Ezekiel 10:14
And 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.
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Ezekiel 10:14. And every one had four faces — See notes on Ezekiel 1:6-10. The first had the face of a cherub — That is, of an ox, as appears by comparing this verse with Ezekiel 1:10. The word cherub, indeed, originally signifies an ox. The several faces are here represented in a different order from the description given of them Ezekiel 1:10, of which difference this reason may be assigned. In the first chapter the prophet saw this vision coming out of the north, and advancing southward, (Ezekiel 10:4,) where the face of a man, being placed on the south side, was first in view. The lion, being on the east part, was toward his right hand; the ox, being placed toward the west, was on his left; and the eagle was toward the north. This interpretation is justified from the situation of the standards of the several tribes of Israel in the wilderness, (Numbers 2:2; Numbers 2:10; Numbers 2:18; Numbers 2:25,) where Judah, whose standard was a lion, was placed on the east side; Reuben, whose standard was a man, was placed on the south; Ephraim, whose standard was an ox, was placed on the west; and Dan, whose standard was an eagle, was placed on the north side. Here the prophet is supposed to stand westward of the Shechinah, as that was moving eastward: so the ox was first in his view.

10:8-22 Ezekiel sees the working of Divine providence in the government of the lower world, and the affairs of it. When God is leaving a people in displeasure, angels above, and all events below, further his departure. The Spirit of life, the Spirit of God, directs all creatures, in heaven and on earth, so as to make them serve the Divine purpose. God removes by degrees from a provoking people; and, when ready to depart, would return to them, if they were a repenting, praying people. Let this warn sinners to seek the Lord while he may be found, and to call on him while he is near, and cause us all to walk humbly and watchfully with our God.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. 14. cherub—but in Eze 1:10 it is an ox. The chief of the four cherubic forms was not the ox, but man. Therefore "cherub" cannot be synonymous with "ox." Probably Ezekiel, standing in front of one of the cherubim (namely, that which handed the coals to the man in linen), saw of him, not merely the ox-form, but the whole fourfold form, and therefore calls him simply "cherub"; whereas of the other three, having only a side view, he specifies the form of each which met his eye [Fairbairn]. As to the likelihood of the lower animals sharing in "the restoration of all things," see Isa 11:6; 65:25; Ro 8:20, 21; this accords with the animal forms combined with the human to typify redeemed man. Every one, of the living creatures, Ezekiel 1:6, the cherubims in this chapter.

The first face, which each had.

The face of a cherub: in Babylon, at the river Chebar, he saw somewhat a different face; in the temple he seeth a cherub, one of the faces, which leads us to look on angels employed in those revolutions.

The second face, the second which each cherubim had, was a man’s face, &c.: see Ezekiel 1:6,10.

And everyone had four faces,.... That is, everyone of the wheels, for of these the words are continued; and which agrees with Ezekiel 1:15; See Gill on Ezekiel 1:15,

the first face was the face of a cherub; this being in the room of the ox's face, Ezekiel 1:10, shows that the face of an ox and a cherub are the same; and that the living creatures have the general name of cherubim, from the face of an ox; and are so called from which in the Syriac and Chaldee languages signifies to "plough", that creature being made use of in such service:

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; how these are applicable to Gospel churches, and the true members of them; see Gill on Ezekiel 1:15.

And 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.
14. The verse, which LXX. omits, is difficult. The words rendered “first face” might have that sense or the sense “one face” at a pinch, but mean naturally “face of the first;” and those rendered “the second face” can hardly mean anything but “the face of the second,” for it is precarious to extend constructions like Jeremiah 46:2 “the year of the fourth” (year) = the fourth year, to other words than “year.” The easiest course would be to omit the word “face” before “first” and “second,” as in fact it does not stand before “third” and “fourth;” or perhaps it might be enough to omit it before “second” and assume that the anomalous constr. “one face” (Leviticus 24:22; 2 Kings 12:10) had led to the insertion of “face” before “the second.”

face of a cherub] Of the cherub. As the other faces were those of a man, a lion, and an eagle, this face must be that of the ox (ch. Ezekiel 1:10). Why should this be called the face of the cherub? It is said that the winged bulls at the portals of Assyrian temples are called cherubs in Assyrian (Fried. Del. Paradies, p. 153, Lenormant, Les origines de l’histoire, p. 118), but these winged bulls have not the face of an ox but that of a man, and there is no probability that in Israel the cherubs in the temple were ox-faced.

