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Friday, October 19, 2012

Reader's Diary #882- The New King James Version Bible: Ezekiel

The Book of Ezekiel begins with a scene so surrealistic it caught me off guard. This is how it's summarized in Wikipedia:
Yahweh approaches Ezekiel as the divine warrior, riding in his battle chariot. The chariot is drawn by four living creatures each having four faces (of a man, a lion, an ox, and an eagle), and four wings. Beside each "living creature" is a "wheel within a wheel," with "tall and awesome" rims full of eyes all around. Yahweh commissions Ezekiel to be a prophet and a "watchman" in Israel: "Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites.
At which point most people would look at the bottle they're holding, shake their heads, and say, "never again." But not Ezekiel. Which is good because as an opener, it certainly catches my attention. Can't wait to see what Ezekiel has in store. 

Alas, chapter after chapter, nothing really lives up to that image. Mostly it's God's warnings about various wars and destruction to come. Which in itself certainly doesn't sound dull, but you read enough of a similar message you tend to become desensitized. I got through by trying my damnedest to find a positive message. Not that I agree with interpreting Bible passages to suit our own personal agendas, but as a pessimist by nature, I took it as a sort of challenge to glean something positive from the onslaught of dire predictions and promises. Here's what I got: don't intentionally piss people off as it tends to have repercussions, try to be a better person even when it seems pointless, and stick to your values and beliefs even when they might go against popular opinion.

At the end, there's a ridiculously detailed description of a temple. At first I was relieved to get away from the endless warnings, thinking we were heading into surrealistic territory again. I was envisioning the temple as M.C. Escher's Relativity house.  However, I soon realized that wasn't it. Instead, it was like the earlier books where there were chapters after chapters describing the ark of the covenant right down to the minutest detail.

At least there was one other highlight: Ezekiel 25:17 is the speech Samuel Jackson gives as Jules Winnfield in Pulp Fiction.


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