12:1 The word of the LORD came to me:
12:2 “Son of man, you are living among a rebellious people. They have eyes to see but do not see and ears to hear but do not hear, for they are a rebellious people.
12:3 [a symbolic action that portrayed Jerusalem’s fall and the exile of more of its people to Babylon…] “Therefore, son of man, pack your belongings for exile and in the daytime, as they watch, set out and go from where you are to another place. Perhaps they will understand, though they are a rebellious house.
12:4 During the daytime, while they watch, bring out your belongings packed for exile. Then in the evening, while they are watching, go out like those who go into exile.
12:5 While they watch, dig through the wall and take your belongings out through it.
12:6 Put them on your shoulder as they are watching and carry them out at dusk. Cover your face so that you cannot see the land, for I have made you a sign to the house of Israel.”
12:7 So I did as I was commanded. During the day I brought out my things packed for exile. Then in the evening I dug through the wall with my hands. I took my belongings out at dusk, carrying them on my shoulders while they watched.
12:8 In the morning the word of the LORD came to me:
12:9 “Son of man, did not that rebellious house of Israel ask you, ‘What are you doing?’
12:10 “Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: This oracle concerns the prince [King Zedekiah of Judah] in Jerusalem and the whole house of Israel who are there.’
12:11 Say to them, ‘I am a sign to you.’ “As I have done, so it will be done to them [Ezekiel’s prophecy came true (2 Kings 25:1-7)]. They will go into exile as captives.
12:12 “The prince among them will put his things on his shoulder at dusk and leave, and a hole will be dug in the wall for him to go through. He will cover his face so that he cannot see the land.
12:13 I will spread my net for him, and he will be caught in my snare; I will bring him to Babylonia, the land of the Chaldeans, but he will not see it, and there he will die.
12:14 I will scatter to the winds all those around him—his staff and all his troops—and I will pursue them with drawn sword.
12:15 “They will know that I am the LORD, when I disperse them among the nations and scatter them through the countries.
12:16 But I will spare a few of them from the sword, famine and plague, so that in the nations where they go they may acknowledge all their detestable practices. Then they will know that I am the LORD.”
12:17 The word of the LORD [the source of the revelation] came [we are not told how it came] to me:
12:18 “Son of man [Ezekiel; Jesus used this expression to refer to Himself during His earthly ministry (cf. Matt. 26:64; Mk. 10:45)], [Ezekiel’s actions emphasized the sad state of people who wondered if each day might be their last…] tremble [this word used to designate an earthquake in Amos 1:1 and Zech. 14:5 and the rattling sound of bones coming together in Ezek. 37:7] as you eat your food, and shudder in fear as you drink your water [a long siege would result in a lack of food and water].
12:19 Say to the people of the land [expression designating common people]: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says about those living in Jerusalem and in the land of Israel: They will eat their food in anxiety and drink their water in despair [cf. Ezekiel’s prophetic drama in 12:18 re: those not yet in exile], for their land will be stripped of everything in it because of the violence [from Heb. word “hamas” (name denoting a terrorist group today); the people satisfied their were selfish desires through ruthless means] of all who live there.
12:20 The inhabited towns [throughout Judah] will be laid waste and the land will be desolate [God’s judgment would be thorough and awful]. Then [as a result of God’s judgment] you will know that I am the LORD.’”
12:21 The word of the LORD came to me [God gave Ezekiel a further message for the exiles]:
12:22 “Son of man, what is this proverb [proverbs contain time-tested advice for living] you [plural; refers to the people of the land] have in the land of Israel: ‘The days go by and every vision [prophetic visions (cf. Isa. 1:1; Obad. 1:1; Nah. 1:1)] comes to nothing [or fails; for 150 years prophets had prophesied doom but still no destruction had occurred, thus the people tended to ignore prophets of doom]’?
12:23 Say to them [God countered the people’s proverb], ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am going to put an end to this proverb [indicates the time of judgment was at hand], and they will no longer quote it in Israel.’ Say to them, ‘The days are near when every vision [earnings of coming judgment and exile] will be fulfilled [and thereby validate the ministry of Ezekiel and earlier prophets who sought to hold Israel (Judah) accountable].
12:24 For there will be no more false visions [such as messages concerning Jerusalem’s security and Babylonia’s imminent fall] or flattering [or smooth; messages telling the people that they did not need to change] divinations [divination involved consulting he stars and omens to discern future events] among the people of Israel.
12:25 But I the LORD will speak what I will, and it [the coming judgment] shall be fulfilled without delay [earlier delays had in fact provided an opportunity for people to repent and turn to God (cf. 2 Pet. 3:8-9)]. For in your days, you rebellious house, I will fulfill whatever I say, declares the Sovereign LORD.’”
12:26 The word of the LORD [Ezekiel was not presenting his own opinion] came to me [yet another message for Israel]:
12:27 “Son of man, the house of Israel [refers to the Southern Kingdom of Judah] is saying, ‘The vision [messages] he [Ezekiel] sees is for many years from now [instead of saying this vision would fail the people reworked their proverb to say it did not pertain to their generation], and he prophesies about the distant future [thus the people wrongly breathed a sigh of relief thinking these messages did not apply to them].’
12:28 “Therefore say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: None of my words will be delayed any longer; whatever I say will be fulfilled [in the form of the Babylonian army bringing death, disease, famine, and exile], declares the Sovereign LORD.’”