Then said he to me, Son of man, these are the men that devise mischief, and give wicked counsel in this city:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Five and twenty men - Not the same men as in Ezekiel 8:16. There they were representatives of the "priests," here of the "princes." The number is, no doubt, symbolic, made up, probably, of 24 men and the king. The number 24 points to the tribes of undivided Israel.
Jaazaniah ... Pelatiah - We know nothing more of these men. The former name was probably common at that time Ezekiel 8:11. In these two names there is an allusion to the false hopes which they upheld. "Jaazaniah" (Yah (weh) listeneth) "son of Azur" (the Helper); "Pelatiah" (Yah (weh) rescues) "son of Benaiah" (Yah (weh) builds). In the latter case, death Ezekiel 11:13 turned the allusion into bitter irony.
wicked counsel—in opposition to the prophets of God (Eze 11:3).Ezekiel 10:4.
The men; not the only men, but indeed the most notorious.
Devise; frame and contrive with craft and false reasonings.
Mischief; vanity; so the thing was, and mischief the fruit of it. They persuade the people that the city shall not be burnt, but that they may safely build, and long dwell in their houses; this vain hope exhausts that money with which they might have provided for themselves, and this proves a mischief.
Give wicked counsel: this may be an explication of that he last spake. Or possibly it may note their activity and diligence, going about the city and counselling their acquaintance to put off the evil day. Or perhaps they teach a compliance and coalition with the Chaldean superstitions to save themselves; it is not impossible they might give counsel to unhappy Zedekiah. The Chaldee paraphrast here useth a word whose first notation is to reign or be a king, the second sense to give counsel: whose counsellors soever they were, their counsel tended to shame and loss.
these are the men that devise mischief; or "vanity" (d); this is to be understood not of the two only that are named, though it may of them chiefly; but of all the twenty five, who formed schemes for the holding out of the siege, and for the security of the city, and of themselves in it, which was all folly and vanity:
and give wicked counsel in this city; either in ecclesiastical affairs, to forsake the worship of God, and cleave to the idols of the nations; or in civil things, as follows:Then said he unto me, Son of man, these are the men that devise mischief, and give wicked counsel in this city:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)2. give wicked counsel] lit. who counsel evil counsel. The evil counsel probably refers to the revolutionary enterprizes of these men against the authority of Babylon, which the prophet severely condemns (ch. 17). The city was divided into factions, one part holding with Babylon and another with Egypt, while some were for peace on any terms. The consequence of these divisions was much bloodshed within the city (Ezekiel 11:6). It is probable that the schemes of these plotters were only being hatched (Ezekiel 11:5); it was not till some time later that the steps now meditated were actually taken.
Ezekiel 10:9. And I saw, and behold four wheels by the side of the cherubim, one wheel by the side of every cherub, and the appearance of the wheels was like the look of a chrysolith stone. Ezekiel 10:10. And as for their appearance, they had all four one form, as if one wheel were in the midst of the other. Ezekiel 10:11. When they went, they went to their four sides; they did not turn in going; for to the place to which the head was directed, to that they went; they did not turn in their going. Ezekiel 10:12. And their whole body, and their back, and their hands, and their wings, and wheels, were full of eyes round about: by all four their wheels. Ezekiel 10:13. To the wheels, to them was called, "whirl!" in my hearing. Ezekiel 10:14. And every one had four faces; the face of the first was the face of the cherub, the face of the second a man's face, and the third a lion's face, and the fourth an eagle's face. Ezekiel 10:15. And the cherubim ascended. This was the being which I saw by the river Chebar. Ezekiel 10:16. And when the cherubim went, the wheels went by them; and when the cherubim raised their wings to ascend from the earth, the wheels also did not turn from their side. Ezekiel 10:17. When those stood, they stood; and when those ascended, they ascended with them; for the