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Bible Commentaries
Ezekiel 10

Utley's You Can Understand the BibleUtley Commentary


Ezekiel 10:0


Temple Vision(Ezekiel 8:1-25)
Vision of God's Glory Departing From the TempleThe Glory Departs From the TempleThe LORD Leaves His TempleThe glory of the LORD Leaves the TempleThe Punishment(Ezekiel 9:1-22)
Ezekiel 10:1-2Ezekiel 10:1-2Ezekiel 10:1-5Ezekiel 10:1-2bEzekiel 10:1-2
Ezekiel 10:2-5
Ezekiel 10:3-5Ezekiel 10:3-5Ezekiel 10:3-5
Ezekiel 10:6-8Ezekiel 10:6-8Ezekiel 10:6-8Ezekiel 10:6-7Ezekiel 10:6-7
Ezekiel 10:8-13Ezekiel 10:8-10
Ezekiel 10:9-14Ezekiel 10:9-14Ezekiel 10:9-14
Ezekiel 10:11-17
Ezekiel 10:14-17
Ezekiel 10:15-1710;15-17Ezekiel 10:15-17The Glory of Yahweh Leaves the Temple
Ezekiel 10:18-19Ezekiel 10:18-19Ezekiel 10:18-19Ezekiel 10:18-20Ezekiel 10:18-22
Ezekiel 10:20-22Ezekiel 10:20-22Ezekiel 10:20-22
Ezekiel 10:21-22

READING CYCLE THREE (see “Guide to Good Bible Reading”)


This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects (reading cycle #3). Compare your subject divisions with the four modern translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.

Verses 1-2

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Ezekiel 10:1-2 1Then I looked, and behold, in the expanse that was over the heads of the cherubim something like a sapphire stone, in appearance resembling a throne, appeared above them. 2And He spoke to the man clothed in linen and said, “Enter between the whirling wheels under the cherubim and fill your hands with coals of fire from between the cherubim and scatter them over the city.” And he entered in my sight.

Ezekiel 10:1-2 This is very similar to the description of YHWH's portable throne chariot of Ezekiel 1:13-25.

Ezekiel 10:2 YHWH gives three commands to the angelic being dressed in linen.

1. “enter,” BDB 97, KB 112, Qal IMPERATIVE

2. “fill,” BDB 569, KB 583, Piel IMPERATIVE

3. “scatter,” BDB 284, KB 283, Qal IMPERATIVE

The imagery comes from the vision of Isaiah 6:6, where it is initially a purification ritual inaugurating Isaiah's ministry. Here it is a judgment ritual, which is repeated in Revelation 8:5. In may ways Isaiah (i.e., chapter 24) and Ezekiel are the beginning of apocalyptic imagery. This is developed in Daniel and Zechariah and becomes a significant Jewish genre during the interbiblical period.

Verses 3-5

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Ezekiel 10:3-5 3Now the cherubim were standing on the right side of the temple when the man entered, and the cloud filled the inner court. 4Then the glory of the LORD went up from the cherub to the threshold of the temple, and the temple was filled with the cloud and the court was filled with the brightness of the glory of the LORD. 5Moreover, the sound of the wings of the cherubim was heard as far as the outer court, like the voice of God Almighty when He speaks.

Ezekiel 10:3 “the cloud filled the inner court” This is the theophanic cloud (BDB 777) of glory (a visual symbol of the presence of YHWH) that was present

1. at the crossing of the Red Sea (cf. Exodus 13:21)

2. on Mount Sinai (cf. Exodus 24:14-18)

3. at the tabernacle of Moses (cf. Exodus 40:34-38; Numbers 14:14)

4. at the dedication of Solomon's Temple (cf. 1 Kings 8:11)

5. in Isaiah's vision (cf. Isaiah 6:4)

6. in Ezekiel's vision (cf. Ezekiel 1:4)

7. at the baptism of Jesus (cf. Mark 1:10-11)

8. at the transfiguration of Jesus (cf. Matthew 17:5)

9. at the ascension of Jesus (Acts 1:9)

10. at the return of Jesus (cf. Matthew 24:30; Matthew 26:64; Mark 14:62; Luke 21:27; 1 Thessalonians 4:17; Revelation 1:7)

This ADJECTIVE “inner” (BDB 819) refers to parts of the temple or a king's palace (cf. Esther 4:11; Esther 5:1). The VERB form means “to turn a specific direction” (cf. Ezekiel 8:3). Ezekiel uses this term twenty-four times in his discussions of the Jerusalem temple and his eschatological temple.

Ezekiel 10:4 “the glory of the LORD. . .brightness of the glory of the LORD” See Special Topic: Glory. Brightness becomes an added characteristic of His glory (cf. Ezekiel 1:4, Ezekiel 1:28) during the Wilderness Wandering period (i.e., the Shekinah Cloud of Glory).

