Ezekiel Bread – Joke's on You (VFTTB)

So, this is the third installment in my series on videos for teaching the Bible.  This was kind of a result me putting two and two together in my head.  And, it turned out to be a really good way to kick off my class on Ezekiel.  I think I got a real laugh out of a good number of students, which usually helps to get things going on the right foot.  You can also use it as in illustration of the silliness that sometimes emerges in popular usage of the Bible.

So, I had been reading back through some passages on Ezekiel in prepping for my session on Ezekiel.  And, I read the symbolic act passage in chapter 4 about Ezekiel baking bread.  And, then it hit me …. “Ezekiel bread.”  I had seen this in the store before, but it never clicked.  There was a chapter and verse reference to Ezekiel on the package, so I had to look it up to see what the reference was.  Sure enough … 4:9:

And you, take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt; put them into one vessel, and make bread for yourself. During the number of days that you lie on your side, three hundred and ninety days, you shall eat it.

So, I went on YouTube to see if I could find a commercial or something and found this (but I also saw some recipes for Ezekiel bread, which might even lend to more comic effect):

I first ask how many of my students have heard of this product.  And, with the whole health thing being big right now, most of them had seen it at some time or another.  Then, I tell my students that if I ever see them or anyone else buy this in a store I will  laugh at them … audibly.  I proceed to tell them that this company has failed to include the context of Ezekiel 4:9 on the wrapper:

10 The food that you eat shall be twenty shekels a day by weight; at fixed times you shall eat it. 11And you shall drink water by measure, one-sixth of a hin; at fixed times you shall drink. 12You shall eat it as a barley-cake, baking it in their sight on human dung. 13The Lord said, ‘Thus shall the people of Israel eat their bread, unclean, among the nations to which I will drive them.’ 14Then I said, ‘Ah Lord God! I have never defiled myself; from my youth up until now I have never eaten what died of itself or was torn by animals, nor has carrion flesh come into my mouth.’ 15Then he said to me, ‘See, I will let you have cow’s dung instead of human dung, on which you may prepare your bread.’ (NRSV)

If they are indeed selling you “Ezekiel bread”, what guarantees do you have about the fuel they used for the fire over which it was baked? …

Anyway .. you can make this pretty funny in person.


  • I propose we start regulating the content of Ezekiel bread packages, requiring, among other things, full disclosure of the text of the relevant passage and a helpline that allows concerned customers to talk through the kosher-related and/or culturally-conditioned issues that might arise from eating dung. And, of course, free psychological help for all who are traumatized for Ezekiel bread.

    I suggest that for ease in discourse and for purposes of effective regulation that we make use of a vital distinction by adopting specialized terminology for dealing with the stuff. Here’s definitions for three suggested term:

    hardcore Ezekiel bread: Ezekiel bread made with human dung. We should do all we can to outlaw or marginalize the use of this bread.

    softcore Ezekiel bread: Ezekiel bread made with cow dung. This should be less loosely regulated, though still kept away from children.

    simulated Ezekiel bread: this is the so-called “Ezekiel bread” that is falsely so called, but in reality baked by more conventional methods. This stuff must have full disclosure statements, and a Supreme Court case or two regarding its legality.

    • Mitchell,
      I just assume that all Ezekiel bread is tainted and stay away.