And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and his voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with his glory.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
his voice … like … many waters—So English Version rightly, as in Eze 1:24, "voice of the Almighty"; Re 1:15; 14:2, prove this. Not as Fairbairn translates, "its noise."
earth his glory—(Re 18:1).Behold: sometimes this word is expletive, but here surely it stands for more; it expresseth, no doubt, the joy the prophet had to see this excellent sight, which should not be seen there more than sixty year’s; for in the sixth year of the captivity the glory of God left the city, Ezekiel 11:22,23; and now the prophet foreseeth its return after the settling the temple, its buildings, and ordinances, which took up a great time, as is evident, John 2:20, which time of forty-six years (viz. thirty in Cyrus, eight in Cambyses, and some six in Darius) is very near accounted. So that between the departure and the return of the glory of God, are about one hundred and six or eight years, and about fourscore between this vision and the accomplishment. The glory: see Ezekiel 1:28.
Of the God of Israel; of him who is an infinitely glorious Being, yet in covenant with us, as a peculiar people of God.
Came from the way of the east: when the glory departed it went eastward, and now that it returns it comes from the east.
His voice: though by the voice of God thunder is sometimes meant, yet here it was an articulate voice, as appears Ezekiel 43:7,8. Perhaps this might be attended with thunder, as usually in such cases.
Like a noise of many waters; terrible, and a mighty voice, as the noise of mighty waves of the sea; so Ezekiel 1:24 Revelation 1:15.
The earth; not the whole earth, but that part about Jerusalem and the temple.
Shined with his glory; the rays of glory, like the sun-beams, made the dark earth to shine with glorious light. Revelation 7:2, to which a "behold" is prefixed, as a note exciting attention, and raising admiration; as it was matter of wonder and joy to the prophet, to see the glory of the Lord returning to his house, the same way he departed, Ezekiel 10:4,
and his voice was like a noise of many waters; this is to be understood of his Gospel, in which he speaks to men, and which is a voice of love, grace, and mercy; of peace and reconciliation; of pardon and righteousness; of life, liberty, and salvation: and the metaphor here used is expressive of the swiftness of its motion in the world; of its general spread in it, and all over it; of the noise it will make, as it always does among men, wherever it comes; and of the rapidity and force of it, being attended with almighty power; and is a soul shaking, heart melting, soul quickening, enlightening, alluring, and comforting voice; see Daniel 10:6. The Targum is,
"and the voice of them that bless his name is as the voice of many waters.''
The Septuagint and Arabic versions, the voice of the camp or army.
And the earth shined with his glory; with the brightness of his glory, as the Targum; with his glorious Gospel, in which the glory of his person, office, and grace, is displayed; this will be spread all over the earth, and that will be enlightened by it: it will remove the darkness and infidelity, error, superstition, idolatry, and all false doctrines from the world, and the darkness of calamity and distress from the church; which will cast a lustre and glory upon it; and with the brightness of which the Lord will destroy antichrist, and by it set up his kingdom in the world, and reign before his ancients gloriously: this will bring on Zion's light and glory, to which kings will come, and upon which will be a defence; Revelation 18:1.And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and his voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with his glory.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)2. and his voice] and the sound of him was like the sound. Reference is to the sound made by the cherubim in their flight.Verse 2. - Scarcely had the prophet taken up his station at or near the gate when the glory of the God of Israel (see on Ezekiel 1:28; 3:23) came from the way of the east, as if intending to enter the temple by the very door through which it had previously departed from the temple (comp. Ezekiel 10:19; Ezekiel 11:22, 23). The voles which proceeded from the theophany and resembled the noise of many waters, is after the LXX. (καὶ φωνὴ τῆς παρεμβολῆς) by Keil and Smend understood to have been the sound produced by the motion of the wheels and the rustling of the wings of the cherubim (see on Ezekiel 1:2, 4; 10:5), but is better taken, with Kliefoth and Hengstenberg, to signify the voice of the Almighty himself, i.e. of the personal Jehovah (comp. Revelation 1:15). The statement that the earth shined with his glory (comp. Revelation 18:1) has by Havernick, Kliefoth, and others been supposed to indicate the absence of that "cloud" in which the glory of Jehovah appeared in both the Mosaic tabernacle (Exodus 40:34, 35) and the Solomonic temple (1 Kings 8:10, 11), and thereby to point to the clearer and more resplendent manifestations of the Godhead, which were to be given in connection with the new dispensation for which Ezekiel's "house" was being prepared. This, however, as Keil has shown, cannot be main-rained in face of the facts that in both Exodus and 1 Kings "the glory of the Lord" is used synonymously with "the cloud," and that in Ezekiel's vision "the glory" and "the cloud" were alike present (see Ezekiel 10:3, 4). Kliefoth and Schroder hold "the earth" which was illumined to have been "the whole globe," "the entire region of humanity," as in Isaiah 6:3; Isaiah 60:1, etc.; but there does not appear ground for departing from the ordinary sense of the words, that "the path" of the advancing God was irradiated by the brilliance of his material glory.
