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Literature / Book of Ezekiel

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The Book of Ezekiel is one of the prophetic books of the Old Testament that is listed among the Major Prophets. In this book, Ezekiel was called to be a prophet during the early years of the Babylonian exile of the Judeans, sent to give the people still living in Jerusalem warning before the city is taken over and its people are destroyed.


This book provides examples of:

  • Accomplice by Inaction: God warns Ezekiel a few times that if he as a watchman does not warn the people of Israel to repent so that they will not die because of their sins, and they end up perishing, God will hold him responsible for not warning them.
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  • Angelic Beauty: The King of Tyre (or rather, The Man Behind the Man) is spoken of as having this in Ezekiel 28:12.
    "You had the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty."
  • Arc Words:
    • "Son of man," God's name for Ezekiel, which was later used as Jesus' form of self-identification.
    • "And they shall know that I am the Lord."
  • Bigger Is Better in Bed: "There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses." (Ezekiel 23:20, NIV)
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Ezekiel was made out to be this in his own book. At one point, Ezekiel makes a model of Jerusalem and besieges it in the city square for about fourteen months. Another time, he shaves his head and beard with a sword, then runs about town with a portion of the hair, hitting it with the sword.
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  • By the Hair: God grabs Ezekiel by the hair in Chapter 8 and takes him to Jerusalem to show him the detestable things that are being done in His Temple.
  • The Cassandra: Ezekiel was purposely made to be this by God, with God saying that, whether His people will listen to him or not, they will at least know that a prophet has been among them.
  • Claimed by the Supernatural: God in chapter 9 has a messenger with a writer's ink horn mark off the people who sigh and mourn over Jerusalem's sins to be spared from the other messengers who will go throughout the city and slay the others.
  • Corrupt Church: The Judaic religious system at the time of Ezekiel's ministry was so corrupt, with the priests worshiping idols even in God's holy Temple, that the glory of God decided to vacate the premises with Ezekiel watching.
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  • Death from Above: The fate of Magog in Ezekiel 37:6:
    And I will rain down fire on Magog and on all your allies who live safely on the coasts, and they shall know I am the Lord. (The Living Bible)
  • Defiled Forever: Judah and Israel are compared to young women who were prostitutes back in Egypt and taken in by God as His wives, only for them to cheat on Him with Assyrian soldiers and the like. They are punished for their adultery, and "their names became bywords among women."
  • Dem Bones: Ezekiel is given a vision of a valley full of dry skeletons, where he is commanded to carry a prophecy. Before him the bones connect into human figures, then the bones become covered with tendon tissues, flesh, and skin. Then God reveals the bones to the prophet as the people of Israel in exile and commands Ezekiel to carry another prophecy in order to revitalize these human figures, to resurrect them and to bring them to the land of Israel.
  • Disposable Woman: Ezekiel's wife dies, but God commands him not to mourn for her death, so that his actions would be used as a message to God's people that they too will lose their wives and family and not mourn for them.
  • Doomed Hometown: God pronounces doom to the people of Jerusalem throughout the early chapters of this book, telling them that He's going to send the sword, famine, and plague against them. In the later chapters, though, God tells the people that were sent into exile that He will bring them back, cleanse them of their sins, and give them a new heart and a new spirit so that they would obey Him and things will be well with them again.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come:
    • Chapters 38 and 39 are interpreted as a future attack on Israel by Magog that will be thwarted supernaturally by God, where the people of Israel will be able to burn all of the invading army's supplies for fuel for seven years.
    • Chapters 40 to 48 speak of a future Temple to come and what the land of Israel will be like years off into the future.
  • The End Is Nigh: Chapter 7 has God through Ezekiel warning Jerusalem that "the end is coming", meaning the time of the city's destruction.
  • Everybody Has Standards: For as bad as the Philistines are presented in Scripture, God says that even they are shocked of the adulterous ways of the land of Israel, as presented in the parable God speaks about them as a whorish wife in Chapter 16.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Ezekiel in the early chapters is given a scroll to eat, which to him tasted like honey.
