The threat to the reputation of YHWH : the portrayal of the divine character in the Book of Ezekiel
The portrayal of the divine character in a literary context shows the God in the narrative as he is perceived by the narrator. The chapters which follow focus on the pericopes within the narrative which are concerned with the portrayal of God as a character in the story. The present study reveals a unique image of the God of Israel as portrayed in the narrative. I have devoted chapters 1,2, and 6 to the three pericopes, labelled within the text as "visions of God" (chs. 1: 4-3: 15; 8: 1- 11: 24; 40-48) because they create the ground work for the divine character's activity revealing the narrator's portrayal of the God in the narrative. These three "visions" are strategically arranged at the opening, middle and closing of the narrative. The first "vision" shows God's encounter with Ezekiel while he is in exile. The second "vision" shows the reason for God's activity in the opening "vision" and the basis for all the activity within the narrative. The third "vision" shows that God's actions have not been in vain but will culminate in a reordering of God's place within the cultus. Ezekiel 37 contributes to the narrator's portrayal of the divine character and for this reason I have included it within my analysis in chapter 5. Likewise, in chapter 3, I have included the "divine oracle" of Ezekiel 16 which reveals the depth of the bond of the covenant and its effect on the God of the narrative. Furthermore, in chapter 4,1 have focused on the "divine oracles" in Ezekiel 20 and 36 because of the narrator's emphasis on the profanation and vindication of the name of God. That the narrator has carefully crafted his portrayal of the divine character is evident, and attested to in the construction of the pericopes. My reading and analysis of the text are a critical attempt to show, at least in portions of the text, that the narrator's portrayal of the divine character is an anomaly.