Ezekiel 1:2
In the fifth day of the month, which was the fifth year of king Jehoiachin's captivity,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Ezekiel 1:2-3. In the fifth year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity — This was of course the fifth year of Zedekiah, who succeeded Jehoiachin. And as the city and temple were destroyed in the eleventh year of Zedekiah, (2 Kings 25:2,) it follows that this vision appeared to Ezekiel six years before that event. The Hebrew writers, it must be observed, use several computations of the beginning of the Babylonish captivity: see the note on Jeremiah 25:11. That under Jehoiachin, wherein Ezekiel was made a captive, is the computation he always follows in the succeeding parts of his prophecy. The word of the Lord — This expression signifies any sort of revelation, whether by a vision, such as is related in the following verses, or by a voice, as Ezekiel 2:3; came expressly — Hebrew, היה היה, being was, or, in coming came, that is, came assuredly; unto Ezekiel — It came with such clearness and conviction that he could neither doubt of its divine authority, mistake its import, nor question his being appointed to the prophetical office; the priest — Being of the family of Aaron, he was a priest by birth, and was now made a prophet by an extraordinary call. In the land of the Chaldeans — In the worst places God can raise up instruments for the service of his church. And the hand of the Lord was there upon him — He felt sensible impressions of a divine power closing his senses to external objects, opening his eyes to see the visions, opening his ears 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.

1:1-14 It is a mercy to have the word of God brought to us, and a duty to attend to it diligently, when we are in affliction. The voice of God came in the fulness of light and power, by the Holy Spirit. These visions seem to have been sent to possess the prophet's mind with great and high thoughts of God. To strike terror upon sinners. To speak comfort to those that feared God, and humbled themselves. In ver. 4-14, is the first part of the vision, which represents God as attended and served by a vast company of angels, who are all his messengers, his ministers, doing his commandments. This vision would impress the mind with solemn awe and fear of the Divine displeasure, yet raise expectations of blessings. The fire is surrounded with a glory. Though we cannot by searching find out God to perfection, yet we see the brightness round about it. The likeness of the living creatures came out of the midst of the fire; angels derive their being and power from God. They have the understanding of a man, and far more. A lion excels in strength and boldness. An ox excels in diligence and patience, and unwearied discharge of the work he has to do. An eagle excels in quickness and piercing sight, and in soaring high; and the angels, who excel man in all these respects, put on these appearances. The angels have wings; and whatever business God sends them upon, they lose no time. They stood straight, and firm, and steady. They had not only wings for motion, but hands for action. Many persons are quick, who are not active; they hurry about, but do nothing to purpose; they have wings, but no hands. But wherever the angels' wings carried them, they carried hands with them, to be doing what duty required. Whatever service they went about, they went every one straight forward. When we go straight, we go forward; when we serve God with one heart, we perform work. They turned not when they went. They made no mistakes; and their work needed not to be gone over again. They turned not from their business to trifle with any thing. They went whithersoever the Spirit of God would have them go. The prophet saw these living creatures by their own light, for their appearance was like burning coals of fire; they are seraphim, or burners; denoting the ardour of their love to God, and fervent zeal in his service. We may learn profitable lessons from subjects we cannot fully enter into or understand. But let us attend to the things which relate to our peace and duty, and leave secret things to the Lord, to whom alone they belong.The Jewish date. This verse and Ezekiel 1:3, which seem rather to interrupt the course of the narrative, may have been added by the prophet when he revised and put together the whole book. The word "captivity" (as in Ezekiel 1:1) refers to the "transportation" of the king and others from their native to foreign soil. This policy of settling a conquered people in lands distant from their home, begun by the Assyrians, was continued by the Persians and by Alexander the Great. The Jews were specially selected for such settlements, and this was no doubt a Providential preparation for the Gospel, the dispersed Jews carrying with them the knowledge of the true God and the sacred Scriptures, and thus paving the way for the messengers of the kingdom of Christ. 2. Jehoiachin's captivity—In the third or fourth year of Jehoiakim, father of Jehoiachin, the first carrying away of Jewish captives to Babylon took place, and among them was Daniel. The second was under Jehoiachin, when Ezekiel was carried away. The third and final one was at the taking of Jerusalem under Zedekiah. In the fifth day; the Hebrew hath only fifth, according to its concise style; we do well to supply day, as in Ezekiel 1:1.

