Allegory of the Pot.* 1On the tenth day of the tenth month, in the ninth year,* the word of the LORD came to me:a 2Son of man, write down today’s date this very day, for on this very day the king of Babylon lays siege to Jerusalem. 3b Propose this parable to the rebellious house and say to them: Thus says the Lord GOD:
Put the pot on, put it on!
Pour in some water;
4Add to it pieces of meat,
all choice pieces;
With thigh and shoulder,
with choice cuts fill it.
5Choose the pick of the flock,
then pile logs beneath it;
Bring it to a boil,
cook all the pieces in it.c
6Therefore thus says the Lord GOD:
Woe to the city full of blood!d
A pot containing filth,
whose filth cannot be removed!
Take out its pieces one by one,
for no lot has fallen on their behalf.
7For her blood is still in her midst;
on a bare rock she left it;
She did not pour it on the ground
to be covered with dirt.*
8To arouse wrath, to exact vengeance,
I have left her blood on bare rock
not to be covered.
9Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD:
Woe to the city full of blood!
I will make the pyre great!
10Pile on the wood, kindle the fire.
Cook the meat, stir the spicy mixture,
char the bones!
11Then set it empty on the coals,
to heat up until its copper glows,
So its impurities melt,
its filth disappears.
12* The toil is exhausting,
but the great filth will not come out—
Filth, even with fire.
13Even in defiling yourself with depravity
I would still have cleansed you,
but you would not have your impurity cleansed.
You will not be cleansed now
until I wreak my fury on you.e
14I, the LORD, have spoken;
it will happen!
I will do it and not hold back!
I will not have pity or relent.
By your conduct and deeds you shall be judged—
oracle of the Lord GOD.
Ezekiel as a Sign for the Exiles. 15The word of the LORD came to me: 16Son of man, with a sudden blow I am taking away from you the delight of your eyes, but do not mourn or weep or shed any tears.f 17Groan, moan for the dead, but make no public lament; bind on your turban, put your sandals on your feet, but do not cover your beard or eat the bread of mourners.* 18I spoke to the people in the morning. In the evening my wife died. The next morning I did as I had been commanded.g 19Then the people asked me, “Will you not tell us what all these things you are doing mean for us?” 20I said to them, The word of the LORD came to me: 21Say to the house of Israel: Thus says the Lord GOD: I will now desecrate my sanctuary, the pride of your strength, the delight of your eyes, the concern of your soul. The sons and daughters you left behind shall fall by the sword.h 22* Then you shall do as I have done, not covering your beards nor eating the bread of mourning. 23i Your turbans shall remain on your heads, your sandals on your feet. You shall not mourn or weep, but you shall waste away because of your sins and groan to one another. 24Ezekiel shall be a sign for you: everything he did, you shall do. When it happens, you shall know that I am the Lord GOD.
End of Ezekiel’s Muteness. 25j As for you, son of man, truly, on the very day I take away from them their strength, their glorious joy, the delight of their eyes, the desire of their soul, the pride of their hearts, their sons and daughters, 26on that day a survivor will come to you so that you may hear it with your own ears.k 27On that day, with the survivor, your mouth shall be opened; you shall speak and be mute* no longer. You shall be a sign to them, and they shall know that I am the LORD.
* [24:1–14] As the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem begins (588 B.C.), Ezekiel uses allegory to depict Jerusalem and its over-confident inhabitants as a pot of meat set on the fire for boiling (vv. 3–5; cf. 11:3) and left there until only burnt bones remain (v. 10). In vv. 6–8, the innocent blood shed by Jerusalem’s inhabitants is the rust that, despite efforts to remove it, coats the interior of the pot filled with meat. Once emptied (v. 8), the rust-encrusted pot is set on hot coals (v. 11), but the rust remains (v. 12). Only the brunt of the Lord’s fury can cleanse Jerusalem of its guilt (vv. 13–14).
* [24:1] The tenth day…the ninth year: January 15, 588 B.C. The same wording appears in 2 Kgs 25:1 (Jer 52:4).
* [24:7] Blood…to be covered with dirt: since blood was sacred to God, it had to be covered with earth (Gn 37:26; Lv 17:13); the blood of innocent victims left uncovered cried out for vengeance; cf. Gn 4:10; Jb 16:18; Is 26:21.
* [24:12] A cryptic line in Hebrew.
* [24:17] The bread of mourners: a post-burial meal that mourners shared to comfort one another; cf. 2 Sm 3:35; Jer 16:7. The other gestures mentioned here were also popular mourning customs. Because Ezekiel does not observe any of the mourning customs mentioned, the people are puzzled and ask him to explain.
* [24:22–24] The fall of the city will be so sudden and final that the exiles will have no time to go into mourning.
* [24:27] Mute: unable to preach anything but the Lord’s judgment against Judah and Jerusalem; cf. 3:27 and note on 33:21–22.
e. [24:13] Is 22:14; Jer 6:28–30.