Ezekiel 1:4
Parallel Verses
New International Version
I looked, and I saw a windstorm coming out of the north--an immense cloud with flashing lightning and surrounded by brilliant light. The center of the fire looked like glowing metal,

New Living Translation
As I looked, I saw a great storm coming from the north, driving before it a huge cloud that flashed with lightning and shone with brilliant light. There was fire inside the cloud, and in the middle of the fire glowed something like gleaming amber.

English Standard Version
As I looked, behold, a stormy wind came out of the north, and a great cloud, with brightness around it, and fire flashing forth continually, and in the midst of the fire, as it were gleaming metal.

New American Standard Bible
As I looked, behold, a storm wind was coming from the north, a great cloud with fire flashing forth continually and a bright light around it, and in its midst something like glowing metal in the midst of the fire.

King James Bible
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.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
I looked and there was a whirlwind coming from the north, a great cloud with fire flashing back and forth and brilliant light all around it. In the center of the fire, there was a gleam like amber.

International Standard Version
I was amazed to see a wind storm blow in from the north, consisting of a massive cloud and fire that was flashing back and forth, surrounded by bright light. From deep within the cloud, something was shining that appeared to have a color like bronze that had been placed in fire until it glowed.

NET Bible
As I watched, I noticed a windstorm coming from the north--an enormous cloud, with lightning flashing, such that bright light rimmed it and came from it like glowing amber from the middle of a fire.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
As I looked, I saw a storm coming from the north. There was an immense cloud with flashing lightning surrounded by a bright light. The middle of the lightning looked like glowing metal.

Jubilee Bible 2000
And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, and a great cloud, and a fire enfolding 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.

King James 2000 Bible
And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire engulfing itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of its midst as the color of amber, out of the midst of the fire.

American King James Version
And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire enfolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the middle thereof as the color of amber, out of the middle of the fire.

American Standard Version
And I looked, and, behold, a stormy wind came out of the north, a great cloud, with a fire infolding itself, and a brightness round about it, and out of the midst thereof as it were glowing metal, out of the midst of the fire.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And I saw, and behold a whirlwind came out of the north: and a great cloud, and a fire infolding it, and brightness was about it: and out of the midst thereof, that is, out of the midst of the fire, as it were the resemblance of amber:

Darby Bible Translation
And I looked, and behold, a stormy wind 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 look of glowing brass, out of the midst of the fire.

English Revised Version
And I looked, and, behold, a stormy wind came out of the north, a great cloud, with a fire infolding itself, and a brightness round about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire.

Webster's Bible Translation
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 from the midst of it as the color of amber, from the midst of the fire.

World English Bible
I looked, and behold, a stormy wind came out of the north, a great cloud, with flashing lightning, and a brightness around it, and out of its midst as it were glowing metal, out of the midst of the fire.

Young's Literal Translation
And I look, and lo, a tempestuous wind is coming from the north, a great cloud, and fire catching itself, and brightness to it round about, and out of its midst as the colour of copper, out of the midst of the fire.
Parallel Commentaries
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.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 4. - A whirlwind came out of the north. What, we ask, was the meaning of this symbolism? In Jeremiah 1:13, 14 a like symbol is explained as meaning that the judgments which Judah was to suffer were to come from the north, that is, from Chaldea, upon the prophet's countrymen. Here the prophet is himself in Chaldea, and what he sees is the symbol, not or calamities, but of the Divine glory, and that explanation is, accordingly, inapplicable. Probably the leading thought here is that the Divine presence is no longer in the temple at Jerusalem, It may return for a time to execute judgment (Ezekiel 8:4; Ezekiel 10:1, 19, 20), and may again depart (Ezekiel 11:23), but the abiding glory is elsewhere, and the temple is as Shitoh had been of old (Psalm 78:60). Ezekiel was looking on the visible symbol of what had been declared in unfigurative language by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 7:12, 14; Jeremiah 26:6, 9). That the north should have been chosen rather than any other quarter of the heavens is perhaps connected

(1) with Job 37:22, where it appears as the region of "fair weather," the unclouded brightness of the "terrible majesty" of God;

