Teach Us to Number Our Days

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Ezekiel's Siege of Jerusalem Prophecy



Ezekiel 4:1-6 which reads as follows:

1 Thou also, son of man, take thee a tile, and lay it before thee, and portray upon it the city, even Jerusalem:

2 And lay siege against it, and build a fort against it, and cast a mount against it; set the camp also against it, and set battering rams against it round about.

3 Moreover take thou unto thee an iron pan, and set it for a wall of iron between thee and the city: and set thy face against it, and it shall be besieged, and thou shalt lay siege against it. This shall be a sign to the house of Israel.

4 Lie thou also upon thy left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it: according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon it thou shalt bear their iniquity.

5 For I have laid upon thee the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days: so shalt thou bear the iniquity of the house of Israel.

6 And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year.    


In this passage there are two focuses:

   1. The timing of punishment for the iniquity or sins of Israel and

   2. The timing of punishment for the iniquity or sins of  Judah

The punishment would involve an awesome siege against Jerusalem. However, the time

component was in terms of years which should be taken as literal Solar-Luni-

Agricultural years. God would bear the sins of the 10 tribes of Israel 390 years before

unleashing the punishment against them.  God would only bear Judah’s sin 40 years.


In his Annals of the World, Ussher documents that on the very year that Solomon died,

the kingdom of Israel rejected the One King Provision which was in place and called

Jeroboam son of Nebat to be their king. And that from this same year the prophecy of

Ezekiel 4 begins its count down which ends 390 years (inclusive) later with the siege and

total destruction of Jerusalem.[1]  Various Bible commentators have identified the 390

year link between the division of Israel and Judah and the destruction of Jerusalem.[2]

However, much mystery and disagreement has remained concerning the 40 year fulfillment

concerning Judah’s sin. Some attach it to the end of the destruction of Jerusalem in 586

BC. This places the terminus ad quem in the middle of the exile with no apparent event

marker for the ruined city of Jerusalem that can bring closure. One strong possibility

opens up when the Daniel 9 prophecy is interpreted literally, and it leads to the 30 AD

identification of Christ death. If rejection of the One King Provision is what triggered

the 390 countdown against the ten tribes of Israel, there is a strong possibility that in

30 AD the rejection of the One King Provision - Jesus the Messiah caused a similar

countdown against Judah for it is known that exactly 40 years later in 70 AD, Titus of

Rome began his siege against Jerusalem. When the testimony of the historian Josephus is

considered (relating the siege events) something astonishing is discovered:


“. . . in the interval between the fourteenth day of the month Xanthicus, [Nisan,] when

the Romans pitched their camp by the city, and the first day of the month Panemus,

[Tamuz,] . . .”[3]


The siege by Titus began on Nisan 14, 70 AD – 40 years exactly to the day from Nisan

14, 30 AD, which was the very day our Lord died upon a cross having been rejected by

his own people. But were they rejecting a king? Pontius Pilate himself pressed home this

point on two occasions. The first instance was at the trial:


John 19:14-15

14 And it was the preparation of the Passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!

15 But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.          

The second instance was the inscription which Pilate himself had placed on the cross in

three languages:

John 19:19-22

19 And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.

20 This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin.

21 Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews.

22 Pilate answered, What I have written I have written.     


There was a very strange irony that was played out upon the very words of rejection that

the Jews screamed out that day in 30 AD. They said, “We have no king but Caesar.”

Forty years later to the day, Prince Titus the son of Vespasian (who was the head of the

Roman Empire) laid siege to Jerusalem.  Later, upon the death of his father, Titus

became the head of the Roman Empire.



[1] Ussher, Annals of the World, op. cit., 67-68.

[2] Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, op. cit., 172; Pfeiffer, Charles F., ed. The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1981), 713-714; Dr. Henry Morris , The Defenders Study Bible, (Grand Rapids, MI: World of Publishing Inc., 1995), Ezk 4:4-7 notes; and The Net Bible, 1st Beta Edition, (Dallas, TX: Biblical Studies Press, 2001), footnote 13, 1537.

[3] Flavius Josephus, Josephus Complete Works, trans. by William Whiston, (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1960), Wars of the Jews, V. 13, 7.