Ezekiel, Hebrew name, was son of a priest, Buzi. He was taken captive at Jehoiachin eleven years before the destruction of Jerusalem (2 Kings 24:12-15). In an exile community he resided on the banks of the Chebar, a river or canal in Babylonia. It was by this river in the land of the Chaldeans God’s message first reached him (Ezek. 1:3); which occurred around 592 BCE. From allusion (24:18), it is considered that he married and had a house with the captive region, but his wife died from a sudden stroke.

He apparently was of strong moral character being looked up to by those around him as he was consulted even by elders on all occasions (8:1; 11:25; 14:1; 20:1, etc.). He appears to have the Levitical training. He endured the hardship of privation well and, therefore, was capable of advising his people. Thus, he is listed within the remnant of the Jews.

Ezekiel also is known for his preaching against the Babylonian god Tammaz, consort and brother of the goddess Ishtar (Ezek. 8:14). Tammaz was greatly adored throughout the Semitic world. He describes the women mourning the deity’s death by the north gate of the Jerusalem temple. Tammaz, according to legend, died early in the fall, symbolized by dying leaves and vegetation. He was recovered from the neither world, this symbolized by budding vegetation. Of course this entire sequence of worship represented the pagan homage to the natural birth, death, and rebirth cycle which Ezekiel found degrading and thoroughly inconstant with the chaste worship of Yehweh. A.G.H.


Unger, Merrill F., Unger’s Bible Dictionary, Chicago, Moody Press, 1966, pp. 336-337, 1069-1070