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August 19 - Evening

"Now, son of man, take a block of clay, put it in front of you and draw the city of Jerusalem on it.

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. 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."

- Ezekiel 4:1-3

Ezekiel's Small Model of the Siege


Ezekiel 4 is part of a series prophecies that include inspired speech, symbolism and drama used by Ezekiel in chapters 4-24. In chapter 4-7 Ezekiel dramatized the siege of Jerusalem for the Jews in exile in Babylon to observe.

Beginning on the day of his calling Ezekiel was to be mute and unable to speak accept when the Lord opened Ezekiel’s mouth to prophesy (Ezekiel 3:26-27). This state of prophetic muteness would continue until the city of Jerusalem had fallen (August 586 BC) and a man arrived at Ezekiel’s home from Jerusalem announcing Jerusalem had fallen (on Jan 8, 585 BC five months after it fell). Ezekiel will be mute for seven and a half years (July 593 – January 585 BC).

It appears the demonstration of chapter 4 occurs outside Ezekiel’s front door. The Jews had observed (Ez. 3:15-16) Ezekiel’s seven days of confinement after his initiation vision, so now they wonder what he is doing in his front yard.

Ezekiel takes a clay brick and etched a diagram of Jerusalem on it, an image that all the observing Jews would be familiar with since they had lived and worked in Jerusalem up until 5 years before.

Next, Ezekiel made little siege works with battering rams like little scale models of Babylonian military equipment. He then added some ramps to roll the siege engines up to the city walls that were etched on his clay brick. Ezekiel then added around the model of Jerusalem the military camps of the Babylonian soldiers.

Then with the diagram of Jerusalem surrounded by Babylonian camps and several siege engines ready to begin pounding on the walls of Jerusalem with their battering rams Ezekiel is to deliver the most startling point of his drama. Ezekiel, the prophet who is speaking for the Lord, is to take an iron pan and place it between his face and the model of Babylon’s siege of Jerusalem.

The scale model drama and the iron pan have a meaning and we are told, “This will be a sign to the people of Israel,” but we are not told what they are to understand by Ezekiel’s demonstration.

It appears that the iron pan is symbolic of the fact often repeated by Jeremiah and others that the Lord is going to hide his face and be inattentive to Israel’s suffering during the Babylonian siege. There is no hope. There is no prayer. There is no deliverance.

It is interesting that the iron pan is called an iron wall. Walls were designed to protect from invasion, but this iron wall was put up to prevent the Lord from intervening in order to help protect.

There are other ways of interpreting Ezekiel’s model of the siege, but the view above does agree with other prophecies and the historical results of Babylon’s invasion of Judah.

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Apologeomai (Gr) – excuse (Eng) – the Greek word apologeomai means literally “to speak oneself off.” Apologeomai refers to pleading for yourself as in 2 Corinthians 12:19. In Romans 2:15 apologeomai is used for excusing others.
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I will speak positively today and focus on the goodness of God and his works.
Today I will refrain from complaining, but will instead let joy lead my words.


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Bible Reading Descriptions Here

Narrative

(morning only)

Complete Text

General Text

Ezra 5 (520 BC)


