Ezekiel, the third of the great Hebrew prophets, and contemporary with Jeremiah and Daniel, lived in the 7th and 6th centuries B. C. He was still young when he went into captivity, following King Jehoiachin to Babylon. There, on the banks of the Chebar, supposed to be the Chaboras in Mesopotamia, in the fifth year of his exile, he began his prophetic career, declaring to his fellow exiles the misfortunes which were besetting and threatening Jerusalem and the country of Judah. In the 25th year of his exile he described the new temple which was to rise in Jerusalem after the redemption of his people. This is one of the last prophecies remaining from him, and there is no account of him beyond the 27th year of the captivity of Jehoiachin. According to a doubtful tradition, he was assassinated by one of the exiled princes, and during the middle ages his tomb was pointed out between the Euphrates and the Chebar. His book, which abounds in visions, poetical images, and allegories, is divided into three parts: the first (ch. i. to xxiv.) was written before the destruction of Jerusalem; the second (ch. xxv. to xxxii.) contains prophecies against foreign nations; the third (xxxii. to xlviii.) foretells the resurrection of Israel and the erection of the new temple.

The genuineness of the book has never been doubted; but our present Hebrew text is among the most corrupt of the books of the Old Testament. The best commentaries are those of Umbreit (1843), Havernick (1843), Hitzig (1847), and Ewald (2d ed., 1868).