6. The order of the book.
In this book the natural order is preserved, with respect to the time in which the individual sermons were composed, except that the prophecies against the inhabitants of Mount Seir, and against Egypt, appear to some to have been moved from their place. And indeed the visions, or the Prophetic Portions, appear to be twenty-two in all. Now, there is a distinct treatment of, First, Ezekiel’s legation and deputation to office (Ezekiel 1:1-3:15): Second, the destruction of the people by the Chaldeans (Ezekiel 3:16-24:27): Third, the judgment of God against the nations (Ezekiel 25-39): Fourth, and finally, the grace of God to be applied to the Israelite people returning home (Ezekiel 40-48). Whence the whole book is divided agreeably enough into four parts.
I. The Preface to the book, in which the calling of Ezekiel to the Prophetic office, to be discharged among the captives in Babylon, is described, Chapters 1:1-3:15. Here, the First vision of the Prophet is contained. See:
1. The time and the place of the calling (verses 1-3), and also a mystical vision of the calling Christ, in the image of a great cloud with fire, in the midst of which was an appearance of Hashmal/amber, and out of that four living creatures (verses 4-14), and with them intricate wheels, an expanse, a throne, and one sitting upon it, and from whose loins was brilliance after the likeness of a rainbow, that is, the likeness of Christ reigning in the Church, making use of the ministry of Angels, proceeding from God, governing the Church by His Providence, and protecting it, although pressed by a storm from the South (verses 15-28): chapter 1.
2. The calling itself, wherein the Prophet is sent to the stiff-necked Jews, so that they, whether they be obedient or not, might be convinced, that there was a Prophet in their midst (verses 1-5): and a confirmation of his calling, lest he should shrink from the refractory, thorns, and scorpions, through the emblem of a book, which he is commanded to eat (verses 6-10): chapter 2.
3. The confirmation of it through that very emblem of the book to be eaten by him (verses 1-11), and also his rapture to the captive exiles, sitting by the river Chebar, where he, being stupefied, sits for seven days in the midst of them (verses 12-15): chapter 3:1-15.
II. The Visions of the Prophet concerning the destruction of the Jewish people, Chapters 3:16-24:27. This part contains six visions in all. See:
1. The second vision in order, which he saw on the eighth day after the first, on which he, having been again confirmed by God as a Prophet, foretells the siege of the city of Jerusalem, and its certain destruction: chapters 3:16-7:27. See:
a. The repeated calling of the Prophet, although reluctant, wherein God sets forth his employment in promises and threats (verses 16-21), and at the same time it is commanded to him to shut himself up, being about to be speechless, until his mouth is divinely opened (verses 22-27): chapter 3:16-27.
b. Jerusalem’s altogether certain siege, famine, slaughter, to be insinuated to the people by the Prophet in a type and gestures (verses 1-13), with the Prophet procuring an allowance to cook his bread, and to enact the type, with the dung of oxen instead of human dung (verses 14-17): chapter 4.
c. The enigma of the hair and razor (verses 1-4), whereby the sins and destruction of Jerusalem, divinely chosen, as a domicile in the midst of the nations, are adumbrated (verses 5-17): chapter 5.
d. Destruction denounced upon Israel’s mountains, idols, and idolaters (verses 1-6), and also the casting out of the dead in the midst of them (verses 7-10); and finally, the detestation of the abominations of Israel, and a denunciation of the consequent punishments, to be testified to with the smiting of the hands and feet, and with the voice (verses 11-14): chapter 6.
e. God’s final judgment against Israel, a magnifying of most grievous evils, the sword, famine, pestilence, extreme desperation (verses 1-22); and finally, the slaughter and servitude of all, adumbrated by the type of the measuring-line (verses 23-27): chapter 7.
