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The Boiling Pot


In the ninth year, in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, the word of the Lord came to me: 2Mortal, write down the name of this day, this very day. The king of Babylon has laid siege to Jerusalem this very day. 3And utter an allegory to the rebellious house and say to them, Thus says the Lord God:

Set on the pot, set it on,

pour in water also;


put in it the pieces,

all the good pieces, the thigh and the shoulder;

fill it with choice bones.


Take the choicest one of the flock,

pile the logs under it;

boil its pieces,

seethe also its bones in it.


6 Therefore thus says the Lord God:

Woe to the bloody city,

the pot whose rust is in it,

whose rust has not gone out of it!

Empty it piece by piece,

making no choice at all.


For the blood she shed is inside it;

she placed it on a bare rock;

she did not pour it out on the ground,

to cover it with earth.


To rouse my wrath, to take vengeance,

I have placed the blood she shed

on a bare rock,

so that it may not be covered.

9 Therefore thus says the Lord God:

Woe to the bloody city!

I will even make the pile great.


Heap up the logs, kindle the fire;

boil the meat well, mix in the spices,

let the bones be burned.


Stand it empty upon the coals,

so that it may become hot, its copper glow,

its filth melt in it, its rust be consumed.


In vain I have wearied myself;

its thick rust does not depart.

To the fire with its rust!


Yet, when I cleansed you in your filthy lewdness,

you did not become clean from your filth;

you shall not again be cleansed

until I have satisfied my fury upon you.

14 I the Lord have spoken; the time is coming, I will act. I will not refrain, I will not spare, I will not relent. According to your ways and your doings I will judge you, says the Lord God.

Ezekiel’s Bereavement

15 The word of the Lord came to me: 16Mortal, with one blow I am about to take away from you the delight of your eyes; yet you shall not mourn or weep, nor shall your tears run down. 17Sigh, but not aloud; make no mourning for the dead. Bind on your turban, and put your sandals on your feet; do not cover your upper lip or eat the bread of mourners. 18So I spoke to the people in the morning, and at evening my wife died. And on the next morning I did as I was commanded.

19 Then the people said to me, “Will you not tell us what these things mean for us, that you are acting this way?” 20Then I said to them: The word of the Lord came to me: 21Say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: I will profane my sanctuary, the pride of your power, the delight of your eyes, and your heart’s desire; and your sons and your daughters whom you left behind shall fall by the sword. 22And you shall do as I have done; you shall not cover your upper lip or eat the bread of mourners. 23Your turbans shall be on your heads and your sandals on your feet; you shall not mourn or weep, but you shall pine away in your iniquities and groan to one another. 24Thus Ezekiel shall be a sign to you; you shall do just as he has done. When this comes, then you shall know that I am the Lord God.

25 And you, mortal, on the day when I take from them their stronghold, their joy and glory, the delight of their eyes and their heart’s affection, and also their sons and their daughters, 26on that day, one who has escaped will come to you to report to you the news. 27On that day your mouth shall be opened to the one who has escaped, and you shall speak and no longer be silent. So you shall be a sign to them; and they shall know that I am the Lord.


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Eze 24:1-27. Vision of the Boiling Caldron, and of the Death of Ezekiel's Wife.

1, 2. Ezekiel proves his divine mission by announcing the very day, ("this same day") of the beginning of the investment of the city by Nebuchadnezzar; "the ninth year," namely, of Jehoiachin's captivity, "the tenth day of the tenth month"; though he was three hundred miles away from Jerusalem among the captives at the Chebar (2Ki 25:1; Jer 39:1).

2. set himselflaid siege; "lay against."

3. pot—caldron. Alluding to the self-confident proverb used among the people, Eze 11:3 (see on Eze 11:3), "This city is the caldron and we be the flesh"; your proverb shall prove awfully true, but in a different sense from what you intend. So far from the city proving an iron, caldron-like defense from the fire, it shall be as a caldron set on the fire, and the people as so many pieces of meat subjected to boiling heat. See Jer 1:13.

