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Ezekiel 4:9

9. Take thou also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentiles, and millet, and fitches, and put them in one vessel, and make thee bread thereof, according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon thy side, three hundred and ninety days shalt thou eat thereof.

9. Et tu sume tibi triticum, et hordeum, et fabam, et lentem, et millium, zeam, 9191     The word for “fitches” is in the plural: so the word for “barley:” there is an enallage of the number.Calvin et pones ea in vase uno, et facies ea tibi in panem 9292     That is, thou shalt make bread for thyself out of them.Calvin pro numero dierum, quibus jacebis super latus tuum, trecentis et nonaginta diebus comedes illum.

 

It is by no means doubtful, that this verse applies to the siege, because God signifies that the city would then suffer famine, but a little afterwards he adds another vision, from which we gather, that the subject is not only the siege of Jerusalem, but the general vengeance of God against all the tribes, which had fallen on the Jews through their alliance with them, and which ended at length in the siege. But here God shows the future condition of the city Jerusalem. For this various kind of bread is a sign of want, for we make bread of wheat, and if any region is barren there barley is eaten or’ vetches, and if we have but a moderate supply, still wheaten bread is used, but when lentils and beans, and millet and spelt are used, a severer penury is portrayed. In the time of Jerome the name of spelt was in use for “zea,” since he says, it was “gentile” among the Italians. I know not how it agrees with what Jerome calls “vetches;” in his Commentaries he says it is “zea,” and uses that name for spelt, which was then wheat: whatever it is, when leguminous plants are mixed with wheat, and when barley and spelt are used, it shows a deficiency in ordinary food. It is just as if the Prophet Ezekiel were to denounce against the Jews a deficiency in the harvest which they were then reaping while they were free, for this vision was offered to the Prophet before the city was besieged. Hence he threatened want and famine at a time when they were still eating bread made of pure wheat. For he orders all these things to be put in one vessel Hence we gather, that this mixture would be by no means acceptable to delicate palates: for we know that beans and lentils are grosser than wheat, and cannot be kneaded into a dough of the right kind, since the wheat and pulse are dissimilar. For this reason, then, God places them in one vessel Then it is added — thou shalt make bread for thee according to the number of the days The days here numbered are the three hundred and ninety: there is no mention of the forty days, but it may be a part put for the whole. Now it follows:


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