourning on the death of his dearest one, the people conjectured that such striking conduct must have some significance, and asked him what it was that he intended to show thereby. He then announced to them the word of God (Eze 24:20-24). As his dearest one, his wife, had been taken from him, so should it dearest object, the holy temple, be taken from the nation by destruction, and their children by the sword. When this occurred, then would they act as he was doing now; they would not mourn and weep, but simply in their gloomy sorrow sigh in silence on account of their sins, and groan one toward another.
The profanation (חלּל) of the sanctuary is effected through its destruction (cf. Eze 7:24). To show the magnitude of the loss, the worth of the temple in the eyes of the nation is dwelt upon in the following clauses. גּאון עזּכם is taken from Lev 26:19. The temple is called the pride of your strength, because Israel based its might and strength upon it as the scene of the gracious presence of God, living in the hope that the Lord would not give up His sanctuary to the heathen to be destroyed, but would defend the temple, and therewith Jerusalem and its inhabitants also (cf. Jer 7:4). מהמל נפשׁכם , the desire or longing of the soul (from המל, in Arabic, desiderio ferri ad aliquam rem). The sons and daughters of the people are the relatives and countrymen whom the exiles had been obliged to leave behind in Canaan. - The explanation of this lamentation and mourning on account of the destruction of the sanctuary and death of their relations, is to be found in the antithesis: 'וּנמקּתם בעו, ye will pine or languish away in your iniquities (compare Eze 4:17 and Lev 26:39). Consequently we have not to imagine either "stolid indifference" (Eichhorn and Hitzig), or "stolid impenitence" (Ewald), but overwhelming grief, for which there were no tears, no lamentation, but only deep inward sighing on account of the sins which had occasioned so terrible a calamity. נהם, lit., to utter a deep growl, like the bears (Isa 59:11); here to sigh or utter a deep groan. "One toward another," i.e., manifesting the grief to one another by deep sighs; not "full of murmuring and seeking the sin which occasioned the calamity in others rather than in themselves," as Hitzig supposes. The latter exposition is entirely at variance with the context. This grief, which consumes the bodily strength, leads to a clear perception of the sin, and also to true repentance, and through penitence and atonement to regeneration and newness of life. And thus will they attain to a knowledge of the Lord through the catastrophe which bursts upon them (cf. Lev 26:40.). For מופת, a sign, see the comm. on Exo 4:21.
Sequel of the Destruction of Jerusalem to the Prophet Himself
Eze 24:25. And thou, son of man, behold, in the day when I take from them their might, their glorious joy, the delight of their eyes and the desire of their soul, their sons and their daughters, Eze 24:26. In that day will a fugitive come to thee, to tell it to thine ears. Eze 24:27. In that day will thy mouth be opened with the fugitive, and thou wilt speak, and no longer be mute; and thus shalt thou be a sign to them that they may know that I am Jehovah. - As the destruction of Jerusalem would exert a powerful influence upon the future history of the exiles on the Chaboras, and be followed by most important results, so was it also to be a turning-point for the prophet himself in the execution of his calling. Hvernick has thus correctly explained the connection between these closing verses and what precedes, as indicated by ואתּה in Eze 24:25. As Ezekiel up to this time was to speak to the people only when the Lord gave him a word for them, and at other times was to remain silent and dumb (Eze 3:26 and Eze 3:27); from the day on which a messenger should come to bring him the tidings of the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, he was to open his mouth, and not continue dumb any longer. The execution of this word of God is related in Eze 33:21-22. The words, "when I take from them their strength," etc., are to be understood in accordance with Eze 24:21. Consequently מעזּם is the sanctuary, which was taken from the Israelites through the destruction of Jerusalem. The predicates which follow down to משּׂא refer to the temple (cf. Eze 24:21). משּׂא נפשׁ, an object toward which the soul lifts itself up (נשׂא), i.e., for which it cherishes a desire or longing; hence synonymous with מחמל נפשׁ htiw suomynon in Eze 24:21. The sons and daughters are attached ἀσυνδετῶς. בּיּום (in that day), in Eze 24:26, which resumes the words 'בּיום ק (in the day when I take, etc.) in Eze 24:25, is not the day of the destruction of the temple, but generally the time of this event, or more precisely, the day on which the tidings would reach the prophet. הפּליט, with the generic article, a fugitive (vid., Gen 14:13). להשׁמעוּת אזנים, to cause the ears to hear (it), i.e., to relate it, namely to the bodily ears of the prophet, whereas he had already heard it in spirit from God. השׁמעוּת, a verbal noun, used instead of the infinitive Hiphil. את־הפּליט, with the escaped one, i.e., at the same time "with the mouth of the fugitive" (Hitzig). את expresses association, or so far as the fact is concerned, simultaneousness. The words,"then wilt thou speak, and no longer be dumb," do not imply that it was only from that time forward that Ezekiel was to keep silence, but point back to Eze 3:26 and Eze 3:27, where silence is imposed upon him, with the exceptions mentioned there, from the very commencement of his ministry; and in comparison with that passage, simply involve implicite the thought that the silence imposed upon him then was to be observed in the strictest manner from the present time until the reception of the intelligence of the fall of Jerusalem, when his mouth would be opened once more. Through the "words of God" that were given to His prophet (Ezekiel 4-24), the Lord had now said to the people of Israel all that He had to say concerning the approaching catastrophe for them to consider and lay to heart, that they might be brought to acknowledge their sin, and turn with sorrow and repentance to their God. Therefore was Ezekiel from this time forward to keep perfect silence toward Israel, and to let God the Lord speak by His acts and the execution of His threatening words. It was not till after the judgment had commenced that his mouth was to be opened again for still further announcements (vid., Eze 33:22). - Ezekiel was thereby to become a sign to the Israelites. These words have a somewhat different meaning in Eze 24:27 from that which they have in Eze 24:24. There, Ezekiel, by the way in which he behaved at the death of his wife, was to be a sign to the people of the manner in which they were to act when the judgment should fall upon Jerusalem; whereas here (Eze 24:27), למופת refers to the whole of the ministry of the prophet, his silence hitherto, and that which he was still to observe, as well as his future words. Through both of these he was to exhibit himself to his countrymen as a man whose silence, speech, and action were alike marvellous and full of meaning to them, and all designed to lead them to the knowledge of the Lord, the God of their salvation.