It seems possible to explain the verse only by making some suppositions which may appear rather artificial, viz. first that the prophet looking at the phenomenon of the chariot and four creatures as a whole saw four faces presented to him, one (and a different one) by each of the creatures, and that he named the faces which were thus presented to him. We should then translate “the face of the first,” “the face of the second” &c., though this seems opposed to the meaning of the first words of the verse. And secondly, that he assumes the side of the chariot presented to him not to be the front, but regards the side looking in another direction as the front or head. His view of the chariot is taken when it rose and proceeded eastward (Ezekiel 10:19); and he regards the side of the chariot turned to the east as the front, and he calls the cherub which led the movement to the east the cherub. Further at this moment the chariot and cherubim were standing on the south side of the house (Ezekiel 10:3), and the prophet’s position was probably near the house and thus to the north or left of the phenomenon. Now the ox-face of all the cherubs was on their left (ch. Ezekiel 1:10), that is, in the case of a cherub leading the movement eastward, toward the north where the prophet presumably was standing. Thus he would see the ox-face of the first cherub (whose human face was eastward, leading the whole chariot). He would also see the man’s face of the cherub on the side of the chariot facing himself, the lion’s face of the cherub who stood on the west side of the chariot, and the eagle’s face of the cherub on the south side of the chariot, for all the eagle-faces looked inward to the centre of the chariot. This is the order followed in the verse.

Verse 14. - The first face was the face of a cherub, etc.; better, with the Revised Version, of the cherub. This takes the place of "the face of an ox" in Ezekiel 1:10, and it is first in order instead of being, as there, the third. It is as though, in this second vision, he recognizes that this was emphatically the cherubic form. Possibly the article indicates that this was the form that had given the "coals of fire" in ver. 7. Each form, we must remember, had the four faces, but the prophet names the face which each presented to him as he gazed. Ezekiel 10:14The Glory of the Lord Forsakes the Temple

