Copyright 1997MWSU/Jeanie C. Crain All rights reserved.
NAME. Means "God strengthens." Ezekiel was a priest and descended from Zadok, a priest during David's time. In 597 B.C.E. deported to Babylon along with Jehoiachin and 10,000 Judeans, called to prophesy in 593 or 592; some dispute exists about whether he returned to Jerusalem in 593, remaining there until the temple was destroyed and then going back to Babylon.
THIS BOOK, like Daniel and Revelation, might be termed a mystery book. It contains much imagery difficult to interpret. Nevertheless, many of its teachings are clear and of the highest value.
SECTION I. The Preparation and Call of the Prophet, chaps. 1-3.
(a) Son of a priest, 1:3.
(b) Carried away captive to Babylon, 1:1; 2K.24:11-16.
(c) His vision of God, chap. 1.
(d) His call, 1:3.
(e) His commission and empowering, chaps. 2-3.
(f) Spiritual food, 3:1-3. See Re.10:10.
(g) His task, to be a spiritual watchman, 3:4-11,17-21.
(h) Ezekiel claims the highest degree of inspiration. The words "This is what the Sovereign Lord says" are used over and over again throughout the book.
KEY THOUGHT. "I am the Sovereign LORD ."
SECTION II. A Portrayal of the Apostate Condition of Judah before the Captivity.
(a) Largely visions, warnings, and predictions concerning the guilt of the people, and the coming destruction of Jerusalem, chaps. 4-24.
(b) Divine judgments upon the seven surrounding nations, chaps. 25-32.
SECTION III. Chiefly Predictions and Promises concerning the means by which the glory of the nation is to be restored, chaps. 33-48.
(a) By heeding the warnings of the spiritual watchmen and repenting of sin, chap. 33.
(b) By displacing the false shepherds, and the coming of the Good Shepherd, who will feed the flock, chap. 34.
(c) By a national revival and a spiritual resurrection in the valley of dry bones, chaps. 36-37.
(d) By the overthrow of the enemies of the nation, chaps. 38-39.
(e) By the building of a new sanctuary, chaps. 40-42.
(f) By the returning of the glory of the Lord, 43:4-5; 44:4.
(g) By the ministry of a loyal priesthood, 44:9-31.
(h) By life-giving waters issuing from the sanctuary, chap. 47. See Re.22:1-2.
OUTSTANDING EVENTS in the book.
(1) The departure of the glory of the Lord from the temple, 10:16-18; 11:23.
(2) The fall of Jerusalem, 33:21.
(3) The return of the shekinah glory prophesied, 44:4.
(1) The new heart, 11:19; 36:25-28.
(2) Personal responsibility, 18:20-32.
(3) Untempered mortar, 13:10-15.
(4) The search for a man of integrity, 22:30. See Je.5:1.
(5) Sentimental hearers, 33:30-32.
(6) Chapters for ministers, 13, 33-34.
(7) Revival, 37
HISTORY AND SIGNIFICANT KINGS
Read 2 Kings21-25, , 2 Chronicles 34-36, Jeremiah 33-35 and 52
Amon (642-640), A BAD KING.
Amon was twenty and two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned two years in Jerusalem. And his mothers name was Meshullemeth, the daughter of Haruz of Jotbah.
And the servants of Amon conspired against him, and slew the king in his own house.
But he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, as did Manasseh his father: for Amon sacrificed unto all the carved images which Manasseh his father had made, and serve them;
Josiah (639-609)A very good king, repairs the temple, brings about Deuteronomic reform, destroys pagan shrines, reinstitutes Passover, killed in battle at Megiddo by forces of Neco of Egypt.
And he cried against the altar in the word of the Lord, and said, O altar, altar, thus saith the Lord; Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, and men's bones shall be burnt upon thee.
And the people of the land slew all them that had conspired against king Amon; and the people of the land made Josiah his son king in his stead.
And it came to pass in the eighteenth year of king Josiah, that the king sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, the son of Meshullam, the scribe, to the house of the Lord, saying,
And Shaphan the scribe came to the king, and brought the king word again, and said, Thy servants have gathered the money that was found in the house, and have delivered it into the hand of them that do the work, that have the oversight of the house of the Lord.
