Chronologically we turn backwards at this point. Jeremiah was the prophet in 595 B.C. when Jerusalem was finally captured and destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar and its people were carried into Babylon. Like Lehi, Ezekiel was a contemporary of Jeremiah, but Ezekiel did not prophesy with them. Instead, like Daniel, Ezekiel was with the large group from Judah taken captive into Babylon earlier. He began to prophesy only after arriving in Babylon, so prophets in Jerualem, like Lehi and Jeremiah, may not even have known about Ezekiel. Tradition has it that he died and was buried in Babylon. With that in mind, as you read Ezekiel, ask yourself what difference the absence of the Temple makes to his preaching and teaching.
Verses 1-4: The people of Israel seem to have used the proverb of verse 2 against the Lord. Can you explain how the proverb works as a complaint? Why might that complaint have arisen in Babylon? Why does the Lord speak here of his ownership of all souls? What point is he making when he speaks of the soul of the father and the soul of the son? How is he responding to the criticism of him implicit in the proverb?