Ezekiel 24:15-27 – The Death of Ezekiel’s Wife


Ezekiel 24:15-27


God tells Ezekiel that his wife will die, but he is not to mourn. These actions will be a sign to Israel that God will destroy ‘the delight of your eyes,” just as God did to Ezekiel.


In this prophetic sign-act, the prophet’s personal life becomes a sign for the people. The person most dear to him, his wife, dies, and he does not mourn her death. The people notice this odd response and ask the prophet for an explanation. He delivers an oracle about profaning the sanctuary and the upcoming death of their sons and daughters.

It is a disturbing and dramatic moment in the book and in the life of the prophet. The prophet’s wife is used in order to demonstrate the intimate connection between the people and the Temple. The pain of losing this religious institution is comparable to the death of a spouse.

Some scholars have noted that priests are not allowed to come in contact with dead bodies as one reason for this prohibition. However, the people are clearly surprised by Ezekiel’s behavior and the restriction includes weeping and mourning, not just physical contact.