Ezekiel 1:1
Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.
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1:1-14 It is a mercy to have the word of God brought to us, and a duty to attend to it diligently, when we are in affliction. The voice of God came in the fulness of light and power, by the Holy Spirit. These visions seem to have been sent to possess the prophet's mind with great and high thoughts of God. To strike terror upon sinners. To speak comfort to those that feared God, and humbled themselves. In ver. 4-14, is the first part of the vision, which represents God as attended and served by a vast company of angels, who are all his messengers, his ministers, doing his commandments. This vision would impress the mind with solemn awe and fear of the Divine displeasure, yet raise expectations of blessings. The fire is surrounded with a glory. Though we cannot by searching find out God to perfection, yet we see the brightness round about it. The likeness of the living creatures came out of the midst of the fire; angels derive their being and power from God. They have the understanding of a man, and far more. A lion excels in strength and boldness. An ox excels in diligence and patience, and unwearied discharge of the work he has to do. An eagle excels in quickness and piercing sight, and in soaring high; and the angels, who excel man in all these respects, put on these appearances. The angels have wings; and whatever business God sends them upon, they lose no time. They stood straight, and firm, and steady. They had not only wings for motion, but hands for action. Many persons are quick, who are not active; they hurry about, but do nothing to purpose; they have wings, but no hands. But wherever the angels' wings carried them, they carried hands with them, to be doing what duty required. Whatever service they went about, they went every one straight forward. When we go straight, we go forward; when we serve God with one heart, we perform work. They turned not when they went. They made no mistakes; and their work needed not to be gone over again. They turned not from their business to trifle with any thing. They went whithersoever the Spirit of God would have them go. The prophet saw these living creatures by their own light, for their appearance was like burning coals of fire; they are seraphim, or burners; denoting the ardour of their love to God, and fervent zeal in his service. We may learn profitable lessons from subjects we cannot fully enter into or understand. But let us attend to the things which relate to our peace and duty, and leave secret things to the Lord, to whom alone they belong.The thirtieth year - being closely connected with as I, is rather in favor of considering this a personal date. It is not improbable that Ezekiel was called to his office at the age prescribed in the Law for Levites Numbers 4:23, Numbers 4:30, at which age both John the Baptist and our Lord began their ministry. His call is probably to be connected with the letter sent by Jeremiah to the captives Jeremiah 29 written a few months previously. Some reckon this date from the accession of Nabopolassar, father of Nebuchadnezzar, 625 b.c., and suppose that Ezekiel here gives a Babylonian, as in Ezekiel 1:2 a Jewish, date; but it is not certain that this accession formed an era in Babylon and Ezekiel does not elsewhere give a double date, or even a Babylonian date. Others date from the 18th year of Josiah, when Hilkiah discovered the Book of the Law (supposed to be a jubilee year): this would give 594 b.c. as the 30th year, but there is no other instance in Ezekiel of reckoning from this year.

The captives - Not in confinement, but restricted to the place of their settlement.

The fourth month - "Month" is not expressed in the original. This is the common method. Before the captivity the months were described not by proper names but by their order, "the first, the second," etc.; the first month corresponding nearly with our "April." After the captivity, the Jews brought back with them the proper names of the months, "Nisan" etc. (probably those used in Chaldaea).

Chebar - The modern "Khabour" rises near Nisibis and flows into the Euphrates near "Kerkesiah," 200 miles north of Babylon.

Visions of God - The exposition of the fundamental principles of the existence and nature of a Supreme God, and of the created angels, was called by the rabbis "the Matter of the Chariot" (compare 1 Chronicles 28:18) in reference to the form of Ezekiel's vision of the Almighty; and the subject was deemed so mysterious as to call for special caution in its study. The vision must be compared with other manifestations of the divine glory Exodus 3; Exodus 24:10; Isaiah 6:1; Daniel 7:9; Revelation 4:2. Each of these visions has some of the outward signs or symbols here recorded. If we examine these symbols we shall find them to fall readily into two classes,

(1) Those which we employ in common with the writers of all ages and countries. "Gold, sapphire, burnished brass," the "terrible crystal" are familiar images of majestic glory, "thunders, lightnings" and "the rushing storm" of awful power. But

(2) We come to images to our minds strange and almost grotesque. That the "Four Living Creatures" had their groundwork in the cherubim there can be no doubt. And yet their shapes were very different. Because they were symbols not likenesses, they could yet be the same though their appearance was varied.

