Ezekiel 10:5
And the sound of the cherubims' wings was heard even to the outer court, as the voice of the Almighty God when he speaketh.
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(5) The sound of the cherubims’ wings.—This sound indicates that the cherubim were already in motion, for when they stood they “let down their wings” (Ezekiel 1:24). They were now just on the eve of going away, and the movement was a great one, so that the sound was “heard even to the outer court” Throughout this chapter the s in cherubims is quite unnecessary, since cherubim is already the Hebrew plural of cherub.

Ezekiel 10:6-7 are not subsequent in time to Ezekiel 10:5, but are simply a more particular account, given parenthetically, of what had already been briefly mentioned in Ezekiel 10:2.

Ezekiel 10:8-17 are largely a repetition of the description of the vision in Ezekiel 1, but it is here given in parts, parenthetically, in connection with the progress of the narrative. The course of the narrative itself is as follows :—After the man in linen has gone out (Ezekiel 10:7), a command is issued, “O wheel.” They were to set themselves in motion. Then (Ezekiel 10:15) they “were lifted up,” and (Ezekiel 10:18-19) “the glory of the Lord departed” from the Temple, and “mounted up from the earth.” The repetition of the description of Ezekiel 1 is by no means accidental, but serves partly to connect the various particulars with the course of the symbolic narrative, and mainly to emphasize the identity of the glory departing from the Temple with the Divine glory before seen. There are, however, several variations from the former description. Particularly in Ezekiel 10:12 (as in Revelation 4:6) there is mention of the abundance of eyes, a symbol of vigilance and activity, covering the whole body of the cherubim and the wheels. In Ezekiel 10:14, after saying that “every one had four faces,” as in Ezekiel 1, the particular faces are described, but with this important variation :—the first is said to be “the face of a cherub,” instead of “the face of an ox,” as in Ezekiel 1; more exactly it is “the face of the cherub,” since the Hebrew has the definite article. The reason of this variation and the meaning of “the face of the cherub” are both obscure. In Ezekiel 10:22 it is expressly said that their faces were the same as those seen by the Chebar; and again, in Ezekiel 10:15-20, the whole vision is described as the “living creature” seen by the Chebar. It is plain, therefore, that the variation is only in the description, and not in the thing described. The most natural solution of the difficulty in the text as it stands is that a cherub was ordinarily represented with the face of an ox. But there is no evidence of this, and it is not impossible that a slight error may have been introduced into the text. The Greek version did not contain the verse in the time of St. Jerome, and in its Roman form does not now. It was introduced into the Alexandrian copies from the later version of Theodotion, and Theodoret does not recognise it.

10:1-7 The fire being taken from between the wheels, under the cherubim, ch. 1:13, seems to have signified the wrath of God to be executed upon Jerusalem. It intimated that the fire of Divine wrath, which kindles judgment upon a people, is just and holy; and in the great day, the earth, and all the works that are therein, will be burnt up.The Almighty God - El Shaddai; compare the Genesis 17:1 note. 5. sound of … wings—prognostic of great and awful changes.

voice of … God—the thunder (Ps 29:3, &c.).

There was a great and dreadful noise to awaken, or stop the mouths of sinners; whether this was an applause of Christ’s righteous procedure, or any sound of alarm, or both, let your own judgment determine. See Ezekiel 1:24.

Was heard; such as might well be heard; and as the vision represented such a great sound to the prophet, he reports it to the Jews; not that the elders now with Ezekiel did hear this, or that such an audible sound was heard in Jerusalem, but it is all represented to the prophet, and by him to them.

The outer court; this was the court of the women.

As the voice of the Almighty; as a mighty and terrible thunder, which is, Psalm 29:3-5, the voice of the Lord.

When he speaketh; as when he spake on Mount Sinai, which made them all fear, and the sight so terrible, that Moses himself trembled, Hebrews 12.

And the sound of the cherubim's wings was heard even to the outer court,.... Or outward court. The sound of the Gospel, which is a joyful sound; a sound of love, grace, and mercy; of life, liberty, peace, pardon, righteousness, and salvation by Christ; the sound of this in the swift ministry of the apostles, signified by the "cherubim's wings", went into all the earth, and throughout the whole Gentile world; by which many souls were quickened and enlightened; many churches were formed; and the glory of the Lord, being revealed, was seen by all flesh; and the whole world was filled with the brightness of the Lord's glory, as it will be again, and more abundantly, in the latter day: and this sound was

as the voice of the Almighty God when he speaketh; the Gospel is as thunder, which is the voice of God; and the ministers of it are "Boanergeses", "sons of thunder", Mark 3:17, it shakes the conscience; shows men their danger; and points at the Saviour: it is not the word of man, but in deed and in truth the word of God: it is the voice of Christ, who is the Almighty; and it appears to be so, by its powerful effects, when attended with a divine energy, in quickening dead sinners; enlightening dark minds; unstopping deaf ears; softening hard hearts; and turning men from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God; it is so when God speaks in it, and by it; when it comes not in word only, but in the Holy Ghost, and in power.

