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Ezekiel 1:1

    Ezekiel 1:1 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month , in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    Now it came about in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, while I was by the river Chebar among those who had been made prisoners, that the heavens were made open and I saw visions of God.

    Webster's Revision

    Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month , in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.

    World English Bible

    Now it happened in the thirtieth year, in the fourth [month], in the fifth [day] of the month, as I was among the captives by the river Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.

    Clarke's Commentary on Ezekiel 1:1

    In the thirtieth year - We know not what this date refers to. Some think it was the age of the prophet; others think the date is taken from the time that Josiah renewed the covenant with the people, 2 Kings 22:3, from which Usher, Prideaux, and Calmet compute the forty years of Judah's transgression, mentioned 2 Kings 4:6.

    Abp. Newcome thinks there is an error in the text, and that instead of בשלשים bisheloshim, in the thirtieth, we should read בחמישית bachamishith, in the fifth, as in the second verse. "Now it came to pass in the fifth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month," etc. But this is supported by none of the ancient Versions, nor by any MS. The Chaldee paraphrases the verse, "And it came to pass thirty years after the high priest Hilkiah had found the book of the law, in the house of the sanctuary," etc. This was in the twelfth year of Josiah's reign. The thirtieth year, computed as above, comes to A.M. 3409, the fourth year from the captivity of Jeconiah, and the fifth of the reign of Zedekiah. Ezekiel was then among the captives who had been carried way with Jeconiah, and had his dwelling near the river Chebar, Chaborus, or Aboras, a river of Mesopotamia, which falls into the Euphrates a little above Thapsacus, after having run through Mesopotamia from east to west. - Calmet.

    Fourth month - Thammuz, answering nearly to our July.

    I saw visions of God - Emblems and symbols of the Divine Majesty. He particularly refers to those in this chapter.

    Barnes' Notes on Ezekiel 1:1

    The thirtieth year - being closely connected with as I, is rather in favor of considering this a personal date. It is not improbable that Ezekiel was called to his office at the age prescribed in the Law for Levites Numbers 4:23, Numbers 4:30, at which age both John the Baptist and our Lord began their ministry. His call is probably to be connected with the letter sent by Jeremiah to the captives Jeremiah 29 written a few months previously. Some reckon this date from the accession of Nabopolassar, father of Nebuchadnezzar, 625 b.c., and suppose that Ezekiel here gives a Babylonian, as in Ezekiel 1:2 a Jewish, date; but it is not certain that this accession formed an era in Babylon and Ezekiel does not elsewhere give a double date, or even a Babylonian date. Others date from the 18th year of Josiah, when Hilkiah discovered the Book of the Law (supposed to be a jubilee year): this would give 594 b.c. as the 30th year, but there is no other instance in Ezekiel of reckoning from this year.

    The captives - Not in confinement, but restricted to the place of their settlement.

    The fourth month - "Month" is not expressed in the original. This is the common method. Before the captivity the months were described not by proper names but by their order, "the first, the second," etc.; the first month corresponding nearly with our "April." After the captivity, the Jews brought back with them the proper names of the months, "Nisan" etc. (probably those used in Chaldaea).

    Chebar - The modern "Khabour" rises near Nisibis and flows into the Euphrates near "Kerkesiah," 200 miles north of Babylon.

    Visions of God - The exposition of the fundamental principles of the existence and nature of a Supreme God, and of the created angels, was called by the rabbis "the Matter of the Chariot" (compare 1 Chronicles 28:18) in reference to the form of Ezekiel's vision of the Almighty; and the subject was deemed so mysterious as to call for special caution in its study. The vision must be compared with other manifestations of the divine glory Exodus 3; Exodus 24:10; Isaiah 6:1; Daniel 7:9; Revelation 4:2. Each of these visions has some of the outward signs or symbols here recorded. If we examine these symbols we shall find them to fall readily into two classes,

    (1) Those which we employ in common with the writers of all ages and countries. "Gold, sapphire, burnished brass," the "terrible crystal" are familiar images of majestic glory, "thunders, lightnings" and "the rushing storm" of awful power. But

    (2) We come to images to our minds strange and almost grotesque. That the "Four Living Creatures" had their groundwork in the cherubim there can be no doubt. And yet their shapes were very different. Because they were symbols not likenesses, they could yet be the same though their appearance was varied.

    Of what are they symbolic? They may, according to the Talmudists, have symbolized orders of Angels and not persons; according to others they were figures of the Four Gospels actuated by one spirit spread over the four quarters of the globe, upon which, as on pillars, the Church is borne up, and over whom the Word of God sits enthroned. The general scope of the vision gives the best interpretation of the meaning.

    Ezekiel saw "the likeness of the glory of God." Here His glory is manifested in the works of creation; and as light and fire, lightning and cloud, are the usual marks which in inanimate creation betoken the presence of God Psalm 18:6-14 - so the four living ones symbolize animate creation. The forms are typical, "the lion" and "the ox" of the beasts of the field (wild and tame), "the eagle" of the birds of the air, while "man" is the rational being supreme upon the earth. And the human type predominates over all, and gives character and unity to the four, who thus form one creation. Further, these four represent the constitutive parts of man's nature: "the ox" (the animal of sacrifice), his faculty of suffering; "the lion" (the king of beasts), his faculty of ruling; "the eagle" (of keen eye and soaring wing), his faculty of imagination; "the man," his spiritual faculty, which actuates all the rest.

    Christ is the Perfect Man, so these four in their perfect harmony typify Him who came to earth to do His Father's will; and as man is lord in the kingdom of nature, so is Christ Lord in the kingdom of grace. The "wings" represent the power by which all creation rises and falls at God's will; the "one spirit," the unity and harmony of His works; the free motion in all directions, the universality of His Providence. The number "four" is the symbol of the world with its "four quarters;" the "veiled" bodies, the inability of all creatures to stand in the presence of God; the "noise of the wings," the testimony borne by creation to God Psalm 19:1-3; the "wheels" connect the vision with the earth, the wings with heaven, while above them is the throne of God in heaven. Since the eye of the seer is turned upward, the lines of the vision become less distinct. It is as if he were struggling against the impossibility of expressing in words the object of his vision: yet on the summit of the throne is He who can only be described as, in some sort, the form of a man. That Yahweh, the eternal God, is spoken of, we cannot doubt; and such passages as Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:3; John 1:14; John 12:41, justify us in maintaining that the revelation of the divine glory here made to Ezekiel has its consummation or fulfillment in the person of Christ, the only-begotten of God (compare Revelation 1:17-18).

    The vision in the opening chapter of Ezekiel is in the most general form - the manifestation of the glory of the living God. It is repeated more than once in the course of the book (compare Ezekiel 8:2, Ezekiel 8:4; Ezekiel 9:3; 10; Ezekiel 11:22; Ezekiel 40:3). The person manifested is always the same, but the form of the vision is modified according to special circumstances of time and place.