Ezekiel 1:9
(9) Their wings were joined one to another.--i.e., the outstretched right wing of one cherub was joined at its tip to the left wing of another, so that although four, they yet constituted in some sense but one creature, all moving in harmony and by a common impulse. This applies to the cherubim only when in motion; when they stood, the wings were let down (Ezekiel 1:24). The joining of the extremities of the outstretched wings of the cherubim recalls the arrangement in Solomon's Temple (1Kings 6:27), in which the wings of the larger cherubim touched one another above the mercy-seat.

They turned not when they went.--Whichever way they wished to go, they could still go "straight forward," i.e., in the direction towards which they looked, since they looked in all directions, and their round feet made it equally easy to move in any way. It would at first seem that as two of the wings of each cherub were used to cover their bodies (Ezekiel 1:11), the wings would have required their turning when they changed their course; but if we conceive of the four cherubim as arranged to form a square, and with their wings moving as one creature, this difficulty disappears.

Verse 9. - Their wings were joined, etc. As interpreted by vers. 11 and 24, two of the wings were always down, and when the living creatures moved, two were extended upwards, so that their tips touched, and were in this sense "joined." When at rest, these were let down again (ver. 24). They turned not, etc. We note the emphasis of the threefold iteration of the fact (vers. 12, 17). None of the four forms revolved on its axis. The motion of what we may call the composite quadrilateral was simply rectilinear. Did the symbolism represent the directness, the straightforwardness, of the Divine energy manifested in the universe?

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.Their wings were joined one to another,.... "A woman to her sister" (n), in the Hebrew; denoting the concord, harmony, and agreement of Gospel ministers, and their affection to one another; they preach the same Gospel; administer the same ordinances; do the same work of the Lord; have the same zeal for the glory of God; the same love for Christ, and affection for the souls of men; are of the same mind and judgment, and help each other in the service of the Lord; and especially so it will be in the latter day glory, when the watchmen shall see eye to eye, Isaiah 52:8;

they turned not when they went; they went everyone straight forward; they go not into the path of error and immorality; they do not become apostates from the truth; they are not of them that draw back unto perdition; they go on in the course of their ministry straightforward; let what will be in their way, nothing diverts them from it; notwithstanding all difficulties and discouragements in themselves; reproaches, afflictions, and persecutions from men; and the temptations of Satan; See Gill on Ezekiel 1:7.

(n) "foemina adsororem suam", Montanus, Polanus; "vira, sive mulier ad sociam suam", so some in Vatablus.

Ezekiel 1:8
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