Ezekiel 10:8
And there appeared in the cherubim 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. The Divine Command

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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