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Bible Commentaries
Ezekiel

Layman's Bible CommentaryLayman's Bible Commentary

- Ezekiel

by Various Authors

VOLUME 13

THE BOOK OF EZEKIEL

Carl G. Howie

INTRODUCTION

The Book Itself

The Book of Ezekiel, emerging out of one of the most creative eras of human history — the great divide of pre-exilic and post-exilic faith — is basic to the understanding of God’s movements and meaning in history. At the same time it is one of the longest and most bewildering parts of the Old Testament. A major prophet, in length and in importance for our understanding of the revelation of God, Ezekiel combines the bizarre with the enigmatic, making interpretation very difficult. This prophet is, himself, no easy personality to fathom, being given to the most astonishingly eccentric activity.

The book as we have it has usually been equally divided into (1) prophecies of doom, before the fall of Jerusalem (chs. 1-24) and (2) prophecies of hope, after the fall of Jerusalem (chs. 25- 48). However, like most simplifications, this is an oversimplification and, as such, is misleading. In general, the first half of the book (chs. 1-24) should be set chronologically before the fall of Jerusalem in 587 B.C., when the general theme is doom, although a ray of hope occasionally breaks through. Chapters 25-32 are concerned with prophecies against foreign nations, with but one intrusion about Judah. Then there follows a conglomerate series of visions and oracles of promise and hope in chapters 33-39. The last grand piece consists of a vision of the Temple restored, portraying in extensive detail the structure of the Temple, rules for its use, and a restored society.

Authorship and Date

The Book of Ezekiel, according to substantial and persistent tradition, is the product of a prophet whose name is attached to the book and who was carried captive when the Jews were exiled by Nebuchadnezzar in 598 B.C. This view is strongly held in the present because this strangely fascinating book seems to fit well into the era to which tradition has consistently assigned it. It was a time when individual security and corporate existence, both political and religious, were in jeopardy.

Suggestions that an unknown author composed the book as a piece of pure fiction during the waning years of Israel are not substantiated by the evidence. To question not only authorship by Ezekiel but his existence itself is to ignore his secure place in history. The matter of authorship must be discussed together with date, hence we turn to dating of the prophecy. At this juncture we shall not concern ourselves with late editorial additions, if there are such; rather, our first interest is in the main body of the book.

Ezekiel, the son of a priest and perhaps himself a priest, recalls in some detail the dimensions of the Solomonic Temple, which becomes the unconscious, visionary model for his Temple of the future (chs. 40-42). A creative mind, remembering the familiar structure in whose shadow he had grown up, fashioned the vision of a Temple restored on the basis of the Temple which had been destroyed. Such a person necessarily lived before the fall of the city in 587 b.c. when the Solomonic Temple was utterly ruined.

The prophet, who was meticulous about remembering when major events of vision or fact happened, gives thirteen definite dates in his book. In the first three verses, two dates have become mixed, probably as a result of later compilation of the entire book by Ezekiel himself. The whole scheme of dating must be understood as a single system, and the "thirtieth year" (1:1) should be interpreted in that light. Dates are fixed according to the reign of Jehoiachin, who, though taken captive in the third month of his reign, was in all probability still considered the legitimate ruler. Furthermore, the beginning of his rule coincided with the beginning of the Captivity, so the Jews were able to speak of the years of captivity but at the same time to have in mind the regnal years of their deposed, legitimate monarch. To acknowledge openly the continued valid rule of Jehoiachin would have been considered revolt, but by this ruse the same effect was accomplished.