2. The third vision, seen in the sixth year, on the fifth day of the sixth month, on which God’s judgment against Jerusalem and His grace towards penitents are distinctly explained: chapters 8-12. See:
a. The snatching away of the Prophet to Jerusalem, to the door of the interior gate, looking toward the North, thence unto the door of the courtyard, etc., where God, showing to him firsthand the horrible abominations of the Jews (verses 1-16), on account of the same threatens inexorable judgment (verses 17, 18): chapter 8.
b. The extent of the divine judgment against Jerusalem, and the protection of the honest, figured by the coming of six men, one of whom is commanded to seal the honest, the rest to smite indiscriminately the people (verses 1-7), with the Prophet alone left and deploring the slaughter (verse 8), with Jehovah rendering the reasons for His terrible judgment (verses 9, 10), but with the man, who sealed the elect, reporting himself to have completed the Divine mandate (verse 11): chapter 9.
c. A vision of a man, clothed with a robe reaching to the ground, commanded to set fire to the temple (verses 1-3), and also a repeated description of the throne, heaven, living creatures, and wheels, and so of the vision set forth in chapter 1, with the glory of Jehovah deserting the Temple, and mounting the throne (verses 4-22): chapter 10.
d. The carrying of the Prophet to the interior gate of the house of Jehovah, where the twenty-five men seen order houses to be built (verses 1-3), against whom the Prophet is commanded to prophesy, in such a way that he might foretell their punishment, with their contempt of the Prophets brought in as a reproach (verses 4-12), with one of those, even Pelatiah, immediately dying, and with the Prophet lamenting that the rest might thus be cut off (verse 13); whence God sets forth a sentence of grace towards the honest, to be dispersed indeed, but to be re-gathered: but of wrath towards the rest (verses 14-21): and He reveals His departure from Jerusalem in a figure (verses 22-25): chapter 11.
3. The fourth vision, consisting of various addresses of God: chapters 12-19. See:
a. A parable of a man gathering his stuff for departure, whereby the exile of the people is figured (verses 1-16); and also a parable concerning scarcity of bread and famine, whereby, with the siege lasting, there was to be a consumption at Jerusalem (verses 17-20); finally, an adage of the people concerning Prophecy and the prolonging of the days refuted, with a prediction of ready fulfillment (verses 21-28): chapter 12.
b. The Word of God against the False Prophets (verses 1-16), and against the False Prophetesses, against whom the recompense of falsehoods, even ruin, is denounced (verses 17-23): chapter 13.
c. The reproof of the Elders of people, consulting the Prophet with little sincerity, to whom he confirms that no other response for God is to be expected in times coming, except by threats and rebukes (verses 1-11), and also the peremptory decree of God against the Jews, not to be averted by the intercession of even the holiest men, Noah, Daniel, and Job (verses 12-23): chapter 14.
d. God’s judgment against the people, figured in a type of a vine tree, which is burned as useless (verses 1-7), with the reason of the same added, namely, grievous transgression (verse 8): chapter 15.
e. God’s blessings towards the people, whose impure births are indicated, represented by the type of a girl exposed after birth, and spinning towards death, until He took care, and brought her out of her blood, cleansed, and adorned her (verses 1-14); and the ingratitude returned, harlotry with idols and foreign nations, and the altogether inhuman slaughter of children (verses 15-34); the sentence hence brought against them of an ignominious and eternal death (verses 35-52); finally, hope given for the restoration of the remnant, and for the renewal of the covenant of their youth (verses 53-63): chapter 16.
f. The destruction and perfidy of Zedekiah, about to have no successor, portrayed in the parable of the vine planted by an eagle, and looking toward another eagle (verse 1-21), and the planting of the Kingdom of Christ promised in the same parable continued (verses 22-24): chapter 17.
g. The contention of God with the Israelites, by their familiar adage, the Fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge, accusing God of injustice, as if He would avenge the sins of the parents in those innocents (verses 1, 2), whom God refutes, in such a way that He explains the administration of His justice towards the righteous and sinners, convicts of wickedness those adducing their own example, vindicates His righteousness from calumnies (verses 3-29), with the hope of pardon given to the penitent (verses 30-32): chapter 18.
h. A lamentation over the Princes of Israel, whose sad fates and sins, under a twofold type, both of a lioness lying among the lions, and raising her whelps among the young lions, of which a young lion was seized (verses 1-9); and of a vine having great and robust branches, plucked up in fury and cast down upon the earth (verses 10-14): chapter 19.
4. The fifth vision, seen on the tenth day of the fifth month of the seventh year, on which, with certain Elders consulting the Prophet, God both commands that the charge of hypocrisy be brought againt them, with a narration of God’s most beneficent administration, His warnings, and the altogether unworthy misdeeds of the people from the exodus out of Egypt to their own times (verses 1-29); and, having called all to witness, foretells coming calamities (verses 30-39); and, in antithesis, indicates that another Israel is going to serve him with a savour of good fragrance (verses 40-42); and, finally, foretells the conversion of the Jews (verses 43, 44): chapter 20:1-44.
