#54 The Prophets: Ezekiel

A Podcast on the Prophets of Israel in Tanach (Hebrew Bible)

The Book of Ezekiel has been enormously influential on Jewish spirituality for two-and-a-half millennia, including as the foundational inspiration for subsequent Jewish mystical ideas and texts. In this podcast episode, David examines the life and work of the Prophet Ezekiel (Yechezkel), believed to be among the first wave of exiles taken into Babylon. It is in the Book of Ezekiel, largely set during the Babylonian exile after the destruction of the First Temple, that we find an array of profound concepts about ethical existence and societal responsibility that remain startlingly relevant until today – in particular, we can extract much from Ezekiel’s insights into teshuva and Jewish spiritual practice in times of change and uncertainty. David also explores other remarkable elements of the book, including the extraordinary descriptions of G-d’s chariot and the valley of the dry bones, as well as providing insights into the social, political, and spiritual turbulence of the time.

Scan of a Gustave Doré engraving “The Vision of The Valley of The Dry Bones” – 1866. Public Domain.

Continue reading “#54 The Prophets: Ezekiel”

#49 When Being Righteous is not Enough: A Study of the Book of Job

A Podcast on the Book of Job in the Hebrew Bible

The Book of Job (Iyov) is a philosophical discussion on the nature of divine justice in relation to human suffering. In this podcast episode, David provides a fascinating overview of the story of Job whose tragic circumstances cause him to demand an explanation from G-d on the question: Why has this happened to me? As David explores each chapter of this biblical text, he unravels the various philosophical positions as expressed by G-d, Satan, and a range of other biblical characters to this age-old question. David also draws on views expressed by the sages, rabbis, and mystics on the Book of Job and its questions.

Read the transcript.

William Blake: Job’s Evil Dreams. Public Domain.

Continue reading “#49 When Being Righteous is not Enough: A Study of the Book of Job”

#37 A History of Mystical Encounters (part 1)

The Jewish mystical tradition has fascinating and profound speculations about accessing divine reality. In this podcast episode, the first in a four-part series entitled ‘A History of Mystical Encounters’, David explores definitions of mysticism and its manifestations in life and texts. In doing so, he looks at different forms of Jewish mystical practice, including biblical prophecy. Unusually, this lecture also involves textual study. David examines extracts from Bereishit, Genesis, and the Book of Ezekiel (Sefer Yechezkel), and discusses mystical ideas presented and the context in which they are set.

Click on the links to download the extracts from the Books of Genesis and Ezekiel discussed in this episode.

Engraved illustration of the “chariot vision” of the Biblical book of Ezekiel, chapter 1. Public Domain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading “#37 A History of Mystical Encounters (part 1)”

#20 Revelation in Exile: the Book of Ezekiel

From deep within the Babylonian exile, the prophet Ezekiel became the extraordinary conduit for the voice of Gd outside of the Land of Israel. In this podcast episode, David Solomon explores the life and setting of the prophet Ezekiel; his profound messages of teshuva and the importance of individual responsibility; and his remarkable visions – including those of the divine chariot, the Temple, and the valley of the dry bones – which have been a source of fascination and controversy for two and a half thousand years.

Ezekiel and the hand of God. Dura Europos synagogue wall painting. Public Domain.

Continue reading “#20 Revelation in Exile: the Book of Ezekiel”

#19 Visionaries, Reformers and Agitators – the Rise of the Prophets of Israel (part 4)

Building the dream

Following the return to the Land of Israel from the Babylonian exile, the Jewish nation found itself grappling with issues associated with the reconstruction of a society and the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem. Two extraordinary figures to emerge at this crucial juncture in Jewish history were the prophets Ḥaggai and Zechariah. In this podcast episode, the final instalment in his series on the Rise of the Prophets of Israel, David Solomon looks at the incredible lives and messages of Ḥaggai and Zechariah; their historical and geopolitical contexts; and the powerful words they uttered to the Jewish people during the period of the return to Zion – many ideas and insights which continue to resonate for us today.

Image: Gustave Dore – The Rebuilding of the Temple Is Begun. Public Domain.

Continue reading “#19 Visionaries, Reformers and Agitators – the Rise of the Prophets of Israel (part 4)”

#16 Visionaries, Reformers and Agitators – the Rise of the Prophets of Israel (part 1)

The beginnings of literary prophecy

The prophets of Israel emerged into history with positions and authority unprecedented across the ancient world. In this podcast episode, the first of a four-part series on the rise of the prophets of Israel, David Solomon examines this extraordinary social and spiritual phenomenon. Providing comprehensive historical background to the societies into which these prophets emerged, he explores the beginnings of literary prophecy through the extraordinary lives and inspiring words of the early prophets, Amos and Hoshea.

The Prophet Hoshea and his wife Gomer. Public Domain.

Continue reading “#16 Visionaries, Reformers and Agitators – the Rise of the Prophets of Israel (part 1)”

#6 Players upon Thrones: Kings and Queens of Israel part 6

Kingship was reinstated in the land of Israel following the return from Babylonian exile. This podcast episode examines the historical background of the period of Second Temple, including the expansion of the Hasmonean kingdom through military annexation and repopulation; the tension between the Sadducees and the Pharisees; and the rise and expansion of Rome. David discusses the characters and reigns of the Hasmonean kings and queens and the rule of the three Herodian monarchs.

Wojciech Stattler – The Maccabees [Public domain]
Continue reading “#6 Players upon Thrones: Kings and Queens of Israel part 6”

#5 Players upon Thrones: Kings and Queens of Israel part 5

The period of the Josianic kings, from Menasheh to Zedekiah, was the last chapter for the Judean Kingdom before the Babylonian exile. This podcast explores the personalities and actions of these kings and the overall historical setting of their reigns, including the domination and fall of the Assyrian Empire, the defeat of Egypt, and the rise and supremacy of Babylon. David looks at the lead up to the destruction of the Temple, the Babylonian exile, the return to Zion and the project to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem.

James Tissot – The Flight of the Prisoners [Public domain]

Continue reading “#5 Players upon Thrones: Kings and Queens of Israel part 5”

#4 Players upon Thrones: Kings and Queens of Israel part 4

The historical period from King Joash (Yehoash) to King Hezekiah (Heskiyahu), exploring the histories, personalities and fates of these kings and all those in between is the focus of this episode. David discusses the House of Jehu and the circumstances that led to the end of the Northern Kingdom. He provides an overall picture of the region at the time, including the kingdoms’ geo-political competition with Aram and the rise of Assyria. Tune in for another action-packed lecture. 

Hezekiah showing off his wealth to envoys of the Babylonian king, oil on canvas by Vicente López Portaña, 1789 [Public domain]

Continue reading “#4 Players upon Thrones: Kings and Queens of Israel part 4”

#3 Players upon Thrones: Kings and Queens of Israel part 3

The houses of David and Omri in the kingdoms of Judah and Israel are the focus of this episode. David provides a geo-political picture of the region at this time, including what was happening with Aram, Moab, Edom and Assyria as well as the prophets Elijah and Elisha and the spread of the Baalist cults. As he warns, this lecture is complex – with a number of kings of the same name in different kingdoms at different times. It also contains a lot of battles, assassinations, and general bloodshed.

Jezabel-and-Ahab-Meeting-Elijah-in-Naboth-s-Vineyard
Jezabel and Ahab Meeting Elijah in Naboth’s Vineyard Giclee. Print by Sir Frank Dicksee (1853-1928) [Public domain]

Continue reading “#3 Players upon Thrones: Kings and Queens of Israel part 3”