Ezekiel, 2

Continued from EZEKIEL, 1.

II. Significance of Ezekiel in Israel's Religious History.

Under the first head we will consider the formal characteristics and significance of the book; and the examination of its contents will form the subject under the next four divisions.

See a list of verses on EZEKIEL in the Bible.

1. Formal Characteristics of Ezekiel:

It is not correct to regard Ezekiel merely as a writer, as it is becoming more and more customary to do. Passages like 3:10 f; 14:4 ff; 20:1 ff,27; 24:18 ff; 43:10 f show that just as the other prophets did, he too proclaimed by word of mouth the revelations of God he had received. However, he had access only to a portion of the people. It was indeed for him even more important than it had been for the earlier prophets to provide for the wider circulation and permanent influence of his message by putting it into written form. We will, at this point, examine his book first of all from its formal and its aesthetic side. To do this it is very difficult, in a short sketch, to give even a general impression of the practically inexhaustible riches of the means at his command for the expression of his thoughts.

See also the McClintock and Strong Biblical Cyclopedia.

(1) Visions.

Thus, a number of visions at once attract our attention. In the beginning of his work there appears to him the Divine throne-chariot, which comes from the north as a storm, as a great cloud and a fire rolled together. This chariot is borne by the four living creatures in the form of men, with the countenances of a man, of a lion, of an ox and of an eagle, representing the whole living creation. It will be remembered that these figures have passed over into the Revelation of John (Re 4:7), and later were regarded as the symbols of the four evangelists. In Eze 10:1-22 f this throne-chariot in the vision leaves the portal of the temple going toward the east, returning again in the prediction of deliverance in Eze 43:1-27. Moreover, the entire last nine chapters are to be interpreted as a vision (compare Eze 40:2). We must not forget, finally, the revivification of the Israelite nation in Eze 37:1-28, represented in the picture of a field full of dead bones, which are again united, covered with skin, and receive new life through the ruach (word of two meanings, "wind" and "spirit").

As a rule the visions of Ezekiel, like those of Zechariah (compare my article "Zechariah" in Murray's Illustrated Bible Dictionary), are not regarded as actual experiences, but only as literary forms. When it is given as a reason for this that the number of visions are too great and too complicated, and therefore too difficult of presentation, to be real experiences, we must declare this to be an altogether too unsafe, subjective and irrelevant rule to apply in the matter. However, correct the facts mentioned are in themselves they do not compel us to draw this conclusion. Not only is it uncertain how many visions may be experiences (compare e.g. the five visions in Am 7:1-17 ff, which are generally regarded as actual experiences), but it is also absolutely impossible to prove such an a priori claim with reference to the impossibility and the unreality of processes which are not accessible to us by our own experience. As these visions, one and all, are, from the religious and ethical sides, up to the standards of Old Testament prophecy, and as, further, they are entirely unique in character, and as, finally, there is nothing to show that they are only literary forms, we must hold to the conviction that the visions are actual experiences.

(2) Symbolical Acts.

Then we find in Ezekiel, also, a large number of symbolical acts. According to Divine command Ezekiel sketches the city of Jerusalem and its siege on a tile (4:1 ff); or he lies bound on his left side, as an atonement, 390 days, and 40 days on his right side, according to the number of years of the guilt of Israel and Judah (4:4 ff). During the 390 days the condition of the people in exile is symbolized by a small quantity of food daily of the weight of only 20 shekels, and unclean, being baked on human or cattle dung, and a small quantity of water, which serves as food and drink of the prophet (4:9 ff).

By means of his beard and the hair of his head, which he shaves off and in part burns, in part strikes with the sword, and in part scatters to the wind, and only the very smallest portion of which he ties together in the hem of his garment, he pictures how the people shall be decimated so that only a small remnant shall remain (Eze 5:1 ff). In Eze 12:1-28, he prepares articles necessary for marching and departs in the darkness. Just so Israel will go into captivity and its king will not see the country into which he goes (compare the blinding of Zedekiah, 2Ki 25:7). In Eze 37:15 ff, he unites two different sticks into one, with inscriptions referring to the two kingdoms, and these picture the future union of Israel and Judah. It is perhaps an open question whether or not some of these symbolical actions, which would be difficult to carry out in actuality, are not perhaps to be interpreted as visions; thus, e.g. the distributing the wine of wrath to all the nations, in Jer 25:15, can in all probability not be understood in any other way. But, at any rate, it appears to us that here, too, the acceptance of a mere literary form is both unnecessary and unsatisfactory, and considering the religio-ethical character of Ezekiel, not permissible.

(3) Allegories.

In regard to the numerous allegories, attention need be drawn only to the picture of the two unfaithful sisters, Oholah and Oholibah (i.e. Samaria and Jerusalem), whose relation to Yahweh as well as their infidelity is portrayed in a manner that is actually offensive to over-sensitive minds (Eze 23:1-49; compare Eze 16:1-63). In Eze 17:1-24, Zedekiah is represented under the image of a grapevine, which the great eagle (i.e. the king of Babylon) has appointed, which, however, turns to another great eagle (king of Egypt), and because of this infidelity shall be rooted out, until God, eventually, causes a new tree to grow out of a tender branch.

(4) Lamentations.

Of the lamentations, we mention the following: according to Eze 19:1-14, a lioness rears young lions, one after the other, but one after the other is caught in a trap and led away by nose-rings. The ones meant are Jehoahaz and certainly Jehoiachin. The lion mother, who before was like a grapevine, is banished (Zedekiah). Another lamentation is spoken over Tyre, which is compared to a proud ship (compare Eze 27:1 ff); also over the king of Tyre, who is hurled down from the mountain of the gods (Eze 28:11-19); and over Pharaoh of Egypt, who is pictured as a crocodile in the sea (Eze 32:1 ff).

That his contemporaries knew how to appreciate the prophet at least from the aesthetic side, we saw above (I, 1). What impression does Ezekiel make upon us today, from this point of view? He is declared to be "too intellectual for a poet"; "fantastic"; "vividness in him finds a substitute in strengthening and repetition"; "he has no poetical talent"; "he is the most monotonous prose writer among the prophets." These and similar opinions are heard. In matters of taste there is no disputing; but there is food for reflection in the story handed down that Frederick yon Schiller was accustomed to read Ezekiel, chiefly on account of his magnificent descriptions, and that he himself wanted to learn Hebrew in order to be able to enjoy the book in the original. And Herder, with his undeniable and undenied fine appreciation of the poetry of many nations, calls Ezekiel "the Aeschylus and the Shakespeare of the Hebrews" (compare Lange's Commentary on Ezk, 519).

2. Ezekiel and the Levitical System:

(1) Eze 44:4 ff: Theory That the Distinction of Priests and Levites Was Introduced by Ezekiel.

