In This Article Ezekiel

  • Introduction
  • Edited Books of Essays
  • Textual Criticism
  • Ezekiel 1–3, the Inaugural Vision and its Afterlife
  • Ezekiel 8–11, the Temple Vision
  • Ezekiel 25–32, Oracles Against Foreign Nations
  • Ezekiel 33–37, the Turn to Israel’s Deliverance
  • Ezekiel 38–39, Gog/Magog
  • Ezekiel 40–48, the Second Temple Vision
  • Theological Interpretation
  • Priesthood and Leadership
  • Ezekiel and Other Biblical Traditions
  • Ezekiel and Later Traditions, Including History of Effects
  • Other Works
  • Understanding Ezekiel in his Mesopotamian Context

Biblical Studies Ezekiel
by
Jacqueline Lapsley, Safwat Marzouk
  • LAST REVIEWED: 28 April 2017
  • LAST MODIFIED: 27 February 2019
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195393361-0019

Introduction

The book of Ezekiel, with its forty-eight chapters, is the third of the so-called Major Prophets (after Isaiah and Jeremiah). Ezekiel was a priest and a prophet in the years leading up to and following the Babylonian invasion of Judah in the early 6th century BCE. The events surrounding the invasion—that is, the subsequent deportation of people to Babylon, and the destruction of the temple and the city of Jerusalem—provoked an unparalleled theological crisis in Israel’s life, the depth of which is everywhere evident in Ezekiel. The temple was widely understood in several of Israel’s dominant religious traditions to be the unique locus of God’s presence, and its destruction was thus tantamount to God’s total abandonment of Israel. For Ezekiel, as a priest, the destruction of the temple seemed to signify both the end of his own identity and, more importantly, the end of Israelites as God’s covenantal people. The prophecies in the book are generally dated to the period 593–571 BCE, though they do not follow an entirely clear chronological pattern within the book. Having been deported from Jerusalem with the first wave of exiles in 597, Ezekiel has been in Babylon for several years by 593, when the first text can be dated. And by its own dating, the final vision of a glorious temple in chapters 40–48 dates to about 571. The book appears on the surface to fall neatly into three parts (God’s judgment of Israel, chapters 1–24; God’s judgment of the nations, chapters 25–32; God’s restoration of Israel, chapters 33–48), but within that threefold structure it resists easy organization. The following bibliographic entries are not meant to be comprehensive, but merely illustrative of the resources available.

Commentaries

The following selected commentaries are chosen either because they are considered classics of scholarship or because they provide good orientation to the book of Ezekiel, or both. The tendency in earlier scholarship (up until about 1980 or so) was to examine the text of Ezekiel with a rather narrow set of criteria for what constituted the “authentic” words of the prophet. Form and redaction criticism were the reigning methodologies. Beginning with Greenberg 1983–1997 (cited under Pre-1990 Commentaries), however, there was a turn toward the final form of the text. This section is broken down into two subsections, Pre-1990 Commentaries and Post-1990 Commentaries.

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