Ezekiel 4:9 Bread? Probably Not What you Think it Is

Obey without questioning and you’ll end up roasting bread over human feces.

Valentine Wiggin

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The commercial success of Ezekiel 4:9 bread continues to baffle me to this day. Source: Jude Infantini on Unsplash

If you’ve ever seen Ezekiel 4:9 bread in your grocery store, chances are you’ve wondered how Biblically accurate it really is. Known for its nutritional qualities, this bread is eaten by Biblical food enthusiasts and health-conscious individuals alike. It contains the ingredients specified in the Bible, but it is more like a contemporary loaf of bread than a Biblical barley cake. The bread on store shelves is also not cooked over human or bovine feces, a process that most modern consumers would object to.

When God laid out a plan for this bread to be cooked over human feces in verse 12, Ezekiel protested saying that it was unclean. They ended up compromising on cow dung to cook this bread, a food that Ezekiel ate as a punishment for the people’s rebellion against God. He had to lay on his left side tied down and was limited to twenty shekels (about 220–230 grams) of the poop-roasted loaf a day and one-sixth of a hin (about 500–700 mL) of water each day. To make matters worse, Ezekiel was bound to the ground so that he would be unable to change sides for the 390 days he had to limit his food and water intake.

Ezekiel’s punishment clearly signaled the destruction of Jerusalem, yet he compromised with God on the cooking method with which this bread was prepared. The act of compromising with God appears elsewhere in the Bible as well. In another more famous example in Genesis 18:22–33 in which Abraham essentially haggles with God to spare Sodom. These acts of negotiating with God usually give readers pause — and for good reason. Since God isn’t exactly a compromiser, why compromise here and on this specific subject matter?

One may argue that these compromises aren’t true compromises, but others may surmise that God uses this opportunity to challenge His people on an ethical level by testing them. In Ezekiel’s case, he was challenged to point out the moral inconsistency in God telling him to eat an unclean food item. When Ezekiel pointed out the moral inconsistency of eating bread cooked over human feces, he essentially said that all authorities, even God, need to be questioned at times. This flies in the face of conventional ideas that God…

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Valentine Wiggin

Death-positive, sex-positive, and LGBTQ-affirming Christian. Gen Z. I hate onions. She/her