(2) with Isaiah 14:13, where "the sides of the north" are the symbols of the dwelling place of God. For the Jews this was probably associated with the thought of the mountain heights of Lebanon as rising up to heaven (Currey, on Ezekiel 1:4, in 'Speaker's Commentary'), or with the fact that the "north side" of Zion (Psalm 48:2), as the site of the temple, was the "dwelling place of the great King." Parallels present themselves in the Assyrian hymns that speak of the "feasts of the silver mountains, the heavenly courts" (as the Greeks spoke of Olympus), "where the gods dwell eternally" ('Records of the Past,' 3:133), and this ideal mountain was for them, like the Meru of Indian legend, in the farthest north. So, in the legendary geography of Greece, the Hyperborei, or "people beyond the north," were a holy and blessed race, the chosen servants of Apollo (Herod., 4:32-36: Pindar, 'Pyth.,' 10:4; AEsch., 'Choeph.,' 373). Possibly the brilliant coruscations of an Aurora Borealis may have led men to think of it as they thought of the glory of the dawn or the brightness of the lightning, as a momentary revelation of the higher glory of the throne of God. (For the "whirlwind" as the accompaniment of a Divine revelation, see 1 Kings 19:11; Job 38:1; Acts 2:2.) A great cloud, etc. So far the signs of the approaching theophany were like those on Sinai (Exodus 19:16, 18) and Horeb (1 Kings 19:11). With a fire infolding itself; the Revised Version margin gives flashing continually. The Authorized Version suggests the thought of a globe of fire darting its rays through the surrounding darkness. The colour of amber; literally, the eye. The Hebrew word for "amber" (chashmal) occurs only here and in ver. 27 and ch. 8:2. It is almost absolutely certain that it does not mean what we know as "amber." The LXX. and Vulgate give electrum, and this, in later Greek and Latin authors, has "amber" for one of its meanings. Primarily, however, it was used for a metallic substance of some kind, specifically for a compound four parts of gold and one of silver (Pithy, 'Hist. Nat.,' 23:4, s. 23). Some such compound is probably what we have to think of here, and so the description finds a parallel in Daniel 10:6; Revelation 1:15. This, in its ineffable brightness, is seen in the centre of the globe of fire. One may compare Dante's vision of the Divine glory ('Paradise,' 33:55).

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

And I looked,.... Being under the influence of the Spirit and power of God:

and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north; which some understand of Nebuchadnezzar and his army coming from Babylon, which lay north of Judea: see Jeremiah 1:14; but it seems to me to be, with what follows, only an apparatus to the following vision: and is designed to awaken the mind of the prophet, and to fix his attention to what should proceed from hence, and be seen by him; just as the Lord speared in and answered Job out of, the whirlwind, Job 38:1;

a great cloud; as is usual when there is much thunder and lightning; though some understand this also of Nebuchadnezzar's army, which came in great human, swiftly and powerfully, as a cloud:

and a fire infolding itself: in the cloud; rolling within it, when it burst out in thunder and lightning. The Targum renders it, "fire inflamed", the same phrase is used of the storm of thunder, lightning, and hail, in Exodus 9:24. Some understand this of the wrath of the Babylonian monarch; or of the wrath of God by him; or of the sins of men, the cause thereof:

and a brightness was about it; that is, the cloud. This brightness was an emblem of the glory of the divine Being; who was now present, an enlightened the mind of the prophet to see the following things, and which all proceeded from him:

and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber out of the midst of the fire; that is, out of the midst of the fire, and out of the midst of the brightness about it, there was something which was as "the colour of amber"; or, "like the chasmal" (f); which, the Jews (g) say, is the name of an angel. It is asked (h), what is "chasmal?" R. Judah says, , "fiery animals speaking": who, when God speaks, are silent; and when he does not speak, they speak; but Christ is meant; for the appearance of the man upon the throne is said to be as the colour of "chasmal", Ezekiel 1:27. The word, read the contrary way, is the Messiah, or the anointed, or to be anointed. Jarchi thinks it is the name of a colour, nearest to the colour of fire, Junius and Tremellius render it, "a most lively colour"; and perhaps may mean the colour of a burning coal; and Buxtorf translates it, "a coal exceedingly fired"; a clear, burning, red-hot coal; which may denote the pure light of Christ, who is the brightness of his Father's glory; his flaming love for his people; his burning zeal for the glory of God, and the good of his church; and his fiery indignation against his enemies. We render the word amber, as do others; by which must be meant, not that which is the juice of certain trees, which is hardened by the air, and is of a yellowish colour; nor that liquid substance which comes from sea shores and rocks, and, being hardened in the same way, is of the colour of wax; but a sort of mixed metal, compounded of gold and silver; the fifth part of it is silver, as Pliny (i) says, and four parts gold; though Bochart is of opinion that the "qurichalcum", a metal made of gold and brass, is meant; which is the most fine brass; to which the feet of Christ are compared in Revelation 1:15; and so this "chasmal" may denote the two natures in Christ; the preciousness of his person; his brightness and glory; and his great strength and power. R. Abendana (k) conjectures, that the colour of "chasmal" means the colour of some precious stone, as the colour of "tarshish", or "beryl", Ezekiel 1:16; and so he that sat upon the throne, in Revelation 4:3; was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone.