(a) The Biblical Facts:

In the vision of the reconstruction of the external relations of the people in the future (Eze 40:1-49 through Eze 48:1-35), in the second pericope, which treats of the cult (Eze 43:13 through Eze 46:24; compare I, Eze 2:1-10, Eze 2:1-10), it is claimed that Ezekiel, at the command of Yahweh, reproaches the Israelites that they engage in their room strangers, uncircumcised in heart and uncircumcised in flesh, to take charge of the service of Yahweh in the sanctuary, instead of doing this service themselves, and thus desecrate the temple (Eze 44:4-8). From now on the Levites, who hitherto have been participating in the service of the idols on the high places and had become for Israel an occasion for guilt, are to attend to this work. They are degraded from the priesthood as a punishment of their guilt, and are to render the above-mentioned service in the temple (Eze 44:9 ff), while only those Levitical priests, the sons of Zadok, who had been rendering their services in the sanctuary in the proper way, while Israel was going astray, are to be permitted to perform priestly functions (Eze 44:15 ff).

(b) Modern Interpretation of This Passage:

The modern interpretation of this passage (Eze 44:4 ff) is regarded as one of the most important proofs for the Wellhausen hypothesis. Down to the 7th century BC it is claimed that there are no signs that a distinction was made between the persons who had charge of the cults in Israel, and this is held to be proved by the history of the preceding period and by the Book of Deuteronomy, placed by the critics in this time. It is said that Ezekiel is the first to change this, and in this passage introduces the distinction between priests and the lower order of Levites, which difference is then presupposed by the Priestly Code. According to this view, the high priest of the Priestly Code, too, would not yet be known to Ezekiel, and would not yet exist in his time. More fully expressed, the development would have to be thought as follows: the Book of Deuteronomy, which abolished the service on the high places, and had introduced the concentration of the cults, had in a humane way provided for the deposed priests who had been serving on the high places, and, in 18:6 ff, had expressly permitted them to perform their work in Jerusalem, as did all of their brethren of their tribe, and to enjoy the same income as these. While all the other Deuteronomic commands had in principle been recognized, this ordinance alone had met with opposition: for in 2Ki 23:9 we are expressly told that the priests of the high places were not permitted to go up to Jerusalem. Ezekiel now, according to Wellhausen's statement, "hangs over the logic of the facts a moral mantle," by representing the deposition of the priests of the high places as a punishment for the fact that they were priests of the high places, although they had held this position in the past by virtue of legal right.

It is indeed true, it is said, that these priests did not submit to such a representation of the case and such treatment. The violent contentions which are said to have arisen in consequence are thought to have their outcome expressed in Nu 16:1-50 f (the rebellion of Korah, the budding staff of Aaron). The Priestly Code, however, continued to adhere to the distinction once it had been introduced, and had become a fact already at the return in 538 BC (compare Ezr 2:36 ff), even if it was found impossible to limit the priesthood to the Zadokites, and if it was decided to make an honorable office out of the degraded position of the Levites as given by Ezekiel. The fact that, according to Ezr 2:36-39, in the year 538 BC, already Ezr 4:1-24,289 priests, but according to verse 40, only 74 Levites, returned, is also regarded as proving how dissatisfied the degraded priests of the high places had been with the new position, created by Ezekiel, to which they had been assigned. With the introduction of the P Codex in 444 BC, which made a distinction between high priest, priests and Levites within the tribe of Levi, this development reached an end for the time being. While Deuteronomy speaks of the "Levitical priests," which expression is regarded as confirming the original identity of the priests and the Levites, it is claimed that since the days of Ezekiel, priests and Levites constitute two sharply distinguished classes.

(c) Examination of Theory:

Both the exegesis of Eze 44:4 ff and the whole superstructure are in every direction indefensible and cannot be maintained (compare also my work, Are the Critics Right? 30 ff, 124 ff, 196 ff).

(i) Not Tenable for Preexilic Period:

Proof that the hypothesis cannot be maintained for the preexilic period. The claim that down to the 7th century BC there did not exist in Israel any distinction among the persons engaged in the public cults is in itself an absurdity, but has in addition against it the express testimony of history. In preexilic times the high priest is expressly mentioned in 2Ki 12:9 ff; 2Ki 22:4,8; 23:4. Accordingly he cannot have been a product of the post-exilic period. The rank of an Eli (1Sa 1:1-28 ff), Ahimelech (1Sa 21:1-15 f), Abiathar (1Ki 2:26 f), Zadok (1Ki 2:35), is vastly above that of an ordinary priest. The fact that the expression "high priest" does not happen to occur here is all the less to be pressed, as the term is found even in the Priestly Code only in Le 21:10; Nu 35:25-28. From De 10:6; Jos 24:33; Jg 20:28, we learn that the office of high priest was transmitted from Aaron to his son, Eleazar, and then to his son, Phinehas (compare also Nu 25:11). Before the time of Eli, according to 1Ch 24:3, it had passed over to the line of the other surviving son of Aaron, that of Ithamar, but, according to 1Ki 2:26 f,35, at the deposition of Abiathar and the appointment of Zadok, it returned again to the line of Eleazar (compare 1Sa 2:27-28,35 f with 1Ch 24:3). Distinctions within the tribe are also expressly presupposed by Jer 20:1; 29:25 f,Jer 29:1-32; 52:24; 2Ki 25:18. In the same way Levites are expressly mentioned in history (compare Jg 17:1-13 f; Jg 19:1-30 through Jg 21:1-25; 1Sa 6:15; 2Sa 15:24; 1Ki 8:3 ff). This very division of the priestly tribe into three parts possibly suggested the three parts of the temple of Solomon (the holy of holies, the holy place, the forecourt). According to all this, it is not possible that this distinction is not found in Deuteronomy, especially if this book was not written until the 7th century BC and throughout took into consideration the actual condition of affairs at that time, as is generally claimed. But this difference is found in Deuteronomy, the false dating of which we can here ignore, and is probably suggested by it; for, if this were not the case, then the addition of the words "the whole tribe of Levi" to the words "Levitical priests" in De 18:1 would be tautology. But as it is, both expressions already refer to what follows: namely, De 18:3-5 to the priests and De 18:6 ff to the rest of the Levites. In the same way, the Levites are in De 12:12,18 f; De 14:27,29; 16:11,14 the objects of charity, while De 18:3 ff prescribes a fixed and not insignificant income for the priests. Then, finally, such general statements as are found in De 10:8; 18:2 ff; De 33:8 ff, not only demand such specific directions as are found only in the Priestly Code (P), but in De 10:9; 18:2 there is a direct reference to Nu 18:20,24 (from P). On the other hand, Deuteronomy, in harmony with its general tendency of impressing upon Israel in the spirit of pastoral exhortation the chief demands of the law, does not find it necessary, in every instance, to mention the distinctions that existed in the tribe of Levi.

