7.9 Ezekiel -- "Among the Exiles"
Ezekiel prophesied in the early 6th Century BC, from about 593-71. Like Daniel, Ezekiel was one of Nebuchadnezzar's captives; but Daniel was exiled in the first deportation (605 B.C) and lived at the king's court. He served in the government in a high position, and wrote down prophecies largely for future generations. Ezekiel’s place was "among the exiles" (Eze 1:1), delivering words first of judgment and later of hope. He was the counterpart of Jeremiah, who represented God's Presence in Jerusalem during its destruction, and who also spoke to those in captivity (Jer 29). Ezekiel often referred to world rulers, especially Nebuchadnezzar and Egypt’s Pharaoh, but he had no direct contact with them.
Ezekiel’s focus was on the period during and after Judah’s last king, Zedekiah, though he never mentioned Zedekiah by name. This was the most critical time in Judah's history, and it included the years prior to, during and after the destruction of Jerusalem. The Lord kept Ezekiel aware of events in Jerusalem and Judah, speaking to him on the day when the final siege began (Eze 24:1-2), and sending a messenger to announce the fall of the city and the Temple (Eze 24:25-26, Eze 33:21). The prophet’s visions and symbolic actions connected him intimately to the spiritual life, the sins, the suffering, and the future, of Jerusalem.