The "thirtieth year" does not refer to the age of the prophet; it is rather the year in which Ezekiel and his disciples gathered together his oracles into a single scroll. In the light of this suggestion, the following arrangement of dates appears to be correct:

Reference         Day         Month     Year

1:1            5        4        30

1:2            5        1        5

8:1            5        6        6

20:1            10        5        7

24:1            10        10        9

26:1            1        -        11

29:1            12        10        10

30:20            7        1        11

31:1            1        3        11

32:1            1        12        12

32:17            15        1        12

33:21            5        10        12

40:1            10        -        25

Event

Compilation of prophecy

Inaugural vision

Visions of the Temple

Warnings of history

The siege begun

Oracle against Tyre

Oracle against Egypt

Oracle against Pharaoh

Oracle against Pharaoh

Dirge over Pharaoh

Egypt dead

Jerusalem fallen

Vision of the future

Except for the dates attached to the foreign nations section, chapters 25-32, we may confidently assume that the definite chronological order is a part of the original work, which will be discussed later. It is possible that the dates for the oracles against Tyre (26:1) and Egypt (29:1, 17; 30:20; 31:1; 32:17) were added at the time of the compilation of the book in order to fit the foreign nations material into the regular chronological scheme, but this is hypothetical. In any case, these dates are probably correct. There is a natural and logical progression of dates —with the possible exception of dates for the foreign nations passages — from the inaugural vision to the fall of the city to the vision of the Temple restored.

However, not all the material placed between any two dates mentioned in the book necessarily belongs there chronologically. This is especially true of the date in Ezekiel 8:1 . Ezekiel remembered and dated his inaugural vision and call (Ezekiel 1:2; Ezekiel 3:16); his vision of the degraded Temple practice was an unforgettable experience (Ezekiel 8:1); his encounter with religious leaders was a memorable event (Ezekiel 20:1 ) ; and the beginning of the siege was etched deep and dark in memory (24:1), connected as it was with the death of his wife. News of Jerusalem’s fall (Ezekiel 33:21), which should be placed in the eleventh year, not the twelfth, was a climactic and tragic occasion which led ultimately to the grand vision and promise of the land restored (40:1) . Apparently the prophet, when he or his disciples compiled the book, used such a chronological framework, but in the case of 8:1 a vision led to the collection of oracles of indictment against Jerusalem. Having remembered the vision, the prophet collected those oracles which vindicated God’s justice, oracles related to one another in subject matter rather than in time of delivery. In some such manner the work of a great prophet who lived in the sixth century was brought near to completion.

Ezekiel was a man of his times who was careful to leave obvious dates for posterity, but who also indirectly manifested ideas, knowledge, and attitudes which irrevocably place him in the sixth century B.C. This was a time of great social, political, and spiritual flux that could have become either the basis for new creative understanding of the place of God in the life of men or the dying gasp of an inadequate faith. It was largely due to Ezekiel and Second Isaiah that out of the ashes of destruction came the resurrection of new faith and hope.

Historical Background and Locale for the Prophecy

The age in which Ezekiel prophesied saw the dissolution of the Assyrian Empire with the capture of Asshur in 614 B.C. and the fall of Nineveh in 612 b.c. The coup de grace was administered at Carchemish when Nebuchadnezzar, the son of the Chaldean Nabopolassar, crushed the Assyrian forces and turned his attention to Egypt. Rumblings of revolt and discontent reached a climax long before these stirring events, with the rise to power of Nabopolassar about 625 B.C., when the last great Assyrian monarch, Asshurbanipal, died. That year Nabopolassar declared himself king of Babylon, and the Assyrians were powerless to deny his claim. Not even the ill-fated intervention of Pharaoh Neco around 609 B.C. and later at Carchemish in 605 B.C. could stem the Chaldean tide. Assyria, long a monolithic landmark in the ancient world, was no more; in her place stood Nebuchadnezzar, the Chaldean, who began to build the neo-Babylonian Empire (625-539 B.C.).

Within Judah itself, the age of Manasseh (687-642 B.C.) had seen religious syncretism reach a flood tide which was more or less inevitable. In spite of the deliverance of Jerusalem from Sennacherib in 701 B.C., when Isaiah was prophet, Judah remained a vassal of the Assyrian Empire. It is probable that the Assyrian legions returned a few years later and successfully subdued the city. Be that as it may, political vassalage also meant religious subservience. During this period of darkness, prophetic voices were silent and the record states, "Moreover Manasseh shed very much innocent blood, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another" (2 Kings 21:16).

