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The Assyrian empire that had once conquered the Syro-Palestinian area and destroyed the northern kingdom of Israel (which fell to the Assyrians in 722-721 b.c.) began to crumble under the blows of a resurgent Babylon.
In 612 the great Assyrian city of Nineveh fell to a combined force of Babylonians and Medes.
Nebuchadnezzar soon responded by sending a force against Jerusalem, subduing it in 597 b.c.
Jehoiakim's son Jehoiachin and about 10,000 Jews (see 2Ki ), including Ezekiel, were exiled to Babylon, where they joined those who had been exiled in Jehoiakim's "third year" (see Da 1:1 and note).
He was then directed to pronounce a series of judgments on the seven nations of Ammon, Moab, Edom, Philistia, Tyre, Sidon and Egypt (chs. The day of God's wrath was soon to come, but not on Israel alone.
Once news was received that Jerusalem had fallen, Ezekiel's message turned to the Lord's consoling word of hope for his people -- they would experience revival, restoration and a glorious future as the redeemed and perfected kingdom of God in the world (chs. Since the book of Ezekiel contains more dates than any other OT prophetic book, its prophecies can be dated with considerable precision.
Jehoahaz, a son of Josiah, ruled Judah for only three months, after which Neco installed Jehoiakim, another son of Josiah, as his royal vassal in Jerusalem (609 b.c.).
In 605 the Babylonians overwhelmed the Egyptian army at Carchemish (see Jer 46:2), then pressed south as far as the Philistine plain.
He was not to mourn openly for his wife, as a sign to his people not to mourn openly for Jerusalem (-27).
Three years later, Pharaoh Neco II of Egypt marched north to assist the Assyrians and to try to reassert Egypt's age-old influence over Canaan and Aram (Syria).
At Megiddo, King Josiah of Judah, who may have been an ally of Babylon as King Hezekiah had been, attempted to intercept the Egyptian forces but was crushed, losing his life in the battle (see 2Ki -30; 2Ch -24).
The only hope the prophet was authorized to extend to his hearers was that of living at peace with themselves and with God during their exile.
After being informed by the Lord that Jerusalem was under siege and would surely fall (24:1-14), Ezekiel was told that his beloved wife would soon die.
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