spirit of the being was in them. Ezekiel 10:18.; And the glory of Jehovah went out from the threshold of the house, and stood above the cherubim. Ezekiel 10:19. And the cherubim raised their wings, and ascended from the earth before my eyes on their going out, and the wheels beside them; and they stopped at the entrance of the eastern gate of the house of Jehovah; and the glory of the God of Israel was above them. Ezekiel 10:20. This was the being which I saw under the God of Israel by the river Chebar, and I perceived that they were cherubim. Ezekiel 10:21. Every one had four faces, each and every one four wings, and something like a man's hands under their wings. Ezekiel 10:22. And as for the likeness of their faces, they were the faces which I had seen by the river Chebar, their appearance and they themselves. They went every one according to its face. - With the words "I saw, and behold," a new feature in the vision is introduced. The description of the appearance of the cherubim in these verses coincides for the most part verbatim with the account of the theophany in Ezekiel 1. It differs from this, however, not only in the altered arrangement of the several features, and in the introduction of certain points which serve to complete the former account; but still more in the insertion of a number of narrative sentence, which show that we have not merely a repetition of the first chapter here. On the contrary, Ezekiel is now describing the moving of the appearance of the glory of Jehovah from the inner court or porch of the temple to the outer entrance of the eastern gate of the outer court; in other words, the departure of the gracious presence of the Lord from the temple: and in order to point out more distinctly the importance and meaning of this event, he depicts once more the leading features of the theophany itself. The narrative sentences are found in Ezekiel 10:13, Ezekiel 10:15, Ezekiel 10:18, and Ezekiel 10:19. In Ezekiel 10:13 we have the exclamation addressed to the wheels by the side of the cherubim to set themselves in motion; in Ezekiel 10:15, the statement that the cherubim ascended; and in Ezekiel 10:18 and Ezekiel 10:19, the account of the departure of the glory of the Lord from the inner portion of the temple. To this we may add the repeated remark, that the appearance was the same as that which the prophet had seen by the river Chebar (Ezekiel 10:15, Ezekiel 10:20, Ezekiel 10:22). To bring clearly out to view both the independence of these divine manifestations and their significance to Israel, Ezekiel repeats the leading features of the former description; but while doing this, he either makes them subordinate to the thoughts expressed in the narrative sentences, or places them first as introductory to these, or lets them follow as explanatory. Thus, for example, the description of the wheels, and of the manner in which they moved (Ezekiel 10:9-12), serves both to introduce and explain the call to the wheels to set themselves in motion. The description of the wheels in Ezekiel 10:9-11 harmonizes with Ezekiel 1:16 and Ezekiel 1:17, with this exception, however, that certain points are given with greater exactness here; such, for example, as the statement that the movements of the wheels were so regulated, that in whichever direction the front one turned, the other did the same. הראשׁ, the head, is not the head-wheel, or the wheel which was always the first to move, but the front one, which originated the motion, drawing the others after it and determining their direction. For Ezekiel 10:12 and the fact that the wheels were covered with eyes, see Ezekiel 1:18. In Ezekiel 10:12 we have the important addition, that the whole of the body and back, as well as the hands and wings, of the cherubim were full of eyes. There is all the less reason to question this addition, or remove it (as Hitzig does) by an arbitrary erasure, inasmuch as the statement itself is apparently in perfect harmony with the whole procedure; and the significance possessed by the eyes in relation to the wheels was not only appropriate in the case of the cherubim, but necessarily to be assumed in such a connection. The fact that the suffixes in בּשׂרם, גּבּהם, etc., refer to the cherubim, is obvious enough, if we consider that the wheels to which immediate reference is made were by the side of the cherubim (Ezekiel 10:9), and that the cherubim formed the principal feature in the whole of the vision.
