Ezekiel

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Ezekiel the Prophet
יְחֶזְקֵאל
Ezekiel by Michelangelo, restored - large.jpg
Ezekiel, as depicted by Michelangelo on the Sistine Chapel ceiling
Prophet, Priest
Bornpossibly c. 622 BCE
Diedpossibly c. 570 BCE (aged 51–52)
Babylon
Venerated in Judaism
Christianity (Protestantism, Roman Catholic Church, Armenian Apostolic Church, Eastern Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church)
Islam
Bahai Faith
Major shrine Ezekiel's Tomb , Al Kifl, Iraq
Feast August 28 – Armenian Apostolic Church
July 23 – Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism
July 21 – Lutheranism
The Prophet Hesekiel by Peter Paul Rubens (1609-1610) in the Louvre 0 Le Prophete Ezechiel - P.P. Rubens - Louvre (IN V 20231).JPG
The Prophet Hesekiel by Peter Paul Rubens (1609–1610) in the Louvre

Ezekiel ( /ɪˈzkiəl/ ; Hebrew : יְחֶזְקֵאלYəḥezqē’l [jəħɛzˈqel] ) is the central protagonist of the Book of Ezekiel in the Hebrew Bible.

Contents

In Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, Ezekiel is acknowledged as a Hebrew prophet. In Judaism and Christianity, he is also viewed as the 6th-century BCE author of the Book of Ezekiel, which reveals prophecies regarding the destruction of Jerusalem, the restoration to the land of Israel, and what some call the Millennial Temple (or Third Temple) visions.

Life

The author of the Book of Ezekiel presents himself as Ezekiel, the son of Buzzi, born into a priestly (Kohen) lineage. [1] Apart from identifying himself, the author gives a date for the first divine encounter which he presents: "in the thirtieth year". [2] If this is a reference to Ezekiel's age at the time, he was born around 622 BCE, about the time of Josiah's reforms, [3] and shortly after the call of Jeremiah to a prophetic ministry around 626 BCE. [4] Ezekiel's "thirtieth year" is given as five years after the exile of Judah's king Jehoiachin by the Babylonians. The Aramaic Targum on Ezekiel 1:1, however, as well as the 2nd-century rabbinic work Seder Olam Rabba (chapter 26), take a different approach, where they both say that Ezekiel's vision came "in the thirtieth year after Josiah was presented with a Book of the Law discovered in the Temple".

According to Jewish tradition, Ezekiel did not write his own book, the Book of Ezekiel, but rather his prophecies were collected and written by the Men of the Great Assembly. [5] Josephus claims that Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia's armies exiled three thousand Jews from Judah, [6] after deposing King Jehoiakim in 598 BCE.

The name Ezekiel means"God Strengthens."[ citation needed ]

Living in Babylon

According to the Bible, Ezekiel and his wife lived during the Babylonian captivity on the banks of the Chebar River, in Tel Abib, [lower-alpha 1] with other exiles from Judah. [7] There is no mention of him having any offspring.

Prophetic career

Ezekiel describes his calling to be a prophet by going into great detail about his encounter with God and four "living creatures" with four wheels that stayed beside the creatures. [8] For the next five years he incessantly prophesied and acted out the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple, which was met with some opposition. However, Ezekiel and his contemporaries like Jeremiah, another prophet who was living in Jerusalem at that time, witnessed the fulfillment of their prophecies with the siege of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. On the hypothesis that the "thirtieth year" of Ezekiel 1:1 refers to Ezekiel's age, Ezekiel was fifty years old when he had his final vision. [3] On the basis of dates given in the Book of Ezekiel, his span of prophecies can be calculated to have occurred over the course of about 22 years. [9] The last recorded prophecy of Ezekiel dates to April 570 BCE. [10] [11]

World views

Jewish tradition

Monument to Holocaust survivors at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. The quote is Ezekiel 37:14. Yad Vashem Memorial to survivors by David Shankbone.jpg
Monument to Holocaust survivors at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. The quote is Ezekiel 37:14.

