View Ezekiel 1 in the note window.
The time when this prophecy was delivered, the place where, and person
by whom, ver. 1 - 3.
His vision of the glory of God, in his attendance, surrounded with
angels, (here called living creatures) ver. 4 - 14.
In his providences, represented by the wheels and their motions,
ver. 15 - 26.
And in the face of Jesus Christ, sitting upon the throne, ver. 26 - 28.
1: Thirtieth year - From the finding the book of the law in the
eighteenth year of Josiah, from which date to the fifth year of the
captivity are thirty years. Fifth day - Probably it was the sabbath - day,
when the Jews were at leisure to hear the prophet. River - Perhaps
retiring thither to lament their own sins, and Jerusalem's desolation.
Chebar - A river now called Giulap, arising out of the mountain
Masius, and falling into Euphrates, somewhat below a city called by
the same name.
2: The month - Thamus, as ver.(1), answering to our
June and July. Fifth year - This account observed will
guide us in computing the times referred to verse 1.
These five of Jehoiachin, and the eleven of his predecessor,
added to fourteen of Josiah's reign, after he found the law,
make up thirty years.
Jehoiachin - Who is also called Jechoniah, and Coniah. It may
be of use to keep an account, when and where God has manifested
himself to us in a peculiar manner. Remember, O my soul, what
thou didst receive at such a time, at such a place: tell others
what God did for thee.
3: The word - What was visions, ver.(1), is here the
word, both as signifying and declaring the mind of God, what he
would do, and as continuing his commands to Ezekiel and to the
people. Ezekiel - He speaks of himself in a third person.
Priest - He was of the priests originally; he was a prophet by an
extraordinary call. The hand - He felt the power of God opening
his eyes to see the visions, opening his ear to hear the voice,
and his heart to receive both. When the hand of the Lord goes
along with his word, then it becomes effectual.
4: Looked - I very diligently surveyed the things that were
represented to me in the vision. Whirlwind - This denotes the
indignation and judgments of God; a quick, impetuous and irresistible
vengeance. North - From Babylon, which lay northward from Judea;
and the prophet, tho' now in Babylon, speaks of the Jews, as if
they were in Jerusalem. A fire - An orb or wheel of fire: God
being his own cause, his own rule, and his own end. Brightness - Yet
round about it was not smoak and darkness, but a clear light.
The midst - Of the fire.
5: The likeness - Such a representation of the holy angels as God
saw fit to make use of, came out of the midst of the fire: for angels
derive their being and power from God: their glory is a ray of his.
6: Wings - With two they flew, denoting the speed of their obedience;
and with two they covered their body, denoting their reverence.
7: Feet - Their thighs, legs and feet, were of a human shape.
Straight - Not bowed to this or that part, which argues weakness.
The sole - That which is properly the foot. A calf's - A divided
hoof spake the cleanness of the creature. They - Their feet.
8: Under - Their power and manner of exerting it is secret and
invisible. Sides - On each side of the chariot one of these living
creatures flood, and so on each side hands were ready to act as
they were moved. They four - It is doubled to confirm the truth and
certainty of the thing.
9: Their wings - The wings of the two cherubim which went foremost,
and the wings of the two hindermost, were joined together when they moved.
Went - This explains the former words, assuring us, that every one of
those living creatures are ready, and unwearied in doing the pleasure
of their Creator.
10: A man - Each face is compared to what is most excellent in its
kind, man excels in wisdom, lions in strength, the ox in patience and
constancy of labour, the eagle in speed and high flight.
11: Divided - So each face appeared distinct above the shoulders, and
there the wings divided from each other were united to the body of the
12: Straight - Which way soever they went, each living creature had
one face looking straight forward. The spirit - The will, command, and
breathing of the Spirit of God, both gave and guided their motions.
Was to go - Going is attributed here to the Spirit of God, by allusion,
for he who is in every place cannot properly be said to go from or to
any place. Turned not - They looked not back, they turned not out of the
way, they gave not over, 'till they had compleated their course.