Of what are they symbolic? They may, according to the Talmudists, have symbolized orders of Angels and not persons; according to others they were figures of the Four Gospels actuated by one spirit spread over the four quarters of the globe, upon which, as on pillars, the Church is borne up, and over whom the Word of God sits enthroned. The general scope of the vision gives the best interpretation of the meaning.

Ezekiel saw "the likeness of the glory of God." Here His glory is manifested in the works of creation; and as light and fire, lightning and cloud, are the usual marks which in inanimate creation betoken the presence of God Psalm 18:6-14 - so the four living ones symbolize animate creation. The forms are typical, "the lion" and "the ox" of the beasts of the field (wild and tame), "the eagle" of the birds of the air, while "man" is the rational being supreme upon the earth. And the human type predominates over all, and gives character and unity to the four, who thus form one creation. Further, these four represent the constitutive parts of man's nature: "the ox" (the animal of sacrifice), his faculty of suffering; "the lion" (the king of beasts), his faculty of ruling; "the eagle" (of keen eye and soaring wing), his faculty of imagination; "the man," his spiritual faculty, which actuates all the rest.

Christ is the Perfect Man, so these four in their perfect harmony typify Him who came to earth to do His Father's will; and as man is lord in the kingdom of nature, so is Christ Lord in the kingdom of grace. The "wings" represent the power by which all creation rises and falls at God's will; the "one spirit," the unity and harmony of His works; the free motion in all directions, the universality of His Providence. The number "four" is the symbol of the world with its "four quarters;" the "veiled" bodies, the inability of all creatures to stand in the presence of God; the "noise of the wings," the testimony borne by creation to God Psalm 19:1-3; the "wheels" connect the vision with the earth, the wings with heaven, while above them is the throne of God in heaven. Since the eye of the seer is turned upward, the lines of the vision become less distinct. It is as if he were struggling against the impossibility of expressing in words the object of his vision: yet on the summit of the throne is He who can only be described as, in some sort, the form of a man. That Yahweh, the eternal God, is spoken of, we cannot doubt; and such passages as Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:3; John 1:14; John 12:41, justify us in maintaining that the revelation of the divine glory here made to Ezekiel has its consummation or fulfillment in the person of Christ, the only-begotten of God (compare Revelation 1:17-18).

The vision in the opening chapter of Ezekiel is in the most general form - the manifestation of the glory of the living God. It is repeated more than once in the course of the book (compare Ezekiel 8:2, Ezekiel 8:4; Ezekiel 9:3; 10; Ezekiel 11:22; Ezekiel 40:3). The person manifested is always the same, but the form of the vision is modified according to special circumstances of time and place.

SCOFIELD REFERENCE NOTES (Old Scofield 1917 Edition)

Book Introduction

Margin fourth month

The Book of the Prophet Ezekiel

Ezekiel was carried away to Babylon between the first and final deportation of Judah (2Ki 24.11-16). Like Daniel and the Apostle John, he prophesied out of the land, and his prophecy, like theirs, follows the method of symbol and vision. Unlike the pre-exilic prophets, whose ministry was primarily to either Judah or the ten-tribe kingdom, Ezekiel is the voice of Jehovah to "the whole house of Israel."

Speaking broadly, the purpose of his ministry is to keep before the generation born in exile the national sins which had brought Israel so low (e.g. Ezek 14.23); to sustain the faith of the exiles by predictions of national restoration, of the execution of justice upon their oppressors, and of national glory under the Davidic monarchy.

Ezekiel is in seven great prophetic strains indicated by the expression, "The hand of the Lord was upon me." Ezek 1:3 3:14,22 8:1 33:22 37:1 Ezek 40:1.

The minor divisions are indicated in the text.

The events recorded in Ezekiel cover a period of 21 years (Ussher).

Margin fourth month

i.e. July "of the thirtieth year of Ezekiel's age."

captives: Heb. captivity
Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year,.... Either from the last jubilee, as R. Joseph Kimchi (r), Jarchi, and Abendana; or from the time that the book of the law was found by Hilkiah the priest (s); so the Targum, which paraphrases the words thus,

