Ezekiel 8 Commentary


Idolatry in the temple (8:1-18)

A year and two months had now passed since God called Ezekiel to be a prophet. By this time people recognized him as a prophet, and leaders among the exiles came to discuss their affairs with him (8:1; cf. 1:1-2). While the leaders were sitting talking with him, Ezekiel was suddenly caught up by the Spirit of God and taken, as it were, to Jerusalem (2-3).

Ezekiel knew immediately that these visions were from God, because the first thing he saw was a vision of the glory of God similar to that which he had seen earlier (4; cf. 1:1-28). In this vision Ezekiel was taken to the temple where, as he was about to enter the inner court, he saw an idol that stirred God to jealousy (5-6).

From there Ezekiel went by a secret door into a hidden room (7-9). There he saw a gathering of Jerusalem’s leaders, who were secretly worshipping pictures of animals painted on the walls. Foolishly, they thought God could not see them (10-13). In another part of the temple Ezekiel saw women carrying out ritual mourning as part of their worship of the foreign god, Tammuz (14-15). Finally, Ezekiel came into the inner court of the temple, where he saw a group of priests who had turned their backs on the temple and were worshipping the sun. ‘Putting the branch to the nose’ was part of the ritual and a particularly offensive insult to God (16-18).

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