Ezekiel 10:13 does not point back to Ezekiel 10:2, and bring the description of the wheel-work to a close, as Hitzig supposes. This assumption, by which the meaning of the whole description has been obscured, is based upon the untenable rendering, "and the wheels they named before my ears whirl" (J. D. Mich., Ros., etc.). Hvernick has already pointed out the objection to this, namely, that with such a rendering בּאזני forms an unmeaning addition; whereas it is precisely this addition which shows that קרא is used here in the sense of addressing, calling, and not of naming. One called to the wheels הגּלגּל, whirl; i.e., they were to verify their name galgal, viz., to revolve or whirl, to set themselves in motion by revolving. This is the explanation given by Theodoret: ἀνακυκλεῖσθαι καὶ ἀνακινεῖσθαι προσετάχθησαν. These words therefore gave the signal for their departure, and accordingly the rising up of the cherubim is related in Ezekiel 10:15. Ezekiel 10:14 prepares the way for their ascent by mentioning the four faces of each cherub; and this is still further expanded in Ezekiel 10:16 and Ezekiel 10:17, by the statement that the wheels moved according to the movements of the cherubim. לאחד without an article is used distributively (every one), as in Ezekiel 1:6 and Ezekiel 1:10. The fact that in the description which follows only one face of each of the four cherubs is given, is not at variance with Ezekiel 1:10, according to which every one of the cherubs had the four faces named. It was not Ezekiel's intention to mention all the faces of each cherub here, as he had done before; but he regarded it as sufficient in the case of each cherub to mention simply the one face, which was turned toward him. The only striking feature which still remains is the statement that the face of the one, i.e., of the first, was the face of the cherub instead of the face of an ox (cf. Ezekiel 1:10), since the faces of the man, the lion, and the eagle were also cherubs' faces. We may, no doubt, get rid of the difficulty by altering the text, but this will not solve it; for it would still remain inexplicable how הכּרוּב could have grown out of שׁור by a copyist's error; and still more, how such an error, which might have been so easily seen and corrected, could have been not only perpetuated, but generally adopted. Moreover, we have the article in הכּרוּב, which would also be inexplicable if the word had originated in an oversight, and which gives us precisely the index required to the correct solution of the difficulty, showing as it does that it was not merely a cherub's face, but the face of the cherub, so that the allusion is to one particular cherub, who was either well known from what had gone before, or occupied a more prominent position than the rest. Such a cherub is the one mentioned in Ezekiel 10:7, who had taken the coals from the fire between the wheels, and stood nearest to Ezekiel. There did not appear to be any necessity to describe his face more exactly, as it could be easily seen from a comparison with Ezekiel 1:10. - In Ezekiel 10:15, the fact that the cherubim arose to depart from their place is followed by the remark that the cherubic figure was the being (החיּה, singular, as in Ezekiel 1:22) which Ezekiel saw by the Chaboras, because it was a matter of importance that the identity of the two theophanies should be established as a help to the correct understanding of their real signification. But before the departure of the theophany from the temple is related, there follows in Ezekiel 10:16 and Ezekiel 10:17 a repetition of the circumstantial description of the harmonious movements of the wheels and the cherubim (cf. Ezekiel 1:19-21); and then, in Ezekiel 10:18, the statement which had such practical significance, that the glory of the Lord departed from the threshold of the temple, and resumed the throne above the cherubim; and lastly, the account in Ezekiel 10:19, that the glory of the God of Israel, seated upon this throne, took up its position at the entrance of the eastern gate of the temple. The entrance of this gate is not the gate of the temple, but the outer side of the eastern gate of the outer court, which formed the principal entrance to the whole of the temple-space. The expression "God of Israel" instead of "Jehovah" is significant, and is used to intimate that God, as the covenant God, withdrew His gracious presence from the people of Israel by this departure from the temple; not, indeed, from the whole of the covenant nation, but from the rebellious Israel which dwelt in Jerusalem and Judah; for the same glory of God which left the temple in the vision before the eyes of Ezekiel had appeared to the prophet by the river Chebar, and by calling him to be the prophet for Israel, had shown Himself to be the God who kept His covenant, and proved that, by the judgment upon the corrupt generation, He simply desired to exterminate its ungodly nature, and create for Himself a new and holy people. This is the meaning of the remark which is repeated in Ezekiel 10:20-22, that the apparition which left the temple was the same being as Ezekiel had seen by the Chaboras, and that he recognised the beings under the throne as cherubim.
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