Ezekias Grecized form of Hezekiah (Mat 1:9, Mat 1:10).
Ezekiel God will strengthen. (1.) Ch1 24:16, "Jehezekel." (2.) One of the great prophets, the son of Buzi the priest (Eze 1:3). He was one of the Jewish exiles who settled at Tel-Abib, on the banks of the Chebar, "in the land of the Chaldeans." He was probably carried away captive with Jehoiachin (Eze 1:2; Kg2 24:14) about 597 B.C.. His prophetic call came to him "in the fifth year of Jehoiachin's captivity" (594 B.C.). He had a house in the place of his exile, where he lost his wife, in the ninth year of his exile, by some sudden and unforeseen stroke (Eze 8:1; Eze 24:18). He held a prominent place among the exiles, and was frequently consulted by the elders (Eze 8:1; Eze 11:25; Eze 14:1; Eze 20:1). His ministry extended over twenty-three years (Eze 29:17), 595-573 B.C., during part of which he was contemporary with Daniel (Eze 14:14; Eze 28:3) and Jeremiah, and probably also with Obadiah. The time and manner of his death are unknown. His reputed tomb is pointed out in the neighbourhood of Bagdad, at a place called Keffil.
Ezekiel, Book of Consists mainly of three groups of prophecies. After an account of his call to the prophetical office (Ezek. 1 - 3:21), Ezekiel (1.) utters words of denunciation against the Jews (Eze 3:22), warning them of the certain destruction of Jerusalem, in opposition to the words of the false prophets (Eze 4:1). The symbolical acts, by which the extremities to which Jerusalem would be reduced are described in Ezek. 4 - 5, show his intimate acquaintance with the Levitical legislation. (See Exo 22:30; Deu 14:21; Lev 5:2; Lev 7:18, Lev 7:24; Lev 17:15; Lev 19:7; Lev 22:8, etc.) (2.) Prophecies against various surrounding nations: against the Ammonites (Eze 25:1), the Moabites (Eze 25:8), the Edomites (Eze 25:12), the Philistines (Eze 25:15), Tyre and Sidon (Ezek. 26 - 28), and against Egypt (Ezek. 29 - 32). (3.) Prophecies delivered after the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar: the triumphs of Israel and of the kingdom of God on earth (Ezek. 33 - 39); Messianic times, and the establishment and prosperity of the kingdom of God (Ezek. 40; Ezek. 48). The closing visions of this book are referred to in the book of Revelation (Ezek. 38 = Rev 20:8; Eze 47:1 = Rev 22:1, Rev 22:2). Other references to this book are also found in the New Testament. (Compare Rom 2:24 with Eze 36:2; Rom 10:5, Gal 3:12 with Eze 20:11; Pe2 3:4 with Eze 12:22.) It may be noted that Daniel, fourteen years after his deportation from Jerusalem, is mentioned by Ezekiel (Eze 14:14) along with Noah and Job as distinguished for his righteousness, and some five years later he is spoken of as pre-eminent for his wisdom (Eze 28:3). Ezekiel's prophecies are characterized by symbolical and allegorical representations, "unfolding a rich series of majestic visions and of colossal symbols." There are a great many also of "symbolical actions embodying vivid conceptions on the part of the prophet" (Eze 4:1; Eze 5:1; Eze 12:3; Eze 24:3; Eze 37:16, etc.) "The mode of representation, in which symbols and allegories occupy a prominent place, gives a dark, mysterious character to the prophecies of Ezekiel. They are obscure and enigmatical. A cloudy mystery overhangs them which it is almost impossible to penetrate. Jerome calls the book 'a labyrinth of the mysteries of God.' It was because of this obscurity that the Jews forbade any one to read it till he had attained the age of thirty." Ezekiel is singular in the frequency with which he refers to the Pentateuch (e.g., Ezek. 27; Eze 28:13; Eze 31:8; Eze 36:11, Eze 36:34; Eze 47:13, etc.). He shows also an acquaintance with the writings of Hosea (Eze 37:22), Isaiah (Eze 8:12; Eze 29:6), and especially with those of Jeremiah, his older contemporary (Jer 24:7, Jer 24:9; Jer 48:37).
Ezel A separation, (Sa1 20:19), a stone, or heap of stones, in the neighbourhood of Saul's residence, the scene of the parting of David and Jonathan (Sa1 20:42). The margin of the Authorized Version reads, "The stone that sheweth the way," in this rendering following the Targum.
Ezer Treasure. (1.) One of the sons of Seir, the native princes, "dukes," of Mount Hor (Gen 36:21, Gen 36:27). (2.) Ch1 7:21; (3.) Ch1 4:4. (4.) One of the Gadite champions who repaired to David at Ziklag (Ch1 12:9). (5.) A Levite (Neh 3:19). (6.) A priest (Neh 12:42).
