Ezekiel 5:1 Commentary - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
1. a sharp knife ] lit. sword. The term may suggest the devouring divine sword, ch. Eze 21:8 seq.
take thee a barber’s rasor ] With R.V., as a barber’s razor shalt thou take it unto thee. Two weapons are not to be taken, the sword is to be used as a razor. Isaiah (ch. Isa 7:20) had already said: “In that day shall the Lord shave with the razor that is hired, even with the king of Assyria, the beard and the hair of the feet.” The land is likened to a man; the enemy sweeps off the population clean as the razor does the hair of the body.
balances to weigh ] The divine justice is accurate, assigning to each part its destined chastisement; Jer 15:2, “Such as are for death to death; and such as are for the sword to the sword; and such as are for the famine to the famine; and such as are for the captivity to the captivity.”
Ch. Eze 5:1-4. Symbol shewing the fate of the population during the siege and after it, and their dispersion among the nations
The prophet is commanded to take a sharp sword and use it as a barber’s razor. With this he is to shave off the hair of his head and beard. He is then to take balances in order accurately to weigh the hair into three parts. One third is to be burned in the fire within the city; a second third to be cut to pieces with the sword round about the city; and the last third is to be strewn to all the winds, and pursued by the sword. Of these last a few were to be taken and bound in the skirts of the prophet’s garment; though of these again some were to be thrown into the fire and consumed. The sense of the symbol is clear; a third part of the population shall be consumed by pestilence and famine within the city ( Eze 5:12); a third shall fall by the sword round about the city, on its capture; and a third shall be scattered among all nations, pursued by the sword. Of these a few shall meantime escape, but shall be subjected anew to consuming judgments.
The second section of the Book contains these parts:
(1) Ch. Eze 3:22-27. A preface in which the prophet is commanded to confine himself to his own house, and abandon for a time his public ministry.
(2) Ch. Eze 4:1-4. A series of symbols representing the siege of Jerusalem, the scarcity during it, the pollution of the people in exile among the nations, and the terrible fate of the inhabitants on the capture of the city.
(3) Ch. Eze 5:5-17. Exposition of these symbols.
(4) Ch. 6. Prophecy against the mountains of Israel, the seats of Idolatry.
(5) Ch. 7. Dirge over the downfall of the state.
Consult other comments:
The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges is a biblical commentary set published in parts by Cambridge University Press from 1882 onwards. Anglican bishop John Perowne was the general editor. The first section published was written by theologian Thomas Kelly Cheyne and covered the Book of Micah.
Perowne exercised limited editorial control over the writers of individual commentaries: his aim was "to leave each contributor to the unfettered exercise of his own judgment".