Ezekiel 4New International Version (NIV)
Siege of Jerusalem Symbolized
“Now, son of man, take a block of clay, put it in front of you and draw the city of Jerusalem on it. 2 Then lay siege to it: Erect siege works against it, build a ramp up to it, set up camps against it and put battering rams around it. 3 Then take an iron pan, place it as an iron wall between you and the city and turn your face toward it. It will be under siege, and you shall besiege it. This will be a sign to the people of Israel.
4 “Then lie on your left side and put the sin of the people of Israel upon yourself.You are to bear their sin for the number of days you lie on your side. 5 I have assigned you the same number of days as the years of their sin. So for 390 days you will bear the sin of the people of Israel.
6 “After you have finished this, lie down again, this time on your right side, and bear the sin of the people of Judah. I have assigned you 40 days, a day for each year. 7 Turn your face toward the siege of Jerusalem and with bared arm prophesy against her. 8 I will tie you up with ropes so that you cannot turn from one side to the other until you have finished the days of your siege.
9 “Take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt; put them in a storage jar and use them to make bread for yourself. You are to eat it during the 390 days you lie on your side. 10 Weigh out twenty shekels[8 ounces] of food to eat each day and eat it at set times. 11 Also measure out a sixth of a hin[2/3 Quart] of water and drink it at set times. 12 Eat the food as you would a loaf of barley bread; bake it in the sight of the people, using human excrement for fuel.” 13 The Lord said, “In this way the people of Israel will eat defiled food among the nations where I will drive them.”
14 Then I said, “Not so, Sovereign Lord! I have never defiled myself. From my youth until now I have never eaten anything found dead or torn by wild animals. No impure meat has ever entered my mouth.”
15 “Very well,” he said, “I will let you bake your bread over cow dung instead of human excrement.”
16 He then said to me: “Son of man, I am about to cut off the food supply in Jerusalem. The people will eat rationed food in anxiety and drink rationed water in despair, 17 for food and water will be scarce. They will be appalled at the sight of each other and will waste away because of their sin.
I will add just a few small points about this story. Ezekiel and god seem to be able to have a conversation with each other like any two normal human beings. This is common in the bible but never occurs in real life. Even while I was a Christian, I remember reading these stories and wondering why the god of the bible was so different than the god of the 20th century. It would be nice if god could just talk to everyone, but he or she could only do that if he or she really existed.
Not only does god talk to Ezekiel, but he says he will tie him up with ropes. God will do this in order to make sure Ezekiel lies on his left side fro 390 days and his right side for 40 days. The 390 days represents the sinfulness of Israel, and the 40 days represents that of Judah. This is pretty silly, but the god of the Old Testament does some silly things to show how sinful Israel is, such as ordering Hosea to marry a prostitute (Hosea 1:2).
But the strangest thing of all is that god tells Ezekiel to bake the bread over HUMAN FECES (that’s SHIT for those of you inner city dwellers). Ezekiel asks god to reconsider, and god decides Ezekiel can bake his bread over cow feces. How wonderful. Your bread may smell like cow poop, but it least it does not smell like human poop.
Finally, I would like to ask all Christians to imagine how they would react if this story were in the Koran and not in the Bible. If a Christian were honest, he or she would admit that he or she would use this story to show how ridiculous the Koran is. This story makes the most sense when it is viewed as an untrue story told by Bronze Age goat herders for the purpose of motivating the followers of their religion to behave in a desired way. Believing that this ridiculous story actually happened is simply ridiculous.