Book summary

Ezekiel, whose name means “God strengthens”, was a Hebrew prophet from a priestly family and grew up in Jerusalem. He was taken captive and deported during Judah’s exile to Babylon and five years later received his calling from God.

Ezekiel’s prophecies delivered God’s message of judgment, but also sustained God’s people in faith that they would be restored to Zion. He also emphasized personal responsibility of each individual before God rather than passing off judgment as simply the result of their ancestors’ sins.

Variations of the phrase “They shall know that I am the Lord” occur 65 times. It’s also worth noting that the phrase “Son of man” in this book is referring to Ezekiel not to Jesus.

Chapters 1-3 — God commissions Ezekiel

Ch 1 — The Glory of God
  • I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him. Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking. (Ezek. 1:27-28)

Ch 2-3 — God commissions Ezekiel
  • He said: “Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me; they and their ancestors have been in revolt against me to this very day. The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and stubborn.” (Ezek. 2:3-4)

Chapters 4-24 — Judgment for Judah and Jerusalem

Ch 4-7 — Signs of coming judgment

Ch 4 — Siege of Jerusalem symbolized
  • “Now, son of man, take a block of clay, put it in front of you and draw the city of Jerusalem on it. Then lay siege to it: Erect siege works against it, build a ramp up to it, set up camps against it and put battering rams around it.” (Ezek. 4:1-2)

Ch 5 — God’s razor of judgment
  • “Now, son of man, take a sharp sword and use it as a barber’s razor to shave your head and your beard. Then take a set of scales and divide up the hair.” (Ezek. 5:1)

Ch 6 — Doom for the mountains of Israel
  • “This is what the Sovereign Lord says to the mountains and hills, to the ravines and valleys: I am about to bring a sword against you, and I will destroy your high places. Your altars will be demolished and your incense altars will be smashed; and I will slay your people in front of your idols.” (Ezek. 6:3-4)

Ch 7 — The end has come
“‘The end! The end has come
upon the four corners of the land!
The end is now upon you,
and I will unleash my anger against you.
I will judge you according to your conduct
and repay you for all your detestable practices. (Ezek. 7:2-3)

Ch 8-11 — Visions of coming judgment

Ch 8 — Idolatry in the temple
  • So I went in and looked, and I saw portrayed all over the walls all kinds of crawling things and unclean animals and all the idols of Israel. In front of them stood seventy elders of Israel… (Ezek. 8:10-11)

Ch 9 — Judgment on the idolaters
  • Then the Lord called to the man clothed in linen who had the writing kit at his side and said to him, “Go throughout the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it.” As I listened, he said to the others, “Follow him through the city and kill, without showing pity or compassion. Slaughter the old men, the young men and women, the mothers and children, but do not touch anyone who has the mark. Begin at my sanctuary.” (Ezek. 9:3-6)

Ch 10 — God’s glory departs from the temple
  • [God removed his presence because of the peoples’ sin and idolatry.]

  • Then the glory of the Lord departed from over the threshold of the temple and stopped above the cherubim. While I watched, the cherubim spread their wings and rose from the ground, and as they went, the wheels went with them. (Ezek. 10:18-19)

Ch 11 — The promise of Israel’s return
  • ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will gather you from the nations and bring you back from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you back the land of Israel again.’ (Ezek. 11:17)

Ch 12-24 — Signs, messages and parables of coming judgment

Ch 12 — The exile symbolised
  • “The prince among them will put his things on his shoulder at dusk and leave, and a hole will be dug in the wall for him to go through. He will cover his face so that he cannot see the land. I will spread my net for him, and he will be caught in my snare; I will bring him to Babylonia, the land of the Chaldeans, but he will not see it, and there he will die. (Ezek. 12:12-13)

  • [This prophecy was fulfilled in 2 Kings 25:4-7.]

