And one cherub stretched forth his hand from between the cherubim to the fire that was between the cherubim, and took thereof, and put it into the hands of him that was clothed with linen: who took it, and went out.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
one cherub—one of the four cherubim.
his hand—(Eze 1:8).
went out—to burn the city.One cherub; one of the four.
Stretched forth his hand; which was under his wing, as Ezekiel 1:8, which see.
From between the cherubims; this that reached the fire to Christ stood among the cherubims, and putting forth his hand, or exerting his strength and power, serveth Christ, our Lord and his.
Unto the fire: see Ezekiel 10:2, and Ezekiel 1:13.
Took thereof; as a servant that reacheth what his master would have and use.
The hands; both hands, for it is in the plural number.
Who took it; received it of the angel, as one who might employ it when he would.
Went out, from amidst the angels, and out of the temple; or from the threshold, where all this vision appeared as on its stage; and he goes into the city to prepare all, that nothing be done too soon, or too late.
unto the fire that was between the cherubim; so fire is said to go up and down among them, Ezekiel 1:13; to which the reference is here:
and took thereof, and put it into the hands of him that was clothed with linen: denoting, as before observed, that it was for the ill usage of the ministers of God's word that wrath came upon the people of the Jews, and the destruction of their city by fire; so wrath will come upon antichrist, and the antichristian states, for their usage of the ministers and churches of Christ, and in consequence of the prayers, and by the instigation of such persons; see Revelation 6:9; so one of the four beasts or living creatures, the same with the cherubim here, is said to give to the seven angels seven golden vials, full of the wrath of God, Revelation 15:7;
who took it, and went out; took the fire, and went out of the temple, and scattered it upon the city of Jerusalem; so representing the Chaldean, or rather the Roman army, burning it with fire; see Matthew 22:7; where they are called the armies of the King of kings.And one cherub stretched forth his hand from between the cherubims unto the fire that was between the cherubims, and took thereof, and put it into the hands of him that was clothed with linen: who took it, and went out.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)7. and one cherub] lit, the cherub; the one on the side approached by the man. The cherubim interposed to hand the fire to the man in linen garments, who received it and went forth (Job 1:12; Job 2:7). The symbolism is suggested by Isaiah 6:6.
Ezekiel 9:4. And Jehovah said to him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and mark a cross upon the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations which take place in their midst. Ezekiel 9:5. And to those he said in my ears: Go through the city behind him, and smite. Let not your eye look compassionately, and do not spare. Ezekiel 9:6. Old men, young men, and maidens, and children, and women, slay to destruction: but ye shall not touch any one who has the cross upon him; and begin at my sanctuary. And they began with the old men, who were before the house. Ezekiel 9:7. And He said to them, defile the house, and fill the courts with slain; go ye out. And they went out, and smote in the city. - God commands the man provided with the writing materials to mark on the forehead with a cross all the persons in Jerusalem who mourn over the abominations of the nation, in order that they may be spared in the time of the judgment. תּו, the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, had the form of a cross in the earlier writing. התוה תּו, to mark a ת, is therefore the same as to make a mark in the form of a cross; although there was at first no other purpose in this sign than to enable the servants employed in inflicting the judgment of God to distinguish those who were so marked, so that they might do them no harm. Ezekiel 9:6. And this was the reason why the תּו was to be marked upon the forehead, the most visible portion of the body; the early Christians, according to a statement in Origen, looked upon the sign itself as significant, and saw therein a prophetic allusion to the sign of the cross as the distinctive mark of Christians. A direct prophecy of the cross of Christ is certainly not to be found here, since the form of the letter Tâv was the one generally adopted as a sign, and, according to Job 31:35, might supply the place of a signature. Nevertheless, as Schmieder has correctly observed, there is something remarkable in this coincidence to the thoughtful observer of the ways of God, whose counsel has carefully considered all before hand, especially when we bear in mind that in the counterpart to this passage (Revelation 7:3) the seal of the living God is stamped upon the foreheads of the servants of God, who are to be exempted from the judgment, and that according to Revelation 14:1 they had the name of God written upon their foreheads. So much, at any rate, is perfectly obvious from this, namely, that the sign was not arbitrarily chosen, but was inwardly connected with the fact which it indicated; just as in the event upon which our vision is based (Exodus 12:13, Exodus 12:22.) the distinctive mark placed upon the houses of the Israelites in Egypt, in order that the destroying angel might pass them by, namely, the smearing of the doorposts with the blood of the paschal lamb that had been slain, was selected on account of its significance and its corresponding to the thing signified. The execution of this command is passed over as being self-evident; and it is not till Ezekiel 9:11 that it is even indirectly referred to again.
In Ezekiel 9:5, Ezekiel 9:6 there follows, first of all, the command given to the other six men. They are to go through the city, behind the man clothed in white linen, and to smite without mercy all the inhabitants of whatever age or sex, with this exception, that they are not to touch those who are marked with the cross. The על for אל before תּחוס is either a slip of the pen, or, as the continued transmission of so striking an error is very improbable, is to be accounted for from the change of א into ע, which is so common in Aramaean. The Chetib עיניכם is the unusual form grammatically considered, and the singular, which is more correct, has been substituted as Keri. תּהרגוּ is followed by למשׁחית, to increase the force of the words and show the impossibility of any life being saved. They are to make a commencement at the sanctuary, because it has been desecrated by the worship of idols, and therefore has ceased to be the house of the Lord. To this command the execution is immediately appended; they began with the old men who were before the house, i.e., they began to slay them. האנשׁים הזּקנים are neither the twenty-five priests (Ezekiel 8:16) nor the seventy elders (Ezekiel 8:11). The latter were not לפני הבּית, but in a chamber by the outer temple gate; whereas לפני הבּית, in front of the temple house, points to the inner court. This locality makes it natural to think of priests, and consequently the lxx rendered ממּקדּשּׁי by ἀπὸ τῶν ἁγίων μου. But the expression אנשׁים זקנים is an unsuitable one for the priests. We have therefore no doubt to think of men advanced in years, who had come into the court possibly to offer sacrifice, and thereby had become liable to the judgment. In Ezekiel 9:7 the command, which was interrupted in Ezekiel 9:6, is once more resumed. They are to defile the house, i.e., the temple, namely, by filling the courts with slain. It is in this way that we are to connect together, so far as the sense is concerned, the two clauses, "defile...and fill." This is required by the facts of the case. For those slain "before the house" could only have been slain in the courts, as there was no space between the temple house and the courts in which men could have been found and slain. But לפני cannot be understood as signifying "in the neighbourhood of the temple," as Kliefoth supposes, for the simple reason that the progressive order of events would thereby be completely destroyed. The angels who were standing before the altar of burnt-offering could not begin their work by going out of the court to smite the sinners who happened to be in the neighbourhood of the temple, and then returning to the court to do the same there, and then again going out into the city to finish their work there. They could only begin by slaying the sinners who happened to be in the courts, and after having defiled the temple by their corpses, by going out into the city to slay all the ungodly there, as is related in the second clause of the verse (Ezekiel 9:7).
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