“the threshold” See full note at Ezekiel 9:3.

Ezekiel 10:5 “the sound of the wings of the Cherubim” For the full notes see Ezekiel 1:24.

“God Almighty” This is the Hebrew title El Shaddai. See Special Topic: NAMES FOR DEITY.

Verses 6-8

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Ezekiel 10:6-8 6It came about when He commanded the man clothed in linen, saying, “Take fire from between the whirling wheels, from between the cherubim,” he entered and stood beside a wheel. 7Then the cherub stretched out his hand from between the cherubim to the fire which was between the cherubim, took some and put it into the hands of the one clothed in linen, who took it and went out. 8The cherubim appeared to have the form of a man's hand under their wings.

Ezekiel 10:6 “Take fire from between the whirling wheels and from between the Cherubim” The VERB (BDB 542, KB 534, Qal IMPERATIVE) is the fourth command to this angelic being (cf. Ezekiel 10:2). This is obviously a reference to the burning coals, which represent God's holiness.

Ezekiel 10:7-8, Ezekiel 10:11-12, Ezekiel 10:14 The full description of the Cherubim is given in Ezekiel 1:5-14.

Verses 9-14

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Ezekiel 10:9-14 9Then I looked, and behold, four wheels beside the cherubim, one wheel beside each cherub; and the appearance of the wheels was like the gleam of a Tarshish stone. 10As for their appearance, all four of them had the same likeness, as if one wheel were within another wheel. 11When they moved, they went in any of their four directions without turning as they went; but they followed in the direction which they faced, without turning as they went. 12Their whole body, their backs, their hands, their wings, and the wheels were full of eyes all around, the wheels belonging to all four of them. 13The wheels were called in my hearing, the whirling wheels. 14And each one had four faces. The first face was the face of a cherub, the second face was the face of a man, the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle.

Ezekiel 10:9-10, Ezekiel 10:13 The full description of the wheels is found in Ezekiel 1:15-21.

Ezekiel 10:12 “Their whole body, their back, and their hands, and their wings, and the wheels were full of eyes all around” This is an expansion of the description found in chapter 1, where the eyes were only found on the wheels (cf. Ezekiel 1:18; Revelation 4:6, Revelation 4:8). It seems to be an intensification of the all-knowingness of God. This is in contrast to the statements of the idolaters in Ezekiel 8:12 and which is reacted to by God in Ezekiel 9:9.

Ezekiel 10:14 “The first face was the face of a cherub” In Ezekiel 1:10 it was the face of an ox. There is no real explanation for the change (cf. Revelation 4:7). Even in the book of Ezekiel it seems that the description changes even again in Ezekiel 41:18-19.

Verses 15-17

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Ezekiel 10:15-17 15Then the cherubim rose up. They are the living beings that I saw by the river Chebar. 16Now when the cherubim moved, the wheels would go beside them; also when the cherubim lifted up their wings to rise from the ground, the wheels would not turn from beside them. 17When the cherubim stood still, the wheels would stand still; and when they rose up, the wheels would rise with them, for the spirit of the living beings was in them.

Ezekiel 10:15, Ezekiel 10:20 “The cherubim rose up. They are the living beings that I saw at the river Chebar” Possibly, Ezekiel had not been in the inner court of the temple. Although he was in training to become a priest he was exiled before his thirtieth year. Apparently when he saw the pictures on the inside of the Temple he recognized the creatures he saw in chapter 1 were the Cherubim.

Verses 18-19

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Ezekiel 10:18-19 18Then the glory of the LORD departed from the threshold of the temple and stood over the cherubim. 19When the cherubim departed, they lifted their wings and rose up from the earth in my sight with the wheels beside them; and they stood still at the entrance of the east gate of the LORD'S house, and the glory of the God of Israel hovered over them.

Ezekiel 10:18 God returns to His throne chariot.

Ezekiel 10:19 This is the initial sequence of YHWH leaving His temple. This is where the symbolic title “Ichabod,” which means “the glory has departed,” was put over the Temple. It is one thing for YHWH to refuse to listen to His people. It is far more devastating that He leave His temple! The rabbis speculate that God stayed three and a half years on the Mount of Olives (cf. Ezekiel 11:22-23) hoping that the Jews would repent, but they would not. This is surely an exaggeration. So He moved east to be with the exiles who formed a nucleus of the people of God who would return.

Verses 20-22

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Ezekiel 10:20-22 20These are the living beings that I saw beneath the God of Israel by the river Chebar; so I knew that they were cherubim. 21Each one had four faces and each one four wings, and beneath their wings was the form of human hands. 22As for the likeness of their faces, they were the same faces whose appearance I had seen by the river Chebar. Each one went straight ahead.

Bibliographical Information
Utley. Dr. Robert. "Commentary on Ezekiel 10". "Utley's You Can Understand the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ubc/ezekiel-10.html. 2021.
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