Ezekiel 10:9. And I saw, and behold four wheels by the side of the cherubim, one wheel by the side of every cherub, and the appearance of the wheels was like the look of a chrysolith stone. Ezekiel 10:10. And as for their appearance, they had all four one form, as if one wheel were in the midst of the other. Ezekiel 10:11. When they went, they went to their four sides; they did not turn in going; for to the place to which the head was directed, to that they went; they did not turn in their going. Ezekiel 10:12. And their whole body, and their back, and their hands, and their wings, and wheels, were full of eyes round about: by all four their wheels. Ezekiel 10:13. To the wheels, to them was called, "whirl!" in my hearing. Ezekiel 10:14. And every one had four faces; the face of the first was the face of the cherub, the face of the second a man's face, and the third a lion's face, and the fourth an eagle's face. Ezekiel 10:15. And the cherubim ascended. This was the being which I saw by the river Chebar. Ezekiel 10:16. And when the cherubim went, the wheels went by them; and when the cherubim raised their wings to ascend from the earth, the wheels also did not turn from their side. Ezekiel 10:17. When those stood, they stood; and when those ascended, they ascended with them; for the spirit of the being was in them. Ezekiel 10:18.; And the glory of Jehovah went out from the threshold of the house, and stood above the cherubim. Ezekiel 10:19. And the cherubim raised their wings, and ascended from the earth before my eyes on their going out, and the wheels beside them; and they stopped at the entrance of the eastern gate of the house of Jehovah; and the glory of the God of Israel was above them. Ezekiel 10:20. This was the being which I saw under the God of Israel by the river Chebar, and I perceived that they were cherubim. Ezekiel 10:21. Every one had four faces, each and every one four wings, and something like a man's hands under their wings. Ezekiel 10:22. And as for the likeness of their faces, they were the faces which I had seen by the river Chebar, their appearance and they themselves. They went every one according to its face. - With the words "I saw, and behold," a new feature in the vision is introduced. The description of the appearance of the cherubim in these verses coincides for the most part verbatim with the account of the theophany in Ezekiel 1. It differs from this, however, not only in the altered arrangement of the several features, and in the introduction of certain points which serve to complete the former account; but still more in the insertion of a number of narrative sentence, which show that we have not merely a repetition of the first chapter here. On the contrary, Ezekiel is now describing the moving of the appearance of the glory of Jehovah from the inner court or porch of the temple to the outer entrance of the eastern gate of the outer court; in other words, the departure of the gracious presence of the Lord from the temple: and in order to point out more distinctly the importance and meaning of this event, he depicts once more the leading features of the theophany itself. The narrative sentences are found in Ezekiel 10:13, Ezekiel 10:15, Ezekiel 10:18, and Ezekiel 10:19. In Ezekiel 10:13 we have the exclamation addressed to the wheels by the side of the cherubim to set themselves in motion; in Ezekiel 10:15, the statement that the cherubim ascended; and in Ezekiel 10:18 and Ezekiel 10:19, the account of the departure of the glory of the Lord from the inner portion of the temple. To this we may add the repeated remark, that the appearance was the same as that which the prophet had seen by the river Chebar (Ezekiel 10:15, Ezekiel 10:20, Ezekiel 10:22). To bring clearly out to view both the independence of these divine manifestations and their significance to Israel, Ezekiel repeats the leading features of the former description; but while doing this, he either makes them subordinate to the thoughts expressed in the narrative sentences, or places them first as introductory to these, or lets them follow as explanatory. Thus, for example, the description of the wheels, and of the manner in which they moved (Ezekiel 10:9-12), serves both to introduce and explain the call to the wheels to set themselves in motion. The description of the wheels in Ezekiel 10:9-11 harmonizes with Ezekiel 1:16 and Ezekiel 1:17, with this exception, however, that certain points are given with greater exactness here; such, for example, as the statement that the movements of the wheels were so regulated, that in whichever direction the front one turned, the other did the same. הראשׁ, the head, is not the head-wheel, or the wheel which was always the first to move, but the front one, which originated the motion, drawing the others after it and determining their direction. For Ezekiel 10:12 and the fact that the wheels were covered with eyes, see Ezekiel 1:18. In Ezekiel 10:12 we have the important addition, that the whole of the body and back, as well as the hands and wings, of the cherubim were full of eyes. There is all the less reason to question this addition, or remove it (as Hitzig does) by an arbitrary erasure, inasmuch as the statement itself is apparently in perfect harmony with the whole procedure; and the significance possessed by the eyes in relation to the wheels was not only appropriate in the case of the cherubim, but necessarily to be assumed in such a connection. The fact that the suffixes in בּשׂרם, גּבּהם, etc., refer to the cherubim, is obvious enough, if we consider that the wheels to which immediate reference is made were by the side of the cherubim (Ezekiel 10:9), and that the cherubim formed the principal feature in the whole of the vision.