In Nu 18:7 we have in P even an analogon to De 10:8; 33:8 ff; since here, too, no distinction is made between priests and high priests separately, but the whole priestly service is mentioned in a summary manner (compare further Le 6:22 in comparison with Le 6:25; Nu 35:1-34 in comparison with Jos 21:1-45). That Deuteronomy cannot say "Aaron and his sons," as P does, is certainly self-evident, because Aaron was no longer living at the time when the addresses of Deuteronomy were delivered. And how the expression "Levitical priests," which Deuteronomy uses for the expression found in the Priestly Code (P), and which was entirely suitable, because under all circumstances the priests were of the tribe of Levi, is to be understood as excluding the subordinate members of the cults-officers belonging to the same tribe, is altogether incomprehensible (compare the emphasis put on the Levitical priesthood inP itself, as found in Nu 17:1-13; Jos 21:4,10 ff). So are other passages which originated at a time after the introduction by Ezekiel, or, according to the critics, are claimed to have been introduced then (compare Mal 2:1 ff,Mal 4:1-6,8; Mal 3:3; Jer 33:18; Isa 66:21; 2Ch 5:5; 23:18; 29:4 ff; 2Ch 30:27), and even in Ezek (44:15). The claims that Dt is more humane in its treatment of the priests who had engaged in the worship in high places (compare e.g. 2Ki 22:1-20 f) cannot at all be reconciled with De 13:1-18, which directs that death is to be the punishment for such idolatry. If, notwithstanding this, it is still claimed that De 18:6 ff allows the priests of the high places to serve in Jerusalem, then it is incomprehensible how in 2Ki 23:9 these men did not appeal directly to Dt in vindication of their rights over against all hindrances, since Dt was regarded as the absolute norm in carrying out the cult tradition.

(ii) Not Sustained by Ezekiel:

Examination of the hypothesis on the basis of Ezekiel: No less unfavorable to the view of the critics must the judgment be when we examine it in the light of the contents of Ezekiel itself. The prophet presupposes a double service in the sanctuary, a lower service which, in the future, the degraded priests of the high places are to perform and which, in the past, had been performed in an unlawful manner by strangers (44:6-9), and a higher service, which had been performed by the Zadokites, the priests at the central sanctuary, in the proper way at the time when the other priests had gone astray, which service was for this reason to be entrusted to them alone in the future (compare, also, 40:45,46; 43:19). Since in 44:6 ff the sharpest rebukes are cast up to Israel (according to the reading of the Septuagint, which here uses the second person, even the charge of having broken the covenant), because they had permitted the lower service to be performed by uncircumcised aliens, it is absolutely impossible that Ezekiel should have been the first to introduce the distinction between higher and lower service, but he presupposes this distinction as something well known, and, also, that the lower service has been regulated by Divine ordinances. As we have such ordinances clearly given only in Nu 18:2 ff (from P) it is in itself natural and almost necessary that Ezekiel has reference to these very ordinances, but these very ordinances direct that the Levites are to have charge of this lower service. This is confirmed by Eze 48:12 f, where the designation "Levites" in contradistinction from the priests is a fixed and recognized term for the lower cult officials. For Ezekiel has not at all said that he would from now on call these temple-servants simply by the name "Levites," but, rather, he simply presupposes the terminology of P as known and makes use of it. He would, too, scarcely have selected this expression to designate a condition of punishment, since the term "Levites" is recognized on all hands to be an honorable title in the sacred Scriptures. And when he, in addition, designates the Zadokites as "Levitical priests" (Eze 44:15), this only shows anew that Ezekiel in his designation of the lower temple-servants only made use of the terminology introduced by P.

But, on the representation of the critics, the whole attitude ascribed to Ezekiel cannot be upheld. It is maintained that a prophet filled with the highest religious and ethical thoughts has been guilty of an action that, from an ethical point of view, is to be most sharply condemned. The prophet is made to write reproaches against the people of Israel for something they could not help (Eze 44:6 ff), and he is made to degrade and punish the priests of the high places, who also had acted in good faith and were doing what they had a right to do (Eze 44:9 ff; compare "the moral mantle" which, according to Wellhausen, "he threw over the logic of facts"). Ezekiel is accordingly regarded here as a bad man; but at the same time he would also be a stupid man. How could he expect to succeed in such an uncouth and transparent trick? If success had attended the effort to exclude from the service in Jerusalem the priests of the high places according to 2Ki 23:9, and notwithstanding De 18:6 ff, which according to what has been said under (a) is most improbable, then this would through the action of Ezekiel again have been made a matter of uncertainty. Or, was it expected that they would suffer themselves to be upraided and punished without protesting if they had done no wrong? Finally, too, the prophet would have belonged to that class whose good fortune is greater than their common sense. This leads us to the following:

(iii) Not Supported by Development after Ezekiel:

Examination of the development after the time of Ezekiel: Ezekiel's success is altogether incomprehensible, if now the distinction between priests and Levites has, at once, been introduced and at the return from captivity, in the year 538 (Ezr 2:36 ff), certainly was a fact. It is true that we at once meet with a host of difficulties. Why do only 74 Levites return according to Ezr 2:40 if their degradation from the ranks of the priesthood through Ezekiel had not preceded? asks the Wellhausen school. Why did any Levites, at all, return, if they had been so disgraced? is our question. But, how is it at all possible that so many priests could return (4,289 among 42,360 exiles, or more than one-tenth of the whole number; compare Ezr 2:36-38 with verse 64; but many more than one-tenth if women are included in the 42,360), if, since the times of Ezekiel, there were none other than Zadokite priests? In examining the writers claimed as the authors of the Priestly Code (P), all those difficulties recur again which are found in the case of Ezekiel himself. That Nu 16:1-50 f indicates and reflects the opposition of the degraded is nothing but an unproved assertion; but if they had revolted, which was probable enough, then there would have been no worse and more foolish means than to change the degraded position of the Levites according to Ezekiel into the honorable position assigned them in the Priestly Code (P). This would only have made the matter worse. The Levites would again have been able to claim their old rights and they would have acquired the strongest weapons for their opposition. The fact that Ezekiel's restoration of the priesthood to the Zadokites would have been ignored by the Priestly Code (P), as also the descent of Aaron through Eleazar and Ithamar, according to the account of the Priestly Code (P), that is, that in reality also others were admitted to the priesthood, would only have the effect of making those who still were excluded all the more rebellious, who could appeal to each case of such an admission as a precedent and accordingly as a violation of the principle. What possible purpose the authors of P could have had in the creation of those products of imagination, Nadab and Abihu, and the portrayal of the terrible fate of these sons of Aaron (Le 10:1-20) remains incomprehensible (compare the purposeless and constructive imagination in the description of the details of the Ark of the Covenant, which stands in no connection with the tendency of P; see EXODUS,III , 5). Nor can it be understood why the creators of the Priestly Code would have had assigned other duties to the Levites than Ezekiel had done; the slaying of the burnt offerings and the sacrifices (44:11) and the cooking of the latter (46:24) is lacking in the Priestly Code (P), in which document the transportation of the imaginary tabernacle would have exhausted the duties of the priests (Nu 4:1-49), while in other respects, their services would be described only in such general notices as in Nu 8:23 ff; Nu 18:2 ff (compare for this reason the very credible account in Chronicles, which through Eze 44:11; 46:24 only becomes all the more trustworthy, where we are told of the enlargement of the duties of the Levites already by David in 1Ch 23:25 ff). In short, the critical views offer one monstrosity after another, and each greater than its predecessor. We will only mention further that, if the critics are right in this matter, then of the directions found in Eze 40:1-49 through Eze 48:1-35 nothing else has ever been carried out in reality, even when these chapters are correctly understood (see 2 (d) below), and at first nothing was intended to be carried out, so that it would be all the more surprising if this one feature of the program of Ezekiel had alone been picked out and had been carried out with an inexplicable haste, and that too at a time when the whole cult was not at all observed (573, according to 40:1).