4. pieces thereof—those which properly belong to it, as its own.

every good piece … choice bones—that is, the most distinguished of the people. The "choice bones" in the pot have flesh adhering to them. The bones under the pot (Eze 24:5) are those having no flesh and used as fuel, answering to the poorest who suffer first, and are put out of pain sooner than the rich who endure what answers to the slower process of boiling.

5. burn … bones—rather, "pile the bones." Literally, "Let there be a round pile of the bones."

therein—literally, "in the midst of it."

6. scum—not ordinary, but poisonous scum, that is, the people's all-pervading wickedness.

bring it out piece by piece—"it," the contents of the pot; its flesh, that is, "I will destroy the people of the city, not all at the same time, but by a series of successive attacks." Not as Fairbairn, "on its every piece let it (the poisonous scum) go forth."

let no lot fall upon it—that is, no lot, such as is sometimes cast, to decide who are to be destroyed and who saved (2Sa 8:2; Joe 3:3; Ob 11; Na 3:10). In former carryings away of captives, lots were cast to settle who were to go, and who to stay, but now all alike are to be cast out without distinction of rank, age, or sex.

7. upon the top of a rock—or, "the dry, bare, exposed rock," so as to be conspicuous to all. Blood poured on a rock is not so soon absorbed as blood poured on the earth. The law ordered the blood even of a beast or fowl to be "covered with the dust" (Le 17:13); but Jerusalem was so shameless as to be at no pains to cover up the blood of innocent men slain in her. Blood, as the consummation of all sin, presupposes every other form of guilt.

8. That it might cause—God purposely let her so shamelessly pour the blood on the bare rock, "that it might" the more loudly and openly cry for vengeance from on high; and that the connection between the guilt and the punishment might be the more palpable. The blood of Abel, though the ground received it, still cries to heaven for vengeance (Ge 4:10, 11); much more blood shamelessly exposed on the bare rock.

set her blood—She shall be paid back in kind (Mt 7:2). She openly shed blood, and her blood shall openly be shed.

9. the pile for fire—the hostile materials for the city's destruction.

10. spice it well—that the meat may be the more palatable, that is, I will make the foe delight in its destruction as much as one delights in well-seasoned, savory meat. Grotius, needlessly departing from the obvious sense, translates, "Let it be boiled down to a compound."

11. set it empty … that … brass … may burn, … that … scum … may be consumed—Even the consumption of the contents is not enough; the caldron itself which is infected by the poisonous scum must be destroyed, that is, the city itself must be destroyed, not merely the inhabitants, just as the very house infected with leprosy was to be destroyed (Le 14:34-45).

12. herself—rather, "she hath wearied Me out with lies"; or rather, "with vain labors" on My part to purify her without being obliged to have recourse to judgments (compare Isa 43:24; Mal 2:17) [Maurer]. However, English Version gives a good sense (compare Isa 47:13; 57:10).

13. lewdness—determined, deliberate wickedness; from a Hebrew root, "to purpose."

I have purged thee—that is, I have left nothing untried which would tend towards purging thee, by sending prophets to invite thee to repentance, by giving thee the law with all its promises, privileges, and threats.

thou shalt not be purged … any more—that is, by My gracious interpositions; thou shalt be left to thine own course to take its fatal consequences.

14. go back—desist; relax [Fairbairn].

15. Second part of the vision; announcement of the death of Ezekiel's wife, and prohibition of the usual signs of mourning.

16. desire of … eyes—his wife: representing the sanctuary (Eze 24:21) in which the Jews so much gloried. The energy and subordination of Ezekiel's whole life to his prophetic office is strikingly displayed in this narrative of his wife's death. It is the only memorable event of his personal history which he records, and this only in reference to his soul-absorbing work. His natural tenderness is shown by that graphic touch, "the desire of thine eyes." What amazing subjection, then, of his individual feeling to his prophetic duty is manifested in the simple statement (Eze 24:18), "So I spake … in the morning; and at even my wife died; and I did in the morning as I was commanded."

stroke—a sudden visitation. The suddenness of it enhances the self-control of Ezekiel in so entirely merging individual feeling, which must have been especially acute under such trying circumstances, in the higher claims of duty to God.

