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 cherubim and the living creatures of the River Chebar (Ezek 10:14-10:15)

“Each one had four faces.

The first face was

That of the cherub.

The second face was

That a human being.

The third face was

That of a lion.

The fourth face was

That of an eagle.           

The cherubim rose up.

These were

The living creatures

That I saw

By the river Chebar.”

Each one of the cherubim had 4 faces like the living creatures at the River Chebar as in chapter 1.   There was no mention of sides or fronts here. Three of the faces were exactly the same, a human face, a face of a lion, and the face of an eagle. However, the fourth face was that of a cherub here, while in chapter 1, it was an ox. Here the comparison to the cherubim in Assyrian and Babylonian times is more explicit. Thus the connection between this section and chapter 1 is very specific, since Ezekiel mentions the River Chebar.

The sun worship idolatry in the Temple (Ezek 8:16-8:16)

“Yahweh brought me

Into the inner court

Of the house

Of Yahweh.

There at the entrance

Of the temple

Of Yahweh,

Between the porch

And the altar,

Were about twenty-five men.

Their backs were

To the temple

Of Yahweh.

Their faces were

Toward the east.

They prostrated themselves

To the sun

Toward the east.”

Yahweh brought Ezekiel into the inner court of the Temple. At the entrance to the Temple of Yahweh, between the porch and the altar, there were about twenty-five men with their backs to the Temple. Their faces were toward the east. Then they prostrated themselves and worshipped the sun in the east that morning.  Sun worship was very common in Egypt. A modern form of sun worship is called laying out in the sun.

The four living creatures (Ezek 1:5-1:7)

“In the middle of it

Was something

Like four living creatures.

This was their appearance.

They were of human form.

Each had four faces.

Each of them had four wings.

Their legs were straight.

The soles of their feet were

Like the sole of a calf’s foot.

They sparkled

Like burnished bronze.”

Ezekiel had this colorful vision of 4 living creatures in the middle of this cloud. They appeared to have human forms. However, each of them had 4 faces and 4 wings. They had straight legs, but the soles of their feet were like that of a calf’s foot. They seemed to sparkle like bronze. Thus they were human like, but had wings and strange feet, perhaps like an angel of some kind.

The strange creatures in the foreign temples (Bar 6:20-6:23)

“The idols are just

Like a beam

In the temple.

It is said

That their hearts

Are eaten away,

When crawling creatures

From the earth

Devour them,

Along with their robes.

They do not notice

When their faces

Have been blackened

By the smoke

Of the temple.

Bats,

Swallows,

Birds,

As well as cats

Alight on their bodies

As well as their heads.

From this

You will know

That they are not gods.

So do not fear them!”

This author elaborates about the conditions that idols have in the foreign temples. They are just like wooden beams in the temple. Their hearts are being eaten away by crawling creatures that devour them along with their precious robes. These false idols do not even notice when their faces become blackened by the smoke in the temple. There are all kinds of creatures all over them. Bats, cats, swallows, and other birds have landed on their heads and bodies. Thus they should know that these are not really gods. Thus, there is nothing to fear from them.

Yahweh controls the growth of plants (Ps 104:14-104:16)

“You cause the grass to grow for the cattle.

You cause the plants for people to use.

Mortals may bring forth food from the earth.

They will make wine to gladden the human heart.

They will have oil to make the face shine.

They will make bread to strengthen the human heart.

The trees of Yahweh are watered abundantly.

He planted the cedars of Lebanon.”

Yahweh makes the grass to grow for cattle. He causes plants to grow for humans. Thus mortals can bring food from the earth to eat. They can also make wine to gladden their hearts. They can make oil to a shine on their faces. They also make bread to strengthen their hearts. Finally, the cedar trees of Lebanon were planted by Yahweh so that buildings could be made from their lumber.

Demetrius I become king (1 Macc 7:1-7:4)

“In the one hundred fifty-first year, Demetrius son of Seleucus set out from Rome. He sailed with a few men to a city by the sea. There he began to reign. As he was entering the royal palace of his ancestors, the army seized King Antiochus and Lysias to bring them to him. But when this act became known to him, he said.

‘Do not let me see their faces!’

So the army killed them. Then Demetrius took his seat on the throne of his kingdom.”

Now we have a new player on the scene King Demetrius I (185-150 BCE), who was the son of King Seleucus IV, the brother of King Antiochus IV. He would rule from 161-150 BCE. He had escaped from Rome, who liked the 11 year old King Antiochus V. King Demetrius I was 24 years old in 161 BCE, when he began to rule. He came by boat to a small town. When he arrived at the royal palace, the army seized King Antiochus V and Lysias. When King Demetrius I heard about this, he told them to kill them since he did not want to see their faces. Thus he killed his nephew to begin to rule as King Demetrius I.