In his days Pharaoh-nechoh king of Egypt went up against the king of Assyria to the river Euphrates: and king Josiah went against him; and he slew him at Megiddo, when he had seen him.
JOSIAH was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem one and thirty years.
MOREOVER Josiah kept a passover unto the Lord in Jerusalem: and they killed the passover on the fourteenth day of the first month.
And the archers shot at king Josiah; and the king said to his servants, Have me away; for I am sore wounded.
To whom the word of the Lord came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign.
Jehoahaz II (609) A bad king, rules 3 months, deposed by the king of Egypt.
And his servants carried him in a chariot dead from Megiddo, and brought him to Jerusalem, and buried him in his own sepulchre. And the people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah, and anointed him, and made him king in his fathers stead.
And Pharaoh-nechoh made Eliakim the son of Josiah king in the room of Josiah his father, and turned his name to Jehoiakim, and took Jehoahaz away: and he came to Egypt, and died there.
THEN the people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah, and made him king in his fathers stead in Jerusalem.
For thus saith the Lord touching Shallum the son of Josiah king of Judah, which reigned instead of Josiah his father, which went forth out of this place; He shall not return thither any more:
Jehoiachim (598-597) banished to Egypt by Neco in 609, placed on throne by king of Egypt when Jehoahaz is dethroned, a bad king, pays tribute to Egypt, but then becomes vassal of Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, rebels against Nebuchadnezzar and provokes a war which is designed to have disastrous consequences.
And Pharaoh-Necho made Eliakim the son of Josiah king in the room of Josiah his father, and turned his name to Jehoiakim, and took Jehoahaz away: and he came to Egypt, and died there.
IN his days Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up, and Jehoiakim became his servant three years: then he turned and rebelled against him.
Now the rest of the acts of Jehoiakim, and his abominations which he did, and that which was found in him, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah: and Jehoiachin his son reigned in his stead.
It came also in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, unto the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah the son of Josiah king of Judah, unto the carrying away of Jerusalem captive in the fifth month.
Therefore thus saith the Lord concerning Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah; They shall not lament for him, saying, Ah my brother or, Ah sister! they shall not lament for him, saying, Ah lord! or, Ah his glory!
THE word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that was the first year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon;
IN the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah came this word from the Lord, saying,
IN the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah came this word unto Jeremiah from the Lord, saying,
AND it came to pass in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that this word came unto Jeremiah from the Lord, saying,
Against Egypt, against the army of Pharaoh-Necho king of Egypt, which was by the river Euphrates in Carchemish, which Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon smote in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah.
And he did that which was evil in the eyes of the Lord, according to all that Jehoiakim had done.
Jehoiachin (598-597) A bad king, continues war with Babylon, Jerusalem falls, Jehoiachin and Hebrews carried as exiles into Babylon; Jehoiachin is later freed and given some privileges.
So Jehoiakim slept with his fathers: and Jehoiachin his son reigned in his stead.
Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. And his mothers name was Nehushta, the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem.
And he carried away Jehoiachin to Babylon, and the kings mother, and the kings wives, and his officers, and the mighty of the land, those carried he into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon.
And it came to pass in the seven and thirtieth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, that Evil-merodach king of Babylon in the year that he began to reign did lift up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah out of prison;
Jehoiachin was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem: and he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord.
Who had been carried away from Jerusalem with the captivity which had been carried away with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away.
As I live, saith the Lord, though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah were the signet upon my right hand, yet would I pluck thee thence;
THE Lord shewed me, and, behold, two baskets of figs were set before the temple of the Lord, after that Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon had carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, and the princes of Judah, with the carpenters and smiths, from Jerusalem, and had brought them to Babylon.
And I will bring again to this place Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, with all the captives of Judah, that went into Babylon, saith the Lord: for I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon.
