place in a “public” context. Ezekiel sits “astonished” among the captives for seven days
and then hears further instruction from the Lord (3:15–27) and direction as to his first
proclamational enactments (4:1—5:17). As a watchman Ezekiel is to be careful to warn
of wickedness whenever instructed to do so regardless of the response, fully aware that it
is a rebellious people to whom the Lord is sending him (4:1–17). The method of
Ezekiel’s ministry as watchman would often entail symbolic actions and enactments. The
primary focus of his ministry would be the coming judgment of Jerusalem. To this end he
is instructed to portray its siege (4:1–17) and destruction (5:1–17).5 Ezekiel’s other
method of ministry would be standard prophecy, as other prophets. This aspect of his
commission is set forth in 6:1–14, in which he is instructed to proclaim Yahweh’s
coming judgment against the land of Israel for its idolatry.
E. Ezekiel is confirmed as to the imminence of the judgment he was to
In this poem of judgment the prophet is told of the imminency of Yahweh’s
announced intentions for Israel. It serves as a fitting inclusio for the warning given to him
as the watchman. Judgment is coming soon; Ezekiel must take his calling seriously.
II. Ezekiel announces that judgment is at hand for Judah and the Nations (8:1—33:20).
This section develops the message of the imminent judgment of Israel. In line
with the pattern established in his call and commission, Ezekiel undertakes a ministry of
his ministry but a minor break signifying the continuation of the prophet's call and commission but in the context of initial ministry (it occurs at 6:1 and 7:1). Note that there is still much personal instruction of Ezekiel in this section.
5 With respect to the years of siege mentioned in 4:4–6 see Alexander, Ezekiel, 23-24 who concludes that this represents from the captivity of Jehoiachin the 430 “years that the nations would be in subjection to the foreign powers. This would give us a concluding date of approximately 167 B.C., the year that the Maccabean revolt began and the Jews once again exercised rule over the land of Canaan for the first time since 597 B.C.”