And the {d} sound of the cherubim's wings was heard even to the outer court, as the voice of the Almighty God when he speaketh.

(d) Read Eze 1:24.

5. sound of the cherubims’ wings] It is to be supposed that some movement of the living creatures’ wings accompanied the rising of the divine glory from above them, as it is said that when they stood their wings dropped (Ezekiel 1:24). The language of Ezekiel 10:18 (cf. Ezekiel 9:3) excludes the supposition that the cherubim as well as the glory moved towards the threshold (Ew.). Jehovah’s “speaking” is the thunder (ch. Ezekiel 1:24), but the statement that the sound was heard in the outer court is strange, as the distance was not great. In Ezekiel’s day, however, the outer court had not the symmetry which he gives it in his final vision but extended to a considerable distance from the house, and may have been regarded as including the royal buildings (see the plans Ency. Brit., and Stade’s Hist., vol. i).

Verses 5, 6. - And the sound of the cherubim. The use of God Almighty (El Shaddai; comp. Exodus 6:3), the name of God as ruling over nature, while Jehovah expressed his covenant relationship to Israel, is, it may be noted, characteristic of the early stage of the religion of Israel (Genesis 17:1; Genesis 28:3; Genesis 43:14; Genesis 48:3). Shaddai alone appears eighty-one times in the Book of Job. Psalm 29. explains the voice of El Shaddai (though there it is "the voice of Jehovah") as meaning the roar of the thunder. The hands of the "living creatures," now recognized as cherubim, had been mentioned in Ezekiel 1:8, and it is one of those hands that gives the fire into the hands of the linen vested minister of wrath. The elemental forces of nature, of which the cherubim are, partly at least, the symbols, are working out the purposes of Jehovah. The two words translated wheels are different in the Hebrew. The first is singular and collective (galgal, the "whirling thing," used of the wheel of a war chariot, Ezekiel 23:24; Isaiah 5:28), and might well be translated "chariot" here. The second, that used in Ezekiel 1:15, 16, also in the singular, is applied to the single wheel of the four by which the angel, ministers stood. Ezekiel 10:5The angel scatters coals of fire over Jerusalem. - Ezekiel 10:1. And I saw, and behold upon the firmament, which was above the cherubim, it was like sapphire-stone, to look at as the likeness of a throne; He appeared above them. Ezekiel 10:2. And He spake to the man clothed in white linen, and said: Come between the wheels below the cherubim, and fill thy hollow hands with fire-coals from between the cherubim, and scatter them over the city: and he came before my eyes. Ezekiel 10:3. And the cherubim stood to the right of the house when the man came, and the cloud filled the inner court. Ezekiel 10:4. And the glory of Jehovah had lifted itself up from the cherubim to the threshold of the house; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the splendour of the glory of Jehovah. Ezekiel 10:5. And the noise of the wings of the cherubim was heard to the outer court, as the voice of the Almighty God when He speaketh. Ezekiel 10:6. And it came to pass, when He commanded the man clothed in white linen, and said, Take fire from between the wheels, from between the cherubim, and he came and stood by the side of the wheel, Ezekiel 10:7. That the cherub stretched out his hand between the cherubim to the fire, which was between the cherubim, and lifted (some) off and gave it into the hands of the man clothed in white linen. And he took it, and went out. Ezekiel 10:8. And there appeared by the cherubim the likeness of a man's hand under their wings. - Ezekiel 10:1 introduces the description of the second act of the judgment. According to Ezekiel 9:3, Jehovah had come down from His throne above the cherubim to the threshold of the temple to issue His orders thence for the judgment upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and according to Ezekiel 10:4 He goes thither once more. Consequently He had resumed His seat above the cherubim in the meantime. This is expressed in Ezekiel 10:1, not indeed in so many words, but indirectly or by implication. Ezekiel sees the theophany; and on the firmament above the cherubim, like sapphire-stone to look at, he beholds the likeness of a throne on which Jehovah appeared. To avoid giving too great prominence in this appearance of Jehovah to the bodily or human form, Ezekiel does not speak even here of the form of Jehovah, but simply of His throne, which he describes in the same manner as in Ezekiel 1:26. אל stands for על according to the later usage of the language. It will never do to take אל in its literal sense, as Kliefoth does, and render the words: "Ezekiel saw it move away to the firmament;" for the object to ואראה והנּה is not יהוה or כּבוד , but the form of the throne sparkling in sapphire-stone; and this throne had not separated itself from the firmament above the cherubim, but Jehovah, or the glory of Jehovah, according to Ezekiel 9:3, had risen up from the cherubim, and moved away to the temple threshold. The כּ before מראה is not to be erased, as Hitzig proposes after the lxx, on the ground that it is not found in Ezekiel 1:26; it is quite appropriate here. For the words do not affirm that Ezekiel saw the likeness of a throne like sapphire-stone; but that he saw something like sapphire-stone, like the appearance of the form of a throne. Ezekiel does not see Jehovah, or the glory of Jehovah, move away to the firmament, and then return to the throne. He simply sees once more the resemblance of a throne upon the firmament, and the Lord appearing thereon. The latter is indicated in נראה עליהם. These words are not to be taken in connection with 'כּמראה וגו, so as to form one sentence; but have been very properly separated by the athnach under כּסּא, and treated as an independent assertion. The subject to נראה might, indeed, be דּמוּת כּסּא, "the likeness of a throne appeared above the cherubim;" but in that case the words would form a pure tautology, as the fact of the throne becoming visible has already been mentioned in the preceding clause. The subject must therefore be Jehovah, as in the case of ויּאמר in Ezekiel 10:2, where there can be no doubt on the matter. Jehovah has resumed His throne, not "for the purpose of removing to a distance, because the courts of the temple have been defiled by dead bodies" (Hitzig), but because the object for which He left it has been attained.