Ezekiel, like Jeremiah, is said by Talmud [12] and Midrash [13] to have been a descendant of Joshua by his marriage with the proselyte and former prostitute Rahab. Some statements found in rabbinic literature posit that Ezekiel was the son of Jeremiah, who was (also) called "Buzi" because he was despised by the Jews. [14]

Ezekiel was said to be already active as a prophet while in the Land of Israel, and he retained this gift when he was exiled with Jehoiachin and the nobles of the country to Babylon. [15]

Rava states in the Babylonian Talmud that although Ezekiel describes the appearance of the throne of God (Merkabah), this is not because he had seen more than the prophet Isaiah, but rather because the latter was more accustomed to such visions; for the relation of the two prophets is that of a courtier to a peasant, the latter of whom would always describe a royal court more floridly than the former, to whom such things would be familiar. [16] Ezekiel, like all the other prophets, has beheld only a blurred reflection of the divine majesty, just as a poor mirror reflects objects only imperfectly. [17]

According to the midrash Canticles Rabbah , it was Ezekiel whom the three pious men, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (also called Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the Bible) asked for advice as to whether they should resist Nebuchadnezzar's command and choose death by fire rather than worship his idol. At first God revealed to the prophet that they could not hope for a miraculous rescue; whereupon the prophet was greatly grieved, since these three men constituted the "remnant of Judah". But after they had left the house of the prophet, fully determined to sacrifice their lives to God, Ezekiel received this revelation: "Thou dost believe indeed that I will abandon them. That shall not happen; but do thou let them carry out their intention according to their pious dictates, and tell them nothing". [18]

Christianity

Russian icon of the Prophet Ezekiel holding a scroll with his prophecy and pointing to the "closed gate" (18th century, Iconostasis of Kizhi monastery, Russia) Ezekiel-icon.jpg
Russian icon of the Prophet Ezekiel holding a scroll with his prophecy and pointing to the "closed gate" (18th century, Iconostasis of Kizhi monastery, Russia)

Ezekiel is commemorated as a saint in the liturgical calendar of the Eastern Orthodox Church—and those Eastern Catholic Churches which follow the Byzantine Rite—on July 21 (for those churches which use the traditional Julian Calendar, July 21 falls on August 5 of the modern Gregorian Calendar). [19] Ezekiel is commemorated on August 28 on the Calendar of Saints of the Armenian Apostolic Church, and on April 10 in the Roman Martyrology.

Certain Lutheran churches also celebrate his commemoration on July 21. [20]

Saint Bonaventure interpreted Ezekiel's statement about the "closed gate" as a prophecy of the Incarnation: the "gate" signifying the Virgin Mary and the "prince" referring to Jesus. This is one of the readings at Vespers on Great Feasts of the Theotokos in the Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic Churches.[ citation needed ] This imagery is also found in the traditional Catholic Christmas hymn "Gaudete" and in a saying by Bonaventure, quoted by Alphonsus Maria de' Liguori: "No one can enter Heaven unless by Mary, as though through a door." [21] The imagery provides the basis for the concept that God gave Mary to humanity as the "Gate of Heaven" (thence the dedication of churches and convents to the Porta Coeli), an idea also laid out in the Salve Regina (Hail Holy Queen) prayer.

John B. Taylor credits the subject with imparting the Biblical understanding of the nature of God. [22]

Islamic tradition

Ezekiel is recognized as a prophet in Islamic tradition. Although not mentioned in the Qur'an by the name, Muslim scholars, both classical [lower-alpha 2] and modern [lower-alpha 3] have included Ezekiel in lists of the prophets of Islam.