"and it was in the thirtieth year after Hilkiah the high priest found the book of the law, in the house of the sanctuary, in the court under the porch, in the middle of the night, after the moon was down, in the days of Josiah son of Amon king of Judah;''

or, according to Jerom (t), from the time of the prophet's birth, who was now thirty years of age, and was just entered into his priestly office; or rather it was the thirtieth year of Nabopolassar, or the father of Nebuchadnezzar: this was the twelfth year of the captivity, reckoning from the third of Jehoiakim, which was the first captivity, and from whence the seventy years are to be reckoned, and also the twelfth of Nebuchadnezzar's reign; and if two years are taken, as Vitringa (u) observes, from the twenty one years, which are given to Nabopolassar in Ptolemy's canon, in which Nebuchadnezzar his son reigned with him, there will be found thirty years from the beginning of Nabopolassar's reign to the fifth of Jeconiah's captivity, when Ezekiel began his prophecy, and which, as Bishop Usher (w), Mr. Bedford (x), Mr. Whiston (y), and the authors of the Universal History (z), place in the year 593, before the birth of Christ:

in the fourth month; the month Tammuz, as the Targum expresses it; which answers to part of June, and part of July:

in the fifth day of the month; which some take to be on a sabbath day; because, seven days after, the word of the Lord came to him again Ezekiel 3:16; just as John was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, Revelation 1:10; between one of whose visions and this there is a very great likeness, as will be seen hereafter:

as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar; which is another agreement in circumstance between Ezekiel and John, when they had their visions: John was an exile in Patrons, and Ezekiel among the captives by the river Chebar in Chaldea. Some think this is the same river which is called by Ptolemy (a) Chaboras; and is said by him to pass through Mesopotamia: others say it was a river that was drawn off from the river Euphrates, by the order of one Cobaris, or Gobaris, a governor, from whence it had its name; that the river Euphrates might not, by its rapid course, hurt the city of Babylon; and by the Assyrians it was called Armalchar, or Narmalcha (b), the king's river; though it seems to be no other than Euphrates itself; and Kimchi observes, that in some copies of the Targum on this place it is interpreted of the river Euphrates; and he says their Rabbins of blessed memory say, that Chebar is Euphrates; and so Abarbinel; see Psalm 137:1. Monsieur Thevenot (c) speaks of a river called Chabur, which is less than Alchabour, another mentioned by him; and has its source below Mosul, and on the left hand to those that go down the Tigris, and at Bagdad loses itself in the Tigris which he takes to be the same as here:

that the heavens were opened; as at our Lord's baptism, and at the stoning of Stephen; and so when John had his vision which corresponds with the following, a door was opened in heaven Revelation 4:1;

and I saw the visions of God; which God showed unto him, and which were great and excellent; as excellent things are called things of God, as mountains of God, and cedars of God, Psalm 36:6; and indeed he had a vision of a divine Person, in a human form; to which agrees the Targum,

"and I saw in the vision of prophecy, which abode on me, the vision of the glory of the majesty of the Lord.''

The Arabic and Syriac versions read, "the vision of God".

(r) Apud R. D. Kimchi in loc. (s) Seder Olam Rabba, c. 26. (t) Preafat. in Ezek. tom. 3. fol. 9. D. (u) Typus Doctrin. Prophetic. sect. 7. p. 41. Vid. Witsii Miscel. Sacr. tom. 1. l. 1. c. 19. (w) Annales Vet. Test. A. M. 3409. p. 127. (x) Scripture Chronology, p. 681. (y) Chronological Tables, cent. 10. (z) Vol. 21. p. 61. (a) Geograph. l. 5. c. 18. (b) Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 6. c. 26. (c) Travels, par. 2. B. 1. ch. 10. p. 46.

Now it came to pass in the {a} thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of {b} Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of {c} God.

The Argument - After Jehoiachin by the counsel of Jeremiah and Ezekiel had yielded himself to Nebuchadnezzar, and so went into captivity with his mother and various of his princes and of the people, some began to repent and murmur that they had obeyed the prophet's counsel, as though the things which they had prophesied would not come to pass, and therefore their estate would still be miserable under the Chaldeans. By reason of which he confirms his former prophecies, declaring by new visions and revelations shown to him, that the city would most certainly be destroyed, and the people grievously tormented by God's plagues, in so much that they who remained would be brought into cruel bondage. Lest the godly despair in these great troubles, he assures them that God will deliver his church at his appointed time and also destroy their enemies, who either afflicted them, or rejoiced in their miseries. The effect of the one and the other would be chiefly performed under Christ, of whom in this book are many notable promises, and in whom the glory of the new temple would perfectly be restored. He prophesied these things in Chaldea, at the same time that Jeremiah prophesied in Judah, and there began in the fifth year of Jehoiachin's captivity.

(a) After that the book of the Law as found, which was the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah, so that twenty-five years after this book was found, Jeconiah was led away captive with Ezekiel and many of the people, who the first year later saw these visions.

(b) Which was a part of Euphrates so called.