5. The sixth vision, in which the judgments of God against a rebellious people are set forth: chapter 20:45-23:49. See:
a. The parable then of the Prophet’s face to be turned towards the right and South: chapter 20:45-49.
b. The explanation of that parable concerning the judgments now to be executed in the land of Israel and the North (verses 1-7); and also the parable of the sword pointed and furbished, threatening the Jewish people (verses 8-24), especially King Zedekiah, by Nebuchadnezzar (verses 25-27), and, finally, against the Ammonites on account their reproaches cast upon the people of God (verses 28-32): chapter 21.
c. The judgment of Jerusalem, as a bloody city, with its abominations exposed (verses 1-16), to be melted like dross in a forge (verses 17-22), so impure and unworthy, upon which the rains of God descend in the day of His severity, which impurity is described in all orders, with no one making up the hedge and standing in the gap (verses 23-31): chapter 22.
d. The parable of the two harlots in Egypt, Aholah and Aholibah, wherein the Jews and the Israelites, and the former more than the latter, are treated as guilty of idolatry (verses 1-21), and judgment is denounced as about to come upon Jerusalem from her Chaldean lovers (verses 22-35), with both the abominations, and the judgment, of both magnified (verses 36-49): chapter 23.
6. The seventh vision, seen on the tenth day of the tenth month of the ninth year, whereon Nebuchadnezzar attacked Jerusalem, in which both compares the city to a brass pot, which, having been completely filled with water and flesh, with an extraordinarily hot fire placed beneath, is thoroughly scorched, with the scum removed, which, having been completely melted, is also consumed: signifying, that it was going to be utterly consumed (verses 1-14): and signifies the same judgment by the death of his wife, with him forbidden to grieve (verses 15-24): and, finally, with all these things fulfilled, commands the truth of His Prophecies to be promulgated to the captive Jews (verses 25-27): chapter 24.
III. The Visions of the Prophet against various nations, and again against the people of Israel, Chapters 25-39. Now, this part comprehends fourteen visions. See:
1. The eighth vision, against the Ammonites, against whom, exulting on account of the pollution of the sanctuary and devastation of the land, God declares, that He is going to give them to the children of the East for an inheritance and prey (verses 1-7): chapter 25:1-7.
2. The ninth vision, against the Moabites, against whom He denounces similar things (verses 8-11): against the Edomites, against whom He threatens vengeance through the people of Israel (verses 12-14): and against the Philistines, against whom is foretold the destruction of the Cherethim, or archers, and of the remnant of the sea cost (verses 15-17): chapter 25:8-17.
3. The tenth vision, seen on the first month of the eleventh year, against Tyre: chapters 26-28. See:
a. The judgment decreed against Tyre, mocking punished Jerusalem (verses 1-6), to be executed through the armies of Nebuchadnezzar, in such a way that it is to be reduced to a bare rock (verses 7-14), with the islands and princes of the sea bewailing the fall of Tyre (verses 15-18), and also the calamities of the mart of Tyre, and the glory to be found in the land of the living (verses 19-21): chapter 26.
b. The lamentation of the Prophet over Tyre, wherein, with its magnificence commemorated (verses 1-25), he sets forth the terrible punishments set against it (verses 26-36): chapter 27.
c. The sentence declared against the King of Tyre, against whom threats are uttered on account of his pride (verses 1-19): and also against the Zidonians (verses 20-24), with peace promised to Israel among the commotions of the nations (verses 25, 26): chapter 28.
4. The eleventh vision, seen on the twelfth day of the tenth month of the tenth year, against Pharaoh, King of Egypt, against whose army he announces destruction coming from the men of Cyrene (verses 1-16): chapter 29:1-16.
5. The twelfth vision, seen on the first day of the first month of the twenty-seventh year, against Egypt, in which,
a. It is foretold that its kingdom is to be destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar (verses 17-20), with a promise annexed of the budding of the horn of Israel, and of the opening of the mouth of the Prophet (verse 21): chapter 29:17-21.
b. With the lamentation of the Prophet made public, the judgment of God against Egypt and its confederates is foretold (verses 1-19): chapter 30:1-19.