(d) The True Solution:

The text as it reads in Eze 44:9 ff actually does speak of a degradation. If the matter involved only a mere putting back into the status quo ante, of the Levites, who on the high places, contrary to the law, had usurped the prerogatives of the higher priestly offices, as this could easily be understood, then the expression in Eze 44:10,12, "They shall bear their iniquity," would lose much of its significance. On the other hand, the whole matter finds its explanation if, in the first place, the lower order of Levites did not put a high estimate on their office, so that they transferred their service to aliens (Eze 44:6 ff), and if, in the second place, by those Levites who departed from Yahweh, when Israel was going astray, not all the Levites are to be understood, but only a certain group of priests, who by these words were for themselves and their contemporaries clearly enough designated: namely, the descendants of Aaron through Ithamar and Eleazar in so far as they were not Zadokites, that is, had not officiated at the central sanctuary. The non-Zadokite priests had permitted themselves to be misled to officiate in the idolatry in the services of the high places, and for this reason were for the future to be degraded to the already existing lower order of the Levites.

The fact that in the ranks of lower participants in the cults, already in the days of David, according to Chronicles, a still further division had taken place (1Ch 23:1-32 through 1Ch 26:1-32), so that by the side of the Levites in the most narrow sense of the word, also the singers and the gate watchmen were Levites of a lower rank (Ne 12:44-47; 13:10), is again in itself entirely credible, and, in addition, is made very probable by Ezr 2:40 ff. This too at once increases the small number of Levites who returned from the exile from 74 to 341. In comparison to the number of priests (4,289) the number yet remains a small one, but from Eze 44:6 ff we learn further that the Levites also before the days of Ezekiel had not appreciated their office, for then they would not have given it over to aliens. In this way not only does everything become clear and intelligible, but the weapon which was to serve for the defense of the Wellhausen school has in every respect been turned against these critics. The historical order can only be: first, the Priestly Code, and after that Ezekiel; never vice versa.

(2) Eze 40:1-49 through Eze 48:1-35: Priority claimed for Ezekiel as against the Priest Codex

(a) Sketch of the modern view:

The entire vision of what the external condition of affairs would be in the future in Eze 40:1-49 through Eze 48:1-35, and not only what is particularly stated in Eze 44:4 ff, is made a part of Israel's religious development in accordance with the scheme of the Wellhausen school. For this hypothesis, this section is one of the chief arguments, besides the opposition which it claims exists on the part of the prophets against the sacrifices, in addition to the proof taken from the history of the people and from the comparison of the different collections of laws with each other. In Eze 40:1-49 through Eze 48:1-35 many things are different from what they are in the Priestly Code, and in Ezek much is lacking that is found in P. How now would a prophet dare to change the legislation in P? Hence, P is regarded as later than Ezk. This is, briefly, the logic of the Wellhausen school.

(b) One-Sidedness of This View:

If we first state the facts in the case and complete the observations of the modern school, the picture will at once assume quite a different form and the conclusions drawn will in their consequences prove very embarrassing. It is a fact that in Ezekiel the high priest so prominent in P is lacking. No mention is made of the equipment of the holy of holies, and in the holy place the table of the shewbread and the candlesticks, old utensils that are mentioned in the tabernacle of the Priestly Code (P), and in part play an important role there. But the differences in Ezekiel are not found only in comparison with the Priestly Code (P), but just as much, too, in features which belong to the legislation of Deuteronomy, as also of the Book of the Covenant, accepted at all hands as preexilic (Ex 21:1-36 through Ex 23:1-33; 34:1-35). Thus there is lacking in Eze 40:1-49 through Eze 48:1-35 not only the tithes of P (Le 27:30-33), also the laws with reference to the firstborn from P (Le 27:26 f; Nu 18:15 f), the ordinances with reference to the portions of the redemption sacrifice to be given to the priests from P (Le 7:31 ff), but equally the ordinance with reference to the tithes, firstborn and sacrificial gifts from Dt (compare Le 14:22 ff; Le 26:12 ff; Le 14:23-26; 15:19-23; 18:3). The feast of weeks is wanting, which is demanded not only by P in Le 23:15 ff; Nu 28:26 ff, but also by the older legislation (Ex 23:16; 34:22; De 16:9 ff); and in the place of the three parallel feasts demanded everywhere, only the Passover and the Feast of the Tabernacles are prescribed (Eze 45:21). Thus too the direction with regard, e.g. to the Day of Atonement in Eze 45:18 ff is different in regard to number, time and ritual from P in Le 16:1-34, etc. (compare DAY OF ATONEMENT, sec. I, 1), but also the command found in Ex 20:26 (from E) that it was not permitted to ascend on steps to the altar of Yahweh is overthrown by Eze 43:17. And, according to what has been described under (1), criticism itself accepts (although without reason) that Ezekiel had changed the commandment of De 18:6 ff, according to which all the Levites in Jerusalem could perform priestly service, so that he not only forbade this, as did 2Ki 23:9, but that he also degraded these priests of the high places as a punishment and reduced them to a lower service.

As is the case in reference to the law, Ezekiel also disagrees with the facts of history. He changes the dimensions of the Solomonic temple entirely (40:5 through 42:20); he gives an entirely different distribution of the Holy Land (47:13 through 48:29) from that which was carried out in actual history. What sheer arbitrariness and short-sightedness it would be, to pick out of this condition of affairs only those features in which he differs from the Priestly Code (P), in order, for this reason, to force the composition of the Priestly Code into the postexilic period, and at the same time to close one's eyes to the necessary conclusion that if this principle of interpretation is correct, then the Book of the Covenant and Deuteronomy, the temple and the migration into Canaan must also be post-exilic. "The prophet is not allowed to change the Priestly Code (P)," we are told; but as a matter of fact he has changed P no more than he changed the older laws and history. Hence, the claim is false. And then, too, P is not to be regarded as unchangeable. Even the writer of Chronicles, who writes from the standpoint of the Priestly Code (P), has changed P; for he narrates in 1Ch 23:24,27 that the age of the Levites since the time of David had been reduced from 30 or 1Ch 25:1-31 years (Nu 4:3,13,10,35; 8:23 ff) to 20 years (compare also the participation of the Levites in the burnt sacrifices and the Passover under Hezekiah (2Ch 29:34; 30:17,19)), and in P itself, according to Nu 9:6-12, the observation of the Passover after the regular time was permitted, and in general if such changes and adaptations of the law on the part of Ezek could not be demonstrated elsewhere, the difficulties for the advocates of the Wellhausen hypothesis would be exactly as great as they are for the adherents of the Biblical views, only that the problem would be inverted to explain how the author of P could have ventured to deviate so far from the will of God as this had been revealed to Ezekiel.

