Ezekiel 10:8
And there appeared in the cherubims the form of a man's hand under their wings.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Ezekiel 10:8-13. There appeared in the cherubim the form of a man’s hand — See Ezekiel 1:8. The following verses to the 12th are the same, in substance, with Ezekiel 1:16-18, where see the notes. To the place where the head looked they followed, Ezekiel 10:11. Each wheel consisted of four semicircles in correspondence to the heads of each animal. It was cried unto them, O wheel — Or, move round, as some render the word. They were put in mind of continually attending upon their duty; for the wheels and living creatures were animated with the same principle of understanding and motion.

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.An explanation following upon the mention of the "hand." It is characteristic of this chapter that the narrative is interrupted by explanatory comments. The "narrative" is contained in Ezekiel 10:1-3, Ezekiel 10:6-7, Ezekiel 10:13, Ezekiel 10:15 (first clause), 18, 19; the other verses contain the "interposed explanations." 8. The "wings" denote alacrity, the "hands" efficacy and aptness, in executing the functions assigned to them. There appeared to the prophet.

The cherubims; the ministering spirits.

The form of a man’s hand; shaped to speedy, accurate working; it is therefore a man’s hand. One hand was put forth to reach the fire, and that one is mentioned, though the angels had hands under their wings.

Under their wings; the manner of angels’ working is hereby insinuated, for it is secret and speedy; secret, as hidden under wings; and speedy, as effected by the swiftest motion; the very speed hideth it.

And there appeared in the cherubim,.... The Septuagint version is, "I saw the cherubim"; and so the Syriac version, "I saw in the cherubim"; what follows:

the form of a man's hand under their wings; one of them put forth his hand, which was seen by the prophet, as declared in Ezekiel 10:7; but this was only the "form" of one; which is observed to show that it is not to be taken literally, but as seen in the vision of prophecy; and being under their wings denotes secrecy and privacy: and the whole being applied to the ministers of the word is expressive of their activity and diligence in the work of the Lord, both in private and in public; and that they make no boast nor show of their works and labours, and ascribe nothing to themselves, but all to the grace of God that is with them, 1 Corinthians 15:10; See Gill on Ezekiel 1:8.

And there appeared in the cherubims the form of a man's hand under their wings.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
8. On the “hands” of the cherubim, cf. ch. Ezekiel 1:8.

Instead of depicting the conflagration of the city, which would have been impossible, the prophet’s attention is anew drawn to the cherubim, and a fresh description of the living creatures and of the divine chariot follows.

Verses 8, 9. - The description of the theophany that follows, though essentially identical with that in ch. 1 is not a literal transcript of it. The prophet struggles, as before, to relate what he has actually seen in the visions of God. The fact is stated as explaining the mention of the "hand" in ver. 7. That, as in Ezekiel 1:8, was one of their members (see notes on Ezekiel 1:15-17). All that had seemed most startling and awful to him on the banks of Chebar is now seen again - the four living creatures, now named cherubim the wheel by each, the unswerving motion of the wheels in their onward course. Ezekiel 10:8The 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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