Ch 13-14 — False prophets and idolaters condemned
  • Because of your false words and lying visions, I am against you, declares the Sovereign Lord. (Ezek. 13:8)

  • “When any of the Israelites set up idols in their hearts and put a wicked stumbling block before their faces and then go to a prophet, I the Lord will answer them myself in keeping with their great idolatry.” (Ezek. 14:4)

Ch 15-17 — Three parables of the useless vine, adulterous wife, and the two eagles
  • If it was not useful for anything when it was whole, how much less can it be made into something useful when the fire has burned it and it is charred? (Ezek. 15:5)

  • I am filled with fury against you, declares the Sovereign Lord, when you do all these things, acting like a brazen prostitute! (Ezek. 16:30)

  • A great eagle with powerful wings, long feathers and full plumage of varied colors came to Lebanon. (Ezek. 17:3)

Ch 18 — The one who sins will die
  • If a righteous person turns from their righteousness and commits sin, they will die for it; because of the sin they have committed they will die. But if a wicked person turns away from the wickedness they have committed and does what is just and right, they will save their life. (Ezek. 18:26-27)

Ch 19 — A lament over Israel’s princes
It towered high
above the thick foliage,
conspicuous for its height
and for its many branches.
But it was uprooted in fury
and thrown to the ground.
The east wind made it shrivel,
it was stripped of its fruit;
its strong branches withered
and fire consumed them. (Ezek. 19:11-12)
Ch 20-22 — Judgment for sin
  • “But they rebelled against me and would not listen to me; they did not get rid of the vile images they had set their eyes on, nor did they forsake the idols of Egypt. So I said I would pour out my wrath on them and spend my anger against them in Egypt.” (Ezek. 20:8)

Ch 23 — Parable of two adulterous sisters
  • “They became prostitutes in Egypt, engaging in prostitution from their youth. In that land their breasts were fondled and their virgin bosoms caressed. The older was named Oholah, and her sister was Oholibah. They were mine and gave birth to sons and daughters. Oholah is Samaria, and Oholibah is Jerusalem.” (Ezek. 23:3-4)

Ch 24 — Parable of the cooking pot
Then set the empty pot on the coals
till it becomes hot and its copper glows,
so that its impurities may be melted
and its deposit burned away. (Ezek. 24:11)

Chapters 25-32 — Judgment for foreign nations

  • Ch 25 — Ammon, Moab, Edom, and Philistia

  • Ch 26-28 — Tyre and Sidon

  • Ch 29-32 — Egypt

Chapters 33-48 — Restoration

Ch 33 — The watchman of restoration

  • “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me.” (Ezek. 33:7)

Ch 34-39 — Promises of restoration

Ch 34 — The Lord will be Israel’s shepherd
  • I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign Lord. I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. (Ezek. 34:15)

Ch 35 — A prophecy against Edom
  • “Because you rejoiced when the inheritance of Israel became desolate, that is how I will treat you. You will be desolate, Mount Seir, you and all of Edom. Then they will know that I am the Lord.” (Ezek. 35:15)

Ch 36 — Hope for the mountains of Israel
  • “And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God.” (Ezek. 36:27-28)

Ch 37:1-14 — The valley of dry bones
  • Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life…’” (Ezek. 37:4-5)

Ch 37:15-28 — One nation under one king
  • ‘My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd.’ (Ezek. 37:24)

Ch 38-39 — A prophecy against Gog, of the land of Magog
  • “I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains, declares the Sovereign Lord.” (Ezek. 38:21)

Ch 40-48 — Visions of restoration

Ch 40-43 — Restoring the temple of the Lord
  • In visions of God he took me to the land of Israel and set me on a very high mountain, on whose south side were some buildings that looked like a city. (Ezek. 40:2)

  • Then the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. (Ezek. 43:5)

Ch 44 — Restoring priesthood
  • The Lord said to me, “Son of man, look carefully, listen closely and give attention to everything I tell you concerning all the regulations and instructions regarding the temple of the Lord. (Ezek. 44:5)

Ch 45-46 — Restoring sanctity
  • ‘When you allot the land as an inheritance, you are to present to the Lord a portion of the land as a sacred district…’ (Ezek. 45:1)

Ch 47:1-12 — The river from the temple
  • Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live. (Ezek. 47:9)

Ch 47:13-48:29 — Boundaries and distribution of the land
  • “These are the boundaries of the land that you will divide among the twelve tribes of Israel as their inheritance, with two portions for Joseph.” (Ezek. 47:13)

Ch 48:30-35 — The gates of the city
  • “And the name of the city from that time on will be: THE Lord IS THERE.” (Ezek. 48:35)