So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way…
I. THE REAL CAUSE OF MAN'S EXPULSION FROM THE EARTHLY PARADISE (see vers. 22, 23).
II. THE SINGULAR MANIFESTATION THAT NOW SUCCEEDED. It was not a flaming guard of angels that was placed, but the Shechina, or Divine presence of Him who dwelt between the cherubim.
III. THE IMPORTANT AND CONSOLATORY DOCTRINE WHICH THIS APPEARANCE TAUGHT. O cheering object to the eye of faith! O glorious hope, and balmy consolation to dry the tears of penitence, and wake the harp of joy! O hallowed spot, where God vouchsafed to dwell! O blissful seat, where mercy smiled on man. Yes, for there he "looked and lived"; there he learnt that in due time the sword should awake (that very sword), and smite the man who was Jehovah's fellow; should turn from the sinner upon the surety; and, as was here seen, should be revolvable upon itself! Yes, and there he first saw the cherubims! now first revealed as the covenanting three in the mysterious one. Each conditionally bound to their sacred office; emblems of those great ones, as should hereafter be more particularly unfolded to the captive prophet, as he mourned and wept for Israel's sons, beside the banks of Chebar! Captives of every clime and race! here behold the dispensations of Providence, and the design of mercy, grace, and peace! Yes, and with the cheering vision, the very place where it was seen would impart instruction, and might assuage their grief; for see, like the star of Bethlehem, it appeared in "the East," emblematic of another sun than they saw; even the Sun of Righteousness, who should hereafter arise to heal, to fructify, to irradiate, guide, and cheer His Church; and who should "keep," preserve, and show "the way" of everlasting life! Yes, here Christ was preached in type and figure as "the way, the truth, and the life." For He whom "the tree of life" represented, was still seen as the same source of being and blessedness to their souls; for though, as has been repeatedly enforced, our first parents could no longer approach as heretofore, and when clad in innocence, yet the blessings it prefigured were still preserved, though shown in another, and even in a superior way. Here, then, was a standing type of redemption; and to this they did approach; for here profoundest wisdom was discovered, and covenanting mercy was displayed. And here, too (for where else?), was that presence of the Lord, from which Cain afterwards departed, while it long continued as the place before which Abel and every pious worshipper would delight to bring his sacrifice, to pay his adoration, and to perform his vows.
(W. B. Williams, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.