Ezekiel 40:1. In the five and twentieth year of our captivity, at the beginning of the year, on the tenth of the month, in the fourteenth year after the city was smitten, on this same day the hand of Jehovah came upon me, and He brought me thither. Ezekiel 40:2. In visions of God He brought me into the land of Israel, and set me down upon a very high mountain; and upon it there was like a city-edifice toward the south. Ezekiel 40:3. And He brought me thither, and behold there was a man, his appearance like the appearance of brass, and a flaxen cord in his hand, and the measuring-rod; and he stood by the gate. Ezekiel 40:4. And the man spake to me: Son of man, see with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears, and set thy heart upon all that I show thee; for thou art brought hither to show it thee. Tell all that thou seest to the house of Israel. - The twofold announcement of the time when the prophet was shown the vision of the new temple and the new kingdom of God points back to Ezekiel 1:1 and Ezekiel 33:21, and places this divine revelation concerning the new building of the kingdom of God in a definite relation, not only to the appearance of God by which Ezekiel was called to be a prophet (Ezekiel 1:1, Ezekiel 1:3), but also to the vision in Ezekiel 8-11, in which he was shown the destruction of the ancient, sinful Jerusalem, together with its temple. The twenty-fifth year of the captivity, and the fourteenth year after the city was smitten, i.e., taken and reduced to ashes, are the year 575 before Christ. There is a difference of opinion as to the correct explanation of בּראשׁ השּׁנה, at the beginning of the year; but it is certainly incorrect to take the expression as denoting the beginning of the economical or so-called civil year, the seventh month (Tishri). For, in the first place, the custom of beginning the year with the month Tishri was introduced long after the captivity, and was probably connected with the adoption of the era of the Seleucidae; and, secondly, it is hardly conceivable that Ezekiel should have deviated from the view laid down in the Torah in so important a point as this. The only thing that could render this at all probable would be the assumption proposed by Hitzig, that the year 575 b.c. was a year of jubilee, since the year of jubilee did commence with the day of atonement on the tenth of the seventh month. But the supposition that a jubilee year fell in the twenty-fifth year of the captivity cannot be raised into a probability. We therefore agree with Hvernick and Kliefoth in adhering to the view of the older commentators, that ראשׁ השּׁנה is a contracted repetition of the definition contained in Exodus 12:2, ראשׁ חדשׁים ראשׁון , and signifies the opening month of the year, i.e., the month Abib (Nisan). The tenth day of this month was the day on which the preparations for the Passover, the feast of the elevation of Israel into the people of God, were to commence, and therefore was well adapted for the revelation of the new constitution of the kingdom of God. On that day was Ezekiel transported, in an ecstatic state, to the site of the smitten Jerusalem. For היתה עלי יד יי, compare Ezekiel 37:1 and Ezekiel 1:3. שׁמּה evidently points back to העיר in Ezekiel 40:2: thither, where the city was smitten. מראות , as in Ezekiel 1:1. יניחני אל : he set me down upon (not by) a very high mountain (אל for על, as in many other instances; e.g., Ezekiel 18:6 and Ezekiel 31:12).
