Ezekiel’s Song tells the story of the prophet Ezekiel, and his wife, as they walk a perilous path of faith, following God when those around them have strayed and abandoned their heritage.
From scripture we don’t know much about Ezekiel’s wife. She is not named, nor do we know if they had children. Only that he loved her so very much, that she was the “delight of his eyes”, his “joy and glory” and “his heart’s desire” (Ezekiel 24). She was his everything, then suddenly snatched away, demonstrating to Ezekiel and his followers how God felt about their behaviour – torn apart by losing love, but not willing or able to mourn whilst He still had hope, faith and love. Ezekiel’s battle with intense grief mirrors the intense grief that God has when we turn our face away from him.
I have read the book of Ezekiel before, and perhaps never really grasped the incredible story that lies here. So this is a lovely example of where creative writing, and storytelling, can expand on our knowledge and understanding of the Bible. It does not replace scripture but allows us to trigger our imaginations into action to build a bigger picture than we have already. To help it come alive to us. When written in this way, as a novel, do I only now realise how completely extraordinary the story of Ezekiel is.
The novel is written to show both his and his wife’s point of view, showing the truly incredible faith needed to carry the burden of a prophet – faith from Ezekiel but also those around him and supporting him.
Right from the start, in the Prologue, we glean a clear picture of the extent that Judah had fallen away from their God, infected with arrogance and disobedience. The priesthood are struggling to encourage the people to worship, led astray by their rulers.
It is a colourful telling of the story, necessarily graphic at times but always decent and appropriate. I was very struck by the way the exile to Babylon was written, with clear echoes of the holocaust, highlighting that the persecution of Jewish people has been frequent throughout history.
The writing gives the impression of being exceptionally well researched, and fascinating on topics like the details of the Levitical priesthood and their necessity for cleanliness and holiness. It is an easy style to read as you truly get immersed in the times. Well written with lovely description, especially observant of each characters feelings, thoughts and doubts.
It occurred to me that the characters often had insights that we may consider as “New Testament” understanding, especially in their close relationship with God. Thinking it through, it is correct and perhaps often easily overlooked… of course many faithful men and women of God throughout OT history had deep relationship and understanding of the profound love of God.
Overall, I was left with a deeper understanding of the love of God and an clearer picture of the immense sacrifices that many others have made through Biblical history, whether mentioned as major characters or just in passing and unnamed.
I received a complimentary advance copy of this book from the publisher, but was under no pressure to provide a favourable review.