After Amon’s brief reign, a boy king named Josiah, who apparently had been profoundly influenced by the prophetic party, took the throne (about 640-639 B.C.). In his eighteenth year (2 Kings 22:3), while the Temple was being rehabilitated, a scroll of the Law was found which, in the name of God, commanded observance of long neglected and forgotten practices. It is probable that the scroll found in this manner consisted, in the main, of Deuteronomy 12-26, and that it is an interpretation of the Mosaic Law composed during an earlier reform under Hezekiah, less than a century before. The scroll, having been judged authentic by Huldah the prophetess, became the basis for a reform, instituted by Josiah, which attempted to accomplish two things: (1) to centralize worship in Jerusalem and (2) to rid the country of all syncretistic cults. Apparently this reform met with initial success, thanks to the royal will and power to purge dissident elements, and thanks also to the popular fear of foreign attack (see 2 Kings 22-23).

However, the reform was dealt a deathblow when Josiah attempted to intercept the forces of Pharaoh Neco at Megiddo in 609 B.C. Whether the king had a misguided sense of the inviolability of the Holy Land or whether his was a military miscalculation is not known to us. In fact, it is possible that Josiah never managed to fight a battle with Pharaoh Neco but was summarily executed when he appeared to negotiate with the Egyptian invader. Whatever the fact of this matter, the corpse of the king was the symbol and signal that his reform was at an end.

After Josiah the throne of Judah changed hands rapidly. Jehoahaz was chosen by the people as ruler, but this choice was vetoed three months later by the Egyptians, who elevated Jehoiakim to the throne (609-598 B.C.). When the battle of Carchemish was over and the Egyptians were beating a hasty retreat homeward, the king of Judah found little difficulty in switching his loyal vassalage to Nebuchadnezzar and the Chaldeans (605 B.C.). Rebelhon against these same Chaldeans three years later finally brought the force of Chaldean arms against Jerusalem itself. Jehoiakim died during the siege. His ill-starred successor and son Jehoiachin, after a three months’ reign, surrendered the city to the Chaldeans and went with the prominent people of the land into captivity. It was in this group that Ezekiel made the long eight-hundred-mile trek to the Mesopotamian valley where he lived in Tel-abib on the Chebar Canal, Life continued in Jerusalem, even though the city was depopulated of its leaders, Mattaniah, who took the throne name Zedekiah, a brother of Jehoiakim, ascended the throne in 597 B.C. For about eight years his vassalage to Nebuchadnezzar was complete, so outward harmony continued. Yet in these years, as is plainly stated in Jeremiah and Ezekiel, there was a tug of war in Judah between parties favoring Egyptian domination in place of neoBabylonian control. Revolt came in the year 590 B.C. and the city of Jerusalem was soon besieged. A brief foray by Pharaoh Hophra caused the siege to be lifted momentarily, giving rise to false hopes among the inhabitants of the land, but inevitably the end came in 587 B.C. when the city fell, Zedekiah’s attempt at escape failed. After he had seen his two sons executed, his eyes were gouged out. What happened to the blinded king after this tragic incident is not known.

Gedaliah was quickly established as ruler of the ruined state, but he was treacherously murdered by Ishmael, a fellow countryman; and with that, all semblance of limited local autonomy ceased in Judah. Thus the real center of Jewish life and mission was shifted to the exiles in Tel-abib and possibly in other Mesopotamian areas as well,

Where does Ezekiel fit into the picture? He has already been identified, in accordance with well-established tradition, as a prophet among the exiles. Yet this conclusion is not without its problems, A prophet, overwhelmed by a vision in Mesopotamia, is called to speak God’s word of judgment to a rebellious nation eight hundred miles distant. If Ezekiel remained in Mesopotamia for his entire ministry, he must have had a most unusual career, and apparently possessed extrasensory powers.