17. Forbear to cry—or, "Lament in silence"; not forbidding sorrow, but the loud expression of it [Grotius].

no mourning—typical of the universality of the ruin of Jerusalem, which would preclude mourning, such as is usual where calamity is but partial. "The dead" is purposely put in the plural, as referring ultimately to the dead who should perish at the taking of Jerusalem; though the singular might have been expected, as Ezekiel's wife was the immediate subject referred to: "make no mourning," such as is usual, "for the dead, and such as shall be hereafter in Jerusalem" (Jer 16:5-7).

tire of thine head—thy headdress [Fairbairn]. Jerome explains, "Thou shalt retain the hair which is usually cut in mourning." The fillet, binding the hair about the temples like a chaplet, was laid aside at such times. Uncovering the head was an ordinary sign of mourning in priests; whereas others covered their heads in mourning (2Sa 15:30). The reason was, the priests had their headdress of fine twined linen given them for ornament, and as a badge of office. The high priest, as having on his head the holy anointing oil, was forbidden in any case to lay aside his headdress. But the priests might do so in the case of the death of the nearest relatives (Le 21:2, 3, 10). They then put on inferior attire, sprinkling also on their heads dust and ashes (compare Le 10:6, 7).

shoes upon thy feet—whereas mourners went "barefoot" (2Sa 15:30).

cover not … lips—rather, the "upper lip," with the moustache (Le 13:45; Mic 3:7).

bread of men—the bread usually brought to mourners by friends in token of sympathy. So the "cup of consolation" brought (Jer 16:7). "Of men" means such as is usually furnished by men. So Isa 8:1, "a man's pen"; Re 21:17, "the measure of a man."

19. what these things are to us—The people perceive that Ezekiel's strange conduct has a symbolical meaning as to themselves; they ask, "What is that meaning?"

21. excellency of your strength—(compare Am 6:8). The object of your pride and confidence (Jer 7:4, 10, 14).

desire of … eyes—(Ps 27:4). The antitype to Ezekiel's wife (Eze 24:16).

pitieth—loveth, as pity is akin to love: "yearned over."

Profane—an appropriate word. They had profaned the temple with idolatry; God, in just retribution, will profane it with the Chaldean sword, that is, lay it in the dust, as Ezekiel's wife.

sons … daughters … left—the children left behind in Judea, when the parents were carried away.

22. (Jer 16:6, 7). So general shall be the calamity, that all ordinary usages of mourning shall be suspended.

23. ye shall not mourn … but … pine away for your iniquities—The Jews' not mourning was to be not the result of insensibility, any more than Ezekiel's not mourning for his wife was not from want of feeling. They could not in their exile manifest publicly their lamentation, but they would privately "mourn one to another." Their "iniquities" would then be their chief sorrow ("pining away"), as feeling that these were the cause of their sufferings (compare Le 26:39; La 3:39). The fullest fulfilment is still future (Zec 12:10-14).

24. sign—a typical representative in his own person of what was to befall them (Isa 20:3).

when this cometh—alluding probably to their taunt, as if God's word spoken by His prophets would never come to pass. "Where is the word of the Lord? Let it come now" (Jer 17:15). When the prophecy is fulfilled, "ye shall know (to your cost) that I am the Lord," who thereby show My power and fulfil My word spoken by My prophet (Joh 13:19; 14:29).

25, 26. "The day" referred to in these verses is the day of the overthrow of the temple, when the fugitive "escapes." But "that day," in Eze 24:27, is the day on which the fugitive brings the sad news to Ezekiel, at the Chebar. In the interval the prophet suspended his prophecies as to the Jews, as was foretold. Afterwards his mouth was "opened," and no more "dumb" (Eze 3:26, 27; compare Eze 24:27; 33:21, 22).