Is "Ezekiel Bread" the kind of bread we should be eating? For several years I have seen it in the bread section of our local supermarket. What's your view?
I too have noticed this! The ingredients in the bread Ezekiel was to subsist on for 430 days, illustrating the hardship of siege conditions, are: wheat, barley, beans, lentils, millet, and spelt (Ezek 4:9). Many producers claim this is God's recipe for health. One website I visited reads: "Bread. And Better!™ Ezekiel 4:9 products are crafted in the likeness of the Holy Scripture verse Ezekiel 4:9 to ensure unrivaled honest nutrition and pure, delicious flavors." Yet is this really true?
In ancient Israel, the well-off ate wheat bread. Barley was a number two choice. The other items in the list of six ingredients better demonstrate the diet of the poor. In telling the prophet to make his bread from all these random ingredients, God was not supplying the prophet with a health-food recipe. Rather, his bread would have to made from anything to hand. As we know from many OT passages, available foods during siege conditions were limited (4:17)—seldom constituting an ideal diet. There wouldn't be enough wheat and barley—hence these would need to be supplemented with "filler" ingredients. In fact, at 8 oz. (0.2 kg) of bread a day and 2/3 quart (0.6 l) of water a day, this wasn't far short of a starvation diet.
Our passage demonstrates nearly the opposite of the popular claim. That is (as Ezekiel is dramatizing), soon will come a time when we will just have make do. Ezekiel would no more have preferred such bread than he preferred to cook his meal over human dung (Ezek 4:12-15). (Of course there's a difference: eating a multigrain bread cake did not bring a risk of ritual defilement.)
I'm not saying "Ezekiel bread" doesn't taste good. But it's consumers and promoters might want to take a closer look at the context of the passage!