Ezekiel 13

Ezekiel 13

We are going to exegesis on Ezekiel 13 in this Blog’s post.

Form of Ezekiel 13:1-9

Ewald recognized in 12:21–14:11 a collection of oracular pieces dealing with various aspects of prophecy. He was followed by Smend, von Orelli, Kraetzschmar, Herrmann, and Cooke, among older scholars; as well as by several more recent commentators; such as Muilenburg. Talmon and Fishbane have used structural analysis to establish the validity of this grouping.

They found the core of the present collection to be a pair of composite oracles; against rival prophets in 13:1–16; and against female prophets in 13:17–23.

It is flanked by a pair of oracles in 12:21–25 and 26–28; concerning Ezekiel’s prophetic revelation and the people’s refusal to accept it; and by a further pair in 14:1–8, 9–11, concerning the seeking and granting of prophetic oracles.

Structure of Ezekiel 13:1-9

After the new message-reception formula in 13:1; vv 2–23 divide into two bipartite literary oracles. The first, in vv 2–16, is directed at male prophets and begins and ends with oracular formulas, in vv 2–3a and 16b.

The first half is a woe oracle in vv 3a–9; it is also a tripartite proof saying. In Ezekiel, the woe announcement is used as the first part of a two-part oracle of judgment.

The proof saying proceeds from a doom-laden accusation (“Woe… ,” vv 3a–7) to a forecast of punishment that opens with a summary of the accusation (vv 8–9a) and closes with the recognition formula (v 9b).

You may read > Ezekiel 14

Setting of Ezekiel 13:1-9

As for the settings of the prophecy, the oracles of chap. 13 bear evidence of literary composition and do not necessarily reflect the same setting.

The reference to return to the land in v 9 invests the proof saying of 13:2–9 with an exilic provenance, so that Ezekiel’s prophetic rivals in exile are in view. The application of the imagery of v 5 to prophets in the homeland at 22:30 is no hindrance.

It is probable that Ezekiel regarded the exilic prophets as part of a larger group that included counterparts in Judah.

But into what period of Ezekiel’s ministry does the oracle fit? It is natural to relate the opposing prophetic message to denials that Jerusalem would fall, as in the oracles of Jer 23:16–40.

But the mention of a return to the land aligns with his positive oracles: it is too integrated into its context to take it as introduced by the prophet at a later time or as a redactional insertion, with Eichrodt and Wevers.

Kraetzschmar helpfully pointed to the preponderance of perfect verbs. Correspondingly, Greenberg has contrasted the participles and imperfect forms found in Jer 23 and suggested that the oracle may look back from a post-fall perspective, as in Lam 2:14, which uses verbs in the perfect.

There are significant links between vv 3–9 and the oracle in 34:2–16. Both messages are woe oracles containing a rhetorical question, depend on Jer 23, and refer to the day of Yahweh as a past phenomenon, in a backward look at the catastrophe of 587.

No credence can be given to the older view that differentiated between second and third-person references to the prophets, ascribing vv 2, 7, 8 (assumed to be originally the second person) to a pre-587 Babylonian oracle and vv 3, 5, 6, 9 to a post-587 oracle uttered in Jerusalem.


Zimmerli, followed by Greenberg, has observed that, in the light of Ezekiel’s practice elsewhere, the formula of confrontation in v 8 requires continuation with a sentence of punishment such as v 9 provides.

Textual notes of Ezekiel 13:1-9

Verse 2

a BHS suggests to take la# “to, towards” to mean lu^ “upon, against.”

b Following the LXX, BHS suggests to read ab@N`h! “prophesy” (Niphal imperative) instead of MT’s <ya!B*N]h^ “who prophesy” (Niphal participle).

This may be more likely for the partitciple add nothing to the sense, whereas a repeated ab@N`h! accords with Ezekiel’s style. Moreover, the combination “prophesy and say” recurs in Ezekiel quite frequently (cf. 21:14, 33(9, 28); 30:2; 36:3).

c-c Instead of MT’s <B*L!m! ya@yb!n+l! “to prophets from their own heart,” LXX reads pro~ auto~ “to them.” Following that, BHS suggests to read it as <h#yl@a# “to them.”

Verse 3

a The word yn`d)a& “Lord” is lacking in LXX* and BHS also believes that it might be later addition.

b-b The LXX reads toi~ profhteousin apo pro~ kardia~ autwn “them that prophesy out of their own heart” instead of MT’s <j*Wr rj^a^ <yk!l=h) rv#a& <yl!b*N+h! <ya!yb!N+h^ “the foolish prophets who walked after their own spirit.” BHS believes the LXX reading to be correct.

Verse 4

a Wyh* “have become” is lacking in the LXX* and BHS believes to be later addition.

Verse 5

a Some manuscripts like LXX, Syriac, TargumMss and Vulgate have singular instead of MT’s plural of toxr`P=B^ “into the breaches.” Thus, BHS suggests to read it in its singular form and also without definite article Jr\p#b= “into breach.”

Verse 6

a The LXX (also Targum) has blhponte~ “seeing” which is in participle form which, in Hebrew, expects to have yz@j).

b The LXX (also Targum) has manteuomenoi “divining” which is in participle form which, in Hebrew, expects to have ym@s=q). BHS suggests to read it as Wms=q* “they have divined” which is Qal perfect 3rd common plural with a view to have a pair of verbs instead of an unlikely mixture of verb and noun in the phrase.

Verse 7

a-a The whole sentence “when you have said, ‘Declares Yahweh,’ but I have not spoken?” is lacking in the LXX* and BHS also believes it to be later addition.

Verse 8

a The LXX adds eipon “say” in its imperative here.

b In the LXX* the word yn`d)a& “Lord” is lacking and BHS also believes it to be later addition.

c BHS suggests to take <k#yl@a& “to, towards” to mean <k#yl@u^ “upon, against.”

d In the LXX* the word yn`d)a& “Lord” is lacking and BHS also believes it to be later addition.

Verse 9

a The LXX reads kai ektenw “And I will stretch forth” which expects to have in Hebrew yt!yf!n`w+.

b BHS suggests to take la# “to, towards” to mean lu^ “upon, against.”

c The LXX has 3rd person plural instead of MT’s 2nd person plural verb.

d The word yn`d)a& “Lord” is lacking in the Codex Petropolitani and a number of manuscripts including the LXX* and BHS also believes it to be later addition.