ISRAEL STORY 09 – Age of Ezekiel, Haggai

SPRING 2015 BIBLE STUDY RESOURCES:

Albertz, Rainer.  A History of Israelite Religion in the Old Testament Period.  Volume I: From the Beginnings to the End of the Monarchy.  Translated by John Bowden in 1994.  Part of the Old Testament Library series edited by James L. Mays, Carol A. Newsom, and David L. Petersen.  (Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, 1994).

Albertz, Rainer.  A History of Israelite Religion in the Old Testament Period.  Volume II: From the Exile to the Maccabees.  Translated by John Bowden in 1994.  Part of the Old Testament Library series edited by James L. Mays, Carol A. Newsom, and David L. Petersen.  (Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, 1994).

Blenkinsopp, Joseph.  Ezekiel.  Part of the Interpretation Bible commentary series edited by James L. Mays.  (John Knox Press, Louisville, 1990).

Boling, Robert G.  Judges.  Part of the Anchor Bible series, W.F. Allbright and David Noel Freedman general editors.  (Doubleday, Garden City, 1975).

Bright, John.  A History of Israel, second edition.  (Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1972).

Campbell Jr., Edward F..  Ruth.  Part of the Anchor Bible Series, W.F. Allbright and David Noel Freedman general editors.  (Yale University Press, New Haven, 1975).

Childs, Brevard S.  Isaiah.  Part of the Old Testament Library commentary series, editorial advisory board of James L. Mays, Carol A. Newsom, and Daviud L Petersen.  (Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, 2001).

Cohn, Robert L.   2 Kings.  Part of the Berit Olam: Studies in Hebrew Narrative & Poetry series, edited by David W. Cotter.  (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 2000).

Cook, Stephen L.  2 Isaiah.  Part of the Conversations with Scripture series by the Anglican Association of Biblical Scholars.  (Morehouse Publishing, Harrisburg, 2008).

Cook, Stephen L. and Corrine L. Patton, editors.  Ezekiel’s Hierarchical World: Wrestling with a Tiered Reality.  Number 31 of the Society of Biblical Literature’s Symposium Series edited by Christopher R. Matthews.  (Society of Biblical Literature, Atlanta, 2004).

Cotter, David W.  Genesis.  Part of the Berit Olam: Studies in Hebrew Narrative & Poetry series, edited by David W. Cotter.  (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 2003).

Creach, Jerome F. D..  Joshua.  Part of the Interpretation Bible commentary series edited by James L. Mays.  (John Knox Press, Louisville, 2003).

De Vaux, Roland.  The Early History of Israel.  Translated by David Smith. (Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1978).

Gordon, Cyrus H. and Gary A. Rendsburg.  The Bible and the Ancient Near East, fourth edition.  (W. W. Norton, New York, 1997).

Hanson, Paul D.  Isaiah 40 – 66.  Part of the Interpretation biblical commentary series edited by James L Mays, Patrick D. Miller, and Paul Achtemeier.  (John Knox Press, Louisville, 1995).

Hayes, John H. and J. Maxwell Miller.  Israelite and Judaean History.  Part of the Old Testament Library series edited by John H. Hayes and J. Maxwell Miller.  (Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1977).

Hawk, L. Daniel.  Joshua.  Part of the Berit Olam: Studies in Hebrew Narrative and Poetry series, David W. Cotter editor.  (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 2000).

Jensen, Joseph.  Ethical Dimensions of the Prophets.  (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 2006).

Jobling, David.   1 Samuel.  Part of the Berit Olam: Studies in Hebrew Narrative and Poetry series, David W. Cotter editor.  (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 1998).

LaCocque, Andre.  Ruth.  Part of the Continentl Commentary series.  Translated by K. C. Hanson.  (Fortress Press, Minneapolis, 2004).

Linafelt, Tod.  “Ruth” in Ruth & Esther.  Part of the Berit Olam: Studies in Hebrew Narrative and Poetry series, David W. Cotter Editor.  (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 1999).

