Encountering the Old Testament, 3rd Edition

A Christian Survey

series: Encountering Biblical Studies


29. Ezekiel 1–24: Rough Days Are Coming!

Chapter Intro Video

Chapter Objectives

  • Outline the basic contents of Ezekiel 1–24
  • Describe the details of Ezekiel’s commission
  • Describe the four symbolic acts of Ezekiel (4:1–5:17) that showed how seriously God takes sin
  • Summarize Ezekiel’s vision of God’s glory departing Jerusalem (8:1–11:25)
  • Describe the attitude of Ezekiel’s audience as they listened to him

Chapter Summary

  1. The book of Ezekiel is written in an autobiographical style.
  2. Ezekiel’s four symbolic actions (4:1–5:17) demonstrated how seriously God took the people’s sin (playing a game with a brick, lying on his right and left sides for a specific number of days, cooking bread using small rations and using human dung for fuel, and dividing his hair into three parts and performing different actions with each part).
  3. The concept of the day of the Lord includes the judgment of God against sin, the cleansing and purging of God’s people, and the salvation of God’s people.
  4. The people of God sinned greatly against him; led by the elders, they practiced idolatry on the temple grounds, worshiping a pagan agricultural god and worshiping the sun.
  5. In preparation for the judgment, Ezekiel denounced the false prophets and the people’s idolatry.
  6. Ezekiel described God’s people with analogies in which he compared them to a vine, an unfaithful wife, and two eagles.
  7. In his lament for Judah, Ezekiel analogously used cubs to represent Jehoahaz and Jehoiachin.

Study Questions

  1. What was the historical setting for Ezekiel’s prophetic ministry?
  2. What do we know about the prophet himself from his book?
  3. List the various symbolic prophetic actions Ezekiel performed for the people. In general, how do you think the people responded to those actions?
  4. Describe Ezekiel’s vision of chapters 8–11. What was the significance of God’s glory departing Jerusalem?
  5. How would you characterize the general attitude of Ezekiel’s audience? What seems to have been the viewpoint of the people who stayed behind in Jerusalem after the second deportation?