The Qur'an mentions a prophet called Zul-Kifl. This prophet is sometimes identified with Ezekiel although Zul-Kifl's identity is disputed. Carsten Niebuhr, in his Reisebeschreibung nach Arabian, [23] says he visited Al Kifl in Iraq, midway between Najaf and Hilla and said Kifl was the Arabic form of Ezekiel. He further explained in his book that Ezekiel's Tomb was present in Al Kifl and that the Jews came to it on pilgrimage. The name Zul-Kifl or more correctly Dhū l-Kifl (ذو الكفل) would mean "Possessor of the Double" or "Possesor of the Fold" (ذوdhū "possessor of, owner of" and الكفلal-kifl "double, folded"). Some Islamic scholars have likened Ezekiel's mission to the description of Dhul-Kifl. When the exile, monarchy, and state were annihilated, a political and national life was no longer possible. In the absence of a worldly foundation it became necessary to build a spiritual one and Ezekiel performed this mission by observing the signs of the time and deducing his doctrines from them. In conformity with the two parts of his book, his personality and his preaching are alike twofold. Aside from the possible identification of Zul-Kifl with Ezekiel, Muslims have viewed Ezekiel as a prophet, regardless of his identification with Zul-Kifl.

Ezekiel appears in all Muslim collections of Stories of the Prophets . [24] Muslim exegesis further lists Ezekiel's father as Buzi (Budhi) and Ezekiel is given the title ibn al-adjus, denoting "son of the old (man)", as his parents are supposed to have been very old when he was born. A tradition, which resembles that of Hannah and Samuel in the Hebrew Bible, states that Ezekiel's mother prayed to God in old age for the birth of an offspring and was given Ezekiel as a gift from God. [25]

Bibliography

  • Ibn Kutayba, K. al-Ma'arif ed. S. Ukasha, 51
    One traditional depiction of the cherubim and chariot vision, based on the description by Ezekiel. Ezekiel's vision.jpg
    One traditional depiction of the cherubim and chariot vision, based on the description by Ezekiel.
  • Tabari, History of the Prophets and Kings, 2, 53–54
  • Tabari, Tafsir, V, 266 (old ed. ii, 365)
  • Masudi, Murudj, i, 103ff.
  • K. al-Badwa l-tarikh, iii, 4/5 and 98/100, Ezechiel
  • Abdullah Yusuf Ali, Holy Qur'an: Translation and Commentary, Note. 2473 (cf. index: Ezekiel)
  • Emil Heller Henning III, "Ezekiel's Temple: A Scriptural Framework Illustrating the Covenant of Grace", 2012.

Tomb

The tomb of Ezekiel is a structure located in modern-day south Iraq near Kefil, believed to be the final resting place of Ezekiel. [26] It has been a place of pilgrimage to both Muslims and Jews alike. After the Jewish exodus from Iraq, Jewish activity in the tomb ceased, although a disused synagogue remains in place. [27]

See also

Notes

  1. Not to be confused with modern day Tel Aviv, located on the Mediterranean coastline. However, this location's name was influenced by Ezekiel 3:15.
  2. Ibn Kutayba, Ukasha, Tabari, Ibn Kathir, Ibn Ishaq, Masudi, Kisa'i, Balami, Thalabi and many more have all recognized Ezekiel as a prophet
  3. The greatest depth to the figure is given by Abdullah Yusuf Ali, in his commentary; his commentary's note 2743: "If we accept "Dhul al Kifl" to be not an epithet, but an Arabicised form of "Ezekiel", it fits the context, Ezekiel was a prophet in Israel who was carried away to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar after his second attack on Jerusalem (about BCE 599). His Book is included in the English Bible (Old Testament). He was chained and bound, and put into prison, and for a time he was dumb. He bore all with patience and constancy, and continued to reprove boldly the evils in Israel. In a burning passage he denounces false leaders in words which are eternally true: "Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock. The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken ...... etc. (Ezekiel, 34:2–4)."