The very high mountain is Mount Zion, which is exalted above the tops of all the mountains (Micah 4:1; Isaiah 2:2) - the mountain upon which, according to what follows, the new temple seen in the vision stood, and which has already been designated as the lofty mountain of Israel in Ezekiel 17:22-23.
(Note: J. H. Michaelis has already explained it correctly, viz.: "The highest mountain, such as Isaiah (Isaiah 2:2) had also predicted that Mount Zion would be, not physically, but in the eminence of gospel dignity and glory; cf. Revelation 21:10.")
Upon this mountain Ezekiel saw something like a city-edifice toward the south (lit.,from the south hither). מבנה is not the building of the new Jerusalem (Hהvernick, Kliefoth, etc.). For even if what was to be seen as a city-edifice really could be one, although no tenable proof can be adduced of this use of כ simil., nothing is said about the city till Ezekiel 45:6 and Ezekiel 48:156 and 30 ff., and even there it is only in combination with the measuring and dividing of the land; so that Hvernick's remark, that "the revelation has reference to the sanctuary and the city; these two principal objects announce themselves at once as such in the form of vision," is neither correct nor conclusive. The revelation has reference to the temple and the whole of the holy land, including the city; and the city itself does not come at all into such prominence as to warrant us in assuming that there is already a reference made to it here in the introduction. If we look at the context, the man with the measure, whom Ezekiel saw at the place to which he was transported, was standing at the gate (Ezekiel 40:3). This gate in the wall round about the building was, according to Ezekiel 40:5, Ezekiel 40:6, a temple gate. Consequently what Ezekiel saw as a city-edifice can only be the building of the new temple, with its surrounding wall and its manifold court buildings. The expressions עליו and מנגב can both be brought into harmony with this. עליו refers to the very high mountain mentioned immediately before, to the summit of which the prophet had been transported, and upon which the temple-edifice is measured before his eyes. But מנגב does not imply, that as Ezekiel looked from the mountain he saw in the distance, toward the south, a magnificent building like a city-edifice; but simply that, looking from his standing-place in a southerly direction, or southwards, he saw this building upon the mountain, - that is to say, as he had been transported from Chaldea, i.e., from the north, into the land of Israel, he really saw it before him towards the south; so that the rendering of מנגב by ἀπέναντι in the Septuagint is substantially correct, though without furnishing any warrant to alter מנגב into מנּגד. In Ezekiel 40:3, ויּביא is repeated from the end of Ezekiel 40:1, for the purpose of attaching the following description of what is seen, in the sense of, "when He brought me thither, behold, there (was) a man." His appearance was like the appearance of brass, i.e., of shining brass (according to the correct gloss of the lxx χαλκοῦ στίλβοντος נחשׁת קלל equals , Ezekiel 1:7). This figure suggests a heavenly being, an angel, and as he is called Jehovah in Ezekiel 44:2, Ezekiel 44:5, the angel of Jehovah. Kliefoth's opinion, that in Ezekiel 44:2, Ezekiel 44:5, it is not the man who is speaking, but that the prophet is there addressed directly by the apparition of God (Ezekiel 43:2 ff.), is proved to be untenable by the simple fact that the speaker (in Ezekiel 44) admonishes the prophet in Ezekiel 40:5 to attend, to see, and to hear, in the same words as the man in Ezekiel 40:4 of the chapter before us. This places the identity of the two beyond the reach of doubt. He had in his hand a flaxen cord for measuring, and the measuring rod - that is to say, two measures, because he had to measure many and various things, smaller and larger spaces, for the former of which he had the measuring rod, for the latter the measuring line. The gate at which this man stood (Ezekiel 40:3) is not more precisely defined, but according to Ezekiel 40:5 it is to be sought for in the wall surrounding the building; and since he went to the east gate first, according to Ezekiel 40:6, it was not the east gate, but probably the north gate, as it was from the north that Ezekiel had come.
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