Of the month Tamuz, as Ezekiel 1:1, answering to our June and July.

Which was the fifth year of king Jehoiachin’s captivity: this account observed will guide us in computing the times this prophet referred to, Ezekiel 1:1, 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, Ezekiel 1:1, which likely might be the jubilee, the most fit for so solemn a passover as Josiah kept.

Jehoiachin, who is also called Jeconiah, and Coniah, whose father Jehoiakim was slain by the Chaldeans, and he, after three months’ short reign, voluntarily yielded up himself to the Chaldees; of which rendition of himself and his we read 2 Kings 24:12, &c. Though this man yielded up himself, yet the Babylonians made him prisoner, and carried him and his into captivity; and so the Hebrew, avers; though some distinguish this from captivity by calling it a transmigration, the Hebrew calls it

captivity.

In the fifth day of the month,.... The month Tammuz, as before:

(which was the fifth year of Jehoiachin's captivity); the same with Jeconiah and Coniah, as he is sometimes called; he was taken by the king of Babylon, when he had reigned but three months, and his captivity held seven and thirty years, 2 Kings 24:8.

In the fifth day of the month, which was the fifth year of king Jehoiachin's captivity,
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2. fifth year … jehoiachin] Jehoiachin, son of Jehoiakim and grandson of Josiah, reigned only three months and ten days. He is also styled Jeconiah or Coniah, Jeremiah 22:24 seq., Ezekiel 24:1, Ezekiel 27:20; 2 Kings 24:8. His captivity dates b.c. 597, and Ezekiel’s call 592, six years before the fall of Jerusalem.

Verse 2. - The fifth year of King Jehoiachin's captivity. The date of this deportation stands as B.C. 599 (2 Kings 24:8-16; 2 Chronicles 36:9, 10), and thus brings us to B.C. 595/4 as the time of Ezekiel's first vision. It was for him and for his fellow exiles a natural starting point to reckon from. It would have been, in one sense, as natural to reckon from the beginning of Zedekiah's reign, as Jeremiah does (Jeremiah 39:1, 2), but Ezekiel does not recognize that prince - who was, as it were, a mere satrap under Nebuchadnezzar - as a true king, and throughout his book systematically adheres to this era (Ezekiel 8:1; Ezekiel 20:1; Ezekiel 24:1, et al.). About this time, but a year before, the false prophets of Judah were prophesying the overthrow of Babylon and the return of Jeconiah within two years (Jeremiah 28:3), and the expectations thus raised were probably shared by many of Ezekiel's companions in exile, while he himself adhered to the counsels of the leter which Jeremiah had sent (Jeremiah 29:1-23) to the Jews of the Captivity. To one who felt himself thus apart from his brethren, musing over many things, and perhaps perplexed with the conflict of prophetic voices, there was given, in the "visions of God" which he relates, the guidance that he needed. They did not break in, we may well believe, suddenly and without preparation on the normal order of his life. Like other prophets, he felt, even before his call, the burdens of his time. and vexed his soul with the ungodly deeds of these among whom he lived. Ezekiel 1:2The Appearance of the Glory of the Lord. - Ezekiel 1:1-3. Time and place of the same. - Ezekiel 1:1. Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth (month), on 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. Ezekiel 1:2. On the fifth day of the month, it was the fifth year of King Jehoiachin's captivity, Ezekiel 1:3. The word of the Lord came to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Busi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the Lord was there upon him.

Regarding ויהי at the beginning of a book, as e.g., in Jonah 1:1, cf. the note on Joshua 1:1. The two notices of the year in Ezekiel 1:1 and Ezekiel 1:2 are closely connected with the twofold introduction of the theophany. This is described in verse first, according to its form or phenomenal nature, and then in verses second and third, according to its intended purpose, and its effect upon the prophet. The phenomenon consisted in this, that the heavens were opened, and Ezekiel saw visions of God. The heaven opens not merely when to our eye a glimpse is disclosed of the heavenly glory of God (Calvin), but also when God manifests His glory in a manner perceptible to human sight. The latter was the case here. מראות אלהים, "visions of God," are not "visiones praestantissimae," but visions which have divine or heavenly things for their object; cf. Isaiah 6:1; 1 Kings 22:19; 2 Kings 6:17. Here it is the manifestation of Jehovah's glory described in the following verses. This was beheld by Ezekiel in the thirtieth year, which, according to verse second, was in the fifth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin. The real identity of these two dates is placed beyond doubt by the mention of the same day of the month, "on the fifth day of the month" (Ezekiel 1:2 compared with Ezekiel 1:1). The fifth year from the commencement of Jehoiachin's captivity is the year 595 b.c.; the thirtieth year, consequently, is the year 625 b.c. But the era, in accordance with which this date is reckoned, is matter of dispute, and can no longer be ascertained with certainty. To suppose, with Hengstenberg, that the reference is to the year of the prophet's own life, is forbidden by the addition "in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month," which points to an era generally recognised. In the year 625 b.c., Nabopolassar became king of Babylon, and therefore many of the older expositors have supposed that Ezekiel means the thirtieth year of the era of Nabopolassar. Nothing, however, is know of any such era. Others, as the Chaldee paraphrast and Jerome, and in modern times also Ideler, are of opinion that the thirtieth year is reckoned from the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah, because in that year the book of the law was discovered, and the regeneration of public worship completed by a solemn celebration of the Passover. No trace, however, can elsewhere be pointed out of the existence of a chronology dating from these events. The Rabbins in Seder Olam assume a chronology according to the periods of the years of jubilee, and so also Hitzig; but for this supposition too all reliable proofs are wanting. At the time mentioned, Ezekiel found himself בּתוך הגּולה, "in the midst of the exiles," i.e., within the circuit of their settlements, not, in their society; for it is evident from Ezekiel 3:15 that he was alone when the theophany was imparted to him, and did not repair till afterwards to the residences of the settlers. Ezekiel 1:3. By the river Chebar, in the land of the Chaldees, i.e., in Babylon or Mesopotamia. The river כּבר, to be distinguished from חבור, the river of Gosan, which flows into the Tigris, see on 2 Kings 17:6, is the Mesopotamian Chabioras, ̓Αβορρας (Strabo, xvi. 748), or Χαβώρας (Ptolem. v. 18, 3), Arab. cha equals bu equals r (Edrisi Clim. iv. p. 6, ii. p. 150, ed. Jaubert and Abulf. Mesopot. in the N. Repertor. III. p. xxiv.), which according to Edrisi takes its rise from "nearly three hundred springs," near the city Ras-el-'Ain, at the foot of the mountain range of Masius, flows through Upper Mesopotamia in a direction parallel with its two principal streams, and then, turning westward, discharges itself into the Euphrates near Kirkesion. There the hand of Jehovah came upon Ezekiel. The expression יד יי' היתה על )אל( always signifies a miraculous working of the power or omnipotence of God upon a man-the hand being the organ of power in action-by which he is placed in a condition to exert superhuman power, 1 Kings 18:46, and is the regular expression for the supernatural transportation into the state of ecstasy for the purpose of beholding and announcing (cf. 2 Kings 3:15), or undertaking, heavenly things; and so throughout Ezekiel, cf. Ezekiel 3:22; Ezekiel 8:1; Ezekiel 33:22; Ezekiel 37:1; Ezekiel 40:1.

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