Legends of Old Testament Characters/Chapter 42

XLII.

EZEKIEL.

EZEKIEL, whom the Arabs call Kazquil, was the son of an aged couple, who had no children. They prayed to God, and He gave them a son.

Ezekiel was a prophet, and he exhorted the men of Jerusalem to war, but they would not go forth to battle. Then God sent a pestilence, and there died of them every day very many. So, fearing death, a million fled from the city, hoping to escape the pestilence, but the wrath of God overtook them, and they fell dead.

Then those who survived in the city went forth to bury them, but they were too numerous; therefore they built a wall round the corpses to protect them from the beasts of the field; and thus they lay exposed to the heat and cold for many years, till the flesh had rotted off their bones.

Once the prophet Ezekiel came that way, and he saw this great multitude of dead and dry bones. He prayed, and God restored them to life again, and they stood upon their feet, a great army, and entered into the city, and lived out the rest of their days. It is said that among the Jews there are, to this day, descendants of those who were resuscitated, and they may be recognized by the corpse-like odour they exhale.[1]

The Jews relate that a celebrated Rabbi found the greatest difficulty in comprehending the Book of Ezekiel; therefore his disciples prepared for him three hundred tuns of oil to feed his lamp whilst he studied at night the visions of the prophet.[2]

  1. Tabari, i. c. 83.
  2. Bartolocci, i. p. 848.