So, what’s in the scroll?
Well, we don’t find out the content right away. Instead, God instructs Ezekiel to eat the scroll, to physically ingest its contents. “And He said to me, ‘Feed your stomach and fill your bowels with this scroll, which I give you,’ so I ate, and in my mouth it was as sweet as honey (Ezekiel 3:3).” This takes internalizing a message to a whole new level. We can conceptually say that words make an impression on us, and that we take in content, but I’d imagine that very few of us actually eat the words for real.
God warns Ezekiel that the people won’t listen to him, but says that he needs to go speak with them anyway. So he goes to the exiled people. “And I came to the exiled, to Tel Aviv, who dwelt by the river Chebar, and I dwelt where they were dwelling, and I sat there seven days bewildered among them (Ezekiel 3:15).” This seems to be the first mentioning of Tel Aviv in history, and even if it’s not the same city as my favorite modern Israeli hotspot, it’s amazing to see the origin of the name and the deep roots of even the most modern city.
After a week with the exiles, God speaks to Ezekiel again. He is essentially charged with taking responsibility for the people. He has to get the wicked to repent, and the righteous to keep to their paths. Ezekiel listens, but then something odd happens. A spirit enters his body and he is bound, and confined to his house. “And I shall cause your tongue to cling to your palate, and you shall become dumb, and you shall not be a reprover to them, for a house of rebellion are they (Ezekiel 3:26).”