And there was a voice from the firmament that was over their heads, when they stood, and had let down their wings.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)A voice from the firmament.—Rather, from above the firmament, not as proceeding from the firmament itself. This is a new feature in the vision: the voice is quite different from the sounds mentioned before, and although not here expressly said to have been articulate, yet it is probably to be identified with the Divine voice spoken of in Ezekiel 1:28, Ezekiel 3:12, and elsewhere. The latter part of the verse, literally translated, is simply, In, or at, their standing they let down their wings, and may be simply a repetition of the last clause of the preceding verse. In its connection, however, it seems rather to convey the idea of a fresh act of reverence towards the majesty above. When the voice was heard the cherubim stood still, the mighty sounds of their going were hushed, and their wings fell motionless, all in the attitude of reverential attention.
The vision now advances to another and final stage. We have had the whirlwind from the north, with its great cloud and infolding fire, as the background on which the whole is portrayed; then the cherubim, with all their marvellous symbolism; the wondrous and terrible wheels, connecting them with the earth below, the glowing firmament, connecting them with the throne above; and now we come to the throne itself, and to Him that sat upon it.Ezekiel 3:12; in the midst of the tumult, are heard articulate sounds declaring the glory of God. And; or, for; so the Latin. Two senses may be of these words in this verse. Either,
1. These living creatures thus let down their wings and ceased from acting, because they were commanded so to do by the voice from above the firmament, which they readily obey. Or,
2. That they stood, let down their wings, and hushed the noise, that the prophet might hear what was spoken from above. The former comes nearest the sense of the Latin, the latter nearer to our English, and either may well enough suit the text and context.
when they stood, and had let down their wings; either encouraging them to lift them up, and go on in their work, notwithstanding the sense they had of their own weakness and unworthiness; or, having done their work, calling them to himself in heaven.And there was a voice from the firmament that was over their heads, when they stood, and had let down their wings.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)25. from the firmament] Rather: above the firmament, as R.V. The voice must be that of him who sat above the firmament. This voice might be supposed to command the movement or halting of the chariot, though such a voice seems nowhere else referred to. The verse repeats the last words of the preceding verse and otherwise is almost identical in words with the following one, and possibly it may not be original.
they stood, and had let down] Render as Ezekiel 1:24, when they stood, they let down their wings. The last words might be rendered: their wings dropped; so Ezekiel 1:24.Verse 25. - And there was a voice from the firmament. Revised Version gives above. The prophet's silence suggests that what he heard was at first ineffable (comp. 2 Corinthians 12:4), perhaps unintelligible. All that he knew was that an awful voice, like thunder (comp. John 12:29), came from above the expanse of azure, and that it stilled the motion of the wings, working peace, as in the midst of the endless agitations of the universe. The wings that had been stretched upward are now folded, like the others. Ezekiel 1:15. And I saw the creatures, and, lo, there was a wheel upon the earth beside the creatures, towards their four fronts. Ezekiel 1:16. The appearance of the wheels and their work was like the appearance of the chrysolite; and all four had one kind of figure: and their appearance and their work was as if one wheel were within the other. Ezekiel 1:17. Towards their four sides they went when they moved: they turned not as they went. Ezekiel 1:18. And their felloes, they were high and terrible; and their felloes were full of eyes round about in all the four. Ezekiel 1:19. And when the creatures moved, the wheels moved beside them; and when the creatures raised themselves up from the earth, the wheels also raised themselves. Ezekiel 1:20. Whithersoever the spirit was to go, they went in the direction in which the spirit was to go; and the wheels raised themselves beside them: for the spirit of the creatures was in the wheels. Ezekiel 1:21. When the former moved, the latter moved also; when the former stood, the latter stood; and when the former raised themselves from the ground, the wheels raised themselves beside them: for the spirit of the creatures was in the wheels. - The words, "and I saw the creatures," prepare the way for the transition to the new object which presented itself in these creatures to the eye of the seer. By the side of these creatures upon the ground he sees a wheel, and that at the four fronts, or front faces of the creatures. The singular suffix in לארבּעת פּניו can neither be referred, with Rosenmller, to the chariot, which is not mentioned at all, nor, with Hitzig, to the preposition אצל, nor, with Hvernick, Maurer, and Kliefoth, to אופן, and so be understood as if every wheel looked towards four sides, because a second wheel was inserted in it at right angles. This meaning is not to be found in the words. The suffix refers ad sensum to חיּות (Ewald), or, to express it more correctly, to the figure of the cherubim with its four faces turned to the front, conceived as a unity - as one creature (החיּה, Ezekiel 1:22). Accordingly, we have so to represent the matter, that by the side of the four cherubim, namely, beside his front face, a wheel was to be seen upon the earth. Ezekiel then saw four wheels, one on each front of a cherub, and therefore immediately speaks in Ezekiel 1:16 of wheels (in the plural). In this verse מראה is adspectus, and מעשׂה "work;" i.e., both statements employing the term "construction," although in the first hemistich only the appearance, in the second only the construction, of the wheels is described. תּרשׁישׁ is a chrysolite of the ancients, the topaz of the moderns, - a stone having the lustre of gold. The construction of the wheels was as if one wheel were within a wheel, i.e., as if in the wheel a second were inserted at right angles, so that without being turned it could go towards all the four sides. גּבּיהן, in Ezekiel 1:18, stands absolutely. "As regards their felloes," they possessed height and terribleness-the latter because they were full of eyes all round. Hitzig arbitrarily understands גּבהּ of the upper sides; and יראה, after the Arabic, of the under side, or that which lies towards the back. The movement of the wheels completely followed the movement of the creatures (Ezekiel 1:19-21), because the spirit of the creature was in the wheels. החיּה, in Ezekiel 1:20 and Ezekiel 1:21, is not the "principle of life" (Hvernick), but the cherubic creatures conceived as a unity, as in Ezekiel 1:22, where the meaning is undoubted. The sense is: the wheels were, in their motion and rest, completely bound by the movements and rest of the creatures, because the spirit which ruled in them was also in the wheels, and regulated their going, standing, and rising upwards. By the רוּח the wheels are bound in one with the cherub-figures, but not by means of a chariot, to or upon which the cherubim were attached.
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