Related Research Articles

Book of Jeremiah Book of the Bible

The Book of Jeremiah is the second of the Latter Prophets in the Hebrew Bible, and the second of the Prophets in the Christian Old Testament. The superscription at chapter Jeremiah 1:1–3 identifies the book as "the words of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah". Of all the prophets, Jeremiah comes through most clearly as a person, ruminating to his scribe Baruch about his role as a servant of God with little good news for his audience. His book is intended as a message to the Jews in exile in Babylon, explaining the disaster of exile as God's response to Israel's pagan worship: the people, says Jeremiah, are like an unfaithful wife and rebellious children, their infidelity and rebelliousness made judgement inevitable, although restoration and a new covenant are foreshadowed. Authentic oracles of Jeremiah are probably to be found in the poetic sections of chapters 1–25, but the book as a whole has been heavily edited and added to by the prophet's followers and later generations of Deuteronomists. It has come down in two distinct though related versions, one in Hebrew, the other known from a Greek translation. The date of the two can be suggested by the fact that the Greek shows concerns typical of the early Persian period, while the Masoretic shows perspectives which, although known in the Persian period, did not reach their realisation until the 2nd century BCE.

Book of Ezekiel book of the Bible

The Book of Ezekiel is the third of the Latter Prophets in the Tanakh and one of the major prophetic books in the Old Testament, following Isaiah and Jeremiah. According to the book itself, it records six visions of the prophet Ezekiel, exiled in Babylon, during the 22 years from 593 to 571 BC, although it is the product of a long and complex history and does not necessarily preserve the very words of the prophet.

Book of Obadiah book of the Bible

The Book of Obadiah is an oracle concerning the divine judgment of Edom and the restoration of Israel. The text consists of a single chapter, divided into 21 verses, making it the shortest book in the Hebrew Bible.

Prophet person claiming to speak for divine beings

In religion, a prophet is an individual who is regarded as being in contact with a divine being and is said to speak on that entity's behalf, serving as an intermediary with humanity by delivering messages or teachings from the supernatural source to other people. The message that the prophet conveys is called a prophecy.

Neviim Second main division of the Hebrew Bible

Nevi'im is the second main division of the Hebrew Bible, between the Torah (instruction) and Ketuvim (writings). The Nevi'im are divided into two groups. The Former Prophets consists of the narrative books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings; while the Latter Prophets include the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the Twelve Minor Prophets.

Jeremiah Biblical prophet

Jeremiah, also called the "weeping prophet", was one of the major prophets of the Hebrew Bible. According to Jewish tradition, Jeremiah authored the Book of Jeremiah, the Books of Kings and the Book of Lamentations, with the assistance and under the editorship of Baruch ben Neriah, his scribe and disciple.

Dhu al-Kifl An Islamic prophet

Dhu al-Kifl, also spelled Zu al-Kifl, is an Islamic prophet who has been identified with various Hebrew Bible prophets, most commonly Ezekiel. It is believed that he lived for roughly 75 years and that he preached in what is modern day Iraq. Dhu al-Kifl is believed to have been exalted by Allah to a high station in life and is chronicled in the Quran as a man of the "Company of the Good". Although not much is known of Dhul-Kifl from other historical sources, all the writings from classical commentators, such as Ibn Ishaq and Ibn Kathir, speak of Dhu al-Kifl as a prophetic, saintly man who remained faithful in daily prayer and worship.

Bible prophecy A foretelling; prediction; a declaration of something to come.

Bible prophecy or biblical prophecy comprises the passages of the Bible that reflect communications from God to humans through prophets. Jews and Christians usually consider the biblical prophets to have received revelations from God.

Micah (prophet) Prophet in Judaism

According to the Hebrew Bible, Micah was a prophet in Judaism and is the author of the Book of Micah. He is considered one of the Twelve Minor Prophets of the Hebrew Bible and was a contemporary of the prophets Isaiah, Amos and Hosea. Micah was from Moresheth-Gath, in southwest Judah. He prophesied during the reigns of kings Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah of Judah.