The prophet is commissioned to speak to "the house of Israel" (for example, Ezekiel 3:16-21; Ezekiel 18:1-32; Ezekiel 33:1-20) and is told on several occasions to address the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem (Ezekiel 12:10-11; Ezekiel 16:2). Prophecies to a rebellious house still in Judah would appear to be highly irrelevant to the exiles in Babylonia, and several references actually place Ezekiel in Jerusalem (Ezekiel 21:1), For a man living in Mesopotamia he commands a remarkably intimate and detailed knowledge of events in Jerusalem as they happened, and he carries out prophetic acts which would have real significance only in Jerusalem (for example, in chs. 4 and 12). Finally, to place Ezekiel in Palestine, where he would seem to be, removes any necessity for ascribing extrasensory powers to him. At first glance these considerations seem very formidable and have caused many to deny that Ezekiel’s entire ministry was spent among the exiles at Tel-abib.

Four alternate possibilities have been put forward in place of the traditional view. ( 1 ) Ezekiel had a vision in Mesopotamia but received a call to return to Palestine, in 593 B.C. He obeyed the call, returned to Jerusalem and prophesied until 587 B.C. when the city fell, whereupon he returned to Tel-abib and completed his ministry. (2) Ezekiel’s entire prophetic ministry was spent in Palestine; he never went to Babylonia; the Babylonian locale is to be accounted for as the result of editorial additions to the book. (3) Ezekiel received his call to prophesy in Jerusalem and pursued that calling until the siege of the city began. During the siege he moved to a nearby village where he received news of the city’s fall, after which he went to Babylonia where he exercised the remainder of his ministry. (4) Ezekiel is a fictional person whose locale is not an important matter of historical fact.

As impressive as some of these alternatives may seem, they raise more problems than they settle. That Ezekiel was in Mesopotamia is demonstrated by numerous features of the book. Place names in Ezekiel have now been identified in inscriptions from the Mesopotamian valley. A canal, "Chebar," has been identified and "Tel-abib" is the Hebrew equivalent of the Assyrian name, "ruin of Abubu." Low conical hillocks were thought to be ruins from the Great Deluge sent by Abubu, the storm god. Ezekiel lived on such a ruined mound near the Chebar Canal. Neither of these places can any longer be passed over as the figment of some fertile imagination. In addition to these facts, there are numerous references to a Babylonian residence which can be removed only on the basis of a preconceived notion.

In 4:1 there is found a term which means "mud brick," on which a map of the city was scratched. In chapter 12 the prophet is told to "dig" through the wall. In addition to these items there is the wall described in chapter 13 which has been repaired with whitewash and which will fall when rain comes. Such usages point most definitely, not to the hill country of Judah, but to the adobe and mud-brick structures in Mesopotamia, where such structures were common and where the practice of drawing a city’s map on a mud brick was widespread. Another topographical reference also points to a Mesopotamian locale, namely, the use of "plain" (Ezekiel 3:22; literally, "wide valley"), the kind common to Mesopotamia (see Genesis 11:2).

In addition to these inadvertent Babylonian fingerprints, the explanation that the prophet was called not to "a people of foreign speech and a hard language" (3:5) would have little point outside a foreign land. If Ezekiel lived where the prevalent language was foreign to him this explanation makes sense. Such a call is more likely to have been heard by the River Chebar than in Jerusalem.

Ezekiel, being resident among the exiles, was in fact a prophet to one people, separated by space only. He kept in general touch with the situation in Jerusalem prior to 587 B.C. and most assuredly had knowledge of what was going on from memory of the city, its common life and institutions. In fact, when he went to the city in vision, he usually had the kind of experience which one might expect from visionary rather than actual contact. Even so, these visions of the Temple and Jerusalem (chs. 8 and 11) certainly reflect in some measure real conditions prevailing in the city.

