Therefore prophesy against them, prophesy, O son of man.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Ezekiel 11:4-5. Therefore prophesy against them — Declare to them how different things shall happen to them from what they expect. And the Spirit of the Lord fell upon me — See note on Ezekiel 3:24. And said unto me, Speak; Thus have ye said — Ye have advanced the assertion, mentioned Ezekiel 11:3. “You have rightly said what you say: the city is the caldron, and we are the flesh, shall be fulfilled, but not as you understand it. Many of you will perish in the city. For those it will be the caldron, and they will be flesh boiled in it. But yourselves shall not be the flesh in the caldron: but you shall be taken out and elsewhere cut in pieces.” — Michaelis in Newcome. For I know the things that come into your mind —
Here God declares that, however much these men thought, and said in their hearts, The Lord seeth us not, yet still he not only saw them, but knew the things that came into their mind, every one of them, and took particular notice of that vain confidence with which they supported themselves, and endeavoured to put a good face upon a matter which they could not but know to be bad. Remember, reader, God perfectly knows not only the things that come out of our mouths, but the things that come into our minds; not only all we say, but all we think; even those thoughts which are most suddenly darted into our minds, and as suddenly slip out of them again, are perfectly known and narrowly observed by God: he knows us infinitely better than we know ourselves; he understands us afar off: the consideration whereof should oblige us to keep our hearts with all diligence, that no vain thoughts may come into them, or lodge within them.Ezekiel 7:2.
Let us build houses - "To build houses" implies a sense of security. Jeremiah bade the exiles "build houses" in a foreign land because they would not soon quit it Jeremiah 29:5; Jeremiah 35:7. These false counselors promised to their countrymen a sure and permanent abode in the city which God had doomed to destruction. No need, they said, to go far for safety; you are perfectly safe at home. The Hebrew, however, is, difficult: literally it means, "It is not near to build houses," which may be explained as spoken in mockery of such counsel as that of Jeremiah: matters have not gone so far as to necessitate "house-building" in a foreign land. The same idea is expressed by the image of the "caldron:" whatever devastation may rage around the city, we are safe within its walls, as flesh within a caldron is unburned by the surrounding fire (compare Ezekiel 24:6).
prophesy, O son of man; this is repeated, not only to stir up the prophet to the performance of his work and office, not fearing the faces, and revilings, and mockings of men; but to show the indignation of the Lord at their scoffs and jeers, and the certain accomplishment of what should be predicted.Therefore prophesy against them, prophesy, O son of man.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)4. The prophet felt called to prophesy against these men—and all this is part of the vision. See on ch. Ezekiel 3:21.Verses 4, 5. - The prophet still, we must remember, in his vision, is bidden to do his work as a true prophet, and to rebuke the defiant speech which he had heard. As in Ezekiel 2:2, the Spirit of Jehovah comes upon him, and throws him into the prophetic ecstasy. It is noticeable that here, as in Ezekiel 2:3, his message is not to Judah only, but to the whole house of Israel as represented by those to whom he spoke. I know the things. This, as ever, was one of the notes of a true prophet, that he shared, as was needed for his work, in the knowledge of him from whom no secrets are hid (John 2:24, 25; Matthew 9:4; 1 Corinthians 14:25). Thoughts, as well as words, were laid bare before him, as they were to his Lord (Hebrews 4:12).
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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