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Ezekiel 24 in particular (Good News vers.)

v.19-20: 'The people asked me, "Why are you acting like this?" So I said to them, "The LORD spoke to me and told me'...

Then later:

v.27: 'That same day you will get back the power of speech which you had lost, and you will talk with him. In this way you will be a sign to the people, and they will know that I am the LORD."'

Earlier in the chapter it seems to document Ezekiel talking? Is he not really talking or is this after the LORD has given him back the power of speech and just not chronologically written in the Bible?

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1 Answer 1

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Not All Speech was Removed

The Muting Declared and Defined

Ezekiel's muting is recorded in chapter 3, verse 26 (NKJV):

I will make your tongue cling to the roof of your mouth, so that you shall be mute and not be one to rebuke them, for they are a rebellious house.

But the very next verse (v.27) indicates that this muting is not full (emphasis added):

But when I speak with you, I will open your mouth, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD.’ He who hears, let him hear; and he who refuses, let him refuse; for they are a rebellious house.

So God is limiting Ezekiel's speech toward Israel (specifically those in captivity, as he was; Ezek 1:1) to just the prophetic words that the Lord desires (and allows) him to speak to Israel. I emphasize "toward Israel" because we see in the very next chapter Ezekiel is allowed to converse with God also, Ezek 4:14—

So I said, “Ah, Lord GOD! Indeed I have never defiled myself from my youth till now; I have never eaten what died of itself or was torn by beasts, nor has abominable flesh ever come into my mouth.”

The phrase noted in 3:27 as to an indication of when Ezekiel would be allowed to speak, "Thus says the Lord GOD," is found 122 times in Ezekiel, only two occurrences of which are prior to 3:27, those being 2:4 and 3:11 which are both part of Ezekiel's commissioning to be a messenger. Essentially nearly the entire book is either describing Ezekiel's encounters with God and the visions He is revealing to him, or is the prophetic messages given to Israel, and these latter are regularly qualified with "Thus says the Lord GOD" as Ezek 3:27 stated they would be.

Removal of the Muting

So in Ezekiel 24:25-27, God states:

25 ‘And you, son of man—will it not be in the day when I take from them their stronghold, their joy and their glory, the desire of their eyes, and that on which they set their minds, their sons and their daughters: 26 on that day one who escapes will come to you to let you hear it with your ears; 27 on that day your mouth will be opened to him who has escaped; you shall speak and no longer be mute. Thus you will be a sign to them, and they shall know that I am the LORD.’ ”

When Jerusalem would finally fall, with the temple being destroyed, and word get back to those in captivity, specifically to Ezekiel, then his restrained (i.e. muted) prophetic ministry would be over. He would once again be free to speak for himself as well to Israel.

This is fulfilled in Ezekiel 33:21-22

21 And it came to pass in the twelfth year of our captivity, in the tenth month, on the fifth day of the month, that one who had escaped from Jerusalem came to me and said, “The city has been captured!” 22 Now the hand of the LORD had been upon me the evening before the man came who had escaped. And He had opened my mouth; so when he came to me in the morning, my mouth was opened, and I was no longer mute.

Conclusion

So yes, the passages you read are Ezekiel talking, even during his "muted" ministry, because when he speaks, he is proclaiming only that which the Lord allows him to as a message to Israel.

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