Marvin A. Sweeney

Ezekiel's Conceptualization of the Exile in Intertextual Perspective

Volume 1 () / Issue 2, pp. 154-172 (19)

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This paper identifies and examines the intertextual allusions in Ezekiel 12 that appear throughout the chapter in an attempt to assess their significance. It argues that Ezekiel draws especially upon Isaian texts concerning the blindness and deafness of the people as well as texts in both Isaiah and Exodus concerned with the Exodus in formulating the understanding of exile presented in Ezekiel 12. The paper proceeds in three stages. First, it examines the literary form and setting of Ezekiel 12 within the larger literary framework of the book of Ezekiel as a whole. Second, it identifies and examines a number of intertextual relationships between Ezekiel 12 and texts from Isaiah and Exodus concerned with the condemnation of Israel and the conceptualization of the Exodus. Finally, it draws conclusions concerning the implications of these intertextual relationships for the interpretation of Ezekiel 12. Overall, it maintains that Ezekiel constructs an understanding of Israel's exile to Babylonia on the basis of earlier Isaian and Exodus texts concerned with the condemnation of Israel and the Exodus from Egypt. Ezekiel reverses the typical portrayal of the Exodus as an act of YHWH's deliverance of Israel to one of YHWH's punishment of Israel. But deliverance remains the ultimate goal of exile as the chapter envisions the exile as part of the process of the purging of the nation.

Marvin A. Sweeney Born 1953; 1983 PhD from Claremont Graduate School; Professor of Hebrew Bible at Claremont Lincoln University and Claremont School of Theology and Professor of Tanak at the Academy for Jewish Religion California.