God’s Visions and God’s Eyes in Ezekiel’s Surrealistic Imagery

Edgar W. Conrad


This article is related to a larger research project that my wife, Dr. Linda Conrad and I are doing on a surrealistic reading of Ezekiel. I focus on the phrase, מַרְאוֹת אֱלֹהִים , which occurs only in the book of Ezekiel (1:1; 8:3; 40:2; see also 40:3). The usual English translations render it as “visions of God” and interpret Ezekiel 1:4-28 as a description of a “vision of God” that Ezekiel sees. While God does appear to Ezekiel in these verses, my alternative reading sees them as a depiction of God’s vision – what God sees. Ezekiel beholds an “El-mobile” with eyes darting around with great speed moving in all directions and enabling God to view the world with commensurate ease. My reading highlights the significance of the recurring use of “eye” (עַיִן ) and “eyes” (עֵינַיִם ) in 1:4-28, routinely overlooked by commentators. When Ezekiel says that he sees מַרְאוֹת אֱלֹהִים , his claim is that he sees God’s visions; he sees what God sees. This accounts for Ezekiel’s capacity to see what is happening in the temple in Jerusalem while resident in Babylon, something that has troubled traditional critical scholarship.


Ezekiel; eyes of God

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Bible and Critical Theory: ISSN 1832-3391