(c) Impossibility That Ezekiel Preceded P:

While the description of the temple in 40:5 ff and of the future dwelling-places of the people (47:13 ff) is comparatively complete, it is the very legislation of the ritual in 43:13 through 46:24, in which it is maintained that the authors of P followed the precedent of the prophet, that is in itself so full of omissions in Ezek, that it could not possibly have been a first sketch, but must presuppose the Priestly Code (P), if it is not to be regarded as suspended in the air. Ezek presupposes not only burnt offerings, peace offerings and food offerings, but also sin offerings (40:39; 42:13; 43:19,21,22,25; 44:27,29; 46:20). Ezekiel is indeed the first and the only prophet who mentioned sin offerings, just as the guilt offerings are found outside of Ezek only in Isa 53:10. But this reference is of such a kind that he presupposes on the part of his readers an acquaintance also with these two kinds of sacrifices; hence, it is, in itself, a natural conclusion, that the sacrificial legislation of the Priestly Code (P), that is, chiefly Le 1:1-17 to Le 7:1-38, is older, and as the guilt offerings and the sin offerings are prescribed only by the Priestly Code (P), and in Le 4:1-35 f appear to be emphasized anew, this conclusion becomes a necessity.

If this is not the case then Ezek is without any foundation. In the same way the injunctions with reference to what is clean and unclean are presupposed as known in 44:23,15 f (compare 22:26). How long the uncleanness described in 22:26 continued can be seen only from Nu 19:11 ff. Since in Eze 22:26 there is presupposed a definitely fixed Torah or Law, which it is possible to violate, then it is only natural to conclude that such commands existed before the days of Ezekiel, especially such as are found in Le 11:1-47 through Le 15:1-33. In the same way the general character of the ordinances (Eze 44:30a), concerning the tithes due to the cult officials, demand such further developments as are found especially in Nu 18:1-32 in P. The high priests, too, although Ezekiel makes no mention of them, belong to the period earlier than Ezekiel, as was proved under (1). If there had been no high priest before the days of Ezekiel, it would have been a perfect mystery, in addition, how he would be found after 520 BC (Hag 1:1; Zec 3:8; 6:10 ff), without a word having been mentioned of the establishment of such an important institution. In addition, if the office had been created just at this time, this would make it very uncomfortable for the contentions of the Wellhausen school, since the other ordinances of P were introduced only in 444 BC, and should here be regarded as innovating.

That Ezekiel presupposed the ordinances of P in reference to the cult officials has been demonstrated under (1). Accordingly, there yet remains to be discussed the universally recognized relationship that exists between Ezek and the so-called Law of Holiness (H) in Le 17:1-16 through Le 26:1-46 (compare LEVITICUS), which is so great, that for a time Ezekiel was regarded as the author or the editor of this law, a view which, however, has been dropped, because a number of the peculiarities of Ezekiel do not admit of its acceptance. The more advanced critics then went farther, and claimed that the Law of Holiness (H, Le 17:1-16 through Le 26:1-46) is later than Ezekiel, which is the only possible and defensible position. For practical reasons we here examine, in addition to Eze 40:1-49 through Eze 48:1-35, also the older parts of the book. Especially do we take into consideration, in addition to chapter 44, also chapters 18, 20 and 22; but in the end the contents of H are suggested by the entire Book of Ezekiel. Especially Le 26:1-46 has been very fully used by Ezekiel; compare for the details, Driver's Introduction to the Old Testament; or, Hoffmann, Die wichtigsten Instanzen gegen die Graf-Wellhausensche Hypothese. That Ezekiel could not be the earlier of the two can be concluded as far as P in general is concerned, and for H in particular, especially from this, that Ezkekiel is just as closely connected with Deuteronomy and Jeremiah, as with P; while, on the other hand, in the passage in question, P is connected only with Ezekiel, while the expressions which Ezekiel has in common with Deuteronomy and those Ezekiel has in common with Jer are not found in P (compare the exceedingly interesting and instructive proof in Hoffmann, op. cit.). Equally striking is the proof of Kohler, Biblische Geschichte, III, 154 ff, who shows that the contents of the Torah (Law) presupposed and recognized by Jeremiah and Ezekiel as dating from the Mosaic period, take into consideration not only the Books of the Covenant (Ex 21:1-36 ff; Ex 34:1-35) and Deuteronomy, but especially P in general and H in particular. Further, if we place P in a later period, it would be incomprehensible that this body of laws, in which the systematic feature is so important, can differ from the still more systematic ordinances of Ezekiel, and thus become more unsystematic. Thus the sacrifices on the Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles are in number of the same kind in Eze 45:21 ff; but not so in P in Nu 28:16 ff; Nu 29:12 ff. In the same way in the food offerings on the feasts as far as oxen, rams, lambs, and the amount of oil to be given are concerned, there is everywhere the proper proportion in Eze 45:18 through Eze 46:15, while in Nu 28:1-31 this is regulated according to a different principle. Then in Ezekiel are found in the description of the sanctuary (42:15 through Nu 20:1-29; 45:2), of the inner and outer courts (40:23,17,47; compare also 40:19; 48:16 f), square figures in places where they are not found in the tabernacle according to P. To this must be added that no other ordinances of Ezekiel would be carried out in actual practice. Even the ordinances in 44:4 ff, according to the views of the critics, would be changed in the Priestly Code (P), in so far as the establishment and work of the lower cult officials and the enlargement of the powers of the higher cult officials are concerned (compare (1)). The Day of Atonement, whose roots are said to be found in Eze 45:18 ff, would be materially changed in number, length and ritual (compare ATONEMENT, DAY OF, sec. I, 1 and III, 1). When the Israelites returned from captivity, they did not think at all of building the temple or the tabernacle in accordance with Ezekiel's scheme, or dividing the land according to the directions of his book (both of these subjects have great prominence in Eze 40:1-49 through Eze 48:1-35; compare Eze 40:5 through Eze 43:12; 47:13 through Eze 48:29), or of harmonizing Ezekiel with the Priestly Code (P), or of carrying out the latter practically. The Wellhausen hypothesis is then in conflict with all ritual legislation, whether real or constructed by Wellhausen himself.