Macintosh, A.A..  Hosea.  Part of the International Critical Commentary series edited by J.A. Emerton, C.E.B Cranfield, and G. N. Stanton.  ( T & T Clark: Edinburgh, 1997).

Mazar, Amihai.  Archaeology of the Land of the Bible : 10,000 – 586 B.C.E.  Part of the Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library edited by David Noel Freedman.  (Yale University Press, New Haven, 1990).

Morrison, Craig E.   2 Samuel.  Part of the Berit Olam: Studies in Hebrew Narrative and Poetry series, Jerome T. Walsh editor.  (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 2013).

Myers, Eric M. and Mark A. Chancey.  Alexander to Constantine: Archaeology of the Land of the Bible.  Volume 3 of the Anchor Bible Reference Library edited  by John Collins.  (Yale University Press, New Haven, 2012)

Niditch, Susan.  Judges.  Part of the Old Testament Library series, editorial advisory board Brown, Newsome, Petersen. (Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, 2008).

Propp, William H. C..  Exodus 1-18: A new translation with introduction and commentary.  Volume 2 of the Anchor Yale Bible, William F. Albright and David Noel Freedman General Editiors.  (Yale University Press, New Haven, 1999).

Provan, Iain, V. Philips Long, and Tremper Longman III.  A Biblical History of Israel.  (Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, 2003).

Sakenfeld, Katherine Doob.   Ruth.  Part of the Interpretation Biblical commentary series, James L. Mays series editor.  (John Knox Press, Louisville, 1999).

Sarna, Nahum M.  Genesis.  Part of The JPS Torah Commentary, edited by Nahum M. Sarna.  (The Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia, 1989).

—————–.  Exodus.  Part of The JPS Torah Commentary, edited by Nahum M. Sarna.  (The Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia, 1991).

Scherman, Rabbi Nosson.  The Prophets: Joshua / Judges: The early prophets with  commentary anthologized from the Rabbinic writings.  (Mesorah Publications, New York, 2000).

Scherman, Rabbi Nosson and Meir Zlotowitz, editors.  The Mishnah: Seder Zeraim vol. IIa PEAH.   A new translation with a commentary anthologized from Talmudic, Midrashic, and rabbinic sources.  Part of the Artscroll Mishnah series.  (Mesorah Publications, New York, 1990).

Scherman, Rabbi Nosson and Meir Zlotowitz, editors.  The Mishnah: Seder Zeraim vol. 1a SEDER MOED.   A new translation with a commentary anthologized from Talmudic, Midrashic, and rabbinic sources.  Part of the Artscroll Mishnah series.  (Mesorah Publications, New York, 1982).

Schneider, Tammi J.  Judges.  Part of the Berit Olam: Studies in Hebrew Narrative and Poetry series, David W. Cotter editor.  (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 2000).

Seitz, Christopher R.  Isaiah 1-39.  Part of the Interpretation biblical commentary series edited by James L Mays, Patrick D. Miller, and Paul Achtemeier.  (John Knox Press, Louisville, 1993).

Silver, Daniel Jeremy.  A History of Judaism: Volume 1, From Abraham to Maimonides.  (Basic Books Inc., New York, 1974).

Stern, Ephraim.  Archaeology of the Land of the Bible.  Volume II: The Assyrian, Babylonian, and Persian Periods (732 – 332 B.C.E.).  Part of the Anchor Bible Reference Library edited  by David Noel Freedman.  (Doubleday, New York, 2001)

Tuell, Steven S..  First and Second Chronicles.  Part of the Interpretation Bible commentary series, edited by James L Mays.  (Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, 1989).

Walsh, Jerome T.   1 Kings.  Part of the Berit Olam: Studies in Hebrew Narrative and Poetry series, David W. Cotter editor.  (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 1996).

 

…………………………………………………………………………..

