Ezekiel, 1 in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE

I. The Prophet and His Book. 1. The Person of Ezekiel: The name yehezqe'l, signifies "God strengthens." The Septuagint employed the form Iezekiel, from which the Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) took its "Ezechiel" and Luther "Hesekiel." In Ezek 1:3 the prophet is said to be the son of a certain Buzi, and that he was a priest. This combination of the priestly and prophetic offices is not accidental at a time when the priests began to come more and more into the foreground. Thus, too, Jeremiah (1:1) and Zechariah (1:1; compare Ezr 5:1; 6:14; Neh 12:4,16, and my article "Zechariah" in Murray's Illustrated Bible Dictionary) were priests and prophets; and in Zec 7:3 a question in reference to fasting is put to both priests and prophets at the same time. And still more than in the case of Zechariah and Jeremiah, the priestly descent makes itself felt in the case of Ezekiel. We here already draw attention to his Levitical tendencies, which appear particularly prominent in Ezek 40 through 46 (see under II, 2 below), and to the high-priestly character of his picture of the Messiah (21:25 f; 45:22; see II, 3 below). We find Ezekiel in Tel-abib (3:15) at the river Chebar (1:1,3; 3:15) on a Euphrates canal near Nippur, where the American expedition found the archives of a great business house, "Murashu and Sons." The prophet had been taken into exile in 597 BC. This event so deeply affected the fate of the people and his personal relations that Ezekiel dates his prophecies from this event. They begin with the 5th year of this date, in which year through the appearance of the Divine glory (compare II, 1 below) he had been consecrated to the prophetic office (1:2) and continued to the 27th year (29:17), i.e. from 593 to 571 BC. The book gives us an idea of the external conditions of the exiles. The expressions "prison," "bound," which are applied to the exiles, easily create a false impression, or at any rate a one-sided idea. These terms surely to a great extent are used figuratively. Because the Jews had lost their country, their capital city, their temple, their service and their independence as a nation, their condition was under all circumstances lamentable, and could be compared with the fate of prisoners and those in fetters...

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