Living among the exiles, who expected to return momentarily to Jerusalem, it was important that Ezekiel emphasize in word and act that there would be no immediate return from captivity. Thus, by his oracles against faraway Jerusalem, and by his dramatic acts, he sought to destroy any false optimism among the exiles and began to build a firm base for the harsh realities ahead. Once news of Jerusalem’s fall reached him, he was no longer concerned primarily with vindicating God’s honor. At that point in his ministry he turned his attention to the hope which God promised his people, and to the certainty of national revival.

Having said these things, let us be quite sure that the prophet was speaking to two audiences in the early years of his ministry, one in Palestine, the other in Babylonia. He spoke directly to the people at Tel-abib, but his words found their way back to Jerusalem, since movement between the two places was not impossible (see Jeremiah 29). Thus the prophetic word became a creative agent for despair or hope, whether spoken directly or indirectly.

Ezekiel the Man

A brief word about the prophet himself is necessary, because he has been the subject of much distortion. That Ezekiel was not what we should consider a "normal person" is admitted, but his abnormality is a key to his greatness, as has been the case with many of history’s notable personalities.

In the first place, Ezekiel carried out a number of ecstatic and dramatic acts which conveyed to his audience his prophetic message (for example, Ezekiel 3:25-26; Ezekiel 4:1-15; Ezekiel 5:1-4; Ezekiel 12:3-7; Ezekiel 12:17; Ezekiel 24:3-5; Ezekiel 24:15-18; Ezekiel 37:15-17). Symbolic acts, such as eating food in the manner of people under siege and rehearsing an escape from the city, reinforced the communication of words. Similar ecstatic and symbolic acts had long been a part of the regular prophetic experience.

A most persistent question has arisen because of Ezekiel’s incredible capacity for spiritual movement from one place to another (Chaldea to Jerusalem), followed by a speedy return to normal life. His ability to identify himself with the other exiles at Tel-abib and then return to a normal role demonstrates that he was in no sense a schizoid personality. Instead he is best understood as a sensitive human soul caught in the crosscurrents of history, driven by a burning zeal for God, painfully aware of the tragedy in which his people were involved.

Ezekiel’s seems at first to be a harsh ministry, but zeal to vindicate God and to preserve a remnant for mission proves him to have been guided by profound insight. Among the truly great men of God stands this strange, contradictory figure whose creative spirit, energized by God, helped return the main stream of religion to the proper channel of mission.

Literary Form of the Book

This prophetic work contains some of the finest poetry in all the Old Testament, but alongside the poetry stands cumbersome and colorless prose. Few passages in the Old Testament reach such heights of poetic beauty as passages in the oracles against Tyre and Egypt (chs. 26-32) ; there is sheer ecstatic beauty in the song of the sword (Ezekiel 21:8-17) and in the dramatic exultation over the vindication of the Lord (Ezekiel 6:11-12).

The book bristles with problems and is possibly honeycombed with short editorial additions, but, over all, there is a unity of vocabulary and point of view. Apocalyptic passages such as chapters 9, 37, and 38-39 have become models for later literature. The features of the vision in chapter 1 have reappeared many times in the later symbolism of both Judaism and Christianity.

Parables, many of them possibly drawn from the folklore of the people, are tellingly used by the prophet. The parable of the vine (ch. 15) is followed by the magnificent parable of the deserted child beloved of a stranger (ch. 16). Parables of two eagles (ch. 17), of a lioness and her young lions (ch. 19), of two scarlet sisters (ch. 23), and of a caldron (ch. 24) add richness to this great work.

Most of chapter 10, which is largely a repetition of chapter 1, was probably added by later editors as was chapter 33, but both chapters are in keeping with Ezekiel’s own work. It is also quite probable that parts of chapters 43-46 are a later expansion of the grand vision of the future (chs. 40-48), since they reflect the priestly attitude of a later day. Other shorter sections will be discussed as they arise, but suffice it to say here that even the elements not directly from the prophet came for the most part from his close followers. Except for brief editorial accretions, the book is from the prophet Ezekiel’s hand or arises out of the implications of his teachings.

