A Reconsideration Of The ‘Thirtieth Year’ In Ezekiel 1:1 -- By: S. G. Taylor

Journal: Tyndale Bulletin
Volume: TYNBUL 17:1 (NA 1966)
Article: A Reconsideration Of The ‘Thirtieth Year’ In Ezekiel 1:1
Author: S. G. Taylor


A Reconsideration Of The ‘Thirtieth Year’ In Ezekiel 1:1

S. G. Taylor

The precise meaning of the ‘thirtieth year’ in Ezekiel 1:1 has long puzzled students of the prophecy; as there is no clear indication in the text as it stands, we must look elsewhere for evidence that wills lead to a satisfactory interpretation of בשׁלשׁים שׁנה.1

Apart from those scholars2 who have proposed textual emendation, the majority have been drawn towards one of the following interpretations. It has been suggested that the ‘thirtieth year’ may refer to a time some thirty years after the Josianic Reforms, dated 621 BC, thus making the Inaugural Vision of Ezekiel occur in 591 BC. Even if the chronology could be made more coincident, there have not been found other examples of such a mode of reckoning.3

Again, W. F. Albright4 has advanced the view that it may refer to the thirtieth year of Jehoiachin’s captivity, the year in which the prophet edited or published this oracle, but the flow of the introduction tells against this, and as C. F. Whitley point out verses 2 and 3 seem to disprove it.5

This leaves us with the third and traditional view, namely, that this refers to the age of the prophet himself.6 No attempt is made here to examine the vocational significance of the age

of thirty; the intention of this paper is to draw attention to the apparent stylistic affinities between Ezekiel 1:1 and following verses from the Genesis flood narratives.

Genesis 7:6 reads as follows: ‘Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters came upon the earth.’7 Genesis 7:11 reads: ‘In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month . . . the fountains of the great deep burst forth . . .’

In Genesis 8:13 we read: ‘In the six hundred and firs year,8 in ...

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