Watchman in Ezekiel

Dani Treweek (NT3)

SUMMARY The relationship between Luke-Acts has long been the subject of much discussion. Whilst many scholars have scrutinised the stylistic and linguistic similarities and differences between the two volumes (often preferring to separate the two books) little attention has been payed to their narrative unity and sitz im leben. It is examining the formal features of both, as well as the thematic and narrative links, that it becomes clear that the author originally wrote both of these volumes as one united work which was later split into the gospel and the Acts of the Apostles. Reading them as one work (ie. As LukeActs) has implications for how we understand the Lukan purpose, structure and theology.
“And at the end of seven days, the word of the LORD came to me:“Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for* his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die for his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul. Again, if a righteous person turns from his righteousness and commits injustice, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die. Because you have not warned him, he shall die for his sin, and his righteous deeds that he has done shall not be remembered, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the righteous person not to sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live, because he took warning, and you will have delivered your soul.”” (Ezekiel 3:16-21 ESV)

Problems with Watchman of Chp 3
Relationship between the watchman passage and the context o Stands outside his commissioning which ends at 3:15 Second commissioning? When? Second stage in his commissioning? The individual focus rather than a national (corporate) focus & suggestion of evading judgement if proper response made o Marked contrast from before where Ezk’s ministry has National focus Irrevocable judgement Ezekiel’s divinely imposed dumbness o Strange that he is made watchman, told to wanr people and then told to close himself up and is made dumb!



Has to do mainly with how watchman passage relates to what follows

Possible resolutions?
• Watchman passage part of his initial call to be a prophet which lasts for 3 chapters but has two distinct stages - Stage 1 (1:1-3:15) Ezk’s recpeption of the content of his ministry – message of judgement on Jerusalem highlights Ezk’s ministry to nation as a whole judgement is inescapable central component is eating of scroll - Stage 2 (3:16-27) Responsibility to warn inidviduals judgement possibly evadable Spirit (again) enters him and sets him on his feet Two speeches frame 2nd encounter with glory of Yahweh which again • 1st establishes role of watchman • 2nd how to discharge that role (by symbolic silence broken only when Yahweh gives him oracle and opens his mouth). - How he functions in chp 4-5. Symbolic acts in silence and then message of judgement - But content seems much more related to corporate rather than individuals - So it is unclear Watchman commissioning belongs chronologically after fall of Jerusalem but put here for thematic reasons o There is a 2nd watchman passage in Ch 33 after fall of Jerusalem announced Marking a transition to new phase of Ezk ministry? • Offers hope to individuals who heed the warning of the fall of Jerusalem o Included at beginning as well for a complete account of both aspects of Ezk’s commissioning o Means that the watchman call of Chp 3 is isolated from what follows (which is the beginning of the ministry he was called to in 1:1-3:15) First stage continues until Jerusalem falls and the dumbness is lifted o Problem Ezk’s commissioning as watchman explicityly said to have occurred 7 days after end of first stage of call

Ezek. 3:16 And at the end of seven days, the word of the LORD came to me:

Means that we either have to disregard this specific mention or not relegate watchman till later in his ministry • 3rd possibility Part of initial call but highlights particular ministry that does not become promiment till after fall of Jerusalem?

Ezekiel the Watchman
• Metaphor not original to Ezekiel o Hosea (8th Century) watchman for my God over Ephraim (Hos 9:8) o Jeremiah (6th Century) I raised up a watchman for you (Jer 6:17) Function is to warn Israelites o But only when he hears a word from Yahweh’s mouth Arrival of God is the danger about which people need to be warned So the attacking foe is also the friend who wants his ‘enemies’ to escape! Watchman will address individuals pastoral role giving individual attention to those under his care o Distinctive in Ezekiel: comes our particularly in Ch 33ff Fall of Jerusalem does not signal end of his ministry But the beginning of a new and important stage of it o Prophets have characteristically addressed king as head and representative of whole nation Nation as a whole o Now Ezk called to address individuals in a pastoral sense Jerusalem has fallen, nation is decimated • Must now warn and admonish individuals