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2014, Mike Parker http://bit.ly/ldsarc For personal use only. Not a Church publication.

Background on Ezekiel
The Author
Ezekiel was called to be a prophet during
the Babylonian exile. He probably lived in
the Jewish settlement of Tel-abib on the
Chebar canal near the ancient Babylonian
city of Nippur (3:15).
His name in Hebrew (yechezqel,)
means God strengthens (this child), or
possibly May God strengthen (this
He was a priest, and the son of a priest
named Buzi (1:3).
Because he was from a priestly family, he
probably had a good education, especially in
the Law.
Like Jeremiah, he steadfastly opposed the
plans of King Zedekiah and the royal
advisers to rebel against Babylon (12:115;
17:122; 21:1832).
He was married (24:18), but little else is
known about his personal life.
His visions are some of the most vivid and
detailed of any prophet in recorded
scripture (chaps. 1, 8, 10, 37, 40). He wrote
of the hand of God grabbing him and
moving him physically (8:3; 37:1), and the
Spirit of God entering him and standing him
upon his feet (2:2).
He was referred to by the Lord as son of
man 93 times. This phrase means human
one, and distinguishes him from the divine
beings in his visions.
Ezekiel was born about 623 B.C.
He was likely deported from Judah to
Babylon in 597 after Nebuchadnezzar
conquered the Jerusalem the second time
(2 Kings 24:1017). (The Babylonians
believed that conquered nations could more
easily be controlled if their populations were
resettled in small communities in the
Babylonian heartland.)
He was called as a prophet in 593 B.C., when
he was 30 years old (1:1).
His last recorded prophecy was given in 571
(29:17), so he was active as a prophet for at
least 22 years.
Legend says he was buried in a tomb at al-
Kifl, near the modern town of Hilla in Iraq.
Historical Setting
Ezekiel lived through the destruction of the
nation of Judah, the loss of her political
independence, and the exile of most of her
people in Babylon.
623 B.C.: Ezekiel was born.
622: King Josiah began his attempts at
cleansing the temple and reforming Israelite
religious worship (2 Kings 22:323:25).
609: Josiah was killed in battle against the
Egyptians (2 Kings 23:2930). His son,
Jehoahaz, reigned only three months, after
which Jehoiakim, another son of Josiah, became
king (2 Kings 23:3137).
604: Nebuchadnezzar conquered the area of
Palestine. For the next three years, Judah paid
tribute to Babylon (2 Kings 24:1). Daniel, as a
young man, was taken into captivity in Babylon
about this time (Daniel 1:17).
602: Judah rebelled against Babylon. The
rebellion failed and the Babylonians sent
Chaldeans, Syrians, Moabites, and Ammonites
to plunder Judah (2 Kings 24:2).
598: Jehoiakim died and his son, Jehoiachin,
became king of Judah (2 Kings 24:6).
597: Jehoiachin had reigned only three months
when the Babylonians laid siege to Jerusalem.
The temple was plundered and about 8,000 elite
and skilled Jews, including Ezekiel and King
Jehoiachin himself, were deported to Babylon.
Nebuchadnezzar installed another of Josiahs
sons, Zedekiah, as king of Judah (2 Kings 24:8
19). Lehi was called as a prophet (1 Nephi 1:4).
593: Ezekiel was called as a prophet while in
exile in Babylon (1:13). He saw a vision of idol
worship in the Jerusalem temple (8:117).
589: The people of Judah, unhappy with
Babylonian rule, were rife with unrest. The
Babylonian army began a westward march to put
down resistance once and for all.
588: The Babylonians began an eighteen month
siege of Jerusalem. Ezekiel learned of the siege
by revelation on the very day it began (24:12).
2014, Mike Parker http://bit.ly/ldsarc For personal use only. Not a Church publication.
587: The siege ended in July 587 when the wall
was breached and the city taken. The
Babylonians destroyed the temple and deported
almost all remaining peopleperhaps as many
as 25,000to Babylon (Jeremiah 52:134;
2 Kings 25:121). Eighteen months later the
news of Jerusalems downfall reached Ezekiels
community; Ezekiel himself learned about it by
revelation the night before a refugee arrived
with a report (33:2122).
571: Ezekiels writings can be dated to at least
the spring of this year (29:17).
Structure of the book of Ezekiel
The book of Ezekiel can be outlined as follows:
1. Oracles against Jerusalem (124).
Ezekiels first vision and commission
Symbolic acts and oracles (47).
o Three symbolic actions (4:15:4).
o Three matching oracles (5:57:27).
The vision of the temples end (811).
o Abominations in Jerusalem (89).
o God abandons the city (1011).
Condemnation of leaders and people
o Prediction of the coming exile (12).
o Condemnation of false prophets
o Idolatry vs. righteousness (14).
Allegories and metaphors of judgment
o Allegory of the vinewood (15).
o Allegory of unfaithful Jerusalem
o Allegory of the two eagles (17).
o A case for personal responsibility
o Two allegorical laments for the king
Final indictment (2024).
o Israels history of infidelity
o The sword oracles (20:4521:32).
o The blood guilt of Jerusalem (22).
o The allegory of the two sisters (23).
o Two signs to mark the end (24).
2. Oracles against foreign nations
Oracles against neighboring states (25).
Oracles against Tyre (26:128:19).
Oracles against Sidon (28:2026).
Oracles against Egypt (2932).
3. Oracles of restoration (3348).
The revitalization of the land (3339).
o Ezekiel receives a second call (33).
o Irresponsible shepherds versus the
Lord, the Good Shepherd (34).
o Oracles against Edoms mountains
o Blessings on Israels mountains
o Divine holiness for Israel (36:1638).
o Allegories of the restoration of Israel
The vision of the valley of dry
bones (37:114).
The two sticks rejoined (37:15
o The war against Gog and Magog
Gogs attack on Gods people
The divine victory (39).
The new temple and its priesthood
o The description of the temple
The outside of the grounds
The inside of the temple
The vision of the divine return
o The regulation of the priesthood
The altar of sacrifice (43:1327).
The priestly ministers (44).
The division of the land
The regulations of the feasts
o The river coming from under the
temple (47:112).
o The boundaries of the new land
National boundaries (47:1323).
Portions for each tribe (48:129).
The New Jerusalem (48:3035).
Adapted from Lawrence Boadt, Ezekiel, Book of,
The Anchor Bible Dictionary 2:71122.