(After that Jeconiah the king, and the queen, and the eunuchs, the princes of Judah and Jerusalem, and the carpenters, and the smiths, were departed from Jerusalem;)
And it came to pass in the seven and thirtieth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, in the five and twentieth day of the month, that Evil-merodach king of Babylon, in the first year of his reign, lifted up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah, and brought him forth out of prison,
Zedekiah (597-587) placed on throne when Jehoiachin is deposed, a bad king, rebels against Nebuchadnezzar, who again captures Jerusalem and burns it; Zedekiah's sons are killed, his eyes put out, and a governor is appointed to rule.
And the king of Babylon made Mattaniah his fathers brother king in his stead, and changed his name to Zedekiah.
And the city was besieged unto the eleventh year of king Zedekiah.
Zedekiah was one and twenty years old when he began to reign, and reigned eleven years in Jerusalem.
For Zedekiah king of Judah had shut him up, saying, Wherefore dost thou prophesy, and say, Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall take it;
AND king Zedekiah the son of Josiah reigned instead of Coniah the son of Jehoiakim, whom Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon made king in the land of Judah.
And it came to pass in the fifth year of king Rehoboam, that Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem:
And Jehoash king of Israel took Amaziah king of Judah, the son of Jehoash the son of Ahaziah, at Beth-shemesh, and came to Jerusalem, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem from the gate of Ephraim unto the corner gate, four hundred cubits.
Then Rezin king of Syria and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel, came up to Jerusalem to war: and they besieged Ahaz, but could not overcome him.
At that time the servants of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up against Jerusalem, and the city was besieged.
And Joash the king of Israel took Amaziah king of Judah, the son of Joash, the son of Jehoahaz, at Beth-shemesh, and brought him to Jerusalem, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem from the gate of Ephraim to the corner gate, four hundred cubits.
(A Psalm of Asaph.)
O God, the heathen are come into thine inheritance; thy holy temple have they defiled; they have laid Jerusalem on heaps.
HOW doth the city sit solitary, that was full of people how is she become as a widow! she that was great among the nations, and princess among the provinces, how is she become tributary!
God says of Manesseh's reign: "I will wipe Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down." 2 Kings 21.13
God says to Josiah (who read the book of the law, tore his clothes in repentance, "because your heart was penitent, and you humbled yourself before the Lord... I will gather you to your ancestors... and your grave in peace" 2 Kings 22. 19-20
Of Zedekiah's reign and rebellions, "The Lord , the God of their ancestors, sent persistently to them by his messengers, because he had compassion on his people and on his dwelling place." 2 Chronicles 36.15
Through Jeremiah, after he is put in stocks by Zedekian and Pashhur the priest, "I am setting before you the way of life and the way of death." Jer. 21.8
The Lord says concerning Jehoiakim, who has irresponsibly expanded his palace in Egypt, "I would tear you off and give you into the hands... of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and into the hands of the Chaldeans. I will hurl you and the mother who bore you into another country..." Jer. 22. 25
To Jeremiah (25. 12), "Then after seventy years are completed, I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans..."
To the Judeans in Egypt, "And those who escape the sword shall return from the land of Egypt to Judah, few in number, and all the remnant of Judah, who have come to the land of Egypt to settle, shall now whose words will stand, mine or theirs" (Jer. 44.28)
VISIONS OF GOD
As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.
IN the year that king Huzzah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.
Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off.
NOW it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chubbier, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.
And he put forth the form of an hand, and took me by a lock of mine head; and the spirit lifted me up between the earth and the heaven, and brought me in the visions of God to Jerusalem, to the door of the inner gate that looketh toward the north; where was the seat of the image of jealousy, which provoketh to jealousy.
Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.
Take thee a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee, from the days of Josiah, even unto this day.
The word of the Lord came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the Lord was there upon him.
Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the Lord of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the Lord of hosts.
Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.
And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers,
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
THE Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:
And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow.
These are dramas designed to impress people with the gravity of their situation, to shock them , three pertaining to Jerusalem and two to the exile.
Food Rationing (4. 9-11)
The prophet is told to mix an odd assortment of grains in a vessel, grind them, and make bread. Each day he is to limit himself to a small portion and water. These acts symbolize the rationing to which the inhabitants of the besieged city will be subjected.
