Biblical Personalities: Ezekiel: Son of Adam
On the 1st of Nisan Ezekiel received the prophecy that hinted that the Persian empire would soon overtake Bavel (29:17-21), c. 370. It is interesting to note that it was also on the 1st of Nisan that Cyrus was crowned “King of Bavel”, 373 B.C.E, leading to the restoration of a new Jewish autonomy in Eretz Yisrael and the rebuilding of the Beit Hamikdash. Ezra, the leader of the fledgling Jewish community and his followers, left Bavel on the anniversary of Cyrus’ coronation.
“It happened in the 27th year (of Nebuchadnezar’s reign, which was eight years after the Destruction of the Temple and the 17th year of Yehoiachin’s exile) in the first month, on the first of the month, that the word of God came to me, saying, “Son of Adam: Nebuchadnezar, King of Babylon, has pressed his army to perform a difficult labor against Tyre; every head was made bald and every shoulder peeled (from the immense amount of war matériel the soldiers hold on their heads and shoulders); and he and his army had no reward from Tyre (few spoils) for the labor that they had performed against her. Therefore, thus said the Lord, God, Elokim.: Behold, I am giving the land of Egypt to Nebuchadnezar, King of Babylon; he will carry off its multitude and sees its booty and take its plunder, and that will be the reward for his army. In return for the labor that he did there, I have given him the land of Egypt, because of what they did to Me, the word of the Lord, God, Elokim (Ezekiel 29:17–21).”
Adam, man, is an expression of affection, brotherhood, and friendship. The Holy One, Blessed is He, said to Ezekiel, “Son of Adam,” son of good people, son of righteous people, of people who perform acts of kindness, who allow themselves to be shamed all of their days for the sake of God’s honor and for the sake of Israel’s honor (Vayikra Rabbah 2:8)
The Holy One, Blessed is He, tapped on the vessel of four people, He tested them by questioning them and found them to be lacking, but Ezekiel was found to be more knowledgeable then all of them, as it is written, “Son of man, can these bones live? And I said, My Lord, You know (Ezekiel 37:3).” [Bereishit Rabbah 19:11]
The prophet Ezekiel was faithful. All that he saw was true, and it was with the permission of the Holy One, Blessed is He, that he revealed it, for it was necessary. He told the Israelites, “Behold, your Lord and all His hosts have come to dwell with you here in Babylon,” but they did not believe him, so he was forced to reveal all that he had seen. At that, the Israelites rejoiced. When they heard the words issue from Ezekiel’s mouth, they did not feel the pain of exile at all, for they knew that the Holy One, Blessed is He, had not forsaken them and that the Divine Presence was with them in exile (Zohar 2:2b)
Why did Ezekiel Merritt that the dead be resurrected through him? Because he felt a complete sense of identity with Israel (Tanna d’Bei Eliyahu Rabbah 5).
Nebuchadnezar is described as doing God’s work when he attacks and conquers Egypt. However, the destroyer of God’s Temple was not faithful. Easy Keogh was faithful; he did not lose his awareness of God, and even more importantly, he identified with Israel. Therefore, he was able to share visions of the Heavenly Chariot that no other prophet was able to share, he was able to convey a sense of the Heavens to Israel even when they were in exile, with so much power that they’ve got the pain of their exile, and actually experienced God’s Presents with them in their exile.
Therefore, it was he who could convey to them a sense of the future. It was he who could speak to them of the decline of their Babylonian masters, and the rise of a new kingdom, Persia, that would lead to their return to Jerusalem.