Judah’s Captivity Portrayed

A 12-year-old girl in rural Ethiopia was kidnapped from her family. Her captors yelled at her, beat her, and almost raped her during her seven-day ordeal. They wanted to force her into marriage by selling her to the highest bidder; who knows what kind of situation she would … More

Captivity

Ezekiel played the role of a captive being led away to exile, portraying what was about to happen to King Zedekiah and the people remaining in Jerusalem (vv. 1-6). The exiles knew exactly what he was doing because only six years earlier they had made similar preparations as they left Jerusalem for Babylonia. This was to show the people that they should not trust the king or the capital city to save them from the Babylonian army and only God could do that. Ezekiel’s graphic demonstration was proven correct to the last detail. But when he warned them they refused to listen.

Ezekiel performed the actions as he was commanded (v. 7). Next morning God spoke to him again, this time asking him if the exiles inquired what he was doing (v. 8). Evidently the people’s curiosity was aroused (v. 9). Once Ezekiel had their attention he could deliver God’s message. God explained that this message concerned King Zedekiah) and the whole house of Israel who were there, in Jerusalem, v. 10). This first part of Ezekiel’s sign pictured how they will go into exile as captives (v. 11). Those at ease in Jerusalem would soon be exiles whose only possessions could be held in small sacks flung over their backs.

The second part of Ezekiel’s sign pictured Zedekiah’s vain escape attempt (vv. 12-16). He would try to escape at dusk from Jerusalem through a breach in the city wall. However, he would be caught in God’s snare. Zedekiah’s escape attempt would fail because God would make sure he was captured. The final destiny of Zedekiah was grim. I will bring him to Babylonia, and there he will die. His troops, who would try to escape with him, would be pursued and killed by the sword.

Application

It is my desire that my every thought can be brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

Ezekiel 12:1-16 (English Standard Version)

The word of the LORD came to me: "Son of man, you dwell in the midst of a rebellious house, who have eyes to see, but see not, who have ears to hear, but hear not, for they are a rebellious house. As for you, son of man, prepare for yourself an exile's baggage, and go into exile by day in their sight. You shall go like an exile from your place to another place in their sight. Perhaps they will understand, though they are a rebellious house. You shall bring out your baggage by day in their sight, as baggage for exile, and you shall go out yourself at evening in their sight, as those do who must go into exile. In their sight dig through the wall, and bring your baggage out through it. In their sight you shall lift the baggage upon your shoulder and carry it out at dusk. You shall cover your face that you may not see the land, for I have made you a sign for the house of Israel." And I did as I was commanded. I brought out my baggage by day, as baggage for exile, and in the evening I dug through the wall with my own hands. I brought out my baggage at dusk, carrying it on my shoulder in their sight. In the morning the word of the LORD came to me: "Son of man, has not the house of Israel, the rebellious house, said to you, 'What are you doing?' Say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: This oracle concerns the prince in Jerusalem and all the house of Israel who are in it.' Say, 'I am a sign for you: as I have done, so shall it be done to them. They shall go into exile, into captivity.' And the prince who is among them shall lift his baggage upon his shoulder at dusk, and shall go out. They shall dig through the wall to bring him out through it. He shall cover his face, that he may not see the land with his eyes. And I will spread my net over him, and he shall be taken in my snare. And I will bring him to Babylon, the land of the Chaldeans, yet he shall not see it, and he shall die there. And I will scatter toward every wind all who are around him, his helpers and all his troops, and I will unsheathe the sword after them. And they shall know that I am the LORD, when I disperse them among the nations and scatter them among the countries. But I will let a few of them escape from the sword, from famine and pestilence, that they may declare all their abominations among the nations where they go, and may know that I am the LORD."

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