The book Of The Bible Ezekiel
The book of Ezekiel contains the oracles, visions, allegories, and symbolic actions of the priest/prophet Ezekiel, who lived during the time of the Babylonian exile. Ezekiel received his inaugurating vision while living in Babylon by the river Chebar (1.3) during the reign of King Jeholachin of Judah. Ezekiel lived among and prophesied for the Judahites living in exile in Babylon. Now that the people had lost their city and its temple, Ezekiel had to make sense of the events and point the way to a new future even as they began to settle into their new circumstances in exile. Ezekiel’s prophecy is marked by visions and ecstasy and various forms of severe maladies, i.e., paralysis of limb and tongue (3.22ff.). He, more than any other prophet, uses symbolic actions to annouce judgments and interpret events. He would perform dramatic actions to make his point or get the attention of his hearers, for example, by taking a sword to his own hair (5.1-4) or by refusing to grieve at the death of his wife (24.15-27). After the exile was accomplished, Ezekiel’s famous vision of dry bones (37.1-14) announces the coming of a future restoration for Israel rising up out of the ashes of Babylon. Ezekiel’s prophecy that the Lord will purify his people and give them a new heart and a new spirit is read every year at the Easter Vigil (36.16-28). The same passage from Ezekiel about a new heart and a new spirit is also provided at certain Ritual Masses for Christian Initiation (36.24-28), Baptism of Children (3 6.24-28), and Confirmation (36.24-28). Additionally, Ezeklet’s famous vision of the dry bones is offered as a choice for the first reading on the Vigil of Pentecost.