There is no way around it. Ezekiel is one strange dude. The whole lying on his side for over a year. Nuts. Cooking food over cow manure, which is apparently an upgrade over human waste. Equally loco. In conversations with my partner-in-crime today, he verified my suspicion that if Ezekiel were running around today, he’d be institutionalized.
Ok. So I don’t really have anything to say about the book, so I thought I’d point you to some helpful resources. Here’s one… maybe you’ve heard of it.
There is one thing I’d add. Prophets were often engaged in something known as prophetic drama. Both of the crazy activities I mentioned in opening are examples of it. I tried to find something on the internet that explained it well, but I was surprised to find next to nothing. So basically it works like this, God calls certain people to not just speak his message, but to enact it. The ones from above are pretty clear because it is spelled out. The laying on his side for a prescribed length of time is symbolic of the years that Israel and Judah were unfaithful. Cooking over poop was meant to symbolize their impurity.
Not so pleasant for the prophet, but I imagine it gets its point across. A little later, a guy named Hosea is going to have his whole life lived out as one long prophetic drama. Then there’s this guy Jesus. More than a little drama going on there too.