The living creatures were cherubim (Ezek 10:20-10:22)

“These were the living creatures

That I saw underneath

The God of Israel

By the river Chebar.

I knew

That they were cherubim.

Each had four faces.

Each had four wings.

Underneath their wings,

They had something

Like human hands.

As for what their faces

Were like,

They were the same faces

Whose appearance

I had seen

By the river Chebar.

Each one moved

Straight ahead.”

The vision of the first chapter of this book matches up with this chapter as two book ends of a vision about the four living creatures and cherubim. Ezekiel explicitly said that he knew that the living creatures by the Chebar River were cherubim. Each of them had four faces and four wings. Underneath their wings, they had something like human hands. The faces of these cherubim were the same as the faces that he saw at the River Chebar. Both the living creatures and the cherubim moved straight ahead.

 

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The time and place of Ezekiel’s first vision (Ezek 1:1-1:3)

“In the thirtieth year,

In the fourth month,

On the fifth day

Of the month,

As I was among the exiles

By the river Chebar,

The heavens

Were opened.

I saw visions

Of God.

This was the fifth day

Of the month

Of the fifth year

Of the exile

Of King Jehoiachin.

The word of Yahweh

Came to

The priest Ezekiel,

The son of Buzi,

In the land

Of the Chaldeans

By the river Chebar.

The hand

Of Yahweh

Was on me there.”

The dating is very precise here. This is the 30th year, probably from his birth around 623 BCE during the reign of King Josiah. Ezekiel writes in the first person singular. He said that he was among the exiles at the Chebar River, a small canal near Erech that ran into the Euphrates River in northern Babylon. On the 5th day of the 4th month the heavens opened to provide visions of God to him.  Once again, there is precise information about the date, as this was the 5th year of the exile of King Jehoiachin that had occurred in 598 BCE. Thus this year would have been 593 BCE. Ezekiel’s father was Buzi, a Jerusalem priest, so that he was from a family of priests. The word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar. Yahweh put his hand on him. Thus the opening scene is set with this 30 year old exiled Jerusalem priest by a river bank with the rest of the exiles, when a heavenly vision appeared to him.