(c) That is, notable and excellent visions, so that it might be known, it was no natural dream but came from God.

The request that the judgment of wrath may be averted, and that the former gracious condition may be restored. Lamentations 5:17 and Lamentations 5:18 form the transition to the request in Lamentations 5:19-22. "Because of this" and "because of these [things]" refer mainly to what precedes, yet not in such a way as that the former must be referred to the fact that sin has been committed, and the latter to the suffering. The two halves of the verse are unmistakeably parallel; the sickening of the heart is essentially similar to the dimness coming on the eyes, the former indicating the sorrow of the soul, while the latter is the expression of this sorrow in tears. "Because of this (viz., because of the misery hitherto complained of) the heart has become sick," and the grief of the heart finds vent in tears, in consequence of which the eyes have become dim; cf. Lamentations 2:11. But this sorrow culminates in the view taken of the desolation of Mount Zion, which receives consideration, not because of its splendid palaces (Thenius), but as the holy mountain on which the house of God stood, for "Zion" comprehended Moriah; see on Psalm 2:6; Psalm 9:12; Psalm 76:3. The glory formerly attaching to Mount Zion (Psalm 48:3; Psalm 50:2) is departed; the mountain has been so much laid waste, that jackals roam on it. שׁוּעלים are not properly foxes, but jackals (as in Psalm 63:11), which lodge among the ruins. הלּך is an intensive form, meaning to rove or roam about.
THE BOOK OF THE PROPHET E Z E K I E L. Commentary by A. R. Faussett

INTRODUCTION

The name Ezekiel means "(whom) God will strengthen" [Gesenius]; or, "God will prevail" [Rosenmuller]. His father was Buzi (Eze 1:3), a priest, and he probably exercised the priestly office himself at Jerusalem, previous to his captivity, as appears from the matured priestly character to be seen in his prophecies, a circumstance which much increased his influence with his captive fellow countrymen at Babylon. Tradition represents Sarera as the land of his nativity. His call to prophesy was in the fifth year from the date of his being carried away with Jehoiachin (see 2Ki 24:11-15) by Nebuchadnezzar, 599 B.C. The best portions of the people seem to have been among the first carried away (Eze 11:16; Jer 24:2-7, 8, 10). The ungodly were willing to do anything to remain in their native land; whereas the godly believed the prophets and obeyed the first summons to surrender, as the only path of safety. These latter, as adhering to the theocratic principle, were among the earliest to be removed by the Chaldeans, who believed that, if they were out of the way, the nation would fall to pieces of itself. They were despised by their brethren in the Holy Land not yet captives, as having no share in the temple sacrifices. Thus Ezekiel's sphere of labor was one happier and less impeded by his countrymen than that of Jeremiah at home. The vicinity of the river Chebar, which flows into the Euphrates near Circeslum, was the first scene of his prophecies (Eze 1:1). Tel-Abib there (now Thallaba) was his place of residence (Eze 3:15), whither the elders used to come to inquire as to God's messages through him. They were eager to return to Jerusalem, but he taught them that they must first return to their God. He continued to prophesy for at least twenty-two years, that is, to the twenty-seventh year of the captivity (Eze 29:17), and probably remained with the captives by the Chebar the rest of his life. A treatise, falsely attributed to Epiphanius, states a tradition that he was killed at Babylon by a prince of his people whom he had reproved for idolatry.

