Ezekiel's Bread

Eze. 4:9-17

Eze 4:9-17 Take thou also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentiles, and millet, and fitches, and put them in one vessel, and make thee bread thereof, according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon thy side, three hundred and ninety days shalt thou eat thereof. [10] And thy meat which thou shalt eat shall be by weight, twenty shekels a day: from time to time shalt thou eat it. [11] Thou shalt drink also water by measure, the sixth part of an hin: from time to time shalt thou drink. [12] And thou shalt eat it as barley cakes, and thou shalt bake it with dung that cometh out of man, in their sight. [13] And the LORD said, Even thus shall the children of Israel eat their defiled bread among the Gentiles, whither I will drive them. [14] Then said I, Ah Lord GOD! behold, my soul hath not been polluted: for from my youth up even till now have I not eaten of that which dieth of itself, or is torn in pieces; neither came there abominable flesh into my mouth. [15] Then he said unto me, Lo, I have given thee cow's dung for man's dung, and thou shalt prepare thy bread therewith. [16] Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, behold, I will break the staff of bread in Jerusalem: and they shall eat bread by weight, and with care; and they shall drink water by measure, and with astonishment: [17] That they may want bread and water, and be astonied one with another, and consume away for their iniquity.

Verse 9

Take thou also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentiles, and millet, and fitches, and put them in one vessel, and make thee bread thereof, according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon thy side, three hundred and ninety days shalt thou eat thereof.

Initial thoughts

This bread is eaten by Ezekiel ("son of man", vs. 1) who pictures primarily Pastor Russell. He eats it during his 390 day siege of Jerusalem.

In Eze. 4:9 we find the ingredients for this bread to be:

In the table below we show all the references in the Old Testament that make reference to any of the six ingredients in this bread.
Ingredient Strong's References
wheat H2406 Gen. 30:14; Exo. 9:32; Exo. 29:2; Exo. 34:22; Deu. 8:8; Deu. 32:14; Jdg. 6:11; Jdg. 15:1; Ruth 2:23; 1Sa. 6:13; 1Sa. 12:17; 2Sa. 4:6; 2Sa. 17:28; 1Ki. 5:11; 1Ch. 21:20; 1Ch. 21:23; 2Ch. 2:10; 2Ch. 2:15; 2Ch. 27:5; Job. 31:40; Psa. 81:16; Psa. 147:14; Song7:2; Isa. 28:25; Jer. 12:13; Jer. 41:8; Eze. 4:9; Eze. 27:17; Eze. 45:13; Joel. 1:11
barley H8184 Exo. 9:31; Lev. 27:16; Num. 5:15; Deu. 8:8; Jdg. 7:13; Rth. 1:22; Rth. 2:17; Rth. 2:23; Rth. 3:2; Rth. 3:15; Rth. 3:17; 2Sa. 14:30; 2Sa. 17:28; 2Sa. 21:9; 1Ki. 4:28; 2Ki. 4:42; 2Ki. 7:1; 2Ki. 7:16; 2Ki. 7:18; 1Ch. 11:13; 2Ch. 2:10; 2Ch. 2:15; 2Ch. 27:5; Job. 31:40; Isa. 28:25; Jer. 41:8; Eze. 4:9; Eze. 4:12; Eze. 13:19; Eze. 45:13; Hos. 3:2; Joel. 1:11
Beans H6321 2Sa. 17:28; Eze. 4:9
Lentiles H5742 Gen. 25:34; 2Sa. 17:28; 2Sa. 23:11; Eze. 4:9
Millet H1764 Eze. 4:9
Fitches (rie) H3698 Exo. 9:32; Isa. 28:25; Eze. 4:9
New Testament references for the ingredients. It turns out that of the six ingredients only wheat and barley are used in the New Testament.

The first thing we notice is that these various grains are turned into bread. This reminds us of the fact that the True Church is described as being "one bread." (1 Cor. 10:17)


http://www.joybysurprise.com/Harvest_Times_In_Israel.html

What are the harvest times in Israel?
Answer

The agricultural year in Israel begins in the autumn (after the harvest festival of Tabernacles) with ploughing and sowing. Harvests in Israel begin in spring in the month of Adar (February/March). The following harvest times in ancient Israel are obtained from the Readers Digest book entitled Jesus and His Times, pages 100-101.

Months Weather Crops & activity
Tishri 7th month(Sep/Oct) First rains Ploughing begins
Heshvan 8th month(Oct/Nov)   Ploughing / grain planting
Kislev 9th month(Nov/Dec)   Grain planting continues
Teveth 10th month(Dec/Jan) Main rains  
Sebat 11th month (Jan/Feb)    
Adar 12th month (Feb/Mar) Spring rains Almond in bloom / flax harvest
Aviv 1st month (Mar/Apr) Passover Barley harvest begins
2nd month (Apr/May) Pentecost Barley harvest completed
Wheat harvest begins
Dry season
3rd month (May/Jun)  
4th month (Jun/Jul)   Wheat harvest completed / first figs
Av 5th month (Jul/Aug) Summer heat Vintage (grape harvest) begins
Elul 6th month (Aug/Sep)   Date harvest / summer figs

From the above, one can see that the harvest season in ancient Israel began in Adar (Feb/March) and continued by stages into autumn. The barley harvest began in March-April: the first sheaf being cut and waived in the middle of Aviv, which could be any time between 21st March and the middle of April. It is the same in modern Israel.


