Positive Testimony to the Pentateuch: Ezekiel

Ezekiel  •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 12
The correctness of this statement is abundantly proved by the writings of Ezekiel, who was himself a captive. He had been carried away eleven years before the destruction of Jerusalem, began to prophesy in the fifth year of the captivity, and continued to prophesy at least until the sixteenth year after the city had been destroyed.1 Concerning the genuineness of these writings modern criticism raises no doubts. Its estimate of Ezekiel's style and genius is not very flattering, but it pronounces that the prominent and unequivocal peculiarities of the man are stamped on every page from the beginning to the end; that the book was written, and its parts arranged in their present order by Ezekiel himself.2 If, therefore, he was acquainted with the Pentateuch, or Law, it must be that which Ezra and his companions brought with them from their exile, even if we had no details to prove their identity. That he was thus acquainted with a law, judgments, and statutes, acknowledged by the people as divine, to which therefore he could refer in order to convince them of sin, and on which, as upon an infallible authority, he could found his reproofs, is certain beyond the shadow of a doubt.
In chap. 22:26 Ezekiel says, “Her priests have done violence to my law.” That in this passage the Prophet does not use the word “law,” generally, of any religious doctrine given by God, but of “The Law,” is evident from the detail which precedes and follows the words quoted. In verses 7-12 we read, “In thee have they set light by father and mother: in the midst of thee have they dealt by oppression with the stranger: in thee have they vexed the fatherless and the widow. Thou hast despised my holy things, and hast profaned my sabbaths. In thee are men that carry tales to shed blood, and in thee they eat upon the mountains: in the midst of thee they commit lewdness. In thee have they discovered their fathers' nakedness: in thee have they humbled her that was set apart for pollution. And one hath committed abomination with his neighbor's wife; and another hath lewdly defiled his daughter-in-law, and another in thee hath humbled his sister, his father's daughter. In thee have they taken gifts to shed blood: thou hast taken usury and increase.” In these few verses there are at least twenty-nine references to, or rather quotations from, the Pentateuch, from Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy, perceptible in the English version, but the very Hebrew words used in the original of those books.3 In the twenty-sixth verse, first referred to, we read, “Her priests have done violence to my law, and have profaned my holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they showed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them. In this one verse are at least four more references, to Lev. 10:10; 11:45; 20:2510And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean; (Leviticus 10:10)
45For I am the Lord that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy. (Leviticus 11:45)
25Ye shall therefore put difference between clean beasts and unclean, and between unclean fowls and clean: and ye shall not make your souls abominable by beast, or by fowl, or by any manner of living thing that creepeth on the ground, which I have separated from you as unclean. (Leviticus 20:25)
, and Ex. 31:1313Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you. (Exodus 31:13). Besides which, it is to be remarked that the word translated profane occurs only in the Pentateuch, in 1 Sam. 21:5, 65And David answered the priest, and said unto him, Of a truth women have been kept from us about these three days, since I came out, and the vessels of the young men are holy, and the bread is in a manner common, yea, though it were sanctified this day in the vessel. 6So the priest gave him hallowed bread: for there was no bread there but the showbread, that was taken from before the Lord, to put hot bread in the day when it was taken away. (1 Samuel 21:5‑6), and in Ezekiel. Let the reader also examine chapters 18 and 20, where he will find references and quotations without end. The latter chapter is also worthy of attention as a recapitulation of the history of what happened in the wilderness. (To be continued).