Unclean Food (4. 12-15)
Next, Ezekiel is to bake his bread over human dung to demonstrate that the Jerusalemites will be reduced to eating unclean food.
The Dead Wife (24:15-27)
Ezekiel's wife dies, and he is asked not to weep or mourn. He is demonstrating how the people are to act when the Temple is profaned and their sons and daughters are felled; they will not weep or mourn but pine away for their iniquities.
The Bound Prisoner (4.4-8)
The binding of the prophet for 390 days is a symbol of the Northern Kingdom's exile and the 40 to dramatize Judah's captivity.
Shaving of Face and Head (5:1-17)
Symbolizes that a third of the people will die of pestilence and famine, a third will be killed by the sword, and a third will be exiled.
The Worthless Vine (15)
The nation is a wild and worthless vine, unfit for human use; hence, it will be devoured by fire.
The Faithless Wife (16, 23)
Adultery is used to show infidelity to God. Long ago, God began to care for Jerusalem when she was a helpless babe; He nurtured her and brought her up as a beautiful maiden; she played the harlot with Assyria, Egypt, and Babylonia, following in the footsteps of her sister Samaria (Northern Kingdom) and now will be punished.
The Eagles and the Cedar (17)
A great eagle (Nebuchadnezzar, breaks the top (Jehoiakchin) off a cedar tree (Judah) and carries it into a city of merchants (Babylon). He plants a seed of the cedar (Zedekiah) and causes it to flourish. A second eagle (Hophra, Pharaoh of Egypt) causes the vine to turn toward it. Zedekiah plotted with Egypt against Nebuchadnezzar. In a Messianic conclusion, Ezekiel prophesies that another twig will grow into a great blessing to other trees and birds (Gentile nations).
The Whelps of the Lioness (19. 1-9)
A lioness (Judah) will give birth to two offspring. The first (Jehoahaz) as a strong young lion devours; the nations set a snare for him, capture and surrender him to Egypt; the second (Jehoiachin) is no better, devours men, lays waste to cities, is caught in a pit and conveyed to Babylon in captivity.
The Fruitful Vine (19.10-14)
Judah is likened to a fruitful vine, and Zedekiah is described as a strong stem. The vine is plucked up, dried by the east wind (Babylonia), and consumed by fire.
The Cauldron and the Fire (24. 1014)
Depicts the siege of Jerusalem. The city is described as a rusty pot filled with pieces of flesh and bone and set upon a fire to boil. God's fury has been aroused and He has called down woe upon the bloody city. The fire will consume the rust of the pot until it is thoroughly cleaned.
The Messianic (13)
The pre-exile rulers have misled their flock instead of feeding and protecting them; now God will be the Good Shepherd and lead the people back to their own land, protect them, and eventually send a new leader, a descendent of David, who will rule as the agent of God.
God's Self-Vindication (36.22-32)
Equivalent of Grace: God will vindicate His holy name; He will punish the oppressors of Israel, not because He pities the Israelites but because He freely chooses to vindicate Himself.
Valley of Dry Bones (37. 1-14)
Ezekiel is set down in a valley of dry, bleached bones, prophesies to the bones, and they come to life and are clothed with flesh (not an immortality vision). The bones symbolize the two kingdoms of Israel and Judah, which are about to be revived.
The Two Sticks (37.15-28)
The two sticks symbolize how Israel (Joseph and the northern tribes) and Judah will be joined into one nation, to be ruled by a new David under a new covenant of peace.
Gog and Magog (38-39)
Refers to an invasion of Palestine from the north some time after the restoration of the nation. Gog is the leader and Magog the land. Gog is variously identified as king of Babylon, King Gyges of Lydia, Alexander the Great, or the Seleucid king Antiochus Eupator (162 BCE).
Vision of New Jerusalem (40-48)
--The hand of the Lord comes upon Ezekiel and transports him from Babylon to Zion; there a supernatural being, whose appearance is like brass and who holds in his hand a line of flax, serves as his guide.
--prophet has vision of the return of Yahweh.
--Because Levites have been idolatrous, the Zadokites alone are to be elevated to priesthood.
--the sacred river: "And it shall come to pass that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live." (47.9)