6. The thirteenth vision, seen on the seventh day of the first month of the eleventh year, concerning the shattering of the arm of the King of Egypt, and the strengthening of the arm of the King of Babylon against him (verses 20-26): chapter 30:20-26.
7. The fourteenth vision, seen on the first day of the third month of the eleventh year, against Pharaoh King of Egypt, against whom, being insolent, the example of the fall of Assyria is placed before the eyes (verse 1-17), and a similar judgment is threatened for similar reasons (verse 18): chapter 31.
8. The fifteenth vision, seen on the first day of the twelfth month of the twelfth year, in which there is a lamentation on account of the fall of Egypt (verses 1-13), and a promise of peace following upon the destruction of Egypt (verses 14-16): chapter 32:1-16.
9. The sixteenth vision, seen on the fifteenth day of the same month of the twelfth year, in which the same ruin of the Egyptians is confirmed by the examples of the ruin of other nations (verses 17-32): chapter 32:17-32.
10. The seventeenth vision, in which the Prophet, advised of his duty to reprove sinners (verses 1-9), is commanded to dispute with the Israelites concerning the power of repentance, and to take from good works the power to save and to justify (verses 10-20): chapter 33:1-20.
11. The eighteenth vision, seen on the fifth day of the tenth month of the twelfth year, against the impudence of the Jews remaining in Jerusalem and of the captives. See:
a. The sentence of destruction against the surviving Jews, promising an inheritance to themselves (verses 21-29), and also against the compatriots of the Prophet, companions in exile, hearing the Prophet, like a lyre, but not doing the things commanded (verses 30-33): chapter 33:21-33.
b. The sentence against the mercenary Pastors of Israel, whom He threatens to destroy, with those sheep hitherto miserably straying preserved (verses 1-10), with Christ elected as Ἀρχιποιμένι, Chief Shepherd (verses 11-16), and also His judgment between one sheep and another, between rams and he-goats, with a grievous judgment denounced against the he-goats, but salvation through Christ promised to the sheep (verses 17-31): chapter 34.
12. The nineteenth vision, against the Edomites: chapters 35; 36. See:
a. Destruction denounced against Seir or the Edomites (verses 1-4), with the causes of the same alleged, enmity, blasphemies, insults cast against the people of GOD (verses 5-15): chapter 35.
b. The consolation of the mountains of dispersed Israel, to which the Edomites and others had behaved so insultingly: in which is promised to the Israelites a destruction of their enemies and a restoration and increase (verses 1-15), and also, for His own name’s sake, and not any merit of their own, a re-gathering out of the nations, a sprinkling with clean waters, a new Spirit, manifold blessing, and a purging from depravities (verses 16-38): chapter 36.
13. The twentieth vision, concerning the restoration of the people, adumbrated in a twofold type, the resurrection of the death (verses 1-14), and the two sticks inscribed with the names of Joseph and Judah, which the Prophet is commanded to conjoin, so that they might be made one: whereby the re-gathering of all the tribes from scattered places, so that they might be joined in the land of Israel again, as one people, under one Shepherd and communion of the new covenant, is adumbrated (verses 15-28): chapter 37.
14. The twenty-first vision, against Gog and Magog: chapters 38; 39. See:
a. The description of the expedition of God against the Church, and the success of it (verses 1-17), but his unhappy end, in which is his retribution and punishment (verses 18-23): chapter 38.
b. The judgment of Gog, advancing and cast down upon the mountains of Israel (verses 1-5), and a fire cast into Magog, which is followed by the notification of the holy name of God in the midst of Israel, the combustion and plundering of arms, and the purging of the land from Gog, buried and rejected (verses 6-16); an invitation to the birds and wild beasts of the earth to the supper of God, in which the utter defeat of Gog is indicated (verses 17-20); and, finally, the restoration of the Church, and the fruit of the judgment against Gog (verses 21-29): chapter 39.
