Lessing, R. Reed & Andrew E. Steinmann. Prepare the Way of the Lord: An Introduction to the Old Testament. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2014. Chapter 25, “Ezekiel” pp. 417-432.
Ezekiel was deported to Babylon in 597 B.C. When he was 30 years old, rather than beginning service as a priest, he received a prophet’s call (Lessing 2014, 417). He serves as a transitionary prophet between those before and after the exile. Lessing finds much evidence that Ezekiel wrote the book of Ezekiel (Lessing 2014, 418). Critical opinion does, of course, suggest very substantial editorial work. The text of chapters 1-24 is primarily denunciation. Chapters 33-48 are largely a promise of restoration. In between are oracles about various nations (Lessing 2014, 419).
Ezekiel’s language is distinctive. Lessing notes unusual vocabulary, several repetitive phrases, and considerable use of allegory (Lessing 2014, 421). Lessing also observes that there are significant differences in the text traditions, with the Masoretic text being considerably longer than the Septuagint (Lessing 2014, 421). The text contains numerous historical markers, indicating that the prophecies are basically chronological (Lessing 2014, 422).
Important themes in Ezekiel include God’s glory (Lessing 2014, 423), the covenant at Sinai (Lessing 2014, 424), the idea of Yahweh as the spouse of Israel, apocalyptic themes (Lessing 2014, 425), and the new temple (Lessing 2014, 426). Ezekiel speaks of a David to come. Lessing sees this and the temple to come as signs of Christ and the future blessing of the Church (Lessing 2014, 429).Ezekiel sees sin as a corporate or generational issue. He calls people to accept their responsibility but does not portray it in highly individual terms as we tend to see later (Lessing 2014, 430).