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Ezekiel 1:1

Context
A Vision of God’s Glory

1:1 In the thirtieth year, 1  on the fifth day of the fourth month, while I was among the exiles 2  at the Kebar River, 3  the heavens opened 4  and I saw a divine vision. 5 

Ezekiel 1:25-28

Context

1:25 Then there was a voice from above the platform over their heads when they stood still. 6  1:26 Above the platform over their heads was something like a sapphire shaped like a throne. High above on the throne was a form that appeared to be a man. 1:27 I saw an amber glow 7  like a fire enclosed all around 8  from his waist up. From his waist down I saw something that looked like fire. There was a brilliant light around it, 1:28 like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds after the rain. 9  This was the appearance of the surrounding brilliant light; it looked like the glory of the Lord. When I saw 10  it, I threw myself face down, and I heard a voice speaking.

1 sn The meaning of the thirtieth year is problematic. Some take it to mean the age of Ezekiel when he prophesied (e.g., Origen). The Aramaic Targum explains the thirtieth year as the thirtieth year dated from the recovery of the book of the Torah in the temple in Jerusalem (2 Kgs 22:3-9). The number seems somehow to be equated with the fifth year of Jehoiachin’s exile in 1:2, i.e., 593 b.c.

2 sn The Assyrians started the tactic of deportation, the large-scale forced displacement of conquered populations, in order to stifle rebellions. The task of uniting groups of deportees, gaining freedom from one’s overlords and returning to retake one’s own country would be considerably more complicated than living in one’s homeland and waiting for an opportune moment to drive out the enemy’s soldiers. The Babylonians adopted this practice also, after defeating the Assyrians. The Babylonians deported Judeans on three occasions. The practice of deportation was reversed by the Persian conquerors of Babylon, who gained favor from their subjects for allowing them to return to their homeland and, as polytheists, sought the favor of the gods of the various countries which had come under their control.

3 sn The Kebar River is mentioned in Babylonian texts from the city of Nippur in the fifth century b.c. It provided artificial irrigation from the Euphrates.

4 sn For the concept of the heavens opened in later literature, see 3 Macc 6:18; 2 Bar. 22:1; T. Levi 5:1; Matt 3:16; Acts 7:56; Rev 19:11.

5 tn Or “saw visions from God.” References to divine visions occur also in Ezek 8:3; 40:2

6 tc The MT continues “when they stood still they lowered their wings,” an apparent dittography from the end of v. 24. The LXX commits haplography by homoioteleuton, leaving out vv. 25b and 26a by skipping from רֹאשָׁם (rosham) in v. 25 to רֹאשָׁם in v. 26.

7 tn See Ezek 1:4.

8 tc The LXX lacks this phrase. Its absence from the LXX may be explained as a case of haplography resulting from homoioteleuton, skipping from כְּמַרְאֵה (kÿmareh) to מִמַּרְאֵה (mimmareh). On the other hand, the LXX presents a much more balanced verse structure when it is recognized that the final words of this verse belong in the next sentence.

9 sn Reference to the glowing substance and the brilliant light and storm phenomena in vv. 27-28a echoes in reverse order the occurrence of these phenomena in v. 4.

10 tn The vision closes with the repetition of the verb “I saw” from the beginning of the vision in 1:4.



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