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Personal

Spouse

Church

Reach the community, county, state, nation and world with Word of God

World

Madagascar

Nation

Middle class


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Looking up the Western Wall at some of the original Herodian ashlar stones that have held their place since around 19 BC.
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A chart showing the three Jewish returns from Babylon in 537, 458 and 445 BC with Zerubbable, Ezra and Nehemiah.
Ezra 5 New International Version (NIV)
Tattenai’s Letter to Darius
Now Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the prophet, a descendant of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, who was over them. Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and Joshua son of Jozadak set to work to rebuild the house of God in Jerusalem. And the prophets of God were with them, supporting them.
At that time Tattenai, governor of Trans-Euphrates, and Shethar-Bozenai and their associates went to them and asked, “Who authorized you to rebuild this temple and to finish it?” They also asked, “What are the names of those who are constructing this building?” But the eye of their God was watching over the elders of the Jews, and they were not stopped until a report could go to Darius and his written reply be received.
This is a copy of the letter that Tattenai, governor of Trans-Euphrates, and Shethar-Bozenai and their associates, the officials of Trans-Euphrates, sent to King Darius. The report they sent him read as follows:
To King Darius:
Cordial greetings.
The king should know that we went to the district of Judah, to the temple of the great God. The people are building it with large stones and placing the timbers in the walls. The work is being carried on with diligence and is making rapid progress under their direction.
We questioned the elders and asked them, “Who authorized you to rebuild this temple and to finish it?” 10 We also asked them their names, so that we could write down the names of their leaders for your information.
11 This is the answer they gave us:
“We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and we are rebuilding the temple that was built many years ago, one that a great king of Israel built and finished.
12 But because our ancestors angered the God of heaven, he gave them into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar the Chaldean, king of Babylon, who destroyed this temple and deported the people to Babylon.
13 “However, in the first year of Cyrus king of Babylon, King Cyrus issued a decree to rebuild this house of God. 14 He even removed from the temple of Babylon the gold and silver articles of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple in Jerusalem and brought to the temple in Babylon. Then King Cyrus gave them to a man named Sheshbazzar, whom he had appointed governor, 15 and he told him, ‘Take these articles and go and deposit them in the temple in Jerusalem. And rebuild the house of God on its site.’
16 “So this Sheshbazzar came and laid the foundations of the house of God in Jerusalem. From that day to the present it has been under construction but is not yet finished.”
17 Now if it pleases the king, let a search be made in the royal archives of Babylon to see if King Cyrus did in fact issue a decree to rebuild this house of God in Jerusalem. Then let the king send us his decision in this matter.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by
Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
2 Chronicles 36 New International Version (NIV)
36 
And the people of the land took Jehoahaz son of Josiah and made him king in Jerusalem in place of his father.
Jehoahaz King of Judah
Jehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. The king of Egypt dethroned him in Jerusalem and imposed on Judah a levy of a hundred talents of silver and a talent of gold. The king of Egypt made Eliakim, a brother of Jehoahaz, king over Judah and Jerusalem and changed Eliakim’s name to Jehoiakim. But Necho took Eliakim’s brother Jehoahaz and carried him off to Egypt.
Jehoiakim King of Judah
Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord his God. Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon attacked him and bound him with bronze shackles to take him to Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar also took to Babylon articles from the temple of the Lord and put them in his temple there.
The other events of Jehoiakim’s reign, the detestable things he did and all that was found against him, are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah. And Jehoiachin his son succeeded him as king.
Jehoiachin King of Judah
Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months and ten days. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord. 10 In the spring, King Nebuchadnezzar sent for him and brought him to Babylon, together with articles of value from the temple of the Lord, and he made Jehoiachin’s uncle, Zedekiah, king over Judah and Jerusalem.
Zedekiah King of Judah
11 Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. 12 He did evil in the eyes of the Lord his God and did not humble himself before Jeremiah the prophet, who spoke the word of the Lord. 13 He also rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him take an oath in God’s name. He became stiff-necked and hardened his heart and would not turn to the Lord, the God of Israel. 14 Furthermore, all the leaders of the priests and the people became more and more unfaithful, following all the detestable practices of the nations and defiling the temple of the Lord, which he had consecrated in Jerusalem.
The Fall of Jerusalem
15 The Lord, the God of their ancestors, sent word to them through his messengers again and again, because he had pity on his people and on his dwelling place. 16 But they mocked God’s messengers, despised his words and scoffed at his prophets until the wrath of the Lord was aroused against his people and there was no remedy. 17 He brought up against them the king of the Babylonians, who killed their young men with the sword in the sanctuary, and did not spare young men or young women, the elderly or the infirm. God gave them all into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar. 18 He carried to Babylon all the articles from the temple of God, both large and small, and the treasures of the Lord’s temple and the treasures of the king and his officials. 19 They set fire to God’s temple and broke down the wall of Jerusalem; they burned all the palaces and destroyed everything of value there.
20 He carried into exile to Babylon the remnant, who escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and his successors until the kingdom of Persia came to power. 21 The land enjoyed its sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah.
22 In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and also to put it in writing:
23 “This is what Cyrus king of Persia says:
“‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Any of his people among you may go up, and may the Lord their God be with them.’”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by
Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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"It is a poor sermon that gives no offense; that neither makes the hearer displeased with himself nor with the preacher."
- George Whitefield


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2 Samuel has a collection of battle accounts of David and his mighty men against enemy warriors who were the descendants of Rapha like Goliath had been (2 Samuel 21:15-22 and 1 Chronicles 20:4-8). In each case these men where unnaturally large or had physical abnormalities like the one who had six fingers on each had and six toes on each foot. (2 Samuel 21:20-23)


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Pieces of pottery excavated at Samaria are inscribed with names that are similar to biblical names such as Ahinoam, Gomer, Ahaz, Sheba and Nimshi.
(Details)


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"He who obeys instructions guards his life,
but he who is contemptuous
of his ways will die."

- Proverbs 19:16


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