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The Book of Ezekiel describes the prophet's many visions and symbolic actions with vivid literary imagery. The following well - known passages demonstrate the author's extraordinary imagination and gift for allegory: the vision of Yahweh's chariot (chap. 1); Ezekiel's symbolic acts of eating the scroll (2:1 - 3:15) and shaving his hair and beard (5:1 - 4); the sword of God's wrath (21); the allegory of the rusty pot (24:1 - 14); the lament over Egypt (31 - 32); and the vision of the dry bones (37:1 - 14).
Written during the Babylonian Captivity (586 - 38 BC), the book links preexilic Israel and the Judaism of the restoration. Ezekiel stressed the interior qualities of religion, as the earlier prophets had, but in the manner of later writers he looked to the Temple and to cultic observances. He described life in exile and preached a message of hope, striving to sustain his fellow deportees in their faith and traditions. This message culminates in the final vision of the temple in the new Jerusalem and the restoration of Israel.
George W Coats
W Eichrodt, Ezekiel: A Commentary (1970); P Fairbain, Ezekiel (1988); H Jacobson, The Exagogue of Ezekiel (1983); R W Klein, Ezekiel (1988).
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