Unlike their ancestors, who were enslaved and socially marginalized while in exile in Egypt, the Jews of Ezekiel's time were able to become part of the society they found themselves in. The Exiles were told by Jeremiah not to worship the foreign gods, but Jeremiah did tell them that they could become part of the Babylonian culture. They did this well, often being called upon by the Babylonians to complete projects using their skills as artisans. Unlike other enemies, the Babylonians allowed the Jewish people to settle in small groups. While keeping their religious and national identities, many Jewish people did start to settle into their new environment. From building homes to opening businesses, the Jews seemed to settle into their exile land for the long haul.
This growing comfort in Babylon helps to explain why so many Jewish people decided not to return to their land. Many people would have been born in exile and would know nothing of their old land, so when the opportunity came for them to reclaim the land that was taken from them, many decided not to leave the Babylonian land they knew. This large group of people who decided to stay are known to be the oldest of the Jewish diaspora communities along with the Jews of Persia.
In the construction there appears the figure twenty-five and its multiples: the gate (inside measurement) is twenty-five cubits wide; its length (outside measurement) is fifty cubits; a hundred cubits is the distance from gate to gate; the inner court is a hundred cubits square; so that the total measurement of the temple area, as the measurement in 42:15-20 makes quite explicit, is five hundred square cubits. This system of measurement is still effective in the undoubtedly later description of the allocation of land in chapter 48 in the measurement of the terumah [consecrated area] in the narrower sense (48:20) at twenty-five thousand cubits by twenty-five thousand. But that is not all. The measurement of the steps of the ascent at the level of the sanctuary begins with the figure seven, which is again significance here (40:22, 26). The inner court is reached by eight steps (40:31, 34, 37), while the level of the temple building is reached by a further ten steps (40:49, emended text). Thus the measurement of the steps forming the ascent as a whole again comes to the figure twenty-five. From this point of view one cannot suppress the question whether the figure in the date in 40:1, the twenty-fifth year, is not also to be evaluated in this context of numerical stylization. [Source: Ezekiel 2 by Walther Zimmerli (Philadelphia:Fortress Press, 1983 English Translation), p. 344].
(Ezek. 38 = Rev. 20:8; Ezek. 47:1-8 = Rev. 22:1,2). Other references to this book are also found in the New Testament. (Compare Epistle to the Romans 2:24 with Ezek. 36:22; Rom. 10:5, Galatians 3:12 with Ezek. 20:11; 2 Peter 3:4 with Ezek. 12:22)
It is also generally agreed that the Book of Ezekiel refers to the Pentateuch (e.g., Ezek. 27; 28:13; 31:8; 36:11, 34; 47:13, etc.) quite often, and shows on a number of occasions that its author is familiar with the writings of Hosea (Ezek. 37:22), Isaiah (Ezek. 8:12; 29:6), and especially with those of Jeremiah, (Jeremiah 24:7, 9; 48:37).
According to traditionalists, Ezekiel 14:14 refers to the Daniel described in the Biblical Book of Daniel, fourteen years after Daniel's deportation from Jerusalem, and Ezekiel 28:3 mentions this Daniel again as being 'pre-eminent in wisdom'. In support of this interpretation, traditionalists note that the name Daniel appears in the Book of Ezekiel immediately after the names of Noah and Job, two other major Biblical characters.
Some non-traditionalist commentators disagree, noting that a "Daniel" also appears in ancient Ugaritic texts, that Daniel isn't specifically described as a contemporary (indeed, the phrase "Noah, Daniel and Job" implies otherwise), and that the Book of Daniel is widely regarded by modern scholars as having been written centuries later.
According to this system, Ezekiel was originally written in the 22 year period between 593 to 571 BC. The following table lists events in Ezekiel with their dates.
|Chariot Vision (Merkabah)||1:1-3||June 6, 593 BC.|
|Call to be a Watchman||3:16||June 13, 593|
|Temple Vision||8:1||August 23, 592|
|Discourse with Elders||20:1||July 19, 591|
|Second Siege of Jerusalem||24:1||December 22, 589|
|Judgment on Tyre||26:1||March 30, 587|
|Judgment on Egypt||29:1||December 13, 588|
|Judgment on Egypt||29:17||March 3, 571|
|Judgment on Egypt||30:20||April 5, 587|
|Judgment on Egypt||31:1||May 28, 587|
|Lament over Pharaoh||32:1||February 18, 586|
|Lament over Egypt||32:17||April 2, 586|
|Fall of Jerusalem||33:21||December 13, 586|
|New Temple Vision||40:1||September 26, 573|
On the fifth day of the fourth month in the fifth year of his exile (5 Tammuz, 593 BC), he said he beheld on the banks of the Chebar the glory of God, who consecrated him as a prophet. The latest date in his book is the first day of the first month in the twenty-seventh year of his exile (1 Nisan, 571 BC); consequently, his prophecies extended over twenty-two years.
The elders of the exiles repeatedly visited him to obtain a divine oracle (chapters 8, 14, 20). He exerted no permanent influence upon his contemporaries, however, whom he repeatedly calls the "rebellious house" (2:5, 6, 8; 3:9, 26, 27; and elsewhere), complaining that although they flock in great numbers to hear him they regard his discourse as a sort of aesthetic amusement, and fail to act in accordance with his words (33:30-33). If the enigmatical date, "the thirtieth year" (1:1), be understood to apply to the age of the prophet, Ezekiel was born exactly at the time of the reform in the ritual introduced by Josiah. Concerning his death nothing is known.
He had a house in the place of his exile, Tel-Abib, where he lost his wife, in the ninth year of his exile, by some sudden and unforeseen stroke (Ezek. 8:1; 24:18).
His ministry extended over twenty-six years 597 - 571 BC (29:17), during part of which he was contemporary with Jeremiah, and probably also with Obadiah. According to tradition, he would also have been contemporary with Daniel (however, Daniel is regarded by some as being written much later, with Ezekiel's references to "Daniel" being seen as references to an ancient Ugaritic hero of that name, not a contemporary). The time and manner of his death are unknown. His reputed tomb is pointed out in the neighbourhood of Hilla or ancient Babylon, at a place called Al Kifl.
After being led away by the Babylonians on May 29, 597, Ezekiel, along with the other Israelites, was resettled in Babylon. Ezekiel himself lived in his own home in exile at Tel-abib near Chebar canal, which was near Nippur in Babylonia.
Since then, the academic community has been split into a number of different camps over the authorship of the book. W. Zimmerli proposes that Ezekiel's original message was influenced by a later school that added a deeper understanding to the prophecies. Other groups, like the one led by M. Greenberg, still tend to see the majority of the work of the book done by Ezekiel himself.
Traditionally, the book of Ezekiel is thought to have been written in the 500s BC during the Babylonian exile of the southern Israelite kingdom, Judah. This date is confirmed to some extent in that the author of the book of Ezekiel appears to use a dating system which was only used in the 500s BCE..
Some unsourced original commentary that has been unverified for at least 18 months has recently been removed here.