on Ezekiel 4 :4
Lie thou also upon thy left side - It appears that all that is mentioned here and in the following verses was done, not in idea, but in fact. The prophet lay down on his left side upon a couch to which he was chained, Ezekiel 4:6, for three hundred and ninety days; and afterwards he lay in the same manner, upon his right side, for forty days. And thus was signified the state of the Jews, and the punishment that was coming upon them.
1. The prophet himself represents the Jews.
2. His lying, their state of depression.
3. His being bound, their helplessness and captivity.
4. The days signify years, a day for a year; during which they were to bear their iniquity, or the temporal punishment due to their sins.
5. The three hundred and ninety days, during which he was to lie on his left side, and bear the iniquity of the house of Israel, point out two things: the first, The duration of the siege of Jerusalem. Secondly, The duration of the captivity off the ten tribes, and that of Judah.
6. The prophet lay three hundred and ninety days upon his left side, and forty days upon his right side, in all four hundred and thirty days. Now Jerusalem was besieged the ninth year of the reign of Zedekiah, 2 Kings 25:1, 2 Kings 25:2, and was not taken till the eleventh year of the same prince, 2 Kings 25:2.
But properly speaking, the siege did not continue the whole of that time; it was interrupted; for Nebuchadnezzar was obliged to raise it, and go and meet the Egyptians, who were coming to its succor. This consumed a considerable portion of time. After he had defeated the Egyptians, he returned and recommenced the siege, and did not leave it till the city was taken. We may, therefore, conclude that the four hundred and thirty days only comprise the time in which the city was actually besieged, when the city was encompassed with walls of circumvallation, so that the besieged were reduced to a state of the utmost distress. The siege commenced the tenth day of the tenth month of the ninth year of Zedekiah; and it was taken on the ninth day of the fourth month of the eleventh year of the same king. Thus the siege had lasted, in the whole, eighteen months, or five hundred and ten days. Subtract for the time that Nebuchadnezzar was obliged to interrupt the siege, in order to go against the Egyptians, four months and twenty days, or one hundred and forty days, and there will remain four hundred and thirty days, composed of 390+40 equals 430. See Calmet on this place. See also at the end of this chapter, Ezekiel 4:16 (note).
on Ezekiel 4 :4
The siege being thus represented, the condition and suffering of the inhabitants is exhibited by the condition of one, who, bound as a prisoner or oppressed by sickness, cannot turn from his right side to his left. The prophet was in such a state.
Bear their iniquity - The prophet was, in a figure, to bear their iniquities for a fixed period, in order to show that, after the period thus foretold, the burden of their sins should be taken off, and the people be forgiven. Compare Leviticus 16:21-22.
on Ezekiel 4 :4
4:4 Lay - Take upon thee the representation of their guilt and punishment. House of Israel - The ten tribes. The number - By this thou shalt intimate how long I have borne with their sins, and how long they shall bear their punishment.