Ezion-geber The giant's backbone (so called from the head of a mountain which runs out into the sea), an ancient city and harbour at the north-east end of the Elanitic branch of the Red Sea, the Gulf of Akabah, near Elath or Eloth (Num 33:35; Deu 2:8). Here Solomon built ships, "Tarshish ships," like those trading from Tyre to Tarshish and the west, which traded with Ophir (Kg1 9:26; Ch2 8:17); and here also Jehoshaphat's fleet was shipwrecked (Kg1 22:48; Ch2 20:36). It became a populous town, many of the Jews settling in it (Kg2 16:6, "Elath"). It is supposed that anciently the north end of the gulf flowed further into the country than now, as far as 'Ain el-Ghudyan , which is 10 miles up the dry bed of the Arabah, and that Ezion-geber may have been there.
Ezra Help. (1.) A priest among those that returned to Jerusalem under Zerubabel (Neh 12:1). (2.) The "scribe" who led the second body of exiles that returned from Babylon to Jerusalem 459 B.C., and author of the book of Scripture which bears his name. He was the son, or perhaps grandson, of Seraiah (Kg2 25:18), and a lineal descendant of Phinehas, the son of Aaron (Ezr 7:1). All we know of his personal history is contained in the last four chapters of his book, and in Neh. 8 and Neh 12:26. In the seventh year of the reign of Artaxerxes Longimanus (see DARIUS), he obtained leave to go up to Jerusalem and to take with him a company of Israelites (Ezra 8). Artaxerxes manifested great interest in Ezra's undertaking, granting him "all his request," and loading him with gifts for the house of God. Ezra assembled the band of exiles, probably about 5,000 in all, who were prepared to go up with him to Jerusalem, on the banks of the Ahava, where they rested for three days, and were put into order for their march across the desert, which was completed in four months. His proceedings at Jerusalem on his arrival there are recorded in his book. He was "a ready scribe in the law of Moses," who "had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments." "He is," says Professor Binnie, "the first well-defined example of an order of men who have never since ceased in the church; men of sacred erudition, who devote their lives to the study of the Holy Scriptures, in order that they may be in a condition to interpret them for the instruction and edification of the church. It is significant that the earliest mention of the pulpit occurs in the history of Ezra's ministry (Neh 8:4). He was much more of a teacher than a priest. We learn from the account of his labours in the book of Nehemiah that he was careful to have the whole people instructed in the law of Moses; and there is no reason to reject the constant tradition of the Jews which connects his name with the collecting and editing of the Old Testament canon. The final completion of the canon may have been, and probably was, the work of a later generation; but Ezra seems to have put it much into the shape in which it is still found in the Hebrew Bible. When it is added that the complete organization of the synagogue dates from this period, it will be seen that the age was emphatically one of Biblical study" (The Psalms: their History, etc.). For about fourteen years, i.e., till 445 B.C., we have no record of what went on in Jerusalem after Ezra had set in order the ecclesiastical and civil affairs of the nation. In that year another distinguished personage, Nehemiah, appears on the scene. After the ruined wall of the city had been built by Nehemiah, there was a great gathering of the people at Jerusalem preparatory to the dedication of the wall. On the appointed day the whole population assembled, and the law was read aloud to them by Ezra and his assistants (Neh 8:3). The remarkable scene is described in detail. There was a great religious awakening. For successive days they held solemn assemblies, confessing their sins and offering up solemn sacrifices. They kept also the feast of Tabernacles with great solemnity and joyous enthusiasm, and then renewed their national covenant to be the Lord's. Abuses were rectified, and arrangements for the temple service completed, and now nothing remained but the dedication of the walls of the city (Neh. 12).
Ezra, Book of This book is the record of events occurring at the close of the Babylonian exile. It was at one time included in Nehemiah, the Jews regarding them as one volume. The two are still distinguished in the Vulgate version as I. and II. Esdras. It consists of two principal divisions: (1.) The history of the first return of exiles, in the first year of Cyrus (536 B.C.), till the completion and dedication of the new temple, in the sixth year of Darius Hystapes (515 B.C.), Ezra 1 - 6. From the close of the sixth to the opening of the seventh chapter there is a blank in the history of about sixty years. (2.) The history of the second return under Ezra, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes Longimanus, and of the events that took place at Jerusalem after Ezra's arrival there (Ezra 7 - 10). The book thus contains memorabilia connected with the Jews, from the decree of Cyrus (536 B.C.) to the reformation by Ezra (456 B.C.), extending over a period of about eighty years. There is no quotation from this book in the New Testament, but there never has been any doubt about its being canonical. Ezra was probably the author of this book, at least of the greater part of it (compare Ezr 7:27, Ezr 7:28; Ezr 8:1, etc.), as he was also of the Books of Chronicles, the close of which forms the opening passage of Ezra.
Ezrahite A title given to Ethan (Kg1 4:31; Ps. 89, title) and Heman (Ps. 88, title). They were both sons of Zerah (Ch1 2:6).
Ezri Help of Jehovah, the son of Chelub. He superintended, under David, those who "did the work of the field for tillage" (Ch1 27:26).