Perhaps you have noticed the widespread praise that has been heaped upon this commentary. No doubt, scholars across the spectrum can’t deny its success. Not only do many reviewers list it as the best commentary available on Ezekiel, but I’ve even seen reviews that say it is the greatest commentary in print on any Old Testament book. After reviewing it myself, it’s easy to see why scholars are impressed. There are simply no weaknesses in all the categories we expect to be addressed in a major exegetical commentary. What I would like to add to all that press is that I believe pastors can also be greatly enriched by both these volumes Mr. Block has given us on Ezekiel here in the New International Commentary on the Old Testament (NICOT) series.
Pastors, you will love Mr. Block’s passion for Ezekiel and his prophecy. In addition, you will love his high view of Ezekiel’s God. Instead of just listing copious facts, of which there is plenty in this commentary, this impressive array of information is marshaled to say something to us about Ezekiel, his prophecy, and his God.
His Introduction runs 60 pages. He begins with a background of Ezekiel’s world. Covering the political and social environments, he draws a vivid portrait for us. Next, he discusses author, purpose, and methods. The discussion of Ezekiel’s methods is really an exercise in rhetorical criticism. From there, Block jumps into the literary style of the book. He interacts with other scholars and attempts to explain the structure of the individual oracles. Look for the interesting chart on pages 28 and 29. Since it is so important in studying the Book of Ezekiel, he explains what he calls the formulaic framework. It’s in this detailed section that you discover so much of what is especially unique about Ezekiel. It’s amazing the amount of work that must’ve gone into preparing the information in this section. After a brief section considering the text, he discusses Ezekiel in Jewish and Christian tradition. The final section is a probing look at the theology of Ezekiel. He realizes a past, present, and future aspect of Ezekiel’s vision. The outstanding introduction is followed by a lengthy bibliography.
The commentary in volume 1 covers chapters 1-24. It’s extremely well done. It misses nothing on the exegetical level, draws careful parallels, and is sensitive to theology.
Volume 2 of this fine two-volume set covers chapters 25-48. There’s no introduction as he did a full introduction for the book in volume 1. The commentary is in the same thorough style. For every passage, he gives a translation, a discussion of the nature and design of the passage, commentary on the text, and theological reflection. If you hold to a pre-millennial viewpoint as I do, you may find him a little more nebulous about what the text is predicting for the future at places in these later chapters of Ezekiel. You could grab Cooper in the NAC to compensate if you wanted, but the commentary still gives outstanding exegetical help throughout.
Besides being a seminal academic work, this commentary is easily in the “must-have” category for pastors. It would be a mistake not to secure your own copy!
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.