In our study of Ezekiel chapter five, we will see how God used a haircut and a shave to bring a warning to His people. In chapter four, we saw God declare judgment on Jerusalem with some unusual actions by the prophet. Here, God will use him to declare judgment on the people.
"'Now, son of man, take a sharp sword and use it as a barber's razor to shave your head and your beard. Then take a set of scales and divide up the hair.'" NIV translation
These instructions from God would have been very unusual for three reasons. First, if you were going to shave, you would not normally use a sword as a sword was used in battle. The second reason is that it would have been unusual for a priest to shave his head as this was a sign of shame.
The third reason is that, after he was done, he was to use a scale to divide the hair. This would have caused quite a stir as the people came to see what this "crazy" man was doing. We can be encouraged in our walk with the Lord through understanding that sometimes God can have you doing things that others don't understand. They may even call you crazy or a "Jesus Freak" but this is nothing new as it happened to the prophet here.
"'When the days of your siege come to an end, burn a third of the hair with fire inside the city. Take a third and strike it with the sword all around the city. And scatter a third to the wind. For I will pursue them with drawn sword. But take a few strands and tuck them away in the folds of your garment. Again, take a few of these and throw them into the fire and burn them up. A fire will spread from there to the whole house of Israel.'" NIV translation
We must keep in mind that Ezekiel was not to say a word during this time and these actions would have caused quite a stir. Here, we see four groups of people symbolized by the hair that was taken from his head. The first group were the people that were going to perish during the fall of Jerusalem. The second group was the people outside the city and the third was those throughout the land of Israel. These three groups were to let the people know that the judgment on the people was complete. The final group was a remnant that would be saved as God has always preserved a remnant of His people. A part of this remnant was then burnt up telling of the fact that some in this remnant would turn away from God.