Ezekiel 2-3 – The Calling of the Son of Man

2:1 – Why should Ezekiel have to stand in order to listen to the LORD? It would seem to be because his calling is to action. Why is he called “son of man” (ben ‘adam)? It is to emphasize his humanity in the presence of the glory of the LORD. Also, it must be noted that Ezekiel in this instance is enabled to do what he does (stand, speak, not speak, go, etc.) only by the Spirit, which places him in relation to the “living creatures” of chapter one. What relation does this have in regard to the relationship between the Spirit and the person filled with the Spirit? Are we to regard those with the Spirit as automatons or is there any sense of participation/rebellion against the Spirit?

2:3 – Why is Israel called “a rebellious nation” (MT – goyim; Syriac – goy; LXX – lacking) and “a rebellious house”? Duguid (NIVAC 68) notes the strikingly reversed contrast between Israel as goyim “nations” and the Gentiles as ‘am “a people”. And who are they in fact rebellious against? The Hebrew term for the LORD’s “sending” of Ezekiel is comparable to the word for Christ’s “sending” the twelve and the seventy. Who has sent Ezekiel? (2:4)

2:5 – The “rebellious” acts of Israel are comparable to the rebellious child of Deut.21:18-21. Why should it matter that a real “prophet” was among them and what does this mean?

2:6 – “Don’t be afraid” – Why should Ezekiel be afraid and why not? The “briars, thorns and scorpions” may actually not refer to Israel, but to divine protection from Israel (see Jer.15:19-21; Block NICOT 121-122).

2:8-10 – “Open your mouth and eat what I give you”? (see Acts 10) He is given a scroll with writing on both sides? What is the significance of both the eating of the scroll and the writing on both sides as well as what is written? Iain Duguid (NIVAC 69-70, 79) has compared and contrasted Adam with the “son of adam” – Ezekiel (set in further contrast to the rebellious “sons of Israel”). He included such things as: the “breath of life” (Gen.2:7) versus the “spirit” (Eze.2:2; 3:12, 14, 24); the test of obedience (Gen.2:17; Eze.2:8); the contrast of what is eaten between the fruit that is considered “good for food, pleasing to the eye and desirable for gaining wisdom” but leads to judgment (Gen.2:17; 3:6) versus what a scroll covered on both sides with writings of lament, mourning and woe but which may lead to life (Eze.2:10); and finally in both cases disobedience to the command of the LORD concerning eating will result in certain death (Gen.2:17; Eze.3:18).

3:1-3 – Ezekiel eats the scroll. What is the significance of it being sweet? (Psalm 19:10; 119:103; Rev.10:9-10) Also, why should Ezekiel make sure to fill his belly with the scroll?

3:5-6 – It is a shocking thing to note that foreigners (i.e., Gentiles) would have listened to the word of the LORD through Ezekiel as opposed to Israel (see Matt.11:20-24).

3:8-9 – Why would (or should) the LORD “harden” Ezekiel? (note the word-play with his name which means “God hardens”) “The message of God’s spokespersons derives not from private reasoning or logic, or from mystical reflection, but from revelation” (Block NICOT 131).

3:14-15 – What is the prophet’s attitude? Compare his response to Jeremiah 15:17.

3:16-21 – This pronouncement to Ezekiel has the elements of a legal pronouncement, however this message is specifically only for Ezekiel to be reminded of the seriousness of his call to prophecy to Israel no matter what their response will be (see Eze.33; Block NICOT 142-143). Who is the ‘enemy’ Ezekiel as the “watchman” must warn Israel about? Concerning the prophetic “watchman” see Hos.9:8; Jer.6:17; Heb.10:31.

3:18-21 – What constitutes someone being referred to as either “evil” or “righteous” in this context? The basis of judgment is the issue of faithfulness to the covenant (Deut.24:13 – where Torah obedience means “righteousness”).

3:20 – What kind of “stumbling block” did the LORD put in front of the “righteous” who did “evil”? (see Eze.7:19; 14:3-4; 18:30; 44:12; cf. Psalm 119:65) Why would the LORD do this? (Isa.8:14; Jer.6:21)

3:23 – What is Ezekiel’s reaction to another appearance of the glory of the LORD? Has he grown accustomed to this presence? (see Rev.4:1-11)

3:26 – Why would the LORD not allow Ezekiel to speak after giving him a message? The NIV reads “to rebuke” where the Hebrew (’ish mokiah) reads literally “an arbitrating man” (Block NICOT 159; Duguid NIVAC 80); thus implying there can be no intercession for Israel (which is one of the roles of a prophet – see Gen.20:7 concerning Abraham – and priest). What does this say of judgment and mercy in regard to Israel?

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