And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The hands of a man.—Implying, of course, also human arms. This particular adds to the generally human appearance of the cherubim, yet we must understand (see Ezekiel 1:11) that there were four hands corresponding to the wings for each cherub. These hands were “under their wings on their four sides.” Hence the wings must have been attached at the shoulder. The repetition, “they four had their faces and their wings,” is for the sake of emphasis and distinctness.
under their wings—signifying their operations are hidden from our too curious prying; and as the "wings" signify something more than human, namely, the secret prompting of God, it is also implied that they are moved by it and not by their own power, so that they do nothing at random, but all with divine wisdom.
they four had … faces and … wings—He returns to what he had stated already in Eze 1:6; this gives a reason why they had hands on their four sides, namely, because they had faces and wings on the four sides. They moved whithersoever they would, not by active energy merely, but also by knowledge (expressed by their faces) and divine guidance (expressed by their "wings").They; each of the four living creatures.
Had the hands: hands in every language, especially in the Oriental, imply power; and being the chief instruments of action, are here ascribed to these active instruments that execute the commands of God.
Of a man: this is added to denote the wisdom, dexterity, and vigilance wherewith they discharge their ministry.
Under their wings; their power and manner of exerting it is secret and invisible, and it is put forth as God pleaseth to move them.
On their four sides; on each side of the chariot one of these living creatures stood, and so on each side hands were ready to act as they were moved; and though it was to all parts of the world, yet were they most ready and prepared.
And they four had their faces and their wings; it is doubled to confirm the truth and certainty of the thing, and to intimate the greatness of their power, agility, and wisdom.
"and hands, as the hands of a man, were made for them under their wings on their four sides; to take in them coals of fire from between the cherubim under the firmament, which was over their seats, to, put them into the hands of the seraphim, to scatter upon the place of the ungodly, to destroy the wicked that transgress his word; and their faces and their wings were equal to them four;''
see Ezekiel 10:2.And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)8. Each living creature appears to have had four hands or arms, cf. ch. Ezekiel 10:21. The last words of Ezekiel 1:8 must be joined with Ezekiel 1:9 : “and their faces and their wings, of them four—their wings were joined one to another; they turned not when they went, they went every one straightforward.” The meaning is that as each creature with his outstretched wings formed one side of the square his wings touched or were joined to those of two other creatures, one on his right and another on his left. The words “they turned not” refer to the faces. The above sentence is very awkward, and the whole is given by LXX. in a much shorter form: Ezekiel 1:8 and the faces of them four Ezekiel 1:9 turned not when they went, they went every one straightforward. The clauses in Ezekiel 1:9 (Heb.) correspond respectively to Ezekiel 1:11-12.Verse 8. - They had the hands of a man, etc. The prophet seems to describe each detail in the order in which it presented itself to him. What he next sees is that each of the four forms has two hands on each of its four sides. Nothing could supersede that symbol of activity and strength. Ezekiel 1:1-3. Time and place of the same. - Ezekiel 1:1. Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth (month), on 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. Ezekiel 1:2. On the fifth day of the month, it was the fifth year of King Jehoiachin's captivity, Ezekiel 1:3. The word of the Lord came to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Busi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the Lord was there upon him.
Regarding ויהי at the beginning of a book, as e.g., in Jonah 1:1, cf. the note on Joshua 1:1. The two notices of the year in Ezekiel 1:1 and Ezekiel 1:2 are closely connected with the twofold introduction of the theophany. This is described in verse first, according to its form or phenomenal nature, and then in verses second and third, according to its intended purpose, and its effect upon the prophet. The phenomenon consisted in this, that the heavens were opened, and Ezekiel saw visions of God. The heaven opens not merely when to our eye a glimpse is disclosed of the heavenly glory of God (Calvin), but also when God manifests His glory in a manner perceptible to human sight. The latter was the case here. מראות אלהים, "visions of God," are not "visiones praestantissimae," but visions which have divine or heavenly things for their object; cf. Isaiah 6:1; 1 Kings 22:19; 2 Kings 6:17. Here it is the manifestation of Jehovah's glory described in the following verses. This was beheld by Ezekiel in the thirtieth year, which, according to verse second, was in the fifth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin. The real identity of these two dates is placed beyond doubt by the mention of the same day of the month, "on the fifth day of the month" (Ezekiel 1:2 compared with Ezekiel 1:1). The fifth year from the commencement of Jehoiachin's captivity is the year 595 b.c.; the thirtieth year, consequently, is the year 625 b.c. But the era, in accordance with which this date is reckoned, is matter of dispute, and can no longer be ascertained with certainty. To suppose, with Hengstenberg, that the reference is to the year of the prophet's own life, is forbidden by the addition "in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month," which points to an era generally recognised. In the year 625 b.c., Nabopolassar became king of Babylon, and therefore many of the older expositors have supposed that Ezekiel means the thirtieth year of the era of Nabopolassar. Nothing, however, is know of any such era. Others, as the Chaldee paraphrast and Jerome, and in modern times also Ideler, are of opinion that the thirtieth year is reckoned from the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah, because in that year the book of the law was discovered, and the regeneration of public worship completed by a solemn celebration of the Passover. No trace, however, can elsewhere be pointed out of the existence of a chronology dating from these events. The Rabbins in Seder Olam assume a chronology according to the periods of the years of jubilee, and so also Hitzig; but for this supposition too all reliable proofs are wanting. At the time mentioned, Ezekiel found himself בּתוך הגּולה, "in the midst of the exiles," i.e., within the circuit of their settlements, not, in their society; for it is evident from Ezekiel 3:15 that he was alone when the theophany was imparted to him, and did not repair till afterwards to the residences of the settlers. Ezekiel 1:3. By the river Chebar, in the land of the Chaldees, i.e., in Babylon or Mesopotamia. The river כּבר, to be distinguished from חבור, the river of Gosan, which flows into the Tigris, see on 2 Kings 17:6, is the Mesopotamian Chabioras, ̓Αβορρας (Strabo, xvi. 748), or Χαβώρας (Ptolem. v. 18, 3), Arab. cha equals bu equals r (Edrisi Clim. iv. p. 6, ii. p. 150, ed. Jaubert and Abulf. Mesopot. in the N. Repertor. III. p. xxiv.), which according to Edrisi takes its rise from "nearly three hundred springs," near the city Ras-el-'Ain, at the foot of the mountain range of Masius, flows through Upper Mesopotamia in a direction parallel with its two principal streams, and then, turning westward, discharges itself into the Euphrates near Kirkesion. There the hand of Jehovah came upon Ezekiel. The expression יד יי' היתה על )אל( always signifies a miraculous working of the power or omnipotence of God upon a man-the hand being the organ of power in action-by which he is placed in a condition to exert superhuman power, 1 Kings 18:46, and is the regular expression for the supernatural transportation into the state of ecstasy for the purpose of beholding and announcing (cf. 2 Kings 3:15), or undertaking, heavenly things; and so throughout Ezekiel, cf. Ezekiel 3:22; Ezekiel 8:1; Ezekiel 33:22; Ezekiel 37:1; Ezekiel 40:1.
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