EZEKIEL

Blenkinsopp p. 2: Ezekiel was a priest, part of the educated elite.  Rather than just preaching his message, he was able to write it down.  The oracles may have been spoken, or just written, or some combination.  We know less about Ezekiel than we do of most other prophets.  (priestly language and formulations)

Blenkinsopp p. 8:

  • Likely to have been about 30 at the time of his call
  • Born about the time of King Josiah’s religious reform
  • Deported to Babylon after first conquest in 598 BC – and most likely stayed there for his entire prophetic career
  • He was married, his wife died in 588 BC
  • Active over a period of 20 years from 593 to 571

Blenkinsopp p. 2: “Prophecies spoken by Ezekiel in the early phase of his career before the fall of Jerusalem have been amplified after the event to reflect the terrible experiences through which the survivors had passed.”                    INCLUDING CH. 12

Cook p. 1: “Ezekiel asserts cosmic and natural-world hierarchies, but levels of sacred authority are predominant.  The book understands both heavenly beings (cherubim) and human priests (the Zadokites) to occupy special spheres of holiness and authority close to God’s presence.”

Blenkinsopp p. 3: “There is no doubt that Ezekiel is a difficult book, and not just because of its length.  The language is rich, overloaded, and frequently hyperbolic, and the images are often strange, remote from mundane experience, and sometimes willfully repellant.  The vocabulary is frequently obscure and the text imperfectly transmitted …   The intensity and even ferocity of negative emotion – anger, disdain, indignation … may also be found disturbing…”

The center of the book is the fall of Jerusalem.  First half leads up to it, second half begins to look to the day of redemption and restoration of the temple.

Blenkinsopp p. 7: “His dependence on his older contemporary Jeremiah is manifest throughout ..  He also harks back to the very early forms of ecstatic prophecy and unlike his prophetic predecessors from Amos onward, speaks often of the spirit as the driving force of prophetic activity and the age of human transformation.”

Blenkinsopp p. 7: “Most critical scholars accept the basic authenticity of the work, while admitting significant contributions from a ‘school’ of Ezekiel the existence of which, while not independently attested, may be deduced from the work itself.”

Key events of the overall period include the decline and fall (612) of Assyria, fighting between Egypt and Babylon, the rise of Babylon and the foolish revolt against Babylon that directly led to the fall of Jerusalem in 587.

The Book of Ezekiel

Prophetic Call: chapt. 1-3

Has a vision of God’s “glory” (kabod) even though he is in Babylon.  Perhaps at his priestly ordination since it was thought to have been normal to “see it” upon ordination.  Present during the wandering in desert, at Mt. Sinai, above the ark in battle and in temple.  It sanctifies, protects, fills people with awe, but also judges.

Eat this scroll!

The Fall of Judah: chapt 4 – 24

Ezekiel acts out 3 prophecies which both warn the people and cause the prophecy to begin to become true.

  1. Draws a vision of a siege on a brick, is bound by ropes to bear the sins of the people for 14 months.
  2. Bakes bread out of scraps, restricts self to eating a small portion of bread and water only as if on wartime rations.
  3. Shaves hair and beard, divides into three parts.  Burns one, smashes another, and scatters the third.

Cook p. 28: The priests were to have instructed the people and rulers; protected the shrines; distinguished between sacred and profane things; and guarded the sanctity of the Sabbath.  “Both Ezek. 7:26 and 22:26 demonstrate what priests should have done if they had only done their job in the correct manner; but they did not act in this way.  In this context, they are blemished, having caused the destruction of Jerusalem together with all of the LORD’s people.”

***NOTE*** This emphasis on priests as “teachers of the Law” points out a serious gap.  The more they emphasized a role in offering sacrifices the more there is an absence of teaching the people the law – a role that the Pharisees / Jesus later fulfilled.  Yet there is no doubt that their PRIMARY role was to offer sacrifices, lead worship at the Temple, provide rulings in cases brought to them.

