Ezekiel: The Bible’s Butt Monkey?

TV Tropes defines a “Butt Monkey” character as follows:

The character who is always the butt of the demeaning joke or the “put them through hell” plotline. For whatever reason, the Butt Monkey seems to walk through life with a permanent “Kick Me” sign attached to their backs, invisible to them, but all too visible to the rest of the world. Nothing ever goes right for this character, and if something bad is going to happen to someone, chances are it’s going to happen to them. Long story short, it sucks to be the Butt Monkey.

On to the discussion topic. When I was in grade school, I sometimes read through the Bible and was, for whatever reason, drawn to the Book of Ezekiel. In just the first few chapters, God apparently decides that the book’s namesake is going to go through the ringer because of what the Israelites did. Here’s Chapter 4, Verses 4-8:

Then lie on your left side, and place the punishment of the house of Israel upon it; you shall bear their punishment for the number of the days that you lie there. For I assign to you a number of days, three hundred ninety days, equal to the number of the years of their punishment; and so you shall bear the punishment of the house of Israel. When you have completed these, you shall lie down a second time, but on your right side, and bear the punishment of the house of Judah; forty days I assign you, one day for each year. You shall set your face toward the siege of Jerusalem, and with your arm bared you shall prophesy against it. See, I am putting cords on you so that you cannot turn from one side to the other until you have completed the days of your siege.”

It only goes downhill from there. Putting aside whether this is metaphorical or not, my questions are these.

Why would God make Ezekiel suffer so badly? What’s the point of him going through this?




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