Ezekiel (593-559) was carried away into Babylonian captivity during the second invasion of Nebuchadnezzar in 597 BC along with the best of Judean nobility. In Babylon his home was at Tel-Abib (3:15), north of Babylon, and he lived in his own house (8:12). He was married, his wife dying in 586 BC.
His prophetic ministry began in the fifth year after his arrival in the land of exile. For the first six years he preached to the exiles, and all this while Jerusalem was still standing. He had a difficult task in keeping before the generation born in captivity the national sins, which had led to their exile in the first place. "They shall know that I am God" occurs some seventy times and runs like a refrain throughout the book. His ministry seems to be designed to impress the young people, for they will be the ones who would be returning to Jerusalem later.
In no uncertain terms did Ezekiel (6,7) spell out the imminent doom about to fall upon the hills of Judea. This judgment could not be averted (8-11). He had visions of unspeakable abominations being practiced in Jerusalem, even in the temple of God, and saw the cloud (representing God's presence) slowly but surely departing from Jerusalem. His own personal suffering (his wife dying) was swallowed up in a far greater sorrow, for the day his wife died the armies of Nebuchadnezzar sacked Jerusalem. Compare II Kings 25:1 with Ezekiel 24:1,15-18.
In Chapter 37 is given the remarkable vision of the valley of dry bones, a far-reaching prophecy of the political rebirth of Israel. The two sticks, one written with the name of Judah, the other written with the name of Joseph (for Israel), are joined into one, designating that the nation would no longer be divided but would once more become one people. God would surely resurrect the people and bring them 'home' again.
Tradition claims that Ezekiel was murdered in Babylon and buried near the Euphrates River.
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