Daniel and Late Ezekiel?

Ian Hutchesson mc2499 at mclink.it
Wed Jun 23 18:17:33 EDT 1999


Dear Peter,

This letter of yours was not in particularly good spirit.

>Sounds like you have found some interesting gematria-like patterns in 
>Ezekiel. 

That was uncalled for and better not said. At best it is an attempt to hide
important data by trivialising it.

>No doubt the DSS people found some neat ways of fitting 
>Ezekiel into their own calendar, 

The logic of this is difficult to penetrate.

We have a solar calendar mentioned in Enoch's Astronomy Book (ca. 250 BCE),
which gets clarification in the DSS. The Ezekiel dates were written
whenever the text was and have ostensibly nothing to do directly with the
DSS. You may choose to ignore the data provided in Ezekiel, but there is a
penchant for prophecy on Sundays, but never on Saturdays (see table
appended). This is by way of explanation. Please explain to me the sense
and relevance of your statement above.

>and copied some of its thinking e.g. 
>about Zadokite priests. 

This thesis has little going for it as Ezekiel is poorly represented at
Qumran. Zadokite hegemony over the priesthood didn't seem to have existed
in the time of Zechariah or the other prophets. The more likely hypothesis
is that the DSS and Ezekiel were both in the same current.

>That is no more proof that Ezekiel is from 
>their time than the absurdities of medieval gematria are proof that 
>other books were written after the introduction of the numbering 
>system, or the absurdities of Bible codes are proof that the texts 
>were written after the invention of computers!

I see no reason for you to be going on about gematria, absurdities or bible
codes. 

I did not say exactly when Ezekiel was written. In fact this is what I
said: "I don't know when Ezekiel was written, but the indications seem to
me definitely not the time the text ostensibly deals with." Beside the
attempts at denigration, your statement above is irrelevant and misguided.

>Ezekiel's prophecies are presented as starting about 16 years after 
>Josiah's clash with Egypt (1:2), 

Nebuchadnezzar before becoming king had cleared Syria and Palestine of the
remains of Egyptian interference (Carchemish etc) shortly after the death
of Josiah. On his ascension to power (605) he returned to Babylon and the
Egyptians returned to meddle in Jerusalem. He returned to drive the
Egyptians back into their own territory by 601. That was the last
involvement of Egypt in Jerusalem affairs. The first dating to an Ezekiel
prophecy is in the fifth year of the exile of Jehoiachin, ie ca. 592, so
presumably the Egyptian stuff came after that date.

(Syene, Ezek30:6, is the place where a Jewish mercenary colony was located
in the 400s.)

>and the prophecy against Egypt is 
>perhaps dated to 21 years after that clash (29:1). Maybe Egypt's power 
>was already dwindling, but quite likely this would not yet have been 
>clear to a relatively ordinary man exiled to Babylonia. Anyway, 
>Ezekiel speaks to Egypt as one already failing and which would no 
>longer be a threat to others (29:7-9,15), probably an astute political 
>judgment in his time as well as a prophetic word.
>
>As for Tyre, do you have definite inscriptional and material evidence, 
>not arguments from silence, for what you assert about it? Apparently 
>according to Josephus Nebuchadnezzar beseiged Tyre for 13 years 
>c.587-574, which at least suggests that before 587 it was an important 
>place, 

(I see no point in quoting Josephus in this context. He is after all
writing six hundred years after the events.)

The archaeology of Assyrian control of Palestine can be found in books such
as Ahlstrom. Tyre became vassal to the Assyrians, providing hostages. It
rebelled under Ashurbanipal (668-626) who firmly crushed the rebellion Tyre
under the rise of the Babylonians survived using its sea connections, so
that while all Palestine was under the control of the Babylonians Tyre was
struggling on for survival. No, your representation of the situation is not
possible.

>which could have traded freely with Judah during the reign of 
>Josiah, in Ezekiel's youth, when Assyria was weak and before the 
>Babylonians arrived in the area. 

This is an exceedingly optimisitic view of the flexibility of trading
practices. Tyre had suffered a siege and later a brutal repression (ca.
645) under the Assyrians. Babylon staked its claim in the area in 605. Yet
the Ezekiel text wants us to believe that Tyre is at some height of
splendour and that there was an extensive international network of trading
relationships that extended into Syria and down into Arabia, not to mention
up into the Judaean hills. Nonetheless, the passages against Tyre seem
totally irrelevant to the hypothetical audience in Babylon, where the book
of Ezekiel is mainly set.

>Clearly the author of Ezekiel had a 
>knowledge and interest in Tyre's trading partners, 

What on earth would make you think this?

>which explains his knowledge of Tarshish, Rhodes and Cyprus.

Obviously with Tyrian influence in Jerusalem, such as that under the
Persians, products from the Greek world would also reach the Jewish people.
(But then the Greeks were also direct players during the period.)


Yours,

Ian

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Here is a table containing all of the Ezekiel data for when visions came to
the prophet:

      Verse    year-month-day
   
       1,1      13 -  4 -  5    Sun
      (3,6      7 days later    Sun)
       8,1       6 -  6 -  5    Thu
      20,1       7 -  5 - 10    Sun
      24,1       9 - 10 - 10    Fri
      26,1      11 -  ? -  1    W|F|Su   (Masoretic text omits month)
      29,1      10 - 10 - 12    Sun
      29,17     27 -  1 -  1    Wed
      30,20     11 -  1 -  7    Tue
      31,1      11 -  3 -  1    Sun
      32,1      12 - 12 -  1    Sun
      32,17     12 -  ? - 15    W|F|Su   (Masoretic text omits month
                                          LXX indicates 1st month = Wed)
      33,21     12 - 10 -  5    Sun      (LXX indicates 12th month = Wed)
      40,1      25 -  1 - 10    Fri
----------------------------------------------------------------------




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