Study Guide

Book of Ezekiel Ezekiel Bread (And Other Austerities)

Ezekiel Bread (And Other Austerities)

You can find "Ezekiel Bread" at your local supermarket. As part of Shmoop's exhaustive research for this Learning Guide, our editors sampled the product and pronounced it, well, not too disgusting. The recipe's part of a symbolic act that God commands Ezekiel to do:

And you, take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt; put them into one vessel, and make bread for yourself. During the number of days that you lie on your side, three hundred ninety days, you shall eat it. The food that you eat shall be twenty shekels a day by weight; at fixed times you shall eat it. And you shall drink water by measure, one-sixth of a hin; at fixed times you shall drink. You shall eat it as a barley-cake, baking it in their sight on human dung. (4:9-12)

God revokes the human dung part after Ezekiel protests (thanks, God),but the point of the act is that Ezekiel will, as an individual, go through some of the same pains and deprivations suffered by his people: They won't have enough of each kind of grain, so they'll need to mix different grains together to make bread.

By lying on his side, Ezekiel acts out the inactivity and paralysis into which his people are being forced by exile and destruction. The same goes for when he's forced to keep silent, only speaking when he gets God's permission. Helpless, is the point here.

Editor's note: We prepared the Ezekiel Bread in the toaster, minus the dung, and ate it standing up just for one day. We also forgot and drank two-sixths of a hin. We hope that still counts.

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