  • Face–Heel Turn and Heel–Face Turn: God says a few times in this book that if a righteous person trusts in his own righteousness and commits evil, he will die and none of his righteous acts will be remembered, and also if a wicked person is warned that he will die from his sins and thus turns away from his sins and lives righteously before God, then he will live and none of his wicked acts will be remembered.
  • Feathered Fiend: God in Chapter 39 summons birds together to feast on the bodies of those who are slain in the failed assault upon Israel.
  • Fossil Revival: God has Ezekiel in chapter 37 stand in "the valley of dry bones" to prophesy to the scattered bones so that they will rise up and become living people again, as a parable of God bringing His own people back from "the dead" to have them live again.
  • A God Am I: God speaks to the King of Tyre boasting about himself being a god in Ezekiel 28:1-10, saying He's going to bring judgment upon the king to make him stop thinking that about himself.
  • God of Good: God points out a few times in Ezekiel that He has no delight in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked should turn from his ways and live. He also promises that if a wicked person turns from his wickedness and does what God considers righteous, then he shall live and not die.
  • Good Shepherd: God in Chapter 34 speaks of Himself as being the Good Shepherd that will take care of the flock that the other shepherds chose to rule over with cruelty, and will also judge between sheep and sheep.
  • Healing Spring: The water that comes out of the Temple, as shown in chapter 47.
    “This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the valley, and enters the sea. When it flows into the sea, the water will become fresh. Every living creature that swarms, wherever the rivers go, will live." (Ezekiel 47:8-9)
  • Holy Is Not Safe: God tells Ezekiel in Chapter 44 to warn the priests to leave the holy priest clothes in the sacred chambers so that they do not "transmit holiness" unto the people and thus harm them. In Chapter 46, Ezekiel is shown the kitchens where the priest are to boil and bake the offerings to avoid carrying them into the outer court, because they are also holy.
  • Human Sacrifice: God brings judgment upon His people Israel for sacrificing children born to Him to the fire, saying to them in Chapter 16, "Was it too little for you to be a prostitute in order to do that?"
  • I'm a Humanitarian: God in Chapter 5 says that people in Jerusalem at the time the Babylonians would build a siege around the city would be so hungry that parents will eat their own children, and children will eat their own parents.
  • Jewish Complaining: God tells Ezekiel to bake bread for himself by using human excrement for fuel. When Ezekiel complains to God by saying he has never eaten anything defiled since childhood, God changes His mind and tells Ezekiel to use cow manure instead. (The latter, when dried, was a normal staple fuel at the time, as it still is in some parts of the world.)
  • The Man Behind the Man: Ezekiel 28:11-19 is usually interpreted as God speaking to the Man behind the King of Tyre.
  • Mass Resurrection: Ezekiel in Chapter 37 prophesying in the "valley of dry bones" to resurrect the bones of people into a living human army, as a symbol of what God is going to do with His people Israel.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: From Ezekiel 1:5-11:
    Also out of the midst came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance: They had the likeness of a man. Every one had four faces, and every one had four wings. Their legs were straight and the soles of their feet were like the sole of a calf’s hoof. And they gleamed like the color of burnished bronze. They had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides. As for the faces and wings of the four of them, their wings were joined to one another. Their faces did not turn when they went. Each went straight forward. As for the likeness of their faces, each had the face of a man, and all four had the face of a lion on the right side, and the face of an ox on the left side, and the face of an eagle. Thus were their faces. And their wings were stretched upward. Two wings of every one were joined to one another, and two covered their bodies.
  • Moral Myopia: A few times in this book God addresses this problem with His people when they say, "The ways of the LORD are not fair [or equal]," by saying unto them, "Are not My ways fair, and your ways are not fair?"