He was contemporary with Jeremiah and Daniel. The former had prophesied for thirty-four years before Ezekiel, and continued to do so for six or seven years after him. The call of Ezekiel followed the very next year after the communication of Jeremiah's predictions to Babylon (Jer 51:59), and was divinely intended as a sequel to them. Daniel's predictions are mostly later than Ezekiel's but his piety and wisdom had become proverbial in the early part of Ezekiel's ministry (Eze 14:14, 16; 28:3). They much resemble one another, especially in the visions and grotesque images. It is a remarkable proof of genuineness that in Ezekiel no prophecies against Babylon occur among those directed against the enemies of the covenant-people. Probably he desired not to give needless offence to the government under which he lived. The effect of his labors is to be seen in the improved character of the people towards the close of the captivity, and their general cessation from idolatry and a return to the law. It was little more than thirty years after the close of his labors when the decree of the Jews' restoration was issued. His leading characteristic is realizing, determined energy; this admirably adapted him for opposing the "rebellious house" "of stubborn front and hard heart," and for maintaining the cause of God's Church among his countrymen in a foreign land, when the external framework had fallen to pieces. His style is plain and simple. His conceptions are definite, and the details even of the symbolical and enigmatical parts are given with lifelike minuteness. The obscurity lies in the substance, not in the form, of his communications. The priestly element predominates in his prophecies, arising from his previous training as a priest. He delights to linger about the temple and to find in its symbolical forms the imagery for conveying his instructions. This was divinely ordered to satisfy the spiritual want felt by the people in the absence of the outward temple and its sacrifices. In his images he is magnificent, though austere and somewhat harsh. He abounds in repetitions, not for ornament, but for force and weight. Poetical parallelism is not found except in a few portions, as in the seventh, twenty-first, twenty-seventh, twenty-eighth, twenty-ninth through thirty-first chapters. His great aim was to stimulate the dormant minds of the Jews. For this end nothing was better suited than the use of mysterious symbols expressed in the plainest words. The superficial, volatile, and wilfully unbelieving would thereby be left to judicial blindness (Isa 6:10; Mt 13:11-13, &c.); whereas the better-disposed would be awakened to a deeper search into the things of God by the very obscurity of the symbols. Inattention to this divine purpose has led the modern Jews so to magnify this obscurity as to ordain that no one shall read this book till he has passed his thirtieth year.

Rabbi Hananias is said to have satisfactorily solved the difficulties (Mischna) which were alleged against its canonicity. Ecclesiasticus 49:8 refers to it, and Josephus [Antiquities, 10.5.1]. It is mentioned as part of the canon in Melito's catalogue [Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 4.26]; also in Origen, Jerome, and the Talmud. The oneness of tone throughout and the repetition of favorite expressions exclude the suspicion that separate portions are not genuine. The earlier portion, the first through the thirty-second chapters, which mainly treats of sin and judgment, is a key to interpret the latter portion, which is more hopeful and joyous, but remote in date. Thus a unity and an orderly progressive character are imparted to the whole. The destruction of Jerusalem is the central point. Previous to this he calls to repentance and warns against blind confidence in Egypt (Eze 17:15-17; compare Jer 37:7) or other human stay. After it he consoles the captives by promising them future deliverance and restoration. His prophecies against foreign nations stand between these two great divisions, and were uttered in the interval between the intimation that Nebuchadnezzar was besieging Jerusalem and the arrival of the news that he had taken it (Eze 33:21). Havernick marks out nine sections:—(1) Ezekiel's call to prophesy (Eze 1:1-3:15). (2) Symbolical predictions of the destruction of Jerusalem (Eze 3:16-7:27). (3) A year and two months later a vision of the temple polluted by Tammuz or Adonis worship; God's consequent scattering of fire over the city and forsaking of the temple to reveal Himself to an inquiring people in exile; happier and purer times to follow (Eze 8:1-11:25). (4) Exposure of the particular sins prevalent in the several classes—priests, prophets, and princes (Eze 12:1-19:14). (5) A year later the warning of judgment for national guilt repeated with greater distinctness as the time drew nearer (Eze 20:1-23:49). (6) Two years and five months later—the very day on which Ezekiel speaks—is announced as the day of the beginning of the siege; Jerusalem shall be overthrown (Eze 24:1-27). (7) Predictions against foreign nations during the interval of his silence towards his own people; if judgment begins at the house of God, much more will it visit the ungodly world (Eze 25:1-32:32). Some of these were uttered much later than others, but they all began to be given after the fall of Jerusalem. (8) In the twelfth year of the captivity, when the fugitives from Jerusalem (Eze 33:21) had appeared in Chaldea, he foretells better times and the re-establishment of Israel and the triumph of God's kingdom on earth over its enemies, Seir, the heathen, and Gog (Eze 33:1-39:29). (9) After an interval of thirteen years the closing vision of the order and beauty of the restored kingdom (Eze 40:1-48:35). The particularity of details as to the temple and its offerings rather discountenances the view of this vision being only symbolical, and not at all literal. The event alone can clear it up. At all events it has not yet been fulfilled; it must be future. Ezekiel was the only prophet (in the strict sense) among the Jews at Babylon. Daniel was rather a seer than a prophet, for the spirit of prophecy was given him to qualify him, not for a spiritual office, but for disclosing future events. His position in a heathen king's palace fitted him for revelations of the outward relations of God's kingdom to the kingdoms of the world, so that his book is ranked by the Jews among the Hagiographa or "Sacred Writings," not among the prophetical Scriptures. On the other hand, Ezekiel was distinctively a prophet, and one who had to do with the inward concerns of the divine kingdom. As a priest, when sent into exile, his service was but transferred from the visible temple at Jerusalem to the spiritual temple in Chaldea.