The Message of the Book

No new major theological themes are created by the prophet, but the profound doctrines of the Old Testament are reinforced and clarified by him. God is shown to be the key to life; the arena for revelation is history; the Lord is a God of nations and yet is above nations. These great themes are presented and specific problems are broached — for example, the relationship of individual responsibility to corporate guilt and the shape of a reconstituted society. Most important of all, amid the harshness of judgment the gracious love of God is manifest.

God Is the Key to Life

In the Covenant, God had agreed to be a God to Israel and the Israelites had promised to be his people. By means of law and prophetic teaching, what it meant to be the People of God had been clearly detailed. Reference to the sojourn in Egypt and to the wandering in the wilderness proved that their forefathers had become a people only because God was the creative force and the unifying presence in their midst. Symbolically he was at the center of the nation. Life depended on his presence. His glory remained only so long as the atmosphere of life provided a setting befitting it. In Jerusalem and Judah his continued presence was out of the question on account of the sorry record of Covenant-breaking. God was forced to withdraw, and the city was doomed. But even as doom and death were signaled by the divine withdrawal, so resurrection and hope were based on the return of God’s Spirit. Four passages underscore the fact that God is the key to life: the allegory of the Shepherd (Ezekiel 34:11-31), the vision of dry bones (Ezekiel 37:1-14), the figure of the river proceeding from the Temple (Ezekiel 47:1-12), and the name of the restored city ("The Lord is there," Ezekiel 48:35). The secret of renewal, the only ground of hope, is the presence of God in the life of man (Ezekiel 48:35).

The Arena of Revelation Is History

Once more the theme is not new, but it receives added emphasis through the tragic events of history. Again and again the actions of the Almighty are explained as basically revelatory in nature; that is to say, their chief purpose is to reveal to mankind through illustrative events what kind of God the Lord is. His fury against the city of Jerusalem is explained with the phrase, "they shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken in my jealousy" (Ezekiel 5:13). He is one who will brook no rival. Furthermore, the Exile itself is given a similar purpose: "But I will let a few of them escape from the sword, from famine and pestilence, that they may confess all their abominations among the nations where they go, and may know that I am the Lord" (Ezekiel 12:16).

However, God is not only known in judgment; he is also encountered in gracious renewal, as is evidenced in Ezekiel 16:62 and Ezekiel 20:44 where divine grace renews the Covenant and does not visit Judah’s evil ways upon her. When the earth is made new and a blissful age has been initiated in Palestine, it is said, "They shall know that I am the Lord, when I break the bars of their yoke, and deliver them from the hand of those who enslaved them" (Ezekiel 34:27). Most amazing among the demonstrations of God is the resuscitation in the valley of dry bones. There the word is definite, "And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people" (Ezekiel 37:13).

God Is the God of All Nations

Like all aspects of Hebrew faith, this insight was not reached by logical deduction, and in no sense is it to be considered a theological dogma. In experience the prophet not only beheld the mobile throne of the Almighty in Mesopotamia; he also watched great nations such as Tyre and Egypt under the judgment of God. Not even the pride of Tyre would be countenanced, nor would the power of Egypt deliver her from divine judgment. God is the God of all nations. Political states like Ammon, Moab, Edom, and Philistia, which had been the instruments of God’s judgment, were now themselves to be destroyed for their sins. God is the Judge of all men and nations; his realm reaches far beyond the bounds of Palestine, and his power is effectual everywhere.

Individual Responsibility and Corporate Guilt

Chapter 18 and a shorter section in Ezekiel 33:10-20 have long been identified as the area of Ezekiel’s most profound contribution to Hebrew thought. Actually, Ezekiel was dealing with an immediate problem of fact which had arisen among his fellow exiles, namely, the problem of inherited and corporate guilt. The prophet’s answer to the theological riddle was simple: "The soul that sins shall die" (Ezekiel 18:20). He maintained that the sins of the fathers are not visited on the sons and that the sins of the sons are not visited on the fathers. Every man is on his own. The prophet does not settle the problem of corporate guilt, but he does set in clear terms the fact that man is always responsible. Corporate guilt or inherited sin can never be used as excuse for blaming our predicament on God. Ezekiel did provide the way for a man to live in communion with God even though the Temple was wrecked and the nation destroyed. The individual was responsible but God did not desire that one person should die.