Jeremiah 1 Book of Jeremiah, chapter 1

Jeremiah 1 is the first chapter of the Book of Jeremiah in the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. This book, one of the Nevi'im or Books of the Prophets, contains the prophecies attributed to the prophet Jeremiah. This chapter serves as an introduction to the Book of Jeremiah and relates Jeremiah's calling as a prophet.

Hosea 5 Book of Hosea, chapter 5

Hosea 5 is the fifth chapter of the Book of Hosea in the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. The book contains the prophecies attributed to the prophet Hosea son of Beeri and this chapter is about God's judgments against the priests, the people, and the princes of Israel, for their multiple sins, until they repent, a topic which continues to chapter 6. It is a part of the Book of the Twelve Minor Prophets.

Jeremiah 52 Book of Jeremiah, chapter 52

Jeremiah 52 is the fifty-second chapter of the Book of Jeremiah in the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. This book contains prophecies attributed to the prophet Jeremiah, and is one of the Books of the Prophets. This chapter contains a "historical appendix", matching the account in 2 Kings 24:18-25:30 of the end of national life in Judah, and also serving as a vindication of Jeremiah's message.

Ezekiel 1 Book of Ezekiel, chapter 1

Ezekiel 1 is the first chapter of the Book of Ezekiel in the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. This book contains prophecies attributed to the prophet/priest Ezekiel, and is one of the Books of the Prophets. In the New King James Version, this chapter is sub-titled "Ezekiel’s Vision of God", and in the New International Version, "Ezekiel’s Inaugural Vision". In the text, the first verse refers to "visions" (plural).

Jeremiah 29 Book of Jeremiah, chapter 29

Jeremiah 29 is the twenty-ninth chapter of the Book of Jeremiah in the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. It is numbered as Jeremiah 36 in the Septuagint. This book compiles prophecies attributed to the prophet Jeremiah, and is one of the Books of the Prophets. This chapter records several "letters reported by the third-person narrator": from Jerusalem, Jeremiah sent a letter to the people in the Babylonia exile and he responded to a letter about him from Shemaiah.

Jeremiah 39 Book of Jeremiah, chapter 39

Jeremiah 39 is the thirty-ninth chapter of the Book of Jeremiah in the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. It is numbered as Jeremiah 46 in the Septuagint. This book contains prophecies attributed to the prophet Jeremiah, and is one of the Books of the Prophets. This chapter is part of a narrative section consisting of chapters 37 to 44. Chapter 39 records the fall of Jerusalem, verses 1-10, and Jeremiah's fate, verses 11-18.

Ezekiel 25 Book of Ezekiel, chapter 25

Ezekiel 25 is the twenty-fifth chapter of the Book of Ezekiel in the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. This book contains the prophecies attributed to the prophet/priest Ezekiel, and is one of the Books of the Prophets. This chapter contains the oracles against four nations: Ammon, Moab, Edom, and Philistia. The prophecies of God's vengeance against these and other foreign nations are recorded in other books of the prophets such as Isaiah, Jeremiah and Amos.

Jeremiah 46 Book of Jeremiah, chapter 46

Jeremiah 46 is the forty-sixth chapter of the Book of Jeremiah in the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. This book contains prophecies attributed to the prophet Jeremiah, and is one of the Books of the Prophets. This chapter is part of a series of "oracles against foreign nations", consisting of chapters 46 to 51. In particular, chapters 46-49 focus on Judah's neighbors. This chapter contains the poetic oracles against Egypt.

Jeremiah 28 Book of Jeremiah, chapter 28

Jeremiah 28 is the twenty-eighth chapter of the Book of Jeremiah in the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. The material found in Jeremiah 28 of the Hebrew Bible appears in Jeremiah 35 in the Septuagint. This book contains prophecies attributed to the prophet Jeremiah, and is one of the Books of the Prophets. This chapter contains a confrontation between prophets Jeremiah and Hananiah: Hananiah's false prophecy is responded by Jeremiah's answer, Jeremiah 28:1-9. Hananiah breaks Jeremiah's yoke, Jeremiah foretells an iron yoke, and Hananiah's death, Jeremiah 28:10-17.

