The Old Testament Lesson for this Sunday, the Sixth Sunday after Pentecost, is from the book of the prophet Ezekiel. The text is Ezekiel 2:1-5 and is usually entitled the “Call of Ezekiel,” although the language of the Hebrew more indicates the “Sending of Ezekiel.” We see this language also in the “call” of other prophets as well (Isaiah and Jeremiah, for instance). Horace Hummel, whose commentary on Ezekiel 1-20 in the Concordia Commentary Series we will point to on occasion, titles this section as “The Prophetic Commissioning of Ezekiel: Part 1.” Part 2 of his commissioning begins in chapter three.

As we go through the text, we will examine several aspects of preparation and sending. However, one aspect which is not in this pericopal section of Ezekiel, and yet is very significant, is the “mouth” of the man being prepared for the prophetic office. In Isaiah 6 his mouth is cleansed with the coal from the altar. Jeremiah has words placed in his mouth by the LORD. Now, Ezekiel will be given a scroll to eat in order that he might proclaim the words (3:1-4). The mouth of the appointed prophet must be prepared for the Holy Word of God which he is being sent to proclaim.

The mouth of the appointed prophet must be prepared for the Holy Word of God which he is being sent to proclaim.

2:1 בֶּן־אָדָם (ben a-Dam) “Son of man” This is the first time the phrase is used in Ezekiel, and it becomes the way in which the LORD addresses Ezekiel. He no longer calls him by name. Rather, he is called the “son of man” 93 times in this book. This is a significant, as the title is used by Christ to refer to Himself in the New Testament.

2:2 וַתָּבֹא בִי רוּחַ כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר אֵלַי וַתַּעֲמִדֵנִי עַל־רַגְלָי (vat-Ta-vo vi Ru-ach ka-a-Sher dib-Ber e-Lai vat-ta-a-mi-De-ni al rag-Lai) “And the Spirit entered me as he spoke to me, and He set me up on my feet” This is an important verse and phrase for several reasons. First, in verse one Ezekiel is told to stand on his feet, but he has prostrated himself before the face of the LORD (see also Isaiah, Peter, etc.). Therefore, the LORD Himself sets him on his feet. Also note the Trinitarian language: The Spirit of the LORD enters Ezekiel, while the Father speaks His Word (Son).

וַתַּעֲמִדֵנִי (vat-ta-mi-De-ni) root: עמד (aw-mad) Hiphil: “to stand; cause to stand; make a stand”

מִדַּבֵּר (mid-dab-Ber) root: דבר (daw-bar) “to speak” There is some disagreement on the form of this verb. It has been pointed as a Hithpael, masculine singular, with the assumption that the ת (tav) has assimilated as a dagesh in the ד (dalet). However, it could be pointed as a Piel which seems more in keeping with the grammar. The difference: Hithpael makes Ezekiel an “over-hearer” of the Word of God (distance between God and man), while the Piel indicates that God comes down and speaks to Ezekiel (Hummel, 75).

2:3 שׁוֹלֵחַ (sho-Le-ach) root: שׁלח (shaw-lakh) Qal, participle: “I am sending...”

בְּנֵי יִשְֹרָאֵל (be-Nei Yis-ra-El) “sons of Israel” Israel is the covenantal name for the people (baptismal) set apart by God as His chosen ones. This is in contrast to גּוֹיִם הַמּוֹרְדִים (go-Yim ham-mor-Dim) “rebellious nations” They seem to be addressing the same group and may be Ezekiel’s (God’s) way of pointing out the rebellious, unfaithful nature of the people of Israel.

הַמּוֹרְדִים (ham-mor-Dim) root: מרד (maw-rad) Qal: “to rise up in revolt; rebel”

פָּשְׁעוּ (Pa-she-u) root: פשׁע (paw-shah) Qal: “to break with; transgress”

עַד־ עֶ֖צֶם הַיּ֥וֹם (ad E-tzem hai-Yom) Literally: “in the bone of the day” Usually translated as “on (this) very day,” “in the midst of (this) very day” An uncommon, but old Hebrew idiom.

2:4 קְשֵׁי פָנִים (ke-Shei fa-Nim) “brazen faced” Literally: “hard of face”

וְחִזְקֵי־לֵב (ve-chiz-kei Lev) In this context, “the hard hearted; hardness of heart” Note both exterior and interior are covered in these phrases.

2:5 יֶחְדָּלוּ (yech-Da-lu) root: חדל (khaw-dal) Qal: “to cease; refrain from”

מְרִי (me-Ri) “rebellious; contentiousness”

כִּי בֵּית מְרִי הֵמָּה (ki beit me-Ri Hem-mah) “a rebellious house” This is another “signature” phrase of Ezekiel, and occurs 7 times in the book and nowhere else in the OT (Hummel, 79).

Ezekiel is not called/sent out to be “successful” in his prophetic ministry—he is sent out to be faithful!

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Additional Resources:

Concordia Theology-Various helps from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, MO to assist you in preaching Ezekiel 2:1-5.

Text Week-Text Week-A treasury of resources from various traditions to help you preach Ezekiel 2:1-5.