The Title Son of Man in Ezekiel

Today’s lectionary reading from the Old Testament comes from Ezekiel 2. In it we find the most common title applied to Ezekiel by the Lord. This title is “Son of Man,” which is a complex phrase in the Old Testament especially when one takes into consideration the usage in Daniel 7.13. However, the usage in Ezekiel is a bit more straightforward. It means something along the lines of “human being,” or if you want to go a bit further, “mere mortal.” The phrase is used in the early chapters of Ezekiel to contrast the majestic deity from the lowly prophet.

In light of this usage, it is interesting the New Testament authors used this somewhat demeaning title from Ezekiel as one of the most common phrases to refer to Jesus.  Of course, it is possible that they saw the usage from Daniel as the most pertinent.  However, it is also possible that they saw in Jesus “the Son of Man,” as in “the human being.”  Perhaps it is that they saw in him what it meant to be fully human.