Jeremiah 35 Book of Jeremiah, chapter 35

Jeremiah 35 is the thirty-fifth chapter of the Book of Jeremiah in the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. It is numbered as Jeremiah 42 in the Septuagint. This book contains prophecies attributed to the prophet Jeremiah, and is one of the Books of the Prophets. This chapter records the meeting of Jeremiah with the Rechabites, a nomadic clan, in which the prophet "contrast[s] their faithfulness to the commands of a dead ancestor with the faithlessness of the people of Judah to the commands of a living God".

Jeremiah 37 Book of Jeremiah, chapter 37

Jeremiah 37 is the thirty-seventh chapter of the Book of Jeremiah in the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. It is numbered as Jeremiah 44 in the Septuagint. This book contains prophecies attributed to the prophet Jeremiah, and is one of the Books of the Prophets. This chapter is the start of a narrative section consisting of chapters 37 to 44. Chapter 37 records King Zedekiah's request for prayer, Jeremiah's reply to the king, and Jeremiah's arrest and imprisonment.

References

  1. Ezekiel 1:3
  2. Ezekiel 1:1–2
  3. 1 2 Terry J. Betts (2005). Ezekiel the Priest: A Custodian of Tôrâ. Peter Lang. p. 51. ISBN   978-0-8204-7425-0.
  4. Longman, T., Jeremiah, Lamentations, Hendrickson Publishers, 2008, p. 6
  5. Babylonian Talmud, Baba Bathra 15a
  6. Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews Book X, 6.3.98
  7. Ezekiel 1:1, 3:15.
  8. [Ezekiel 1]
  9. Ronald Ernest Clements (1 January 1996). Ezekiel. Westminster John Knox Press. p. 1. ISBN   978-0-664-25272-4.
  10. [Ezekiel 29:17]
  11. Walther Eichrodt (20 June 2003). Ezekiel: A Commentary. Westminster John Knox Press. p. 407. ISBN   978-1-61164-596-5.
  12. (Meg. 14b)
  13. (Sifri, Num. 78)
  14. Radak – R. David Kimkhi – in his commentary on Ezekiel 1:3, based on Targum Yerushalmi
  15. Josephus, Ant. x. 6, § 3: "while he was still a boy"; comp. Rashi on Sanh. 92b
  16. (Ḥag. 13b)
  17. Midrash Lev. Rabbah i. 14, toward the end
  18. Midrash Canticles Rabbah vii. 8
  19. Orthodox Church in America – Liturgical Calendar
  20. Emmaus Evangelical Lutheran Church, Daily Catechesis on the Way, published 15 July 2018, accessed 21 February 2020
  21. Alphonsus Maria de' Liguori, The Glories of Mary , Liguori, Mo.: Liguori Publications, 2000, p. 623. ISBN   0-7648-0664-5.
  22. Taylor, John B. (1976). Ezekiel. Downer's Grove, Illinois: Inter-Varsity Press. Series: The Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries. pp. 39-41. ISBN   0-87784-884-X.
  23. Reisebeschreibung nach Arabian Copenhagen, 1778, ii. 264–266
  24. Stories of the Prophets, Ibn Kathir, Story of Ezekiel (Hizqil)
  25. Encyclopedia of Islam, G. Vajda, Hizkil
  26. "Jewishencyclopedia.com". Jewishencyclopedia.com. Retrieved 2012-06-22.
  27. "Iraq Cleric Slams Plan to Turn Jewish Tomb into Mosque". Thejc.com. 2010-04-12. Retrieved 2012-06-22.

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Further reading

  1. Not to be confused with modern day Tel Aviv, located on the Mediterranean coastline. However, this location's name was influenced by Ezekiel 3:15.