The Book of Ezekiel - Vol. 2

The Book of Ezekiel - Vol. 2

The Book of Ezekiel - Vol. 2

The Book of Ezekiel - Vol. 2

Synopsis

This work completes Daniel Block's two-volume commentary on the book of Ezekiel. The result of twelve years of studying this difficult section of Scripture, this volume, like the one on chapters 1-24, provides an excellent discussion of the background of Ezekiel and offers a verse-by-verse exposition that makes clear the message of this obscure and often misunderstood prophet. Block also shows that Ezekiel's ancient wisdom and vision are still very much needed as we enter the twenty-first century.

Excerpt

Ezekiel 25:1 marks a major break in the collection of Ezekiel’s oracles. Until this point his prophecies had dealt with the fate of Jerusalem, climaxing in the specific prediction of the city’s fall in 24:25-27. It is possible that the account of the fulfillment of this prophecy in ch. 33 followed immediately after the prediction in an earlier edition of these oracles. the editor(s) may have felt the need for a buffer between the prophet’s harsh pronouncements of judgment in chs. 4–24 (i.e., chs. 4–24 plus ch. 33) and the hopeful oracles of chs. 34–48. One may view the genre of the oracles against the nations as transitional or hybrid forms. Like the preceding messages concerning Jerusalem, chs. 25–32 consist exclusively of judgment oracles. But no longer are they directed against Judah/Israel. Indeed, in anticipating the judgment of the enemies of God’s people, they function as indirect messages of hope, a conclusion reinforced by the fragment separating the oracles against Tyre from those directed against Egypt (28:24-26). the resulting structure of the book (oracles of judgment — oracles against foreign nations — oracles of deliverance) bears a striking resemblance to other collections, specifically those of Isaiah, Zephaniah, and the lxx arrangement of Jeremiah. Oracles against foreign nations were apparently considered transitional, linking words of woe with proclamations of good news.

Nonetheless, to speak of the oracles against foreign nations as a distinctive genre is misleading. Ezekiel’s prophecies in this collection display no functional or formal differences from his oracles of judgment against Judah/Israel. the reasons for judgment are similar (social sins, hubris, etc.), the divine punishment is the same (the curses against Judah are turned against Judah’s enemies), the vocabulary and tone are similar, and the forms are the same. Ezekiel’s audience would undoubtedly have

1. Contra Hals, Ezekiel, p. 351. For a study of oracles against froreign nations as a genre, see D. L. Christensen, Transformations of the War Oracle in Old Testament Prophecy: Studies in the Oracles Against the Nations, hds 3 (Missoula, Mont.: Scholars Press, 1975).

2. Ezekiel’s prophecies against foreign nations include proof oracles (most ending with the recognition formula; 25:1-7; 25:8-11; 25:12-14; 25:15-17; 26:1-6; 28:20-23; 29:1-16; 29:17-21; 30:1-19; 30:20-26), basic judgment oracles (25:1–26:21; 28:1-10; 28:20-26; 29:1-21; 30:16-26), prophetic laments (27:1-36; 28:11-19; 30:1-5; 32:1-32), and extended metaphors (27:1-36; 28:11-19; 29:1-9; 31:1-18). the overlapping reflects the paucity of “pure” forms of the genres.

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