Ezekiel was among the Jews exiled to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar in 597 B.C.. During this time he was called to become a prophet. God directed him to involve himself personally by acting out the Lord’s thoughts and feelings through prophetic symbolism.
In this particular passage Ezekiel is called to representatively bear Israel’s sins. God told Ezekiel to lie on his left side for 390 days for Israel’s sins, which most likely represents the time of Solomon’s unfaithfulness up until the fall of Jerusalem (390 years). God put ropes on him so he couldn’t turn from one side to the other. After the 390 days, God told him to turn over and lie on his right side for 40 days for Judah’s sins, possibly representing King Manasseh’s evil 40 year reign. Nowhere in this passage is there a bird’s nest, but I added it to say, “man, that’s a long time!”