Background on Ezekiel
Ezekiel lived during the Babylonian exile where was called to be a prophet, probably in the Jewish settlement of Tel-abib on theChebar canal near the ancient city of Nippur(3:15).
His name in Hebrew—
,)—means “God strengthens (this child)” orpossibly, “May God strengthen (thisperson).”
He was a priest, and the son of a priestnamed Buzi (1:3).
Because he was from a priestly family, heprobably had a good education, especially inthe Law.
Like Jeremiah, he steadfastly opposed theplans of Zedekiah and his advisers to rebelagainst Babylon (12:1–15; 17:1–22; 21:18–32).
He was married (24:18), but little else isknown about his personal life.
His visions are some of the most vivid anddetailed of any prophet in recordedscripture (chaps. 1, 8, 10, 37, 40). He wroteof the hand of God grabbing him andmoving him physically (8:3; 37:1), and thespirit of God entering him and standing himupon his feet (2:2).
He is referred to by the Lord as “son of man” 93 times in the book of Ezekiel. Thisphrase means “human one,” anddistinguishes him from the divine beings inhis visions.
Ezekiel was born about 623
He was likely deported from Judah toBabylonia in 597 after Nebuchadnezzarconquered the Jerusalem the first time (2Kings 24:10–17). (The Babylonians—like the Assyrians before them—believed thatconquered nations could more easily becontrolled if their populations wereresettled in small communities in theBabylonian heartland.)
He was called as a prophet in 593
., whenhe was 30 years old (1:1).
His last recorded prophecy was given in 571(29:17), so he was active as a prophet for atleast 22 years.
Legend says he was buried in a tomb at al-Kifl, near the modern town of Hilla in Iraq.
Ezekiel lived through the greatest crisis inancient Israel’s history: the final destruction of Judah and its capital, Jerusalem; the loss of independence in the promised land; exile of most of the people of Judah in Babylonia; andthe tearing down of the temple and removal of the house of David from the throne.
Ezekiel was born.
King Josiah began his attempts atcleansing the temple and reforming Israelitereligious worship (2 Kings 22:3–23:25).
Josiah was killed in battle against theEgyptians (2 Kings 23:29–30). His son,Jehoahaz, reigned only three months.Jehoiakim, another son of Josiah, became king(2 Kings 23:31–37).
Nebuchadnezzar conquered the area of Palestine. For the next three years, Judah paidtribute to Babylonia (2 Kings 24:1). Daniel, as a young man, was taken into captivity inBabylonia about this time (Daniel 1:1–7).
Judah rebelled against Babylonia. Therebellion failed and the Babylonians sentChaldeans, Syrians, Moabites, and Ammonitesto plunder Judah (2 Kings 24:2).
Jehoiakim died and his son, Jehoiachin, became king of Judah (2 Kings 24:6).
Jehoiachin had reigned only three months when the Babylonians laid siege to Jerusalem.The temple was plundered and about 8,000 eliteand skilled Jews, including Ezekiel and KingJehoiachin himself, were deported to Babylonia.Nebuchadnezzar installed another of Josiah’ssons, Zedekiah, as king of Judah (2 Kings 24:8–19). Lehi was called as a prophet (1 Nephi 1:4).
Ezekiel was called as a prophet while inexile in Babylonia (1:1–3). He saw a vision of idol worship in the Jerusalem temple (8:1–17).