(f) "tanquam species hasmal, vel chasmal", Calvin, Tigerius version, Starckius; "angeli", Munster; "flammae crepitantis", Montanus; "prunarum ardentissimarum", Polanus; "purissimi aeris", Piscator; Sept. "electri", V. L. Pagninus. (g) Baal Aruch, Philip. Aquinas. Vid. Jarchi & Kimchi ib loc. (h) T. Bab. Chagiga, fol. 13. 1. 2. (i) Nat. Hist. l. 33. c. 4. (k) Not. in Miclol Yophi in loc.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

4. whirlwind—emblematic of God's judgments (Jer 23:19; 25:32).

out of the north—that is, from Chaldea, whose hostile forces would invade Judea from a northerly direction. The prophet conceives himself in the temple.

fire infolding itself—laying hold on whatever surrounds it, drawing it to itself, and devouring it. Literally, "catching itself," that is, kindling itself [Fairbairn]. The same Hebrew occurs in Ex 9:24, as to the "fire mingled with the hail."

brightness … about it—that is, about the "cloud."

out of the midst thereof—that is, out of the midst of the "fire."

colour of amber—rather, "the glancing brightness (literally, 'the eye', and so the glancing appearance) of polished brass. The Hebrew, chasmal, is from two roots, "smooth" and "brass" (compare Eze 1:7; Re 1:15) [Gesenius]. The Septuagint and Vulgate translate it, "electrum"; a brilliant metal compounded of gold and silver.

Ezekiel 1:4 Additional Commentaries
Context
Vision of Four Cherubim
4As I looked, behold, a storm wind was coming from the north, a great cloud with fire flashing forth continually and a bright light around it, and in its midst something like glowing metal in the midst of the fire. 5Within it there were figures resembling four living beings. And this was their appearance: they had human form.…
Cross References
1 Kings 19:11
The LORD said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by." Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake.

Isaiah 21:1
A prophecy against the Desert by the Sea: Like whirlwinds sweeping through the southland, an invader comes from the desert, from a land of terror.

Jeremiah 23:19
See, the storm of the LORD will burst out in wrath, a whirlwind swirling down on the heads of the wicked.

Ezekiel 1:27
I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him.

Ezekiel 8:2
I looked, and I saw a figure like that of a man. From what appeared to be his waist down he was like fire, and from there up his appearance was as bright as glowing metal.

Ezekiel 13:11
therefore tell those who cover it with whitewash that it is going to fall. Rain will come in torrents, and I will send hailstones hurtling down, and violent winds will burst forth.

Ezekiel 13:13
"'Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: In my wrath I will unleash a violent wind, and in my anger hailstones and torrents of rain will fall with destructive fury.

Ezekiel 43:3
The vision I saw was like the vision I had seen when he came to destroy the city and like the visions I had seen by the Kebar River, and I fell facedown.

Zechariah 6:6
The one with the black horses is going toward the north country, the one with the white horses toward the west, and the one with the dappled horses toward the south."
Treasury of Scripture

And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire enfolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the middle thereof as the color of amber, out of the middle of the fire.

a whirlwind

Isaiah 21:1 The burden of the desert of the sea. As whirlwinds in the south pass …

Jeremiah 1:13,14 And the word of the LORD came to me the second time, saying, What …

Jeremiah 4:6 Set up the standard toward Zion: retire, stay not: for I will bring …

Jeremiah 6:1 O you children of Benjamin, gather yourselves to flee out of the …

Jeremiah 23:19 Behold, a whirlwind of the LORD is gone forth in fury, even a grievous …

Jeremiah 25:9,32 Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, said …

Habakkuk 1:8,9 Their horses also are swifter than the leopards, and are more fierce …

a great

Ezekiel 10:2-4 And he spoke to the man clothed with linen, and said, Go in between …

Exodus 19:16-18 And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were …

Exodus 24:16,17 And the glory of the LORD stayed on mount Sinai, and the cloud covered …

Deuteronomy 4:11,12 And you came near and stood under the mountain; and the mountain …

2 Chronicles 5:13,14 It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, …

2 Chronicles 6:1 Then said Solomon, The LORD has said that he would dwell in the thick darkness.

2 Chronicles 7:1-3 Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from …

Psalm 18:11-13 He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were …

Psalm 50:3 Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour …

Psalm 97:2,3 Clouds and darkness are round about him: righteousness and judgment …

Psalm 104:3,4 Who lays the beams of his chambers in the waters: who makes the clouds …

Isaiah 19:1 The burden of Egypt. Behold, the LORD rides on a swift cloud, and …

Nahum 1:3-6 The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all …

Habakkuk 3:3-5 God came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran. Selah. His …

Hebrews 12:29 For our God is a consuming fire.

infolding itself [heb] catching itself
colour

Ezekiel 1:27 And I saw as the color of amber, as the appearance of fire round …

Ezekiel 8:2 Then I beheld, and see a likeness as the appearance of fire: from …

Ezekiel 10:8,9 And there appeared in the cherubim the form of a man's hand under their wings…

Revelation 1:15 And his feet like to fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; …

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OT Prophets: Ezekiel 1:4 I looked and behold a stormy wind (Ezek. Eze Ezk) Christian Bible Study Resources, Dictionary, Concordance and Search Tools

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