This is a fine addition to Day One’s Opening Up commentary series. Andy Oliver paints a clear historical picture of the weighty biblical book of Ezekiel and steers the reader helpfully into a contextual understanding of it, showing its place in the Bible’s unfolding story.
He sees the overarching theme of Ezekiel as ‘judgement and hope’, with the hinge at chapter 33 with the fall of Jerusalem. Ezekiel’s 48 chapters are treated in about 24 chapters of the commentary, most of which supply the reader with relevant applications, particularly needful in today’s post-modern, ‘post-truth’ society.
The map, tables, and diagrams of the temple are simple and easy to follow. Each chapter closes with some excellent pointers for further study and some generally stimulating things to think about and discuss. The book’s chapters are presented in good bite-sized chunks of about 15 pages.
Opening Up Ezekiel is introductory to mid-level, apt for pastors, preachers, and teachers in a hurry as well as church, home group, and student Bible studies. It makes an excellent first port of call and is profitable also for personal and devotional use.
Consulting some of the bigger commentaries such as Daniel Block’s, the author conveys awareness of some of the detailed issues presented by Ezekiel but keeps his focus essentially on the main point of each passage. Readers wishing for detailed explanations of Ezekiel lying on his left side for 390 days and on his right for 40 days, for example, or of the nature of the imagery Ezekiel uses to describe Tyre, must look elsewhere.
Criticisms of the book are minor: the endnotes and references are of variable quality and some lack clarity. But overall, this is a useful commentary and good value for money.