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Barnes' Notes on the Bible
1Then I looked, and, behold, in the firmament that was above the head of the cherubims there appeared over them as it were a sapphire stone, as the appearance of the likeness of a throne.
As in Ezekiel 1, the vision of the glory of the Lord, the particulars given identifying the two visions.
2And he spake unto the man clothed with linen, and said, Go in between the wheels, even under the cherub, and fill thine hand with coals of fire from between the cherubims, and scatter them over the city. And he went in in my sight.
He spake - The person enthroned.
The cherub - The particular cherub who was to hand the coals to destroy Psalm 120:4; Isaiah 10:16; Revelation 15:8.
3Now the cherubims stood on the right side of the house, when the man went in; and the cloud filled the inner court.
On the right side - On the south Ezekiel 47:2. The idolatries had been seen on the north side. On the south stood the "cherubim" ready to receive and bear away the glory of the Lord.
4Then the glory of the LORD went up from the cherub, and stood over the threshold of the house; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the LORD'S glory.
A repetition of Ezekiel 9:3. Now the glory of the Lord had gone up from the cherub to the threshold of the house. Ezekiel 10:4-6 describe what had occurred before the "man went in" Ezekiel 10:3.
5And the sound of the cherubims' wings was heard even to the outer court, as the voice of the Almighty God when he speaketh.
The Almighty God - El Shaddai; compare the Genesis 17:1 note.
6And it came to pass, that when he had commanded the man clothed with linen, saying, Take fire from between the wheels, from between the cherubims; then he went in, and stood beside the wheels.
7And one cherub stretched forth his hand from between the cherubims unto the fire that was between the cherubims, and took thereof, and put it into the hands of him that was clothed with linen: who took it, and went out.
One cherub - The "cherub" who stood next the wheel by the side of which the man stood. The representative of the priestly office now gives up his post of reconciliation, and becomes simply a minister of wrath; another sign that God will turn from Jerusalem.
8And there appeared in the cherubims the form of a man's hand under their wings.
An explanation following upon the mention of the "hand." It is characteristic of this chapter that the narrative is interrupted by explanatory comments. The "narrative" is contained in Ezekiel 10:1-3, Ezekiel 10:6-7, Ezekiel 10:13, Ezekiel 10:15 (first clause), 18, 19; the other verses contain the "interposed explanations."
9And when I looked, behold the four wheels by the cherubims, one wheel by one cherub, and another wheel by another cherub: and the appearance of the wheels was as the colour of a beryl stone.
10And as for their appearances, they four had one likeness, as if a wheel had been in the midst of a wheel.
11When they went, they went upon their four sides; they turned not as they went, but to the place whither the head looked they followed it; they turned not as they went.
The head - Either "the leading wheel which the others followed," or more probably, the head of a cherub (one for all), the description passing from the wheels to the cherubim Ezekiel 10:12.
12And their whole body, and their backs, and their hands, and their wings, and the wheels, were full of eyes round about, even the wheels that they four had.
13As for the wheels, it was cried unto them in my hearing, O wheel.
According to the marginal rendering the present verse refers back to Ezekiel 10:2, Ezekiel 10:6, and tells us that the name "galgal, a rolling thing" (compare Isaiah 17:13), was given to the wheels in the seer's hearing. But taking Ezekiel 10:14 as a description, and reading Ezekiel 10:15 immediately after Ezekiel 10:13, the meaning is clear. In the hearing Of the seer a voice calls upon the wheels, and, obedient to the call, the cherubim are lifted up and the wheels roll on. The word "galgal" would be better rendered "chariot" instead of "wheel;" "chariot" representing very well the collection of "wheels."
14And every one had four faces: the first face was the face of a cherub, and the second face was the face of a man, and the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle.
The first face ... - The face of the first was the face of the cherub, and the face of the second was the face of a man, and the third the face of a lion and the fourth the face of an eagle. Of the four faces of each cherub, the seer names only one - the face looking in the direction in which that cherub leads the motion of the chariot. The face of the cherub which presented itself to the seer was that of "an ox." When he looking northward first saw the chariot the "ox-face" was on the left side Ezekiel 1:10. This would make the ox-face look eastward, and it is not unlikely that the man might approach the chariot from the southeastern part of the inner court.
15And the cherubims were lifted up. This is the living creature that I saw by the river of Chebar.
16And when the cherubims went, the wheels went by them: and when the cherubims lifted up their wings to mount up from the earth, the same wheels also turned not from beside them.
are a repetition of the general description of the nature and connection of the various parts of the vision, and this is the more appropriate as showing why they were regarded as "one living creature" Ezekiel 10:15. The attributes here assigned to them show that they were pervaded by one will - "the spirit of the living creature" (others, as in the margin, "the spirit of life") "was in them."
17When they stood, these stood; and when they were lifted up, these lifted up themselves also: for the spirit of the living creature was in them.
18Then the glory of the LORD departed from off the threshold of the house, and stood over the cherubims.
19And the cherubims lifted up their wings, and mounted up from the earth in my sight: when they went out, the wheels also were beside them, and every one stood at the door of the east gate of the LORD'S house; and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above.
The cherubim (or chariot) had stood first on the threshold of the temple-door, and there received the glory of the Lord. They then lifted their wings, rose, and left the temple by "the east gate" of the outer court at "the entrance" of which they now for a time stood. It was by the east gate of the outer court that the glory of the Lord returned to the new temple Ezekiel 43:4.
And every one stood - Or, "and" they "stood." The Cheruibim and wheels are viewed as "one living creature."
20This is the living creature that I saw under the God of Israel by the river of Chebar; and I knew that they were the cherubims.
In this departure of the glory of the Lord from the temple, the seer recognizes for the first time the full meaning of the vision which he had seen on the banks of Chebar Ezekiel 1. What he had seen there (did indeed imply that Yahweh had forsaken His house; but now this is made clear. The Glory has left the holy of holies, has appeared in the court, has been enthroned on the Living Four, and with them has departed from the temple. It is now clear that these Four (in form similar to, yet differing from, the cherubim of the temple) are indeed the cherubim, in the midst of whom the Lord dwelleth.
21Every one had four faces apiece, and every one four wings; and the likeness of the hands of a man was under their wings.
22And the likeness of their faces was the same faces which I saw by the river of Chebar, their appearances and themselves: they went every one straight forward.