Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.
in the thirtieth
Heb. captivity. by the river.
Chebar, called now Khabour, is a river of Mesopotamia, which taking its rise in the Mysian mountains, falls into the Euphrates near Carchemish, or Circesioum, now Karkisia, about 35 degrees 20' N. lat. and 40 degrees 25' E. long.
In the fifth day of the month, which was the fifth year of king Jehoiachin's captivity,
The word of the LORD came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the LORD was there upon him.
Heb. Jehezkel. and the.
And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire.
Heb. catching itself. colour.
Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man.
And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings.
And every one had four faces
These living creatures were probably hieroglyphical representations of the holy angels, the attendants on "the King of Glory," and the ministers of his providence. They were four, apparently to denote that they were employed in the four corners of the world; and they had the likeness of a man, to signify that they were intelligent and rational creatures.
every one had four wings
And their feet were straight feet; and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf's foot: and they sparkled like the colour of burnished brass.
Heb. a straight foot. like the sole.
And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings.
Their wings were joined one to another; they turned not when they went; they went every one straight forward.
As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle.
the face of a man
the face of a lion
the face of an ox
the face of an eagle
Thus were their faces: and their wings were stretched upward; two wings of every one were joined one to another, and two covered their bodies.
or, divided above. and two.
And they went every one straight forward: whither the spirit was to go, they went; and they turned not when they went.
they went every
As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of lamps: it went up and down among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning.
And the living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning.
Now as I beheld the living creatures, behold one wheel upon the earth by the living creatures, with his four faces.
The appearance of the wheels and their work was like unto the colour of a beryl: and they four had one likeness: and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel.
When they went, they went upon their four sides: and they turned not when they went.
As for their rings, they were so high that they were dreadful; and their rings were full of eyes round about them four.
they were so
or, stakes. full.
And when the living creatures went, the wheels went by them: and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up.
Whithersoever the spirit was to go, they went, thither was their spirit to go; and the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels.
of the living creature
or, of life.
When those went, these went; and when those stood, these stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.
When those went
of the living creature
or, of life.
And the likeness of the firmament upon the heads of the living creature was as the colour of the terrible crystal, stretched forth over their heads above.
The Hebrew kerach, which generally denotes ice, doubtless here signifies crystal, ([krystallos] from [kryos] cold, ice, and [stellomai] to concrete,) as it is rendered by the LXX. and Vulgate. It is a very large class of silicious minerals, hard, pellucid, naturally colourless, of regularly angular figures, and of simple plates; not flexible, nor elastic, but giving fire with steel; not fermenting by acid menstrua, but calcinable in a strong fire. There are three orders of pure crystal: the first is perfect columnar crystals, with double pyramids, of eighteen planes, in an hexangular pyramid at each end; the second is that of perfect crystals, without a column, of twelve or sixteen planes, in two hexangular pyramids: and the third is that of imperfect crystals, with single pyramids, of ten or twelve planes, in an hexangular or pentangular column. Terrible crystal seems to denote that which was well cut and polished, vividly refracting the rays of light.
And under the firmament were their wings straight, the one toward the other: every one had two, which covered on this side, and every one had two, which covered on that side, their bodies.
And when they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of great waters, as the voice of the Almighty, the voice of speech, as the noise of an host: when they stood, they let down their wings.
as the voice
as the noise
And there was a voice from the firmament that was over their heads, when they stood, and had let down their wings.
And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it.
Abp. Newcome judiciously observes, "We need not allegorize the circumstances of this august vision too minutely. Many of them augment the splendour of the scene, while others, no doubt, have much significance; which should be pointed out rather by a correct judgement, than a luxuriant imagination."
the likeness of a
the appearance of a man
And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about.
as the colour
the appearance of fire
As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake.