« PreviousContinue »
24 And when they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of great waters, as the voice of the Almighty, the voice of speech, as the noise of an host: when they stood, they let down their wings.
25 And there was a voice from the firmament that was over their heads, when they stood, and had let down their wings.
27 And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about.
28 As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake.
26¶ And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it.
EZEKIEL.-Ezekiel, like Jeremiah. was of the sacerdotal race, and was one of the captives carried away, at the same time with Jehoiachin king of Judah, to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar. He was stationed with other captives at some place on the river Chebar; and it does not appear that he exercised the prophetic office until he had been removed from his own country. "The thirtieth year," which he gives as the date of his first prophecy, is supposed by some to be the year of his own age; it was certainly, as explained in the second verse, equivalent to the fifth year of king Jehoiachin's captivity, which leads Calmet to conjecture that it was rather the thirtieth year from the renewal of the covenant with God in the time of Josiah, as this was just thirty years prior to the time stated in the second and explanatory date. From a comparison of this date with that in chap. xxix. 17, it will appear that Ezekiel continued to prophesy nearly twenty-two years-the first being in the fifth year of his own captivity, and the last in the twenty-seventh. Thus Ezekiel, in Mesopotamia, did, during a very important period, prophesy contemporaneously with Jeremiah in Judea; but he began his prophecies later and continued them longer than Jeremiah. As the predictions of the prophets, so distant from each other, referred in a very considerable degree to the same events, and were mutually corroborative, it is not unlikely, as Jerome conjectures, that the prophecies of Jeremiah were sent to Mesopotamia, and those of Ezekiel to Judea, to give encouragement and confidence to the captive Jews, on the one hand, and, on the other, to reprove and leave without excuse those that remained in their own country. Some traditionary reports concerning Ezekiel himself and the place of his interment, we reserve for the final note to his book of prophecy.
The principal object of Ezekiel's prophecies, according to their immediate and literal sense, is to rebuke the children of Israel for their idolatries and unbelief, and to announce-as Jeremiah had done before and was thendoing-the terrible judgments which the Lord would exercise upon them by the hands of Nebuchadnezzar. This is the general subject of the twenty-four first chapters. The eight chapters following embrace prophecies against the Ammonites. Moabites, Edomites. Philistines, Tyrians, Sidonians, Egyptians, and Babylonians. These prophecies respecting foreign nations, besides the conclusive evidence which they furnish to all ages of the Divine authority by which the prophets spoke, were, by the speedy accomplishment of many of them, well calculated to assure the Hebrews of the certain fulfilment of those other prophecies in which they were themselves more immediately interested. The remainder of the book, again, relates principally to the Hebrews, who, after proper warnings and reproofs, are assured of their final and happy re-establishment in their own country.
The visions of Ezekiel, particularly those with which the book opens and terminates, have always been regarded both by Jews and Christians as very abstruse and of difficult interpretation.-so much so, indeed, that the former anciently forbade either of them to be read by persons under thirty years of age.
The style and manner of this prophet is marked by a peculiar character of its own, which is easily distinguishable even in a translation. It is thus discriminated by Bishop Lowth:-" Ezekiel is much inferior to Jeremiah in elegance; in sublimity he is not even excelled by Isaiah: but his sublimity is of a totally different kind. He is deep, vehement, tragical; the only sensation he affects to excite is the terrible: his sentiments are elevated, fervid, full of fire, indig nant; his imagery is crowded, magnificent, terrific, sometimes almost to disgust; his language is pompous, solemn, austere, rough, and at times unpolished: he employs frequent repetitions, not for the sake of grace or elegance, but from the vehemence of passion and indignation. Whatever subject he treats of, that he sedulously pursues, from that he rarely departs, but cleaves as it were to it, whence the connection is in general evident and well preserved. In many respects he is perhaps excelled by the other prophets; but in that species of composition to which he seems by nature adopted, the forcible, the impetuous, the great and solemn, not one of the sacred writers is superior to him. His diction is sufficiently perspicuous, all his obscurity consists in the nature of his subject." This estimate has been objected to by some writers, and particularly by Michaelis, who can by no means allow that Ezekiel is equal in sublimity to Isaiah: but to such discussions about style and manner, it may be well to append the remark of Archbishop Newcome, that the holy prophet is not to be considered merely as a poet, or as a framer of those august and astonishing visions, and of those admirable poetical representations which he committed to writing; but as an instrument in the hands of God, who vouchsafed to reveal himself, through a long succession of ages, not only in divers parts constituting a magnificent and uniform whole, but also in divers manners, as by a voice, by dreams, by inspiration, and by plain or enigmatical vision.
Verse 1. "The river of Chebar.”—This is doubtless the river that still bears the name of Khabour-being the same Oriental name, differently represented in European orthography. It is the only stream of note that enters the Euphrates, which it does from Mesopotamia. It is formed by the junction of a number of little brooks, which have their source at Ras-ul-lin (once a considerable town but now in ruins), thirteen fursungs south-west from Merdin. It takes a southerly direction till it receives the waters of another river, equal to itself, when it bends westward to the Euphrates, which it enters at Kerkesia, the ancient Circessium, which was the extreme boundary of the Roman empire in the time of Julian. This is about 280 miles to the north-west of Babylon. The river which the Khabour receives is the Hermes, or Nahr-el-Houali, to which the Greeks gave the name of Mygdonius. It rises in Mount Masius, near Merdin; and after washing the ruined ramparts of Nisibis, encircles the base of the mountain Sinjar, and finally disembogues itself
into the Khabour. From this it appears clear that the band of captives to which Ezekiel belonged was settled in the higher Mesopotamia, at a very considerable distance from Babylon. See Kinneir's Geographical Memoir of the Persian Empire, p. 244.
16. "Beryl."-See the note on Exod. xxviii. 20.
22. "The terrible crystal."-The pha-kerach ha-nora seems to have been a term of pre-eminence for the diamond, for it is indeed an "admirable crystal" for its brilliancy and hardness. The diamond is found in alluvial beds in India and Brazil, and also in the diamond bed of clay in the former country underneath beds of red or bluish clay. The diamond reflects all the light falling on the posterior surface at an angle of incidence greater than 24° 13', whence we have the cause of its superior brilliancy. When it is said that the firmament was as the colour of the terrible crystal, we must refer colour to the original, which is , "as the eye" or splendour of the diamond, which is sometimes yellow, red, or green, but colouring is not the remarkable feature of this gem, and seems therefore not to have been referred to here. It is remarkable that in the Levant the diamond is called "the eye of purity" (ain yaccout), whence Dr. Shaw also concludes that the diamond is here to be understood.
26. "Sapphire."-See the note on Exod. xxiv. 10.
27. "Amber."-See the note on ch. viii. 2.
1 Ezekiel's commission. 6 His instruction. 9 The roll of his heavy prophecy.
AND he said unto me, Son of man, stand
3 And he said unto me, Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious 'nation that hath rebelled against me: they and their fathers have transgressed against me, even unto this very day.
4 For they are impudent children and stiffhearted. I do send thee unto them; and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD.
5 And they, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, (for they are a rebellious house,) yet shall know that there hath been a prophet among them.
1 Ezekiel eateth the roll. 4 God encourageth him. 15 God sheweth him the rule of prophecy. 22 God shutteth and openeth the prophet's mouth. MOREOVER he said unto me, Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel.
2 So I opened my mouth, and he caused
me to eat that roll.
3 And he said unto me, Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. Then did I Then did I eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness.
6 ¶ And thou, son of man, be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words,
1 Heb. nations. "Heb. hard of face. 3 Or, rebels. 4 Heb. rebellion.
4¶And he said unto me, Son of man, go, get thee unto the house of Israel, and speak with my words unto them.
5 For thou art not sent to a people 'of a strange speech and of an hard language, but to the house of Israel;
though briers and thorns be with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions: be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house.
7 And thou shalt speak my words unto them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear: for they are 'most rebel
5 Revel. 10. 9.
Verse 10. "Written within and without."-This was not a common practice, the rolls which formed the ancient books being usually written on one side only. But when the matter to be written exceeded the calculation under which the skin was prepared or provided, the writing was sometimes continued to the required extent on the other side, being the outer side of the roll. Therefore that the roll was written on "within and without," implies that it was redundantly full of "lamentation, mourning, and woe."
8 But thou, son of man, hear what I say unto thee; Be not thou rebellious like that rebellious house: open thy mouth, and 'eat that I give thee.
9¶And when I looked, behold, an hand was sent unto me; and, lo, a roll of a book was therein;
6 Not to many people of a strange speech and of an hard language, whose words thou canst not understand. Surely, had I sent thee to them, they would have hearkened
10 And he spread it before me: and it was written within and without: and there was written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe.
unto thee; for they will not hearken unto me: for all the house of Israel are 'impudent and hardhearted.
8 Behold, I have made thy face strong against their faces, and thy forehead strong against their foreheads.
9 As an adamant harder than flint have I made thy forehead: "fear them not, neither be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house.
10 Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, all my words that I shall speak unto thee receive in thine heart, and hear with
11 And go, get thee to them of the captivity, unto the children of thy people, and speak unto them, and tell them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear.
12 Then the spirit took me up, and I heard behind me a voice of a great rushing, saying, Blessed be the glory of the LORD from his place.
13 I heard also the noise of the wings of the living creatures that 'touched one an7 But the house of Israel will not hearken other, and the noise of the wheels over 1 Revel. 10. 9. Heb. deep of lip, and heavy of tongue; and so verse 6. 3 Heb. deep of lip, and heary of language. *Or, if I had sent thee, &c. would they not have hearkened unto thee? Heb. stiff of forehead, and hard of heart. Jer. 1.8 7 Heb. kissed.
against them, and a noise of a great rush- | ing.
14 So the spirit lifted me up, and took me away, and I went in bitterness, in the 'heat of my spirit; but the hand of the LORD was strong upon me.
15 Then I came to them of the captivity at Tel-abib, that dwelt by the river of Chebar, and I sat where they sat, and remained there astonished among them seven days.
16 And it came to pass at the end of seven days, that the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
17 10Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me.
18 When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
19 Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.
20 Again, When a "righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done 9 Heb. hot anger. 10 Chap 33 7
8 Heb. bitter.
shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
21 Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul.
1 Under the type of a siege is shewed the time from the defection of Jeroboam to the captivity. 9 By the provision of the siege, is shewed the hardness of the famine.
22 And the hand of the LORD was there upon me; and he said unto me, Arise, go forth into the plain, and I will there talk with thee.
THOU also, son of man, take thee a tile, and lay it before thee, and pourtray upon it the city, even Jerusalem:
2 And lay siege against it, and build a fort against it, and cast a mount against it;
1 Or, chief leaders.
23 Then I arose, and went forth into the plain: and, behold, the glory of the LORD stood there, as the glory which I saw by the river of Chebar: and I fell on my face.
24 Then the spirit entered into me, and set me upon my feet, and spake with me, and said unto me, Go, shut thyself within thine house.
25 But thou, O son of man, behold, they shall put bands upon thee, and shall bind thee with them, and thou shalt not go out among them:
26 And I will make thy tongue cleave to the roof of thy mouth, that thou shalt be dumb, and shalt not be to them a reprover: for they are a rebellious house.
12 Heb. righteousnesses.
Verse 15. "Tel-abib."-Names of places beginning with "Tel" are still common in Assyria, Mesopotamia, and Syria. The word, in its present usage, indicates an artificial height, or loosely, any height; and when used as a prefix, intimates that the place is situated on some elevation. Tel-abib means " heap of ears of corn," and we are not sure whether it is the name of a town, so called from the fertility of its neighbourhood, or of the fertile district itself. Whether a town or a district it was certainly near to or traversed by the Chebar. Junius thinks it was the name of the district extending from Mount Masius to the Euphrates; but perhaps a more distinct recognition may be obtained in the Thailaba, which the Theodosian table places in Mesopotamia, on the banks of the Chaborus (Khabour or Chebar), and the situation of which is marked in the map of D'Anville as in about the centre part of the district which Junius supposes the present name to describe.
27 But when I speak with thee, I will open thy mouth, and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; He that heareth, let him hear; and he that forbeareth, let him forbear: for they are a rebellious house.
