The time and place of Ezekiel’s vision (Ezek 8:1-8:1)

“In the sixth year,

In the sixth month,

On the fifth day

Of the month,

I sat in my house,

With the elders

Of Judah

Sitting before me.

The hand

Of Yahweh God

Fell upon me there.”

This book of Ezekiel seems to be very precise about when a vision of Yahweh appears to the prophet, as in chapter 1 of this work. This is no exception, since these so-called Temple visions took place in 592 BCE while Ezekiel was in his house in Babylon with the elders of Judah sitting in front of him. This was the 6th year of the reign of King Zedekiah of Judah, on the 5th day of the 6th month. There the hand of Yahweh came upon Ezekiel.

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The time and place of Ezekiel’s first vision (Ezek 1:1-1:3)

“In the thirtieth year,

In the fourth month,

On the fifth day

Of the month,

As I was among the exiles

By the river Chebar,

The heavens

Were opened.

I saw visions

Of God.

This was the fifth day

Of the month

Of the fifth year

Of the exile

Of King Jehoiachin.

The word of Yahweh

Came to

The priest Ezekiel,

The son of Buzi,

In the land

Of the Chaldeans

By the river Chebar.

The hand

Of Yahweh

Was on me there.”

The dating is very precise here. This is the 30th year, probably from his birth around 623 BCE during the reign of King Josiah. Ezekiel writes in the first person singular. He said that he was among the exiles at the Chebar River, a small canal near Erech that ran into the Euphrates River in northern Babylon. On the 5th day of the 4th month the heavens opened to provide visions of God to him.  Once again, there is precise information about the date, as this was the 5th year of the exile of King Jehoiachin that had occurred in 598 BCE. Thus this year would have been 593 BCE. Ezekiel’s father was Buzi, a Jerusalem priest, so that he was from a family of priests. The word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar. Yahweh put his hand on him. Thus the opening scene is set with this 30 year old exiled Jerusalem priest by a river bank with the rest of the exiles, when a heavenly vision appeared to him.