Ezekiel 10:13 does not point back to Ezekiel 10:2, and bring the description of the wheel-work to a close, as Hitzig supposes. This assumption, by which the meaning of the whole description has been obscured, is based upon the untenable rendering, "and the wheels they named before my ears whirl" (J. D. Mich., Ros., etc.). Hvernick has already pointed out the objection to this, namely, that with such a rendering בּאזני forms an unmeaning addition; whereas it is precisely this addition which shows that קרא is used here in the sense of addressing, calling, and not of naming. One called to the wheels הגּלגּל, whirl; i.e., they were to verify their name galgal, viz., to revolve or whirl, to set themselves in motion by revolving. This is the explanation given by Theodoret: ἀνακυκλεῖσθαι καὶ ἀνακινεῖσθαι προσετάχθησαν. These words therefore gave the signal for their departure, and accordingly the rising up of the cherubim is related in Ezekiel 10:15. Ezekiel 10:14 prepares the way for their ascent by mentioning the four faces of each cherub; and this is still further expanded in Ezekiel 10:16 and Ezekiel 10:17, by the statement that the wheels moved according to the movements of the cherubim. לאחד without an article is used distributively (every one), as in Ezekiel 1:6 and Ezekiel 1:10. The fact that in the description which follows only one face of each of the four cherubs is given, is not at variance with Ezekiel 1:10, according to which every one of the cherubs had the four faces named. It was not Ezekiel's intention to mention all the faces of each cherub here, as he had done before; but he regarded it as sufficient in the case of each cherub to mention simply the one face, which was turned toward him. The only striking feature which still remains is the statement that the face of the one, i.e., of the first, was the face of the cherub instead of the face of an ox (cf. Ezekiel 1:10), since the faces of the man, the lion, and the eagle were also cherubs' faces. We may, no doubt, get rid of the difficulty by altering the text, but this will not solve it; for it would still remain inexplicable how הכּרוּב could have grown out of שׁור by a copyist's error; and still more, how such an error, which might have been so easily seen and corrected, could have been not only perpetuated, but generally adopted. Moreover, we have the article in הכּרוּב, which would also be inexplicable if the word had originated in an oversight, and which gives us precisely the index required to the correct solution of the difficulty, showing as it does that it was not merely a cherub's face, but the face of the cherub, so that the allusion is to one particular cherub, who was either well known from what had gone before, or occupied a more prominent position than the rest. Such a cherub is the one mentioned in Ezekiel 10:7, who had taken the coals from the fire between the wheels, and stood nearest to Ezekiel. There did not appear to be any necessity to describe his face more exactly, as it could be easily seen from a comparison with Ezekiel 1:10. - In Ezekiel 10:15, the fact that the cherubim arose to depart from their place is followed by the remark that the cherubic figure was the being (החיּה, singular, as in Ezekiel 1:22) which Ezekiel saw by the Chaboras, because it was a matter of importance that the identity of the two theophanies should be established as a help to the correct understanding of their real signification. But before the departure of the theophany from the temple is related, there follows in Ezekiel 10:16 and Ezekiel 10:17 a repetition of the circumstantial description of the harmonious movements of the wheels and the cherubim (cf. Ezekiel 1:19-21); and then, in Ezekiel 10:18, the statement which had such practical significance, that the glory of the Lord departed from the threshold of the temple, and resumed the throne above the cherubim; and lastly, the account in Ezekiel 10:19, that the glory of the God of Israel, seated upon this throne, took up its position at the entrance of the eastern gate of the temple. The entrance of this gate is not the gate of the temple, but the outer side of the eastern gate of the outer court, which formed the principal entrance to the whole of the temple-space. The expression "God of Israel" instead of "Jehovah" is significant, and is used to intimate that God, as the covenant God, withdrew His gracious presence from the people of Israel by this departure from the temple; not, indeed, from the whole of the covenant nation, but from the rebellious Israel which dwelt in Jerusalem and Judah; for the same glory of God which left the temple in the vision before the eyes of Ezekiel had appeared to the prophet by the river Chebar, and by calling him to be the prophet for Israel, had shown Himself to be the God who kept His covenant, and proved that, by the judgment upon the corrupt generation, He simply desired to exterminate its ungodly nature, and create for Himself a new and holy people. This is the meaning of the remark which is repeated in Ezekiel 10:20-22, that the apparition which left the temple was the same being as Ezekiel had seen by the Chaboras, and that he recognised the beings under the throne as cherubim.

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