He now commands the man clothed in white linen to go in between the wheels under the cherubim, and fill his hands with fire-coals from thence, and scatter them over the city (Jerusalem). This he did, so that Ezekiel could see it. According to this, it appears as if Jehovah had issued the command from His throne; but if we compare what follows, it is evident from Ezekiel 10:4 that the glory of Jehovah had risen up again from the throne, and removed to the threshold of the temple, and that it was not till after the man in white linen had scattered the coals over the city that it left the threshold of the temple, and ascended once more up to the throne above the cherubim, so as to forsake the temple (Ezekiel 10:18.). Consequently we can only understand Ezekiel 10:2-7 as implying that Jehovah issued the command in Ezekiel 10:2, not from His throne, but from the threshold of the temple, and that He had therefore returned to the threshold of the temple for this purpose, and for the very same reason as in Ezekiel 9:3. The possibility of interpreting the verses in this way is apparent from the fact that Ezekiel 10:2 contains a summary of the whole of the contents of this section, and that Ezekiel 10:3-7 simply furnish more minute explanations, or contain circumstantial clauses, which throw light upon the whole affair. This is obvious in the case of Ezekiel 10:3, from the form of the clause; and in Ezekiel 10:4 and Ezekiel 10:5, from the fact that in Ezekiel 10:6 and Ezekiel 10:7 the command (Ezekiel 10:2) is resumed, and the execution of it, which was already indicated in ויּבא לעיני (Ezekiel 10:2), more minutely described and carried forward in the closing words of the seventh verse, ויּקּח . הגּלגּל in Ezekiel 10:2 signifies the whirl or rotatory motion, i.e., the wheel-work, or the four ōphannim under the cherubim regarded as moving. The angel was to go in between these, and take coals out of the fire there, and scatter them over the city. "In the fire of God, the fire of His wrath, will kindle the fire for consuming the city" (Kliefoth). To depict the scene more clearly, Ezekiel observes in Ezekiel 10:3, that at this moment the cherubim were standing to the right of the house, i.e., on the south or rather south-east of the temple house, on the south of the altar of burnt-offering. According to the Hebrew usage the right side as the southern side, and the prophet was in the inner court, whither, according to Ezekiel 8:16, the divine glory had taken him; and, according to Ezekiel 9:2, the seven angels had gone to the front of the altar, to receive the commands of the Lord. Consequently we have to picture to ourselves the cherubim as appearing in the neighbourhood of the altar, and then taking up their position to the south thereof, when the Lord returned to the threshold of the temple. The reason for stating this is not to be sought, as Calvin supposes, in the desire to show "that the way was opened fore the angel to go straight to God, and that the cherubim were standing there ready, as it were, to contribute their labour." The position in which the cherubim appeared is more probably given with prospective reference to the account which follows in Ezekiel 10:9-22 of the departure of the glory of the Lord from the temple. As an indication of the significance of this act to Israel, the glory which issued from this manifestation of divine doxa is described in Ezekiel 10:3-5. The cloud, as the earthly vehicle of the divine doxa, filled the inner court; and when the glory of the Lord stood upon the threshold, it filled the temple also, while the court became full of the splendour of the divine glory. That is to say, the brilliancy of the divine nature shone through the cloud, so that the court and the temple were lighted by the shining of the light-cloud. The brilliant splendour is a symbol of the light of the divine grace. The wings of the cherubim rustled, and at the movement of God (Ezekiel 1:24) were audible even in the outer court.

After this picture of the glorious manifestation of the divine doxa, the fetching of the fire-coals from the space between the wheels under the cherubim is more closely described in Ezekiel 10:6 and Ezekiel 10:7. One of the cherub's hands took the coals out of the fire, and put them into the hands of the man clothed in white linen. To this a supplementary remark is added in Ezekiel 10:8, to the effect that the figure of a hand was visible by the side of the cherubim under their wings. The word ויּצא, "and he went out," indicates that the man clothed in white linen scattered the coals over the city, to set it on fire and consume it.

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