The Book of Ezekiel

I. Title

       The title of the book is the same in Hebrew as it is in English or Greek translations. The name Ezekiel means "God is strong" or "God strengthens".

II. Author and Setting

A. Author

       The book of Ezekiel is a long series of oracles received by the priest Ezekiel, son of Buzi, who began to prophesy in Babylonia in the fifth year of Jehoiachin's exile, c. 593 BC. He was therefore born around 622 BC, and had been taken captive to Babylon with Jehoiachin in 597 BC (cf. 2 Kings 24).
       He was married, but his wife died the day the siege against Jerusalem began, about 588 BC.

B. Setting

       The entire book is dated according to the reign of Jehoiachin, and covers the years from about 593 through 570 BC. The first deportation of captives to Babylon from Judah occurred about 605 BC, leaving Jehoiachin as king in Jerusalem. This is when Daniel was taken captive. The second deportation occurred about 597 BC, which is when Ezekiel found himself taken away. Jerusalem and the temple were pillaged, but not destroyed. Nebuchadnezzar took Jehoiachin away as captive, and left Zedekiah as king. In 586, Nebuchadnezzar sacked and destroyed both Jerusalem and the temple. For further background, read 2 Kings 23:36-25:30 and 2 Chronicles 36:5-21. Jeremiah and Daniel were both contemporaries of Ezekiel.

III. An Outline of Ezekiel

I. Doom 1-24

A. The Call and Commissioning 1:1-3:27
B. Symbolism 4:1-5:17
C. Doom against the mountains and people 6:1-7:27
D. Abominations 8:1-11:25
E. Exile 12:1-20
F. Denunciation of false prophets 12:21-14:11
G. Sinners cannot escape -- ironic Jerusalem 14:12-23
H. Parable of useless vinestock 15
I. Parable of the adulterous wife 16
J. Parable of the eagles and vine 17
K. Retort to an epigram impugning God's justice 18
L. Dirge over the monarchy 19
M. Compulsory new Exodus 20
N. Three oracles on the punishing sword 21
O. Three oracles on Jerusalem, the polluted 22
P. Parable of the adulterous sisters 23
Q. The parable of the filthy pot 24:1-14
R. The sign of the death of Ezekiel's wife 24:15-27

II. Consolation 25-48

A. Judgment on the Nations 25-32
B. Ezekiel a watchman 33
C. Renovation of the Leadership 34
D. Denunciation of Edom, hope for Israel 35:1-36:15
E. Renovation of Israel's heart 36:16-38
F. Dry bones renewed 37
G. Defeat of Gog 38-39
H. A Messianic priestly code 40-48

Questions on Ezekiel

1. When did Ezekiel prophesy?
2. Where was Ezekiel living while he prophesied?
3. For the first six years of his ministry, what was Ezekiel unable to do (3:24- 27)?
4. What odd things did Ezekiel have to do to illustrate certain of his prophesies (4-5, 12)?
5. What tragedy did Ezekiel suffer so as to illustrate a prophesy (24)?
6. Which two chapters of Ezekiel have been described as "obscene" and "pornographic"?
7. Who is being addressed in Ezekiel 28? What are the possibilities and which is your position?
8. Who are Gog and Magog in chapters thirty-eight and thirty-nine? Where else in scripture are these names mentioned and when is the battle here described going to take place?
9. What is described in chapters forty through forty-eight?
10. When does the temple Ezekiel describes exist? What theological problems does it raise?