(d) Correct Interpretation of Passage

Eze 40:1-49 through Eze 48:1-35: These chapters dare not be made a part of the development of the law in the Old Testament. Ezekiel's was not a program that was under all circumstances to be carried out or even could be carried out, for it presupposes conditions that were beyond the control of Israel. For in Eze 40:2 ff, a new geographical or geological situation is presupposed, which the country up to this time did not possess (compare the "very high mountain," Eze 40:2), and the same is true in Eze 47:1 ff in reference to the miraculous temple fountain with its equally miraculous powers, and in Eze 47:13 ff in the division of the land. Only after these changes had been effected in the character of the localities by Yahweh, and Yahweh should again have entered the holy city according to Eze 43:1 if, would it be possible to carry out also the other injunctions. It is impossible, either, to interpret these chapters as an allegory. This interpretation is out of the question on account of a large number of directions and measurements. It is, however, true that the whole is an ideal scheme, which portrays to the eye the continuation of the kingdom of God, and represents symbolically the presence of Yahweh, which sanctifies all around about it and creates for itself a suitable outward form. This is particularly apparent in the new name which is assigned to Jerusalem, namely, "Yahweh at that place," or the conclusion of this section and at the same time of the entire book. This, finally, leads us to a brief account of the views presented.

(3) Ezekiel's Leviticism.

In (1) and (2) above, it has been shown that Ezekiel was not the starting-point of Leviticism in Israel: it rather represents the extreme development of this tendency. It was in harmony with the elementary stage of the Old Testament to give the thoughts and demands of God, not in a purely abstract form, but to clothem in objective and external materials, in order to prepare and educate Israel to understand Christianity. (The negative side of Leviticism, which is not to be overlooked by the side of the positive, is discussed in the article LEVITICUS) It is a matter of utmost importance for the correct understanding of the Old Testament, that we recognize that the prophets too throughout think Levitically; in their discourses, too, sacred trees, sacrifices, times, persons, tithes, play a most important role, notwithstanding all the spiritualization of religion on their part; and where it is thought possible to show an absolute opposition on the part of the prophets to the Levitical system, namely, in the matter of sacrifices, a close consideration, but especially, too, the analogy of the other external institutions, shows that we have in these cases only a relative antithesis (compare Are the Critics Right? 99 ff; Messianische Erwartung der vorexilischen Propheten, 333 ff). Thus e.g. Jeremiah who, in 6:20; 7:21 ff, engages as sharply as possible in polemics against the sacrificial system, and in 31:31 ff, in the passage treating of the new covenant, spiritualizes religion as much as possible, has assigned to sacrifices a place in his predictions of the future (compare 17:19 ff,26; 31:14; 33:18), just as the abiding-place and the revelation of God for this prophet too, are always found connected with the Holy Land, Jerusalem or Zion (compare 3:17; 12:15; 30:18; 31:6,11,12; 32:36 ff; 33:9). That in this the ultimate development of the kingdom of God has not yet been reached, but that the entire Old Testament contains only a preliminary stage, cannot be too sharply emphasized. In so far Ezekiel, in whose book Leviticism appears in its most developed state, more than others, shares in the limitations of the Old Testament. But just as little can it be denied that the Levitical system was really one stage, and that, too, an important and indispensable stage in the development of the kingdom of God; and that in this system, the question at issue is not only that of a change of a religion into a stereotyped formalism or externalism, which is the case if this system loses its contents, but the fact that it contained a valuable kernel which ripened in this shell, but would not have ripened if this shell had been prematurely discarded. The external conditions, their harmonious arrangement, the ceremonial ordinances, keeping clean from external pollution, are indeed only forms; but in them valuable contents succeed in finding their expression; through these Israel learned to understand these contents. The kernel could not be given without the shell nor the contents without the form, until in Christianity the time came when the form was to be broken and the shell discarded. This significance of the Levitical system becomes more evident in Ezek than is the case, e.g. in the Priestly Code (P), where indeed a few passages like Ex 25:8; 29:45 ff; Ex 40:34 ff; Le 16:1-34; 19:18; 26:31,41 clearly show in what sense the entire legislation is to be understood; but the mere fact that there are so few of these passages makes it easy to overlook them; while in Ezekiel, in addition to the purely Levitical utterances, and in part more closely connected with these, the entire work is saturated with the emphasis put on the highest religious and ethical thoughts, so that both must be in the closest harmony with each other (compare on this subject also Ezekiel's conception of God under 5 below). That Ezekiel and the Law of Holiness stand in such close relations to each other is not to be explained from this, that Ezekiel is in any way to be connected with the composition of the law in Le 17:1-16 through Le 26:1-46, but on the ground of the tendency common to both. The fact that Ezekiel shows a special liking for these chapters in P does not, accordingly, justify the conclusion that Le 17:1-16 ff ever existed as a separate legal codex. We must in this connection not forget the close connection of the prophets with the rest of P mentioned under (2) above (compare LEVITICUS). We close this part of the discussion with the statement that Ezekiel constructed his system on the basis of the Levitical ordinance, but as priest-prophet (compare under I, 1) utilized this material independently and freely.

