The Book of Ezekiel: CHapters 1-24. The New International Commentary on the Old Testament.

By Daniel I. Block
Grand Rapids : Eerdmans (1997). 887 Pages.

Reviewed by Dr. Irv Busenitz
9.1 (Spring 1998) : 100-100

This volume, the first of two on the book of Ezekiel, is another welcomed addition to the NICOT series. Written by Daniel I. Block, the John R. Sampey Professor of Old Testament Interpretation at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, the book cuts a wide berth in the quest to understand the prophet, his times, and his message. Unfolded by a detailed Table of Contents/Outline and supplemented with extensive indexes that include subjects, authors, Scripture references, and selected Hebrew words and phrases, the intricacies of the text open easily to the reader. Maps, charts, and graphs repeatedly intersect the text, providing additional elucidation of Ezekiel's oracles.

After a lengthy treatment of the prophet himself and the circumstances surrounding his deportation to Babylon, Block turns his attention to the text, translating and then commenting on each pericope in detail, usually a verse at a time. His in-depth treatment is generally thorough, sprinkled with transliterated Hebrew terms where clarity and precision require them. He usually consigns the more technical matters to the footnotes.

The depth of analysis should not discourage pastoral investigation, however, for the author's commentary is easy to read and filled with numerous sermonic insights, almost as though he were preaching the text. Individuals with minimal biblical language acumen will find it quite "user friendly" as well, with English translations accompanying most transliterated words. An occasional excursus provides further explanation of significant texts, such as the scribe scouring the city of Jerusalem for the righteous and marking their foreheads (Ezekiel 9 [310- 14]) or Yahweh's wife being stripped naked and allowed to go into captivity (Ezekiel 16 [467-70]).

This is a positive addition to the study of the book of Ezekiel. Though the cost is high, it is well worth the price, providing a valuable resource to pastors, professors and students wanting a more than superficial look into the text of this magnificent Old Testament prophecy.