Consider the following from: http://www.gci.org/law/festivals/harvest

"Where the climate is warmer, as in the Shephelah and the Jordan Valley, crops mature earlier than in regions where the climate is cool, as in the Judean hill-country and the Galilee".. In Galilee, for example, part of the grain harvest would be completed after Pentecost, especially in years in which Pentecost came as early as mid-May. Even though all the crop might not be harvested by Pentecost, Pentecost celebrated the entire grain harvest, including the small amount of grain to be harvested shortly after the festival.
Harvest_seasons_in_modern_Israel_.gif"

We find wheat and barley mentioned together in the following texts:

KJVwc RVIC
Deu 8:8 A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey; Deu 8:8 a land of wheat and barley, and vines and fig-trees and pomegranates; a land of olive-trees and honey;
Ruth 2:23 So she kept fast by the maidens of Boaz to glean unto the end of barley harvest and of wheat harvest; and dwelt with her mother in law. Ruth 2:23 So she kept fast by the maidens of Boaz, to glean unto the end of barley harvest and of wheat harvest; and she dwelt with her mother-in-law.
2Sam 17:28 Brought beds, and basins, and earthen vessels, and wheat, and barley, and flour, and parched corn, and beans, and lentiles, and parched pulse, 2Sam 17:28 brought beds, and basins, and earthen vessels, and wheat, and barley, and meal, and parched grain, and beans, and lentils, and parched pulse,
2Ch 2:10 And, behold, I will give to thy servants, the hewers that cut timber, twenty thousand measures of beaten wheat, and twenty thousand measures of barley, and twenty thousand baths of wine, and twenty thousand baths of oil. 2Ch 2:10 And, behold, I will give to thy servants, the hewers that cut timber, twenty thousand measures of beaten wheat, and twenty thousand measures of barley, and twenty thousand baths of wine, and twenty thousand baths of oil.
2Ch 2:15 Now therefore the wheat, and the barley, the oil, and the wine, which my lord hath spoken of, let him send unto his servants: 2Ch 2:15 Now therefore the wheat and the barley, the oil and the wine, which my lord hath spoken of, let him send unto his servants:
2Ch 27:5 He fought also with the king of the Ammonites, and prevailed against them. And the children of Ammon gave him the same year an hundred talents of silver, and ten thousand measures of wheat, and ten thousand of barley. So much did the children of Ammon pay unto him, both the second year, and the third. 2Ch 27:5 He fought also with the king of the children of Ammon, and prevailed against them. And the children of Ammon gave him the same year a hundred talents of silver, and ten thousand measures of wheat, and ten thousand of barley. So much did the children of Ammon render unto him, in the second year also, and in the third.
Job 31:40 Let thistles grow instead of wheat, and cockle instead of barley. The words of Job are ended. Job 31:40 Let thistles grow instead of wheat,
And cockle instead of barley.

The words of Job are ended.

Isa 28:25 When he hath made plain the face thereof, doth he not cast abroad the fitches, and scatter the cummin, and cast in the principal wheat and the appointed barley and the rie in their place? Isa 28:25 When he hath levelled the face thereof, doth he not cast abroad the fitches, and scatter the cummin, and put in the wheat in rows, and the barley in the appointed place, and the spelt in the borders thereof?
Jer 41:8 But ten men were found among them that said unto Ishmael, Slay us not: for we have treasures in the field, of wheat, and of barley, and of oil, and of honey. So he forbare, and slew them not among their brethren. Jer 41:8 But ten men were found among them that said unto Ishmael, Slay us not; for we have stores hidden in the field, of wheat, and of barley, and of oil, and of honey. So he forbare, and slew them not among their brethren.
Eze 4:9 Take thou also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentiles, and millet, and fitches, and put them in one vessel, and make thee bread thereof, according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon thy side, three hundred and ninety days shalt thou eat thereof. Eze 4:9 Take thou also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentils, and millet, and spelt, and put them in one vessel, and make thee bread thereof; according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon thy side, even three hundred ninety days, shalt thou eat thereof.
Eze 45:13 This is the oblation that ye shall offer; the sixth part of an ephah of an homer of wheat, and ye shall give the sixth part of an ephah of an homer of barley: Eze 45:13 This is the oblation that ye shall offer: the sixth part of an ephah from a homer of wheat; and ye shall give the sixth part of an ephah from a homer of barley;
Joel 1:11 Be ye ashamed, O ye husbandmen; howl, O ye vinedressers, for the wheat and for the barley; because the harvest of the field is perished. Joel 1:11 Be confounded, O ye husbandmen, wail, O ye vinedressers, for the wheat and for the barley; for the harvest of the field is perished.
Rev 6:6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine. Rev 6:6 And I heard as it were a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, A measure of wheat for a shilling, and three measures of barley for a shilling; and the oil and the wine hurt thou not.

This last text is perhaps the most helpful. It is under the Third Seal.

Rev. 6:6 "And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine."

Since a penny was the amount to be paid to the workers in the vineyard (including the eleventh hour workers,) we see that a penny represents a day's wage when working for the Lord. What is interesting about the Rev. 6:6 text is that it shows a ratio of one measure of wheat as being equal to three measures of barley. Since we know that wheat pictures the saints (B233) it seems reasonable that (in this case) barley represents the great company. Thus, during the period of time covered by the third seal, it would seem there were three times the number who wound up in the great company than those who wound up in the little flock. -- This is interesting because this fits well with Pastor Russell's estimate of the size of the Great Company given in R4303.

Possibly pertinent references

Lev. 27:16 "an homer of barley seed shall be valued at fifty shekels of silver"