Ezekiel lived about 2600 years ago, during the time that the Babylonian Empire had subdued the nation of Judah and had destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple. He was the son of Buzi, a Zadokite priest. Ezekiel was among the Jews in Judah who were taken as captives by the Babylonians to Babylon. He received his call as a prophet during the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiachin. Ezekiel's ministry lasted about 22 years.
Ezekiel's prophecies about the destruction of Jerusalem caused friction among the Jews who were with him in Babylon. But, when his prophecies came true, people began to listen to him more intently. Ezekiel's wife died during the day that the Babylonians began their siege of Jerusalem. This siege began in about 586 BC, after Ezekiel and others had been taken as captives to Babylon. The siege ended with the destruction of Jerusalem and of the Temple in Jerusalem.
After the destruction, Ezekiel's prophecies more or less changed from the theme of unbending judgment to the theme of hope and comfort in the future. Ezekiel was very much a shepherd and a watchman for the nation of Israel. As a shepherd, he protected the people. And as a watchman, he warned of dangers ahead.
Ezekiel's name means "God strengthens." The Bible's book of Ezekiel is the third of the four Major Prophets.
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