Why did God allow Ezekiel’s wife to die?

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By BibleAsk Team


Ezekiel’s Wife

Ezekiel and his spouse resided by the Kebar Canal in Tel Abib near Nippur, alongside fellow exiles from the Kingdom of Judah, as documented in the Bible (Ezekiel 3:15). It is worth noting that there is no record of them having any children.

The account of God permitting the passing of Ezekiel’s spouse can be discovered within the Book of Ezekiel, which is part of the Old Testament in the Bible. This particular story takes place in chapter 24.

“Also the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, behold, I take away from you the desire of your eyes with one stroke; yet you shall neither mourn nor weep, nor shall your tears run down. Sigh in silence, make no mourning for the dead; bind your turban on your head, and put your sandals on your feet; do not cover your lips, and do not eat man’s bread of sorrow.’ So I spoke to the people in the morning, and at evening my wife died; and the next morning I did as I was commanded.”

Ezekiel 24:15-18 (NKJV):

Did God Kill Ezekiel’s Wife?

Ezekiel is informed that his wife, whom he deeply loves, is about to die. This should not be understood that the death of Ezekiel’s wife is the result of a direct attack by God for some evil that the prophet or his wife has done. Ezekiel’s wife may have been sick for some time, and the Lord may have warned the prophet of her approaching death.

It is Satan who is the author of sin, suffering, and death. However, God rejoices to take that which Satan brings upon us to harm us and make it serve some good end (Romans 8:28). Here, the loss of the Ezekiel’s wife, the desire of his eyes, was used to impress vividly upon the minds of the people the divine message.

“And the people said to me, ‘Will you not tell us what these things signify to us, that you behave so?’ Then I answered them, ‘The word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Speak to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I will profane My sanctuary, your arrogant boast, the desire of your eyes, the delight of your soul; and your sons and daughters whom you left behind shall fall by the sword.

And you shall do as I have done; you shall not cover your lips nor eat man’s bread of sorrow. Your turbans shall be on your heads and your sandals on your feet; you shall neither mourn nor weep, but you shall pine away in your iniquities and mourn with one another. Thus Ezekiel is a sign to you; according to all that he has done you shall do; and when this comes, you shall know that I am the Lord God.’”

Ezekiel 24:19-24 (NKJV)

“‘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: that on that day one who escapes will come to you to let you hear it with your ears? 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.’”

Ezekiel 24:25-27 (NKJV)

Why Couldn’t Ezekiel Mourn His Wife?

Ezekiel’s inability to mourn his wife is described in the Book of Ezekiel in the Bible. According to the text, Ezekiel’s wife dies suddenly, and God commands him not to mourn her openly as a sign to the people of Israel. This act symbolized the impending destruction of Jerusalem and the temple because of the people’s disobedience and idolatry.

Ezekiel’s obedience to God’s command not to mourn his wife served as a powerful visual representation of the severity of the situation facing Israel. It wasn’t that Ezekiel couldn’t mourn his wife, but rather that he was following God’s command to use his personal tragedy as a message to the people. This illustrates the prophetic role that Ezekiel played in delivering God’s messages to the people, even when it involved personal sacrifice and hardship.

Symbols to Teach Lessons from the Death of Ezekiel’s Wife

In Ezekiel 24:15-27, God instructs Ezekiel to use symbolic actions to convey messages of warning to the people. The death of Ezekiel’s wife is one such symbolic act, representing the imminent destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. The prophet was instructed to avoid the customary sings of mourning. The strange actions, after the death of Ezekiel’s wife’s, awakened the hoped-for spirit of inquiry.

God often used prophets to communicate profound truths through unconventional means, and these symbolic actions served as powerful visual aids to convey His message. The sanctuary, the desire of the eyes to the people, was to be defiled and ruined. The unholy feet of the Gentiles would enter its most sacred rooms, where even the priests could not go. All of this would take place because of the apostasy of the people.

Conclusion

God’s allowance of Ezekiel’s wife’s death served a multifaceted purpose within the larger context of divine prophecy and the spiritual journey of the Israelites. Firstly, her passing symbolized the impending devastation that awaited Jerusalem and its inhabitants due to their persistent disobedience and idolatry. Through this personal tragedy, Ezekiel became a living embodiment of the impending judgment upon the nation, serving as a poignant warning to the people.

Secondly, her death underscored the depth of Ezekiel’s commitment to his prophetic calling and his unwavering obedience to God’s commands. By refraining from openly mourning his wife, Ezekiel demonstrated his willingness to sacrifice personal comfort and endure profound grief in service to God’s greater plan.

Furthermore, her absence served to emphasize the profound loneliness and desolation that would soon envelop the land as a consequence of its sins. Through Ezekiel’s experience of loss, the gravity of the nation’s impending doom was made palpable, compelling the people to heed the warnings of impending judgment and turn back to God.

Ultimately, God’s allowance of Ezekiel’s wife’s death served as a catalyst for profound spiritual reflection and repentance, both for Ezekiel himself and for the nation of Israel as a whole. It was a sobering reminder of the consequences of disobedience and a call to return to God in humility and contrition, seeking forgiveness and restoration.

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