CHAPTER 1

Eze 1:1-28. Ezekiel's Vision by the Chebar. Four Cherubim and Wheels.

1. Now it came to pass—rather, "And it came," &c. As this formula in Jos 1:1 has reference to the written history of previous times, so here (and in Ru 1:1, and Es 1:1), it refers to the unwritten history which was before the mind of the writer. The prophet by it, as it were, continues the history of the preceding times. In the fourth year of Zedekiah's reign (Jer 51:59), Jeremiah sent by Seraiah a message to the captives (Jer 29:1-32) to submit themselves to God and lay aside their flattering hopes of a speedy restoration. This communication was in the next year, the fifth, and the fourth month of the same king (for Jehoiachin's captivity and Zedekiah's accession coincide in time), followed up by a prophet raised up among the captives themselves, the energetic Ezekiel.

thirtieth year—that is, counting from the beginning of the reign of Nabopolassar, father of Nebuchadnezzar, the era of the Babylonian empire, 625 B.C., which epoch coincides with the eighteenth year of Josiah, that in which the book of the law was found, and the consequent reformation began [Scaliger]; or the thirtieth year of Ezekiel's life. As the Lord was about to be a "little sanctuary" (Eze 11:16) to the exiles on the Chebar, so Ezekiel was to be the ministering priest; therefore he marks his priestly relation to God and the people at the outset; the close, which describes the future temple, thus answering to the beginning. By designating himself expressly as "the priest" (Eze 1:3), and as having reached his thirtieth year (the regular year of priests commencing their office), he marks his office as the priest among the prophets. Thus the opening vision follows naturally as the formal institution of that spiritual temple in which he was to minister [Fairbairn].

Chebar—the same as Chabor or Habor, whither the ten tribes had been transported by Tiglath-pileser and Shalmaneser (2Ki 17:6; 1Ch 5:26). It flows into the Euphrates near Carchemish or Circesium, two hundred miles north of Babylon.

visions of God—Four expressions are used as to the revelation granted to Ezekiel, the three first having respect to what was presented from without, to assure him of its reality, the fourth to his being internally made fit to receive the revelation; "the heavens were opened" (so Mt 3:16; Ac 7:56; 10:11; Re 19:11); "he saw visions of God"; "the word of Jehovah came verily (as the meaning is rather than 'expressly, English Version, Eze 1:3) unto him" (it was no unreal hallucination); and "the hand of Jehovah was upon him" (Isa 8:11; Da 10:10, 18; Re 1:17; the Lord by His touch strengthening him for his high and arduous ministry, that he might be able to witness and report aright the revelations made to him).

In the thirtieth year - We know not what this date refers to. Some think it was the age of the prophet; others think the date is taken from the time that Josiah renewed the covenant with the people, 2 Kings 22:3, from which Usher, Prideaux, and Calmet compute the forty years of Judah's transgression, mentioned 2 Kings 4:6.

Abp. Newcome thinks there is an error in the text, and that instead of בשלשים bisheloshim, in the thirtieth, we should read בחמישית bachamishith, in the fifth, as in the second verse. "Now it came to pass in the fifth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month," etc. But this is supported by none of the ancient Versions, nor by any MS. The Chaldee paraphrases the verse, "And it came to pass thirty years after the high priest Hilkiah had found the book of the law, in the house of the sanctuary," etc. This was in the twelfth year of Josiah's reign. The thirtieth year, computed as above, comes to A.M. 3409, the fourth year from the captivity of Jeconiah, and the fifth of the reign of Zedekiah. Ezekiel was then among the captives who had been carried way with Jeconiah, and had his dwelling near the river Chebar, Chaborus, or Aboras, a river of Mesopotamia, which falls into the Euphrates a little above Thapsacus, after having run through Mesopotamia from east to west. - Calmet.

Fourth month - Thammuz, answering nearly to our July.

I saw visions of God - Emblems and symbols of the Divine Majesty. He particularly refers to those in this chapter.

1:1 Thirtieth year - From the finding the book of the law in the eighteenth year of Josiah, from which date to the fifth year of the captivity are thirty years. Fifth day - Probably it was the sabbath - day, when the Jews were at leisure to hear the prophet. River - Perhaps retiring thither to lament their own sins, and Jerusalem's desolation. Chebar - A river now called Giulap, arising out of the mountain Masius, and falling into Euphrates, somewhat below a city called by the same name.
Lamentations 5:22
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