Deuteronomic Influence in the Book of Ezekiel

Advisor: Prof. Daniel I. Block

Forthcoming in the Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies (T&T Clark/Bloomsbury)

1. Introduction

2. Idolatry

3. Ezekiel 16 and the Song of Moses

4. Ezekiel 20: Israel’s History

5. The Scattering of Israel

6. The Gathering of Israel

7. Conclusion


The prophet Ezekiel is universally regarded as a Priestly prophet whose language and theology is steeped in the Holiness Code of Leviticus 17–26. Yet, while scholars increasingly recognize Ezekiel’s allusions to a wide array of Israel’s texts and traditions, most find little influence from Deuteronomy, a book whose impact on other biblical writers can scarcely be overstated. Although this view has become widely accepted in Ezekiel scholarship, no in-depth study has attempted to test its merits. The question of Ezekiel’s relationship to Deuteronomy deserves closer attention.This study argues that Deuteronomy significantly influenced Ezekiel’s response to the crisis surrounding the events of 587 B.C.E., shaping the way he saw Israel’s past history of rebellion against Yahweh, present situation of divine judgment, and future hope of restoration. An examination of Ezekiel’s use of Deuteronomy’s language and concepts reveals that the prophet not only accepted distinctive elements of Deuteronomic theology but drew from specific texts. The main part of this work describes Deuteronomy’s influence on Ezekiel under five main categories: Ezekiel’s language and conception of idolatry, the rise and fall of Israel in chapter 16, Ezekiel’s view of Israel’s history in chapter 20, the scattering of Israel as an image for exile, and the related motif of gathering as an image for return to the land. His use of Deuteronomy for his messages of indictment, judgment, and hope shows that Ezekiel regarded Deuteronomy, along with the Holiness Code, as divine torah for Israel given by Yahweh in the wilderness (Ezek 20:11).