Ezekiel 2:1-3:15 – The Call of the Prophet and the Scroll


Ezekiel 2:1-3:15


God calls and commissions Ezekiel with a divine word for Israel. As a part of this commissioning, in a vision, God gives the prophet a scroll to eat.


This prophet’s call story includes an introductory word (Ezekiel 2:1-2), a commission (2:3), a reassurance (2:6-7), and a sign (2:8-3:3). The introductory word comes as a command to stand, but the prophet needs the spirit to set him on his feet. This call story is less about the prophet’s desires and more about God’s. Further, the spirit animates the prophet who is not able to respond as he is commanded. The prophetic commission includes the information that God is sending Ezekiel to the people of Israel, who are described as obstinate rebels.

The missing element in this call story is the prophet’s objection. Ezekiel does not object. In fact, the chapter does not record any response from the prophet. The emphasis is on the divine call and the rebellious people, not Ezekiel. This nonresponse stands in contrast to Isaiah’s “Woe is me! I am a man of unclean lips” and Jeremiah’s “I do now know how to speak, for I am only a boy.” The lack of a response by Ezekiel also highlights another feature of this book – Ezekiel’s seeming lack of free will. He is unable to stand at the beginning of this chapter without the spirit’s assistance. He carries out most of his prophetic tasks only under divine control. The Lord tells him not to be afraid, but to prophesy “whether they hear or refuse to hear, for they are a rebellious house” (v. 7). In a vision, Ezekiel sees God hand him a scroll filled with words of doom: “lamentation and mourning and woe” (v. 10). These words, which God puts inside of the prophet, he must deliver to Israel. The prophet embodies the message. The scroll tastes sweet because this is the word of the Lord (compare Psalm 119:103).