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Ezekiel 28:11-19

Context

28:11 The word of the Lord came to me: 28:12 “Son of man, sing 1  a lament for the king of Tyre, and say to him, ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says:

“‘You were the sealer 2  of perfection,

full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.

28:13 You were in Eden, the garden of God. 3 

Every precious stone was your covering,

the ruby, topaz, and emerald,

the chrysolite, onyx, and jasper,

the sapphire, turquoise, and beryl; 4 

your settings and mounts were made of gold.

On the day you were created they were prepared.

28:14 I placed you there with an anointed 5  guardian 6  cherub; 7 

you were on the holy mountain of God;

you walked about amidst fiery stones.

28:15 You were blameless in your behavior 8  from the day you were created,

until sin was discovered in you.

28:16 In the abundance of your trade you were filled with violence, 9  and you sinned;

so I defiled you and banished you 10  from the mountain of God –

the guardian cherub expelled you 11  from the midst of the stones of fire.

28:17 Your heart was proud because of your beauty;

you corrupted your wisdom on account of your splendor.

I threw you down to the ground;

I placed you before kings, that they might see you.

28:18 By the multitude of your iniquities, through the sinfulness of your trade,

you desecrated your sanctuaries.

So I drew fire out from within you;

it consumed you,

and I turned you to ashes on the earth

before the eyes of all who saw you.

28:19 All who know you among the peoples are shocked at you;

you have become terrified and will be no more.’”

1 tn Heb “lift up.”

2 tn For a discussion of possible nuances of this phrase, see M. Greenberg, Ezekiel (AB), 2:580-81.

3 sn The imagery of the lament appears to draw upon an extrabiblical Eden tradition about the expulsion of the first man (see v. 14 and the note there) from the garden due to his pride. The biblical Eden tradition speaks of cherubs placed as guardians at the garden entrance following the sin of Adam and Eve (Gen 3:24), but no guardian cherub like the one described in verse 14 is depicted or mentioned in the biblical account. Ezekiel’s imagery also appears to reflect Mesopotamian and Canaanite mythology at certain points. See D. I. Block, Ezekiel (NICOT), 2:119-20.

4 tn The exact identification of each gemstone is uncertain. The list should be compared to that of the priest in Exod 28:17-20, which lists twelve stones in rows of three. The LXX apparently imports the Exod 28 list. See reference to the types of stones in L. C. Allen, Ezekiel (WBC), 2:91.

5 tn Or “winged”; see L. C. Allen, Ezekiel (WBC), 2:91.

6 tn The meaning of this phrase in Hebrew is uncertain. The word translated here “guards” occurs in Exod 25:20 in reference to the cherubim “covering” the ark.

7 tn Heb “you (were) an anointed cherub that covers and I placed you.” In the Hebrew text the ruler of Tyre is equated with a cherub, and the verb “I placed you” is taken with what follows (“on the holy mountain of God”). However, this reading is problematic. The pronoun “you” at the beginning of verse 14 is feminine singular in the Hebrew text; elsewhere in this passage the ruler of Tyre is addressed with masculine singular forms. It is possible that the pronoun is a rare (see Deut 5:24; Num 11:15) or defectively written (see 1 Sam 24:19; Neh 9:6; Job 1:10; Ps 6:3; Eccl 7:22) masculine form, but it is more likely that the form should be repointed as the preposition “with” (see the LXX). In this case the ruler of Tyre is compared to the first man, not to a cherub. If this emendation is accepted, then the verb “I placed you” belongs with what precedes and concludes the first sentence in the verse. It is noteworthy that the verbs in the second and third lines of the verse also appear at the end of the sentence in the Hebrew text. The presence of a conjunction at the beginning of “I placed you” is problematic for the proposal, but it may reflect a later misunderstanding of the syntax of the verse. For a defense of the proposed emendation, see L. C. Allen, Ezekiel (WBC), 2:91.

8 tn Heb “ways.”

9 tn Heb “they filled your midst with violence.”

10 tn Heb “I defiled you.” The presence of the preposition “from” following the verb indicates that a verb of motion is implied as well. See L. C. Allen, Ezekiel (WBC), 2:91.

11 tn Heb “and I expelled you, O guardian cherub.” The Hebrew text takes the verb as first person and understands “guardian cherub” as a vocative, in apposition to the pronominal suffix on the verb. However, if the emendation in verse 14a is accepted (see the note above), then one may follow the LXX here as well and emend the verb to a third person perfect. In this case the subject of the verb is the guardian cherub. See L. C. Allen, Ezekiel (WBC), 2:91.



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