11 Chap 18. 24. 14 Heb. a man reproving.
13 Chap. 1.
Take thou also unto thee wheat, and , and beans, and lentiles, and millet, itches, and put them in one vessel, and thee bread thereof, according to the er of the days that thou shalt lie upon ide, three hundred and ninety days thou eat thereof. And thy meat which thou shalt eat be by weight, twenty shekels a day ime to time shalt thou eat it.
11 Thou shalt drink also water by mea sure, the sixth part of an hin: from time to time shalt thou drink.
12 And thou shalt eat it as barley cakes, and thou shalt bake it with dung that cometh out of man, in their sight.
13 And the LORD said, Even thus shall the children of Israel eat their defiled bread among the Gentiles, whither I will drive them.
14 Then said I, Ah Lord GOD! behold, my soul hath not been polluted: for from my youth up even till now have I not eaten of that which dieth of itself, or is torn in pieces; neither came there abominable flesh into my mouth.
15 Then he said unto me, Lo, I have given thee cow's dung for man's dung, and thou shalt prepare thy bread therewith.
16 Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, behold, I will break the 'staff of bread in Jerusalem: and they shall eat bread by weight, and with care; and they shall drink water by measure, and with astonish
17 That they may want bread and water, and be astonied one with another, and consume away for their iniquity.
• Or, spelt.
3 Num. 14. 34. 4 Heb, a day for a year, a day for 7 Lev. 26. 26. 1. "Take thee a tile...and pourtray upon it the city."-For "tile," we may read "brick," and for "pourtray," e." This is a striking reference to the Chaldean usage of writing and pourtraying by indented figures upon ad thin bricks. Great numbers of such bricks, charged with inscriptions in the arrow-headed character, and ures of animals and other objects, are found among the ruins of Babylon and other ancient sites in Chaldea. criptions of those which have been brought to light have not been decyphered, except that Professor Grotefend nd the name of Darius upon one of them. The bricks applied to this use are of fine clay, much hardened in They are of different sizes, but very commonly a foot square by three inches in thickness. Heeren thinks it that the usual process in forming the inscriptions was to impress the characters upon the brick by means of hich they applied before the mass was submitted to the fire. If so, they touched upon the invention of printing y as the materials would allow. Some of these bricks, besides the lines of inscribed writing, bear the impression offering the figures of animals and other objects, with other lines of inscription attached to them; whence it 1 conjectured that these bricks contain public or private documents, with the names and seals of witnesses, and ruined edifices from which they are obtained were the repositories of such archives. It is however not necesgeneralise this opinion, and to suppose that all the inscribed bricks were such documents, some of which may contain the astronomical observations for a long series of years, which the ancient Chaldeans are said to have I on bricks. But it is difficult to explain, under any hypothesis, how it happens that such bricks should have ployed in the construction of walls, with their inscribed faces downward-their edges, which formed the front all, only appearing-and connected by a strong cement, so as to preclude the possibility of their being read till e destruction of the buildings of which they were composed. However, enough has been stated to illustrate, e common practice of the country, the act of the prophet when he took a tile to "portray" Jerusalem thereon. is was done, we do not know; but probably by inscribing its name or symbol upon the brick, or possibly by a representation of some conspicuous part or building of the city.
5 Heb. from thy side to thy side. Chap. 5. 16, and 14. 13.
in iron pan.”—Or "an iron plate," probably such as was employed for baking cakes of bread. See Lev. ii. 5. Beans." pul, whence the Latin puls, and our English pulse, as a general appellation for the seeds of leguplants. The kinds most common in Syria are the white horse bean and the kidney bean. The paintings of show that the bean was cultivated in that country in very ancient times. It is stated by Herodotus that beans eld in abhorrence by the Egyptian priesthood, and that they were never eaten by the people. But as they were eless cultivated, the intimation of Diodorus that the abstinence from beans was not general, is more than prothough it is not likely that they formed so considerable an article in the diet of the poorer people as they do at in the same country. It will be observed that the prophet is directed to make his bread with beans, dhourra, , and other coarse, inferior matters, mixed with wheat, to show that wheat should become too costly to be used and to express the shifts to which the besieged people should be driven. Thus the Romans were in the habit ng the meal of the bean with that of corn grasses, in times of scarcity, and the practice has been imitated in 1 times. The present passage shows the antiquity of this resource. VOL. III.