Study Guide

Book of Ezekiel Death of Mrs. Ezekiel

Death of Mrs. Ezekiel

In one of the most shocking actions in the book, God kills Ezekiel's wife:

The word of the Lord came to me: Mortal, with one blow I am about to take away from you the delight of your eyes; yet you shall not mourn or weep, nor shall your tears run down. Sigh, but not aloud; make no mourning for the dead. Bind on your turban, and put your sandals on your feet; do not cover your upper lip or eat the bread of mourners. So I spoke to the people in the morning, and at evening my wife died. And on the next morning I did as I was commanded. (24:15-18)

God supposedly does this to show that Ezekiel is suffering the same feelings that the House of Israel will feel when it goes into exile and Babylon murders its sons and daughters.

But there might be another layer of interpretation. Since the Prophet's a representative of God, Ezekiel's suffering mirrors God's. Just as the House of Israel was once God's "wife," and is now going to die when the Babylonians destroy her, Ezekiel's actual wife will die. But the same way God won't show any pity for his dead wife, Ezekiel also needs to hide his emotions, prohibited to mourn outwardly. So, yeah—it's really pretty horrible, especially since it's all done intentionally just to make a point.

But the House of Israel eventually will come back to life. Not so Ezekiel's wife. This is one of the most disturbing passages in a book that's frequently aiming to disturb. BTW, Dr. Halperin the psychoanalyst sees Ezekiel's ability to refrain from grieving and go right back to work the next morning as just more evidence of his woman issues.

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