The Prophet. His name means "God will strengthen". He was a priest and was carried into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar. B. C. 597. He had a home on the river Chebar where the Elders of Judah were accustomed to meet. His wife died in the ninth year of his captivity. He was a man of very powerful intellect and apparently from the better classes of those carried into captivity. He is less attractive than Isaiah and less constant in the flow of his thought than Jeremiah. He is not so timid or sensitive as Jeremiah but has all his horror for sin and all of his grief, occasioned by the wickedness of his people and the suffering which they endured. In his boldness of utterance he was not surpassed by his predecessors.
Nature of the Prophecy. The nature of the prophecy or the methods by which he exercised or manifests his prophetic gift differs from that of the other prophets. He does not so much predict as see visions of them. Allegories, parables, similitudes and visions abound, some of them symbolic of the future and others of existing facts and conditions. The prophet remains on the banks of Chebar and in spirit is transported to Jerusalem and the temple. Much of the book is in character similar to Revelation and while the general subjects are very plain, much of the meaning of the symbols is obscure. There are, however, powerful addresses and eloquent predictions of Divine judgments on the nations. It was probably due to the services of Ezekiel that Israel's religion was preserved during the exile.
The Main Aspects of his Teaching. (1) Denunciation of Judah's sins and the downfall of Jerusalem, Chs. 1-24. (2) Judgments upon foreign nations, Chs. 25-32. (3) Repentance as a condition of salvation, 18:30-32. (4) The glorious restoration of Israel, li:16ff; 16:60ff; 27:22-24; 20:40ff; Chs. 33-48. (5) The freedom and responsibility of the individual soul before God. 18:20-32. (6) The necessity of a new heart and a new spirit, 11:19: 18:31; 36:26.
Condition of the Jews. (1) Political and social condition. They are captives living in Babylon but are treated as colonists and not as slaves. They increased in numbers and accumulated great wealth and some of them rose to the highest offices. (2) The religious condition or outlook. They had religious freedom and in this period they forever gave up their idolatry. They sought out the books of the law, revised the cannon, wrote some new books and perhaps inaugurated the synagogue worship which became so powerful afterward.
I. Ezekiel's Call, Chs. 1-3.
1. Preliminary vision, Ch. 1.
2. The call, Chs. 2-3.
II. The Destruction of Jerusalem, Chs. 4-24.
1. The siege and certain judgment of the city, Chs. 4-7.
2. The condition of the city and the sins of the people, Chs. 8-19.
3. Renewed proofs and predictions of the doom of Judah and Jerusalem, Chs. 20-24.
III. Predictions against Foreign Nations and Cities. Chs. 25-32.
IV. Prophecies concerning the Restoration, Chs. 33-48.
1. The restoration of Judah to the promised land, Chs. 33-39.
2. The Messianic times, Chs. 40-48.
For Study and Discussion. (1) The condition, the particular sin and the judgment promised upon each of the nations mentioned-has the prediction been fulfilled? (2) The duties and responsibilities of a preacher as illustrated by Ezekiel's watchman, Ch. 33. (3) The vision of dry bones. Ch 37. (4) Judah and Israel under the figure of an evil woman, Ch. 23. (5) The healing river, 47:1-12. (6) The teachings about the Restoration, in the following passages: 36:8, 9, 29, 30, 34, 35, 25-27; 37:1-14; 24:11-24; 37:22; 26,27; 43:11-12. (7) The symbols and types of the book.THE BIBLE BOOK BY BOOK: A MANUAL:
For the Outline Study of the Bible by Books by J.B. TIDELL, A.M., D.D. Professor of Biblical Literature in Baylor University, Waco, Texas
1916 BAYLOR UNIVERSITY PRESS Waco, Texas