  • Parental Abandonment: Jerusalem, as depicted in God's parable about them in chapter 16 as an unwanted baby daughter who was left out into the streets without anyone to care for her, until God spoke to the baby and caused her to grow into a young woman that He married.'
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: Ezekiel's graphic metaphorical descriptions of Judah as God's adulterous wife (who gets gruesomely punished by God for her sluttishness) are often considered politically incorrect today, especially by feminists (who often think the imagery is misogynistic, and/or encourages abusive relationships in real life). However, they would already have been extremely politically incorrect in his own time, if not for the exact same reasons. Ezekiel's contemporary Jeremiah was accused of blasphemy for using far less offensive language in his own prophecies.
  • Pride:
    • Jerusalem, as depicted as a Rags to Royalty woman in Chapter 16, had a pride issue. God gave His people the best of everything and made them into a successful kingdom, but eventually fame went to their heads and they started "committing adultery" with the surrounding nations. Eventually God had to punish them because of their spiritually adulterous hearts.
    • While the other books of the Bible say Sodom was destroyed due to its people "going after other flesh" (in other words, perverted sexuality according to God), this book says what started her downfall was "pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness" and that she "did not strengthen the hand of the poor and needy". And from there, Sodom became haughty and went From Bad to Worse, thus bringing God's judgment upon them. Ezekiel does mention various unspecified "abominations" as sins that the people there also committed, as well, which may or may not be a reference to the more familiar story (since homosexuality is one example of things that fall under what the Bible calls "abominations" in other places).
  • Rags to Royalty: Jerusalem is spoken of in Chapter 16 as a woman God raised from an unwanted child to a queen, whose fame and beauty became known to the world because of the beauty He bestowed unto her. However, once she became popular, she turned into an adulterous woman seeking the surrounding nations for their favors instead of having them pay her for her services like a common prostitute.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Ezekiel watched as God's glory in physical form departed from the Temple when He saw how corrupt even His priests were.
  • Serial Escalation: If what Ezekiel saw being done in the Temple by God's people Israel in Chapter 8 was horrible, God tells him that He will show him things "more detestable than this".
  • Shameful Strip: In God's judgment parable against Jerusalem in Chapter 16, He says that He will bring together all her lovers — those whom she loved and those whom she hated — and will strip her completely naked so that they will see all her nakedness.
  • Sinister Minister: God condemns the shepherds of Israel in Chapter 34 that rule over their spiritual flocks with cruelty.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: In stereo with Jeremiah, Ezekiel also got an oracle from God condemning Israelites for saying "The fathers eat sour grapes and the children's teeth are set on edge," and stating that God is going to put a stop to that nonsense and make individuals take responsibility for all of their own infractions.
  • Soiled City on a Hill: Jerusalem in God's eyes at the time of Ezekiel's ministry, to the point where He would bring judgment upon them.
  • The Speechless: God rendered Ezekiel speechless for a time and then loosens his tongue so he could speak a message of God to His people.
  • Tarnishing Their Own Beauty: God tells His people in Chapter 16 that their adulterous ways with the nations surrounding them has made their beauty as God's wife to be abhorred.
  • Wife Husbandry: Israel is compared to an unwanted baby girl that was rejected and abandoned by her Canaanite parents, left to die with her cord still attached, to whom God says, "Live!" and she does. She grows and reaches puberty, at which point God takes her as a wife, and gives her everything she could ever want and more...only for her to cheat on him. (See below.)
  • Your Cheating Heart: God in Ezekiel chapter 16 compares His people Israel to being like an unfaithful wife that He raised up and married, going after "other lovers" instead of after Him once she became a prosperous people. God compares the sins of Jerusalem (Judah) to that of Samaria (the northern kingdom of Israel) and Sodom and says that, compared to Jerusalem, Samaria and Sodom were more "righteous" than her.
    • A similar story is told, with both Israel and Judah compared to young girls who were prostitutes back in Egypt, and graciously taken in by God as wives, both choosing Assyrian soldiers over Him.
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