Ezekiel 4 – Symbol of the Seige and Exile & Introduction to The Lost Cities of The Near and Middle-East (1 of 8)

Looking Up e1541904108272Life must’ve been tough back then, but I bet it was better?

Catalhoyuk is one of the lost cities on my list, but I’ve never heard of it, neither is it mentioned in the Bible.

Yet, I see that…

Ezekiel 4
Symbol of the Seige and Exile

1 Thou also, son of man, take thee a tile, and lay it before thee, and pourtray upon it the city, even Jerusalem:

1 The Iron Age
The Iron Age kingdom of Israel (blue) and kingdom of Judah (tan), with their neighbours (8th century BCE), based on Biblical accounts.

“Take thee a tile” – the first of several symbolic acts to be performed by the prophet.  After inscribing a likeness of the city of Jerusalem on a moist clay tablet, such as those commonly used in Babylon, Ezekiel was to place around it models of siege works to represent the city under attack. 

He was then to place an iron pan (perhaps a baking griddle) between himself and the symbolized city to indicate the unbreakable strength of the siege.

2 And lay siege against it, and build a fort against it, and cast a mount against it; set the camp also against it, and set battering rams against it round about.

3 Moreover take thou unto thee an iron pan, and set it for a wall of iron between thee and the city: and set thy face against it, and it shall be besieged, and thou shalt lay siege against it. This shall be a sign to the house of Israel.

4 Lie thou also upon thy left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it: according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon it thou shalt bear their iniquity.

“Thou shalt bear their iniquity” – a representative, rather than a substitute.  The prophet’s action symbolized Israel’s sins, it didn’t remove them.  Jesus was the substitute of our sins and faith in Him removes them.

5 For I have laid upon thee the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days: so shalt thou bear the iniquity of the house of Israel.

“Years…three hundred and ninety days” – the 390 years may represent the period from the time of Solomon’s unfaithfulness to the fall of Jerusalem.  Correspondingly, the 40 years may represent the long reign of wicked Manasseah before his repentance.

6 And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year.

2 days of the monarchic period
According to archaeologists, the current excavation has revealed part of a large structure, from the early days of the monarchic period (Iron Age IIA).

“On the right side” – lying on his left side placed Ezekiel to the north of the symbolic city; lying on his right side placed him to the south – signifying the northern and southern kingdoms respectively.

7 Therefore thou shalt set thy face toward the siege of Jerusalem, and thine arm shall be uncovered, and thou shalt prophesy against it.

8 And, behold, I will lay bands upon thee, and thou shalt not turn thee from one side to another, till thou hast ended the days of thy siege.

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.

10 And thy meat which thou shalt eat shall be by weight, twenty shekels a day: from time to time shalt thou eat it.

11 Thou shalt drink also water by measure, the sixth part of an hin: from time to time shalt thou drink.

12 And thou shalt eat it as barley cakes, and thou shalt bake it with dung that cometh out of man, in their sight.

13 And the LORD said, Even thus shall the children of Israel eat their defiled bread among the Gentiles, whither I will drive them.

3 horse figurine
Archaeologist Anna Eirikh shows a horse figurine at the site on the outskirts of Jerusalem: Experts say the finds provide rare testimony of a ritual cult in the region at the start of the period of the royal House of David.

14 Then said I, Ah Lord GOD! behold, my soul hath not been polluted: for from my youth up even till now have I not eaten of that which dieth of itself, or is torn in pieces; neither came there abominable flesh into my mouth.

15 Then he said unto me, Lo, I have given thee cow’s dung for man’s dung, and thou shalt prepare thy bread therewith.

“Cow’s dung” – commonly used in the Near East as a fuel for baking even today.  Ezekiel again showed his sensitivity to things ceremonially unclean and God graciously responded to the prophet’s objection by allowing this substituted for human excrement.

16 Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, behold, I will break the staff of bread in Jerusalem: and they shall eat bread by weight, and with care; and they shall drink water by measure, and with astonishment:

17 That they may want bread and water, and be astonied one with another, and consume away for their iniquity.

The Lost Cities of

The Near and Middle-East (1 of 8)


4 Neolithic artifacts
An array of Neolithic artifacts, including bracelets, axe heads, chisels, and polishing tools. Neolithic stone implements are by definition polished and, except for specialty items, not chipped.

Cities first appeared in this part of the world in the Neolithic Era, as early as the 8th millennium B.C., heralding the start of civilization in the conventional sense.  It’s here, in the Near and Middle-East, that humans first settled after migrating out of Africa.

And it was here that a special convergence of circumstances – including plants and animals that could be domesticated, suitable habitats and changes in the climate – led hunter-gatherers to become full-time farmers, and later for the farmers to group together in large settlements.

And it was here that the first urban settlements, such as Catalhoyuk, evolved into the first cities, such as Babylon.

The Near and Middle East was also the theatre for some of the greatest dramas of ancient history, from the superpowers of the Bronze Age to the clashing titans of the Classical Era.

In this study you will learn about some of the most evocative places in history, such as the near-mythical Babylon and the legendary Troy, which tell of great wars and the clash of empires.  It also includes some of the most beautiful of ancient cities, such as the rock-hewn delights of Petra and the graceful columns of Palmyra.

5 Reconstitution of two huts
Reconstitution of two huts of the average Neolithic era.

This region has an unequalled variety and wealthy of history and the cities covered reflect this, spanning a stretch of time from the Neolithic Era to Late Antiquity, taking in empires and civilizations from ancient Assyria to the Achaemenids to the Greeks and Romans.

Some of the cities, such as Petra and Palmyra, reflect the status of this region as the cross roads of history, their architecture combining elements from Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern cultures.

Others define the styles of their respective cultures, whether at Babylon, where many of the idioms of the city were invented or a Pergamum, where the Classical city attained perhaps its fullest ideal.

…Catalhoyuk was excavated by archaeologists and they found some cool stuff. 

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