Ezekiel 24

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Read Ezekiel 24

Jerusalem as a Cooking Pot

24 In the ninth year, in the tenth month on the tenth day, the word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, record this date, this very date, because the king of Babylon has laid siege to Jerusalem this very day. Tell this rebellious people a parable and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says:

“‘Put on the cooking pot; put it on
    and pour water into it.
Put into it the pieces of meat,
    all the choice pieces—the leg and the shoulder.
Fill it with the best of these bones;
    take the pick of the flock.
Pile wood beneath it for the bones;
    bring it to a boil
    and cook the bones in it.

“‘For this is what the Sovereign Lord says:

“‘Woe to the city of bloodshed,
    to the pot now encrusted,
    whose deposit will not go away!
Take the meat out piece by piece
    in whatever order it comes.

“‘For the blood she shed is in her midst:
    She poured it on the bare rock;
she did not pour it on the ground,
    where the dust would cover it.
To stir up wrath and take revenge
    I put her blood on the bare rock,
    so that it would not be covered.

“‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says:

“‘Woe to the city of bloodshed!
    I, too, will pile the wood high.
10 So heap on the wood
    and kindle the fire.
Cook the meat well,
    mixing in the spices;
    and let the bones be charred.
11 Then set the empty pot on the coals
    till it becomes hot and its copper glows,
so that its impurities may be melted
    and its deposit burned away.
12 It has frustrated all efforts;
    its heavy deposit has not been removed,
    not even by fire.

13 “‘Now your impurity is lewdness. Because I tried to cleanse you but you would not be cleansed from your impurity, you will not be clean again until my wrath against you has subsided.

14 “‘I the Lord have spoken. The time has come for me to act. I will not hold back; I will not have pity, nor will I relent. You will be judged according to your conduct and your actions, declares the Sovereign Lord.’”

Ezekiel’s Wife Dies

15 The word of the Lord came to me: 16 “Son of man, with one blow I am about to take away from you the delight of your eyes. Yet do not lament or weep or shed any tears. 17 Groan quietly; do not mourn for the dead. Keep your turban fastened and your sandals on your feet; do not cover your mustache and beard or eat the customary food of mourners.”

18 So I spoke to the people in the morning, and in the evening my wife died. The next morning I did as I had been commanded.

19 Then the people asked me, “Won’t you tell us what these things have to do with us? Why are you acting like this?”

20 So I said to them, “The word of the Lord came to me: 21 Say to the people of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am about to desecrate my sanctuary—the stronghold in which you take pride, the delight of your eyes,the object of your affection. The sons and daughters you left behind will fall by the sword. 22 And you will do as I have done. You will not cover your mustache and beard or eat the customary food of mourners. 23 You will keep your turbans on your heads and your sandals on your feet. You will not mourn or weep but will waste away because of your sins and groan among yourselves. 24 Ezekiel will be a sign to you; you will do just as he has done. When this happens, you will know that I am the Sovereign Lord.’

25 “And you, son of man, on the day I take away their stronghold, their joy and glory, the delight of their eyes, their heart’s desire, and their sons and daughters as well— 26 on that day a fugitive will come to tell you the news.27 At that time your mouth will be opened; you will speak with him and will no longer be silent. So you will be a sign to them, and they will know that I am the Lord.”

Go Deeper

This chapter includes the final prophecy of doom against Jerusalem. Nebuchadnezzar’s armies have surrounded Jerusalem and complete defeat is imminent. Ezekiel had warned of this doom for over four years, and in this chapter, he uses a parable of a cooking pot as the final warning. Jerusalem was accustomed to being in a “pot” of protection, but Ezekiel is explaining to the people that God’s judgment would turn this pot into their destruction.  To understand context, in the process of cooking meat impurities rise to the surface and are scraped off and dumped out. If they are not removed, it ruins the meal and it must be thrown away. Jerusalem’s sins could no longer be hidden and therefore the contents of the pot had to be dumped.  

In verses 9-14 Ezekiel describes cooking the meat until the bones are charred and setting the “empty pot” on the coals until all the “impurities may be melted and its deposit burned away.” He is letting the people know that total destruction of the pot was necessary to make it clean again. The very pot itself would be melted after all its people were killed.  In other words, God had tried and tried and tried to cleanse His people and this place, but He had enough and it was time for Him “to act.” (v. 13-14). He had no more pity, would not hold back, and would not relent. Judgment had finally come.  This date of destruction was so marked and important that it later became a day of fasting and commemoration of the fall of this holy city. (Zechariah 8:19).

The second half of this chapter includes a personal loss for Ezekiel with an incredibly difficult command from God. God was taking Ezekiel’s wife, the “desire of his eyes,” and Ezekiel was not allowed to publicly show grief or mourning. Commentaries explain that this is the only time in scripture that God commanded such a non-reaction. So why would God ask this of Ezekiel? We see the answer in verses 20-24. Ezekiel’s obedience to God’s difficult command gave him the authority with which to answer the people’s question of how they should respond to the destruction of Jerusalem. They were to respond as he did to tragedy, as Ezekiel understood that the shock of what was happening would likely prevent normal mourning and expressions of grief. 

As one commentator described, “They would experience a grief which is beyond tears, a despondency which could not be expressed with outward acts…only a quiet moan.” Verse 24 reiterates that the purpose of God’s plans is always to reveal Himself and His sovereignty. While Ezekiel’s tragedy was undeserved, the people of Jerusalem should not have been surprised by the destruction surrounding them. Yet Ezekiel was obedient and willing to provide them with an example. 

How often do we take the Lord’s protection for granted? How often do we forget He is Holy, sovereign, and to be feared? Let today’s reading remind us to heed any warnings the Lord may be giving us to take Him at His word and obey with expediency.


  1. If God’s plan is always to reveal Himself, how do you see God in His plans for you?
  2. Is there any warning God has been giving you that you need to heed?
  3. Spend time in prayer or reflection in such a way that you are reminded of the loving character of God that is to be feared.

A Quote

“To do great things for the Lord requires great sacrifice. In order to faithfully serve God, it cost Ezekiel his wife.  In order to redeem mankind from its sin, God sacrificed His own Son.” – Drew Boswell

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2 thoughts on “Ezekiel 24”

  1. Reading this chapter reminded me of the verse in scripture found in Hosea 8:7, “For they have sown the wind and reaped the whirlwind.” By their actions the people have bought into worthless, evil and foolish practices, now they will reap a storm of consequences from God’s judgement. There will be no safe or secure place where they may escape God’s wrath as it will be relentless. The real tragedy is that it did not have to end this way. In Matthew 23:37 we read Christ’s words as he enters the very place where he will give his life for the sins of the world as he laments, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” Are we willing to be gathered under his protection or do we blindly walk in disobedience?

  2. What is God saying to you today? Are you willing to repent and turn away from the evil the tries to get us? (Hebrews 12:1-3 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and cis seated at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.) Daily we are faced with trials and tribulations of this world. BUT GOD has provided us a way, but it is up to us to follow His plan/way. I keep thinking, seeing, hearing repentance so evidently I have some unresolved ways that need some repentance. I desire above all to glorify God so I perhaps may be going back to Regen to see about working through some more repentance.

    God You are amazing in how You turn and steer me. God open my eyes to what it is You need me to understand in my life and my family’s so that You are glorified. Help me, show me, lead me to make You Lord over all in my life, to make You shown in all I do, to give You glory in all I am in Jesus name amen.

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