The Shape of the Reconstituted State

Ezekiel’s vision of a New Israel was unique. Up to his time the old society had been very real and very visible — in a land, with a government and a Temple. Now those historic realities were swept away. What the prophet saw was a land physically revived, made fertile, and renewed in every sense. Furthermore, it was not enough for Judah to be brought back to life; the whole of Israel was to be reconstituted in Palestine, with the twelve tribes being given their rightful portions of land. In the midst of the land the Temple would be built within the domain of the true prince and the inheritance of priests and Levites. Here sacrifices would be made by the sons of Zadok only, and the Levites would be Temple servants. Ritual purity would be maintained, and contamination would be impossible since Gentiles were forbidden entrance.

The Gracious Goodness of God

Some have denied to Ezekiel any passage which carries a breath of hope. Yet to excise all the passages wherein God in his grace forgives and restores, would destroy the book. God promises to redeem human nature itself by giving to man a new heart and a new spirit to replace the old heart; of stone and the spirit of rebellion (Ezekiel 18:31; Ezekiel 36:26). Moreover, one seems to hear an echo of Hosea in the agonized word of God, "For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, says the Lord God; so turn, and live" (18:32).

All the way through the prophecy, God’s gracious purpose to preserve a remnant for himself through his love is never forgotten. In Ezekiel 6:8-10; Ezekiel 14:21-23; and other more indirect references the promise appears. Restoration is a constant assumption, for by this time one could not really conceive of God as completely giving over his people to final destruction (see Ezekiel 16:50-63; Ezekiel 20:40-44; Ezekiel 36:22-38). But most important, the Covenant of God is an everlasting Covenant which is not to be easily cast aside. In this light the Exile must be interpreted as a purging process, that the purpose of the Covenant may be fulfilled.

OUTLINE

Prophecies of Doom Before the Fall of Jerusalem. (Ezekiel 1:1 to Ezekiel 24:27)

Vision and Call (Ezekiel 1:1 to Ezekiel 3:27 )

Visions and Oracles of Judgment (Ezekiel 4:1 to Ezekiel 7:27)

Visions of the Prophet (Ezekiel 8:1 to Ezekiel 11:25)

Prophecies Against Jerusalem (Ezekiel 12:1 to Ezekiel 19:14)

Prophecies Against the Land (Ezekiel 20:1 to Ezekiel 24:27)

Prophecies Against Foreign Nations. Ezekiel 25:1 to Ezekiel 32:32

Immediate Neighbors of Judah (Ezekiel 25:1-17)

Tyre (Ezekiel 26:1 to Ezekiel 28:23)

Editorial Interlude: Restoration of Israel (Ezekiel 28:24-26)

Egypt (Ezekiel 29:1 to Ezekiel 32:32)

Prophecies of Hope. (Ezekiel 33:1 to Ezekiel 39:29)

Editorial Review of Former Oracles (Ezekiel 33:1-33)

Future Promise (Ezekiel 34:1 to Ezekiel 37:28)

Gog and Magog (Ezekiel 38:1 to Ezekiel 39:29)

The Temple and the City of God. (Ezekiel 40:1 to Ezekiel 48:35)

Measurement of the Temple (Ezekiel 40:1 to Ezekiel 42:20)

Appearance of the Glory of the Lord (Ezekiel 43:1-12)

Regulations for the Temple Service (Ezekiel 43:13 to Ezekiel 46:24)

Healing Waters (Ezekiel 47:1-12)

Division of the Restored Land (Ezekiel 47:13 to Ezekiel 48:35)

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