Ezekiel : biography

Tomb of Ezekiel

The tomb of Ezekiel is a structure located in modern day south Iraq near Kefil, believed to be the final resting place of Ezekiel. It has been a place of pilgrimage to both Muslims and Jews alike. After the Jewish exodus from Iraq, Jewish activity in the tomb ceased although a disused Synagogue remains in place.

Ezekiel’s life

The author of the Book of Ezekiel shows himself as Ezekiel, the son of Buzi,[Ezekiel 1:3] born into a priesthood (Kohen) lineageFlavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews Book X, 5.1.79, 80 of the patrilineal line of Ithamar, and resident of Anathoth. The author dates ages, prophecies and visions by making references to the lengths of time King Jehoiachin of Judah was in exile. Under the direction of Nebuchadnezzar II, Babylonian armies exiled three thousand JewsFlavius /Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews Book X, 6.3.98 from Judah, deposing King Jehoiachin in 597 BC. In reference to Ezekiel being in his "thirtieth year… during the fifth year of King Jehoiachin’s exile", it could be determined that he was born c. 622 BC.

Living in Babylon

Ezekiel, at the age of 25, was amongst 3,000 upper class Jews who were exiled to Babylon. On the bank of the Chebar River, in Tel Abib (Mound of the Deluge), Ezekiel and his wife dwelled in their own home where exiled Judaic visitors came to seek his prophetic insights. There is no mention of him having any offspring, only that his wife died rather young, in the ninth year of exile, when Ezekiel was 34 years of age.

Prophetic career

In July 592 BC, at the age of 30, Ezekiel describes his calling to be a prophet, by going into great detail about his encounter with God who rode upon a chariot of four wheels guided by Cherubs. For the next five years he incessantly prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple, which was met with some opposition and drama. However, Ezekiel and his contemporaries like Jeremiah, another prophet who was living in Jerusalem at that time, witnessed the fulfillment of their prophecies when Jerusalem was finally sacked by the Babylonians. The date of the sacking, 587 BC, is confirmed by Babylonian cuneiform records discovered by archeologists. Ezekiel was 50 years old when he began to have visions of a new Temple. He served as a prophet for at least 22 years until, according to scriptures, it is believed Ezekiel’s last encounter with God occurred in April 570 BC. His time of death has not been recorded.