Cook p. 143: Robert Carroll: “These allegories of Jerusalem, Samaria, and Sodom as members of the same family and as daughters / sisters/ wives/ mothers heavily involved in prostitution with Egypt and Assyria (synonyms of imperial power) sound at best like the ravings of a driveling lunatic and if they were not found in pages of “sacred scripture” they would be dismissed instantly by most modern readers as pornography (im)pure and (un)simple.”  The images in Ezek. 16 are disturbing for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is a history of interpretation of these passages in the twentieth century that has often arguably done more harm than good.”

Judgment on the Nations chapt. 25 to 32

Blenkinsopp p. 107: “The Book of Ezekiel seems to be constructed deliberately on the pattern of judgment on Israel, judgment on the nations and salvation for Israel – a pattern also detectable in Isaiah and in the Old Greek version of Jeremiah where the oracles against foreign nations are located in the middle of the book.”  The nations are used to punish Israel, but they are simply tools of the LORD.

Blenkinsopp p. 108: “One of the functions of the professional prophet, in Israel as elsewhere in the ancient Near East, was to provide assurance of success before a military campaign or, less frequently, to warn against undertaking it.”

 

 

 

The Fall of Jerusalem: chapt 33

The fall of the city, deportation of the educated, destruction of the Temple all bring home to the people that they have sinned, causes them to at least try to repent and to beseech the LORD for rescue.

During the two years of siege Ezekiel has been totally silent, unable to speak.  This breaks as news arrives by way of those deported, that the city has fallen.

Resurrection and Restoration chapt 34 to 37

Blenkinsopp p. 156: “By the time of Ezekiel, shepherding was a well-established metaphor for governing and, since gods were routinely represented in the ancient Near East as absolute monarchs, one that could easily be transferred to deity.”  Sumerians and others documented with this

 

Gog of the land of Magog: chapt 38 – 39

A vision of an attack on a peaceful and restored Israel from the north in which the LORD comes to their defense and wreaks havoc on them.

Vision of new temple and country 40 to 48

Blenkinsopp p. 193: “The last section of the book records another visionary translocation from the Babylonian diaspora to Jerusalem.  Like Dante following in Virgil’s steps, Ezekiel is led on a tour of the temple which begins and ends at its eastern gate.  There he witnesses the return of the divine effulgence (glory / kabod) which had left the old temple shortly before its destruction.  He is given detailed instructions for the temple personnel, offerings, festivals, the civic ruler, and the allotment of land.  Back at the eastern gate, he is shown a stream flowing from the temple down to the Dead Sea which waters and fertilizes the barren Judean wilderness.  The vision ends with a description of tribal territories and the new Jerusalem.”

Cook p. 11: we find in Ezekiel the division of Israel into priests, Levites, and lay people.  Priests offered sacrifices, Levites were to be Temple guards and gatekeepers and did other mundane chores, lay people may worship but had no other role at the Temple.  The priestly group was further subdivided based on lineage.

Cook p. 14: “Ezekiel’s complex system of boundaries and differentiations within the temple complex are foreign to descriptions of the pre-exilic temple of Solomon and the Priestly tabernacle.  As Greenberg summarizes, “Ezekiel introduces rigor into the separation and gradation of areas in the sanctuary precincts; moreover, his requirements are more stringent than those of the Pentateuch.””   Apparently attempting to present a holy and rigorous cult that will keep the restored Israel on the right and narrow way.

Cook p. 57: “The sanctity of the priests is not simply an affirmation, it is also a requirement in Ezekiel’s vision.   Greater access into the realm of the holy carries with it greater responsibilities and limitations, ranging from dress, to marriage, and cultic cleanliness requirements (Ez. 44:17-27).  Once again, the concern to protect the holiness of the sanctuary is central, for it was failure in this area that resulted in the exile in the first place.  Never again will this holiness be compromised as it was in the past.

Comments are closed.