Ezekiel 5:1
Parallel Verses
New International Version
"Now, son of man, take a sharp sword and use it as a barber's razor to shave your head and your beard. Then take a set of scales and divide up the hair.

King James Bible
And thou, son of man, take thee a sharp knife, take thee a barber's rasor, and cause it to pass upon thine head and upon thy beard: then take thee balances to weigh, and divide the hair.

Darby Bible Translation
And thou, son of man, take thee a sharp knife; a barber's razor shalt thou take; and cause it to pass upon thy head and upon thy beard: and thou shalt take balances to weigh, and divide the [hair].

World English Bible
You, son of man, take a sharp sword; You shall take it as a barber's razor to you, and shall cause it to pass on your head and on your beard: then take balances to weigh, and divide the hair.

Young's Literal Translation
And thou, son of man, take to thee a sharp weapon, the barber's razor thou dost take to thee, and thou hast caused it to pass over thy head, and over thy beard, and thou hast taken to thee weighing scales, and apportioned them.

Ezekiel 5:1 Parallel
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

Take thee a sharp knife - Among the Israelites, and indeed among most ancient nations, there were very few edge-tools. The sword was the chief; and this was used as a knife, a razor, etc., according to its different length and sharpness. It is likely that only one kind of instrument is here intended; a knife or short sword, to be employed as a razor.

Here is a new emblem produced, in order to mark out the coming evils.

1. The prophet represents the Jewish nation.

2. His hair, the people.

3. The razor, the Chaldeans.

4. The cutting the beard and hair, the calamities, sorrows, and disgrace coming upon the people. Cutting off the hair was a sign of mourning; see on Jeremiah 45:5 (note); Jeremiah 48:37 (note); and also a sign of great disgrace; see 2 Samuel 10:4.

5. He is ordered to divide the hair, 2 Samuel 10:2, into three equal parts, to intimate the different degrees and kinds of punishment which should fall upon the people.

6. The balances, 2 Samuel 10:1, were to represent the Divine justice, and the exactness with which God's judgments should be distributed among the offenders.

7. This hair, divided into three parts, is to be disposed of thus:

1. A third part is to be burnt in the midst of the city, to show that so many should perish by famine and pestilence during the siege.

2. Another third part he was to cut in small portions about the city, (that figure which he had pourtrayed upon the brick), to signify those who should perish in different sorties, and in defending the walls.

3. And the remaining third part he was to scatter in the wind, to point out those who should be driven into captivity. And,

4. The sword following them was intended to show that their lives should be at the will of their captors, and that many of them should perish by the sword in their dispersions.

5. The few hairs which he was to take in his skirts, 2 Samuel 10:3, was intended to represent those few Jews that should be left in the land under Gedaliah, after the taking of the city.


Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

son. In this expressive emblem, the prophet represents the Jewish nation; his hair, the people; the razor, the Chaldeans; the cutting of the hair, the calamities and disgrace coming upon them; the balances, the exact distribution of the Divine judgments; the third part of the hair burnt, those destroyed in the city; the third part smitten with a knife, those slain in trying to escape; the third part scattered to the winds, those who escaped to other countries; the few hairs in his skirt, those left with Gedaliah; and the burning of these, their destruction in Egypt.


Ezekiel 44:20 Neither shall they shave their heads, nor suffer their locks to grow long; they shall only poll their heads.

Leviticus 21:5 They shall not make baldness on their head, neither shall they shave off the corner of their beard...

Isaiah 7:20 In the same day shall the Lord shave with a razor that is hired, namely, by them beyond the river, by the king of Assyria, the head...


Daniel 5:27 TEKEL; You are weighed in the balances, and are found wanting.

To a modern taste, Ezekiel does not appeal anything like so powerfully as Isaiah or Jeremiah. He has neither the majesty of the one nor the tenderness and passion of the other. There is much in him that is fantastic, and much that is ritualistic. His imaginations border sometimes on the grotesque and sometimes on the mechanical. Yet he is a historical figure of the first importance; it was very largely from him that Judaism received the ecclesiastical impulse by which for centuries it was powerfully
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

Cross References
Leviticus 21:5
"'Priests must not shave their heads or shave off the edges of their beards or cut their bodies.

Isaiah 7:20
In that day the Lord will use a razor hired from beyond the Euphrates River--the king of Assyria--to shave your heads and private parts, and to cut off your beards also.

Ezekiel 44:20
"'They must not shave their heads or let their hair grow long, but they are to keep the hair of their heads trimmed.

Daniel 5:27
Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.

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