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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 8:1-3

Context
A Desecrated Temple

8:1 In the sixth year, in the sixth month, on the fifth of the month, 6  as I was sitting in my house with the elders of Judah sitting in front of me, the hand 7  of the sovereign Lord seized me. 8  8:2 As I watched, I noticed 9  a form that appeared to be a man. 10  From his waist downward was something like fire, 11  and from his waist upward something like a brightness, 12  like an amber glow. 13  8:3 He stretched out the form 14  of a hand and grabbed me by a lock of hair on my head. Then a wind 15  lifted me up between the earth and sky and brought me to Jerusalem 16  by means of divine visions, to the door of the inner gate which faces north where the statue 17  which provokes to jealousy was located.

Ezekiel 40:1-2

Context
Vision of the New Temple

40:1 In the twenty-fifth year of our exile, at the beginning of the year, on the tenth day of the month, in the fourteenth year after the city 18  was struck down, on this very day, 19  the hand 20  of the Lord was on me, and he brought me there. 21  40:2 By means of divine visions 22  he brought me to the land of Israel and placed me on a very high mountain, 23  and on it was a structure like a city, to the south.

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 LXX reads “In the sixth year, in the fifth month, on the fifth of the month.”

sn In the sixth year, in the sixth month, on the fifth of the month would be September 17, 592 b.c., about fourteen months after the initial vision.

7 tn Or “power.”

sn Hand in the OT can refer metaphorically to power, authority, or influence. In Ezekiel God’s hand being on the prophet is regularly associated with communication or a vision from God (3:14, 22; 8:1; 37:1; 40:1).

8 tn Heb “fell upon me there,” that is, God’s influence came over him.

9 tn The word הִנֵּה (hinneh, traditionally “behold”) indicates becoming aware of something and has been translated here as a verb (so also throughout the chapter).

10 tc The MT reads “fire” rather than “man,” the reading of the LXX. The nouns are very similar in Hebrew.

11 tc The MT reads “what appeared to be his waist and downwards was fire.” The LXX omits “what appeared to be,” reading “from his waist to below was fire.” Suggesting that “like what appeared to be” belongs before “fire,” D. I. Block (Ezekiel [NICOT], 1:277) points out the resulting poetic symmetry of form with the next line as followed in the translation here.

12 tc The LXX omits “like a brightness.”

13 tn See Ezek 1:4.

14 tn The Hebrew term is normally used as an architectural term in describing the pattern of the tabernacle or temple or a representation of it (see Exod 25:8; 1 Chr 28:11).

15 tn Or “spirit.” See note on “wind” in 2:2.

16 map For the location of Jerusalem see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

17 tn Or “image.”

18 sn That is, Jerusalem.

19 tn April 19, 573 b.c.

20 tn Or “power.”

sn Hand in the OT can refer metaphorically to power, authority, or influence. In Ezekiel God’s hand being on the prophet is regularly associated with communication or a vision from God (3:14, 22; 8:1; 37:1; 40:1).

21 sn That is, to the land of Israel (see v. 2).

22 tn The expression introduces the three major visions of Ezekiel (1:1; 8:3; 40:2).

23 tn The reference to a very high mountain is harmonious with Isa 2:2.



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