3. Ezekiel and the Messianic Idea:

Chs 40 through 48 treat of the future, and furnish us the transition to another matter, in which Ezekiel by modern theology has been forced into a wrong light, namely, in regard to the Messianic idea. After the critics had, as a matter of fact, eliminated from the entire preexilic prophetical writings nearly all of the passages speaking of the Messiah on the ground that they were not genuine (e.g. Am 9:8 ff; Ho 1:10-11; 3:5; Mic 2:12 f; 4 f; Isa 4:2-6; 7:14; 9:1-7; 11:1-10, etc.), Marti and Volz have now completed this task. While the former declared as not genuine all the Messianic predictions down to Deutero-Isaiah, the latter has, in his work, Die vorexilische Jahwe-Prophetic und der Messias, halted at Ezekiel, but for this works up the entire material into a uniform fundamental conception with pronounced characteristics. He declares that prophecy and the Messianic idea are two mutually exclusive phenomena, by regarding the Messiah as a purely political and national fact, but the prophetic expectation of the future as something purely religious. Ezekiel he regards as the first prophet with whose views on other matters the Messianic idea indeed did not harmonize, but who, nevertheless, yielded to the tendencies of his times and to the general national feelings, and submitted to the influence of the false prophets, who had created the carnal national expectation of a Messiah and constantly fed this, and accordingly received into his book the Messiah passages in Isa 17:14; 21:17 f; Isa 34:17 f; Isa 37:22,24-25. But this too is, all in all, simply a monstrous assumption. It is exegetically incorrect to regard the Messiah merely as a political, national and particularistic person, whenever the religious and ethical and universalistic characteristics of the Messiah are portrayed by prophecy; and it is also incorrect to regard prophecy as abstractly religious, when the national and external side of the kingdom of God is ignored. It is impossible to eliminate the different Messianic passages preceding the time of Ezekiel, as these are proved to be genuine by their contents and form, their close connection with the context, the structure of the prophetic writings, and by the mutual relation of these passages to each other. But we must here refer to our book, Die messianische Erwartung der vorexilischen Propheten. We draw attention to this only because since the publication of Gressmann's book, Der Ursprung der israelitisch-judischen Eschatologie, the critics have begun to be a little less skeptical in reference to the genuine character of the Messianic passages in the older prophetical writings. We here point to the fact, that the positive contentions of Volz, which ascribe to Ezek the introduction of the Messianic idea out of the popular faith, are exceedingly inconsiderate. The different passages mentioned above, which in Ezekiel speak of the Messiah, can scarcely be said to add any new features to the picture of the Messiah as it is found in earlier literature (of one exception to this we will speak later). If the Messiah was not yet portrayed in the earlier prophetic literature, then Ezekiel had the less occasion to introduce this new feature, if this feature did not harmonize with his other views, as Volz claims. And, if this is only a mistake, it is yet a fact that in Ezekiel the Messianic idea is not relatively a prominent feature; he, as it were, only recalls the pictures known from the predictions of the earlier prophets; he accepts these pictures as revealed truth, because they, in his conviction, evidently originated in the development of prophecy. Compare for the idea that the Messiah is to come forth from small origins and from a lowly station Eze 17:22-24; Isa 10:33,14; 11:1; Mic 5:1 ff. Eze 21:32 only hints at the general expectation of a Messiah; Eze 34:23 f; Eze 37:22,24-25 connect especially with the promises given to David in 2Sa 7:1-29. Then the reunion of the two kingdoms into one scepter is found also in Am 9:11; Ho 2:2; 3:5; Isa 8:22 through Isa 9:1 ff; Isa 11:13 f; Mic 5:2; Jer 3:18; 23:5 f; 1Ki 11:39; the blessing of Nature, Isa 11:6-8; Am 9:13 ff; Ho 2:20 ff; Ho 14:6 ff. At all events the Messianic expectations of Ezekiel exhibit too few peculiar features and are too little prominent in the body of his prophecies to justify the belief that he was the first prophet to have introduced this so important Messianic figure. On the other hand, let us remember too that Ezekiel opposes the national feelings as sharply as possible by representing the entire past history of Israel as an unbroken chain of heathenish abominations (Eze 1:1-28 through Eze 24:1-27; 33:1-33, especially Eze 16:1-63 and Eze 23:1-49), and remember it was just he who like Jeremiah saw his most bitter opponents in the false prophets (Eze 13:1 ff; Eze 14:9; 22:28), and that in the most pronounced antithesis to these he proclaimed before the fall of Jerusalem that this fall would and must come. And now it is claimed that he borrowed his Messianic idea from these very people, although this Messianic conception is everywhere represented as being a Divine revelation and not a natural product of the popular consciousness. A greater blunder in theological thought could scarcely be imagined.

In one point, however, we do find in Ezek a further development of the Messianic idea, namely, that in His work, in addition to His characteristics as a king, the Messiah has also those of a high priest, as this is shown at the same period by Jeremiah (see under I, 1, and 2, 3; compare later Zec 3:1-10 f, and possibly Zec 6:9 ff). The mitsnepheth, which the Messiah bears according to Eze 21:26, is in other connections always the mitre of the high priest (compare Ex 4:1-31,31; 29:6; 39:28,31; see aboveII , Ex 2:1-25, Ex 1:1-22a and Ex 2:1-25c). At the Passover feast, at least, the prince conducts a purification through a bullock for a sin offering, which, through the fact that this is done for himself and for the entire people of the land, reminds us of the ceremony of the high priest on the day of atonement (Eze 45:22; Le 16:17,24,33; compare DAY OF ATONEMENT, I, Le 1:1-17, and Messianische Erwartung der vorexilischen Propheten, 356 ff). Over against the current view, we finally emphasize the fact that Ezekiel's expectations of a Messianic feature are not confined to Israel, but like those of Isaiah (Le 2:2 ff; Le 11:10: Mic 5:3,1) and of other prophets are universal in their scope (compare Eze 17:23; 16:53,11; 34:26).

4. Ezekiel and Apocalyptic Literature:

Ezekiel is also, finally, regarded as the creator of apocalyptic literature, which in prophetic garment sought to satisfy the curiosity of the people and picture the details of the last times. In this connection the critics have in mind especially Eze 38:1-23; 39:1-29, that magnificent picture of the final onslaught of the nations under Gog and Magog, which will end with the certain victory of the Divine cause and the terrible overthrow of the enemies of Yahweh. On the mountains of Israel the hosts will fall (Eze 39:4); seven years it will be possible to kindle fires with the weapons of the enemies (Eze 39:9); it takes seven months to bury the dead (Eze 39:12); a great feast is prepared for the birds (Eze 39:17 ff).

In reply to this there are two things to be said. First of all Ezekiel is not the creator of these thoughts. There is a whole list of passages in the Prophets that already before his time picture how matters will be after and beyond the Messianic age (compare Mic 2:1Mic 2:1-13b f; Mic 4:11 f; Mic 5:4 f,Mic 7:1-20,20; Joe 3:2,12 f; Isa 11:4; 28:6; Ho 2:2). These are, however, all regarded by the critics as not genuine, or as the product of a later period, but they forget in this to observe that Ezekiel in these passages refers to older prophets (38:17; 39:8), and thus they saw off the branch upon which he sits. In regard, however, to painting the fullest details of the picture, Ezekiel is equaled by none of his predecessors. In this matter, too, he represents the highest point of development, in which he is followed by Zec 12:1-14; 13:7 ff; Zec 14:1 ff, and Daniel, and with direct dependence on Eze 38:1-23 f by the Apocalypse of John (Re 19:17 ff). On the other hand, Ezekiel is entirely different from the later Jewish apocalyptic literature. The latter borrowed the prophetic form but possesses neither the Divine contents nor the Divine inspiration of the prophet. For this reason the apocalyptic literature appears anonymously or under a pseudonym. Ezekiel, however, openly places his name over his prophecies. In Ezekiel the eschatology is a part of his prophetic mission, and as he in his thoughts throughout remains within the bounds of the religious and ethical ideals of prophecy, this feature, too, of his work is to be regarded as a Divine revelation in a form in harmony with the Old Testament stage of the development of the kingdom of God. We are here indeed considering a matter in connection with which it is especially difficult to determine how much in reality belongs to the eternally valid contents, and how much to the temporary forms. Here too, as is the case in the exegesis of Eze 40:1-49 through Eze 48:1-35, Christian theology will vacillate between the extremes of spiritualism and realism, one extreme constantly correcting the other, and in this way constantly approaching the correct middle course, until at some time in the future we will reach the full truth in the matter.