13: The fire - This fire stood not still, but as the Hebrew is,
Made itself walk up and down. It moved itself, which is too much
to ascribe to creatures: God only moved all these living creatures.
14: Ran - They ran into the lower world, to do what was to be done
there: and when they had done, returned as a flash of lightning, to the
upper world, to the vision of God. Thus we should be in the affairs of
this world: though we run into them we must not repose in them, but our
souls must presently return like lightning, to God, their rest and center.
15: Living creatures - By each of the living creatures stood one
wheel, so that they were four in number, according to the number of
living creatures. Four faces - By this it appears, each wheel had its
four faces. While he was contemplating the glory of the former vision,
this other was presented to him: wherein the dispensations of providence
are compared to the wheels of a machine, which all contribute to the
regular motion of it. Providence orders, changes: sometimes one spoke of
the wheel is uppermost, sometimes another. But the motion of the wheel
on its own axle - tree, is still regular and steady. And the wheel is said
to be by the living creatures, who attend to direct its motion. For
all inferior creatures are, and move, and act, as the Creator, by the
ministration of angels directs and influences them: visible effects are
managed and governed by invisible causes.
16: Work - All that was wrought, whether engraved or otherwise
was of one colour. Beryl - A sea green. One likeness - The same for
dimensions, colour, frame, and motion. In the middle - It is probable,
the wheels were framed so as to be an exact sphere, which is easily
rolled to any side.
17: They - The wheels. Four sides - The wheels being supposed round
every way as a globe, by an exact framing of two wheels one in the other;
the four semi - circles which are in two whole wheels, may be well taken
for these four sides on which these wheels move, and such a wheel will
readily be turned to all points of the compass. Returned not - They
returned not 'till they came to their journey's end; nothing could
divert them, or put them out of their course. So firm and sure are
the methods, so unalterable and constant the purposes of God, and so
invariable the obedience and observance of holy angels. So subject
to the sovereign will of God are all second causes.
18: The rings - The circumference of the wheels. Dreadful - Their
very height imprest a fear on the beholder. Them four - Every one of
the four wheels. How fitly do the wheels, their motion, their height,
and eyes, signify the height, unsearchableness, wisdom, and vigilance
of the Divine Providence.
20: The spirit - The Spirit of God. These angels in their ministry
punctually observed both his impulse and conduct. They - The wheels,
inferior agents and second causes. Their spirit - The wheels concurred
with the spirit of the living creatures, so that there was an hearty
accord between those superior and inferior causes. For - An undiscerned,
yet divine, mighty, wise, and ever - living power, spirit, and being,
actuated all, and governed all.
21: For - The same wisdom, power, and holiness of God, the same will
and counsel of his, that guides and governs the angels, does by them order
and dispose all the motions of the creatures in this lower world.
22: Likeness - The appearance or resemblance. As crystal - For
splendor, purity, and solidity, all that was above these creatures
and wheels was beautiful and very majestic, and 'tis therefore called
terrible, because it impressed a veneration upon the mind of the beholders.
23: Under - Below at a great distance, stood these living creatures.
Straight - Stretched forth, ready for motion. One - Each of the four had
two other wings with which they covered their bodies.
24: The voice - Thunder. Speech - The prophet heard the voice
in an articulate manner. An host - A tumultuous voice of men.
Stood - Having done their office they present themselves before
God, waiting for the commands of their Lord.
26: A man - Christ, God - man, who here appears as king and judge.
27: Amber - In this colour does Christ appear against the rebellious
Jews; he that would have visited them clothed with the garments of
salvation, now puts on the garments of vengeance, expressed by such
metaphors. Brightness - Majesty, justice, and unstained holiness, shine
round about him.
28: The bow - A like appearance of Christ in a surrounding brightness,
as of the rainbow you have, (Re 4:3). Mercy, and truth, and both
according to covenant are about the throne of Christ. Glory - It was not
the full glory of God, but such as the prophet might bear. I fell - With
deep humility and reverence.