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Date

According to his own chronological information, Ezekiel carried on his

prophetic ministry between 592 B.C. and 570 B.C., that is, during the first phase of the

Babylonian captivity.

Historical Setting

The northern nation Israel had been defeated and deported in 722 B.C.,

leaving Judah with an ominous warning, one that had gone largely unheeded. Jeremiah

had pronounced the coming doom at the hands of the Babylonians, a doom that finally

began in 605 B.C. with Nebuchadnezzar’s defeat of Assyria and Egypt and his subse-

quent invasion of Judah, upon which he deported a number of Israelites to Babylon,

including Daniel and his friends. In 597 B.C. the Babylonian monarch again invaded

Judah and despoiled the temple, hauling its treasure and all the nobles of the land back to

Babylon. Ezekiel was part of this second deportation. He began his prophetic ministry

five years later (“in the fifth year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity—1:3) and continued

until 570 B.C. (Ezek 29:17). This period saw the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple

and the third deportation (586 B.C.).

Original Readers

Though Ezekiel’s ministry concerned Jerusalem and the temple, both in im-

mediate judgment and ultimate restoration and glory, his ministry was to the Babylonian

exiles. This may have included exiles stemming from the earlier Assyrian captivity as

well.

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