5. Ezekiel's Conception of God:

A prophet who, from the aesthetic side, enjoyed the highest appreciation of a Schiller and a Herder (see 1 above), who has brought the Leviticism of the Old Testament to the highest stage of development (compare 2 above), who in his portrait of the Messiah has introduced the high-priestly characteristics (compare 3 above), who in eschatology developed new features and laid the foundation for the development that followed in later times (compare 4 above), can scarcely with any right or reason be termed a "secondary character among the prophets." This fact becomes all the more sure when we now finally examine the conception of God as taught in Ezk. In grandeur and variety of thought, in this respect only, Isaiah and Moses can be compared with Ezekiel. Already in the visions, we are struck by the sublimity of God as there pictured, especially in the opening vision, where He appears as the absolute ruler of all creation, over which He sits enthroned (compare II , 1, above). He is constantly called "the Lord Yahweh," over against whom the prophet is at all times only "the son of man." More than fifty times it is said that the purpose of the prophecy was that the heathen nations, as well as the Israelites, shall by His judgments and His promises recognize that He is Yahweh.

On this side Ezekiel stands in an especially close relation to the description of the exodus from Egypt (compare Ex 7:5,17; 8:10,22; 9:14,29-30; 10:2; 11:7; 14:4,18, and see EXODUS,II , Ex 2:1-25, on Ex 7:8 through Ex 13:16). Above everything Yahweh's honor must be defended (Eze 36:23,12). Here again there is a place where the evolutionist hypothesis of the development of the idea of God is thoroughly put to shame. For in the preprophetic times it is claimed that God is, in the Old Testament, merely placed by the side of other gods and was regarded only as the God of Israel, with which He was indissolubly connected, because His existence had depended on the existence of the nation. As a proof, reference is made to the defense of His honor; and now we find the same thought in Ezekiel, in whose case it is impossible that any doubt as to his absolute monotheism can any longer arise (compare my Entwicklung der Gottesidee in vorexilischer Zeit, 138 ff 152 ff). The sublimity of this conception of God also appears in its universality. He is declared to be punishing the nations (compare Eze 25:1-17 ff; Eze 35:1-15 f); He uses them for His purposes (compare Eze 38:1-23 f; Eze 17:1-24; 19:1-14; 24:1-27; 33:1-33); He intends to give them salvation (Eze 17:1-24; 23:1-49; 16:53,11; 34:26; compare 3 above).

Most of all, Ezekiel's conception of God, according to the preceding sketch, reminds us of that of Calvin. By the exalted character of God we find also a second feature. On the one side we find the holy God; on the other, sinful man. The entire development of the people is from the beginning a wrong one. Ezekiel's thoughts are to be regarded as those for days of penance when he, on the one hand, emphasizes the great guilt of the people as such (compare Eze 16:1-63 and Eze 23:1-49), and by the side of this maintains the principle that each one must be punished on account of his own sins (Eze 18:2), so that the individual cannot excuse himself, and the individual cannot be freed through the guilt of the people as a totality.

But now comes the highest conception. The exalted and holy God comes to be a God of love. What is it but love, that He does not reject His people forever, but promises them a future (compare Eze 34:1-31 through Eze 48:1-35, in which also the divided kingdoms are to be reunited, Eze 37:15 ff)? As Exodus finds its culmination point in the indwelling of God among His people, which He promised in Ex 25:1-40 ff (Ex 25:8; 29:45 f), but seems to have become a matter of doubt again in Ex 32:1-35 ff through the apostasy of the people, and nevertheless is finally realized in Ex 35:1-35 ff (Ex 40:34 ff), thus too in Eze 10:1-22 f, Yahweh leaves the city, but in Eze 43:1 ff He again returns, and now the name of the city is "Yahweh is there" (Eze 48:35). But as every single member participates in the sin and the punishment of the people, so too he takes part in the deliverance.

Ezekiel is indeed, as little as is Jeremiah, the creator of individualism, which he has often been declared to be. Against this claim, e.g. the character of the patriarchs can be appealed to. But a deeper conception of individualism has actually been brought about by Jeremiah and Ezekiel. The national organization as such was for the present dissolved. Accordingly, these prophets have now to deal more with the individual (compare 1, 2, 3, above). Ezekiel is actually the pastor of those in exile. He has been appointed the watchman of the house of Israel (3:16 ff and 33:1 ff). He can bear the responsibility for the individual souls (compare also Eze 18:1-32). The wicked man who dies without having been warned is demanded from his hand by God. Yahweh does not wish the death of the sinner, but that he should repent and live.

Here such a clear mirror is given, that before it conscientious Christian preachers must all feel ashamed. Yahweh is the gracious God, who does not treat men simply according to the principle of retaliation, else what would become of man? God rather desires to bestow all things out of free grace; he that repents shall live. This is the highest ideal of the prophet, and with it we close.

The Feast of Weeks, the Pentecost of the Israelites, Ezekiel does not mention (compare II , 2, 2b, above). This festival has come to be one of higher importance since on Pentecost the Holy Spirit was poured out, and this Spirit Ezekiel knows. Besides, such passages as Jer 32:15; 44:1-6; Ps 51:12 ff; Joe 2:28 ff; Jer 31:31 ff, it is Ezekiel which contains the clearest predictions of Pentecost. It is the Spirit who in Eze 37:1-28 awakens to new life the dead bones of Israel.

And in Eze 38:23 we read: "And I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep mine ordinances, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God."


Comm. of Keil, Havernick, Hengstenberg, von Orelli, Smend, Bertholet, Kraetzschmar.

For the Messianic Prophecies, the works of von Orelli, Riehm, Delitzsch, Hengstenberg. Compare also Volz, Die vorexilische Jahwe-Prophetie und der Messias; Moller, Die messianische Erwartung der vorexilischen Propheten, zugleich ein Protest gegen moderne Textzersplitterung; Cornill, The Prophet Ezekiel; Klostermann, Studien und Kritken, 1877.

Introductions of Kuenen, Strack, Baudissin, Konig, Cornill, Driver.

Histories of Israel, by Kohler, Konig, Kittel, Klostermann, Oettli, Stade, Wellhausen.

Bible Lexicons, see under "Ezekiel."

Against the Graf-Wellhausen Hypothesis, Moller, Are the Critics Right? In this Encyclopedia, for further literature compare also the article LEVITICUS: Orr, Orr, The Problem of the Old Testament; Wiener, Essays in Pentateuchal Criticism, and The Origin of the Pentateuch; Hoffmann, Die wichtigsten Instanzen gegen die Graf-Wellhausensche Hypothese; Kegel, Wilhelm Vatke u. die Graf-Wellhausensche Hypothese; Zunz, Die gottesdienstlichen Vortrage der Juden; Seinecke, Geschichte des Volkes Israel, II.

Wilhelm Moller

Bible Verses by Topic Nave's Bible Concordance McClintock and Strong Biblical Cyclopedia Online Bible KJV Dictionary

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