|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
1:1-14 It is a mercy to have the word of God brought to us, and a duty to attend to it diligently, when we are in affliction. The voice of God came in the fulness of light and power, by the Holy Spirit. These visions seem to have been sent to possess the prophet's mind with great and high thoughts of God. To strike terror upon sinners. To speak comfort to those that feared God, and humbled themselves. In ver. 4-14, is the first part of the vision, which represents God as attended and served by a vast company of angels, who are all his messengers, his ministers, doing his commandments. This vision would impress the mind with solemn awe and fear of the Divine displeasure, yet raise expectations of blessings. The fire is surrounded with a glory. Though we cannot by searching find out God to perfection, yet we see the brightness round about it. The likeness of the living creatures came out of the midst of the fire; angels derive their being and power from God. They have the understanding of a man, and far more. A lion excels in strength and boldness. An ox excels in diligence and patience, and unwearied discharge of the work he has to do. An eagle excels in quickness and piercing sight, and in soaring high; and the angels, who excel man in all these respects, put on these appearances. The angels have wings; and whatever business God sends them upon, they lose no time. They stood straight, and firm, and steady. They had not only wings for motion, but hands for action. Many persons are quick, who are not active; they hurry about, but do nothing to purpose; they have wings, but no hands. But wherever the angels' wings carried them, they carried hands with them, to be doing what duty required. Whatever service they went about, they went every one straight forward. When we go straight, we go forward; when we serve God with one heart, we perform work. They turned not when they went. They made no mistakes; and their work needed not to be gone over again. They turned not from their business to trifle with any thing. They went whithersoever the Spirit of God would have them go. The prophet saw these living creatures by their own light, for their appearance was like burning coals of fire; they are seraphim, or burners; denoting the ardour of their love to God, and fervent zeal in his service. We may learn profitable lessons from subjects we cannot fully enter into or understand. But let us attend to the things which relate to our peace and duty, and leave secret things to the Lord, to whom alone they belong.
Verse 3. - The word of the Lord came expressly, etc.; literally, coming, there come the word of the Lord; the iteration having (as commonly in this combination in Hebrew) the force of emphasis. The phrase stands, as elsewhere, for the conscious inspiration which made men feel that Jehovah had indeed spoken unto them, and that they had a message from him to deliver. To give parallel passages would be to copy several pages from a concordance, but it may not be without interest to note its first (Genesis 15:1) and last (Malachi 1:1) occurrences in the Old Testament, and its reappearance in the New Testament (Luke 3:2). Unto Ezekiel. We note the transition from the first person to the third; but it does not give sufficient ground for rejecting either ver. 1 or ver. 2, 3 as an interpolation. (For the prophet's name, which appears only here and in Ezekiel 24:24, see Introduction; and for "land of Chaldeans," note on ver. 1.) The hand of the Lord. Here again we haw a phrase of frequent occurrence, used of Elijah (1 Kings 18:46), of Elisha (2 Kings 3:15), of Daniel (Daniel 8:18; Daniel 10:10), of Isaiah (Isaiah 8:11), of St. John (Revelation 1:17). The "hand" of the Lord is the natural symbol of his power, and the phrase seems to be used to add to the consciousness of inspiration, that of a constraining, irresistible power. Ezekiel continually uses it (Ezekiel 3:14, 22; Ezekiel 8:1; Ezekiel 33:22; Ezekiel 37:1; Ezekiel 40:1).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The word of the Lord came expressly,.... Or, "in being was" (d); which phrase denotes the reality, certainty, substantiality and evidence of the word of the Lord to him:
unto Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi; which Buzi, some say, was Jeremiah. Kimchi observes, that, in the Jerusalem Targum, the Prophet Ezekiel is called the son of Jeremiah the prophet: and Jeremiah was called Buzi because they despised him; this is rejected by Abarbinel; nor is there any reason to believe it, any more than what Nazianzen (e) says, that Ezekiel was a servant of Jeremiah:
in the land of the Chaldeans, by the river Chebar; See Gill on Ezekiel 1:1. The Chaldee paraphrase makes the word of the Lord to come to him at two distinct times and places;
"the word of prophecy from before the Lord was with Ezekiel the son of Buzi the priest in the land of Israel: it returned a second time, and spoke with him in the province, the land of the Chaldeans, by the river Chebar:''
and the hand of the Lord was there upon him; by which is meant the gift and word of prophecy, which came with power and efficacy, clearness and evidence; so the Targum, and the
"spirit of prophecy from before the Lord there abode by him;''
by which he saw all later visions, and delivered out the following prophecies; see 2 Peter 1:21.
(d) "essendo fuit", Pagninus, Montanus. Heb. ; "existendo exstitit", Polanus. (e) Orat. 47. vol. 1. p. 724.
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