The Use of the Old Testament in the Book of Ezekiel -- By: Mark F. Rooker

Journal: Faith and Mission
Volume: FM 15:2 (Spring 1998)
Article: The Use of the Old Testament in the Book of Ezekiel
Author: Mark F. Rooker


The Use of the Old Testament in the Book of Ezekiel

Mark F. Rooker

Associate Professor of Old Testament
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Wake Forest, NC 27587

In recent years we have witnessed a deluge of studies which have analyzed the way New Testament writers cited and interpreted Old Testament texts.1 Comparisons with the interpretive techniques employed by early Jewish authors, including especially the methods used by the writers of Dead Sea Scroll commentaries, have often been produced in this research. A question not often addressed in this discussion, however, is the following: From whom did these first-century and even pre-Christian writers learn these techniques? It has only been in the last ten years or so that this question has begun to be seriously considered.

Recent studies have shown that the exegetical methods of the New Testament writers and other contemporary Jewish groups had their origin in earlier Jewish interpreters, the authors of Old Testament Scripture. In 1981, David Clines published an article on early Jewish biblical exegesis in Nehemiah 10, 2 where he showed five different types of exegetical procedure employed by the author. Since this seminal study, Michael Fishbane’s Biblical Interpretation in Ancient Israel,3 published in 1985, has shown in a more comprehensive fashion how various Old Testament authors cited and alluded to earlier canonical texts in the Old Testament.4 This paper will examine some of the exegetical methods of the prophet Ezekiel and later compare his techniques with that of the New Testament writers, an area of investigation which receives very little treatment in Fishbane’s work.

It has long been recognized that Ezekiel was familiar with earlier biblical texts and traditions.5 References which quickly come to mind include those explicit illustrations from the life of Abraham in Ezek. 33:24, or the references to Noah, Daniel, and Job in Ezekiel 14. The allusion to the experience of the children of Israel in the Exodus from Egypt and the wilderness in Ezekiel 20 might also be included. These references and allusions are readily apparent and will not concern us. Instead, we will examine three sections of Ezekiel where the prophet’s citation of earlier texts approximates what we might call an extended

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