IV. Prophecy concerning the restoration of the Church, Kingdom, and people through Christ, Chapters 40-48. Here, the twenty-second and last vision is contained, on the tenth day of the first month of the twenty-fifth year of the captivity, on which the Church of Christ, to be begun on earth, and to be consummated in heaven, and so the mysteries of Christ and the Church are mystically adumbrated by the type of a material Temple and the worship instituted in it. And this vision is resolved into certain parts. See:
1. The vision concerning the Temple: chapters 40-42. See:
a. The vision of the man on a high mountain, whose appearance was after the likeness of burnished brass, standing in the gate with a line and reed (verses 1-4), and measuring the vestibule of the temple, and in it both the wall encircling the house (verse 5), and the gate facing towards the east, together with the thresholds, chambers, portico, and others things pertaining to it (verses 6-16), and the courtyard, both exterior (verses 17-27) and interior, or middle (verses 28-43), and the innermost, or of the Priests (verses 44-47), and the porch of the Temple (verses 48, 49): chapter 40.
b. The same man measuring the Temple itself, and in it the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies, with their annexes (verses 1-21), and also the wooden altar (verse 22), and the doors adorned with palms and Cherubim (verses 22-25), and, finally, the beams projecting into the vestibule, and into the halls of the house (verse 26): chapter 41.
c. The same man measuring the twofold chambers, both those set on the ground of the Temple, and those attached to the wall or enclosure of the exterior courtyard, over against the posterior structure and the Temple (verses 1-14), and also the Eastern gate in every direction (verses 15-20): chapter 42.
2. A vision concerning the glory and use of the Temple: chapters 43; 44. See:
a. A vision of the glory of God, coming from the east, in the same manner in which he had twice seen it, and entering into the house of God, and filling the interior court (verses 1-5); the speech of the Lord occupying the Temple to the Prophet, wherein it is declared, that that Temple, in which He would be pleased to dwell in the midst of the Israelites, is not to be defiled, as previously: and that is to be indicated to the people of Israel, so that they might be confounded, and learn that true is the measure, and that on the apex of the mountain its whole limit round about is most holy (verses 6-12); the measures of the altar explained, with speech added from the Temple, with a man standing before the Prophet (verses 13-17); and, finally, the manner of the worship of God on that altar (verses 18-27): chapter 43.
b. A vision of the gate of the exterior Sanctuary, closed because Jehovah entered through it (verses 1-3), and of the house full of the glory of Jehovah, with the Prophet commanded to observe all things, specifically the entering and exiting of the Sanctuary, and to declare the end to the disobedient Israelites, on account of the uncircumcised in heart and flesh introduced into the former house (verses 4-16); and, finally, the many precepts of this new Temple set forth to the Priests (verses 17-31): chapter 44.
3. The institution and government of the Church and new polity, adumbrated in various commandments and types: chapters 45-48. See:
a. The division of the new land between the Priests, Levites, city (verses 1-6), and prince, with the remaining portion assigned to the people (verses 7-12), both with the people commanded to bring wheat, barley, oil, and sheep in the place of a sacrificial offering for a burnt offering (verses 13-16), and with the Prince commanded to offer burnt offerings, meat offerings, drink offerings, in the feasts, months, and Sabbaths, the rites of which are prescribed (verses 17-25): chapter 45.
b. The precepts concerning those things that fall to be done by the prince concerning entering and exiting from the temple on the day of the Sabbath and feasts, and the sacrifices to be offered on those days (verses 1-15), and also concerning his possession to be separated from the possession of the people (verses 16-19); and a point out of the kitchens for cooking the offerings both of the Priests, and of the people of God (verses 20-24): chapter 46.
c. A vision of the holy river, of waters proceeding from under the threshold of the house from the right side, from the south side of the altar, flowing towards the east, and where they were advancing further, rising higher, until they became an impassable torrent, and of many trees near that torrent (verses 1-7); of the same waters going out to anterior Galilee, descending into the desert and entering into the sea, so that it might be healed, and fishing might be abundant in it, yet with the marshes and swamps not healed (verses 8-11), and of the trees growing in that bank of the torrent (verse 12); finally, of the land, which God swore to give to the Fathers, allotted to the people of God (verses 13-21), even indeed by a right equal to that of the Israelites, bestowed upon foreigners (verses 22, 23): chapter 47.
d. The distribution of the whole land among the twelve tribes, and also the Prince, the Priests, the Levites, and the city (verses 1-29); the exits of the city marked (verses 30-34); finally, the sealing of the whole Prophecy, in which is imposed the future, perpetual name of the city, יְהוָ֥ה׀ שָֽׁמָּה׃, the Lord is there (verse 35): chapter 48.
 See 1 Peter 5:4: “And when the chief Shepherd (ἀρχιποίμενος) shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”