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Ezekiel 4:4“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. 5I 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.

Just lying down, there was no tying up.

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. 7Turn 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.

Did God supernaturally tie Ezekiel up?

What's the point of tying Ezekiel up when God didn't do it earlier?

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  • See also Ezekiel 3:25 ... they shall put bands upon thee, and shall bind thee with them ..
    – Nigel J
    Nov 24, 2020 at 0:06

2 Answers 2

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The book of Ezekiel's prophecies is full of his Enacted Parables. Here is a sample:

  • The siege of Jerusalem acted out, Eze 4
  • Ezekiel's razor and sword and his shaved head, Eze 5
  • Israel's exile acted out, Eze 12
  • Judah's doom acted out with a cooking pot, Eze 24
  • The two sticks, Eze 37:15-28

Ezekiel was not the only prophet to act out parables:

  • Jeremiah's Linen Loincloth, Jer 13
  • The entire book of Hosea is an enacted parable of unfaithful Israel
  • Jesus cursing of the fig tree is an enacted parable, Mark 11:12-14
  • Jesus washing the disciple's feet is an enacted parable. John 13
  • Belt of Agabus, Acts 21:10-12

Some of these appear bizarre to us today but were designed make a deep impression on those to whom the messages were delivered.

Eze 4:8 simply says (God is speaking):

"Now behold, I will tie you up with ropes so you cannot turn from side to side until you have finished the days of your siege"

I am happy to accept that God did exactly as He said he would and as recorded faithfully by the prophet Ezekiel. Such would have deepened the impression of the message upon those who saw him. Indeed, the Pulpit commentary frankly observes:

Verse 8. - I will lay bands upon thee, etc. The words point to the supernatural constraint which would support the prophet in a position as trying as that of an Indian yogi or a Stylite monk. He would himself be powerless to move (exceptis excipiendis, as before) from the prescribed position. There is, perhaps, a reference to Ezekiel 3:25. The people would have "put bands" upon the prophet to hinder his work; Jehovah will "put bands" upon him to help, nay, to constrain, him to finish it.

This was clearly to represent the firm, unalterable decree of God that Judah was to be placed in shackles from which she could not free herself, precisely because it was a divine decree executed through the agency of Babylon.

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What's the point of God tying Ezekiel up, the forty days he lied on his right?

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. (Ezekiel 4:6-8 NIV)

The answer is "it signified Jerusalem couldn't escape from her judgement".

Unlike the 390 days lying on the left, by that time Samaria, the Northern kingdom was already gone, Ezekiel was allowed to make bread and drink water. But the 40 days he lied on the right, was a prophesy of the siege of Jerusalem and its destruction. He was tied to symbolize the desperation of the people in Jerusalem, nowhere to escape, starving and thirsty.

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, (Ezekiel 4:16 NIV)

Did God supernaturally tie Ezekiel up?

I don't think so. If something can be done naturally God will not do it supernaturally. Moreover, Ezekiel's work was to do in the sight of people (the exile), it could be more dramatic to have these people tied him up.

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